Posts

Thinking about travelling again

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Months and months ago we booked a ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff.  Our son and his family were going to be in France and we decided we would take the campervan and go and visit them.  It all seemed very up in the air and like something that could not possibly happen.  At the time it was not possible either to go specifically to France or to travel at all in and out of the UK.  The rules kept changing, switching about and moving like shifting sands under your feet.  In the end I decided that I wouldn't keep checking and trying to keep up with whether or not it would be possible to go.  We would just park the whole idea.  We would wait until we were much nearer the time and then, with only a couple of weeks to go, we would be able to see if it would happen.  It was just a dream. So here we are and it looks as if we can go.  France is letting in people from the UK who are double vaccinated.  The UK is at last allowing people returning or coming in from France not to quarantine if they

Exercise and getting older

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I was never a sporty kid. I looked as if I should have been sporty but I wasn't.   I didn't like games and had no ball skills to speak of.  I hated hockey and the clattering clash of sticks that made your teeth shake.  I was never last to be chosen for netball because there was the heavy fat girl and the girl who could hardly see.  I could run and I could see so I was generally the third last to be chosen.  My problem was that I really was not interested so could be relied upon to be looking the other way when the ball was passed to me or not to be in the right place when I should have been helping someone to take a shot at goal.  I spent my tennis lessons sunbathing and reading by the court.  I could swim but not really well.  I could run but not very quickly.  As a teenager I read and dreamed and lived in my head. So it is something of a surprise to find that now I am in my sixties I do really quite a lot of exercise.  For the last two or more years, since doing the Couch to

Building a house

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 I have just been for coffee after yoga outside in a friend's garden.  We were catching up after our last week away and I was telling her about the progress which my sister and her husband are making on building their house (a real with their own hands sort of build) when another friend said "You mean you and your sister are both having new houses built?  That's odd!  I don't know anyone other than you who is building a new house and then there are two of you from the same family!  How did that happen?" I hadn't thought about it as an oddity but I suppose I see what she meant.  And as to how did that happen, I am not really sure! I am not even sure who began the whole process.  I know that my brother in law, who is an intensely practical man and an electrical contractor by trade, has always wanted to build his own house.  I know that Ian and I have always been interested in houses and that for some years we had the idea that building a new house might the one

Summer

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 I love summer.  I love longer days and sitting outside.  I love sunshine and flowers.  This summer is a strange one, living in a rented house amid the uncertainty and stagnation of the pandemic.  Here is a record of a day for when all this is behind us. I wake naturally, without an alarm at about half past seven.  This is one of the great pleasures and privileges of being older.  After years of being woken by children or the demands of work when the morning was a frantic time of juggling and school bags, of taking the dog out and leaping in the car, using the journey to connect with work, always feeling rushed and on overdrive, these days I wake quietly.  Ian usually gets up first and makes himself a cup of coffee and me a pot of tea.  I drink it quietly in bed, reading the paper on my ipad.  The road where we live is quiet too.  From here we can hear the church bells striking and they might call me to get up. Going downstairs here is very different from coming down at our old house. 

This week's diversions

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Well I am running out of things to say about coronavirus  It persists.  The new variant first identified in India seems to be more transmissible and is now dominant here in the UK.  Case numbers remain relatively low but are rising.  Will the big opening up which we are expecting in England on 21 June happen?  I don't know.  Will we get to France towards the end of the summer?  I don't know.  Will we be allowed to mix inside here in Wales soon?  I don't know.  So here is a taste of the variety of ways in which I have been distracting myself. Running.  I am trying to get back to being able to run 10k in readiness for the Chester 10k which with luck will take place in July.  I have only run 10k once before and that was last year just before the lockdown struck when Ian and I ran the Chester 10k together on the 8th March 2020.  I was totally delighted to do it, even if I am slow as a slow thing.  I don't really care if I am slow.  That is just the way it is.  I finished la

And this time we go North!

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There is no holding us now!  Last week the campervan took us to Scotland.   We have always loved Scotland and Ian in particular has an attachment to walking Scottish hills which for him is not quite replicated anywhere else.  We stayed with friends who have some really great self catering accommodation at  Bonawe House  in Taynuilt near Oban.  A self catering apartment and evenings round the fire pit sorted out the Covid regulations.  It is a very beautiful place.  Thank you so much to Damon and Renate for your wonderful hospitality and kindness. We took the foot passenger ferry from near Oban to the island of Kerrera and walked out to Gylen Castle.  The castle was built by the Macdougall clan in 1582 but was occupied only until 1647 when it was besieged and burned out by the Covenanters.  It seems a very short time for such a beautifully built and designed place to be lived in.  There has been considerable renovation work in recent years and it is easy to see how people lived.  We fou

Life opens up

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Sometimes having a campervan is a wonderful thing.  So here is why: we are allowed over the border into England now, we are allowed to travel within England and to spend time in gardens with another household.  We are not yet allowed to stay overnight in other people's houses but the great thing about a campervan is that you bring your own bedroom with you.  So a week last Friday we set off for Devon to spend time with younger son and his family and then with my sister and her husband.  Devon!  That is the furthest we have been in months!  It is a familiar drive down the M6 and M5, round about a six hour journey including a stop.  A few years ago when my father was alive we did this journey every week.  Doing it again now, especially after a long period of staying home, it seems astonishing that we managed it.  It felt like a long way.  But it also felt like a glorious way.  The sky was a brilliant blue as we drove and the trees and fields were the brilliant, vivid green of early M