Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lindsey's photo of my AMAZING Yorkshire Pudding

No idea at all why it was so successful. I do exactly the same thing every single time!!!! They do usually rise - but not normally this much

And now we are just two

It's very quiet at The Sidings now. Lindsey and Ian have taken their camel collecting expedition on to Abu Dhabi. You would, of course, expect them to have very much more success collecting camels in Abu Dhabi than in England, but in fact they did quite well here. They found shelf loads of them in Hamleys!

We had a fairly quiet Wednesday, which was Lindsey and Ian's last full day with us. The Builder, alas, was at work, but Lindsey, Ian and I trundled to The Nettle for lunch. Menus were proffered promptly. But this time there was no electricity. Someone was trimming trees up the road, close to a power line, so the power to the village had been turned off. Very romantic eating at lunchtime by candlelight and a little natural light through the window. Fortunately, they cook with gas! We all went to Gill and Peter's place in the evening for a lovely dinner. They've had a utility room added where once there was a small concrete courtyard with washing line. It's very nice. Claire was there as, of course, was Alex. He's just turned 13. Or so they say. Everyone knows, of course, that Alex is only about 2, just as Freyja is only 15, no matter what Facebook tells me. We had a lovely evening with good food, good wine and good conversation. And left much later than I had expected to.

Ian asked, as we were driving along, where he could buy a bottle of good wine on the way home. It was quite late. The only place I could think of was the rather large, 24 hour Tesco as you approach Chesterfield (and which is shortly to be replaced by an even larger Tesco, which is being built on the other side of the roundabout, along with another few shops and a new football stadium). We acquired two bottles of nice wine, for Ian wished to share a bottle of nice red with The Builder before they left, went home and drank them. And went to bed exceptionally late, given that The Builder had to leave for work at 7 in the morning.

Everyone was up to farewell him when he left at 7 the next morning. Then Lindsey and Ian packed. And packed again. And we went to Sheffield to meet Freyja for lunch, which we had at a really nice little deli on Abbeydale Road. It was a tiny snippet of Lygon Street close to the centre of Sheffield. Must go again. And the weather was nice enough for us to sit outside at a table in the sunshine. Which is just as well - for there were no available tables inside. We had a mosey about in the shops up near her place, which are very cute. Must have a longer mosey when there is more time. Then we came home. Lindsey and I made a last broad bean dash to the allotment. For her. I hope not for me! And then a limo came to take them to the airport.

About 20 minutes before the limo was due, Lindsey started to move bags out into the driveway. There is almost no petty crime in Tupton, but there is no point inviting trouble by leaving suitcases and backpacks unattended at the end of the driveway, so I went out to keep an eye on them. Marlo came out too. And sat firmly on my foot!! It was clear he had no intention of letting me go to wherever the bags were going. The car pulled up and the driver and Lindsey began packing all the bags in. Marlo jumped up onto the wall, and watched intently, miaowing at them from time to time. While Ian and Lindsey were talking to the driver about whether or not they would be flying with Etihad (very, very delayed) or Emirates (not delayed and where the driver thought Etihad had transfered their booking), Marlo kept bashing at them with his head. As they drove away, he sat on my shoulders and miaowed mournfully. And when I brought him inside he sat by the back door, peering out and crying. I had to pacify him with kitty treats. It can't have been that he didn't want me to go. I obviously wasn't intending to go. I was waving. I don't think he wanted them to go either.

We had a lovely piece of fillet steak for dinner last night. Came with my cow box from Chatsworth. But I prepared far, far too many chips, mushroom and onions, and vegetables for two people. It is amazing how quickly you get used to cooking for four, or six or eight, especially when you think how much we have eaten out lately. The Builder had to have the leftovers for lunch.

It's a long weekend this weekend. Apart from helping Freyja to move some stuff on Monday afternoon, we have no real plans

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to work for The Builder

I think it was with some reluctance that The Builder went back to work on Monday. And it was with considerable reluctance that we woke up and then got up at the normal times. We had, over the past two weeks, got used to waking quite a lot later!

