Posted by: glenswatman | June 20, 2015

Change in blog

Hello to anyone who might have been reading this diary blog.

For a number of reasons I have decided to stop posting my diary in the way.  However I do send it out each month to friends via Email.  If you want to receive it then message me with your Email address and I will add you to the mailing list.  If I don’t know you personally then please tell me a bit about yourself and why you are interested in following our travels.

Coming up, cruise to the Middle East and a villa stay in Turkey.

No idea why anyone has been reading this but thank you all anyway.

Glen

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201506

MONDAY 1 JUNE 2015 – Chatting to Barry last night we spoke of travels and visa’s and it occurred to me that it might be an idea to get on with our Australia visa application.  We haven’t been back since we had an incident by accidently being illegal immigrants for 1 day on our last visit (Jan 2011) so want to be sure the records are clear about it and we can get back in.  It’s a relatively simple process on line and the 3 month Visitor subclass 651 is free.  Fingers crossed we soon hear back the application is successful.  With bad weather forecast tomorrow I make the most of today to finish staining the fence which in turn leads to touch ups round the caravan skirting.  Neighbour Richard offers me use of his pressure washer to do that back of the van where we can’t reach over the shed.  It works brilliantly and I can’t resist carrying on and doing the whole of the caravan.  I’m on a roll so do the outside lockers, car and patio as well which feels really satisfying.  Steve keeps offering to help but I sense he is a bit weary today – probably hospital syndrome knowing he has appointments at Leeds on Thursday.

MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 2 JUNE – The winds, and rain arrive and boy is it windy so happy to stay indoors all day.

MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE – We set off after lunch then realise we can’t pick up our prescriptions at Mattishall surgery as they are closed 1-2.  Continue on our journey with Steve taking over driving half way.  Arrive at Lisa’s 4 ½ hours later just before she gets home from work at 6pm.  She’s quite surprised as she thought we were arriving next Wednesday but recovers well and manages to put together something for us to eat.  Unfortunately Mick is away in Ireland so we won’t see him.

YEADON, LISA’S

THURSDAY 4 JUNE – At St James hospital we first visit Dr Orme in Endocrine department.  He’s extremely friendly and chatting but does manage to deal with Steve’s bone problems in between talking.  He wants Steve to have blood tests and a spinal X-Ray today to check on the status of his spine as a benchmark.  Apparently Steve could actually have chips or breaks in the spine that he may even have had since birth but from this point onwards they will know if there is any deterioration due to his osteopenia.  He also wants him to have a bone density CT scan which will be in about 6 weeks time.  It’s only a few minutes wait for the X-ray and the same for bloods and we quickly move on to the haematology department to see Suzanne.  Again we have very little wait and she is really pleased to see how well Steve is recovering.  She doesn’t even want to do any tests but says if he gets another cold she would like a scan to see whether he has any permanent lunch damage from his past chemo and other treatments.  So overall a good result all round.  In Saltaire we call in to see Richard at work at Webster’s fish and chip shop.  He cooks me a delicious gluten free fish to have with chips and Steve has chips and curry sauce eaten whilst we chat.  Make a brief stop to quickly say Hello to Mum before arriving at Keith & Sandra’s.  It’s a glorious day so we sit out in the garden sipping a nice light Rose wine and enjoying the sun.  Sandra cooks us a lovely evening meal and we stay up late chatting.

KEIGHLEY, KEITH & SANDRAS

FRIDAY 5 JUNE – We need at least one new tyre and Richard has suggested Stockbridge tyres where we get an amazing deal of 2 new ones at £30 each balanced and fitted.  Do a brief shop in town before spending the afternoon chatting to Keith & Sandra.  At 6pm we have a table at Shimla Spice (voted best curry house in England) and are joined by mutual friends Pam & Stuart.  We ask for suggestions and the fish Desi dish is recommended.  It is really nice but pretty hot for a medium curry.  Return to Sandra’s where Pam & Stuart have our heads spinning as they interrupt each other’s conversation!

KEIGHLEY 2, KEITH AND SANDRAS

SATURDAY 6 JUNE – After breakfast we head over to Claire’s.  The day passes quickly with people constantly coming and going.  In the evening Claire & Richard are out so I help Natasha and Azura making personalised pizzas which are a great success.  I’ve signed up to a website called Sea scanner to get alerts to price changes on a cruise we are interested in.  It’s the 33 night one on Holland America Rotterdam from Singapore to Southampton next March.  There’s just been a Euro 1000 price drop and it’s almost too good to be true at Euro 2698 (just under £2000).  They give me a 4 day option which will buy me time to compare, check out the company and confirm we can book with a German agent.  Richard has just bought a tent for when he goes to a festival with Matthew and the girls are keen to camp out in the garden overnight.  They “need” food for a midnight feast so I run them down to Tesco.  The International Space Station is due to pass overhead around 11.30pm so we all stay up to watch it move overhead – clear to see it is not a star by the speed but not clear what it is from the naked eye.  The girls take ages to settle down as although we are in Natasha’s bedroom on the 3rd floor we can still hear them giggling.  A few hours later we hear a bit of disturbance when Claire & Richard arrive home

NORTHOWRAM

SUNDAY 7 JUNE – We hear the story of Claire & Richard arriving back last night being locked out, getting a key from the girls and then Richard locking Claire out by mistake.  Head home after lunch arriving back late afternoon to hear that the weather has been fantastic the whole time we have been away – typical.

MERRYHILL

MONDAY 8 JUNE – It’s a lovely morning so I do loads of washing.  Steve has an afternoon dental appointment as one of his teeth has started crumbling.  Turns out he needs a crown but will get 2 for the price of 1 as the dentist says he has another one that has a massive filling and would benefit from being crowned.  I’m still not getting definitive info about Sea scanner but Holland America themselves reply to my question first saying that it is up to the company whether their terms allow us to book but also that their policy is to only book UK citizens and have payment in British Pounds.

MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 9 JUNE – Our day out starts at Roller Team motorhome dealer Roy Humphrey near Diss who unfortunately only has 2 on display.  Broads town Beccles is a lovely village for a browse.  Arriving in Lowestoft we have to curtail our promenade walk due to the strong cold winds.  Today and for the rest of the week we are in the coldest part of the country !  Wander through the town and out to the eastern most point in Britain.  Return via Simpsons motorhomes at Great Yarmouth.  They have loads on display and open for you to look around.  There are one or two that may suit if we compromise and have a British van with right hand drive and pay a hefty price.  Back home I check the Sea scanner site and see “our” cruise has gone up to Euro 3398 (£2498).  With our option of booking it at £500 less I take the bull by the horns and go ahead.  On a roll I also see there are only 4 seats left on the Scoot airways flight from Brisbane to Singapore at Aus $199 (to link up with the cruise) so get that booked as well.  Typically there are unforeseen extras and frustratingly we can’t book just one piece of check in luggage so have to pay for it for both of us but with a grand total price of Aus $500 (£260) for 2 x 7 hour flights it’s still a great deal.  We fly over 2 days before the cruise to give us time to enjoy a return to Singapore.

MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 10 JUNE – Steve’s goes to the surgery as his ear is still popping.  Doctor examines him and doesn’t think there is an infection just a blockage in the middle ear for which a nasal spray is prescribed.   Serena calls round and gives me a holiday haircut taking it shorter at the back then graded to the front.  We really enjoy the relaxation session at the Big C and book further sessions and some massages.  In the afternoon Ian calls round for a drink and chat and no sooner has he left than Ken comes in for a beer.  Taking a late walk around the park we call in and see Debbie & Andy who are really excited about their upcoming move to Spain having bought a lodge on a campsite near Mojacar.  It looks and sounds so nice we are almost envious.

