Showing posts from May, 2018

A Derbyshire Walk

Derbyshire and the Peak District are not on our doorstep but they are close to the home of a dear friend who has only very recently retired. The sun hasn't stopped shining since she did and she is revelling in the pleasure of being outside when everyone else is inside working. The first of her retirement challenges is to walk the boundary of the Peak District National Park, raising money through sponsorship for a local charity supporting refugees. I stayed overnight so that I could accompany her on what is a relatively short section of the walk just south of Chatsworth House which looked magnificent in the sunshine with its fountains a tempting sight in the heat. We ambled between two quintessential English villages, Beeley and Winster, passing through a third, Rowsley . We strolled in woods, across meadows abundant with wild flowers and over moorland. We stopped briefly by the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, with stones that are approximately two feet in height; it definit

You Know Life's Finite When...

Four of us gathered at a friend's house yesterday to gawp together at the pageantry of the Royal Wedding live on television. We celebrated the occasion in style, accompanied by a champagne lunch. I even baked and iced some British cupcakes for the gathering . I also brought more solemnity to the event than the Archbishop of Canterbury when I queried if this would be the last chance in our lifetime to experience a televised royal marriage. That caused a little consternation for the true Royalist amongst us who thought I was referring to a Republican takeover. Then optimism broke out as we turned to our tried and trusted fingers to calculate just how old we might be when the next generation of heirs to the throne are ready to wed. Zimmer frames aside, if they marry young enough we concluded that we could still be around to witness it, in body if not mind.

Project Restoration

We returned from Scotland last week with an empty diary and a boot full of cushions. Mister E, with his love of all things nautical, is embracing a new project and looking to restore a much cherished but recently neglected classic yacht of demure proportions. Just perfect for the two of us to sail apparently, after our family boat from the last decade, despite its electric winches, stands accused of causing bursitis in our respective shoulders and has been steadily getting a little high for my stiff knees to clamber aboard. Possibly driven by a fear of joint pain, I have been willingly recruited to assist in Project Restoration. My participation started in Scotland with a meeting at Crinan Boatyard to explore the feasibility and timescale of various essential jobs as highlighted by a survey (time spent: 1 hour). Then there was an onboard meeting with the seller, his wife and their dog (time spent: 3 hours). The trouble with "boaties" is not that they find so much in

Manic Mondays

I think all my regular retirement activities came together in one enormous manic episode of non-stop activity today. Goodness me it was just like being back at work when court cases would invariably run over or be slotted in for an urgent mention next morning , and once again I didn't finish until 9pm.  So I started with a morning commute for a gym workout; went to the almshouse I'm a trustee at to complete some forms and at 1pm presented myself for a shift at the local Save the Children shop covering for a volunteer on holiday and even eating a sandwich at my desk (happy memories) for lunch. I got home with just sufficient time to prepare for a Parish Council meeting this evening and which I then clerked from 7.30 pm. Before settling down to type this blog, I've chatted on the telephone, soaked and rinsed berth cushions (subject material for my next blog entry), watered my greenhouse plants, watched a little television and then finally switched the computer

B&B in Scotland - A Recommendation

It's sometimes said that Scotland is a decade behind England when it comes to eating out and comfort. I do still have memories of being served tinned pears and evaporated milk for dessert in a guest house that the whole family shivered the night away in but to be fair that must have been 15 years ago. In our experience though, whatever hospitality North of the border may have lacked in providing for English softies, it always more than made up for with its expansive scenery and overt friendliness. We are just back from another trip to undertake boat related "stuff"  but our visit included a wonderful overnight at Whitestone Cottage on the Culzean Castle estate in South Ayrshire. A 20 minute walk through woods and farmland down to an empty beach; the property where Robbie Burns' mother  was born; 2 duvets on the bed  in case the central heating wasn't sufficient; a supply of CDs, DVDs and reading material including local guidebooks; through the

DIY Postscript

Nestbuilding on Mister E's part has continued unabated since the messy incident with the radiator. In fact it would be fair to say that heat radiates throughout the house as I type and for which I am truly grateful as the sun may be shining during the day but temperatures are plummeting at night; indeed it was only 3.5 degrees when I awoke this morning, not helped by a stiff northerly breeze. However Mister E has hardly seemed to notice the cool air as he has toiled continuously and added to his achievements the fixing of a leaking shower and the felling of various dead trees and hedging that have failed to survive the long damp winter. He has been so immersed that I decided to chance my luck in asking him to fix a broken drawer which even an appentice like myself could see required the insertion of new tacks or staples. He willingly took up the staple gun like a cudgel and attacked the drawer as I stood by appreciatively noting his handiwork.  What is it about