On the other hand, he was somewhat worried when he got to work to discover that there is probably only another 5 r so weeks worth for the plasterers which implies that there is only another 6 weeks or so for the carpenters. Nobody was making any comment about ongoing work after that. This was a tad disconcerting. He hadn't really been planning to retire quite just yet - and there's not a lot of work in the construction world at the present, even though the economy generally seems to be drawing breath and getting ready to get up and moving again. We were just beginning to discuss the possibility of him looking for part time work in one of the DIY stores, or perhaps one of the supermarkets (all of whom have a policy of employing older people looking for part time work) while picking up on some of the home projects he has planned - when his foreman came back from holiday and suggested that his three carpenters would probably have ongoing work for perhaps another 18 months on a new build project. We shall see. But he wold certainly rather work on a building project than in a shop!

The travellers have returned from their tour of the hot spots of London. Ian has had a meeting with Matt-The-Builder's-Son-in-Law's work. Something to do with rostering systems. He and Lindsey had had a merry time emptying Hamleys and the REgent Street Apple Store of their stock. They've been to an open air production of Hello Dolly in Regent's Park and caught up with Zoy's girlfriend Amanda.

I met them at the Chesterfield Station in time for a late lunch at the Rutland and a potter around the shops. We dodged the occasional rain shower and Lindsey and I ran up to the allotment to inspect the broad beans and tomatoes. We hung some washing out - which naturally attracted the attention of quite a substantial shower! Then the weather cleared and we went along the back roads through a lovely evening via Barlow to Holmesfield, where we met Paul and Carol for a remarkably nice Thai meal in what used to be a pub. I must remember the existence of this Thai restaurant. The food was lovely and it's in a nice, country location not too far from home.

Not sure Lindsey's digestion enjoyed the meal, though. She had quite unpleasant indigestion when we got home! No more chilli for her.

This morning we are being visited by the remnants of hurricane Bill (what sort of a name is Bill for a hurricane? hurricanes need much more serious names than Bill!). We are expecting quite a lot of rain this morning - though I believe less so this afternoon. The Builder has gone to work. The rest of us have no plans at all until this evening when we are going to Gill and Peter's for dinner. No doubt something will occur to us to do. But in the meantime we are lazing gently about. We are, after all, supposed to be on holiday.

I suppose we could sort out my new hard drive and then sort out the gadzillions of photos!

Monday, August 24, 2009

And then we were four

We woke on Friday to a lovely sunny morning. So we did some washing and hung it out on Taffa and Gareth's line. Then we wandered into town for a (surprisingly nice) late breakfast in The Mitre. Not pizza!

Another visit to the bear shop, and a visit to the Mac shop. Austin had been saying that they have just released an external hard drive in Japan of 1 TB. Lindsey says they haven't released it in Australia yet. All very interesting, but I couldn't see that i would need a whole terabyte. Something smaller would do. But I certainly need something. The number of photographs I have acquired from the wedding and the "honeymoon" takes a huge amount of space - and I haven't got anything like all of them yet! 500 GB would probably do. Until I discovered that 500 GB was £99.50 and the very recently released 1 TB was £110. I bought a terabyte! The Builder also bought me a pair of Ecco shoes. My very comfortable black Hawkshead shoes have really fallen apart and I need a pair of black shoes to wear to work for winter.

Suddenly there was a torrential rain shower. Taffa drove her bike off to work. The rest of us took a bus back home.

By the time we got back, the rain had gone, the sun was shining and the washing was steaming gently.

We had a picnic lunch in he garden, gathered up the damp washing and left Gareth to sort out a recalcitrant bicycle. Off to Salisbury for us.

We decided to risk the M25 and set off. All was well, until we were approaching the St Alban's exit from the A1. I checked Traffic Line. Oops. The M25 had a 20 mile hold up in the direction we needed to travel. Avoid said the lugubrious Traffic Line voice. So we came off the A1 and headed Another Way. In the end, via Oxford. Not the best way to get from Cambridge to Oxford! In the event that e ever need to get from Cambridge to Salisbury again - we'll take the direct route to Oxford. Much more sensible!

We had a lovely meal at The Swan, preceded by pre-dinner drinks sat in the garden by the river in the sunshine.

