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Showing posts from May, 2017

It is what it is...

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Making the packed lunches yesterday for the husband, son number two and myself yesterday (very sparse on the chicken front as you can imagine) I made a mental note to stop buying lettuce.  This isn't because we've all of a sudden discovered more exciting green leaves (let's face it, rickets is more exciting than a shredded Little Gem) but because finally, we are starting to see the fruits of our labours in the allotment.  I thought that you might like a little update on my bunting festooned patch of dirt now that the sun and rain have had the required effect on the seeds carelessly chucked in several weeks ago.
It's rather annoying how you don't remember lessons learned through life.  Because I broke a rib last year, digging was off the agenda, so this year is only the second time I have thrown myself at the allotment with gusto (I go by the old life adage that if you throw enough s**t at a wall, then some of it will stick).  Nowhere is this more true than in my all…

Who's that chick...

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And so it came to pass that yours truly came down to earth with a bump.
I had given son number two the dubious task of organising the week's shopping while the husband and I were living it up in regal splendour.  He had assured me that he was more than capable of sorting out our weekly vittles, and I transferred over to him my usual weekly food bill and entrusted our future survival to him.  'Is there anything which you definitely need?' he asked as we were leaving on Friday.  'If it's important, I don't want to miss it off my list'. 'Bold 2 in 1', I said, 'the lavender one'.  
Bustling us out of the front door, he reassured us that there would be plenty of food in the house when we returned, and, then he said those famous words, 'and you're not to worry'. There was a deal on the table naturally.  Son number two suggested that he should be allowed to keep whatever was left of the £120, assuming that there was enough food for the we…

I swear...

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As we all know, a fairy tale always has an ending, and the husband and I checked out of our castle yesterday morning.
I'll be honest with you. I'm not sure that my waistline would have coped with another moment at Thornbury Castle. Ten minutes before our final breakfast there, the husband and I both swore to each other that a) he wasn't going to have a fry up, and b) I was just having fruit.  It's just as well we didn't swear on anything sacred because half an hour later, that would have all disappeared in a puff of smoke (unlike my waistline which may need a little more time and effort).  I had ordered the homemade waffle and maple syrup with a sausage chaser the day before, and had never tasted anything like it in my life.  As we all know, anything which tastes that good is either going to increase your size, kill you or give you diabetes.  Or all three if you're really unlucky.
I started well.  Scooping a couple of spoonfuls of fresh fruit cocktail into a bowl…

Are friends electric...

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The celebrations continued yesterday with the purchase of a new pair of walking boots. Now.  I thought that I'd been very clever by 'forgetting' to pack my walking boots, but the husband decided that after four years' wear up hill and down dale, the time had come to replace them.  He had an ulterior motive naturally, in the way of a 'long walk'. Previous experience told me that this could be anywhere between 5 and 20 miles, depending how lost we got.
So boots purchased from some camping shop in Bristol, yesterday afternoon we headed off with dogs in tow (literally as they were still knackered from their morning walk).  The hotel receptionist had told us that we literally came out of the castle gates and turned right on to the footpath.  All well and good, but what she didn't tell us about was the fact that ten yards in, the path forked.  One path took you up a steep hill, while the other went down.  I was all for going up the steep path, working on the premi…

Castle on the hill...

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Well the husband well and truly pulled it out of the bag for our anniversary celebrations.
We decided to take my car as the weather was so glorious.  Even now, I don't know how we managed to get two suitcases, two excited dogs and two large dog beds in such a small space, but we did.  I suppose that having the roof down all the way was a great help as the dogs were perched on the back seat like a couple of shaggy parrots and my legs were pinned down by various leads and dog bowls.  The husband, who is not abundant in the hair department, managed to burn the top of his head after four hours of the sun mercilessly beating down on him, and now resembles a Swan Vesta, and the 50mph wind played havoc with my hair, and combing it before dinner proved rather challenging.  I'm not saying it was knotted, but I'm now catching the husband up with regard to hair free areas on my head.
So, we are at Thornbury Castle, and there are no words to describe how beautiful it is.  As the husband…

He's my man...

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The husband has something up his sleeve.  Something other than bits of plaster, a 2" long pencil and a spirit level.  
On Wednesday evening, he implied that I would need to get back from Binland rather sharpish on Friday as he had something planned to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  Now I'm not too good on the whole surprise front. Having mild OCD, I panic about not having the right clothes, appropriate shoes, currency....the list is endless.  And then last night he came out with this comment.
'I think it's only fair that I tell you a bit of what we're doing'.
So the total sum of warning which he gave me was that we were going away for several nights.  He'd preceded this by telling me that I wasn't to worry about the dogs, which has the immediate effect of making me worry about the dogs, as it means that one/some of the children are involved.  But I let that go.  A few days away with the husband is a wonderful surprise, but his big reveal didn…

Anniversary song...

