An Unsettled Spring

The day after I flew back to the UK (the 20th of March) I had a morning appointment for another eye injection in Leicester and an afternoon appointment for physiotherapy in Harborough. Later that evening I started to feel unwell with a runny nose and a hacking, tickly cough. I had picked up a bug on my travels and after a Covid test the following morning I was relieved when it was negative. I spent the next couple of days curled up with a hot water bottle and doing as little as possible.

We had the aircon unit in the Garden Room serviced on the 22nd. It has had little use this winter, other than on a Thursday night when I play pool with my chums and Saturdays to watch the rugby. I think that from now on we shall only service it every two years as the engineer informed me it needed only a cleaning.

It was on the 24th that the lawn got its first cut, it has been the wettest March (so far) since 1981 and the grass has grown well but frequent showers have prevented it from being tended to. The rest of the garden is beginning to wake up, the pear tree is blossoming, and the fruit trees have started to break buds. With the sap rising I have been purchasing seeds and have started to plan for the coming season, abundant times ahead I hope! Between showers, I managed to sow some shallots, red onions and broad beans, they should be fine even if we have any frosts.

On the 28th I had another physiotherapy session on my left foot, this time in Kettering. On the way home I dropped in for coffee and a chat with Charlotte and Harry.

Jamie brought Wilma on the 3oth to stay in the greenhouse for ten days or so. We are rabbit and dog-sitting while Jamie, Ruth and Joey fly to India for a holiday. They are following the well-trodden tourist path known as the Golden Triangle, it is a must-do for anyone visiting India for the first time, and Sue and I did it many years ago. We found it a great experience but unfortunately, through our carelessness, we picked up a tummy bug that took a year of medication to get rid of. Lesson learnt; only eat and drink in good-class hotels and restaurants and if in doubt, don’t!

That afternoon, I collected our course of Malaria tablets in readiness for our trip to Ethiopia. At £108 the forty tablets are quite expensive but experience has proved that Atovaquone-Proguanil has the least side effects on us both and is by far the easiest to take. And, it is better to be safe than sorry.

The following afternoon, Jamie, Ruth and Joey arrived with the dogs (Rocky & Nala). They stayed just long enough to drop the dogs off before continuing to Heathrow to catch a 10 pm flight to New Delhi.

Sheila, Alice & Archie

April Fool’s Day began quietly and after lunch Sue left me with the dogs to drive to Sarah’s, she was staying overnight helping to look after Alice and Archie as Lee was having a day and night out with friends. The following morning, Sue, Sarah, Alice and Archie drove to Tenbury Wells to visit family friend Sheila who has been very keen to meet the new addition to the family. They stayed long enough for lunch before heading back to Newbold Verdon, where Sue changed cars and came home to Harborough, arriving before it got dark.






Charlotte has been very busy renovating my grandmother’s Singer sewing machine (May Berry). It was gifted to her a few years ago by my Aunt Josie who lives in Brymbo, North Wales. She is going to turn it into a useful table, I am not sure what she has intended for the sewing machine itself. Later in the week, she continued employing her newfound restoration skills and renovated an old set of drawers.

Between taking Rocky and Nala for walks, catching up with sowing seeds in the garden vegetable plot and pruning the vines and fruit trees, over the last week, I have been spending time creating a holiday video of our trip to Las Vegas and Hawaii from the photos and videos. In the past, we would invite the whole family around for a meal and afterwards watch the video, however since Covid, it has been customary for me to publish it on YouTube and send the family the link to watch it at home:

Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, Hawaii and Mexico.

For once the weather over Easter was good (well, at least for two days), Sarah and family spent one of the days having a picnic at the Aero Park at the end of nearby East Midland’s Airport runway. Watching the aircraft land and take off must have been exhausting as they seemed to spend a lot of time on their backs enjoying a rare blue sky and warm sunshine. Of course, the Easter Bunny turned up on time, and Alice enjoyed the family tradition of hunting for eggs around the house and garden.

The family met up at Charlotte’s on Easter Sunday to enjoy a yummy lunch and some further egg hunting for Alice. Jamie, Ruth and Joey were still travelling around northern India and were probably enjoying spicy curries rather than a traditional joint of lamb and all the trimmings. Sue and I had left Rocky and Nala in their cage at Willow Bank so we were the first to leave to give the dogs their freedom and a much-needed run around the garden.

Jamie and his family returned home late on the 19th of March. The following evening he picked up Rocky and Nala after showing us some of the photos from their holiday. They certainly had an active time, visiting all the important tourist sights on the Golden Triangle circuit and (unlike Sue and me when we did the same) managed to be fit and healthy and not acquire a nasty dose of ‘Delhi Belly’. Jamie, Ruth and Nala returned briefly the following evening to collect Wilma the rabbit from its holiday flat in the greenhouse.

The weather the rest of the week was awful, cold and damp yet it didn’t stop Sue from joining a couple of rambles. I chose to stay warm inside Willow Bank and work on the Marrakech video which after four leisurely days I had completed in readiness for a showing to the ‘guys’ during the following Thursday night pool session in the garden room:  Marrakech Video Link.

On the 15th of April, the month truly earned its reputation for being showery when Sue and I drove to Newbold Verdon to answer a request from Sarah to wallpaper their staircase. We arrived just after lunch and while Sarah helped with holding the step ladder and passing tools, Sue looked after Alice, Archie and Mia. It took three hours to complete the job, as a testament to Sarah’s calculations we used exactly the two rolls she had bought.

Over the following weekend, Sarah and her family spent a few days in Blackpool and Liverpool. Lee had a business meeting in Liverpool on Monday and decided to take the opportunity to see a few sights in the northwest of the country. After enjoying the beach in Blackpool, Sarah and the children saw the sights of Liverpool on the tourist Hoppa bus.

On the same day, I accompanied Sue to Leicester General Hospital for a full body scan, since breaking her wrist years ago and discovering that she had osteoporosis, every five years she has a scan to check on her condition. She will get the results in a few weeks.

The 19th of April is Jamie’s birthday, he chose to spend the day on the rides at Alton Towers Theme Park. Since deciding to part company with Meatlink and concentrate full time on currency trading and attending to his increasingly successful business, he now has the autonomy and time to spare on such amusements.

Poor Harry has been suffering from a toothache, a common complaint among racing greyhounds and on Jamie’s birthday spent the day at the vet having six teeth removed. When Charlotte collected home that evening he was still groggy from the operation and with stitches in his mouth he wasn’t very happy and refused to look at Charlotte all the way home in the car.

On the same day, Sue and I completed our packing for the following day’s trip to Ethiopia, Sue also managed to fit in an afternoon ramble in Glooston. After lunch, I drove to Desborough to drop off the seedlings I had sown a week earlier for Charlotte to look after until we return.


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