We had gone to Salisbury primarily to visit The Builder's mother. It being a beautiful day, we decided to take her through the New Forest to Lymington for lunch in The Ship by the harbour and then for a walk along the marina and harbour path. Her walking chair is wonderful. It folds down really small so it easily fits in the boot, even with a load of junk in it. The boot, not the chair. We took her home and then made our way to Whiteley for an evening barbecue with Jeanette and Matthew. Also there were Mike and Rosie, who we haven't seen for ages, and Ian and Sophie who we haven't sen for even longer. Not that we saw much of Sophie. She and Rebecca spent most of the evening in the playroom playing board games, computer games and watching DVDs. Was lovely to see everyone. And Mike is looking remarkably well to say he's been so poorly and still needs his heart properly sorting out.

The lovely weather continued into Sunday. Lindsey and I went for a pre-breakfast stroll up towards Great Wishford. We ambled gently into Salisbury for a stroll around the shops. We went to Warminster to inspect Barb's new tiny cottage and to join her and her brother Greg for ham and salad. Then we took Lindsey and Ian to Ealing where they abandoned us and took a tube into central London for a couple of nights out on the tiles. And we came home.

To find the house devoid of feline presence. It was obvious he had been about - or at least something had been about. his breakfast had been thoroughly munched. But he didn't come when I called him. Or again later when I whistled for him. We were just thinking about going to bed when I went into the kitchen to batten it down. A nose appeared in the cat flap - and stopped abruptly when it detected a human presence in the kitchen. It sniffed cautiously. Recognised it was me - and Marlo burst through the cat flap,clearly delighted to see me, and equally clearly extremely surprised. I suppose we normally get home much earlier when we've been away than we did on Sunday.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Now we are six

Austin is on his way home. In fact, he may well be back in Japan by now, though not back at home yet. He's flying into Tokyo and then on to Nagoya. Not sure how he's getting home from there.

We all (except Tabitha who was at work) wandered into town yesterday morning (pizza for breakfast! Not entirely sure about bacon, egg, sausage, mushroom and cheese on pizza for breakfast) then The Builder and I took Austin to Heathrow. Not a bad trip down; we arrived pretty much at the time the Sat Nav said we would. We delivered Austin to Japan Airlines and then headed back to Cambridge.

We decided not to come back along the M25. There had been some delays heading in the opposite direction when we were going to the airport. So Jenny took us up though Ealing and past Acton. We lived in Acton when I was a child. Haven't been there since 1965. There wasn't time to explore yesterday, but we might head back one day and have a bit of a poke about. It actually wasn't a bad route back, although 5pm on a Thursday might not have been an ideal time to do it!!!

More pizza last night. No chance of my wedding trousers fitting again at the moment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lindsey walked 30k steps yesterday. It seems likely that Ian and Gareth probably walked a similar number of steps

PS. We've found Lindsey's touristy socks. At Heathrow in a gift shop. Socks with underground maps. She's quite pleased with them

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It was Freyja’s birthday on Monday. We all went to York. Tabitha and Gareth didn’t - they were back in Cambridge and Taffa was back at work. But the rest of us did.

We had lunch in an amazing vegan tapas bar. Not only is it vegan but the menu is also gluten free. And the food was amazingly tasty. El Piano it is, on Grape Lane, near the Christmas Angel shop. Those of us who are neither vegetarian nor on a gluten free diet were pleasantly surprised by how tasty the food was.

Then we hit the turist shops, looking for touristy socks for Lindsey to take back as holiday presents. Failed dismally.

Then Freyja ambled into Octopus. Big mistake. Lindsey went in too. And came out with a huge back of stuff and an imploded credit card.

And then we went to Freyja’s birthday treat. The York Dungeon. Not an absolutely ideal place for a mild claustrophobe such as me. All dark and misty. Actually - I quite enjoyed it. I didn’t enjoy the “maze” room much at all. But the rest was quite fun.

Then back to Chesterfield and out for dinner at The Nettle. It must be said that The Nettle does absolutely fantastic food. But it is a little unusual to have to wait an hour for a menu. Mind you - I’m not sure why we bothered to wait. The menu never, ever changes but the specials board changes regularly and we nearly always order from that. As we did on this occasion. It was a bit disconcerting to find no veggie friendly food available on either menu. But when we asked, choices were offered.

