On the 23rd of May Sarah returned to Sheffield to attend the wedding of a friend from Uni.
The following day I joined the throng from the Midlands and travelled down Twickenham to watch the Aviva Premiership final (Tigers v Saints). I was on one of the Tiger’s supporters’ buses. Due to a road accident in Northampton (Saint’s HQ),) we were caught in a jam and the journey to the ground took just over 4 hours. A necessary change of plans meant that we ate in the Harlequin’s Hog Roast Tent instead of our usual haunt, we washed down some fine pork and stuffing baps with lubricating Guinness before making our way to our seats in the North Stand. In revenge for delaying some of the most ardent fans on their passage through enemy territory, our tigerish heroes outgunned the opposition and were victorious. On the return of the journey we were again delayed when a caravan overturned on the M25 (no doubt another Northampton driver).
On Monday Sarah returned from Sheffield to start her half-term. The following Saturday she joined Sue and me on a council walk around Hallaton. The 3-hour ramble started and finished at the Bewick Arms. We had lunch there before returning to Harborough.
The next day Nan, Sue, Sarah and I journeyed to Harbury in Warwickshire to visit some relatives (Andrew and Sue) who along with their fellow neighbours, were opening their garden to the public. As we arrived in the town centre we stopped for a little while and watched what appeared to be a marathon wheelbarrow race. I guess it is one of those quirky pastimes practised by in-bred country yokels who are not aware of the true purpose of a wheelbarrow. We found Andrew’s place, looked around their garden and after consuming drinks and some excellent cake (so I am told) started our trek around the village. I lost count of how many gardens we wandered through, chatting to proud owners about plants, water features and pigeons (apparently there is a lot of the latter in Harbury). For a change, it was a lovely warm day. On the journey back we arranged to meet up with the Rothwells for Pizza in Harborough, but plans went awry when the reservation couldn’t be made in time, so it will be re-scheduled at a later date.
Sarah went with me up to Thurcroft on the evening of the 4th of June. The following day she had an activity day at Uni. and I had to meet the engineer from Eon to service the central heating. We drove up late, arriving around 11pm and went straight to sleep on the two beds that are still there. Sarah had awoken and left before I got up, she had arranged a lift with a friend. I spent the day mowing the lawns, cutting the hedges and trimming the bushes. I also dug over the borders. The engineer was on time and spent an hour servicing the system. I made a run to the local dump to take a table and TV that were no longer going to be used. On the return journey, I called in at the estate agents and stopped to chat with Nicky who I met in the village. Sarah returned late that afternoon and we made our way home.
The rest of that week Sarah spent on her final essay of the year. I read it when she had finished and predicted that it would get top marks (I was right: a 1st). That Friday we had a family BBQ. Nan had invited a friend from Huntingdon Gardens (Isabel) and the two of them seemed to enjoy each other’s company.
The Lions are touring Australia. I have been trying to arrange matters so that I could watch the games, but up until the fourth game, I had not succeeded! Saturday the 8th was a notable day. I managed to watch the Lions beat Queensland Reds in an awesome, bruising, brutal encounter while having breakfast at The Angel (10.30am kick-off), followed in the afternoon by a Beer Festival at the Lord Nelson (a fine selection), then to cap a perfect day, that evening I watched England stuff Argentina in Rio. Not many days like this.
That Tuesday morning I drove Sarah to East Midlands Airport to catch a plane to Amsterdam. She was spending a couple of days there with friends for Uni. When I returned to Harborough I watched a recording of the Lions playing New South Wales at Nan’s (she has SKY) and drank coffee.
Wednesday saw me tidying up the allotments and then swapping duties with Sue who was keeping an eye on a workman repairing a window in Jamie’s apartment. Sue was meeting Lynne Brown for lunch so I watched TV and waited for the window to be fixed (took 3 hours), afternoon TV is so mind-deadening!
The following day Sarah flew into Manchester and caught the train back to Harborough. I drove over to Wansford and met John Lee. We had arranged to go on a 8.5-mile walk. Wansford is just off the A1 and is truly a beautiful chocolate box village. After a leisurely walk, catching up with all the news, gossip and rugby talk since our last outing prior to Christmas, we stopped for lunch at the Paper Mills (village pub). His son Nick had given him a lift to Wansford as he had an interview that morning just a few miles away. The plan was to pick his dad up afterwards, but he went home instead. Thus our stay in the pub was quite prolonged, but pleasant, while Nick retraced his steps.
That Saturday I met the two Jims and Roger at the Angel for breakfast and the Lions v New South Wales. Again the Lions roared and the Aussie reprobates wilted.
Sunday saw Father’s day coincide with Nan’s birthday. We celebrated both at the Cinnamon Lounge on Northampton Road (in the light of recent events I think it should be re-named Tiger’s Way!) Excellent Indian food, we have been before and should go more often. Afterwards, we went to the Fernie Hunt Open Day in Great Bowden. There was plenty to see and do of a rustic nature. We watched birds of prey fly (one didn’t come back), stroked a million loudly baying foxhounds and slowly went deaf. Laughed at Terriers racing each other to catch a lure pulled along by bicycle power. Bought Joules wellies. Hooked ducks. Shot targets and ate ice cream (I missed out on the latter!)
On Monday Sarah and Charlotte were taking Nan out for High Tea at Kilworth House Hotel, but Sarah had to stay and plan the itinerary for her month-long InterRail trip around Europe on as Chloe (travelling companion) was coming. Charlotte and Nan went and by all accounts had a very posh time.
Other news: Jamie’s ex-girlfriend Harley ran her car into a brick wall at 50mph in Husband’s Bosworth. She was in the hospital for a couple of weeks and was quite poorly. Jamie visited her a couple of times in the hospital and last weekend went over for Sunday lunch with the family.
Jamie has been having a friend (Walker) staying with him for the past few weeks while he sorts out a place of his own. I think Jamie has been enjoying the company as we have seen very little of him recently. Walker has now found a place and will be moving out soon, no doubt we will be seeing more of Jamie then.
Sarah has not only been busy sorting out her Europe trip but also working as much as she can at the Rugby Club to fund it. Often she has been starting a lunchtime and not getting home until the wee-small hours.
Charlotte has been bitten by the garden bug. She has turned her front and back garden into little oases of peace and tranquillity, no mean feat with two little plant-destroying menaces for children. She has branched out into the allotment and tidy little rows of vegetables are starting to appear. I guess her worst nightmares are now centred around weeds!!!! A shed has now appeared to store away the tools, but I suspect it is where the menaces will get locked away when plants are threatened.
Peter and I have (under Charlotte’s instructions) been building her chicken run and coop. It is now fox proof, badger proof and child proof. Time will tell if it is Dalek-proof! Rumour has it that razor wire and a pen roof are wanted to prevent low-flying dragons from scooping up helpless chicks. We shall see.
Nan has had new glasses, though they have been returned to SpecSavers as they are loose. The staff there are very wary of Nan (no idea why) but they certainly react when she makes an appearance. She says it is because she has such an unusual prescription, I suspect it may be her brand of Yorkshire/Welsh humour. She went out to lunch with Isabel last week to the Three Swans. Nan was not impressed with the food or service (glad I wasn’t there).