Archive for June, 2014

England ……. not a ghost of a chance!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2014 by David Palmer

To be honest, I have spent most of this year looking forward to the World Cup. Not in the faint hope that ‘our boys’ would do well and win the thing, but because apart from Manaus, last spring Sue and I  had been to the venue cities, and I thought it might be fun to play a game of spot the sights (with Sue of course) when the cameras panned away from the on-field action to provide the audience with some colourful Brazilian atmosphere. As the competition got closer I confess to increased feelings of  optimism. Everything seemed to be falling into place for England to be crowned world champions. The BBC pointed out that we had the most expensive squad of players in the tournament, our manager was the 3rd highest paid and everyone knows that when it comes to footy, money buys results (just consider Man City). I  had to agree that the squad contained the best of what the Premiership had to offer  (give or take a boot or two) and the coverage was free-to air on the Beeb and ITV which firmly placed it in my price bracket. When my daughters bought me copious quantities of English bottled beer for the preceding Father’s Day celebrations I looked upon it as fortuitous provisions for the long-haul to the final. News of a depleted Italian team and an injured Suarez further fuelled my hope for another star on the national kit.

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Oh silly me! This was England I was placing my hopes on and not unsurprisingly such misplaced optimism came back and bit me! I am typing this  in the dining room, looking through the window at the much-needed rain cascading down outside, with nearly a full case of bottled beers to my right and no desire to reach for the opener. It is no use conjecturing whether we would have done any better  if Uruguay had played Italy first and Suarez had gnawed Balotelli’s arm off, because then we would have had to face the minnows of the group Cost Rica, and as we discovered they were just better than us, more skilful, better organised, seemed fitter and had a greater desire to win (and they didn’t have to!!!!!). Please Lord, don’t let us qualify for the Europeans as I can’t face looking at a bottle of Cocker-Hoop (4.2%) for the next two years and not feel the faintest desire to sip its nectar like contents.

As even darker clouds  creep slowly over Harborough and the malevolent blackbird attempts to raid my (meshed) strawberry bed on the patio outside I shall continue with the family news.

Up until this morning we have been having some fine weather. Though my morning bike rides have been relatively mud free, the nettles are now chest high and the thinner tree branches laden down with leaves, sweep closer to the ground, as I am now wearing my summer cycle-gear  it makes for nettled arms and a scratched head. The other day I came off a slope, flipped by a trailing bough into a bed of vicious looking nettles. As I skidded I lay my bike down and rolled away in a much practised routine. I lay surrounded by the stinging devils  waiting for the tell-tale tingling to start and it didn’t. Gingerly I  got up, righted my bike and carried on. With luck like that I should have been with the boys in Brazil!

On the 16th I drove over to Exton and met John. He transferred into my car and we continued to Fothernghay Castle where I unloaded the Sevylor canoe  and we set off on the Nene back towards Exton. Blue skies and a hot morning made for gentle canoeing, as John was not as practised as I, the early part of the journey was a little meandering until we became synchronous. Surprisingly we didn’t meet any one else on the river other that a few moored boats with the occupants enjoying a late breakfast. We explored down a few side channels, hauled the canoe out of the water to by-pass a couple of weirs and a lock, avoided quite a lot of swans and waved to occasional dog walkers on the bank. We arrived at out destination in good time so we continued on further down the river to exit via a road bridge, carrying a deflated canoe back to John’s car in a pub car-park. A quick dash back to retrieve my car and a return to the pub saw us enjoying a pint and lunch before returning home.

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The following evening Sue and I went to Harborough Theatre to see ‘Monuments Men’. Fairly enjoyable film, though I think it suffered from a rather ‘gungho’ slant for the American market. Yet again the Yanks did us a favour by helping out, ironically the only two people to die in the operation were English and French.

The following morning I breakfasted at the Angel, watched an unfortunate England lose to the All Blacks and during the afternoon cycled over to Marston Trussell village hall with Jim and Peter to sample a few brews at the village beer festival. Having sampled their best we returned to Harborough to sampled a few more at the Lord Nelson’s beer festival. After an excursion to Joules and a chat to Ian Jim and I returned home and Peter to the Lord Nelson. Later that evening I watched the England v Italy game:

Scoring summary
Total shots
 ENG: 18 ITA: 12
 Shots on target
 ENG: 8  ITA: 5
 Fouls
 ENG: 8  ITA: 12
  Possession (%)