Ian took Freyja back to Sheffield, accompanied by Austin for company.

Freyja went back to work on Tuesday.

The rest of us jammed several quarts into the Vixen’s pint pot boot (actually, the boot is quite capacious but we did have an awful lot of stuff to cram in) and relocated to Cambridge.

We’ve been to The Boathouse (of course) and for a potter about. We went to Girton yesterday and had lunch with Peter and Joan in the “pub” across the road from their place. Ian cooked a mighty steak dinner. We’ve been into town and Austin has Built a Bear for Kaori and bought it lots of clothes. We found an Octopus in Cambridge too. Lindsey was slightly more restrained than she was in the one in York. The sun has shone and shone and shone and shone. We really have been quite remarkably lucky with the weather, although it is cloudier today. But still - we’re drinking out morning cup of tea out in the garden.

Peter and Joan were in good form yesterday. They seem very well and quite cheery. They are gearing up for a slightly longer than 3 week cruise in September, around Ireland and then around North Africa. Next year they are cruising to Greenland. Peter says that he might not book any more cruises after that. Irritating to book one and then die before you can go on it. But I bet he does. I’d have thought it would be even more irritating not to book one and then also not to die!

The internet has gone down at Taffa and Gaz’s place.. Once again we are cut off from the outside world, apart from my iPhone. Hope it comes back soon. I could really do to et some banking done. If it’s not back tonight I might have to follow Ian - who I’m sure will have found an internet cafe somewhere in Cambridge!

Austin is going home today. The Builder and I are taking him to Heathrow at lunchtime. Suppose I ought to consider the possibility of getting dressed. It’s all very well sitting about in the garden in my nightie, but it might garner some funny look at the airport!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Things I have learned this last week

* In the event that we ever again have a house party of 8 people which lasts for more than a few hours - we need to hire a portaloo. We can manage with just one bathroom - after all, how often are there urgent shower needs? But we have almost come to loo wars with only one loo! We need another.

* In the event that those same 8 people should ever again go away for a few days to a place with two loos - the early risers need to be the ones who have the room with the en suite, even if they are ancient and required to sleep on a futon.

* In the event (etc) - we need lots more towels. This morning almost nobody has a clean towel. I had to wash them yesterday for they were becoming quite whiffy and they are not quite dry. Still, another hour or so out on the line in the sunshine and they will be.

We're back at home now. We had a fairly quiet last day on holiday. A man came and took Austin' parcel away at lunchtime. Some of us collected villages and went walking. Others played more backyard cricket, went to the local pub to play pool, went to Consett for the wifi, generally pottered about. Ian made a magnificent lamb shank casserole. Various games of frisco were played in the evening.

We tried to go to visit Richmond on the way home, but couldn't get in. The queues driving into town were lengthy and effectively stationary. So we went to Ripon instead.

Yesterday Ian, Tabitha, Gareth, Austin and Freyja went to Xscape near Leeds to go bowling and to play mini-golf and various other activities. Lindsey, The Builder and I went to Edwinstowe for lunch and then for a wander around Sherwood Forest. I don't think Lindsey realised quite how close to Sherwood Forest we are when she first suggested it as something to do. Quite coincidentally, we were there on the weekend of the annual festival. There were lots of people wandering around in medieval costume and many tents dotted about.

Tabitha and Gareth go home this morning. We reconvene (after more activities) at their place on Tuesday, minus Freyja. Must remember to take towels!

Friday, August 14, 2009

So yesterday was an early start. Well, for some people it was an early start. Ian, Austin and Freyja made a 9:00 dash to Wifi enabled McDonalds so that Ian could deal with some business, Austin could sort his eBay stuff out and Freyja could send some emails. The rest of us had egg and bacon sandwiches.

Then we went out a-hunting Romans.

We are about a 40 minute drive from various bits of Hadrian’s wall so we went off for a look-see.

First, Housebanks Fort, which is a 10 minute or walk from the road up quite a steep hill. I took my walking stick - to the amusement/consternation of my children who hadn’t seen me with a stick before. I don’t actually need it - but it comes in handy for hills and mounds and balance when balance is needed and there is no Builder to hang on to.

