Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Chapter Sixty Three

2013 has dawned bright and clear and life is pretty good for us down here at the moment. This January has two landmark birthdays in it for my Mum and Linda's Dad. My mum is 80 years old on the 2cnd and Ray is 70 years old on the7th.
Knowing my mum has reached 80 is a sobering thought. It reminds me that I'm on the way towards 60. Suddenly the years seem to be picking up the pace a little .
I was unable to get the week off of the beginning of January as Royal Mail refuse any leave in a week that has a December day in it. Mum's birthday week has the 31st of December in it this year so that week was denied to me. As it turned out, it was all for the best, as Carol arranged a surprise party for Ray and all the family for Saturday the 12th of January. Grahame, Therese, and I managed to organise a family meal for mum for the Sunday 6th of January. And Royal Mail let me have the week off connecting both dates.
And the even better news was that we would be able to see all those who could not get down here before Christmas...namely our children...Fiona, Lucy, and Roxanne, plus their partners. The whole thing could not have fallen into place better.
The weather down here is quite extraordinary at the moment; definitely warmer than 'up-country'. Practically nothing in the way of ice and positively nothing in the way of snow. This is probably why the daffodils were out before the New Year. Mum would have loved looking out of her bedroom window and seeing a sight like this.

 Its hard to believe its still only January.
Thanks to a mate swapping days off with me, Linda and I managed to leave home fairly early on the Saturday and head off to Surrey. We made good time and arrived at Grahames in time for lunch. We will be staying with them for the next couple of nights.
It was good to sit down over an excellent lunch and catch up with each other. All seems as right in their world as it is in ours. Lots of laugh's and general idiocy took place before we headed off to Fiona's.
So wonderful for Linda and I to walk into the flat and see all four of them there. Lucy and Jon were staying with them for the weekend and the whole room looked warm, cosy, and Christmassy as we all piled in.
It was like having Christmas all over again and there were gifts and prezzies for all. Just sitting and watching everyone opening their gifts was a lovely  moment and it made my Christmas complete. I'm glad the two boys liked their water bombs. I got a set for Brendan as well. I think they'll have fun with those.
We decided to eat out and got a meal in Farnham. A lovely evening and we all enjoyed it.
The following morning all families met up at the pub for Mum's birthday lunch. There must have been at least twenty five of us up there with the birthday girl. I know Mum enjoyed herself seeing everyone sitting down together and enjoying themselves. Nice to see everyone mixing and getting on. Oscar was very good and stole the show.
Once dinner was over we all returned to Grahames place and continued on in his conservatory for a while.
 If most of the adults were captivated by the Christmas grotto that Grahame turns it  into every year, you should have seen Oscar. Mouth open, he slowly spun around and gazed at everything. He then had to be shown how everything worked and listen to all the music. So much wonder in such a little face...it was magic.
Grahame then brought down a box of toy cars and placed it on the floor. That was Oscar sorted out until he left to go home.
Lovely too, to be able to chat together and catch up with everyone. Apart from the evening before, we hadn't seen the girls for a while and it was great just talking, laughing, and being together. All to soon darkness descended and people gradually left. At least we will see everybody in a weeks time. We have to go back home tomorrow for a few days because there are things to do, but we shall return next Friday.
Grahame and I both noticed later that, Oscar had discovered something missing from the Nativity scene. All those years and the world had no idea. There wasn't just Mary and Joseph; or the baby Jesus; or the ox and ass; or even the three wise men ; or even the shepherds and a few lambs. Oscar realised that the most important member of the Nativity scene had been forgotten...and so he made it right.
    A hitherto unrealised central character in the stable...was Thomas the Tank Engine...how did we not know? Obviously babies want more to play with than Gold, Frankinsense, and Myrrh. How come only Oscar knew that and none of the rest of us? I hope all future Nativity scenes show the little engine or you will have him to deal with. You have been  Oscar warned.
After the full english the following morning it was time to head off South West. Grahame is seriously thinking of opening his home as a Bed and Breakfast after our visit. He should do well. I believe he is to call it "The 'Otel Ell's Bell's." We are happy to endorse the place and would be only to pleased to give comments if requested. Favourable comments will be given for a small...how silly, please ignore that word...large gratuity, paid by Grahame Fawlty (Basil to his guests).
We made good time on the way and stopped in Otter's garden centre to stock up for next Christmas. We managed to get several boxes of decent cards, candles, wrapping paper, and the like in their sale. Thats next Christmas sorted.
A busy week before returning up to Surrey once again. All appointments were kept and jobs done. We did have one day though were we thought we might go out for a walk. We headed up onto Bodmin Moor. We wanted to see the Golitha Falls and also some of the several thousand year old archeaology.
Golitha falls was beautiful and in great spate.
  However, the wet and windy weather of the last year and this winter in particular had played havoc with the surrounding area. This was one of many trees that had been blown out of the soggy ground. The conditions had even shifted one or two of the footpath bridges in the area.
Its amazing how all this happens.
The good side of the bad weather was the fact that the water was in full flow down the falls. The noise was amazing and exciting. Water seemed to be racing in every direction you could imagine although ultimately it was all heading downstream to Fowey. You would not have wanted to fall in.