MERRYHILL

Posted by: glenswatman | June 1, 2015

20150521-31 An unexpected test result

THURSDAY 21 MAY – Make the most of the lovely day getting washing done, the car cleaned inside and out, garden weeded and tomato seeds planted. We get a message to say the X-Ray is showing nothing untoward which is good news. Sue & Ken call round for coffee, since we left 10 days ago another 3 caravans have been sold, unfortunately buyers of the one in front of us have 2 big dogs that barked a lot when they came to view it. Receive a phone call from Dr Moshin at Leeds late afternoon. The results from Steve’s throat swab show he has Para influenza type 3 virus and they want him in hospital straight away. He will be in for 5 days with thrice daily nebulizer treatment. I explain we are in Norwich and Steve has shared care at the local hospital but they say that the isolation room Steve needs may not be available here. However they will make contact and find out for us. Suzanne’s answer phone is on so the only other thin I can do is Internet research. It seems that type 3 is linked with bronchitis and pneumonia, a big killer amongst post transplant patients so this is serious. Dr Moshin calls back to say there’s a bed for Steve on Mulbarton Ward at NAN hospital now. Steve’s not a happy bunny so I ask again whether the antibiotics would cure the problem or if there is any other option and am told not. Pack a bag and arrive on the ward just before 6pm. The room is still being sanitized so whilst we are waiting Dr Collins checks Steve over and doesn’t think he is too bad and considers he could go home and see whether he can get over it without treatment. She phones Leeds to tell them how well Steve seems overall and they agree for him to go home for now. However she does advise an immediate admission should he get any worse. Call in to Sainsbury’s to stock up on fresh fruit and veg so that we can isolate ourselves whilst Steve gets through this blip.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 22 MAY – Now I know Steve is really ill I am no longer pushing him to exercise etc and suggest he listens to his body and does whatever he feels like. Consequently he stays in bed until lunch time but this does seem to prevent him coughing.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 23 MAY – There are lots of campers on site; many have come for the Radio 1 festival in Norwich. I take my daily walk to the bins and mail and chat to a few people on the way and get the latest Merryhill gossip. There’s a band in the clubhouse in the evening but we’re playing safe and just listening to the music at home.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 24 MAY – Typical bank holiday rainy weather, poor campers. Steve’s ear has started popping so I poor warm olive oil in to help him then plug it with cotton wool. Good job I do not need to shout him to help with jobs as he can’t hear much at all!
MERRYHILL

MONDAY 25 MAY – Steve’s starting to feel a bit better even though his ear is still popping. He has a short walk out late afternoon and seems to finally be coughing less. It’s a chilly afternoon but the campers are determined to enjoy the bank holiday and lots of people have BBQ’s. Think we will save ours until we have better weather.
MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 26 MAY – Steve’s feeling quite a bit better after almost a week on double antibiotics. John delivers us a trout, so fresh it is almost wriggling as it was only caught 3 hours ago. Steve enjoyed his short afternoon stroll around the park and suggests and outing to Norwich tomorrow – definitely on the mend.
MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY – Not sure whether it is the antibiotics, rest or a bit of both but Steve is feeling better and keen to go out. We call in at the Big C to book sessions for relaxation and massages. In Norwich we enjoy our free tea and cakes at John Lewis; they even have a delicious gluten free chocolate cake. The SADACC (South Asian Decorative Arts & Crafts Collection) is held in the old Ice Skating building, an interesting structure in its own right. The exhibition includes furniture, balconies hung on the walls, clothing, jewellery and small objects and the only thing that makes you realise you are not in Asia is that fact that it doesn’t have that Asian smell! On the way back we pop in to Marks & Spencer’s (supposedly the second biggest outside London) and the food hall is huge. We’ve dropped lucky and it is tasting week so we have a grazing lunch of strawberries and ice cream, crisps, different breads, ham and drinks. Steve’s a bit weary so happy to sit out in the afternoon whilst I do a bit of gardening at neighbour Barry’s to give him a good start. His wife Jill died last year and he’s just sold his home and should be arriving here this weekend.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 28 MAY – Steve’s keen to do a short walk but our planned circuit doesn’t work out. Arriving at the woods behind the site we notice a new sign saying it is private property and no entry. Fortunately we turn back as going up the hill Steve suddenly feels weary.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 29 MAY – The poor weather is back with heavy rain on and off all day and a cool enough morning for me to put the heating on. Anne & Nigel call down for evening cards. They show us a letter from Merryhill warning them that if any of their family are seen anywhere on site naked they will be evicted. Apparently Nigel nipped onto the drive to his car to get something and was spotted by Management! We have three terrific games of Canasta which as much closer as in each one it is down to the last round but either luck or skill prevails and we win them all.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 30 MAY – We’ve had poor phone and internet reception for some time so I take the laptop up to the mail room to connect to the Merryhill signal. It’s still slow but at least I get stuff done and also realise what a great social hub the mail room is. By the time I’ve done my Emails I’ve also caught up on all the Merryhill news! I continue to Sainsbury’s to do some shopping then return to find Steve staining the fence surrounding our patio. I quickly get lunch ready and call him in to eat which prevents him from overdoing it. Whilst he watches the afternoon football on TV I get stuck in and finish a first coat on all the rest.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 31 MAY – Neighbour Dominic would not take any money for mending our car door so I offered to cook him a meal. At lunchtime he joins us for his favourite meal of fillet steak, home cooked chips, homemade apple pie and ice cream. Whilst we are away on holiday next month he is also going to service our car and deal with the MOT for which he will accept payment. Early evening Barry arrives and fills us in on his news. Last year they attempted to sell their house but due to shoddy decorators had to delay putting it on the market. In the long run this has done him a favour as he has just sold it for about £50,000 more than he would have got last year. A clear indication that the nearer to London you are the faster prices are going up. He’s hoping that prices here have not gone up much and he will get much more for his money now.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 10 MAY – En route to Sheffield we visit Brownhills motorhome dealers in Newark. Disappointingly they only have one left hand drive vehicle in stock and deal mainly in Auto Trail and Rapido. Even in the £70000+ price bracket there is nothing that takes our fancy in terms of layout and we would still be making compromises. Nearby SMC have lots of European models but again nothing to tick the boxes. We would like one with a fixed low down bed (but not hemmed in making Steve feel claustrophobic) and that’s before we start on the wish list of a large fridge/freezer, light and airy lounge, left hand drive and standard European model. Something will surely have to go but how much kind of depends on what deal we get. Near Sheffield Jean & Arf are house-sitting for their son John & Wife Kath at their house with stables and field in Greenmoor. Haven’t seen them since last September and they have been away all winter touring Portugal and Spain in their motorhome so lots to hear about. Like us they are battling a few medical problems so that also has to be put to rights. We’re also looking to go on a Thomson Spirit cruise to Israel and Palestine night month and they are going to join us so we look at excursion options. Jean & Arf try to eat a “Paleo” (caveman) diet which really suits us well and the evening meal of pork casserole served with vegetables and turnip and pumpkin mash is delicious but the icing on the cake is the home made pavlova with raspberries and fresh cream. Round of the evening with the funny movie “What we did on our holiday” with Billy Connolly, for a change a light hearted look at someone who dies of cancer.
GREEN MOOR 1

