When the kids were small the favourite book in our household was The Trip To Panama by Janosch.
It charts the adventures of loving couple Little Tiger and Little Bear who discover a fragment of a banana crate on a river bank. It bears the word "PANAMA" and they immediately decide that they must find this wonderful Panama because "Panama is the land of our dreams. Panama smells of bananas". Since then, another loving couple (us) has used Panama as a metaphor for the place of our own dreams and yesterday, being in Manchester, we decided to have a quick look for somewhere to settle for the future.
We chose Didsbury for the first step into our own adventure as we had read that it is vibrant, lively and a little Bohemian with excellent transport links to Manchester and the motorway system. It was certainly lively with plenty of pavement cafes and a great range of local pubs, restaurants and shops - butchers, greengrocers, cheeses, books and much more. It's so trendy there's even a cup cake shop. There's also plenty of green space and the place has a well maintained look to it. The only drawback for us was that the traffic was constant and very loud with the fumes to go with it. So sitting at the roadside enjoying breakfast in the sunshine was spoiled. We looked at a property that is an apartment within a beautiful old mansion that has been done up to a very high standard. It has super gardens. The only snag was that it was bang on the main road. It was worth going to look at Didsbury but we had to conclude that it's nice - but it's not Panama.
Marion's going away for a weekend in early June. Our God daughter is getting married in July and she is having a "hen weekend" at Center Parcs near Nottingham. I've decided to go metal detecting while she's away and I emailed half a dozen hotels in Yorkshire enquiring about the price and availability of a single room for two nights. I didn't get a very positive response other than a welcoming email from the owners of this farmhouse B&B. I have never tried a B&B before but, being on my own, it's not a problem if it's not up to expectations. And judging from the extremely pleasant responses to my emails, I've got a feeling that they will make me very welcome. I will let you know. Being on a farm they might even let me have a look around their fields.
After a couple of weeks where we have been away for days on end we've nothing much planned now for three weeks so it's time to get back into the habit of the gym. I'm aiming to be able to do this by Christmas.