A really lovely walk though. This is a favourite walk of Fiona's, and her and Woody have been here loads of times. So also have Lucy and Jon. It was their talking about the place that reminded us it was on our list of places to visit. I'm glad we went as it was well worth the trip.
While here we decided to go and see some of the prehistoric monuments that stand around in Cornwall.
There is a great deal to see but this is probably the best time of the year to be going to them. It was very quiet and with very few people about.
 We stopped for a look at the King Donierts stone before heading off to this old burial chamber called
Trethevy Stone. At one time it would have been buried under a mound but now it is exposed. Linda and I both saw one out in the west of Ireland a few years ago. Its amazing how they appear everywhere.
Most impressive.
It makes you wonder how they put all these things up. It must have taken a phenomenal amount of ingenuity and skill, never mind the vast amount of man power.This area is beside St Cleer.
Further along from here is another place called Minions. It has a site dedicated to a double ring of stones. It is called the Hurlers. I can only assume that these sites are for religious or astronomical purposes.
The Hurlers is laid out in two huge rings of stones in the shape of a figure eight. It is as impressive as Stonehenge or Avebury. The stones are not so huge but its purpose was probably the same.
  An incredible day which left us both feeling a little insignificant.
We returned once more back into the wilds of Surrey and this time stay at Linda's mum's. It was only a brief stay but we crammed a lot into it. We met up with Mum for an hour or two and had some time with her. She gave us some pieces to put into our glass cabinet at home. We had a laugh with her and she showed us the freezer that we had all bought for her.
I nipped off out Saturday morning to see if I could catch anyone from work. They were all to fast for me and I missed them all except Claire. It was good to catch up, and then I headed off to Susie's. I haven't seen her or the boys since we moved and I had a lovely couple of hours with them. I miss everybody and its nice to catch up now and again.
Linda and I then headed over to Frimley and saw Therese and Becky. That was fun and we had a meal and a catch up with them both at the White Hart.
All to soon we had to leave them and rush back to Brenda's. We chatted to them for a while before getting ready to go to the party.
This turned out to be a great evening and a fantastic chance for everyone to meet up again. Every body made it and it was a good evening. To the delight of all, Ray was completely surprised by his do and unprepared for all of us being there. He is a nice man and it was good to be able to show him that we all care for him.
After a lovely dinner, plus free Champagne, we danced the night away until late. Thank God I can still dance all night. A good laugh.
We didn't get home until after midnight which was very late for us chaps from Cornwall. I was afraid we would both turn into pasties at midnight...but we didn't.
The following day we met up with Fiona, Lucy, and the boys. Lucy was in the middle of her birthday weekend so we were able to join in with them all. More laughs and chatting all around including an excellent Dinner at the William Cobbett. A really good few hours, but sadly time caught us up. We headed home after a lovely weekend and are now looking forward to them all visiting and hopefully staying during the summer.
It was with great sorrow that we learned of the death of John Mulvin while we were up country. He was a cousin and great friend of my Dad's. He was a good friend to my Mum...as was his wife Doris. 
Although John and Doris lived in Florida they all kept in touch with each other. And now both Dad and John have gone. I shall miss them both.
The other shadow over the trip was seeing the sad plight of poor Milo. A lovely little dog, but now, sadly ailing fast and not good. In fact, the decision had to be bravely met a few days later, and Milo was put to rest. A kindness...but Oh so difficult for both Brenda and Chris.
Roxanne and Steven followed us down home for a few days and that was good fun. Linda took them both all around the Roseland and they got a good sense of were we live. They could only stay a couple of nights but it was good having them with us.
Both of us are back at work now and things are going well. A friend of mine and I are meeting up once a week at a venue to encourage each other to do some writing. Hopefully, more of the old group will follow. I nipped across on the ferry and we metup at the 'Punchbowl and Ladle'. Much coffe and two hours of writing later and we had both made a really good start. Just the motivation we both needed.
The quiz nights are back on in full vgour. Linda and I may have been in a team of just the two of us but we did well. We didn't win...but we didn't disgrace either..
On Sunday Linda put in an hour at the farm and I put in a couple of training hours at the lookout. Good fun for both of us and a real sign of settling in.
 The weather over the rest of the country has been quite grim. Snow and ice in most area's has meant disruption and chaos across the board...with the exception of Cornwall. On Sunday we were bombarded with calls and textys of how cold and snowy it is; how icy and treacherous it is; and how dull and cloudy it is.
This was the view from our house into our back garden.
  No snow, no ice, bright with little cloud, a lovely day.
I have told everyone that we've had some very wet and windy weather during the last few days but Sunday for us was beautiful. I don't want to be too smug with you all so I am prepared to show a photograph of the weather at Portscatho on Thursday.
 The sea was breaking over the harbour wall and also crashing across our little slipway. We normally nip down here to get to the toilet but not today. Sea spray was actually hitting me as I unladed the van.
Half an hour later I was in St Mawes and getting my delivery prepared. The sea spray had come over the Idle Rocks Hotel and hit my van; the sea kept coming out of the harbour and swirling around my tyres; a wave somehow splashed water into the back of my van; and I got soaked at the same time.
AND I LOVE IT!!!     

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