MONDAY 11 MAY – Steve started with a cold at the end of last week and unfortunately it has really kicked in with him feeling weak, tired and coughing a lot. We leave him resting whilst I join Jean & Arf for a trip to Tin Mill Woods to walk the dogs. The bluebells are just beautiful and many areas are carpeted with them. There’s a fishing lake and a river so it is really attractive. Arf’s is suffering with back problems so I join them for their afternoon visit to the chiropractor in Dodworth. I wander around the village and admire the memorial to over 200 miners who died in the numerous pits nearby. Stop off in Penistone to shop and I pick up the ingredients to make an orange almond cake. Can’t resist a onesie for £1 in the op shop – should give folks a laugh as it has cartoon lambs on it and a sheeps head! Evening movie is “The Tourist” which is another good view.
GREEN MOOR 2

TUESDAY 12 MAY – It is a sunny morning but extremely windy with some rain. Frustratingly Norwich area is getting really hot weather at the moment. Near Worksop we are booked to visit the National Trust property of Mr Straws House. Only 4 people at a time are allowed around this private house that belonged to a grocer. The attraction is that it is a time warp with rooms left exactly as they were when that family member died. Nothing was ever thrown away and when the grocery store closed anything of use was also brought back to the home to be stored in any available space. With newspapers going back to the 1800’s, diaries, receipts for absolutely everything, clothing, furnishing and original wall coverings it is fascinating. Reckon the people who do the “hoarders” programmes would have had a field day. Luckily the contents of the property and over £1m were left to the National trust and both parts of the semi detached home were left to the lodger next door. NT was then able to buy both houses and keep everything in situ. In the town we get a lovely fish and chip dinner at “Cypriana” fish bar. We walk to the original Straws grocery store at the top of Bridge Street which is now a coffee shop. Visit a few charity shops and pick up some things for the cruise before heading back for a rest.
GREEN MOOR 3

WEDNESDAY 13 MAY – I join Jean for a trip to the nearby town of Stocksbridge where we visit grocery and charity shops before enjoying a luxury hot chocolate. It is served in what looks like large jam jars with handles and the chocolate is topped with marshmallows then cream containing chocolate buttons and caramel topping – delicious. I join Jean on the afternoon dog walk enabling me to see a bit of the local area which is lovely. There are sweeping views in all directions and interesting countryside. In the evening next door neighbours Peter & Barbara joins us for a meal. As early retirees, backpackers and motorhomers we have lots in common. Jean does us proud with a gammon dinner followed by fruit puree over ice cream.
GREEN MOOR 4

THURSDAY 14 MAY – In Sheffield we visit the college Sparks Restaurant for their 3 course £9.95 meal. It is similar to Norwich but they include a questionnaire asking you specific things and for comments. Once we arrive back we unpack the Galaxy S4 Zoom camera phone that Jean & Arf have bought after being impressed by ours. It becomes my challenge to get it set up and running and do a tutorial in a short space of time. In between all that I put a colour on Jeans hair. She’s been grey for many years but happy to try out a colour ahead of our cruise and the results are fantastic and take years off her. Think it will be even better after a few washes have softened it as we could only get mid brown and not the light brown we wanted.
GREEN MOOR 5

FRIDAY 15 MAY – Jean & Arf are under instruction to be out by 9am when the cleaner arrives otherwise she spends too much time chatting and not working! We depart at the same time and head to Wakefield to Auntie Pamela’s. She’s looking really well and has recently had a holiday in Spain near where Karen is living. Her granddaughter Sarah arrives with 2 week old baby Freddie who is adorable. He is napping but constantly pulling faces and flaying his limbs around. When awake he appears to be trying to roll from his back onto his front. It’s interesting to learn how different having a baby is nowadays and they won’t even admit you to hospital until your contractions are 2 ½ minutes apart then send you home just a few hours after the birth. Not sure whether they really think this is better for the mother or for the NHS. In Yeadon we catch Lisa at home waiting for their new rattan garden furniture to arrive. It’s a sunny day with a cool breeze but nice enough to sit out chatting. Final stop is Keighley where we have booked the studio for 2 nights. Chat to Mom and Dad and help by making them a bread and butter pudding.
KEIGHLEY 1

SATURDAY 16 MAY – There’s been a price drop on the cruise we are interested in and http://www.cruise.co.uk undercut that so it is time to book. Thomson Spirit 22nd June Eastern Encounters from Norwich, deck 1 or 2 outside cabin at £480pp and Jean & Arf book the same from Manchester at £443. This makes it even more difficult to resist a few things from the charity shops with Next trousers for Steve at £1, and for me a floaty black sequined evening dress £1 and a black and white jacket 75p. I phone to upgrade the Nationwide travel insurance, now a little cheaper than the original quote as it is over a year since either of us was in hospital. On line I book the Thomsons excursions for Israel. At the moment it is worth the extra cost involved for Steve to feel more comfortable. Having said that I am not sure terrorists wouldn’t target a large tour group on a coach ahead of a small group with a local guide!

KEIGHLEY 2

SUNDAY 17 MAY – Pop down to see Mom and Dad then late morning head to Claire’s. She has asked me to do some gardening as it is rather overgrown and they don’t really know how to start so I take a look in the jungle and realise I have my work cut out. We pick up Daniel & Natasha from their Dad’s then settle down to a game of Texas Hold Em with Daniel. Once Azura and Matthew are back and the girls are dolled up we head to Leeds. Its Azura’s birthday and we have a table at Red Hot Chilli Buffet. Steve copes really well even though it is a large, crowded and noisy place. We all eat way too much as there is such a variety.
NORTHOWRAM 1

MONDAY 18 MAY – It’s a drizzly day and chilly so my new “onesie” comes in handy as it keeps me warm and means I don’t get any gaps in my back when bending over gardening. I crack on quickly filling up all the bin sacks available. At some point there has been a keen gardener doing it as the design, plants and flowers are beautiful. Sadly it hasn’t been cared for in quite a few years with clematis strangling all nearby bushes and trees and weeds everywhere. Daniel’s off college studying for his “A” levels. Not sure what subject playing cards with us count as but he sure studies hard. It’s Daniels turn to cook tea tonight and in spite of his hard work the pulled pork doesn’t quite work out but still gets eaten in ciabatta rolls along with chips and beans.
NORTHOWRAM 2

TUESDAY 19 MAY – I battle through rain and hail with only a few breaks inside and get another 5 big garden bags filled with clippings. The front hedge is all trimmed to one level, most of the clematis cut back and borders generally weeded leaving it all just to be dug over. We leave mid afternoon to pick up David en route to Liverpool. He opted out of our family cruise last October and is having little treats instead. Tonight at the Echo arena it is the end of season presentation for Liverpool Football Club. Having booked on line I have to come along to pick up the tickets. We eat at Pizza Express and then head in. There’s a separate queue for the VIP’s and after realising I can’t even get into the venue Steve & David opt to stay outside star spotting whilst I go for a walk. Were it not for the biting cold wind it would be a fantastic evening with the blue skies and sunshine enhancing everything. Liverpool docks have had a huge transformation and are now a really beautiful area with a promenade, dozens of restaurants, museums, lovely buildings and other attractions. I encounter many security people and on questioning the numbers am told they are getting ready for the arrival of the 3 Queens ships that for the first time ever will be in one port together over the weekend, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. I walk almost 4 miles and thoroughly enjoy it all then retire to The Jury’s hotel for a hot chocolate and rendezvous. Steve and David have really enjoyed it and met a few of the players. Understand that it is better to have roadwork’s done at night but after been unable to change motorways where we want it is frustrating to encounter 3 more areas of roadwork’s all making it difficult for us getting David back to the garage on time for his nightshift.
NORTHOWRAM 3