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It would have been my Nanny Joyce's birthday yesterday.  Now this lady has a lot to answer for with regard to the things I love.  Mainly...
Billy Holiday 1940's culture and music Blossom Hill Blackbirds Spring onions Caravanning
She is also responsible for something quite momentous, which is the legal joining of the me and the husband.
From the moment the then-boyfriend and I met, we both agreed that marriage was never going to be on the cards for us.  Having been bitten quite sharply in the marriage department before, it didn't seem important, so we pottered on as we were for some years.  The only problem was deciding what to call him, as at 38, I wasn't comfortable calling him my boyfriend.  Presenting him as my lover made the kids pull that face  where they stick their fingers down their throat, and partner made it sound like we ran a business together.  In the end I went with 'fella', which had a sort of 1960's trendy feel about it.
Fast forward a few years, and…

Colour my world...

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Parking up at the doctors' surgery this afternoon, I headed over to the car park machine to get a ticket. This is a relatively new thing in our surgery car park, and there has been much muttering about it, but I think it works just fine.  Thirty minutes for free allows for your doctor to be running 20 minutes late, and then you having to rush through your seven minutes of allocated time. There's even the chance of an additional three minutes to get any medication prescribed.  (If you are sensing a little sarcasm in what I am saying, then well spotted).
Anyway, the car park machine requires that you enter your registration number.  I got halfway through when it dawned on me that I was inputting the old Mini plate, and not the new one.  So parking ticket eventually printed, I headed back to my car.  As I opened the door and stuck the ticket on the dashboard, I happened to notice a lady sitting in the car opposite.  
She was looking at me, and speaking to her passenger, and both of…

Basket case...

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I realised yesterday that the published blog regarding cheese was my 500th one.  How on earth did I miss that?  What started off a couple of years ago as blathering on about holidays with Miss R, has now become a daily ritual, with around 5,000 generous souls taking a peek every so often to see what mischief I've got up to this time.
I looked back over some of the early days' offerings, and was shocked by my lack of punctuation and accuracy.  One in particular was comparing the mountain biking husband to Barry Wiggins.  Who the hell is Barry Wiggins?  I did nip in and edit Stairway to Heaven, with a neatly 'cut and pasted' Bradley, but I felt slightly ashamed that I hadn't checked it before pressing the publish button.  As the days have gone on, I have had several readers send me little messages along the lines of 'did you really mean "tart"?' or 'surely the husband doesn't really do that?' so now I double check and reread it all before…

Big cheese...

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So as you know, last night Miss R treated the husband and I to a Big Night Out.  We had VIP tickets to go to Tom Kerridge's 'Pub in the Park'. which was marketed as 'Gourmet Food, Cracking Music and Lush Vibes'.  At that point, there was no mention of alcohol, but I assumed that as Miss R had booked the tickets, then that was a given.  Having spoken to someone who had been there the night before, we were warned about long queues for the food and drink, so we did the very sensible thing and had a quick bowl of pasta in a restaurant on the way to the park.
It was a great night.  Out VIP passes allowed us to go into a beautiful Moroccan-style marquee where free Prosecco was on tap all night.  I wasn't drinking, as I had won the driver's card for the night, but Miss R took full advantage of the free bubbles, and was seen clutching three plastic cups at a time as she returned from the bar, each time taking a less direct route back.  
There were lots of foodie stal…

Singin' in the rain...

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So another working week stutters to an end, and the weekend is finally here.  
It's a funny old weekend for me this week, as there is quite a lot going on.  Tonight, Miss R is taking the husband and me to Tom Kerridge's Pub in the Park, where we will eat delicious food, drink cocktails, and watch James Morrison singing his heart out.  If the weather is anything to go by, then we will be doing all of this wearing wellies and macs.  
This is the joy of doing anything in 'The Great Outdoors' in this country. There is no chance of planning anything based on the weather, because be it February, July or October, the weather could be sub-zero with something wet dropping from the sky. The only thing differentiating one month from the other is what you wear under your rain mac I suppose. As it's still May (no clouts cast as yet) I will probably go down the tried and tested black trousers route. Mind you, tuck these in my wellies, and I'll resemble a blonde Cossack. Leave …

Disappear...

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Reg, the younger Miniature Schnauzer who we share our house with went AWOL yesterday morning. The husband, who was having what is commonly known as 'a bad morning' had been in and out the front door so often that I thought he was doing some Okey Cokey practice, but it turned out that in quick succession, he'd forgotten his phone, then his lunch and finally his keys.  While all this to-ing and fro-ing, Reg took his chance and nipped out.
It was when I was preparing my lunch that I noticed he was missing.If cold roast chicken hadn't made up part of my lunch, I doubt I would have noticed he was gone.  That dog can hear a Tupperware lid open from half a mile away, especially the one which houses the roast chicken.  After some frantic searching and a conversation with the husband as to whether Reg had stowed away in the car, I resigned myself to standing on the doorstep in my dressing gown and yelling. 
Now this was all happening at 6.30am, and not a lot happens down my road …

Rainy days and Mondays...

