|Maggie deserves more attention than the jigsaw!|
So having had such a great, but tiring time, we were actually pleased it was raining on Bank Holiday Monday as it meant we could stay in, bond with Maggie and chill. Bonding with Maggie wasn’t a problem, she spent the night on our bed Sunday, and every night since! While B was writing the last blog (which hopefully was the last set of damp eyes for Denise) I found a jigsaw on the shelf, a jolly hard jigsaw I have to say, though I have done more of it than Helen managed in months, they commented on their arrival home yesterday! Eve, the housemate, appeared for a few brief hours, between her trip home to Latvia to get her passport sorted for going to her yoga retreat in Turkey!
So Tuesday we thought we’d better do something, and after all B needs to practice his walking for the 10in10 challenge he is doing to raise money for MS in three weeks. We did an interesting walk from the house, so out through suburban Soilhull past the end of the runway at Birmingham airport, past ‘The Rover’ which is now the huge Landrover factory, but also through fields and along the canal. A great walk as far as I was concerned, quite flat and with lots of ‘animal encounters’.
Started off through the local park with ducks and geese on the pond, where the sign said, feeding ducks with brown, seeded or wholemeal bread is fine, it’s just white bread that gives them ‘angel wing’ so that was interesting to learn, then rabbits and squirrels which are not that exciting admittedly, but moving up to the woodpecker on the fencepost that B didn’t see and on to the bullocks we had to walk through in a field, they were very inquisitive and actually brave enough to be stroked on the nose before following along, very close behind us!
They were braver than the rams in the farmyard who came out of the barn, in the rain, wanting to say hello, but not quite having the courage to come that close! So again, we were followed by a large group of domestic animals!
|The fields near Bickenhill and Catherine de Barnes, not far from the flight path of Birmingham airport, as you can see!|
We were glad to hit the canal as the mizzle had got a little harder by then, so it was good to be under the shelter of the trees, not that any of the birds on the water seemed to mind! As we got out the first round of sandwiches two ducks raced towards us, so they had a bit of crust, coz it’s ok now, I know, the sign told me so! A little further on and we had to eat the second round as seven little ducklings came by to ‘help’! They were very cute, maybe not as cute as the tiny moorhen chicks who swam away from us rather than towards us but at least we could see them! Got back in time for the last piece of wedding cake and a cup of tea, slightly damp but not too bad!
|'Ron' the heron surveying the canal|
Went off in the evening to meet Gill at our next housesit, a lovely lady with a dog Sam, a cat Keith and two fish Mr and Mrs Jazzy. Sam is small enough to go out the cat flap and wiry (I will try and find out what make he is) and apparently it’s him we may have to share the bed with! Hmm, not sure about that but we shall see! He’ll be good for B’s walking practice anyway.
The rest of the week seemed to be full of doctors and dentists, well we have to get all our check ups in, and not much else as the weather was still rubbish! I did point out it might be raining on the 10in10 so perhaps he should practice walking in the rain, but he declined! I also caught up with Alex which was fab, so much to talk about, 4 hours flew by. Looks like I might not get away with none of the walk after all as she suggested that she and I do the first peak of the 5in5 with the guys doing that walk, go down, drink coffee etc, before doing the last peak with the 10in10 guys as hopefully they might have slowed down by the end! It’s lovely that the mountaineering club have rallied round Alex and the MS cause as there are upwards of 10 walkers all raising money, so seems only fair that we should go and give them a bit of encouragement!
|Ian, Helen and Jackie in the Clent Hills|
I got back from Alex’s though, and it was as though the world had ended, the computer was broken! How will we survive? Aaaagh. Shame really as B had been confined to the house for the day in preparation for a check-up at the hospital on Friday, without the computer, so all that he had planned to do….! So dropped him off at the hospital and rushed the computer to the computer hospital. PC World may not have been my first choice, but they were local, and despite only seeming to have one boffin and being atrocious at communication, or time keeping they have fixed it without having to reformat anything, which both my brother and another computing friend both said would probably have to happen! Phew, though it wouldn’t have been the end of the world as all the data is backed up in ‘the cloud’, it would just have been a pain!
|On the first summit|
|An apple for each horse!|
Having been checked out and given the all clear, we went round to Helen and Ian’s for the weekend. Had a fantastic time, our first pint of real ale on the way to Diwans our favourite curry house, back to the pub for more beer and to be joined by Manu and Crystal before making it to bed at 01.30, and this was just the Friday – lots of weekend to go! Saturday didn’t dawn as early as it might and saw all of us except Helen (who’d already had it) suffering with cold. Not that we could blame them for ours, as I’d had a sore throat for a couple of days! Oh well, we’ll have breakfast and go out for a slightly more gentle walk than first thought of.
Very pleasant and muddy walk round the Clent hills, seeing ‘Ron again, he’s a busy bird that Ron as we’d seen him Tuesday too. Popped in to see Maggie cat and have tea and cake before really relaxing back at H&I’s and watching ‘Billy Elliot’ on the TV. Followed this with home made pizza, yum, before “shall we go and see Tom Jones? He’s on at the pub at the bottom of the road!” Seemed rude not to really, and we are so glad we did, a very good tribute act, from Wigan, thoroughly enjoyed by us and everyone else in the room. “Fablas” as they say in Wales.
|Ian, Helen, Brian and Jackie|
Despite not having had a skin full, a lie in had been planned for Sunday so was duly taken before a gentle walk round the park to get the Sunday papers where first breakfast was indulged in, much to Helens horror! “Icecream for breakfast?” Nobody made her join in! A more substantial second breakfast was taken on return home, bacon and egg butties, mmm. Well we needed fortifying for the planned conservation work in the park. Good fun path clearing, and certainly burnt off the icecream!
|Home made pizza - yum!|
Returned home for the brisket pot roast I’d put in the oven before we went out, Helen, despite being vegetarian, had decided we’d have a proper Sunday dinner and had chosen a lovely piece of meat, what a star. Roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, the lot, fresh veg from their garden with a very nice Rioja, ably assisted by Milo the cat from next door who thought he might like beef, he wasn’t given any as he has a special diabetic diet, though I’m not sure the red wine Helen threw all over herself and him will really have been good for him! Rounded off by B’s crumble and custard, a proper Sunday dinner!
At this point we realised that despite talking about it all w/end we hadn’t done day one of the 30 day abs work out Helen had printed out as part of their wedding preparations. Sit ups and crunches at that point may not have been the brightest of ideas, but no one was ill!
|Sunday morning in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham. Very pleasant and British!|
|And 'Ron's' here too!|
|Sunday morning 'first breakfast'!|
|Not quite the same as Cesaers Palace in Las Vegas, but 'The Highbury' is good enough for Tom Jones tribute!|
|Now what about this for a puzzle - the horizontal branch is joined to both trunks. How did it grow?|
|Sunday second breakfast BBQ|
|The ducks are lost outside Ian and Helen's|
Back to Maggie and wait for Helen and Phil to return from the Hebrides and their climbing extravaganza, it sounded fabulous, though slightly too wild for us. Luckily for them they had had the best of the UK weather, who says it always rains in Scotland? Phil took pity on us and left Maggie for a last night. We are really going to miss her tonight. She’s a very cute cat, but will be happy to go back to Phil’s as she has wanted to go outside into the garden for days, but we weren’t to let her out!