We've had a busy December so far. Firstly, we went with a couple of neighbours to the Royal Spring for their very reasonable Christmas Lunch. Then we, as the Lunch Club, went to the Royal Spring for a very good Christmas Lunch with 18 of us enjoying the meal, a raffle,and a quiz. Besides this, I've had my sister, brother in law and two Jack Russells for a long weekend, exchanging presents and getting snowed-in with quite a lot of snow; and then my son, his wife and grandson for a long weekend. I had quite a peaceful Saturday while the latter group went to see the new Star Wars film in Cardiff!
We recently drove to Kent. Fortunately on the Friday afternoon, it didn't appear to be "burnt-tea night" on the M25 and we had what can only be described as a reasonably pleasant trip (for the M25). We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at the Dartford Crossing for a couple of nights, and during the Saturday visited Bluewater (which was just being considered when we left Kent 21 years ago), and Rochester (where we used to live). I can only say that having taken 35 minutes to travel about 200 yards on the A2 which runs parallel with the High Street in Rochester, it is definite I will never return to live in Kent. The traffic was horrendous. We decided to have lunch at The Leather Bottle, Cobham, which is a lovely quaint old pub about ten miles outside Rochester, and then celebrated a friend's 60th birthday bash on the evening. Sunday after breakfast, we drove home, and stopped on the way in Cheltenham at the Kings Head for lunch.
A wonderful evening at Cheltenham Town Hall to see Rich Wakeman and the promotion of his new album "Piano Portraits". His piano performance was interspersed with anecdotes but his playing was exceptional, with different styles to show his very wide knowledge. Would really recommend him as someone to see.
Over the last couple of months, we have been away for a few days here and there. First to Bodelwyddan Castle, a Warners hotel in North Wales, just for couple of nights to celebrate our anniversary. The weather wasn't particularly good, but we achieved one wish, to go to the top of the Great Orme, something I'd done as a school-child years ago. Then, we had to walk up (and down) it, but this time we drove up (and down). The views were good, although we couldn't see the Isle of Man, somewhere we were told you could see on a really good day. While at Bodelwyddan, who should we bump into but my cousin, Pat, who was on a short break with a group of friends. Small world, isn't it?
We then spent a couple of days down in Brighton visiting son and his wife, and while there went round the Brighton Pavilion, something new to us, and which was very interesting. A couple of meals out, and a few sunny periods while there.
Lastly, we spent five nights with friends in Lincolnshire, again eating out while there and visiting old haunts.
So, we picked a day and kept our fingers crossed, and as it happened it was a perfect day. Twelve neighbours turned up and enjoyed a few hours getting to know one another better, along with plenty to drink and eat. Perhaps someone else will "take the reins" next year?
More like April showers than an English summer! Had hoped for a sunny, dry day on Sunday 23rd July to have a small bbq with a few neighbours, but "rain stopped play". So, although able to freeze most of our purchases, we've been eating fruit and salad till it's come out of our ears! Hoping for a dry day next Sunday, but looking at the weather forecast, it could be a "no go" again!
We spent a lovely sunny week at Warners Hotel, Bembridge, Isle of Wight recently and really enjoyed being able to relax. We hadn't been to the Isle of Wight for over 35 years and so enjoyed seeing as many places as we could; Shanklin, Sandown, Ventnor, Cowes, the Needles, Newport, Ryde, the Garlic Farm, Osborne House. Warners think of everything you need, besides toiletries, bottles of wine, biscuits, you can choose their activities and entertainment to suit; archery, shooting, swimming, quizzes, singing, pampering and gym work, etc. We had several good entertainment evenings with tributes to Abba, Queen and Neil Diamond as well as popular opera and songs from the musicals. This will be the third Warners we have visited, Cricket St Thomas, Sinah Warren and now Bembridge.
We were given two kinds of vouchers for Christmas last year, so utilised the first for dinner, bed and breakfast at the White Hart, Winchcombe this week. Winchcombe is a lovely Cotswold village, very quaint with several touristy shops. Had a wonderful dinner at the White Hart and a very comfortable bed for the night, overlooking the countryside and a local llama farm. A good breakfast was followed by a visit to Burford, then Lechlade where we enjoyed a drink overlooking the River Thames, then went on to Cirencester for a wander, before utilising our second voucher for a Champagne Afternoon Tea at the Hatton Court Hotel near Gloucester. A very civilised couple of days, and the good weather made it all the more enjoyable.
Well, Spring is here or so they say, but we've had snow, hail, rain and wind this last week. Temperatures have dropped and we've had to wrap up warm to step outside. This hasn't stopped us gardening and getting some jobs done, including more planting, cleaning off patios, and refurbishing garden furniture (see photo below). We met up with friends in Ludlow and wandered round the quaint old town, the market and then had lunch in Pizza Express.
10 deg C outside today and feels quite warm. Have just had the last large hedge taken out and a new fence to replace it, so went out to local garden centre for some plants, which we planted today. Still need a few tonnes of topsoil before we can plant the remainder of a new border. At least with trellis on top of the new fence, I can now see down the valley.
Since Christmas, we haven't done much. The weather has not been so good, dark miserable days, wet and windy, but I suppose we should be fortunate not to have had snow to keep us in, and just a flurry here and there. We've been to the cinema to see "Lion", a film I thoroughly recommend. If you're interested in where you come from (as I do my family tree this appealed to me), this film is a true story and follows the life of an Indian child parted from his family by thousands of miles across India, adopted by a family in Tasmania, and only when he's about 25 he gets the urge to find his birth mother.