 ENG: 48% ITA: 52%

 Corners
 ENG: 9  ITA: 2
 Saves
 ENG: 3  ITA: 7
Offsides
ENG: 0  ITA: 7
How did we lose this?
The following day was Father’s Day. Charlotte had arranged for Suraj and I to go to the golf club and blast a few balls down the golf range and afterwards the family met at Zizzi’s for lunch. I couldn’t help note the irony of eating in an Italian restaurant, considering the result of last night’s match.
On Monday it was Nan’s birthday (86yrs), and we took her to the Bell in Gumley. It was a lovely meal and the atmosphere had much improved from the rather daunting one that the previous owners seemed to generate with their rather pretentious attitude to children, dogs, walking boots and men without ties. Afterwards we spent a pleasant afternoon in our back-garden sampling some rather splendid red wine from my very own vine-yard.
The following day Sue and I drove over to Derby for a couple of days. We stopped at Elvaston Castle (just outside Derby) on the way and had a nice walk around the grounds. We met a local taking his dog for a walk and he kindly explained the history of the place to Sue. The grounds and gardens were beautifully well laid out and maintained. A lovely place for a picnic lunch, which is exactly what we did.
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We had booked into the Aston Court Hotel and after checking in went for an explore around the city. We had heard that the centre was quite uninspiring, and in some ways I think we can agree. It does have some very nice parts and they appear to be doing quite a lot of re-modelling, though I think that the Council don’t seem to have an overall picture of what they want to achieve, unlike the other towns we have visited this year. They also seem infatuated with the local soccer team and there is continuous references to them where ever you walk. Even the quite innovative museum/art gallery  had a whole room to the Rams. In the High Street we discovered a rather unusual clock that chimed ‘God Save the Queen’ in its entirety, on the hour. During the afternoon  I optimistically bought a raincoat and Sue nearly bought a top.  That evening we saw ‘Catch 22’ at the Derby Theatre which was just a short walk away from the hotel. Thoroughly enjoyable performance, though Sue did appear to drop off to sleep (or was resting her eyes) during part of the play.
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After a good nights sleep and a very hearty breakfast we drove to Ingleby to follow a route I had plotted onto my GPS. After parking the car in the pub and micro-brewery, we set off along the River Trent. Some of the route was a bit tricky as it closely followed the river’s edge next to some cliffs which led us to Anchor Cave. A lovely and fascinating spot which has an interesting story to it; ANCHOR CAVES
After exploring inside the cave we continued on through some undulating and picturesque countryside.  Our route took us through Repton School at the end of morning break. We watched the children and staff line up for their various lessons, our journey took us through a group of open-mouthed pupils who seemed silently fascinated with the two foreigners. At over £10 000 per term, I don’t think they have had much experience at mixing with the hoypoloi! The next point of interest was a wood with around 60 Viking graves dotted within it. Much of the ground was covered in dense bracken and after a bit of searching we did manage to discover one of them among the trees, satisfied with that we carried on. Returning to the John Thompson Inn and Brewery we had lunch and drinks before returning to the hotel.
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During the late afternoon we set off for Derby Gaol. It was across the other side of the city and as we had booked a Ghost Walk for that evening we were unsure of where we were to meet our guide and had decided to be their early. We called in to a couple of churches on the way to have a look around and as expected it did take us quite a while to find the not very obvious meeting place. Our reference point was the Golden Eagle pub and as we were there early we had a drink and played dominoes and Jenga until it was time. A group of bankers (HSBC) joined us for the walk. The tour started outside the rear entrance to the Gaol and after paying the balance of our booking to the jailer we experienced the debtors cells and condemned cell before moving on outside to  wander the streets being told of various ghostly happenings. Our guide did have a couple of stooges in tow who regularly and cleverly attempted to frighten us at various points. They were quite successful with a few of our hi-flying, hedge-fund manager companions (one of which was a front row forward!). We had drinks in the most haunted pub  (previously a hotel and before that a Priory) in Derby, we visited the cellars and experienced more contrived spooky goings on before moving on to another of Derby’s gaols and further ghostly stories. We completed our walk back at our rendezvous and had a nice meal of jacket potato, cheese and beans in the cells with our fellow ghost hunters. It was excellent entertainment and thoroughly enjoyable. We slept well that night.
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We had an early breakfast the following morning and set off back to Harborough without delay as I had promised to help out at Marston Trussell Hall at 11am at a charity function. On route we were delayed by a lorry fire on the opposite carriageway. It was well and truly gutted with two fire engines in attendance. Luckily for us the motorway on our side wasn’t shut, but the jam on the other was horrendous and we squeezed passed before they shut both sections of the road for the rest of the day. Arriving home I changed into my DJ (as requested) and drove over to the Hall. The rest of the day I spent with Jim, Sean and the owner Peter Howard waiting on the tables for a ladies charitable event. Though it threatened rain, it held off and the afternoon was quite warm, which in a DJ was quite uncomfortable. We served drinks, 4 courses of food and then cleared everything away. I got back home around 5pm, just in time to watch the next England debacle.
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Saturday 20th June saw me breakfasting again to a New Zealand Victory over England at the Angel. During the afternoon I worked out and plotted several walking routes onto my GPS. That evening Sue, Sarah and I attended the Comedy Club at Harborough Theatre. We were surprised to see Jim and Kate already their. Jim had heard me say over breakfast what we were doing that evening and had decided to give it a try. As usual the headline comedian was excellent with the supporting acts being ‘work in progress’.  A good laugh.
On Sunday John drove over from Bourne and picked me up for a couple of day walking around Bosworth Hall. Sue and I have stayed their several times this year and enjoyed walking in the Warwickshire countryside. We checked in and had lunch at the hotel. During the afternoon we had a pleasant 6.5mile walk before returning and having a swim in the hotel pool. We had the carvery evening meal in the hotel restaurant with complimentary bottle of red wine, before walking into the town and discovering one of the local hostelries. We returned in time to watch footy on the box.
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After breakfast we cantered around a 9.2 mile route plotted on my GPS before returning to the hotel pool to refresh. During the afternoon we trotted another 8.4 miles before indulging in another splash. Inquiring at the hostelry we frequented the previous evening we discovered that they had finished serving meals 10 minutes previously. The barman suggested that we try the one and only Indian restaurant in the town, which we did and found it to be ‘spot on’.
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We checked out of the hotel after breakfast on Tuesday and under cloudless skies we enjoyed 8.8 mile meander through the battlefields of Bosworth. We got back to Harborough at 4.30pm, just in time to be depressed, dismayed, disgruntled and despaired by the last England performance against Costa Rica. John drove back to Bourne.
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On Wednesday Sue went to watch Ellis’s school sports day, I mowed lawns, hoovered pool, weeded allotments and planted strawberry seeds. On Thursday Sue and I went to watch Lucas’s school sports day. I am not a fan of non-competitive sports days, suffice to say that I wish to make no comment on the lack of organisation we witnessed.
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NEWS IN BRIEF: Nan appears to be fully recovered from her tumble in Wales. Jamie is suffering from an infected wisdom tooth, I loved his comment on Facebook, “I think my dentist is a comedian!!! Charged me £18 to tell me my tooth is infected and probably painful!!! “. Sarah appears to be enjoying her job and is looking for a house/apartment in the Shepshed area. Yesterday, Charlotte provided ME with cabbage and broad beans from her allotment because MINE aren’t ready yet! How times change.
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Falling for Wales

