We woke today to the sound of thunder and rain hammering on the veranda window. It was 5.30 am! We have been spoilt since the demise of August with glorious blue skies and soaring temperatures. Days that randomly trigger happy childhood memories of long walks, apple scrumping and ‘tip and run’ cricket in the alley at Chris Yates (I wonder what he is up to nowadays) .
We finished August with a visit from the Braunsones. Charlotte joined us on an afternoon run out to Easton on the Hill to vet the Bluebell Inn. It is the location of Sarah and Lee’s wedding breakfast. A lovely country establishment in a very pretty village.We met the Italian landlord and listened as marquee, tables and food were discussed. It seems quite surreal that my youngest will ‘officially’ off my hands in less than a year now.
We have continued to look after Lucas and Ellis while Charlotte attends to the gardens of Leicestershire. We amuse them with walks, table tennis, table soccer and the pool. They are very much boys, it is lovely to have them for a few hours and then wave goodbye and have a peaceful house back again.
On the 2nd of September it was Charlotte’s birthday, the 3rd saw their wedding anniversary and the 4th, Suraj’s birthday. How convenient to get it all over in just three days. They made a very late decision to celebrate these and booked a ferry crossing from Calais and a house in Normandy. Very exciting for the boys who had never been on such a large ship before. They travelled through the night and made to their accommodation in Auberville (Normandy) without mishap, but surprised at the cost of the french toll roads! For the next few days they threw themselves into the french way of life and were gifted with some marvellous weather. Impressed they may return again.
On the 3rd we attended a charity garden party at Lynn and Jeremy’s. What a shame that our usual summer weather decided to return for that afternoon. We were one of the few that braved the rain and did our best to manfully dispose of the mountain of food prepared for the large number of invites that failed to materialise.
The following day Sue and I drove over to the Crown in Hopton Wafers. Sue had arranged for an old family friend from Tenbury wells to stay with us for a few days. As we were picking her up it was decided to make a break of it and do a spot of walking in the Clee Hills prior to picking her up. The Crown proved to be a lovely place to return to after a strenuous days walking in the hills and woods of Shropshire. Excellent food, great selection of beers and very comfortable beds. They have a brilliant and eclectic selection of board games available in the bar which we amused ourselves with in the evening.
Strange weather on the Clee Hill, its lower slopes are bathed in sunshine, yet as you climb towards the summit, the mist and chill magically appear to again disappear as you make your descent. Not strange you may think, but the BBC weather map shows the whole country bathed in an uncompromising heatwave! The hedgerows in this part of the world are a veritable feast of fruit. Many damsons, blackberries apples and cobnuts were scoffed on route. No wonder the evening meals became a bit of a challenge.
Our tramping took us over the Iron Age fort at Caynham. A lovely place for a picnic we thought. The site is mostly untouched and it looks like it is only visited by a mall herd of local cattle who seemed most put out by our presence. From its ramparts you get tremendous views of the countryside. You can easily see why the location was selected by our ancestors.
One day we had a pleasant walk around Ludlow, stopping for lunch and refreshments at a hostelry in the town. The walk in the afternoon through Mortimer Woods proved a bit of a challenge for Sue as the heat and distance took its toll. She was relieved to return to the hotel.
After our short break we drove over to Tenbury and picked up Sheila and made our way back to Harborough.
On one afternoon, Sue entertained Sheila with a visit to see Sarah and on other occasions they visited Foxton Locks, Harborough Canal Basin to see where our old house once was and also did a spot of shopping in town. Another afternoon Doreen invited them both over for a coffee and biscuits. One evening we took her and the boys to see the Chinese State Circus in Kettering. We had seen them before in Beijing and knew they would be good. They did not disappoint.
On Friday she joined the family for Curry Night and though I have to admit they were not the best curries I have ever produced, Sheila seemed to appreciate it and during the afternoon took many photos of the family members., particularly the boys.
That night, Jamie promised to take Sheila home and true to his word he did so.The following morning, he turned up and by all accounts the journey went well and Sheila rewarded him with lunch in Tenbury and afterwards he had his hair-cut before returning to Harborough.
Sue and I had organised another away-break and the day after Sheila returned home we drove to Kings Lynn. After checking in at the Dragonfly Hotel we set off on a circular walk that I had planned following several drains. It was another hot day, and the going was made all the more difficult by the complete lack of signage and as a consequence the obvious evidence that few (if any) had passed along the footpaths this year. If it hadn’t been for my GPS it would have been impossible to find the overgrown paths, stiles and gateways that constituted our route. Never-the-less with regular careful study of my LCD screen we managed to complete the circuit with only a few diversions to avoid stiles that were too brambled.
