Is the summer over?

The weather has continued to be kind and the vegetables and fruit are doing well. They local farmers have joined me and the combines have been out harvesting 24/7 during the last 2 weeks. Sue and I tend to favour buckets, Tesco bags and Tupperware and find them adequate for our needs without using showy hi-tech machinery.

The other Saturday Paul and I got out my inflatable canoe and paddled from Harborough to the Black Horse in Foxton. Paul had never been in a canoe before so the early stages involved a lot of pirouetting until he figured out that you have to work as a pair. Later on in the journey Jim joined us on his bike, but our progress was so slow that he gave up after half an hour and returned home, the eventual promise of a pint in the pub seemed a too distant future. The evening was getting decidedly cool when we pulled our craft out of the canal, and Paul was more than a little wet (he was at the rear). After just the one pint of thirst quenching, hi-calorie not so isotonic drink, Sue arrived and transported us back to nice warm baths and hot drinks.

The Rothwells have been out and about. They spent a day back in Newark, visiting friends and seeing old sights. They stayed in a Motel just outside the town that we had visited several years ago to eat a rather fine Indian meal. The following day they moved onto Skegness and stayed in the caravan that we had used just a week or so ago. They stayed a couple of days and as previously were blessed with good weather.
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When the Rothwells returned on the Monday, it was Charlotte’s (significant) birthday. We had a family BBQ to celebrate and Jamie provided some splendid steaks and a rack of ribs. The highlight of the meal was Charlotte destroying one of the garden benches during the dessert course, who says pudding doesn’t put the weight on?
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The following day was Charlotte’s and Suraj’s wedding anniversary and the day after that was Suraj’s (less significant) birthday. Now, how convenient is that?

On his birthday, Suraj and I went to see Elysium at the Odeon in Kettering. Excellent film, we both highly recommend it. During that week I managed to have round of golf with Andy and his friend and later in the week I played with Suraj.

Sarah has spent some time working at the Rugby Club as her bank balance is showing zero and it is getting close to her return to Uni. She will be staying in Student Accommodation in the centre of Sheffield and has decided that she doesn’t need the use of, or the expense of her car this year. She has declared it off-road and will walk to lectures for the first month to see how she gets on.

Last Thursday Sue and I attended Karen Perry’s funeral. Sean, her husband, is a good of mine friend. In the past I have played rugby with him and we still play pool once a week. He woke up early on Sunday morning to discover she was not breathing and despite help from his son Dominic with CPR, her heart wasn’t started again until she arrived at the hospital. The following Tuesday the family gathered together to switch off her life-support. Tragic. She was 58 yrs old and no indication of any ill-health.
That Thursday (pool night), we and many of Sean’s friends that also turned up, toasted Karen farewell. Very emotional.
Sean and Karen were very keen church goers and always supported church events, thus it was no surprise that the church was overflowing. Sean’s eulogy to Karen was beautiful (I can’t think of a word better befitting). He will be lost without her. I saw Sean again later that evening (again pool night) and he was obviously drained and fell asleep a couple of times during the proceedings.

The following day, Charlotte, Sarah and I drove up to Thurcroft on what the girls inaccurately or hopefully (not sure which) described as a road trip! We have had an offer on Nan’s house and I needed to see the Estate Agent and solicitor to arrange things as I am soon to fly to Bulgaria and will not be available after that to fill in any paperwork. After checking that the house was ok and gobbling up the sandwiches that Sue had made for us, we first spoke to the Estate Agent before visiting the solicitor and completing the forms and signed documents etc.
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Our road-trip then began in earnest with a visit to a shoe warehouse (nothing bought) and then some catalogue retail outlets (again, nothing bought). We then returned to the house where Charlotte and I had a little high energy nap while Sarah played on the Wii that she had brought. That evening, our road-trip hit dizzy heights as we had a meal at the Traveller’s rest in Brookhouse, and Charlotte and Sarah played pool in the bar and I watched England v Moldova on the TV. At half time we returned to the house and I watched the 2nd half of the match and the girls after a amusing game of surf the Lilo down the stairs went to bed and watched a chick-flick on Sarah’s laptop. Unable to keep up with the pace of the evening I also retired to bed after the match. I forgot to mention that it rained all day, and helped dampen proceedings to a reasonably sedate pace.
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The following morning began at 3am, with the clang and crash of pans on the kitchen floor! Apparently it was ‘changing of the Guards’ in the girl’s room. The ‘fanfare’ was part of the hot-water bottle ceremony that preceded the movement of bodies from bed to Lilo and vice-versa. In the non-ceremonial room, sleep wasn’t attained again for another hour or so!
On rising and after a cup of coffee, Sarah’s University stuff that had been stored upstairs during the summers was brought down in readiness for the afternoon. With that completed, the three of us set about bringing Nan’s bed down. It is one that electrically contorts your body into any shape you care to put it in and then it will massage it for you. Very clever and very heavy! How we got it down into the kitchen without breaking it or, the house, was through pure luck, gravity and momentum than by any sort of control on our part. Afterwards, to recover and waste time until Lee arrived, we had a walk up the village and back again. What seemed like ages, was in fact just half an hour so we mooched around the house and garden annoying each other until Lee did arrive. Still with quite a long time to kill before Sarah could move into her accommodation (2pm), we set about loading up Lee’s car with more Uni’ stuff and then set off on a Geocaching hunt. We found one and one that had been plundered before heading back into the village to eat fish and chips on seats next to the Recreation Ground.
When 1pm arrived we set off in two cars to take Sarah to her accommodation. Despite being half an hour early she checked in and we began to transfer several tons of her belongings into the room. It is worth noting that all the students (and there was hundreds of them) were Chinese. During the two hours we were there we met only one other Brit moving in. What is going on in this country? Eastern European seems to be the language of choice in Harborough businesses, restaurants, hotels etc. and Brookhouse College seems 100% Asian. I am beginning feel like a threatened species. I will leave the photographs to say everything about the quality of today’s student accommodation. I just know that to support an English student is expensive, but not so if you are Scottish (now how fair is that?)
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After completing our removal duties, Charlotte and I drove back to Thurcroft and reloaded the car with Nan’s bed and other chattels. It did not leave much room for the driver and passenger. A couple of hours later saw two slightly squished Palmer’s enjoying a deserved cup of coffee back in Harborough. Job done.

The following day was a Lubenham Scarecrow Day. The Rothwell’s arrived during the morning and after fetching Nan we all went to see the Scarecrows. It was a lovely morning, though there was a nip in the air when the sun went behind a cloud, perhaps as first indication of autumn. We wandered around most of the village before venturing onto the Green to sample the delights of the many stalls and rides etc. At 1.30pm I took Nan home as her legs were giving out and I had arranged to watch the first match of the season at home with some friends.
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Jim arrived soon after myself at the house and helped me set up the screen and projector in readiness for the game. Next to arrive was Sean and Dominic. Sean looked a little better, but uncharacteristically quiet (he even refused a beer). As the game started, Jim Crawford arrived along with Peter and then 15 minutes into the first half Roger made an appearance. Not a bad game, could have been better but with the right result. The season is off to a good start!

Jamie came for lunch during the evening and gave me £400. Thanking him for his generosity he spoiled the moment by asking me to convert it into Euros at my bank for his holiday to Gran Canaria next week. One day perhaps?

Next Saturday I fly to see David in Bulgaria.

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