Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Chapter Forty nine

Those of you who know Linda, will remember the mouthful of disturbed teeth that she had. The dentist told her that her mouth is so small there just wasn't room for a normal amount of teeth. I can best describe the inside of her mouth as 'like an explosion in a cemetary'. Every tooth seemed to be fighting for space or leaning at a drunken angle.
A generous gift a few years ago enabled Linda to go through several years of discomfort and dentistry until finally her teeth are all back in place and all is well. She has been so happy with her smile that, now, at last, looks like a proper smile, and not like a shark waiting to pounce.
All that perseverence and all that discomfort...then she found out that the brace in her mouth would be there for life. The dentist never knew; Linda never knew; nobody knew; that her teeth would not be strong enough to hold a bridge to keep them all in place.
Sadly she was told that the only way to make it work now was to have a tooth implanted into the jaw bone and this would hold the bridge in place... then she was also told the fee to have it done.
Well that should put the dentist's children through Uni I must say. No wonder you never see a poor dentist.
I don't know what will be the most painful; the extraction of tooth followed by the implant...or the extraction from my wallet followed by the payment.
Finally we have scraped the cash together and finally she is going in to get the proceedure done.
It must be worse than I thought because they have said she might not be able to work for several days. She certainly wont be eating much or drinking a glass of wine really soon. I had no idea it was such a complicated thing.
So here we are; Linda is lying in a dentist surgery somewhere in Truro, thankfully unconscious; I am sitting in the library, wishing I was unconscious.
Its been a long road to finally get her teeth sorted, and this is now the final mile. Lets hope it works!!
The last week has been a glorious sunny one. I have never known heat like it. For the first time in years...I burnt on the beach.
My fault entirely. I get so used to being exposed in all weathers I forgot the bits that are invariably covered.
I normally wear boots and socks to work so my tan line stops about two inches above my ankle bone. When I take my boots and socks off it looks like I am wearing white socks. To counteract that, I have taken to wearing my sandals at every opportunity. This has resulted in my feet and ankles tanning enough to look OK. This week like an idiot, when we got to the beach...I took the sandals off. You can guess the result. The strap marks across my feet went from bright pink to burnt raw. Its taken a week to sort myself out.

Linda thought it was hilarious and offered to shave my head for me. She then said I could have the nice brown centre bit...like a monks tonsure...surrounded by a big white circle slowly changing from bright pink to firey red. Not the most sympathetic person my wife.
My two photos don't really do justice to the beach at Carne. If you can imagine two beaches; one called Carne and the other Pendower. They lay in a large bay and are seperated from each other by a mixed rock and sand area. That is the area we go and sit at. We don't mind walking along the beach full of people, but we prefer to find our own quiet place to sit and enjoy.
Both sandy area's can fill up quite quickly with people but the area we like stays fairly quiet, Its sort of seperate, but right in the middle of things, if you know what I mean. This place we try to get each time we come down, is bordered by low rocks with their pools and hidden places. It also has the most wonderful little carpets of sand that just cry out for people to sit there.
We can put the picnic basket in the shade; stand a bottle of wine in an adjacent pool; spread blanket and chairs; and make it home from home. Its great.  
Finally; I have entered a literary competition. Fingers crossed, but I'm really pleased with the story I sent. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Chapter Forty Eight

You can probably hear the cursing and shouting where you are. That would be me doing that. I have just lost the entire page that I have been writing for the last three hours. I have no idea what happened.
Oh well. I shall begin again.
A few weeks ago Linda and I became the proud minders of two guinea pigs. They are Whiskey and Widget. Whiskey is the male and is dark brown while Widget is the female and is a much lighter colour. We have got them a moveable run so they are able to get lots of exercise dashing about on the lawn. Above the run is their hutch. This is nice and roomy and gives them two areas to live in as well as the run itself.
                 Widget                                                              Whiskey

This is Widget, as usual, first to the food bowl

Sadly, neither of them has been able to learn that they can run down the sloping board to the run beneath. Both of them are able to gallop back up the thing to the hutch...but then they are stuck there for the day. We have had to buy a small day hutch for them that sits in the run. They can get in and out of that alright and it stops them getting ill through sleeping on the damp grass all day.
They really are a delight and spend a lot of time together, chirping at each other. I'm not quite sure if that is the right description of the noise they make, but that's what it sounds like to me. They seem to adore Linda as well and lie quite happily in her arms when she picks them up. They are lovely little creatures and we are fond of them.

