And next….

Since returning from Canada, the Palmers, like the rest of the world seem to be on a wind-down for 2016. With Brmoaners and Brexiteers hogging the national news and the Trump v Clinton show monopolizing the international  scene, it seems that the year is going to be remembered for the vitriol that only our species can revel in. Yes, I have to agree that much of what we see on our TV and listen to on the radio can be entertaining and it does solve the problem of programme scheduling or column inches for the media, but eventually we will have to address the question,”When is enough, enough?” And that I think is the problem. The quiet people, the mildly conscientious, the vast majority, have had enough. It’s just that they are not sure of what, and that is concerning. 2017 will be a year of change for millions if not billions and it is going to happen. It would be good to keep in focus that WE are the lucky ones. WE have choices. WE are not the ones in immediate danger and WE are the change makers. So fingers crossed and with personal opinions stored away for personal use only, I shall continue with this blog.

Charlotte had a nasty bout of allergy that is possibly a reaction to gluten, but until she has undergone some tests  the medics are not sure. However, what is cerain that it did cause her a great deal of discomfort and worry. On the bright side things seem to have settled down now and apart from the odd bout of itchiness the swelling and rash have disappeared.

Ellis has a lump at the back of is knee that is also causing concern, but as it doesn’t appear to give him any pain and hasn’t limited him in any way with his boisterous activities. He also is waiting for medical tests.

Lucas on the other hand is in fine health. Regularly capturing ‘Man of the Match’ trophies and in his annual ‘kidney’ check-up was signed off for a full year.

Both boys got glowing school reports, so mum and dad must be congratulated for listening to all that good advice from the grandparents over the years.

My Fiesta, like Lucas passed its MOT and at my last dental check-up the dentist was amazed at the condition of my teeth, confessing I must have the bite of an alligator. Not sure what he meant by that, but I will  respond positively to that and continue eating.

I entertained Mia one Monday and as usual Peter and I took her out to lunch in Foxton. However, when I got home I found that somewhere along our return route I lost my wallet. Of course, by then the rain had started. There was nothing for it but to drive to The Black Horse and see if it was there. Annoyingly the establishment was shut. In the rain, I slowly retraced my steps (alone, as Lee had to take Mia home) checking each stile and section of path carefully. Soaked, I reached home empty pocketed. Despite many phone calls I couldn’t get any reply from the pub. At 6.30pm Sue drove me there to pick up my car and find out if my wallet had been found. It had not, but as I left, I glanced at the chair I had been sitting in and there it was smiling at me! Oh joy!! Being re-united with an old friend has nothing compared to finding your wallet.

Along with her weekly walking groups Sue managed a couple of trips out with the U3A History group, firstly to Boughton House to see where part of Les Miserables was filmed and more recently to the Charles Renee Mackintosh Museum in Northampton. We have also been to see several films together, a highlight possibly being a remake of Tarzan.

It has been a poor year for my little vineyard. Initially, way back in April I thought that it would be a bumper year as a huge number of bunches were set and initially appeared to be doing well, brought on with early heat and sun. Sue juiced the majority of the red grapes while I was away in Canada as very few of them had ripened, most just stayed small and hard. This week I picked the white grapes and it was the same story. After stripping, crushing and starting the fermentation, when I pressed them to extract the  juice before placing in demi-johns I was dismayed to  discover I had less than 10 litres. It had better be good stuff! I had in excess of 75 litres last year.

Jamie has sold his Evo. We haven’t seen much of him since our return for the Rockies. He popped around one evening for me to look at the speech he had written for his role as best man at Michael Hobbs wedding to suggest improvements. I was quite impressed with what he had written and only suggested a few changes so that the older members of the two families would understand some of the modern terminology used.

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Charlotte has burned her red-mite ridden hen-house, purchased a new one and rehoused her 11 ladies in the children’s play area in her own back garden. Over two days I helped Suraj build a new pen to keep them safe from foxes. While we were erecting the chicken wire I managed (quite deftly) to spike the wire into my left eye, causing it to fill up with blood.Charlotte took me to Kettering hospital and for the first time ever I was processed and administered eye anti-biotic within an hour. Most surprising as it was Sunday, and if you would believe the papers I should have been on a trolley for three days before dying. I returned to finish the job before dark, ensuring the hens would sleep unmolested by Reynard that night.

I now sport one demonic red-eye, an indication of my disposition and just ready for Halloween!

Sarah has started a course on ‘Management and Leadership’ which entails writing essays again. This last week I have been reading through some of the questions she (as usual) has completed well ahead of the hand in date. Is there no rest for the wicked? I had three years of hard labour doing a similar thing when she was at Uni.

On Wednesday Sue and I went with Charlotte to see Ellis’s harvest festival at Rothwell church. A lovely and sweet service spoiled only by the clueless priest who had very little idea on how to tell stories to children. None-the-less the children pulled him through.

After the service we had a slow,  rush-hour, stop-start drive down to Crawley before checking into the Ramada Hotel, also known as the George Hotel, a 15 century coaching inn. We had our evening meal in a pub on the High Street in Crawley before retiring for the night.

We woke at 3am and drive to Purple Parking before boarding our bus to Gatwick Airport. Our flight to Jersey left on time (7.05am).

It was a chilly but bright morning when our 35 minute flight landed. We were there first to grab a taxi and within 15 minutes we were at our hotel the Golden Sands Hotel, St. Brelades Bay. We were lucky as  the reception allowed us to check-in and gave us a room straight away. They also booked us two places on an island tour later that morning at 9.30am.

We had coffee in the room then unpacked before returning to reception to board our tour bus with several other guests. We changed buses in St. Helier and were again joined by more sight-seers before setting off around the island. Our route took us all over the island stopping frequently for photos, coffees, ice-creams and also lunch. It was a lovely bright day, but chilly at times, depending on the wind at the location we were currently stopped at. Jersey is as expected a very pretty island and as our guide explained full of many very wealthy people who have paid a great deal of money to live there and benefit from their 11% tax rate. As in Guernsey the previous year, we saw some very nice houses. I was very impressed by Geoffrey Boycott’s bungalow and Roger Moore’s house called ‘Moonraker’.

We returned to hotel for 4pm, a very long day! I fell asleep on the bed and Sue sat on the balcony reading her book and admiring a tremendous sea view (the best on the island, according to our tour guide and taxi driver of earlier that morning). I was awoken to accompany Sue for dinner at 6.45pm. An excellent 3 courses, washed down with a local ale called Mary Ann.

Afterwards we sat in the bar listening to a singer/guitarist with further refreshments until it was time for Sue to watch the ‘Apprentice’ on TV. You can’t do that in the Far East, or on a cruise!

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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