Rockin’ the night away!

Apart from seeing R’s latest surgical scar, my other reason for being in Saltash was to celebrate The Bezzies’ birthdays. S had been deviously and secretly plotting a celebration for R as her this year’s birthday number has a zero in it – 100, no I’m kidding there’s a few more decades to go before that! Relatives and friends arrived some of whom she sort of half expected and others she had no idea of. As someone who was completely in the know, I delighted in watching her face as each of her children (and grandchildren) arrived at carefully choreographed times on Friday and Saturday – and it wasn’t even her birthday on Saturday, it was S’s! R’s is on Wednesday. 13 of us sat round the table for a splendid Chinese takeaway followed by the traditional singing to the arrival of the cake, only one candle, can’t have the “old” girl getting too breathless!

Then it was everybody off the The Cecil, their local, for live music from Luke Deakin, an excellent local musician/one man band! The arrival at the pub of two old school friends was S’s final surprise for her, she’d been half expecting the “kids” and knew I was coming for the weekend but hadn’t a clue about the final guests. Simon having achieved his triumph finally relaxed and got rather merry. We sang, we danced, we drank –

[I actually drank very little, as on Friday I made the (probably fortunate) mistake of standing on R’s bathroom scales and discovered a possible reason for a recall to the surgery for repeat blood tests next week. I’ve put on quite a bit of weight and could well be close to the trigger point for diabetes and the end of my remission. Calorie counting has started. Urgent weight loss is required; I refuse to go back on medication.]

– and rocked the night away, quite literally in the case of the Bezzies and I.

I was sleeping in R0X and they in Big Blue (their new camper van) the bedrooms being filled with other guests. The arrival of an uninvited overnight guest rocked our world as a storm with gusts of up to 70mph swept up Plymouth sound. Parked outside their bungalow right up at the exposed top end of Saltash we did not have a peaceful night in our rocking vans!

 

 

🙂 🙂 🙂

P.S. S’s birthday was not ignored he got cards and prezzies and was sung to in the pub as well, much to his embarrassment, he doesn’t do front and centre!

Festive Fotos …

as promised.

Unfortunately my creative juices, tho’ flowing again, are not yet up to par. I am pleased that I’ve actually had the camera out of the drawer for the first time in a couple of months, not so pleased with the results which seem a little lacklustre to me.

[One of the problems with my PTSD is that it hits me very unexpectedly. I’ve been well for such a long time that it surprised the hell out of me and this time, believe it or not, it was my GP who triggered it! At my meet and greet appointment she demanded  “Why do you take anti-depressants?” on hearing I have PTSD she then demanded to know the details of why I “presumed ” I have it. I very rarely discuss it and if I do it’s because I have made the choice; I’m in control of how much and what I say and the person to whom I am talking is familiar and trusted. I felt bullied. Suffice to say that following that appointment I started to have nightmares (this time about going to the surgery!), my startle reflex went into overdrive, my anxiety levels rocketed and my mood slumped. I have no intention of consulting that particular GP again.]

Hopefully the photography will improve soon, for the moment I’m just happy that the shutter is beckoning once more.

Langport Christmas Market 30/11/2018

Chez Crosby/Mepstead 1/121/2018

🙂 🙂 🙂

Plastic surgery completed

A huge welcome home to R0X1 following “surgery” to her rear nearside (UK) corner and replacement grey waste pipe. At the same time she had a service and MOT and is once more fit to travel. Many thanks to Richard and Brian at my local garage in Langport.

The BFF has also just come out of hospital having had surgery so next week R0X will get a long overdue run out – down to Cornwall so I can help relieve R’s boredom – she really doesn’t do “take it slowly” at all well.

Tomorrow morning festive decorations will appear chez Crosby/Mepstead, looking forward to seeing all my baubles and my Santa collection again. One of the nicest things about this joined up multi generational household is the huge amount of baubles, ornaments, trees and lights we jointly own, all of which will be on display. Then late afternoon we’ll go into Langport for the market, fireworks and lights switch on, hopefully amongst the food concessions there’ll be a mulled wine stall …

Pix will follow early next week.