 I did make the mistake of telling Linda that "they are  part of the basic diet of people in Peru and suchlike and wasn't that interesting?"
The icy stare followed by the even icier question of...
"And your point is what??"
reminded me to think more, before I open the old mouth. You would think I had learnt by now. Anyway; reassurances that I would not be eating the guinea pigs has been accepted and all is OK. I decided not to ask her what she thought they might taste like. It seemed best.
Last Saturday (14th July) some old friends of ours came down to Cornwall for a holiday. Mark, Tracy, and Harry; known to all an sundry as "the wheelies"; seem to have been able to make the jetstream go back to were it belongs. I assume this because as soon as they got to Cornwall, the sun came out and summer started.
Certainly it has come as some relief to people in Britain because that jet stream has brought nothing but death and destruction with it over the last couple of months. Hopefully that is now behind us and we can enjoy once again.
Mark had already spoken to us and also to Ian and Debbie who also live down here in Cornwall. Mark, Ian, Linda, and myself all worked at Farnham Royal Mail together for many years and we have kept in touch.
The upshot of all this was a beach BBQ at Portreath on the north coast. We all arrived at about seven that evening; Ian clutching a BBQ and loads of sausages and burgers. Mark and I were stood there with loads of bottles and glasses. It was a brilliant evening.

All seven of us carted everything down to the beach and soon settled in for a huge 'catch-up'. The evening was a delight as regards the weather, and absolutely fantastic as regards the 'catch-up'. We only came in when it got to dark to see.
In fatc we had such a good time we repeated the whole thing at Porthleven the following thursday; but this time at Debbies house.
It was a real 'postie' evening, made even more postal when Claire (postie) texted me from Farnham  and told us that Gary (postie) had just become a proud father again; this time of a son. It could not have been more opportune and we were able to 'wet' the baby's head.
The evening was such a laugh and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. There is nothing like a group of posties getting together to fill the evening with banter. Its normally pretty ridiculous but can also be very funny.
 You would probably have to have been there to appreciate the humour concerning 'Steven Seagull and Owl Pacino'...but if you could see this aggressive old herring gull squaring up to a large plastic 'bird scarer' owl, you would have laughed as much as we did.

Mark and Tracy                                   Liam and Linda                    Ian and Debbie

Harry did the honours for us all and took a brilliant photo of the six of us. Its funny how things go. We all met up after several months, and it was as if no time at all had passed...we just carried on as normal. Fantastic.
I reached the ripe old age of 58 on Wednesday as well. I still feel as if I'm only 28...Linda says I act as if I'm only 8; but I still can't believe I'm almost 60. Its a shock sometimes to even think on it...so I wont.
This is me wearing the birthday cake hat complete with candles. Linda said not to put the full amount of candles on it as the weight would damage my neck...how charming.

Work has taken on a decided learning curve and my hours have increased enormously. Sadly, I am still being wasted on a ten hour a week contract but I am putting in weeks of thirty hours or so at the moment. The biggest problem I find is to keep learning jobs blind. Its not easy and you never really get to know them properly. It has been fun working in Truro though and I have enjoyed it... however I still want to get out to my beloved Portscatho and St Mawes. Thats were I'm happiest.
I have been offered some bar work at the local pub (The Kings Head). I dont start until September and I am looking forward to getting a new skill under my belt. Its been nearly thirty years since I did some work at the con club at Farnham in that bar.
We are making the most of our weekends and evenings while the weather is good and have been going down to Carne Beach. Its been lovely to sit there or walk along the beach through the surf. Its what we came down here for and we love it to bits.
I think thats it. Most of what I had already written is now back down here again. If I lose this I shall scream.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Chapter Forty Seven

This is going to be another busy week leading up to our next weekend helping out with the fete and dog show for Maria. At least this time it is a little closer to home and is only up the road in Probus. Linda has taken the week off because of seeing Katrina and family. I am having a great time doing a different duty each day; all of them at either Portscatho or St Mawes. Brilliant and I can't wait.
My sister Therese and my niece Becky are coming down on Wednesday. They will be staying with us for ten days or so, to give Therese time to convalesce from her operation. Who needs a gall bladder anyway; thats what we say. Becky too is in need of a bit of R & R herself so hopefully Cornwall will be able to works its magic while they are here.
On Tuesday Katrina and co turned up and Oscar quickly made himself at home by throwing the teddies out of my old chair and taking possession once more. Its great to see that little chair in use again.
After dinner we took them across to Carne beach and had a walk on the sands. Oscar is more than capable of running around on his own although he wanted to make sure first that all was OK. He stayed close to his dad at first as Kevin brought him closer to the water.

