Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Phew Not A Scorcher

As I write, the sun is high in the sky and the temperature has soared to close to 25 degrees. There's not a cloud to be seen.

If only that had been the case in St Andrews for the last fortnight. 

We had a great time staying in our caravan and seeing the family but this was how the BBC weather app looked for much of the stay. I know I shouldn't grumble but the winds kept us from getting out on our bikes and, whilst much of the country was dining al fresco in the evenings, we were sitting in front of the fire and switching the electric blankets on.

But, as I said, we saw plenty of the family and that was great and that was the reason we bought the caravan in the first place.

Little Melody is almost five now and put on school uniform for the first time to have a look around the school she's starting at in the Autumn term.

She and Rose joined us at the caravan site and stayed the night - their first ever night away from their mum and dad. They loved playing football even though we didn't have a ball!

And after a bit of fun before bedtime, they managed to sleep right through the night.

The weather can't take away the splendour of St Andrews. It really is a beautiful place.

While the girls were at school we enjoyed a few visits to The Old Course Hotel for coffee. It's a great place to go and well worth spending the extra few quid for the comfort.

And the location.
While we were there, Rose lost her first tooth. She's almost seven now and, as a lot of her friends are going to be on holiday on her birthday, her mum and dad brought her birthday party forward to last Saturday.

Sarah, pictured here with Marion, put in  a huge effort converting the garden to a flower fairy land and a dozen little girls had a wonderful time playing and making things.
 The garden was alive with fairies.

The party girl with her cake and dress (all made by her mum).

It was Fathers' Day while we were away and I bought these from the bookshop with the voucher that Sarah gave me. I loved Less (a humorous gay romance). I wasn't so keen on History Of Wolves and am just about to start The Lie Of The Land.

Mr Prendergast's Fantastic Find continues to be well received and I loved this recent GOOD review. The only critical review on Amazon is not so bad either is it?

I had a morning out with the detector while we were away. I had to laugh after digging a two foot deep hole and unearthing this! (There was no skeleton detectorist clutching it).

As we prepared to leave the caravan the weather finally improved and on Sunday we went for a picnic in the super new playground behind the museum.
Walking into town from the museum I noticed this memorial to a Polish war hero. A reminder of how grateful we all should be to the Poles who helped us win the war.

No visit to St Andrews on a sunny day is complete without a detour to the famous Moretti's Ice Cream parlour. The queue was out into the street andalong the road and the shop staff were handing out free samples to keep the crowd cool.But the wait was worth it and we enjoyed some delicious ices.

Our day out ended with a walk to the wonderful ruined cathedral. 

I'm going to miss this couple of live-wires.

And their mum and dad.

I showed them what you can do with the panorama mode on the iPhone.
It kept them entertained for ages.

In other news we were busy getting on top of the garden before we left for St Andrews. After five years of hard work it's finally beginning to look established. It looks a bit neglected after the heatwave that's been going on here while we've been away but Marion has been working away and I'll post some more photos in a week or two.

Lobsters have come down a bit in price so it's back to one each now.

I don't like the Star but I really had to laugh at this headline. It's up there with "Book Lack In Ongar" when the Ongar librarians went on strike.

And finally, a sign of the increasing population here in Framlingham or maybe Brexit is just turning everybody to drink.

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.