It was windy at Housebanks Fort. I was glad of my cardie.

We were going to go to Birdoswald. But the guidebook I had acquired at Housebanks suggested there wasn’t much there. So we drove along anyway, just for the drive.

Then we made a detour to Haltwhistle, allegedly the centre of Britain, in search of fuel for both cars and for bread for our picnic lunch.

And on to Vindolanda where we carted in our ENORMOUS picnic (I think we really, really over-catered!) for a late lunch. The boys took the boxes back to the car and then we set off to explore. It’s a huge site, and still being excavated. Actively excavated. There were archaeologists busy in several roped off areas. Apparently it will take something around 100 years to excavate it fully.

And so back to the farm. The Interneters went back to McDonalds to sort a few more things out. Then we all went to a local pub for dinner

It didn’t inspire much confidence when we went in. The publicans have only been there three weeks. The menus aren’t ready (although we have one in the cottage - but apparently it’s wrong). We couldn’t see any vegetarian options. But in the end the meal wasn’t bad. It was good home-cooked food. Not salty. (Apart from Freyja’s leek and cheese pie). The chef obliged by making us all some mighty fine mashed potato. The publicans seemed very stressed, but I’m not sure they need to be quite so stressed. Once they get themselves sorted out it will all be fine. Card readers would be useful. We tend to pay for everything by card. Fortunately, between us, we had enough cash to cover it.

Then the girls walked home (it’s only about a mile - but it would be quite a steep hill to get t the pub; nice walk coming back) and the boys brought the cars back. Then some people played Frisco. Thers of us read and pottered about. We didn’t see the meteors (I went out at about half eleven but they were not in sight) and eventaully we all went to bed.

It’s a beautiful morning. The chickens are eying The Builder’s toast with interest. Austin is hoping the courier will come to collect his large parcel this morning rather than keeping him in all day. Some of us are about to head off for a walk.

We continue to be extremely lucky with the weather. Several threatening black clouds hoved into view when we were at Vinlanda - but passed harmlessly by. This was just as well. Wehad comprehensively failed to take rain kit with us!

Freyja has woken up this morning with a sore throat and a cough :-S

Thursday, August 13, 2009

For some strange reason the house looked like a major incursion had been fought in it when we got up on Monday morning. We most certainly could not go away until Friday leaving it like that.

It was a bit difficult to know where to start.

At one end and work in.

I started in the kitchen, which had taken the brunt of the invasion. And the house was more or less tidy enough to be left alone in Marlo’s care by lunchtime.

We piled into The Vixen and Oscar, went to Sheffield to collect Freyja and admire her new room with balcony, and then head north to a farm near Castleside, near Consett in County Durham.

There are chickens. Lots and lots and LOTS of chickens. Apparently the farmers went away for a few days and the animal carers didn’t collect the eggs. Not only are there chickens - there are also several (noisy!) roosters.

We decided yesterday morning to leave the snoozers snoozing, the TV watchers watching - and Lindsey, Ian, The Builder and I made our way to Bishop Auckland to do a nice round walk. (The place we are staying has all sorts of useful information dotted about, including a book of walks in the Wear Valley.)

We found a Roman Fort. And several bridges. But not the bridge we were supposed to be turning on to and the mid point of our walk. Follow the wall and the fence until you get to the bridge over the disused railway line. Do not enter the penned area. We reached a fenced area, could see no sign of a bridge or, indeed, a disused railway, but could see people wandering around in the penned area. So - we entered it!!! Two young people sent us down the hill. Off we went. There were many walking tracks. Which way to go.

We didn’t really know where we were. The map we had wasn’t much use once you had lost your bearings. Then I remembered. I have an iPhone. It was in my pocket. I took it out and asked it where I was. And it told me!!

So too did some locals loitering upon another bridge.

We were in the Bishop’s Park. And a very lovely park it was too. But I really must remember to acquire Ordnance Survey maps when we are going out and about.

(I was about to ponder whether they are available online. Which would be a fairly stupid question to ask since SHU has a subscription and I am the subscription manager!! But I really meant as an iPhone app. Also a stupid question. OS are positively paranoid about their data security!!)

