7 August 2016

We went across to Nick & Lucy’s on Sunday evening to welcome home the intrepid travellers following their US adventures. Having been the only one on the plane who slept all the way home, Annabelle was full of beans, turbocharged with excitement. We’d like to think her excitement was due to seeing us again after a fortnight away but actually she was more excited (it seems) to be reunited with all the toys and games she had left at home.

She told us all about her holiday and at one point Lucy prompted her to tell us how much she had enjoyed Mr Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland. Her eyes went wide and she smacked her forehead: “OH MY GOSH! THAT WAS SO SCARY. IT WAS SO SCARY I HAD TO ASK MUMMY TO DRIVE THE CAR BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO CRASH!”

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I was taken to Disneyland as a young child. It was the summer before my fifth birthday just as this trip for Annabelle took place in the summer before her fifth birthday. My mother took me on Mr Toad’s Wild Ride and my reaction was identical to Annabelle’s – this was SCARY and I was sure I would crash the car and we would never be found! So, I insisted that my mother drive so that we could get through this adventure in one piece. It would appear that neither the almost five Annabelle nor the almost five Grandpa could see that there were tracks guiding the car along through the adventure, regardless of how carefully (or energetically) one used the steering wheel.

We had a splendid visit on Thursday & Friday with our very dear French friends, Joe & Amandine Jefferies and their lovely children Jeanne and Iris. Much to our delight and pleasure  Joe’s younger brother George was also in tow. Joe and George, most of you will remember, are sons of our very, very dear friend Jan who we lost to breast cancer some years ago now. The Jefferies boys were about the same age as our three and were great friends during their primary and secondary education. Joe moved to France where he met and subsequently married Amandine and has been happily settled there ever since. He’s done a variety of things but most recently he has started producing his own wine – Domain Bories Jefferies. These are “natural” wines so no artificial ingredients, everything done by hand. He very kindly brought along a red and a white for us to sample which we shall do on some special occasion in the near future.

We went across to Radway on Thursday and had another splendid walk and picnic. As always, Penelope’s picnic would easily have fed several hundred but we did make a good dent in the provisions. Joe and Amandine’s two girls are not only gorgeous and extraordinarily well-behaved, they also, not surprisingly perhaps, are essentially bi-lingual. For one who struggles to remember any of the French I have attempted to pick up over the years, it’s almost embarrassing to watch the five-year old Jeanne switch seamlessly between English and French at will, with not even the slighted hesitation.

Back at the Dun Cow Pizzeria we made some fresh pizza dough and fired up the pizza oven Nick and Lucy had given me last Christmas/birthday and we drank good wine and ate delicious pizza until well into what for us at any rate constitutes the early hours. Like all French children, it seems, Jeanne and Iris were still going strong at about 10.30 when Pen and I had to eventually concede defeat and head off up to bed. It was wonderful to see them all.

And that wasn’t the end of the Pizzeria offerings for the week – yesterday Nick, Lucy and Annabelle came for lunch and we fired up the oven again. The weather was glorious and lunch on the patio was splendid. It appears that Annabelle’s pizza was deemed to be the best of the lot although I am not convinced that the adjudicator, Ms Playchute, was being entirely neutral in her assessments.

I have to confess, the weather over the past few days has been glorious and we are due, apparently, to have some continuing decent weather for the week(s) ahead. Still, other parts of the country have enjoyed perhaps a more typical British summer as evidenced by a collection of photos on the Guardian web site – underwhelming holiday photos.

Finally, a photo of a truly magnificent evening sky from outside our front door earlier in the week.


Much love to you all,



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