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2014 by David Palmer

On the 25th May Nan, Sue and I drove top Wales. Nan had been invited to a family wedding (Nia and Graham’s) and Sue and I were taking the opportunity for a few days walking and sight-seeing. The journey didn’t start well. When we arrived Huntingdon Gardens to pick up Nan early that morning she didn’t answer the intercom system or pick up the phone. Thinking she had nipped to the shop around the corner,  we visited that, but drew a blank. Worrying that she had been taken ill we set off to retrieve the spare keys from home. On the way Sue rang again and this time Nan answered, she had been for a paper and we had narrowly missed her at the shop. On arriving back at her apartment we found her waiting outside with her bags. Being re-assured that she had everything she needed, we set off. The journey itself was uneventful, though we were dismayed to discover that she hadn’t packed her sensible shoes and her walking stick and coat wasn’t with here.  The pick-up shenanigans had prevented us from a thorough check before departure.

We arrived at her sisters in Brymbo around lunchtime and found Josie busy preparing Sunday lunch for eight people. She cooks most Sundays for her those in her large family that wish to come and dine. As Sue and I were staying in Wrexham we left leaving our mobile numbers before they all turned up. We drove to Holt on the Welsh border and parked in the centre of the village and had the picnic lunch that Sue had prepared before wandering down to the river to see the castle. Not much of it was left, but never-the-less it was interesting to read the few information boards there and gaze at the archaeological digging that was going on.

