|In the garden at Abigail and Sooty the cat's house|
A whole week has gone by since the last entry, and all of a sudden, a fortnight today and we’ll be gone! Help!
After the hustle and bustle of the wedding w/end we thought we’d ‘chill’ last Monday, which I successfully did with another jigsaw in the same series as the one I did at Helen and Phil’s when we first arrived, good fun but jolly hard as jigsaws go, while B wrote the wedding blog, which took quite a long time as you can probably imagine! Despite having been into China town with the Sunday Tea club, Monday was a meeting of us with Jo and Mike, and Alex, but no Rob in the Big Wok, our traditional post climb haunt. Chinese two nights running? Oh well, it’s the company that counts! Lovely to catch up as apart from the odd 5 mins at the wall we’ve not spoken to J&M and I haven’t seen Alex since the 10 in 10.
|Sooty likes to drink water from a running tap|
|An impressive double rainbow after a thunderstorm|
Tuesday B had the second part of his ‘MOT’ a cystoscopy, which when described makes all the men cringe – it’s a camera inserted to look at the bladder……! All clear from that, fab, so we popped in at Mum’s as she’s having new carpet downstairs, she does need it, but it is going to be a nightmare, there’s a lot of ‘stuff’ downstairs, so we did some sorting, but photos and cards take a lot of time sorting!
|Sooty relaxes, watching TV between us|
|The 'Easy Way Down' at Wintours Leap|
We made it back to the climbing wall that evening – it’s only a month since we last made it, and realised that we really need to get some practice in before going climbing with Roger in the States. When did we last do any traditional climbing, involving placing gear? Hmmmm just after Christmas 2013 while staying at John’s near Christchurch! Perhaps we’d better have a day out! So picking the hottest day of the year, we went to Wintour’s Leap, a lovely crag near Chepstow. It’s a beautiful spot overlooking the river Wye, just on a bend, the views are great, if you listen carefully you might be able to hear the bleat of sheep on the far bank and if you are really lucky you might put your hand in a patch of wild thyme while climbing.
|Nearing the bottom of Easy Way Down with a view of the river Wye|
A workout for all the senses! So we scrambled down the ‘easy way down’ which is an interesting meander down the rock to the bottom before starting up ‘Central Rib route’ which seemed like a good place to start as there are three different climbs of differing grades all sharing the same belay positions, so you can mix and match depending on how brave you are feeling! B was so confident about where we were that despite not recognising it, and knowing I’d done one of the climbs in 2010 with Alex and Rob, having questioned him once, off he went. Saying I didn’t recognise it is perfectly normal for me, B can talk about a climb he did 10 years ago, with the ‘hidden hold just round the corner’ and the ‘piece of great protection you can put in just before the hard move’!
|Jackie ready to start a climb|
While I can’t remember a route I’ve just finished, ‘how did you do that move?’ ‘I have absolutely no idea!’ However, as he struggled up half as far again as he expected to go, and the horizontal tree was nowhere in sight, perhaps we weren’t in the right place! In a way he was quite pleased, as if we had been on the right climb then struggling that much on a v.diff would have been very demoralising, however it did mean we didn’t know which way to go or what lay ahead! I was all for abseiling back down and starting again – the fear of the unknown always causing me to be a wuss, but it looked quite easy ahead, though slightly overgrown, so not often climbed! We continued and fortunately it was easy to the top! As a practice for gear placement though it was a bit of a dead loss – my pitch hadn’t been much more than a scramble, with few places for gear, so rather than the training I was expecting it was more like soloing with a handicap – carrying all the gear I probably weigh a stone and a half more than normal!
|The view from halfway up a climb. The River Wye (tidal at this point) sweeps round a bend. The black bits are where I joined three pictures together|
|Our friend Danielle with Erin|
Oh well, back down the ‘easy way down’ to another climb that I did recognise where we both put in so much gear, we were very safe, but probably very slow! Lovely day out though, in my favourite climbing spot.
Friday B had an exciting dental appointment, before going to meet up with an old sales contact for a long chat, which left me free to explore Sparkhill, right on our doorstep. Despite being in the centre of Birmingham, it felt quite exotic, it was still ridiculously hot and Sparkhill is full of Asian people and shops so the smells and voices and produce available in them is not quite ‘the norm’.
|While John (best man at our wedding) cooks dinner|
I did the groundwork so when B got home I could take him out to buy a cheap pair of outdoor trousers, badly needed as I noticed the hole he had in the seam at his groin as he was climbing off above me! And I could have a pair of shoes that had my name all over them! Turned out they were reduced to £5.50 so who could argue!
