Breaking Bad?

Since Nan fell and broke her arm there has been a variety of ‘things’ joining her in sympathy.  The central heating boiler poltergeist was due to be fixed on the 17th of November, but despite playing up each day, on the morning of the engineer’s visit, he  disappeared! Yet again we had to explain to a sceptical  engineer what was happening, though on this occasion the boiler got stripped down, thoroughly cleaned out and tested. Since then it has behaved itself, but I prophesy that on Dec. 24th (around 11pm) the spirit will return.

The spook had moved out of his warm little cosy hole in the boiler into my car. Soon after I started to hear and feel a clunking sound when I first turned the steering wheel, this disappeared after a few miles. I discussed what this could be with Mick Edwards (the family mechanic) and the following day he rang me to inform me that it was a known fault on Fiestas and that Ford had issued a TSB notice to all its garages. The culprit was an inferior bolt fitted in the steering rack. Not dangerous, but annoying. He advised me to take it to the Ford garage in Harborough. This I did, and after a half hour wait, two cups of excellent ‘proper’ coffee, several  ‘top-notch’ biscuits and £40 the poorer I had my poltergeist exorcised.

In annoyance ‘the spook’ decided to take his revenge  and took up residence in my ‘system’ and for a couple of days and I acquired the shivers and aches. Made of much sterner stuff than Glow worm or Ford use in their machinery I stoically managed to see him off within 48 hours only for him to move on  into the bottom bracket of my bike. Halfway through my first morning bike ride after the temporary illness, at the very top of Farndon Hill the offending part dramatically gave up the ghost and snapped. Thankfully I could free-wheel most of the way home , but as luck would have it, the bike shop took 5 days to source a replacement.

The next bit of machinery to be ‘spooked’ was my mobile.  First the camera app refused to take photos, then after a bit of Bible reading and jiggery-pokery I managed to persuade it to take a photo, only later to find that it didn’t save them. Downloading a different camera app seemed to solve the problem, until I discovered that when I attempted to review my photos the files were corrupted! Next my o2 Moments app decided to update itself and turn itself into an unfamiliar and illogical bit of software. Why do THEY do this? As soon as you get used to a way of doing things, THEY have to change it. Never for the better.

On the 22nd Nov, Charlotte and Suraj went to be pampered on a Spa day at the Hilton in Northampton. Sue and I looked after Lucas and Ellis, we took them to the Harborough Museum and surprisingly they really enjoyed the experience, particularly splatting the creatures on the interactive floor in the adjoining library. From there we visited the new Ice-cream Parlour in Church Street and then moved on to have a quick look around the newly renovated Old Grammars school on stilts. After a slightly longer visit to St. Dionysus church we did a spot of shopping before heading home through Welland Park. Mum and dad may have had fun but I bet we had more!

The following day we were scheduled to visit our new neighbours for drinks, but Claire came down with a bug and I also felt a bit grotty, so it got cancelled in the interests of Health and Safety.

I have been looking for a rug to fit under my chair in the study for nearly a couple of months and on the 25th Sue and I drove to Corby to search for one. We were successful and I now have a quite smart rectangle of matting that permits me to move my chair easily around my desk without having to put cups on the wheels to protect the bamboo floor.


December started cautiously with a visit with Nan to Kettering Hospital for the another attempt at an endoscopy. This time I managed to get the car parked and Nan in the right department without mishap. After being reassured that she had remembered to smile for the camera we departed the hospital in less that 2 hours (not the 8.5hrs last time). The diagnosis was Diverticulitis.

As mentioned in the previous blog, Sue and I have been  attending the Silver Screen with a load of old wrinklies at Kettering Cinema on Wednesdays. On a few occasions when the film showing has been a bit ‘sloppy’ or ‘historic’ Sue has taken Charlotte , on a couple of occasions all three of us have gone when the plot has been suitably acceptable.

On the 6thn of Dec, Sue, Charlotte and I went joined the Council Walking Group for a short but informative walk from Great Glen to Burton Overy to see the Christmas tree Festival in the local church. Sue and Charlotte thoroughly enjoyed the festival and I thoroughly enjoyed the Steak and Ale pie at the The Yews afterwards.