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It's just what you want to see when you are a new convertible owner....a rainy day reminiscent of Noah.  Not to worry, knowing our British summers, there will be plenty of opportunities to get my top down as it were.  I am anticipating a couple of hours during August and a late afternoon mid-September if I'm lucky.  If it doesn't ever stop raining, I'm going to go to my local multi storey car-park and drive around the levels with the roof down.  Desperate times, and all that,
Driving into Binland this morning, the noise on the soft roof reminded me of a particularly challenging camping holiday in Cornwall several years ago.  I don't think that any of our children have ever forgiven us for that week. Never mind buckets and spades, our first stop was Trago Mills for seven pairs of wellies and waterproofs.  The husband's sister Mrs W was with us for that week, and I'm not sure she's even got over it yet.  This is surprising, as she is from the north and is …

Driving in my car...

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As we were flying over Northern Europe yesterday, Miss R turned to me and asked me if I was excited about my new car.
Aah yes, my new car.  In the excitement of my holiday, it had been pushed to the back of my mind along with the pile of ironing which I knew would await me on my return.  A couple of months ago, I'd ordered a new Mini to replace the one I've been driving for the last three years.  It was time for a change before my mileage started creeping up.  I'm not too sure why I was worried about the mileage, as I average around 42 miles a week, but it seemed like as good a time as any, so colours were chosen and paperwork was signed, and I waited very patiently for the day it would arrive.
So yesterday was collection day.  Because I'd sold my old car, Miss R very kindly dropped me over to North Oxford Mini after we landed at Heathrow.  Armed with my overweight suitcase and a large holdall, we turned up at the dealership and spotted my new Mini in the showroom, looki…

Pool party...

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So our mini break came to a graceful end yesterday with a perfect day.  The three of us had all been checking the weather reports on our phones, kindles, ipads and laptops, with everything crossed that our last day would be the one to give us the white lines and sunburn which the British sunbather is so fond of.  We weren't disappointed.
Miss R decided at breakfast that no unnecessary time was to be spent away from the pool, and because of that, she involved herself in some minor theft, and rustled up three mini ham and cheese baguettes which made it into her beach bag.  As we were polishing off a second pot of tea (using our own tea bags like any sane holiday maker) one of the two waiters passed by the bread basket, and did a double take, as he wondered where the hell all the bread was gone.
And so to the pool.  Seven hours of pure unadulterated sunshine, with a gentle breeze.  As with every day, it seemed that we had the whole hotel to ourselves, and we snoozed and chatted like th…

Life is a lemon, and I want my money back...

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It was an eventful day yesterday.  Having spent three hours by the pool wrapped in beach towels, waiting for the fog to lift, the decision was made to head off to the fleshpots of Monte Carlo, home to the rich and famous.
We dressed up accordingly, frightened that whatever authorities might be in charge of entry might not let us in to Monaco.  This meant wearing a a pair of shoes which haven't really broken my feet in yet, but I threw them on, not expecting that I would have to walk several miles in them. The hotel owner had told us that the whole of Monaco was only 1 km square, so in my mind, walking wasn't going to be an issue.  How wrong I was....
We decided to go by train, and having arrived at the very glamorous train station (with its own perfume according to Miss R) we headed off to the marina to look at the penile compensations moored up in the marina.  One of them looked like you'd need sandwiches and a passport to get from bow to stern, while another (the second la…

Bus stop...

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Day two threatened some inclement weather towards the end of the day, so the decision was made to go the market in Ventimiglia. Apparently this is very famous, and market traders from France hop over the border in their Transit vans to sell their goods alongside the Italians.  
Luckily for us, the hotel owner offered a free bus shuttle service to and from the market, so at 9.45 sharp, we piled in with a German couple and an Italian couple (we are so cosmopolitan).  I was the last to get in, which meant that I had the dubious honour of sitting in the front of the bus.  As we hurtled down the hill, the hotel owner very proudly pointed out various landmarks suck as a field of artichokes and a lighthouse in the bay.  I would have rather he'd kept his eyes on the road to be honest, and we were all rather relieved to arrive at the market seven minutes later.  (The road is 2.5km.  You work it out).
'I pick you all up at 4.00pm', he said, gaily waving us off.
Well, it was as we feare…

Cold as ice...

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Now I am suitably refreshed after my day's travel, it's time to catch up with what's gone on.  The Mother, Miss R and myself are in Italy for a few days, ostensibly to relax and recharge our batteries, but I think we all know that where those two are concerned, the resting is highly unlikely.  Unless you count the short bursts of comatose sleep on the deckchairs in between the alcohol.  Does that count?
We got to the hotel on Wednesday night, having been driven up a road clinging to the side of a mountain by a rather dishy Italian.  Miss R, who always likes to ride up front as it were, was unusually quiet on the hairpin-bend laden track, and only exhaled as we pulled into the hotel.  Talk about a white knuckle ride...
It's a strange story about this hotel, as we all stayed here 47 years ago.  Talking to the owner, who is two generations down from the original owners, we realised that as he was the same age as us, that we had probably known him when we were small children…