I’m so grateful, like many, Dad wouldn’t say very much about his experience, it was something he found to harrowing to tell. So to know more and ensure that the knowledge is handed on is important to me.
It’s taken me back to composing little blog posts as I meander along. Maybe it is time to start posting again. I’ve had a few false starts before, but I’m up for trying again.
Lets open the gate, and see where we can go, and what we might find.
I always stop and admire this gate. I imagine that by now the fiery orange montbretia will have bloomed along the steps, making the colours sing just a little brighter and louder.
We’ve been holidaying in our often featured, favourite Devon spot a little earlier than usual. And whilst we enjoy being able to visit outside the school holidays (it’s more peaceful, and a lot cheaper) we miss the fun and games we used to have with the ‘Mill Bay Gang’. The children are all grown up now, and scattered around the country and the globe. We the remaining grown ups have had to find new ways to entertain ourselves, it has involved a number of long leisurely lunches, but we are getting the hang of it.
So, maybe if I can push through the gate, I can also delve a little deeper, and explore some unfamiliar places and stories and report back to the blog. I like the idea of opening a few drawers, for a good old rummage around, ‘though few drawers will be as glamorous as these.
I’ll see what I can find.
(PS, how in my absence, did writing a blog post, get quiet so complicated? Please, am I missing something?)
I’m told my blog is fifteen years old. And whilst not a lot has been posted on it recently, I do refer to it often. Every time there is a question about when was it ‘such and such’ happened, this blog usually has the answer. It is stuffed full of memories.
Never more so than since Boxing day, the 26th of December 2021, when we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog Spud
Spud and his antics were a very important part of this blogs narrative.
His death, was both peaceful and timely, we miss him so very much, his absence ambushes us painfully time and time again.
We’re indebted to our local veterinary surgery, who whilst working under sever staffing pressures and Covid restrictions, made it possible for us to have the time and privacy to discuss an end of life plan for Spud. He had become slower and achy, and when in November he started showing symptoms of Horner’s Syndrome, the suspicion was that something serious was developing. We knew that that putting him through any invasive tests and procedures would not be in his best interests and it was agreed just before Christmas that he should be kept comfortable at home, being spoilt and eating lots of turkey.
He would have had a good zoom around given half a chance, but we’d learned, even if Spud hadn’t, that charging around too much made him rather sore and stiff, so we just allowed him a modest zoom. You can see he enjoyed it.
I hope you guys are all OK, I’ve not managed to find my blogging mojo through the last three weeks. I’ve not really been able to concentrate on much to be honest, I’ve not read a single book. I’ve made a lot of soup, which comforts twice I always find, its soothing to prepare and to eat, and fills the kitchen with homely cooking aromas.
Outside spring it carrying on a pace, and as far as the garden is concerned I’m not keeping pace!
We’ve Joe is home with us, from what was to have been his final months of study in Swansea, we did a round trip in a day, to gather up both him and his worldly goods before lock-down. Poor Spud the dog, he was bewildered, he spent over 12 hours in the camper van, and ended up back where he started, without so much as a grain of sand between his toes. Tom is locked down in Wanaka in New Zealand, I try not to think about the fact we couldn’t get on a plane and go to him, or he to us if the need arose. But I know he’s in a good place with good mates, and a country that didn’t falter to put it’s citizens health first.
Here are some sunny New Zealand Lupins
We’re keeping our heads down, and feeling very lucky indeed to have the space both indoors and out for it not to be too claustrophobic. We’ve been alarmed by the numbers of people that came to Derbyshire and the Peak District, we’d like to keep the numbers down.
Having flown for 28 hours, it was good to arrive ( flying Manchester, Dubai, Sydney, Sydney to Queenstown) With two hour stops at Dubai and Sydney, there wasn’t much hanging about and all went as smoothly as it could. I concluded that a kind of ‘shut down’ of the brain was required, I couldn’t concentrate to read, so I watched a lot of film, TV and listened to podcasts, the £25 noise cancelling headphone were a godsend, than you Mrs B for the tip.
I’ll have to grab the photos of our planes decent into Queenstown off Mr Uphilldowndale’s phone. What a way to arrive.
It’s not hard to see why our boy has fallen in love with this place.
The following day we had breakfast at the Waters Edge Hotel, the first of many memorable meals of the trip. NZ does food, coffee and wine with aplomb.
Tom drove us out to Mount Aspiring National Park, it wasn’t long before we were forging through fords and on unsealed road, that were altogether less potholed than than the A roads we’d left behind in Derbyshire .
It was positively Alpine
But with attitude, this looks like a high octane way to spend your weekends, jet boating.
And relax, the adventure, months in the planning has arrived.
It’s a much welcome bright day here in Derbyshire, one in which I shall try and in gather all the lumens I can. You never know how long it might be before the next sunny day.
Here are some some sunny blue sky photos from our New Zealand trip (November 2019), with complementary flash of orange for added zing.
A walk by the Clutha river, at Albert Town, nr Wanaka. Look, lupins, Tom had promised me there would be lupins ( a photogenic but invasive bloom, but more of that later).
Aren’t these poppies delicious
There was a cloud in the blue sky, but what a handsome cloud. I think it is a Lenticularis cloud, but you’d probably have to ask The Cloud Appreciation Society for a definitive answer.
And if this wasn’t tasty enough we followed up with lunch at Pembroke Patisserie, I don’t know which herb or spice they season their spinach and feta rolls with, but it make them sing. So much so we had to go back again another day.
Tom tells me how grim the weather has been over Wanaka, with the smoke clouds from Australia. It’s hard to imagine the scale of the Australian bush fires, but to put a little perspective on it, Sydney to New Zealand is a three hour flight (NZ is not quite ‘next door’ to Australia as we Poms are sometimes guilty of thinking). You are in our thoughts Australia.
I’ve enjoyed making some of my Christmas cards from stack of vintage postcards I found in a second hand book shop inKeswick, they are reproductions of stamps issued by the post office in the 1970s and 80s. Some had a Christmas theme, like the one above, published in 1981 I wonder what Samantha Brown is up to now, I hope she is still having as much fun with paint as she did back in 1981?
There were some very pretty ones.
This was a favourite
Some were not seasonal at all. I just chose them because they had a link to interests and hobbies of the intended recipient.
We’ve a friend. MR, who is a postal historian, I was delighted to find a postcard for him that celebrated postal history. Spot on, couldn’t be better.
It’s been a while since I posted, not since mid October in fact. We’ve been away, a long way away. We’ve been to New Zealand to visit Tom, he’s been living and working there for the last couple of years.
My goodness New Zealand is a beautiful country. Lake Wanaka
Sadly, whilst we were away, my brother passed away; when I heard the news, I felt every one of those many, many miles away from my family.
I was comforted to be able to be home for his funeral, which took place yesterday.
In a nod back to my recent post about the thriftiness (and sheds) of our fathers, I thought I’d share this ingenious use of a road cone. My father would have approved of its reincarnation as a downspout from a barn roof.
When you need a road cone, for use in the road, they are as rare as hens teeth. I’ve sat in on countless discussions of where we might source some cones for use at community events, the County Council nor the police will let theirs out of their sight (hummm, maybe that’s because they end up as downspouts?) That’s if they have any budget to buy them with in the first place.