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY – Steve has had a cough on and off almost all year so Suzanne at St James (the clinical nurse specialist) has offered to squeeze him in for a consultation. The receptionist recognises Steve before he has chance to give his name and presents him with forms to have his blood tested. Suzanne asks for the full story going back to his first cold in January. As a precaution she prescribes 2 lots of antibiotics and will get tests done from a throat swab, spit test and X-Ray. His bloods and vital signs are good so she is not unduly worried. Dropping the prescription in at the hospital chemist I am given a pager to alert me when it is ready. Meanwhile Steve has gone straight in for his X-ray – how efficient is that? There are lots of display stands giving information on cancer and I learn more about the trials and also genome. They give a demonstration of how DNA is extracted and explain how at the moment it costs about £1000 and takes 2 hours to test but this info can show whether a person is carrying mutant genes that could lead to cancer, what type and possibly even when enabling actions to be taken. In years to come this will be the way forward with cancer prevention being better than cure. As soon as the prescription is ready we head off to Norwich. Arrive home at 4pm.
MERRYHILL LEISURE CENTRE, NORWICH

Posted by: glenswatman | May 12, 2015

20150105-10 Visit from friends and an outing on the Broads

201505
FRIDAY 1 MAY 2015 – With visitors arriving tomorrow we have a good tidy up and clean. Anne & Nigel join us for an evening of Canasta with them against us. Although our skill pulls us through the games are very competitive. Jean calls and says the she and Arf are interested in joining us on a possible cruise next month to Israel and Beirut, once the price reaches my target we will get booked.
NORWICH, MERRYHILL LEISURE

SATURDAY 2 MAY – After a quick shopping trip I spend the day monitoring and comparing the cruise prices. Last weekend Thompsons were offering it cheaper and with loads of cabins still left I have a hunch they have upped the price for bank holiday weekend so will sit it out. Keith & Sandra arrive late afternoon. Once they are settled in we have dinner then head over to the clubhouse for the evening with a live band. It’s much quieter than it used to be but we enjoy ourselves and have lots of dances as they pay mostly the kind of music we like.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 3 MAY – Having had a long journey yesterday Keith & Sandra and happy to relax and do very little. After a pulled pork lunch Sandra & I visit Taverham Garden Centre for a browse.
MERRYHILL

MONDAY 4 MAY – It’s Sandra’s birthday and a lovely morning. We sit out having our drinks and whilst she opens her many cards. Keith has offered to take Sandra out wherever she wants and our first stop is the National Trust property of Blickling Hall. With over 1000 cars in the overflow car parks we are lucky it is a large property and gardens so doesn’t feel crowded. We stroll the gardens encountering an area called a “sitooterie” (Scottish for a summer house of gazebo). Sandra and I take a quick walk through the house before meeting up again. Sandra’s fleeting idea of going for a dip in the ocean is quelled as we are almost blown away by the gale force wind at Cley. Keith treats us all to a celebratory birthday meal in the restaurant at Wensum Country Club. With a table overlooking the first hole of the golf course we have a wonderful view down the valley to enhance our delicious meal.
MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 5 MAY – I’ve booked us in for lunch at the Debut training restaurant at Norwich College. As you go through the doors you change from being in a college to a nice restaurant. A 3 course meal with coffee runs to £10 and although lacking a little finesse overall it is an excellent experience and we would go again. Keith & Sandra head off to pick up their boat for a week on the broads whilst we return home. It is a really windy day so I make the most of it by doing more washing including the £1 leather jacket which seems to come out really well in spite of a label saying “specialist cleaning only”.
MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 5 MAY – We intercept Keith & Sandra at Acle Bridge and quickly board their boat Shimmering Light. Heading towards Great Yarmouth the area is mainly reedy making for interesting bird spotting. This time they have a boat with two reclining arm chairs in the front and it is lovely sitting by the front sloping window soaking up the sun (between clouds). Return to Acle and moor up for a light lunch as the downpours start. It’s been a pleasant outing but we both agree that we had our fix of boating on the broads last year.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 7 MAY – In the afternoon we drive to Kings Lynn to visit ex Merryhill friends Stella & Ian. We sit in the conservatory chatting before enjoying a dip in their hot tub. In Kings Lynn main square we use our Tastecard to get 2 for 1 at Prezzo. Good value with the card but not at full price in our opinion. Nearby is The Corn Exchange where we have tickets for the “Magic of Motown” show (£22.50). We’re only 4 rows from the front so have a great view of the stage. Interestingly we are amongst the youngest in the audience! The group of 4 men and 3 women put on a fantastic show morphing into different Motown stars during their rendition of 36 different songs. It’s brilliant and glancing at Steve he either has a grin on his face or his eyes closed with his head bobbing from side to side. The grand finale is the Jackson 5 with one of the women dressed as a young Michael Jackson. At the end everyone is up from their seats dancing. It’s been a fantastic night with the icing on the cake the city of Kings Lynn illuminations. Key buildings are floodlit with animations and it’s excellent.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 8 MAY – At the Doctor’s I have my blood taken for celiac testing and an HRT check. Everything is fine but there is a campaign in England to get people off it. The nurse admits there is varied opinion whether people should be on HRT for 3, 5 or 10 years. She agrees it would be sensible for me to stay on it a little longer whilst I sort out a few other problems first. Initially it is hot enough to sit out and enjoy the warmth but rain and wind soon prevail. Dominic calls round with a tool and shocks the contacts on the car passenger door solenoid which releases the lock. We can now use the passenger door manually and if he comes across a new control panel cheaply in the future we have the option of central locking again. He won’t take any payment but settles for me cooking him a meal in the future. Evening Canasta at Anne & Nigel’s with some more competitive games but they still don’t manage to beat us.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 9 MAY – The Merrymakers have organised a surprise birthday party for Will in the clubhouse. We’ve been asked to take along a plate of food so I dig out some of the frozen scones from the coffee morning to take. It’s a great night with Tony & Dave putting on a disco and asking for everyone’s’ favourite song so they can play it. We get plenty of exercise with our dancing over the 5 hours.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 10 MAY – En route to Sheffield we visit Brownhills motorhome dealers in Newark. Disappointingly they only have one left hand drive vehicle in stock and deal mainly in Auto Trail and Rapido. Even in the £70000+ price bracket there is nothing that takes our fancy in terms of layout and we would still be making compromises. Nearby SMC have lots of European models but again nothing to tick the boxes. We would like one with a fixed low down bed (but not hemmed in making Steve feel claustrophobic) and that’s before we start on the wish list of a large fridge/freezer, light and airy lounge, left hand drive and standard European model. Something will surely have to go but how much kind of depends on what deal we get. Near Sheffield Jean & Arf are house-sitting for their son John & Wife Kath at their house with stables and field in Greenmoor. Haven’t seen them since last September and they have been away all winter touring Portugal and Spain in their motorhome so lots to hear about. Like us they are battling a few medical problems so that also has to be put to rights. We’re also looking to go on a Thomson Spirit cruise to Israel and Palestine night month and they are going to join us so we look at excursion options. Jean & Arf try to eat a “Paleo” (caveman) diet which really suits us well and the evening meal of pork casserole served with vegetables and turnip and pumpkin mash is delicious but the icing on the cake is the home made pavlova with raspberries and fresh cream. Round of the evening with the funny movie “What we did on holiday” with Billy Connolly, for a change a light hearted look at someone who dies of cancer.
MERRYHILL

