It’s nearly two weeks since our last entry and it’s been relatively full, but there’s nothing that noteworthy of writing about. It’s lovely being in amongst friends and relatives and it’s good to feel unrushed and not thinking about where we’re going next, how we’re going to get there and spending lots of time on TripAdvisor checking out destinations and hotels, but change is on our horizon now.
We have a trip to Ramsgate on Sunday for 5 days with Pauline (Jackie’s mum) and Charles and Caroline, then off to Scotland with Ian and Helen for a week working at Tony and Nickie’s massive building project, then a week right up in the very North of Scotland for a week, just over two weeks in Derby, two weeks in Anglesey, about 4 weeks back in Ledbury and then we’re off to France and Spain, not returning to the UK until May 2016. It means that, other than three more days after Ramsgate back at Sooty’s we’ll not be in the Midlands again, so have to start planning as time is getting short.
Apart from mundane things like eyesight tests (I now have prescription reading glasses), doctors visits after spraining my knee cartilage and Jackie her Achilles tendon, possibly as a result of running too much (running is now off the agenda, ski fitness is much more important!) and dentist visits we’ve had some days out. I visited my old company, Andantex, saw the old faces and met a new one and generally got up-to-date with things there, we had a day out with my sister Denise and Brother-in-law Paul, walking about 7 miles from Hall Green to Whitlocks End, then caught the train back (after a pint of ale at the Drawbridge) and yesterday we visited my niece Steph and little Rory, now 3 months old.
Ballroom dancing has featured a little in that we’ve had two Wednesday evenings in Bearwood where I’ve been doing a bit of teaching for the first time in a long time after bumping into an old friend at the recent fancy dress party. The lady who used to teach there is unfortunately terminally ill, so they now have no teacher. Andy puts on music each week and they still gather to practise and really welcomed the opportunity of having some proper teaching, even though we could only give them two nights.
There were about a dozen of them there, I took charge and immediately dropped back into teaching mode, even though I haven’t done any for 5 or 6 years. My long history of teaching since I qualified in 1980 is just so automatic I didn’t have to look at any technique it’s just there in my mind and all comes gushing out. They wanted to do some waltz, quickstep and cha-cha-cha, including some style and technique, not just steps, so that’s what they got. They loved it, were very grateful and I enjoyed it too. Jackie didn’t dance so much, the second week, because of her Achilles heel problem, so I dotted about dancing with the ladies that didn’t have partners, so a 2 hour lesson on each of the two Wednesdays I was tired and hoarse, glad to have done it but also pleased I don’t have to do it every week. Been there and done that for many years, maybe in the future we may again, but at the moment there’s the world to see and too many other things to do!
Jackie went to see our friend Alex on the day before she went off to do the Eiger Challenge. She suffers with MS and has been a superb athlete and great rock climber, mountaineer and alpine skier, but her MS is now restricting what she can do, so the Eiger Challenge is something she felt she had to enter. It’s a challenge for people with disabilities to get to the top the Eiger mountain in Switzerland, accompanied by a television crew. Her fellow mountaineer with disability is John, who is almost blind, so it’s a hell of a challenge and we wish them well and hope they do it. We will report later.
We picked up Abi (Sooty’s owner) and her mum from Birmingham airport on Wednesday after a weeks holiday in Italy, where the temperature was in the mid 30’s°C and it seems to be like that across Europe, very, very hot. Here in the UK it’s very different. The ‘jet stream’, which is the dividing line between cold northerly weather and hot southerly weather has been right over us in the Midlands since May. Sometimes it hovers north slightly allowing hot weather to come up from the continent, other times it hovers south bringing cold northerly weather down, but the jet stream itself acts like a conveyor belt bringing lots of ‘weather’ which can be lots of rain, high winds or just cloud, so we’re having typical British weather of four seasons in a day, but no snow fortunately! All a bit disappointing, but, we really wouldn’t want the very hot humid continental weather! Scotland however has been in the cold zone almost perpetually, so they’ve had very wet, windy and cool weather.
Had a lovely evening last night at Ian and Helens with Pam, Ian’s mum. Helen had prepared a superb three course dinner as practise for a meal they are giving to their old next door neighbours in a weeks time. Pam is in her 80’s and not so mobile now after a recent fall, but she’s got all her wits about her and was great company along with the usual fabulous company of Ian and Helen who are always a pleasure to be with and spend time with. Can’t wait for our two week holiday with them in Scotland in just over a weeks time, despite the fact that it might be wet!
|The ford by Sarehole Mill, Hall Green on our walk with Denise and Paul. We don't know who the cyclist is, but it just struck me as amusing|
|Young signets with mum swan close by in Swanshurst Park|
|Jackie, Denise and Paul take a lunch stop|
|A coot on its nest of sticks on the lake in Swanshurst Park|
|It wasn't always a flat walk, there were obstacles on the way|
|Mid afternoon beer at the Drawbridge Pub|
|Just to prove I was there, and give credence to the pub name The Drawbridge! It's on the Grand Union canal and you can see the bridge raised to allow a narrowboat to pass by|
|Whitlocks End railway station, the end of the walk for us, just an easy ride back to Hall Green, a short walk back to Sooty's for a feast of old cine films of D&P's wedding (1978) and Stephs birth (1984) on a very old cine projector|
|Jackie with little Rory at Stephs house|
|Yours truly with a hungry Rory|
|Sooty says 'thank you for looking after me, but you're not having your chair back, I'm comfy!'|