Look Out! Look Out! Jack Frost is About IMG_4827

The following day saw Sue and I heading south to meet up with Philippa to exchange Christmas presents. Sue and I had decided to book into the Tortwortrh  Court Four Pillars Hotel  which was roughly halfway between Harborough and Buckfastleigh and see a bit of the area. We both arrived close to 11am and after a quick explore around the hotel had a delightful lunch in one of the hotel restaurants. During the meal it was decided to visit the nearby Christmas fayre in Wotton-under-edge. After a short drive we luckily found a place to park the car in what was a small and packed medieval town. The three of us wandered up the High Street enjoying the stalls and attractions that appeared to be locked in a time well before our own childhood memories, before heading back to the hotel. Having exchanged presents we checked into the hotel then all three of us had coffee in our room before seeing Philippa off on her journey home. Returning from the car-park, surprise, surprise we bumped into  David Staples (Sue’s first boss at the Ridgeway Primary). He, like us, was staying at the hotel of a Christmas present swapping run. We chatted for around 10 minutes before going our separate ways.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon lazing in the room before eventually ending up back in Wotton-under-edge for an evening meal at the Pear Tree Inn, via a closed Royal Oak, and a Railway Arms that didn’t serve food on Sunday evenings. Incredibly when entering the bar I spotted Rugby being shown on a large scree in the corner, it was Leicester Tigers v Toulon LIVE!!!!! Thinking all day that I wouldn’t have any opportunity to watch what I thought (wrongly) was a 3pm kick-off, I was rather pleased to find myself sitting in a pub, munching away at some rather good grub and witnessing the Tigers giving the frogs a bit of a drub (ing). As with the rest of Leicestershire I thought we were in for a bit of a hammering, but it just goes to show, it’s a funny old game.

The following morning we had a sumptuous breakfast before checking out and putting on our hiking boots for a walk around the rather large grounds of the Tortworth Estate. Very enjoyable, even though towards the end we had to detour from our route as the return path along the lake was restricted to being open on only the first Sunday in the month, from October to April and then only between the hours of 10am to 4pm. Very convenient.


On return we set the SatNav for Slimbridge, and the Wildfowl Trust that Sir Peter Scot made so famous in our youth. Though it was a rather a blustery, chilly day, the sun was out and  the ducks etc. were so abundant that we didn’t feel the cold (often). Of course there were many twitchers with their cameras and binoculars, and the information boards were so thick on the ground that Sue was in her element, the afternoon was topped off nicely with a warming coffee in the cafe. The two-hour drive back to Harborough took place without incident.

Ellis got a rather nasty second dose of scarlet fever and tonsillitis and had to have another visit to the Emergency Doctor in Kettering. He was still ill when Lucas had his 9th birthday on the 10th Dec. He had to wait until Friday for his party, which took the shape of an ice-skating activity set up at a nearby garden centre.

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Sarah and Lee have made another offer on a house in Leicester, and though it has been accepted by the vendors it looks like they will have to wait until after Christmas for the bank to OK the mortgage. However, they have been very busy organising the furnishing of whatever property they eventually move into. Our previous next door neighbour (Doreen) has donated quite a lot of items: fridge, freezer, washing machine and micro-wave as she is having a new kitchen with new appliances. They now reside in our garage with the two cars. I wonder what they talk about at night?

Jamie is very busy with work and the more so the closer it gets to Christmas. Harley has appeared on the scene again and they have had quite a few meals out together. On one evening we were graced with a visit from the pair of them.

Nan is starting to look quite old now, and she seems to be getting quite unsteady on her feet. This coming Monday the cast comes off her arm and fingers crossed as she becomes more mobile her health will pick up.

A few weeks ago I bottled this years vintage. I fermented it to a rather nice sweet white wine and so far the bottles we have opened have been very palatable. Philippa was given a bottle to sample over Christmas, I hope a good report is forthcoming, but I am happy to live with a lie.


On my morning bike ride this morning (12th), I cycled through a dusting of the first snow of winter on the top of Farndon Hill. Is this an omen of things to come? A white Christmas perhaps? Luckily I have plenty of wood cut, mostly from friends who have over the summer donated me their old kitchens and sheds. Burns well.


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