Posted by: glenswatman | May 1, 2015

20150421-30 London Marathon

201504 ENG
WEDNESDAY 1 APRIL 2015 – Steve has a regular check up at Norfolk and Norwich hospital. I leave him to go in alone and he tells me he has negotiated 6 monthly check ups rather than 4 months. He also told them about our 6 month trip to Australia with the 6 week cruise and initially they thought this was not a good idea but cleared it with specialist Matt. As always we push the boundaries but equally take extra precautions to compensate and do need to get life back on track. Take a short walk down near the University Lake to blow the cobwebs off us.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 2 APRIL – It’s such a nice morning we crack on and I stain the brown woodwork outside whilst Steve finishes off the patio and cleans up some outside chairs. We enjoyed a walk through part of Mattishall Village which looks to be pretty up market judging by the types of houses and how well maintained everything is. Steve has his 2 ½ year old diphtheria, tetanus and polio combined injection which means he should be OK to go to playschool. Next one is at 5 ½ years so he thinks he has a good spell without jabs. However it is recommended he has Hepatitis A for Caribbean and South Pacific and we both need Typhoid before we go which really displeases him. I’ve succumbed and ordered a Freesat recorder on EBay (£56.95) and get a call to say the driver needs a signature so can’t drop at Merryhill. Luckily he is heading to Mattishall and meets us at the surgery. As soon as we get back from Lidl I unpack it and am pleased to see the Bush recorder is really small and neat. After tea I get it set up and do our first test recording. I loads quicker than the Skybox and has a better way of filtering and listing channels so I am sure we will be pleased with it.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 3 APRIL – We have a morning wonder around the park and stop in for coffee at Anne & Nigel’s. Spend the afternoon baking for our coffee morning and knock up 40 plain scones and 8 cheese ones. Nigel and Anne come down in the evening and they are excellent scholars learning Canasta and we have a couple of really good games.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 4 APRIL – Tesco at Dereham have offered us some goods for our coffee morning but we are stunned to find a whole trolley full with coffee, tea, squash, doughnuts, Danish pastries and biscuits. It is a cold drizzly morning so we opt to move the venue into the clubhouse. We’re amazed by just how many people turn up, estimate over 40. Its nonstop making drinks but many people pitch in to help with that and also the clearing up. Fellow A.L.L. sufferer and transplant recipient Emma and a friend join us as do Dave & Denise who used to have the caravan in front of us. We’re delighted to find that over £130 has been raised to go on to Claire & Catherine’s Anthony Nolan marathon fund raising. Knock around at mini ten in the afternoon with Nick & Anne. I’m pretty hopeless but that probably means I get the most exercise in terms of picking up balls! There’s a band in the clubhouse in the evening and we enjoy the event and do quite a lot of dancing.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 5 APRIL – Steve is feeling remarkably well after such a busy day yesterday. In the afternoon we head to the swimming pool. I try a new strategy and instead of just plodding up and down I try to do a few laps at full pelt then take a rest before repeating the process. It certainly feels like it is doing me more good but time will tell. Colin & Eileen pop down for coffee afterwards and to help with eating some of the surplus food. Think we may have to have people in for drinks all month to get through it all and perhaps we should have auctioned it off yesterday but we did feel people had already been very generous and didn’t want to push our luck and those that could took what they wanted away with them so everyone has had a share. I’ve now had a week of eating gluten and overall haven’t felt too bad with a little bloating and a few delays in the toilet department!
MERRYHILL

MONDAY 6 APRIL – It is Easter Monday but with Norwich having the coldest weather in the country (high of 10C) the campers are soon packed up and off. Have to pop up to the mail shed to get phone and internet reception and it feels like sitting in a fridge. Do hope that last year’s weather was the normal and this is unusual rather than the other way around!
MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 7 APRIL – Steve decides that we shall walk to Sainsbury’s and back believing it to be about 3 miles one way. I’m not convinced but happy that he has suggested it. Unfortunately most of the walk is down country lanes avoiding cars and then on a footpath beside a main road. We gain sustenance from the purchase of half price Easter eggs which probably negates and calories we have walked off. Steve’s already weary as we set off back but with no buses to Merryhill we have no choice but to plod on with an odd rest stop. Arrive back to hear my Endomondo tell me we have done 8 miles which is really way too far for him. Far better to do a couple of miles each day I’d say. We have another cracking card session playing Canasta with Anne & Nigel in the evening. Unfortunately Nigel works so this won’t be a regular occurrence as invariably the games go on for hours.
MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL – Unsurprisingly Steve is quite weary but I do understand his need to push himself when he has really good days even though he pays the price later. Luckily we have a relaxation class at the Big C which is most enjoyable.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 9 APRIL – Cashing in on the nice weather I wash the net curtains and a few other things as a spring clean. I make a massive pan of mushroom soup and we sit out enjoying a bowl for lunch along with some homemade seeded bread.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 10 APRIL – The last day of forecasted good weather so again I get stuck in with the washing. We sit out enjoying the warm sun having put up a windbreak to create privacy. Steve goes alone for his massage and Hope course. A couple of our sort of age are being shown around all the caravans for sale in the park and settle on the one behind us, assuming they don’t have kids this will suit us nicely – children are prone to be heavy footed and race around inside caravans creating quite a lot of noise. It’s Tony’s birthday today and 14 of us meet at “Namco Funscape” ten pin bowling lanes at Bowthorpe. We buy the £10 per person 2 games and a drink package each and set about playing with the 7 women on one lane and men on the other. Neither of us has played for about 3 years and I’m a bit concerned about Steve’s collar bone. He starts gently then increases the oomph and ends up being the best male with 150. I’m second in the females and just clear 100 with 101. With 7 on a lane it is quite sociable as you have plenty of time to chat between bowling. In the second game Anne again wins the women’s with me second and Steve wins the means but with a slightly lower score as his shoulder has started to ache and his bowling has suffered. We’re invited back to Chris’s for pizza but knowing we are out tomorrow night we opt to go home. Notice a Police car on site at the clubhouse so no doubt the jungle drums will fill us in tomorrow. You can’t say life here isn’t exciting.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 11 APRIL – I’ve been feeling a bit “snorty” the last few nights and now we both appear to have the makings of proper colds. I dose us up in the hope of nipping it in the bud and cry off tonight’s outing.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 12 APRIL – We’re both a bit worse for wear and have run out of fresh lemons and getting low on honey so I may have to go out to stock up. After a rainy morning the weather picks up in the afternoon and I venture out as I’m feeling much better. Steve also benefits from some fresh food and soothing drinks.
MERRYHILL