We had toasted teacakes and iced chocolates/coffees to celebrate our return to civilisation, then we acquired the makings of lunch and came back to the farm to find our young people outside playing cricket with the £1 plastic cricket bat and ball Taffa had bought at the Pound shop. We need something more robust. Austin has to keep taping it up with the packaging tape he bought for posting his eBay stuff.

Durham after lunch. Magnificent and very grand cathedral - but not, I think, the most “beautiful” in England. It is certainly spectacular. But I wouldn’t describe it as beautiful. Salisbury is beautiful (but not magnificent, though equally spectacular). Gareth, Lindsey, Ian and The Builder climbed the tower. I decided my knees might not be particularly forgiving of being made to climb up and then back down over 350 steep and winding stairs and went and had a look at the monks’ dormitory, now the cathedral library, instead. And had a stroll in the cloisters.

Then Tabitha, who had not been in the cathedral, but had been in the museum, came rushing up to say that there was a tour of the castle in five minutes. The Builder decided he had had enough touring and went off for coffee. The rest of us went on the tour. The castle isn’t open to the public, except for on guided tours. It’s the original college for the University of Durham and remains in use as University College. Lucky, lucky students, is all I can say. Walked into the Dining Hall ad was immediately transported back to Ormond College. Except Ormond quite obviously needs to add a gallery for the trumpeters to stand on.

Then we collected the beautiful bridge, reacquired Austin and Freyja (who had been making a futile attempt to post Austin’s eBay stuff while we were being Kulchered) and one car load went back to the farm, and the rest of us went to the supermarket for alcohol, more alcohol and a bit of food - and Twiglets. Lindsey is feeling deprived of twiglets.

Got back to find people playing croquet on the lawn.

We are staying in a building which was once a working part of the farm. Most of us are sleeping in the cow shed. Tabitha and Gaz are in the bull shed. There is also a cottage which was once the carthorse’s stable. And another which was once a small forge. I must say - it’s all been really well converted. And it’s well kitted out. We are very comfortable here.

Except that there is no wifi here. Everyone is cut off from the internet. Well - everyone except me and my iPhone. (Lindsey and Ian have iPhones but do not wish to pay the extortionate fees attached to using it as an internet device while travelling overseas!) This has caused something of a disturbance in people’s lives. Especially in Austin’s eBay life! I lent him my phone last night when I went to bed. Got up this morning. Made my way to the kitchen table where it had been left for me to collect this morning. And promptly fell down the two sairs that I had completely forgotten were between the bedrooms and the kitchen. My knee and back are not happy!

Time to get up. Bacon and eggs on toast for breakfast, then we are off in search of the Emperor Hadrian.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Poor Oscar didn’t get to go to Bakewell on Friday with the rest of us. He was rejected in favour of a bright red E-type Jag which Lindsey and Ian had hired for The Builder to play with for the day.

The first thing The Builder did when he got into it was to try and kill us all! The car had no wing mirrors so he didn’t see the car which was innocently going past us as he pulled away to set off. I’m not sure who was the more alarmed - the driver of the other car, Freyja who was squished in the back of the jag with no seat belt, or Ian who had hired the car and was therefore responsible for it!

I was a tad curious how Ian had managed to insure The Builder to drive the car, given that he wasn’t with Ian hen it was collected. Turned out that Ian had surreptitiously stolen The Builder’s licence, photographed it on his phone and the hiring people (oddly enough, at The Nettle) had accepted that.

We went a nice winding and twisty way to Bakewell. Slowly!

And, unexpectedly, the sun shone!

We eventually managed to get everyone to the Bakewell Register Office. On time. This despite Jeanette and Matthew having had a puncture on their way up from Portsmouth, Lindsey having dropped her mobile phone outside our place and nobody except The Builder and me actually knowing where the Register Office was!

Bernard and Sleepy Hippo were the Ring Bearers - fortunately more hobbit than Gollum in their demeanour. Rebecca assisted them in their task. Lindsey and Ian were the witnesses. Everyone else took photographs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite so many cameras in one place before. There were 15 people in that room, including The Builder, the registrar and me. So how there came to be two thousand cameras is a complete mystery.

