On the 18th April Sue and I travelled to Kibworth to visit Linda Appleby, a colleague from my days at Farndon Field. She was the Special Needs teacher at the school and having also retired sometime ago had kept herself busy tutoring children in the basics. Unfortunately, nearly two years ago she had suffered a rather bad stroke and understandably wasn’t keen on having visitors, so we acquiesced to her wishes until she had suitably improved.
When she had her stroke, ironically she was listening to an episode of the Archers where one of the characters was suffering a stroke. Linda could do nothing but listen as she had lost the ability to move or speak. Her husband found her some 12 hours later slumped in the chair with the radio still on.
Thankfully, she is now well on the way to recovery and to be honest she looks a lot younger and healthier that I ever remember seeing her before. She always suffered from terrible back pain and that has now disappeared. She is able to get about with the help of a frame and she is able to speak well enough not to cause too much of a problem. She can’t fine control her hands too well, so as yet is not able to write or cook etc.
We spent a couple of hours chatting and left as her husband was off to work and he was concerned that the front door should be locked. We promised to re-visit later on in the summer.
The following day was Jamie’s birthday and what an eventful one it turned out to be with me making a return to Kibworth. Early that evening we received a phone call from Jamie. He and a friend had been on his way to Leicester to buy a new pair of trainers, when opposite the Coach and Horses in Kibworth a car (Ford) pulled out of a junction . He had little chance to swerve and after hitting the front to the vehicle he cannoned across the road, smashed through two large road signs before burying his BMW 353 into the garden wall of a house. The offending vehicle was shunted into a Corsa that was waiting to turn right into the side road.
When I arrived the scene, the emergency services had been there some ten minutes or so; two fire engines, ambulance and half a dozen police cars, not counting what seemed as the whole population of the village taking photos and looking on. There was debris scattered everywhere and it looked like a war zone. Thank fully I found Jamie and Bill shook up but otherwise seemingly unharmed. Looking at the vehicles it seemed a miracle that all the participants walked away.
I followed the police and listened to the statements that each of the drivers and passengers made and it soon became clear where the fault lay. As Jamie was nearing the junction the two cars were stopped at the intersection both indicating to turn right, the Ford out of the junction and the Corsa into the side road. The driver of the Ford turned in front of Jamie (according to the Corsa driver) without looking right. The Corsa driver said that he could see what was going to happen and waved to the driver to stop.
The Ford driver said he did look right and didn’t see Jamie and thought that the Corsa driver was waving for him to come out. Which he did.
Jamie and saw nothing but the Ford appear in front as he was concentrating on the road and the Corsa indicating right. Bill was very shook up as he had been in the passenger seat, which took most of the impact as Jamie managed to react, but not enough. Bill had seen the Ford emerge out of the junction.
All three drivers were breathalysed and proved clear, though one constable did quietly mention that the Ford driver was a known drinker.
Suraj and Michael Hobbs arrived soon after and provided support for Jamie and Bill, though of the participants, Jamie seemed the least affected. We all stayed with the emergency services until the cars were taken away by recovery vehicles.
The Ford driver admitted fault and the following day his insurance company provided Jamie with a courtesy BMW, and settled generously for a replacement car and some compensation for a rather nasty looking swelling on Jamie’s wrist. Probably inflicted by the airbag going off.
We are so thankful that Jamie (and all involved) walked away. It was certainly a fright we wouldn’t wish to repeat and just shows how dangerous our roads can be. Ashton came over the following day to reassure herself that Jamie was indeed ok. I think as a family we are warming to Ashton.
That Saturday I attended a re-union luncheon at the Rugby Club. It was nice to meet up with friends from the past, many are now scattered across the country and sadly, some are now no longer with us. I watched a video from You Tube the other day that brought a tear to my eye and epitomises the camaraderie that rugby fosters: rugby and respect.
The following day Sue and I travelled back to the Cotswolds to a hotel called the Salford Hall Hotel. A beautiful medieval building (full of ghosts). We were fortunate to be upgraded to one of the larger and more magnificent rooms, which included its own spirit. Spookily, when we rose in the morning the cold water tap was found full on. Sue had been kept awake by the sound of running water, but I had slept soundly.
On morning of the day we arrived, we trekked around a 5 mile pre-plotted route on my GPS, but the batteries ran out and we had to curtail the last quarter. After a packed lunch we drove into Evesham to buy new ones. We were surprised to find that the town had turned into a little Boston (Lincs), which in turn has turned into little Poland. I guess they are here to pick the fruit, though with many of the shops also now being Polish I do find that a little confusing. The only English voice we heard that day in the town was from the man who sold us our cinema ticket for the evening performance of ‘Lion’.
Before returning that evening to the cinema in Evesham we had a rather fine late afternoon tea at the hotel.
We moved on the next day to Broadway. We were staying for a couple of days at the Bell Inn in the gorgeous village of Willersey. What a contrast in rooms; no ghosts, no sumptuous fittings, small but functional.
Again we trekked around a pre-plotted course (this time with fresh batteries). Our route took us to Broadway and back. We ate that evening in the pub.
After breakfast we drove into Broadway and tramped up to Broadway Tower. A definite must for any visitor to the town, though it is a bit of a steep climb. The tower is well worth a visit, full of history and folly. It was a lovely clear day and apparently we could see 16 counties from the summit, though the bitter wind didn’t encourage much discussion as to what was what.
Returning to more balmier town temperatures we wandered in and out of shops before returning to Willersey and our evening meal.
It was even more chillier the following morning and after breakfast we decided to include Chipping Campden on our route back to Harborough. What a good call, despite descending the steep hillside outside of the town through a white blinding blizzard, by the time we had reached our parking spot outside the church, all had melted and the clouds had parted to reveal bright sunshine, nullified by a wicked northern breeze.
What a stunningly beautiful, medieval settlement. After first interrogating the impressive church and negotiating several American tourists, we walked the entire length of main street. Quaint, quaint, quaint, quaintness everywhere, everything was reassuring and historically Olde English. Even the school children returning home from a spell-binding education at the local Hogwarts couldn’t spoil the illusion. They behaved like proper middle-class muggles! If I could have chosen the location of my birth, here it would be.
The return journey to our cold and late seventies Leicestershire home was uneventful.
On the 29th April Sue and I went to a Lion’s charity and watched one of our favourite local bands (East West) perform. They have just released their new CD and at first listening it sounds impressive, if not a little melancholic.
Tomorrow Jamie and I travel to New Zealand. Sue has the joy of looking after his rabbit and snake. His boss is looking after his gerbil.