Though the spring seemed to have difficulty in making its mind up as to what it wanted to do, and in the end just delayed doing anything, the summer turned out to be much more positive (so far).
The cold and wet late start to the growing season seemed to invigorate the fruit and vegetable allotments so that when a the warmth arrived towards the end of June they rocketed away. However, annoyingly the progressional sowing of beans plants failed as they all matured at the same time, despite having 3 weeks between sowings! Even so, Sue and I have been kept busy picking, podding, bottling, freezing and eating that which we haven’t given away.
The pool managed a couple of weeks of intensive use by family and friends during a particularly hot and sultry period in mid July. It’s nice to have a reason to pour in the chemicals and to hoover up the debris from the bottom as most of the year it is usually done with the hope of a hotter/drier tomorrow.
Despite yet another dismal and pathetic performance by our England soccer team (luckily I am half Welsh) 0n the rugby and cricket pitches we seem to be on a bit of a roll. Down under England saw off the Aussies in the all three tests and Sri Lanka found too many ‘sticky wickets’ and bit the dust too. At present the Olympics is on going and Team GB is doing just fine.
We could learn a lot from our sporting heroes in Rio. After the Scots wisely voted to remain in the UK, and later the country later chose to leave Europe, our leaders and Parliamentary representatives depressingly displayed their remoteness, lack of integrity and self-interest as they fell upon each other, ignoring the principles of a democratic society . It is equally depressing that this attitude appears to have permeated itself into our society with the ‘miserabilists’ choosing to even further erode democracy by hurling abuse and wishing to ‘take their ball home’ rather than play the game. Perhaps not all Brexiteers are demented, racist Northern pensioners, perhaps there is a another point of view. That is what democracy used to be about. Perhaps if our Parliamentary representatives had not been so interested in lining their own pockets and funding their ‘Duck Houses’ at the expense of those that elected them, they would have been aware of the concerns being expressed by their constituents and done something about it a decade ago!
It has become a habit of ours to visit the cinema when ever there is an opportunity and usually each week we can be found watching a film at the cinema club in Harborough or the Odeon Kettering. The Odeon provides coffee and biscuits with the film for £3, Harborough is more expensive but it does a have a bar. ‘Eddie the Eagle’, ‘Eye in the Sky’ and ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ were three of the more enjoyable ones we have seen.
On the 15th of June Sue and I travelled to Caergwrle with Charlotte and Sarah to visit Nan at the castle. It was the same weekend that Wales played England in Euro16. We stayed at a hotel nearby, though we all watched the game at Aunty Josie’s after first visiting Aunty Doreen. In the evening we had a Thai meal at the Bridge Inn in Caergwrle and the following day we wandered and shopped in Wrexham before returning to Harborough.
On the 22nd of June I spent the day working with Charlotte at one of her clients. The lady is an invalid, unable to stand, and she and her husband needed their garden sorting. Though we had to work in a slight drizzle for most of the time, we completed the task exactly on schedule. It was lovely spending the day with my eldest, she works very hard and takes some keeping up with!
On the 26th July Sue and I drove up to Derbyshire. We visited the Denby Pottery works on the way (and luckily didn’t buy anything). There was a brass band competition in progress when we arrived, I couldn’t help thinking that Nan would have enjoyed this. After perusing some of the available exhibits we travelled on to check into the Makeney Hall Hotel.
After dropping off our cases in the room we set off on a gorgeous walk into Belper and back. That evening we had an exceptional meal in the hotel. I can really recommend this place.
The following morning I took the long, but scenic route through the Peak District to Manchester and Uncle Stan’s. He was surprisingly well and as always, sharp as a new pin, though for once he let us do some talking. We stayed for around 4 hours before heading off back into the Peak District.
Our hotel for the next two nights was the Waterfront Lodge Hotel in Brighouse. It was raining when we arrived, but after checking in we had a short walk around the small town before having our evening meal in Prego, the hotel’s restaurant. Good Italian fayre, spoiled by the humiliating England loss to Iceland, seen in the hotel bar afterwards.