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Afterwards we checked into the hotel, had a coffee and then set off on a wander around the town. How it has changed since Sue and trained in Wrexham in the late 70’s. At times we found difficulty in identifying what were once very familiar streets. We came across an old watering hole, the Horse and Jockey. It was still the same thatched medieval inn of our memories, the only difference being that the doorway wasn’t jammed with youthful merry makers who couldn’t get inside because of its popularity. Deciding to enjoy a bit of history we entered the establishment to quench our thirst. I think it hasn’t changed at all, but I am not too sure; in the past it had always been a fight to get to the bar and one never really got a full view of all the rooms and decor because of all the other sardines squeezing into such a small cupboard. However today was very different, no young tight skinned individuals rubbing up against bar, mates or would be girlfriends apart from around 8 other customers, all our age (I guess the same clientèle that frequented the place in those halcyon days and have never managed to find their way out), quietly chatting with some very subdued 70’s music playing softly in the background (Blackberry Way!!!!!). Finishing our drinks we left quietly to be greeted outside by a stream of scantily dressed youth and overdressed police walking purposefully towards the High Street.

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Wrexham in the 70’s had a reputation for being a rough/tough place to party in and students were wise to avoid the town centre as individuals for fear of meeting the local thugs. It seems not much has changed as the closer we got to the High Street the louder the music emanated from the many once reputable banks which are now bars and night clubs (at least you get something tangible in return for your deposits) and the numbers of constables increased exponentially as did the strutting and cavorting youth of North Wales. Once the Horse and Jockey was THE place to be, now it is the High Street Banks! Weaving our way through the crowd we returned to the Wynstay Arms Hotel, conveniently situated at the end of the street. We later ventured out and had an Indian meal at a nearby restaurant before returning to the hotel and having a surprisingly quiet and comfortable nights sleep.

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After breakfast we drove over to Chirk to begin a walk I had plotted into my GPS. We parked in the Bridge Inn, put our boots on and then set off in what was a lovely sunny day. As expected the scenery was outstanding and after not too long we arrived at Chirk Castle. As it was a Bank Holiday weekend we did not have the place to ourselves and as in the High Street the night before, we had lots of company but this time sober, quiet and appropriately dressed. As usual, Sue read every information board (and there was a lot), we visited the little workshops and small retail outlets and then walked up to the main part of the castle to take a few photos.  As I stood in the portcullis to scan the scene for a good shot I was confronted by an elderly country gentleman of Old Etonian background who in no uncertain way told me to stay exactly there and not to move. I was joined by a quizzical Sue who was interested in what trouble I had got myself in to. The said gentleman began to gather other hapless visitors around us before he explained in a rather military, no-nonsense voice that were going on a tour of the castle. This we did. He certainly knew his stuff and obviously got great joy from imparting his knowledge and woe betide any one in the party that didn’t for a moment look enraptured by the history around us. Even Sue got picked on when he spotted a sneaky yawn and she had to point out the lead guttering up by the battlements (he, he,  he!) I of course have developed the Homer Simpson technique of being somewhere else in the mind yet giving the impression that I am at home. To be fair, during those fleeting moments when mind and body were as one I did find the history of the place fascinating and the gentleman’s sense of humour , if not a little  quirky and very old-school was rather entertaining, though disappointingly I didn’t get his farewell joke of the tour, but then I guess neither did any one else, but like me we all laughed, not daring to anything other.

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From the castle we continued our walk and eventually returned to the pub where we had lunch before setting the SATNAV for the Minera Lead Mines, it seemed a quite appropriate place to visit as  Sue was now able to identify at least on use for the metal. We set off.

We arrived not at the Lead Mines but at a country park on the Wrexham to Mold road. We gave it a brief visit and then set the SATNAV on my phone for the Minera Lead Mines. We set off.

We arrived not at the Lead Mines but at Nant Mill near Coedpoeth. It appeared to be a lovely wooded spot with a visitor centre, so we read the information boards, looked inside the small Educational Block and then set off on a rather muddy circular walk through the forest. On return we looked for the remains of the mill and after quite a lot of searching managed to find part of a wall by the rather picturesque ford. It was beginning to get dark so we headed back to Wrexham.

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After changing in the hotel we embarked on a rather convoluted walk to find a Chinese restaurant that was open on a Bank Holiday Monday. After several inches of shoe leather had been worn away we found one across the street from the hotel! Very good meal, well worth the trek to find it. After paying the bill we walked to the local Odeon Cinema in the shopping mall and watched Godzilla.  Quite enjoyable. It was midnight before we returned to the hotel.

