Archive for April, 2013

Moving on?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2013 by David Palmer

Way back in June 2007 my nephew Simon Wadsworth inspired me to begin a family blog. As many do after leaving University and before starting a life of work and sensibility, he was back-packing his way around the world. As a way of communicating with friends and relatives, he wrote a blog. It was through reading about his many adventures, both highlights and mishaps that I felt I could share in his experiences (from the safety and comfort of my study). After a good read I would often end up thinking, ‘I would love to do that’ or occasionally ‘I wouldn’t have done that.’ It was a resolve to keep the family abreast of what each of us have been up to, which has led to me sitting down at a computer at infrequent intervals and tapping on a keyboard. Much of what I write is gleaned from our Friday Curry night family meetings, but I also delve into Facebook and I try (often failing) to make a note on my online calendar of family happenings. Fortunately, when I miss something out or just plain get it wrong, there is always the facility to quietly apologise and edit. Well, after 6 years of settling down to the routine of work, Simon has resigned his job, shouldered his back-pack again and flown off to China. You can read about Simon’s fascinating journey of discovery here: Simon’s journey

Since returning from our drug-run to Southend, the weather has perked up quite a bit and fingers crossed, we may have the start of spring. Annoyingly, the garden seems to be de-nuded of tulips. I suspect that the culprit may well be a hungry fox with a taste for exotic flavoured bulbs. I checked google and it doesn’t appear there are many foxes that have this ‘tulip’ tooth. But, I have little holes where all my nice bright red tulipa should be! What ever it is doing the ‘deed’ it knows that my daffodil bulbs will poison it, so I still have all of them. Thankyou.

On Monday morning I had a blood test that had been re-scheduled from March and then took Nan for a blood test later on for her monthly Diabetes check. Sue went for lunch with Lynne Keane.

On Tuesday, after having lunch with Nan, Charlotte came over with the boys. I had them while the women of the family went into town to buy a pair of slippers (took 3 hours). The men of the family went on an ant hunt, during the time it took to NOT chose a pair of slippers we hunted down and incarcerated 22 deadly and dangerous ants in as many plastic cups. They were then placed in an ant farm that Sarah had made up from a commercial kit.
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On Wednesday Charlotte and Suraj went to Fawsley Hall (overnight) for a bit of pampering. Sue Sarah and I looked after Lucas and Ellis. During the day Sarah and Sue took them to a play park in Corby while I mowed the lawns (first cut), dug over the small vegetable patch, hoovered the pool out and chopped a pile of wood. They returned early as Ellis had thrown up in Sue’s car. Sarah took Lucas for a bike ride and I looked after Ellis, but he didn’t want to do much. They were both fast asleep in bed that night for 8pm. At 2am Sarah brought a crying Ellis into our bed, he soon settled down. At 5 am my neck suddenly got very warm and wet. Ellis had not released the entire contents of his stomach during the afternoon, he had chosen to do that on my pillow. Sue and I were a bit tired when the sun came up, but Ellis slept.
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Last Thursday, at 9pm we had a surprise visitor. Lee arrived to see Sarah. He stayed around half an hour (he had brought a friend along for company) and then drove back to Nottingham. I suppose he must be quite keen on our little girl.
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Friday was Thai night. Green and red curries with fish cakes. Everyone seemed fit and healthy, even Ellis kept his food to himself.

Saturday saw Sarah drive up to Nottingham to stay at Lee’s until Monday, when she was returning to Uni. I attended a re-union Rugby Club lunch. Past players from the Kibworth RUFC days met up and enjoyed each others company. The food was excellent, the 1st Team game against Vipers was also first-class, even though there was torrential rain during the second half. That evening we entertained Jim and Brigit, we sank a couple of bottles of wine and watched the video I had made of Brazil.

The following Monday was a warm day. After getting the results of my blood test (normal) I went to the allotments and planted some onions. I had already started tomatoes in the propagator and also sown lettuce etc. in pots in the greenhouse. As the weather improves I can feel the sap starting to rise!

Earlier on in the week I had discovered that the husband of a past colleague at school had passed away. Like me, he was keen on his bike and I would often see him pedaling his way around the town, though I must confess that the last few times I saw him he did look very unsteady and cycled rather erratically. Sue and I will be attending the church service this coming Friday. Yesterday, Nan gave me the news that my cousin Thelma (named after Nan and a year younger than me) had been found on the kitchen floor by a friend and had been rushed into hospital. She had been to see the doctor previously because she had caught the nasty chest bug going around and she was having difficulty breathing. She was put onto a life-support machine. That evening the family had an awful decision to make. After being switched off, Thelma passed away some 6 hours later. She has 4 sons. I haven’t seen Thelma for many years and my memories of her are of many happy times playing up on Brymbo Mountain down by the lake as youngsters with the rest of the (quite large ) Prydderch family. She was the eldest in the family, and will be sadly missed.
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Hero and Heroinne in the Southsea.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2013 by David Palmer

The weather has remained cold, with a confusing combination of sun and bitter breeze. Once tempted to venture outside you soon return to the guaranteed warmth of a wood-burner. The papers inform us that it has been the coldest March on record (glad we were away for most of it!)