The following day we travelled up to Howarth and the Bronte Parsonage Museum. A lovely day. We did the ‘full Bronte’ at the museum, visiting all the rooms and reading all the information boards before hitting the museum shop. Afterwards, we wandered down the steep and cobbled street to the park at the bottom of the hill. I would guess little has changed from the time of Charlotte, Anne, Emily and Branwell. On our return we called into the Black Bull for refreshments to honour Branwells’ memory. We found the start of Charlotte’s favourite walk to the waterfalls and decided to follow it. Around an hour later we arrived at a very picturesque spot, though it isn’t one of the more spectacular waterfalls we have seen. As if to impress us, we had a short but heavy shower which sent us scurrying with raincoats and umbrella back along the track. Returning to the village we spent some tine shopping before returning to our hotel in Brighouse.
That evening we found a pleasant Chinese restaurant to eat at before retiring for the night. The following morning after after breakfast, we spent 3 hours on a walk along the canal and river before retuning to the town’s market and buying a few northern bargains. Next was the long drive to Harborough.
July turned out to have a painful start for Sarah. She had an infected wisdom tooth and it required an operation to remove it. The extraction was cancelled once before eventually taking place, thus prolonging the pain for an extra week. Around the same time I extracted a couple of old fence panels from the boundary along the alleyway and replaced them with some very expensive new ones. Equally painful I am sure!
On the 6th of July we had relatives Andrew and Sue from Harbury to visit us for a few hours during the afternoon. We have visited them a few times over the past years and they were reciprocating. We gave them a buffet lunch and after a short chat they returned home.
The following day I attempted to my bus pass for the very first time. Peter agreed to accompany me to Leicester and show how to use it. Unfortunately on the way there and back the machine didn’t work and the driver just waved me on board. We did have a pleasant day wandering around Abbey Park, made more interesting by the fact that there had been a murder the night before and it was fascinating watching the police conduct their investigations while we had our picnic. We returned to the bus station via the river/canal, the Motte of Leicester castle and Jewry Wall Museum.
The following week I again travelled to Leicester with Peter and this time we walked along the canal to Great Glen (13.5 miles) before catching the bus there to Harborough. I had Mia the week after and all three of us caught the bus to Great Glen and on the hottest day of the year so far we walked the 13.5 miles back to Harborough. Poor Mia struggled with the heat and if Sarah hadn’t packed her ‘wet towel’ we might have been calling a taxi for the dog!
Mia and I are in the regular habit of walking to Foxton for refreshments and lunch and it has been custom for Peter to accompany us. Last week we also had the pleasure of Jim and his two dogs, Harby and Shelby. It was a lovely warm day and Mia loved the canine company, though Jim has arthritis in both knees and I think he did rather suffer (but wouldn’t admit it).
On the 11th July we went to see East West at Joules and enjoy a BBQ. An excellent evening. The following morning the guitarist brought me a copy of their Live double CD and I have to admit it is really very good.
On the 13th the boys had their sports day. I am afraid it is one of the ‘non competitive’ types where you haven’t a clue what is going on and the talented children never know how good they are because they never have the opportunity to compete. I didn’t go. Sue reported back that it was as I feared.
On the 24th Sue and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with lunch and music at Joules.
On the 29th I again helped Charlotte with one of her clients. A very large holly tree needed to be taken down and with my chainsaw it was accomplished in three hours. It was hard work and though Charlotte was under the weather she manfully struggled on and we finished the job.
On the 30th we Had Mia to stay the night, because Lee and Sarah went to the firework display at Stanford Hall. The following day we had Nigel to visit, he is one of Sue’s relatives and has been doing some historical research into the family and he wanted to see Sue and swap notes etc. He stayed and chatted for around an hour or so. Afterwards, as it was Ellis’s birthday we travelled to Stanwick Lakes where we met up with the Rothwells and the Braunstones. We walked, and had a picnic before returning back to Charlotte’s to finish off the birthday celebrations.
With start of the school summer holidays, Sue and I have been looking after the boys while Charlotte works. There are quite a few things already organised for them by Charlotte so it is mostly a matter of taking them to the activity. However, Lucas did one day have to accompany Mia and I on one of our walks and surprisingly he managed the 9 miles with no complaints at all. He may well have slept well that night.
Jamie appears to have parted company with Harley and I think it may be permanent this time. He spent three days at Santa Pod last week and we looked after his house rabbit for him. I made her a little run in the back garden which she appeared to enjoy. Jamie and I are off to Canada in September and we have started to plan our route, though as it is towards the end of the season many of the camping sites don’t take reservations and it is on a first come basis. I guess we will have to wing it when we get there.
Next week we are off to Ilfracombe with the Rothwells and afterwards are planning to see Philippa, though Paul is away at a concert. She has started her radio therapy treatment and it appears to be going well.