5 September 2021

And, we’re back. But only in a limited capacity, I’m afraid. The Editor thinks he’s still on holiday and the staff . . . Don’t get me started. Ever since Brexit we’ve faced a shortage of essential staff, empty super market shelves and lousy weather.

We had a great, great time in Devon with Nick, Lucy and Annabelle and Adam, Ava and Jessie. Everyone got on with just about everyone most of the time and the two girls thoroughly enjoyed their time together. The weather was “good” if not excellent – it was dry the whole time but a bit on the cool side with sunny intervals. Not that the weather impeded the girls’ enjoyment of the beach at Sidmouth at all.

A few of the least bad photos from a variety of sources:

One bit of misfortune – Nick and I had taken our bikes and set off one morning to cycle to the seaside and back. I had carefully plotted a route avoiding all the main roads and about halfway there we descended what must be one of the steepest hills in Devon. At the bottom there was a ford and a trickling stream with about 6 inches of water. Nick was leading the way and proceeded straight through the ford only to slip on the mossy rocks and crash onto his side. As well as acquiring a set of pretty impressive bruises he also managed to smash and break his rear derailleur rendering his bike no longer serviceable. I did get a couple more rides in, one with Penny and one on my own. Let me tell you though – Devon has some pretty steep hills.

We got back from Devon on Saturday and then on Sunday we were off to the airport to collect Ben, Brex-Anna and Max. What a treat! Hence the excuse that we are able to operate only in a limited capacity for the next couple of weeks.

Max has decided that the playground across the road is excellent, as is the one at Upper Boddington where we took him and Jessie for an afternoon. Wednesday, we set off for a ride on the Gloucester and Warwickshire Steam Railway which provided just about as much excitement as one three-year-old can cope with at any one time. It was magical.

I continue to make slow but steady progress in my cycling excursion along Route 66. Since I last filed a progress report I’ve made it to and through St Louis, visited the Meramec Caverns in Stanton, Missouri as well as the World’s Largest Rocking Chair in Fanning, Missouri. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Just in case you thought we had lost sight of one of our favourite topics – Brexit – this article in the Guardian sums the current position up nicely: Brexit: food and drink exports to EU suffer ‘disastrous’ decline. As well as the empty supermarket shelves which we’ve seen ourselves, there are reports that McDonalds has “run out” of milkshakes, Nandos, a cheap and cheerful (?) fast food outlet, has had to close a number of branches because they’re run out of chicken, and even the pub chain Wetherspoons, whose owner Tim Martin was one of the more vociferous proponets of Brexit, has run into both a staffing and a beer shortage.

As someone posted on Twitter, who would have imagined that a policy of restricting the free movement of people and goods would result in a shortage of people and goods?

And finally, I did enjoy reading about the chap who toured the UK on his moped visiting as many places with rude names as he could manage.

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating as much as you can, wear a f**king facemask when you go out and keep your distance. And keep safe.

Lots of love to you all,

Greg

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