🙂🙂🙂

It’s November; it’s Carnival time!

There is a long tradition of carnival in this area dating back, allegedly, to Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder plot of 1605 to blow up Westminster Palace and the entire government in an attempt to overthrow the Protestant King and reinstate a Catholic monarchy. The burning of old unusable boats boats in Bridgewater symbolised the unsuccessful attempt and reinforced protestant power and was performed each November 5th for many years until they ran out of derelict boats and started on viable ones; a halt was called to the proceedings. The event now is not limited to its Bridgewater beginnings and encompasses 7 towns in 14 nights commencing in Bridgewater on the first Saturday in November and the finale in Glastonbury on the third Saturday. (There are other autumn carnivals around the county but we like this one best.)

The modern carnival reinterpretation of this event started in 1881. It has evolved over the years into the Somerset County Guy Fawkes carnival season. Local carnival clubs spend many thousands of hours throughout the year (and up to £40,000 funded by their supporters) building carts (never call them floats here) up to a maximum of 30 metres long. These largest carts have a tractor unit (literally a tractor in some cases) , a trailer and then a third unit containing the generator needed for the vast number of lights and moving parts. These units are decorated to whatever theme the club chooses quite often something topical, this year’s most moving cart for me was the one depicting scenes from the first world war. This tableau (where the human occupants dressed according to the theme, remain unmoving except for short relax breaks at designated points) headed the procession of more than 40 carts of varying sizes. Not all carts are tableaux, other categories include the ones that literally bounce up and down whilst the dancers perform a routine repetitively whilst the cart is moving …  The decorations, if you can call them such a frivolous word, are works both of art and engineering – roundabouts, swings, moving “animals”, spinning stuff, moving side to side, up and down stuff. This year’s stand out engineering for me was the cart with the car whizzing round a track that ran a circuit built above all the other scenery where the performers were dancing. The performers costumes are spectacular too. I often worry about the performers getting cold, it was brass monkey weather last night, but of course each cart has thousands of light bulbs belting out heat that you miss once each cart has passed.

In amongst the carts are solo performers, dancing troupes and bands all well worth a good clap and a whoop!

This year K, The Smart One and I were among roughly a hundred thousand folk, including our weekend guests a couple of first timers, boogying, clapping and cheering kerbside , duly impressed by the 2 hour parade, and donating money for local charities. K and I, delighted to be back after an absence of several years, both thought this year’s entries were the best ever.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Photos from previous carnivals.

 

 

 

Picture the scene …

It is a very dark night, the moon and stars invisible behind thick clouds. The wind is combatively tugging and shoving and the falling leaves are dancing as if in the Strictly dance off, desperate for a place at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool. Outside the car the lashing rain stings coldly on unprotected skin. I’m driving K back from Castle Cary station where The Smart One has been dispatched on an already delayed by 44 minutes train to visit his father for the weekend (by the time he got there he was 80 minutes late because of speed restrictions, poor lad).

I’m driving at around 40mph as the roads are covered in huge puddles and what part of the road is free of puddles is covered in mushed autumn leaves, all waiting for the unwary to stamp on the brakes. My headlights are dipped as there is a luckily smallish  oncoming vehicle, when on the left out of the darkness at the almost too-late last minute, I spot a large stray hedge/small tree trying to cross the road, I move as far right as I dare to try and avoid it but … BANG!

Storm Deirdre has resurrected the Curse of the  Broken Wingmirror, 4 in 4 years. As the Curse obviously plans to become an annual event, should I pre-order a wing mirror for 2019 and perhaps some canapés and some fizz for the Wingmirror Wake?

Luckily no other damage to either the car or the occupants.

Y’all drive safe now …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Train strain.