On a the Tuesday Sarah joined Charlotte and the boys at Nan’s for lunch and afterwards they came to see the grandparents. Sarah and Charlotte had planned a Geo-caching route at the back of the house along the Northamptonshire border and I joined them. Sue looked after the boys.

The ground was still very wet with many puddles and heaps of snow (Charlotte got stuck in one!) We visited 7 sites and found five of them (two being archived/missing). In one field we had great fun releasing the water from two puddles by breaking down the sides of the bank and allowing the water to flow away, silly but somehow satisfying. We were gone nearly three hours and on our return I lost the race down the drive, then inadvertently squished Sarah’s finger in the back door and then woken Ellis up from his afternoon sleep. Charlotte and the boys stopped for tea.
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On Wednesday, Sue and Sarah took Lucas and Ellis to the cinema to see ‘The Croods’ and then had lunch at Charlotte’s. I had my haircut and then purchased all my seeds for this season’s planting (when the soil warms up). Afterwards I visited the allotments, did a bit of tidying up, dug up the last of the parsnips and picked some leeks before chopping up the last of the wood stored at the back of the shed for the fire. When that is gone I will be into my reserves squirreled away behind the conifer hedge! I took some leeks to Nan’s but I saw she was playing Bingo in the Community Room and didn’t want to disturb her, so drove home. Jamie came for tea and brought with him quite a lot of meat from the freezer. He is planning a holiday at the end of April.

Thursday saw the girls and I on a Geo-cache walk that Sarah and Charlotte had planned around Stoke Albany, Sue looked after Lucas and Ellis. The route itself was just 3.5 miles and though it was sunny there was a bitter wind that froze any exposed parts. Besides successfully finding 19 caches (3 were rather unusual squirrels), we had a snowball fight (which Charlotte lost, freezingly!) and an interesting look around Wilbarston Church. We stopped for drinks and to warm up at the Roedeer on the way back. On our return, Sue had taken the boys into the town and Lucas had discovered the joy of riding his bike (which had been left in our shed over the winter) and spent much of that afternoon whizzing around the garden while Ellis looked on longingly through the window.

On Friday Sue and I had a lazy morning before driving down to Southend-on-Sea for a few days.We stayed at the Radisson Park Inn, a very impressive and imposing hotel set up above the entrance to the longest pier in the world. Sarah went to stay with Charlotte. After parking the car in the Muliti-story car-park opposite, we checked in and then spent the rest of the afternoon walking west along the beach and sea-front. The breeze ensured that hat and gloves were worn. Despite being an Easter week-end the resort wasn’t over busy. We made an abortive attempt to find a couple of Geo-caches, but due to the large numbers of muggles around we were unsuccessful. We returned in time for our evening meal in the hotel restaurant which overlooked the Pleasure Park, estuary and pier. As we ate, we watched the sun slowly go down and followed the boats making their way along the narrow channel to the sea. Our view turned quite magical as the lights of the Funfair glowed and flashed against the moving orbs of light from passing vessels, and then to cap it all, the stars came out. Not quite rivaling the evening view from Victoria Peak (Hong Kong), but not far off.
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To burn off a few calories we took a very chilly walk along the High Street into the town. We took our time and managed to get as far as the large square by the Odeon Cinema. It was quite late by the time we returned to hotel, so it was coffee and bed (it is an age related thing).

The following morning we had an excellent breakfast in the restaurant and again watched the boats passing by, though this time we were distracted by the early morning joggers and cyclists down below. It was they who probably changed our minds from catching the train along the pier, to walking it (1.3 miles each way!). It was the first thing we did that morning. It was a bracing stroll. Again the sky was blue, but the breeze had a nasty nip top it. We had brought the binoculars with us and they were used to watch the life-boat crew who were practicing various drills just off the end of the pier. Throwing oneself overboard and then being dragged back into the boat didn’t seem a lot of fun to me. There was an exhibition of ‘Only Fool’s and Horses’ memorabilia in the hall on the pier, but after a brief look at the ‘Reliant Robin’ we spurned the exhibits for a warming hot chocolate in the cafe. The return walk back over the waves was made in double time as it was into a very fresh breeze that froze to an icicle my right ear!

It was a lot warmer back on shore. We headed east. Passing a beach-side Casino, I heard Sue exclaim surprise. Three people had just exited from aside door, two women and a very tall guy wearing sunglasses, one of the women was laughing at Sue’s reaction. A little further away, Sue explained. The man was a controversial X-factor contestant called Rylan. Controversial because he was gay and couldn’t sing, though he was popular and made it to the final. He was now appearing on stage at a Casino in Southend, fame indeed.