We were meant to be going to a BBQ Saturday night at Dani and John’s (John was best man at our wedding) but due to the torrential rain and very impressive thunderstorms, they’d called that off, cancelled the rest of the family they’d invited round, so it was just us for beef stroganoff. Very good it was too.
|Naimh, Erin and Danielle|
We had a lovely evening with D&J and their two little girls Niamh (8) and Erin (5) such great kids. Once they’d gone to bed though the Jevenin
g reverted to type, and suddenly we’d done lots of talking, loads of laughing, it was very late and far too much alcohol had been drunk! I poured B into a taxi, only to be rung half way home – his camera was on the side in the kitchen! Hey Ho, we’ll go to the Sunday BBQ a slightly circuitous route then!
|BBQ at Mark and Fiona's. LtoR: Andy, Martin, Mark and Frosty|
Jackie forgot to mention the Park Run I went on at Brueton Park in Solihull on Saturday morning. I'd arranged to meet Mark, but couldn't see him amongst the 160 runners, so ran on my own (5km in 28min33sec) and found out later he had been there and we had failed to meet up. "Two old blokes shouldn't be allowed out on their own" was what Fiona (Mark's wife) and Jackie agreed
|Lots of old friends: LtoR: Jackie, Andy, Julie, (some children!), Andi, Sue, Martin, Tim, Rob and Frosty|
|Fiona, Martin, Tim|
Sunday morning wasn’t quite as painful as it might have been, just as well really as we were due at Mark and Fiona’s at 14.00. Not sure who to expect we had a lovely time, people from the mountaineering club we hadn’t seen for a long time, in some cases years, and one couple I’d heard loads about over the years but never actually met. They’d all drifted away from the club to form a splinter group as children came along – I have no idea which children belonged to which couple, but they all seemed to know each other and had a great time larking about with the paddling pool and lots of water!
|Andi, Andy, Julie & Jackie|
|Gill & Sue|
|Paul, Denise, Jackie and Brian in Temple Balsall|
Much more sedate today – a very pleasant walk out with Denise and Paul to catch up on all the news of their trip away, how Tony and Tessa were and more surprisingly, that Steph and Sam, despite only being in their house in Chelmsford a year, are moving back to the Solihull area! Wow, would not have seen that coming but it’ll be lovely to have them nearby when we come back next and lovely for D&P.
|Lunch in the churchyard near historic Temple Balsall|
|This headstone bears the date 1689|
|Lunch and a beer|
|Gran's dodgy bit of kit|
Hi this is Charles Jackie’s and Brian’s nephew. When I heard that they were coming to our little backwater of Edlesborough I instantly decided that vinyl was the way forward; what better way to listen to Iron Maiden ‘6, 66 The number of the beast’; so anyway my singing fantasies aside Jackie and Brian were immediately ordered to bring down Gran’s (Pauline’s) old music centre you know the thing big, chunky and grey. Anyway when they got down we found two problems with Gran’s piece of kit firstly the plug had to be ‘examined’ by Uncle Brian. Then we ran straight into the next brick wall the rubber belt inside that drives the turntable had perished. Disaster!!
|Asserting my dominance over Caroline|
In desperation we turned to rubber bands to save the day it worked in a fashion it was so slow it was torture listening to the opening bars of Aces High. But hey vinyl at least has the looks, right? Then in the evening after a bit of messing about I asserted my dominance as the alpha male.
|Caroline looking 'perky' on her last day of the school term|
|Me, not so perky, even though I had already broken up|
Then next morning 23rd July Caroline looked perky about her last day at school I, on the other hand despite having broken up on the Friday, didn’t look too good.
|Uncle Brian finally captures his prize!|
Oh well that didn’t stop a trip off to college lake where Uncle Brian got pictures of elusive butterflies, farm machinery and a needle in a haystack while I got him and Auntie Jackie surveying their hobbit hole. Then we were back off home for a lunch of burgers YUM!!!!!!
This is Caroline, Jackie and Brian’s niece, here to tell you about my last day at school. When I got to school we had free play until the year 6 leaver’s assembly where awards were given out. After the assembly, we went out for early break. After that we had lunch where I had hot dogs and doughnuts for pudding. I did the doughnut challenge. The doughnut challenge is where you have to eat a whole doughnut without licking your lips. It was really hard because of the sugar on my lips. I won it. YUMMY!!!!!After lunch we had free play until 2 o’clock when we had another assembly. In that time I made a dragon scale loom band and after the assembly I gave it to my mum(Mrs Kent). Thanks for reading!
|Auntie Jackie and Uncle Brian at their hobbit hole|
|Unimpressed, we look around Uncle Brian's house|
|My country estate, flourishing as usual!|