Monday, 4 June 2018

So That Was May

The last time I blogged I said that I'd been too busy to keep writing things up but I'd find more time in May. Famous last words. May turned out to be even more hectic -with little time to draw breath. I know that lots of retired people say this sort of thing but it is true that time seems to just disappear at our age - a worrying thought. 

Here's a quick look at what happened. I mentioned our trip to the Art For Cure opening in my last blog and was surprised to see we turned up in the local Suffolk society magazine Essentials. Fame indeed.

I've already written about the evening but a few more photos won't go amiss.

When we do get a few minutes away from the busy schedule our favourite local spot is a sunny seat outside The Dancing Goat where we can enjoy a great coffee and watch the world go by. 

After some dreadful weather during our trip to Scotland in April, it was great to be able to enjoy a hot and sunny month. Although Marion is fully recovered from her encounter with a pothole last summer she's still not too confident about cycling and, as there seem to be more potholes than ever this year, who can blame her? So instead of getting on our bikes we went for a couple of longish walks.

The first, from Snape Maltings to Iken church was on a glorious day. The churchyard at Iken is so peaceful that we just sat there for a good hour before heading back. On the way back we found that the tide had turned and, at one point, the path was under water. I foolishly decided it would be easy to scramble along some rough concrete slabs above the waterline - it wasn't and I ended up tumbling into the river. Although the water was only six inches deep I was lucky not to injure myself more severely than the gashed leg, grazed chest and grazed arm that I did suffer. I completed the walk with a ripped shirt and torn bloodied trousers and soaked to the skin. Oh well, at least I got some new clothes as a result - every cloud as they say.

We regularly see our family in Kent and it was good to drive over, stay at a local Premier Inn and spend a Saturday and Sunday with them. This time we visited Lullingstone Roman Villa.

We haven't been there since our own children were small. English Heritage have developed the site nicely and it was good to spend a couple of hours there after a decent Sunday lunch in a local pub.

Another walk we enjoy is from Walberswick to Dunwich.

The marshland scenery is hauntingly beautiful. 

We had a picnic in the ruins of the Greyfriars Priory before walking back along the clifftop past the final remaining gravestone (the once thriving town of Dunwich collapsed into the sea over the centuries) and back along the beach. The tide was high and, instead of walking along the sands as we usually do, we walked along the shingle banks. Talk about a workout! It felt like we'd done an hour at the gym by the time we reached meadowland.

It was good to see Darren at the market has lobster back on the van now and will do until the autumn. I love lobster but this year's price meant a cut back from one each to a half topped up with some king prawns - equally delicious.

Another event at Glemham Hall was a new Brocante Fair. This was the first fair to be held at this venue and, although we didn't buy anything, it was a good fair with a lot of stands and plenty of good quality.

We were back from the fair in time to catch the annual gravity Soap Box racing on Market Hill. This event, brilliantly organised by Spadge Hopkins, was very well attended and benefitted from yet another day of cloudless skies.

Last Saturday we drove back to Kent to collect our son Paul and his two children while Paul's wife was away working in America. We had a great week with the grandchildren with plenty to keep everyone occupied.

On bank holiday Monday there was the Gala parade - much better than last year. 

Free admission to the Gala ensured bumper crowds on an almost unbearably hot afternoon.

I love playing Scrabble and, for the very first time, had a new rival when we dug out our old Junior Edition and five-year-old Catherine challenged me. She did really well and enjoyed it enough to have another go later in the week

We decided to take the kids to the seaside on Tuesday. We suspected that Aldeburgh and Southwold would be too packed so we went to Felixstowe for the very first time - a good choice. The beach was uncrowded and the kids had a great time playing on the sand before a very good fish and chip lunch at The Boardwalk Cafe on the pier.  

The latest craze is decorating rocks and hiding them. When you find one you're supposed to photograph it and post on Facebook. Catherine was so excited to find a rock in Rendlesham Forest so she decorated one herself and hid it on the promenade at Felixstowe.  

On Wednesday there was a Kids' Festival at Stonham Barns. This was an excellent event with tons of activities and great value for money.

The "kids" loved the hula hoop training.

Paul though that it would be nice for Catherine and Marion to share some girl time so they booked into The Retreat for a joint pedicure.

Catherine was delighted with the result. 

They'd been with us a week but it seemed like five minutes when it was time to drive the family back to Kent on Saturday after a pleasant lunch at The Lemon Tree. I was lucky that the traffic was light and I managed to get home after just four hours driving. 

Somehow life seems very quiet today.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

What Happened To April?

It was 21st March when I last updated the blog. That's the longest gap I've had since I started writing this over five years ago and I'm going to try not to leave such a long time between blogs again. There's been quite a lot going on that's put blogging low on the list of priorities but now that I'm back I'll whizz through what's been happening by way of a photo journal.

When I last wrote we'd just taken grandchildren Teddy and Catherine away for a snowy weekend near the Kent coast. There was building work going on at their house so we gave them a break. And we did the same the following weekend with a two night stay at the Premier Inn Ramsgate. 

This time the weather was a lot kinder and we enjoyed a trip to Broadstairs
Snowballs one week, sandcastles the next.
The next day found us at Reculver Towers
Home from Kent it was time to pack yet again and head north this time to the caravan in St Andrews to visit the Scottish arm of the family.

We took my mum with us 

We arrived to burst pipes which was not a great start especially with the temperatures back to freezing

But we did manage to have a lovely Easter with the family

The kids loved their trip to the aquarium
Despite stormy seas outside
Mum loved her visit
Despite heavy snow when I took her back to Edinburgh airport
Shortly after we got back from Scotland it was time to prepare for another of our weekend breaks with our group of friends. We've been doing these long weekends away twice a year for two or three years now and have stayed at some great self catering houses. This one was no exception. We stayed in a shooting lodge in Farndale on the North Yorkshire Moors. It was a fabulous place and Marion and I were fortunate enough to be able to stay eight nights.

The views from the house are stunning
We enjoyed a visit to the National Trust's Rievaulx Terrace

The "sky viewing" circle was a great idea
Inside one of the folly temples on the terrace
The cottage dining room accommodated us all comfortably

After our friends left we had time to enjoy the lodge and the surrounding area. It's not a region that we know well and we found plenty of places to visit within a short drive. Weather was cold but we kept dry and had some super days out.

Castle Howard is a perfect example of how to run a tourist attraction - excellent all round from the breakfast in the cafe to the signage and the quality of guides in all of the rooms

We also had a first visit to Whitby

And the lovely Robin Hood's Bay

The walk from Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey was excellent and the abbey itself is stunning
But the highlight of the break has to be the Lodge and its fabulous grounds

As soon as we got home on Friday we rushed out to the opening of the Art For Cure exhibition at Glemham Hall. It was a glorious sunny evening and there was an amazing display of art and sculpture on display

This was my favourite - it's by Paul Richardson the sculptor who created our seagull
Saturday saw us heading for London. We had tickets for a new play at The National.

Nine Night was a funny and moving family drama set around the nine nights wake of a Jamaican matriarch in London. Particularly relevant in view of the recent Windrush scandal. We loved it.

The glorious weather wasn't ideal for a matinee theatre performance but we got to London early and enjoyed a walk and some sightseeing before the play

It's been a glorious bank holiday weekend here in Framlingham
As for the detecting, the season is over now with all the fields planted. I did manage a final trip before the farmers finished

A few medieval bits turned up.

So that's it for now. I'm going to try and keep up the writing and not leave such long gaps between blogs. I'm also working on my third novel which is currently stalled at around 10,000 words.