 It wasn't long though before he followed us into the sea for a paddle. For him however; what started as a paddle ended up as a dip in the sea as he considered sitting in it more important than simply walking through.

You forget how much energy yougsters have until they go dashing off in all directions...and Oscar is no exception. He charged up and down the beach like a madman; exploring this and examining that; I didn't think he would stop. Going home a little while later...he was out cold in no time.
The following day dawned and by the afternoon Therese and Becky were down with us once more. They both look very tired and worn out so a week or so of doing nothing is on the cards. Linda and I are great believer's in letting people recuperate at their own pace. We will be here if needed, but will be there for them on their terms and not ours.
The weather has taken a little surge for the better and we have had three or four dry days. On the strength of that we decided to have a BBQ in the garden and invite Katrina and co along as well. The whole thing was a great success and the weather held out a treat.
Needless to say; the head chef, myself; produced a wonderful array of sausages and burgers while my lovely assistant produced everything else. Oscar however seemed far more interested in the guinea pigs and spent most of his time near them.
It was a nice afternoon and evening and the time flew by. Once again we found ourselves saying goodbye to people we care about deeply and it was sad to watch them drive back up the road; they go home in two days.
One thing you never think of when you move away is that there will always be wonderful hello's, but on the other side of the coin, also some sad goodbyes. I doubt we shall ever get used to it.
The weather took a turn for the worst the following day with strong winds and showers. Everybody down here has a car covered in dirt which the television has informed us is sand from the Sahara. It seems the strong winds have come from there and they scooped up tons and tons of sand on the way.  My neighbour swears he had it worst than most as he had heard a knock on his front door at 04-00 this morning. He says when he opened the door he found two arabs and a camel asking for the quickest route back to Cairo. Well I believe him even if Linda doesn't.
Sunday was the big day for Maria's event and Linda and I turned up early to help out. I have been put in charge of the book stall and am in my element. Linda has become greeter and raffle ticket seller at the door.
I brought more of my books along with me and was delighted to see them go off to some good homes. We found out later that by the end of the day Maria had made over £1500-00 for the charity. Not a bad days work at all. Linda made £300-00 on the raffle alone which kind of put my £120-00 in the shade a bit. We had a fantastic day even if a little exhausting. Therese and Becky were there as well and had fun hunting for bargains.
All things considered though it was a busy old day, so when it was all over we headed to the pub at Tregony for dinner. That wound up the day nicely.
This last week has been very mixed. Therese and Becky continued to improve daily and enjoyed watching Wimbledon on the telly. Linda was busy at work and travelled as far as Penzance one way and Plymouth the other.
As for me, I was delivering in places I had never been to before. One minute delivering close by, the next, I'm up on the north coast and working up there. If they can supply you with a van all is well. If not though they give you 45 pence per mile if you use your own car. I'd never heard of that before so I have a big belated claim to put in.
Its been fun though and I have met some lovely new people on my travels.
My uniform orders have finally caught up with me and at last some replacement uniform has turned up. The order went in three times as the first one disappeared completly. The second order arrived before the third order was sent in, but because nobody had heard of the name on the order form, it ended up on a shelf.
When my order for a cagoulle and new pair of boots arrived one of the managers spotted my name on the box. It read 'Liam Mulvin'. He suddenly chimed up,
"Thats similar to the name on the other box that we put up on the shelf thinking it was a new starter."
He found the box and brought it over. The name read as 'William Melvin'. When we opened it we found the other item I had ordered which was a new fleece. We also found a pair of brand new boots as well so I now have two pairs. It could only happen at Royal Mail.
 The rest of the country seems to be in the grip of some severe weather and it appears far more serious than ours down here. We have had some bad weather obviously, but our little corner of Cornwall seems to have been spared any flooding. The other day the forecast was for apocalyptic weather bringing floods and surface water to us all. On the strength of that and under darkening skies I joined the rest of the village in mowing our own lawns. Twenty minutes after the last mower was switched off and silence settled over us all...it began to rain.
It poured down all night and I was not looking forward to my delivery the following day; which was last Saturday.
My alarm went off and I peered anxiously through the curtains at the Armageddon that was surely awaiting me outside. There was no surface water and only a light drizzle falling. I drove to work and witnessed no problems anywhere. By the time I left Truro the rain had stopped; by the time I got to Mount Hawke I was driving into fog. When I left Mount Hawke I drove out of the fog into sunshine and headed to Grampound Road. It was sunny there but I did get caught by the lightest of quick showers.
While I had been at work, Linda, Therese, and Becky had gone down to the creek to see the start of the River Fal charity swim. It wasn't a race or anything like that; simply a bit of fun and group swim down river towards Philleigh.
Loads of people from all over the place took part and they seemed to enjoy themselves. Linda is determined to take part next year. There where several canoes and boats about for anyone in difficulties so it all seemed very well organised. The three of them enjoyed the whole thing and joined in with the banter as everyone set off. Perhaps Therese and Becky will swim it with Linda next year. I wont of course; I still can't swim yet no matter how hard Linda has tried to teach me.
By the time I got home the sun was shining and we all sat out in the garden. Linda had washing on the line which was drying and she was now pottering about. Therese and Becky were in the loungers reading and enjoying the sun; even the two guinea pigs were lying out on the grass and taking it easy.
That pretty much was our weekend. While other parts of the country flooded and drowned; and this includes parts of Devon and Dorset; we sat out and enjoyed it.
Sadly though, this weekend was the time for Therese and Becky to return home. We had Sunday lunch out in the garden before taking them both back up to St Austell. They are on their way home now and we are sitting back out in the garden again. Well I am; Linda is back to her pottering about.