MONDAY 13 APRIL – Under the new system you need to have a regular check up when on repeat prescriptions and this morning I have my appointment. The latest “craze” is to try and get people off long term HRT but I manage to talk the Doctor into leaving well alone until when we get back next year. Unfortunately part of the routine is to take blood pressure and mines a bit on the high side but will get checked again in 4 weeks when I have my celiac blood tests. Dr Allen will also check about whether we can have 6 months prescriptions for when we go away in the winter. I continue to Dereham and have a nice stroll and do a bit of shopping before returning to nurse my patient.
MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 14 APRIL – By 10am it is a lovely day so I give the car a really good clean and wax. We’ve been having problems with our new Bush Freesat recorder and get a call from the delivery man to say he is at the gate with the replacement. I drive up there but then can’t get out of the car. The button to unlock the doors whilst the car engine is running doesn’t work and even turning the engine off the doors don’t unlock. Luckily the button works to let me out. Back at the van I find I can’t get out again even using the button which is now stuck in one position. I have to get Steve to open the door with a key on the outside. The passenger is completely blocked but the boot opens and shuts. Steve sets about reading the manual and fiddling around but to no avail and reckons I have done something whilst washing the car. Whilst pondering this Janet & Richard join us for afternoon tea and to use up some of the many scones frozen after our coffee morning. Through our Churchill Insurance we have basic Green Flag cover and call them out. In the interim I get a call from the pharmacy at the surgery to say they cannot issue more than 3 months prescriptions but we could buy the extra medication on a private prescription and she will find the cost. I was anticipating this so in the meantime have been ordering our medications almost a week early to build up a bit of a stock! I have problems connecting the Freesat box and can only get one of the two satellite dish input cables to work but will leave it at that for now. Green Flag arrive and after an hour he says he thinks it is an electrical problem connected to the alarm system and needs specialist attention. Well they do say problems come in 3’s and we’ve had our share today. New neighbour Dominic arrives whilst Steve is pottering by the car and gets chatting to Steve. Turns out he knows quite a lot about cars and offers to take a look and after about half an hour considers it is a different problem that he is happy to have a go at tomorrow after work. Throughout the day Steve has been feeling a bit better so with luck we can still prevent his cold getting really bad. Backed up by research on a medical programme that I watched at the weekend we know that honey lemon is generally one of the best treatments.
MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 15 APRIL – Another nice day and we set out for a walk around the park and end up chatting to Chris & Lynn. Seems we have a lot in common as they would rather go out for a meal than to a pub for a drink, like going walking and Lynn has problems hearing when there is background noise as does Steve.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 16 APRIL – Dominic calls in after work and after taking a part to work has discounted that as the problem. After checking all the wiring and other things he concludes it either needs a Rover specialist auto electrician or alternatively the cheap quick fix is to disconnect all the electric central locking system and install a manual one but this would involve breaking into the passenger door and possibly causing damage. Either way nothing can be done until after our holidays as the local Rover dealer is booked ahead for over a week.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 17 APRIL – At the Big C centre I have my back massage first then leave Steve to have his whilst I drive to the college. Today I am trying Hopi ear candling, £15. You lie on one side and a hollow candle is placed in your ear and lit. There’s a tray to catch any drips and a towel over your head in case any ash blows down. You can hear a crackling noise and a slight warming sensation and for no apparent reason it feels very relaxing. Basically the candle creates a vacuum and this draws out any impurities and wax from your ear and up into the hollow tube which is blown out long before it reaches your ear! It should help with sinus problems, headaches and other things and is highly recommended before a flight. The treatment includes a pressure point massage of your fact which winds it up nicely. Steve’s had a good last session on the Hope cause with all but one of the people feeling much more positive and happier at the end of it. They have got along so well that they arrange to meet up again in June.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 18 APRIL – I do the first part of the drive and notice how much more difficult it is for Steve to shuffle over into the passenger seat. It takes about 3 hours to get to the Devere Hotel of Wokefield Park near Reading. We came last year and had one or two problems so have been invited back for 2 nights in the mansion house on B&B plus an evening meal. Our first room has no bath tub so we are moved to 216. Head off to use the gym and spa area only to find the spa has now been closed down. After a session in the gym we walk over to the new block to use the swimming pool only to find it closed. There’s a big Asian wedding taking place so suspect all resources are being put into that. It is wonderful to see the guests in their brightly coloured outfits and interesting to note the bride in a traditional Western style ivory wedding dress. Return to iron our clothes for tonight then run a bath. The iron is broken and there is no hot water. 2 hours later still no iron and the hot water cannot be repaired so we are a bit fed up. I speak to reception who apologise and put us in suite 206. It’s really nice but I am not sure we need the separate lounge. Have also been noticing that in the public areas the carpets all need vacuuming and spot cleaning and generally cleanliness is lacking. After running the bath I come to put the bath mat down and find it is covered in mould. Long story short they replace it and arrange for us to see the Manager when we go to dinner. The Brocas restaurant is lovely (but still has a dirty carpet) and Manager Kim offers us a bottle of wine and apologies. Given that neither of us really drinks and the wine is well over £20 a bottle we ask if we might have a meal tomorrow instead. She agrees to one person’s meal free with the other paying which is fine. Interesting to note that even Kim’s blazer is dirty and badly fitting. Hard to pinpoint what is going on but such a shame that a beautiful place like this is becoming so neglected. Fortunately the meal is terrific and we enjoy all 3 courses.
WOKEFIELD PARK, NR READING 1

SUNDAY 19 APRIL – We tuck in to the full breakfast, again in a room with a dirty carpet. Enjoy a leisurely morning reading the papers then head over to use the swimming pool and sauna. Our evening meal is the buffet at the Steam & Bake Grill in the new block. Contrary to the bad reviews on Trip Advisor it is very nice indeed. So nice I ask the staff if I can take photos to do a Trip Advisor report to set the record straight. Yes I will complain if things are wrong but get far more pleasure from complimenting things that are good. When we come to pay we are told that is all paid for.
WOKEFIELD PARK, NR READING 2

MONDAY 20 APRIL – What a change, all the carpets have been vacuumed, there are biscuits at the comfort station and everything is stocked up. Maybe it was the wedding that caused staff to be deployed elsewhere at the weekend. Fill up on our buffet breakfast then head off doing a slight detour to look at the National Trust property Petworth House. There are couple of gems, a carved hall with Van Dyck paintings on walls completely covered in carvings and a fantastic staircase area with murals everywhere. Interestingly the servants’ quarters lead you to a back entrance directly into the town. It is a pretty place to wander around for half an hour. Arrive at the Haven Church Farm holiday park at Pagham to be allocated 73 Lagoon Close. We’ve booked directly with the owner as we wanted 5 nights and Haven only do 4. At £100 it is a great price but terrible location by the entrance road, next to the Spar and with a walkway beside the caravan. Although a much newer and more expensive caravan it is not a patch on ours but will suffice. Taking the boardwalk over the lagoon we eventually reach the beach. Typical with much of the Sussex coast it is all pebbles and rather windswept. Behind it is a real mixture of houses – old shacks in various states of disrepair adjoining modern expensive homes. Steve’s a bit weary and battling his cold so we return to the caravan. Early evening I take a walk around the site which is absolutely huge and set out like a housing estate with lots of named roads. The caravans don’t have skirting or enclosed gardens so it doesn’t look as nice as Merryhill and most visitors are families with young children.
PAGHAM 1, CHURCH FARM