We stopped for a picnic in a field. Thinking we were alone, we were soon joined by a large herd of heifers who stood in a line some 20 metres away observing open-mouthed as full-mouthed we scoffed our sandwiches. It was tense for a while, but I guess walkers are so far out of their experience that they stood rooted to the field until we stood to depart, they then legged it away.
Late in the afternoon we ventured into Kings Lynn. Disappointingly we discovered that it was Heritage Weekend and it finished at 4pm. However we did manage to catch the medieval displays outside St. Nicholas church (very impressive church). We also got into True’s Yard Fisher-folk Museum and caught the last of the sea shanties being sung. We finished the afternoon off with a thorough investigation of the cobbled streets and alleyways of the town. A lovely place, worth a much longer visit.
In the market square there was a huge collection of vintage cars.
Returning to the hotel we satisfied ourselves with an excellent meal and then watched TV in the room until sleep arrived.
After breakfast we drove along the coast-road to Surfleet, arriving at the Ship Inn around midday. Disappointingly we learned that we couldn’t check-in until 5pm! The Inn was hosting a Wake and was booked until that time. Undeterred, we set off on another circular walk that I had plotted into my GPS. Again there was a criminal lack of signage (we are so spoilt in Leicestershire) and as a consequence many sections of our route were overgrown. Do they not walk on the East Coast or are they reluctant to report ill maintained stiles etc?
Sue really struggled on this walk as it was very hot and as in the previous walk you can’t risk shortcuts because of the crisscrossing drains and lack of pathway furniture. However, she managed it and we checked in on our return. What a lovely place to stay.
We had another excellent meal and spent the rest of the evening resting and watching TV in our room.
Breakfasted we set off to investigate Spalding. After a gentle stroll around this pleasant fenland town we attempted to visit the Romany Museum run by Gordon Boswell, but on arrival we came across a huge crowd of gypsies/travellers all dressed in their Sunday best, nearing the entrance we spotted a cardboard sign stating ‘Due to unforeseen circumstances the Museum is closed’. Later, reading the local paper in the Ship we discovered that Gordon had died of a heart-attack. With fingers crossed-that incidents always happen in threes we returned to the Ship Inn, stopping to buy some pool equipment at Rose Cottage Museum (it had changed hands).
Late in the afternoon we drove to Boston. This was a bit of an eye-opener. After parking the car and venturing into the centre you couldn’t help but notice that we seemed to be the only people speaking English. The town was very busy yet we only twice came across anyone speaking English. The town appears predominantly Eastern European, possibly Polish (good practise for our venture to Poland in November). Other than around the market square, the majority of establishments/shops were of unknown European origin.
We first visited the impressive Boston Cathedral or ‘Stump’. You can climb the tower, luckily it wasn’t an option that day. We had a good wander around the town, read the information boards describing the history of the town when we came across them and had a look in the estate agents windows to gauge house prices (very cheap).
Earlier we had bought tickets to watch a film, so by 6pm we made our way to the cinema and along with 6 other people watched ‘Sausage Party’. A VERY irreverent film, that didn’t live up to its review. It could have been so much better. Returning to the hotel we had drinks in the bar before retiring for the evening.
The return to Harborough the next day was made under hot blue skies with the air-con on full all the way. On arrival Sue got the washing machine on full power and I set about the weeds in the garden and picking tomatoes and cucumbers. The following day was spent in much the same way though I had moved onto the allotment and picked sweetcorn.
Yesterday (15th),Sue did a 6 mile walk with the U3A while a travelled to Rothwell and took out a willow tree for Charlotte as she wants the space for a chicken run. I called in to see Roger on the way home and we had a good moan about the state of politics, England soccer and Leicester Tigers.
Today I had the brakes replaced on my Fiesta in readiness for its MOT on Monday.
Charlotte has been through the mill recently. She has picked up an allergy to something and she has been covered in a very itchy and sore rash for over a week n ow. She has been on anti-inflammatory and steroid tablets, but they don’t seem to be working. She had a blood test yesterday.
Ellis fell over at school and ended up in hospital with a strange lump at the back of his knee that the doctors had never come across before. He is to see a specialist.
Lucas had his annual hearing test and came out with flying colours and doesn’t need to be on an annual check-up anymore.
Jamie has booked to go to Fuerteventura in November with his friends.Next week we road trip to Canada.
Sarah, Lee and Mia attended the Lubenham Scarecrow festival last Sunday.At the end of August they travelled to Derbyshire and Holy Island in the North East.
Sarah has changed her hair colour.
The Rothwells are off to Kualar Lumpur and Bali in November.