It seems very empty here now they have gone. 

Chapter Forty Six

Two of our weekends have been taken up with running stalls for Maria. She is a lovely lady who has been running her own Animal Shelter for several years now. Finally, after a lot of effort, she has managed to attain 'charity status' and is hoping to move it on to bigger and better things. This is the place that Linda voluteers for and helps out with on alternative days on weekends.
The weekend of the 23/24 of June found Maria unable to go to the Cornwall Agricutural College Show so Linda volunteered us to help there instead. This is why we spent the weekend working on a tombola/bookstall/ homemade produce stall in Callington.
I couldn't get the day off work for the Saturday but Linda was ably supported by one of the other volunteers for that day.

This is a view of the stall just before the visitors would have descended on it. The two of them cleared most of this by the evening and we had to replenish it all for the Sunday. This was the day when it was just me and Linda.  

  Over the two days we raised over £300-00 for the shelter.
It was great fun.
Our stall faced out onto the goat pen but they turned out to be surprisingly decent neighbours. Loafing around their pen, they kept themselves quietly to themselves and caused little problem...unlike the pig family to our right who obviously felt that it was party time.
Much snorting and squealing came from this quarter as they slowly trashed their pen and stuffed themselves senseless on any food they could find. Most of what they ate should have come from a large container that they continuously butted to release the food. However; a large proportion of their food came from the young children passing by who fed them anything that came to hand.
If you should ever eat a joint of pork that tastes slightly of chocolate, ice cream, burgers, ice lollies, chips, various fruits, or (I cant believe the cannibalism of these creatures) hot dogs...then it was probably a joint from one of these.

Coupled with a group of ducks that could escape at the drop of a hat from their own pen it proved to be an exciting and vibrant pitch.
You will all need to sit down for this next snippet of news. I would reccomend a calming cup of tea to hand or probably just some asprin.
For those who know me well you will understand the outstanding nature of the news I am about to impart; no wonder there has been flooding and strange occurences ever since. Linda swears she saw the four horseman of the apocolypse peering out from a cloud and deciding whether to ride or not.
The cause of all this...full of enthusiasm for the stall...I DONATED SOME OF MY OWN BOOKS.
This has never happened since the dawn of time when I learnt to read. I never get rid of my books.
Halfway through the day I had to physically restrain myself from buying some of them back. God knows what people thought when they saw me tying myself to a gate post.
Seriously though, it was great fun.
The tombola went really well on both days and we cleared almost every prize on each of the two days as well. We adopted a policy of giving a free lolly to any youngster who didn't win anything. That kept the little ones happy and saved any upsets. No wonder Del Trotter enjoys working the markets; its brilliant.
We also had the added bonus of Katrina and Kevin turning up with Oscar. They are down for a weeks holiday on the north coast and will be visiting us when they can. It was great seeing them all again and especially nice that Oscar remembered Linda and I from his last visit. He is not saying Grandma or Grandpa yet but it wont be long.
I love Oscar's shirt. If Fiona and Lucy had been able to find shirts like this I swear they would never have been out of them.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Chapter Fortyfive

