All good fun

Four frosty days hooked up, thankfully, in the Midlands hanging out with BB. There are times when we behave like children, spontaneously play silly games and dissolve into fits of giggles.

Me: Where are we going?

BB: Dunno, which exit shall I take off the roundabout?

Me: First.

BB (having complied): At the junction?

Me: Straight on.

BB: At the roundabout in about five miles?

Me: Second exit.

BB: If it’s the M6 toll as I think it is,  you’ll have to chose another.

Me: I said second exit!

BB: That roundabout was the next roundabout, not the roundabout in five miles!

The second exit at the roundabout in five miles was the M6 toll. So we ended up taking the third exit to Lichfield; which was probably where BB intended to go all along, we just got there giggling and via a longer route!

Like me he’s into shop and market browsing and certainly neither of us is to be trusted in Fat Face. We enjoy the same films (mostly; I’ve never been a John Wayne fan), comedy (Swimming with Men and The Last Laugh watched this week) and music. You might think that’s entirely unexpected for siblings but BB left for Army Boys School when I was still in single figures (just) and I didn’t see much of him for the next dozen years – has to be the genes! The fact that we’re both currently having to diet I blame on the genes too!

The snow was very kind to us; I think Fazeley and a small surrounding area might have been in the only place in the UK that didn’t get a snow dump. Even Langport had sufficient that a snow day was declared by the local schools. The Smart One had huge fun with his mates snowball fighting and sledding, apparently returning home virtually hypothermic.

Tuesday was Coventry;

Wednesday was a brisk walk around Kingsury Water Park;

Thursday was a tiny bit frosty and included a trip to Lichfield;

I’m back now for the final week, which includes a meet up with The Bezzie and a double birthday party (J’s 40th and K’s 45th) before main engine start …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Solstice and a damp squib

Solstice celebrations with J & B, who came up from Torquay, were excellent. We gorged on roast lamb, pigs-in-blankets, stuffing, yorkshires, roast taters, loads of veg, and gravy and toasted the shortest day of the year. Summer’s coming! As a family we do this more years than not because unless Christmas Day is on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday J is working that night.

Just as well we enjoyed J & B’s stay really as Christmas got cancelled.

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Solstice celebration.

I’ve had a Brute of a Cold I can’t get shot of for well over two weeks, some days are less symptomatic than others; Christmas Day was not one of them. Unfortunately last week K started The Cold and was also having a bad day. We made do with staying in our jammies, snacking on biscuits and cheeses, mince pies and cheesecake. We did open pressies. The un(so far)infected Smart One had the most pressies and was then happy to take himself and his loot back to his teenage cave; K and I dozed, watched Strictly and a few old Christmas comedies and went to bed early.

 

Langport reflecting the damp squib that was Christmas Day.

It could’ve been much worse and I’m having a less symptoms day today – so we’ll have Christmas today!

I have high hopes for the New Year celebrations which, for me and the Bezzies, will take place in Saltash.

Thank you for reading my blog and I do hope, dear Regular Reader that your Christmas was wonderful and that your 2019 will be happy and healthy.

🙂 🙂 🙂

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.

🙂🙂🙂

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 …

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Nightmare to Sweet Dreams

Had I asked the presenters/researchers from TV’s Escape to the Country to search for us, we could not have found a better property. Our house is fairly standard 1950s local authority architecture but with a few quirks, and my regular reader is well aware of my penchant for quirk. We’re in a cul-de-sac so no passing traffic and as we are no longer under the flight path into Heathrow we’re appreciating the quiet round here. We have a tiny patio garden, triangular in shape but which is going to look great when all the rubbish for the tip is gone and I’ve arranged the pots and other bits and pieces. Then it will take minimal maintenance, which even K will be able to manage when I’m travelling!

The unpacking and arranging of our goods and chattels is almost complete and the rooms are beginning to look like home. One of the advantages of moving house is that seeing your possessions in different surroundings makes you look at them afresh and certainly I am enjoying noticing  and appreciating all our pictures and ornaments in a new perspective.

This morning, early to beat the heat, LWD and I went exploring our wider world and after chatting with other dog walkers and local cyclists I already know we have loads of walks to choose from; riverside and disused railway track.

Learning to paddle

R. Parrett

Nightmare move?

Only sweet dreams round here!

🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m no beginner … (a long rant)

… when it comes to moving house and after making 18 of them personally and having helped my kids on several more, I can with a lot of experience say that this one has been an absolute pig’s ear.

It was an inauspicious beginning, and continued downhill, with the van and two muppets turning up two and a half hours late. I’d already had to leave in R0X1 with the zoo (grandson, dog and cat) to meet estate agent on time leaving K to oversee the loading of furniture and boxes (already packed by us). A quick re-assessment of timing and I was expecting K in Huish Episcopi around 14.30 and van about an hour later. Nah …

Around 13.00 Kate phoned to say the van was already full with only 2/3 of our stuff loaded. Phone calls to firm’s HO ensued – K was accused of adding stuff that wasn’t on the inventory. K insisted she hadn’t and could prove it with her copy of the inventory. Conversations in a non-English language ensued between HO and the muppets culminating in an offer to get another van to move the remainder, magnanimously at no extra cost to us … !!! K arranged to overnight with a friend, and the first van-load arrived here at 18.00 without one complete bed aboard. The Smart One spent the night in R0X1 with the cat and I on a mattress on the floor on the house with LWD.

Despite all boxes being marked with their destination rooms marked on them a lot ended up in random rooms which had nothing to do with box contents. To and injury to insult boxes were all stacked 5 high, regardless of some being marked fragile contents; these guys were obviously not amongst those who consider me vertically or age challenged, and whilst I wholeheartedly disagree with discrimination this once I would have jettisoned my principles!

Having been told a van to move the remainder of our possessions would arrive at 14.00 the following day K spent a pleasant afternoon next door with our now ex- neighbours. The different van and 2 different muppets made a timely appearance at 18.30, loaded up and duly arrived here at 23.00. I refused to hand over any money before they unloaded as the previous day’s chaps hadn’t finished all they were supposed to, if they moved things where they should be, including K’s bed base from the conservatory upstairs to her bedroom I would pay them and then they could bring the rest in. This request necessitated several calls in a foreign language to HO, on speaking to the manager I was left with the impression that although human error had occurred on their part it wasn’t their fault as such and I should shut up, put up and pay up. The legs for K’s bed base were on the van, they would not unload them. I after the previous day’s experience of muppets clearing off without doing their full job would not give way I wanted beds made up before paying.

Stand off; eventually the bed legs only were removed from van; the van was locked closed whilst the bed was made; I paid; they emptied the van and sped away into the after midnight hours without bothering to give me a receipt.

We’re in … and still alive to tell the tale; just!

😊😊😊