After breakfast we checked out and walked across the road to the church to pay it a visit. Sue had been there in her college days (RE mains) but I in my youth I had failed to see the significance of these historical buildings and had neglected to pay it a visit in the three years that I was there. It will still have to remain a mystery as it was shut! From there we drove over to Cartrefle (where Sue and I met). It has now long gone and is now a school, Leisure Centre and Medical Centre. We did find a sign on the entrance gate post indicating its past (which was nice). After a walk around the grounds trying to locate the position of buildings long since gone and gawping at those still standing we returned to the car as it started to rain and set off towards Liverpool.

The journey went well until just outside Liverpool we were caught in a traffic jam and crawled along for nearly an hour. We were staying at the Adelphi Hotel in the centre and I had been worried about the horrendous one way system in operation in the city, but the SATNAV took me straight there without a hitch. Strange it couldn’t find a mountain the previous day! We parked in the substantial hotel car-park and then decided to explore the city before checking in. Sue wanted to visit the radio tower to see the city views. Finding it was easy, finding the entrance was another story, after much wandering and seeking of advice we broke the code, sang the incantation and the doorway magically appeared. We paid the wizard and accompanied by two Liverbirds ascended in the box of mystery with slidy doors to the top of the tower. The views were excellent, a definite must for any first timer to Liverpool, all can be seen from this once revolving restaurant on a stick. We thought we were lucky in that our two accompanying Liverpudlians gave us a friendly running commentary on all the buildings we could see. One of the ladies admitted to going to school with John Lennon. We were later to discover that all Liverpudlians are of a similar nature with most being related to the Fab Four in some way or other.

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Now that we were armed with the knowledge from the sky we visited St. George’s Hall and then booked a couple of tickets at the Royal Court theatre to see ‘Sex in the Suburbs’ that night before returning to the very impressive hotel and checking in. The Hotel was built/refurbished to serve the passengers on the Titanic, and much of the interior reflects the opulence of that short-lived liner. All the rooms are of enormous proportion, sumptuously furnished, marble is everywhere.  There are apparently 5 swimming pools somewhere situated in the the massive building. However, the hotel is past its best and you can see that the management and staff struggle to keep it as it was once. Never-the less, it still remains the on place that you can go to stay that gives you an insight into what life must have been like for the extremely wealthy during the early part of this century without having to imagine too hard. Now they take coach parties.

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That evening, after dining at the hotel we walked to the theatre. We had booked a sofa for two (very civilized) and were surprised to discover that a couple on the next table to us at dinner were just a couple of sofas away. The play was a comedy, cleverly done and situated in a local radio station. It was being recorded for live radio and we were encouraged to laugh and cheer in the appropriate places, but it wasn’t really necessary as it was very funny. Afterwards we had a late night wander around the city and then returned to the hotel for a decadent nights slumber.

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It was raining when we checked out after breakfast and as Sue wanted to visit the Albert Docks we headed in their direction. If the rain hadn’t been incessant we would have stayed longer, but we got the feel of the place and agreed we shall visit again.

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On return to the hotel I got a phone call from Josie informing me that Nan had fallen and was in a bad way, but not to worry as she didn’t require hospitalisation. We set off through the Mersey Tunnel towards North Wales. On arrival in Brymbo we found a sorry-looking Nan sat on the settee trying not to show the pain she was in. It turns out that she embarrassingly  fell backwards onto the toilet seat on the Monday night after the wedding reception back home at Josies’. The loo handle had dug into her rib cage and caused some quite nasty bruising and considerable pain. Of course the lack of sensible shoes, walking stick and the four Martini and lemonades had nothing to do with the incident. With difficulty we shoe horned her onto the back seat of my car and set off back to Harborough.  Thankfully the journey went quickly and without further incident and after a nice cup of tea we left Nan in bed with some pain killers.

The rest of the week saw me getting up early and helping Nan to get out of bed, and make her meals, the rest of the family chipped in with tidying up, shopping and covering when I wasn’t around. We had the doctor to see her on the Wednesday and he confirmed that it was just bruising and gave a prescription for more of the pain-killers that we had given her. She now has a brand new mobility walker, complete with shopping basket and it was christened last Friday when she came for a family BBQ. She seems to have recovered from her ordeal, hopefully more the wiser, though I must confess she does now look considerably older and vulnerable than before her trip to Wales.