The weather down here is still pretty bad. When the sun comes out, it is really Cornwall at its finest. However just lately we seem to be living in the other Cornwall. The one of dank mist, driving rain, thick fog, lashing rain, strong wind, monotonous rain, chilly temperatures, and drizzle.
If one more person tells me the garden needs it, I swear I will chuck them in the sea.
Still; we did do our homework last year while walking through here and we knew it could be like this quite frequently... funny how you forget though!!!
The walk last year involved some appalling weather some days as well as brilliant weather on others. However, some days were just so bad that we had to allow discretion to rear its ugly head and abandon a section of the walk. One section of the walk last year was the few miles between Mevagissey and Charlestown.
The rain had lashed down all morning and by the time we had swam into Mevagissey we were probably the only two drowned rats still outside. On advice that 'the path is dreadfully overgrown for the next few miles' and also hearing tales of 'a landslip up ahead'...we caught the bus into St Austell and holed up in a hotel. We agreed to walk this bit another day.
A couple of Sundays ago became that other day.
It rained all night, but sunshine and a nice breeze greeted the day, so we headed off to complete that little bit of the walk. Linda checked the map and worked out a circular walk from London Apprentice into Mevagissey, then coast path to Charlestown, followed by back to London Apprentice on an inland section. We assumed a distance of eight miles based on my constant assurance that Charlestown is only about three miles from Mevagissey.
That assumption was our first mistake; the pleasure in the sunshine was our second.
It started to drizzle again after about three miles of walking; coincidentally starting just as we started on the SWCP.
The actual distance after more exact measurement turned out to total fourteen miles. Not to far at all if not partly on a coast path. Hard work when once again you are climbing up and down the equivalent height of Everest to travel less than twenty feet in a linear direction.
The undergrowth was still overgrown as well.
This is when a decision has to be made. Do you keep your walking trousers as trousers...or do you remove the legs and wear them as shorts? As trousers they get soaking wet and horrible as you are wading through soaking wet undergrowth; as shorts you risk getting stung by nettles and scratched by brambles.
Mixed views meant that Linda had sopping wet trousers flapping around her legs, and I was stung and scratched to within an inch of my life.
The pub at Charlestown was a most welcome stop. Two pints of Tribute for me and two large Pinot's for Linda put the stride back into our step. The sun finally coming out and staying out helped as well. It was good to get back into the old routine of walking again. Most of what we have done so far over the last few months have not been to strenuous. We do need the stamina to be built up as well with our walk on Hadrians Wall looming ever closer.
I have enjoyed my work for Royal Mail very much at the moment. I'm still not on full hours but I seem to be able to pick up a bit of overtime. I use the tried and trusted method of getting extra work. It stood me in good stead for many years and has never let me down. Very simply...grab what you can, when you can; refuse nothing. It does work believe me.
I have just had several weeks working at Portscatho and St Mawes. Not only have the extra hours been very handy but I have enjoyed myself immensely. It's been good to be back amongst the banter again. (That I miss my children so very much is not up for dispute. If it wasn't for facebook I think I'd go mad.)
Its just that I miss the group of people I used to work with in our corner of the office; the group I went to the pub with for our last meal together. It may surprise some people but they were the people who made my day's go so well; that made my working life so bearable; that made me happy.
Being at Portscatho and St Mawes brings back a semblance of all that.
The days have been busy and have also flown past. I have not only worked my days off, but I have done extra hours as well. Its been fun.
Linda has also been busy and has been enjoying her work as well. She is getting on much better now that things have been sorted at work. However, it is her work at Maria's Animal Shelter that she is really enjoying.
Which is why the last two weekends we have been working on stalls at fetes for her!!!