We got home from Scotland on Friday evening and in no time we were back into the hectic schedule that is our retirement. On Saturday we had an excellent cooked breakfast at The Lemon Tree and, for once, managed to finish The Times Jumbo crossword (the non-cryptic version) while we were there. The rest of the day was a catch up of washing and cleaning before heading off on Sunday to London.
We went to London to see Behind The Beautiful Forevers at the National. It stars Meera Syal as a matriarch in a Mumbai slum where her family's meagre living is funded by collecting and sorting through rubbish. After enjoying a hearty lunch at House, The National's excellent new restaurant, a couple of hours of Indian poverty was quite difficult to experience. As always, The National's designers had excelled themselves with the set which brilliantly captured the hustle and hubbub of busy Mumbai streets, a rubbish strewn shanty town and the perimeter of one of Asia's busiest airports. I can't say that I enjoyed the play - it was a bit too downbeat for me but I did appreciate the fine cast and the moving story, lightened occasionally by humour. I am afraid that I am a sucker for a happy ending and, although there was a glimmer of hope in this, the overriding stench of corruption left me a little depressed.
But it was a glorious day in London and we enjoyed a vigorous stroll along The South Bank both to the theatre and back to Liverpool St Station.
Monday was time for a haircut with the lovely Tori at Carley Hill hair and a trip to Leiston to collect more recycled compost from the recycling centre. We've been trying to improve the soil in the garden which is heavy clay. So far we've dug in about a hundred bags of this compost but there's still a fair way to go. We then had a whistle stop tour of four local garden centres looking for some plants that Marion has chosen for the borders. We managed to source some of them. Each of the centres was good for one type of plant but we didn't find one that was good for all. Following this with a two hour exercise session at Fram Leisure made for a very busy Monday.
On Tuesday it was Marion's turn to visit Carley Hill. I went out to try a bit of metal detecting for a couple of hours but had no success. I've searched the field seven or more times and, as the undergrowth is getting thicker it's quite hard to detect there now. My other fields are full of crops so I will have to wait a while before doing some more "treasure hunting". I did have twenty or more signals and ,although these were mostly scraps of lead, any one of them could have turned up a decent find.
Summer has arrived in Framlingham this week and it was glorious again today from the moment we pulled back the curtains - perfect weather for going for my first bike ride of the year.
Never has a Christmas stocking filler been more welcome. Just half an hour into my ride and in the middle of nowhere I had a puncture. This kit, bought for me by son Paul and his wife Josephine did the trick. It's been many years since I last repaired a puncture and I don't think I've ever had to do one by the roadside before so I was not exactly expert. As the inner tube turned out to have two tiny holes, and each repair required a wait of five minutes for the adhesive to go off, the job took me the best part of half an hour to complete. I'm pleased that the repair held out so I decided to carry on with the ride.
And a cappuccino at Pump Street Bakery in Orford accompanied by one of their Oscar mentioned doughnuts was a well earned treat. I got home to find Marion, who spent the morning at yoga, busy in the garden. She has been putting hours into working on it. Although we had the garden landscaped and planted in 2013, it was planted for instant colour and was not a long term planting scheme. Marion is now putting that right and taking out many of the perennials and replacing them with shrubs. She's done a brilliant job and it's really starting to take shape - watch this space for photos when the new additions start to grow.
When I got back from Orford the weather was still glorious so an ice cream was called for. The castle was open so, as we are English Heritage members, it was the perfect spot to go and buy a couple of tubs from their kiosk and enjoy the sunshine in the shelter of the castle grounds.
After that we strolled down to The Dancing Goat and enjoyed a couple of their home made lemonades. The hot weather (23.5 degrees here today) is not going to last but it is forecast to be sunny for the next six or seven days. Tomorrow it's back to London to see the people who look after our investments and retirement savings and then we're off to The Aldwych theatre for Beautiful the musical about Marion's favourite singer Carole King.