During Nan’s rehabilitation, Charlotte and family returned from their terrorist activities in Egypt. They had a splendid time and came back suitably bronzed and full of stories, the principal one being that they were restricted to the resort by the authorities because of the unrest in the country and associated dangers for Europeans.

Though technically Sarah has not finished Uni,’ all her dissertations were presented ages ago (final one got a 1st) and she has sat her exams, she decided to joined the rat-race and started her job as a Support Worker for disaffected families in Shepshed. I was looking forward to treating her with a trip to Thailand after her course, but sensibly she has taken the opportunity to earn some money.

*It should be noted that we haven’t acquired a new family member, it is just that Sarah has changed her hair colour. If I hadn’t known and met her in the street, I am afraid I would not have recognised her. I guess that may come in handy when dealing with some of the families at work!

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A couple of weeks ago, Sarah had an interview for Northamptonshire Police. I drove her to headquarters and waited while she was interrogated. They are still interviewing into July and don’t appear to know how many (if any) posts they require. Last week she drove to Holloway Prison in London and attended an assessment day, which appeared to go well. Again, the process is long and no specific posts were open. No doubt time will tell, but she is quite enthusiastic about her current job and enjoys talking about the cases she is dealing with. This week she is on a training course in Nottingham and is staying at Lee’s to save petrol money. we have been promised we will see her on Thursday.

We only have brief visits from Jamie, he is involved with work, friends and cars. I popped around a couple of times for coffee after visiting my allotment and was surprised to see Harley on both occasions, it appears she had cooked his dinner. His car was in the garage for a couple of days and I gave him a lift to work and back. I was surprised on one trip, when his boss came out to introduce himself. He seemed pleasant and appeared to want to chat though our conversation was brief as I had to get back to Harborough.  A couple of weeks ago on one fine, hot, sunny day Jamie brought quite a few friends and their children around to swim in the pool. Though the day was hot the pool was quite cool in comparison, but they seemed to enjoy themselves splashing about and bouncing on the trampoline.  Afterwards they politely thanked us for use of the garden and we said they could come again.

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On the 4th of June it hammered it down with rain all day. That evening I was picked up by Jim and friends and taken to the Langton Brewery for a BBQ and tasting. The rain didn’t let up for a second, luckily the BBQ was in the  barn and thankfully the brewery tour got curtailed due to the weather so we were able to give the ‘tasting’ our full attention. I think it was still raining when I got home?

That Saturday Sue, Charlotte and I drove to Birstall for one of the Council Walks. England 3rd team were playing the All Blacks in the first Test that morning and I must confess I was more keen to watch that, than walk with a bunch of geriatrics. The weather forecast was dreadful and I woke that morning with the hope that the walk had been cancelled. No such luck. Plan B came into operation, I got in some vital early practice walking to the Angel Hotel. Luckily, they were showing the match, and even more luckily, quite a lot of my friends were there. I watched the match until half time when Sue and Charlotte turned up on our pre-arranged rendezvous. We then drove to the Old Plough in Birstall listening to the match on the radio. Again, luckily Birstall RUFC were watching the match at the pub, so to be social, I joined them to see a rather disappointing end to the game. On joining the rest of the walkers outside, a few drops of rain began to fall. As we set off on what was most probably a very scenic trek through the water meadows of Water Mead Country Park, the rain came down with a vengeance (drat, 2 hours too late!) By the end, those who didn’t have appropriate gear got drowned and those of us who did got soaked. We saw a lot of nonchalant ducks, got within a few metres of an old heron who sat disinterested on a branch, waved to to some lonely scouts that had unfortunately picked today to hold their fund-raising fete and saw a lot of ponds. On return to the pub we tucked into to some rather good grub before returning through clearing skies to Harborough.

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On the Sunday the Rothwells came over and picked Sue up. It was National Open Farm Day and they went to Farndon Fields farm. While I cleared out the back of the shed, mowed the lawn and cleaned the pool they sat on tractors, sat on combine harvesters, looked at various farm animals, sniffed various crops and ate a lot of huge strawberries. They stayed for lunch and for dessert ate more huge strawberries.

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100_6962 100_6963 100_6964 100_6965 100_6966BREAKING NEWS: Sarah rang last night to inform us that she got a 1st in her exams. Well  done Sarah, wonderful news and a just reward for all that hard work.

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