You could hear the collective sharp intake of breath when the registrar announced The Builder and me as Mr and Mrs James Ruddle. I didn’t hit her. Or even remonstrate with her. Tabitha tells me that before she and Gaz got married the registrar in Cambridge asked if she were changing her surname. I was not asked. But even if I were (and I’m not) I certainly wouldn’t also have changed my first name. Calling us both James would be far too confusing!!

Then we all went off for a picnic lunch in the park. And very yummy it was too. And still the sun shone.

Paul and Carol went back to Sheffield. Jeanette, Matthew, Rebecca and Evie also went to Sheffield to check into their hotel. Everyone else came back to our place and the E-Type went back to The Nettle. Then we all gathered later at the Three Horseshoes for a magnificent wedding feast.

So we had present: The Builder and me. Lindsey and Ian. Taffa and Gaz. Austin and Freyja. Jeanette, Matthew, Rebecca and Evie. Paul and Carol. It was a lovely gathering. And a lovely day.

On Saturday the sun continued to shine. Which was greatly convenient as we had about 30 people coming for afternoon tea. The sun also shone on Sunday when around 25 cousins and their attachments came for Sunday lunch. We were EXTREMELY lucky with the weather. It’s raining again today!!!

We have eaten a mountain of sandwiches and lots of cake. We have eaten roasted meats and new potatoes. We have eaten a mountain of vegetables, mostly from the garden. We have eaten frogs in ponds and fairy bread. We managed to feed the vegetarians and the coeliacs. We succeeded in not poisoning anyone. And we have drunk a veritable lake of wine, beer, cider, cola and other liquids.

We have tents in the orchard.

Lindsey says we have to eat and drink healthily this week. I’m not sure quite how she is expecting to achieve this. For at lunchtime she and Ian, The Builder and me, Taffa and Gaz, Austin and Freyja are all heading to to County Durham until Friday. I think it is highly likely we will take wine, beer, spirits and cake with us too.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

It’s amazing how quickly time passes when you’re having fun. I’ve been on holiday from work for nearly a week now - and it doesn’t seem like that long at all!

Austin rolled up into Cambridge last Tuesday. Eating and drinking commenced in the East.

Lindsey and Ian arrived in Tupton on Thursday. Eating and drinking commenced in the Midlands.

They took the eating and drinking down to the West country on Monday.

We will all take it up to the North this coming Monday.

And that will be England covered with feasting :-)

I approve of feasting. Though there is no chance that my wedding trousers are going to fit comfortably tomorrow. No chance at all.

I have bought elastic for the waistband.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is not too bad (unless you look at the BBC forecast which we will ignore for the time being). If it is as nice as metcheck or the Met Office say it’s going to be I might even wear a floatie skirt tomorrow. I am a bit worried that quite heavy rain is forecast for this evening when none at all was being predicted an hour ago. We shall see. Can’t do anything about it. And we can picnic just as well in the house as we can in Bakewell. The chicken for the sandwiches is roasting as we speak :-)

In the meantime, Lindsey, Ian, The Builder (at the weekend) and I have been exploring the local pub food provision, playing in the food shops and boosting the alcohol economy. The Cromford steam fair was cancelled because the field it was going to be in was waterlogged. The Bakewell agricultural show is scoffing loudly and proceeding as planned. They say that if you are going to hold outdoor events in England you should plan for wet weather. They are, of course, right. And they have a very pleasant day for it. Alas - we can’t go. We have shopping and cooking to do. We were going to go to the Cromford do. Lindsey and Ian booked their flights specifically so they would be able to go. It’s a bit pathetic that it was cancelled really. Last weekend the weather was quite nice and we could all have worn our wellies or walking boots.

Austin came for roast lamb on Sunday evening and has since gone to play in Sheffield. Lindsey and Ian are back from Cornwall. Taffa, Gaz, Austin and Freyja are assembling at our place this evening. Jeanette and Matthew, with Rebecca and Evie are coming up tomorrow.

Right. Off to prepare feasting food. I have half the jam tarts baked for Saturday. Once the chicken is out of the oven I shall make the other half. Then I have a log list of things to do. Towards the top of the list is to go shopping. Perhaps I had better change out of my nightie and dressing gown and put some day clothes on!