TUESDAY 21 APRIL – Heading east we stick to the coast as much as possible. The locked passenger door becomes frustrating as I am unable to hop out to check a view or take a picture. Worthing seems lovely enhanced by the hot sunny day. At Shoreham by Sea we get a big surprise along the spit. Houseboats are anchored in the estuary and walking along the embankment we get a better view. An owner tells us they were put here after the war when there were housing shortages. Today people own the mooring rights and a piece of land down the embankment and have electricity and water. For years they were frowned upon and even today many look like junkyards crossed with allotments but the tide is turning and it is becoming a trendy place to live with boats being bought by affluent people and done up to a high standard. We like the older quirkier ones and spot an artist working on a new project attaching bits of cars, caravans and rockets to his! One is appropriately named “Luna Sea”. At Hove we easily find Tom’s house with the motorhome parked outside. We met Tom & Karen on our Japan cruise. Tom has put together a plan for highlights of Brighton and suggests we go in on the bus and he will cycle in and meet us later. Cheapest is a £9 family ticket which is pretty steep for a 3 mile ride. Brighton Dome is a fabulous old building with lots of Asian style architecture inside. It houses the free Brighton Museum and Art Gallery which is a real mixture of exhibits -Dali’s famous red sofa based on Mae West lips being one of them. A short stroll through the park takes us to the exotic extravaganza of The Royal Pavilion. Commissioned by the Prince of Wales in 1815 and designed by John Nash it is Indian oriental gothic style on the outside and Chinese inside is. Admission is expensive at £11.50pp but the Banqueting and Music rooms alone make it worth it. We have never seen anything quite like it with a 1 tone chandelier hung from the jaws of a massive dragon. Every surface is decorated with ornate splendour and you almost don’t know where to luck. The building was used as an impromptu hospital after the war and these magnificent rooms became wards. Across the road the traditional old streets are now known as “The Lanes” with many being barely wide enough for a person to walk along. There seems to be themes with one lane full of jewellery shops. Pubs abound and are all of an interesting character. At the waterfront we can’t resists a stroll along the pier. Today all the deckchairs are taken with people enjoying the kind of temperatures you would expect in summer. We meet up with Tom who suggests a couple more things before we catch the bus back. Check out the Atlantic Seafront Hotel where our friends Bev & Norm will be staying in September. It’s a small traditional style boarding house that looks nice and clean with modern features and directly opposite the big wheel it is very central. Below the main promenade is another walking area where businesses have set up under the arches. The cafes with outdoor seating are doing a roaring trade. Steve’s weary from many coughing fits so we head back. Sit out in the garden enjoying lots of travel chat as Tom is also an avid backpacker. Once Karen arrives home Tom cooks us a tasty chicken stir fry. All agree how amazing the Japan cruise was and will be hard to top. We’re reluctant to leave but have an hour’s journey and it is already 9.30pm.
PAGHAM 2, CHURCH FARM

WEDNESDAY 22 APRIL – “Pauls” garage in Bognor Regis specialises in Rover cars. They offer to make space to look at the car today and lend us a similar one to use. Would be nice to walk all the way along the front and explore a bit of the town but after a brief attempt it is clear Steve is not up to it. We do manage the short walk to the harbour area near the caravan site but as the tide is out we can only see mud banks. Late afternoon I leave Steve resting and drive back into Bognor to wander around the shops before hopefully picking up the car. It appears to be a more downmarket/poorer area than nearby coastal resorts and has a massive Bullins holiday camp on the edge of town. Charity shops abound and I pick up some wonderful bargains including zip off trousers for our travels at only £2.50 and a musty smelling leather jacket for £1. Have a hunch baby wipes and/or coconut oil will get the marks off and a bit of Febreeze will get rid of the smell. If all else fails I’ve made £1 charity donation. The car is not ready. They have had a quick look and still can’t decide if it is an electrical or mechanical fault so want to investigate more tomorrow but say we can hang on to the loan car.
PAGHAM, CHURCH FARM 3

THURSDAY 23 APRIL – It’s about 20 miles to Port Solent near Portsmouth. We last met fellow Couchsurfer David in 2008 when he hosted us prior to our Egypt cruise. Since then he has sold his home near Gatwick, bought a small house in Wales and a yacht that he now lives on. Surabaya Girl is an old boat but comfortable. We meet his partner Lindsay with whom I have chatted on Facebook. Sit on board for a couple of hours catching up with news and learning about all the gadgets David loves to use on the boat. We get a phone call from Paul’s garage to say they have traced the problem to a faulty security unit. The cost of a new one, resetting the remote controls and labour is well over £700 so we ask them to leave it for now. David used to be an RAC roadside mechanic and like Dominic at Merryhill believes there will be a cheaper solution by passing the automatic system and making the doors manual locking. We walk around the marina to an area full of restaurants. There’s a nice mix of expensive ones, mid price chain restaurants and also Harvesters and Wetherspoons. Wetherspoons have a lovely terrace upstairs overlooking the marina so this swings the balance in terms of the cheaper ones. It’s packed out with a wedding party holding their reception there. They must have dropped lucks as today they are not only putting on their usual curry deal but also a fish and chip special for St Georges day. It’s a fabulous spot to sit and look over the water whilst enjoying the surround view, good food and conversation. David had hoped to take us out on the boat but the tides and strong winds would have made it difficult so he suggests we visit another time and stay on board for a few days. Steve’s getting weary so we head back mid afternoon. It’s a really nice day so I coax him out for a walk around the sit at about 5pm. We reckon there are about 500 vans here in total but still only one small entertainment complex. Arrive back to find a text from David saying that he has given our car problem some thought and if we want to drive over he will have a go at getting the passenger door open and working manually. Has to be worth a try and once at the marina Lindsay and I go for a nice walk around the waterfront giving me chance to get to know her better. Unfortunately the problem even stalls David as it is not simply a broken button link but something to do with the solenoid. At least he is able to eliminate some things and leave the door panel off ready for Dominic to work on it next week.
PAGHAM, CHURCH FARM 4

FRIDAY 24 APRIL – Steve’s shattered combination of his cold, too much fresh air whilst walking and stress about the car problem. I take an afternoon stroll to Pagham and have a chuckle at the amusement arcade with a statue of Elvis and a sign proclaiming that he has lived in Gracelands Memphis and sung in Las Vegas but is happiest of all at Pagham Beach family fun centre! Haven sites have a Friday check out then check in during the afternoon for people on the 3 day weekend package. This means that at night the newcomers are in party mode and we get a lot of drunken banter as they stagger back to their caravans past ours.
PAGHAM, CHURCH FARM 5

SATURDAY 25 APRIL – It’s a small detour to the National Trust property of Chartwell, family home of Sir Winston Churchill. It’s really busy but many people are just visiting the magnificent grounds and your entry to the home is timed to avoid congestion. Wandering around with our room info card we get a real sense of the character of the man and how he lived. Although a magnificent mansion house it is not pretentious at all and very practical. It is 50 years since his funeral and there is a special exhibition all about it. The studio in the garden (another massive house) contains much of his own artwork which is really good and as hands on man he built the wall around the kitchen garden and a small play house for his daughter. Arrive at Bromley mid afternoon at Vez & Dave’s and get to meet their 14 month old son Dylan for the first time. He’s just lovely, a really nice nature and very cute. They leave us to settle in whilst going out house hunting having sold their 4 bedroom terrace house 3 days after putting it on the market and for the full asking price. The prospective purchasers have got £250,000 to put down so shouldn’t have much problem raising the rest as a mortgage – the mind boggles. They arrive back shortly before Pete & Carol arrive from the Midlands having come down on the train. It’s great to catch up with everyone and we order a Chinese takeaway and spend much of the evening working out our plan for viewing daughter Claire in the London marathon tomorrow.
BROMLEY 1