A very busy one this year.
We decided to go to Warners, Sinah Warren, Hayling Island for four nights over the Christmas period. There was something to do (if you wanted it) all day every day, including archery, bowls, swimming (indoor), bingo, dancing, bell-ringing, carol-singing along with nightly entertainment including tributes to "The Rat Pack" and "Tom Jones". Food and service were excellent (unfortunately this means a strict diet for the New Year) and being Christmas, we had visits by Mary and Joseph with two donkeys and Santa Clause in a veteran car, along with artifical snow. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience although must admit we were probably the youngest couple there and had to dodge zimmer frames and mobility scooters wherever we went.
On our departure, we travelled along the coast to Brighton to stay with our son and his wife, to celebrate their summer wedding with an evening of disco music, and meeting up with their friends and newly-acquired family members.
It was lovely to come home after such a busy week and sleep in our own bed, but entertaining hasn't finished, with family joining us for New Year.
Since we have put the clocks back an hour at the end of October, it brings shorter and colder days, so thought it would be a nice break to go away for hubby's birthday. We chose the Majestic Hotel, Bournemouth, having been there before for a Shearings weekend. Unfortunately we both went down with a chest infection, cough, runny nose etc, and really should have stayed at home. It didn't stop us exploring the area, visiting Muddiford, Poole and Bournemouth itself where there was a Christmas market.
Not a great deal done this month, except pottering around the garden to keep it tidy; Grandson's 7th birthday "do", and a trip to Cribbs Causeway to finish off buying Christmas presents and to the Vue cinema to see "Bridget Jones' Baby" (a good film), and locally to see "Jack Reacher" (also a good film as are the books of Lee Child).
We arranged to visit our friends of 50 years in Sweden for five days, and took the National Express coach from Chepstow to London Gatwick (a four-hour journey). Once at Gatwick, we had given ourselves plenty of time to have a good meal before flying out at 7.30 in the evening (a less than two hour flight). Once we had had a meal, we sat watching the Departures Board to find out what Gate we had to walk to; only to find our flight was delayed, and as the evening wore on, more and more delayed till we didn't leave Gatwick till 12.45am Saturday morning. We were the last group of people in the airport and the last flight out. So, keeping in touch with our friends every half hour or so, as the Board changed its updating on information (or lack of it), they eventually met us at Goteborg Airport at 2.45am. An hour's drive to their house, and a whisky (or two) before bed.
Later Saturday we had a family party to go to, their eldest grandchild had reached 18, and it was so nice to see everyone again. Sunday we rested; Monday we visited a local garden; Tuesday we went into Goteborg by train to meet up with more "old" friends for a restaurant meal to celebrate our anniversary.
Up early (4.30am) on Wednesday to travel to the airport for a return flight which fortunately was on time, and coach home via Chepstow.
Whenever we see our friends we take them whisky, tea, cheese, as Sweden is a very expensive country. What do we bring back? Aquavit, Vodka, Swedish cheese, and pickled herring.
We've just had a fantastic weekend in London, somewhere we haven't been for at least 25 years. Tony follows Mike Masse and Jeff Hall on the Net, guitarists who "cover" many well-known songs we can all sing to. They were invited over to perform at a wedding so decided to put on a one-night show at the Venue in Great Portland Street, London. We got our tickets early on, booked our accommodation and planned our weekend around it. The show was very very good, Mike and Jeff singing/playing for three hours, after joining us for a meal at our favourite Pizza Express right next to the Venue. Needless to say, it was well past our usual bedtime when we got back to our hotel.
The next day we decided we would use our bus passes and take the bus immediately outside our hotel to the centre of the city. We wandered Oxford Street, Regent Street, and theatre-land, and found a fantastic French patisserie where we had to try their wonderful cakes, along with hot chocolate. We had tickets to see "Sunny Afternoon" (the story of the Kinks) produced by Ray Davis and once at the theatre were invited to upgrade to a box with free drinks and nibbles. It would have been unkind to refuse, don't you think. The show was very very good, and only then did we realise the number of songs they had created in the 60s, and the story behind their success. After the show, we got caught in a real downpour before taking the bus back to our hotel on the North Circular, preceded by a Chinese buffet.
Our next day we took the bus to the Imperial War Museum on the south bank and wandered their WW1 exhibition before having our lunch at a local Wetherspoons. A short rest before going out to North Finchley for tea (again at another Wetherspoons).
Monday saw us returning home via visiting our close friends in Lincolnshire, taking them out to lunch and then tackling the commuter traffic on M42!
I can honestly say although we enjoyed our weekend away, we really looked forward to getting back to the peace and quiet of the Forest.
(Photos can be seen on the Photo Gallery).
Another trip to the cinema, this time at Cribbs Causeway, to see "Dad's Army". Although I never cared for the television series years ago, nor its repeats, but thoroughly enjoyed the film. Ian Lavender, from the original series, made an appearance as an Army Officer, and there were some good laughs throughout.
Having suffered with my spine since Christmas, I decided to go to a local chiropractor and can honestly say I've not felt better for months. Just keeping my fingers crossed now!
Have been out with the "girls" for three lunches so far this year.
Waiting for the weather to improve to get to do some gardening, although we had a surprise snow blizzard earlier this week, fortunately it didn't settle.
Retired, grandmother who enjoys cardmaking, gardening and genealogy with not enough hours in the day. Married to Tony who enjoys my gardening (!), and is an amateur radio operator with his own website.