The return to Somerset was pretty uncomfortable on an overcrowded train (is there any other kind in the UK these days?). No space for luggage, no space for passengers (or their long suffering dogs), and no buffet (unless you were prepared to trample over the people forced to sit on the floor); the heating however, was working. “Aha,” I hear my regular reader exclaim “result, given the current plunging temperatures outside”. “Not so,” say I “when the heating continues to blast out despite optimum temperature having been reached about ten degrees ago”. I texted an SOS to K to bring large amounts of water with her to the station for my arrival, severe dehydration was kicking in after three and a half hours in cattle class.

At some point in the journey several of us debated why, given the constant overcrowding of trains, extra coaches are not added to services and came to the conclusion that it is because the cost of additional rolling stock might adversely affect the annual profits and bonuses the train moguls’ so desperately need. Magnanimous plebeians that we are, we accept their need for additional millions each year (those tropical hideaways, nuclear/biological bunkers and global warming stockpiles don’t come cheap, you know) … and we sent our sincere thanks to the aforementioned moguls for a journey unusually delayed by mere minutes not hours.

 

The journey did sort of dull the shine from what otherwise had been an extremely pleasant few days with BB aboard the Blue Buzzard. We visited the Denby factory near Derby, shopped in Sutton Coldfield and tasted a few wines and gin at a local (to Fazely) vineyard/distillery. Unfortunately we visited the Denby factory the day after I’d bought a couple of bottles of the rather lovely vineyard product, and there I bought some of Denby’s rather lovely dinnerware products for R0X1 (well I have to make it up to her that I considered selling her). So I was unable to fit everything in my suitcase and be able to lift it.

I’m sure, dear regular reader, that you will be shocked to find out that it was the vineyard product that was left behind … not sure what came over me, I might have to find a vineyard round here …

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Change of plans (# 42,969)

My regular reader may remember bullet point 4 in a previous blog, “Adjustments” when I declared that a smaller Moho would be in my travelling future.

Several months and a restful, well since I finished the unpacking and sorting it’s been restful, period of reflection back in the West Country and I find that I have absolutely no desire to sell R0X1 and downsize. I will however, bear in mind time constraints on my breakdown insurance abroad to ensure no further “Arrogant Macho Peacock”  occurrences; which experience knocked my confidence sufficiently to cause all the self doubts I’d been having, well that and a four and a half month bout of sinusitis.

The sinusitis ended very abruptly one morning in September when on getting out of bed I suddenly had a moment of dizziness and nausea. I controlled it, sorted The Smart One out for school and then went back upstairs to bed as I felt decidedly unwell. After a violent bout of vomiting the dizziness cleared and I felt better. A few days later I realised my sinuses had been pain-free for over 72 hours without sniffing drugs … and nary a twinge since. 🎶Halleluja! Now that my sinuses are pain free, Halleluja! Halleluja! Halle-e – lu-ja!🎶 (with a chorus of apologies to G F Handel)

The parts for R0X have been sitting in her underpart patiently waiting to be fitted. I’ve found a garage in Langport, the owner of which is very friendly and he and his wife have done some serious motorhoming; R0X will be having her new back corner and grey wastepipe fitted there, along with an MOT and service at a reasonable price in just a few weeks . And of course she’ll have to have a little test run after … probably down to see the Bezzies as poor R is virtually confined to barracks with a serious knee problem, the need of a replacement for which is urgent (no news to us) according to the consultant Orthopod. Having sold their old VDub, R&S were hoping to be making their first trip abroad in their new-to-them campervan early next year but that’s had to go on hold; R is, as always, very philosophical about it and looking forward to being able to do the trip, and many more, without pain at a later date. [She should also consider changing her name to Metal Micky or RoboCop, as she will after this have had both hips replaced, a hip replacement replaced and both knees replaced … my bionic mate!]

Good luck my Friend x

Half term next week and I’m off to plague Big Bruv and help him drink his gin …

“Reflections back in the West Country”

🙂 🙂 🙂