The afternoon proved rather exciting. We had decided to Geo-cache our way up along the west beach. Again we were thwarted by the increasing number of muggles (Holiday makers) and had n’t found any until my gps indicated a cache in a bush situated between a temporary police hut and a first aid station. Waiting for passers-bye to thin out I quickly dived into the bush to look for the treasure. The clue had indicated it was inside something, so spotting a tightly wrapped bundle of plastic I gleefully grabbed it and emerged to check out the contents. NOT a Geo-cache! Inside were hypodermic syringes, little metal spoons, sachets of citric acid and small bundles of what I assume was heroin. PANIC. We quickly got on to the beach and with our backs to the waves we watched to see if anybody was observing us. We couldn’t see any one. Deciding to hand the cache into the authorities we nonchalantly made our way to the police hut, it was shut! Venturing into the first aid station to pass the booty on to a ‘trusted’ citizen, with great prejudice and a wagon load of stereo-typical thoughts I decided against it. The ‘first-aider’ was black and had many tattoos. It is wrong I know.

We warily continued our way up the beach for about a mile and a half and enjoying the now quite warm afternoon. We stopped and used the binoculars near a very nice beach restaurant, Sue to peruse the passing ships and I to identify any possible drug traffickers. On the back we spotted an empty police car. The officer was interrogating a man and two women who were suspiciously holding carrier bags and exiting a house. We waited while he talked to them and as he was leading them to his car I stopped him, explained what I was holding and passed the package onto him. He thanked us and then continued with his companions to the car. Job done. Inspector Morse, Hercule Poirot and Agatha Christie would have been proud of us.

After a couple more abortive attempts to find hidden drug/Geo-caches further along the shore, we gave up and returned to the hotel for coffee. We rang Sarah and Charlotte to see how their planned Geo-caching day had gone. They had found 30 caches and walked several centimetres off their height.

That evening we had fish and chips in an Italian restaurant (it was one of those days), before watching an excellent horror movie called ‘Dark Skies’ at the Odeon Cinema. Good plot, unusual twist and one or two jumpy moments. Surprisingly, Southend on Sea was not a busy place, late at night on an Easter weekend, must be a combination of freezing temperatures and a recession. We returned to the hotel for hot drinks and bed.

After another excellent breakfast with magnificent views, we checked out of the hotel. We had decided to travel further along the coast to Shoeburyness. We had seen it from the end of the pier and thought that it looked quite nice. It was. The morning was warm (no wind), we found a place to park the car and had a bit of a walk to the beach. It felt quite like summer. The surrounding area is all MOD land and you could see lots of evidence of military activity from WW2. There is a lot of building work going on, with some very, very nice housing and apartments going up for the Hedge-fund managers in the City. We must have walked at least a couple of miles along the shore (collecting shells) to reach a very old and long pier that now only supported the weight a huge flock of disinterested gulls. After a brief stop for ice-creams we returned to the car and journeyed without incident back to Harborough.
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A lovely break , with just a hint of adventure.

Cold

Posted in Uncategorized on April 1, 2013 by David Palmer

Since being back both Sue and I have had awful chesty colds. Neither of us were inclined to leave the house as the weather outside has been bitterly cold, with some snow falling for at least a little while each day. We saw Charlotte and family the following day after she had taken the Ellis for lunch at Nan’s. I had visited Nan briefly during the morning, but didn’t want to pass on any bugs. Jamie popped around during the evening and we caught up with the news on his snow-boarding holiday.
Sarah was still in Tunisia with Lee, and according to Facebook was having a much warmer time than we (jealous).

All but Charlotte came for Curry Night on Friday and we all caught up with each others news. I had made a video of our holiday to Brazil and it got shown afterwards. Jamie showed us the photos on his phone and Andorra looked very spectacular.
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Though not feeling great, on Saturday I went to the Angel to watch the Tigers stuff Northampton in the Aviva Premiership and I am now regretting not getting cheap tickets for the final when I was offered them last September.

Sarah came home on Sunday and the whole family sat down to a lunch of pork (supplied by Jamie). It was nice to have everyone back together. Suraj and I helped Jamie replace the exhaust on his car during the afternoon, he had been to Maidenhead that morning to get it (he has a busy, hectic life).
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On Monday Sue and Sarah went with the Rothwells to an Easter Egg hunt near Kettering. Lucas won! I stayed at home where it was nice and warm with a hot water bottle, lots of paper tissues and medicine (deadly manflu). I took the opportunity to tidy up the holiday bloggs. Writing it on a tablet PC late in the evening (while Sue was asleep) and without checking it before publishing to the net (too tired) left many spelling and grammatical errors and no photos. It took all day but now it is done!
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