It’s been a stormy week with a bit less “unseasonably warm” temperatures – we’ve had the spill-over from Storm Babet. Lots of wind and rain, although it is still “unseasonably mild.” Just the sorts of days when you are reminded how much you enjoy the smell of wet dog after a damp tromp through the fields.
Adam, Ava, Jessie and Julieta came for Sunday lunch last week along with one of the Chinese students lodging with them at the moment, a sweet young boy called Kevin. Jessie is taking guitar lessons at school and, so far, has been discovering the E, B and G strings. She brought her guitar with her on Sunday and she and I played a few duets. Give us a few more rehearsals and we’ll share a performance with you all – we do need to move on to the other strings as well and perhaps even some fingers on the frets before we’re ready for the big time.
On Wednesday, a young man arrived to do battle with a section of our garden fence. For some time it has been leaning at a considerable angle – the posts have rotted, it’s covered with ivy and it’s being shoved out of the way by an over-excited holly tree.
I was initially dubious that this one bloke, on his own, was going to get this all done in a day but he was very confident and my concerns, ultimately, were utterly misplaced. This guy was very efficient and quick! He had the fence down and the new one in its place in about four hours. And, he carted all the old bits away along with a mountain of ivy. Excellent!
Annabelle celebrated her 12th birthday on Wednesday. We weren’t able to get across to wish her a happy birthday in person – she is so busy she didn’t have a spare slot in her diary. If you want to do anything which involves Annabelle you need to get your booking in well in advance. Thankfully, they’re all coming for lunch today so we’ll be able to celebrate her birthday this afternoon instead.
Friday, Penny and I trotted off to the NEC in Birmingham for the Autumn Camping and Motorhome show which is generally good fun – the people-watching on its own is worth the price of admission. The place is packed with very serious and “professional” campers – we are mere novices in comparison. And, there were some very serious caravans, campervans and motorhomes for folks to get excited about – some of the motorhomes are the length of a city block and extraordinarily well-equipped. A bargain at a mere £150,000. As my brother Steph siad, “Can you imagine trying to parallel park one of those monsters?”
Although we are very happy with our campervan, I was struck with the number of tent trailers on show. Some of these were very well equipped – several had quite sophisticated kitchens on board and some could erect themselves at the push of a button. These reminded me of our family trip in the summer of 1967 in our very own tent trailer. During the summer we travelled from California to the East Coast and up to Lake George and then on to the World Fair in Montreal and ultimately back home again. Quite an adventure.
We went to the show mainly to look for a few bits and pieces and to drool over the new and astonishingly well-equipped campervans. It was interesting to look at the different internal configurations of a range of campervans, some of which were quite ingenious. I wasn’t sold, however, on the efforts of one supplier who managed to squeeze a toilet in the back of a VW van not dissimilar to our own. Its open-air design and proximity to the kitchen left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. Intriguingly, Penny’s main criteria when looking at the various campervans was how well Daisy would like this arrangement, or that arrangement. Nothing about our comfort or needs. I had hoped to find some camping chairs which were a bit more comfortable than ours – we found some but they didn’t pack down small enough for our limited storage space. We also looked at some very clever collapsible pans but Penny decided the ones we have are fine. We did come away with something, however – we are always on the lookout for clever storage solutions and did come away with some collapsible food containers so not a completely wasted visit. And, don’t forget the coffee, Cornish pasty and slab of lemon drizzle cake!
So, on the whole a relatively quiet week. This coming week, however, is already looking pretty hectic in comparison: we’ve got some lovely friends coming for meals on three different occasions, we’re taking another dear friend to lunch on another day (oh, my goodness – lots of eating) and then we mustn’t forget to collect our South American adventuring neighbours from Heathrow when they return on Wednesday. Not to mention the visit of the Pumpkin Man to a meeting of the Moreton Pinkney Garden Club.
Non-members are welcome so I’ll look forward to seeing you all there.
And, while we are talking about pumpkins, how about our very own pumpkin growing out of our compost heap? It’s a volunteer – we’ve never grown pumpkins. Penny reckons it must have germinated from the seeds and pumpkin pulp we discarded last year in anticipation of Halloween.
I suspect we can find some young child who might enjoy carving a jack-o-lantern.
Finally, I ran across the following on Facebook, I think – a very handy list of things that one should carry on a bike or motorcycle excursion.
Thank goodness I saw this – I have stupidly been going out without my prayer book, pipe and tobacco, slippers and corkscrew, amongst other things. How could I have been so stupid to go out without a corkscrew? Thankfully, I do not need to carry my revolver as I only cycle in the more civilised areas of Europe. It’s good to know, though, that if I am ever accosted by footpads (?) or brigands I can simply inform them that I am British and display my Union flag.
And finally, finally I saw this online earlier today. It needs no further explanation.
Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, be good, be careful, and keep safe. And be gentle to wasps and bees.
Lots of love to you all,