SUNDAY 26 APRIL – We’re up early and out by 8am to drive to the nearby train station. It’s a breezy start to the day and drizzling but not too bad and forecast to fine up later. Marathon runners and spectators abound so there’s a great atmosphere. The second train is a little busier but most get off at the stop nearest one of the starting points. Steve, Carol and Pete alight near mile 5 to go to the special “Anthony Nolan” viewing point whilst Vez & I stay on to mile 6. Steve & I have tickets for the grandstand at the finish line but need to meet up with Netty & Ian to pick them up and they should be at mile 6 along with Richard. Unfortunately their plan has come unstuck as they are trapped at Docklands where they got off the train and cannot get through the crowds. Vez & I walk back to the others who have a fantastic spot at the roadside. At this point there is loads of space even with gaps where no one is stood to cheer. First the wheelchairs come through followed by impaired athletes then the elite women at which point we spot Paula Radcliffe doing her last marathon. The elite men race through quickly and they we await the start of the fun runners. Anthony Nolan have provided us with big cards to write people’s names on and we are supporting Claire, her friend Catherine and her Dad David so have cards for each. Carol and I are wearing pink glittery tiara’s and we all have Anthony Nolan T Shirts so should be easy to see being lined up on the outside bend of a road at the end of a long straight. The fun runners begin to come through with the first lot in each time section in a bunch then it thins out. Many are in costumes which is great entertainment. A large butch man in a Pamela Anderson style Baywatch costume, rhino’s, super heroes, a dinosaur, a girl running in high heels and more. Lots of charities are represented and we make sure we call out the names of all the individuals in the Anthony Nolan shirts and other charity runners and people who look to be flagging. The Endomondo trackers is not working and the official Virgin Marathon website trackers has crashed so we have no idea where anyone is. Spot CJ from Egg Heads as he comes past at a good pace. Pick up Catherine on Endomondo but don’t spot her going past and no indication of Claire even starting. It’s getting a little worrying as we all scan the runner but to no avail. We eventually get a phone call from Netty to say Claire has just passed them at 6km and had a hug from Richards and picked up her breakfast bar. We have to walk 2 miles to the DLR station and en route cheer runners and note that if you followed the route you could pick up almost every item of clothing needed as a runner as people abandon things when they get hot. There’s a queue for the train and we learn that Netty, Ian & Richard are also having problems with crowds and have to abandon their plan to see Claire every 3 miles. Arrange a rendezvous with Ian to pick up our tickets and then carry on to Tower Bridge where Anthony Nolan have cheering points at mile 13 and opposite at mile 22. The crowds are huge and the underpass to mile 13 has had to be closed for safety reasons. We get stuck at mile 23 and during a brief spell of Endomondo working notice that Claire is at mile 14 so we won’t even see her go through opposite us. Pete has gone off on his own and Carol & Vez got separated from us on the train but will stay at mile 22. Steve & I battle more crowds and a busy tube (he copes exceptionally well) to get to St James to walk to the finish. They have a great system organised as we have to cross the race so they divert runner to single track on the far side, herd spectators into a pen in the middle then divert the runners to the nearside and allow us to cross. It’s a beautiful park and we admire the scenery and blossom on the trees before reaching the grandstand. The army are doing a security inspection but are not terribly efficient failing to spot a massive heavy adjustable spanner in my bag. We’d used it to disconnect and reconnect the car battery when we left our car with Claire in February and had left it behind so Ian has passed it back to me with our tickets. Bit of a worry that they don’t find it or consider it a weapon. It’s very crowded but we manage to find Catherine’s Mum Pam, Sister Paula with son Sam and her friend. They’ve been there all day and are managing to pick up David and Catherine on Endomondo. It’s great to watch the people finishing and to hear the commentary. DJ Chris Evans flies past and we spot a few other minor celebs. If someone has a costume on appropriate music is plaid which enhances the atmosphere. We just manage to spot David as he goes past and Catherine is able to pick us out as we cheer her to the finish. We’re into the 5 hour groups now and with Claire estimating 4 ½ – 6 we should see her soon. Ian, Richard & Netty catch her at mile 21 then I get a message from Carol at mile 22 to say she has just given her a hug and she is OK but finding it extremely hard. Steve’s been at the barrier for hours whilst I’m stood behind looking further ahead. Your eyes get very sore scanning everyone but luckily we both spot Claire just after she has seen Steve. They both have their arms stretched wide as they head for an embrace with both overcome with too much emotion to speak. I’m choked with tears of relief at seeing her but she doesn’t even spot me! We head to our rendezvous point for the Anthony Nolan after party and meet Carol who is waiting there. Anthony Nolan volunteers meet the runners and escort them there then provide food, drink and no doubt a very welcome massage. We manage to get Netty & Ian in as well as Richard so it’s lovely to sit together as a group beside Catherine, David and family. Claire’s weary but overall OK although she said it was extremely difficult and although her time is 5 hours 28 min she did spend about 20 minutes in a queue for the loo at mile 17. Cannot understand how we missed each other at mile 5 as she was on our side of the road and high fiving people and with 5 of us in a line looking for her it doesn’t make sense. We are really proud of her and make sure we take plenty of pics to capture the moment. Already Claire & Catherine’s fundraising is at £4500 but we hope to get that over £5000. We have a good journey back and over pizza chat about our days and how difficult it was as spectators, never mind Claire saying never again as a runner it is much the same for us!
BROMLEY 2

MONDAY 27 APRIL – At Neasden there is a BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir a scaled down version of the temple we visited in New Delhi. It’s a magnificent white structure set in beautiful gardens. Visitors are made extremely welcome and the interior is also white marble with hundreds of carvings. It’s free to enter but we pay the small extra charge to visit the museum that explains about Hinduism as a religion, the things the ancient Hindu’s discovered or invented and the boy to whom the temple is dedicated. We’re invited to a service during which alcoves are opened and illuminated to show colourful characters. You then go behind the main room to see many statues of their deities. Opposite is a massive shop which is a great place to buy Indian foods and you can even have a meal in the adjoining restaurant. Steve’s only too happy to leave the madness of London traffic behind as we head to Hitchin to our friends Peter & Margaret’s’. They make us most welcome and at Peter’s suggestion we enjoy a bit of sunshine sitting out having a salad. I join Margaret on the school run to pick up one of her step grandchildren and then take Nathaniel home where his sisters are waiting. As an ex teacher Margaret is really good at helping them with homework etc. When we get back Peter is trying to figure out his new HUDL, a tablet computer and to some extent I am able to help him and get some apps up and running. Margaret is off to Madeira next week and I help her book transfers with Resort Hoppa and leave them with website info for things that should save them money on their September cruise. I learn from Margaret that Buckingham Palace tickets include admission to many other Royal buildings so it’s a good trade of knowledge. It’s a good job we arrived a lunchtime as there is so much to talk about.
HITCHIN

TUESDAY 28 APRIL – We have a light breakfast then chat around the table until Margaret produces an extremely delicious brunch. Homemade leek cooked in a cheese sauce then baked with cheese and breadcrumbs on top. Margaret shows me her new travel bag which is designed to cope with the fact that each airline has a slightly different cabin baggage side. With zips on every side the bag can be expanded or reduced to fit in everywhere. We’ve had a lovely time but are both ready to go home and do very little for a few days. The journey back is excellent and we are home by 3pm and I soon have 3 loads of washing out on the line quickly drying in the strong wind. Steve’s delighted to be home in our snug little caravan and looking forward to a few days’ r&r before our visitors arrive on Saturday.
MERRYHILL LEISURE, NORWICH

WEDNESDAY 29 APRIL – After wind and showers the afternoon brightens so we head for a walk. Arrange cards for Friday eve with Nigel and Anne. Visit Debbie who is still off sick but looking forward to their holiday to Spain next week then Ian & Pauline who fill us in on MH news.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 30 APRIL – According to the weather forecast it is all downhill from here with May forecast to be cold. Even yesterday there was snow in many parts of England. In Dereham we do a bit Lidl shop then enjoy a wander around town.
MERRYHILL

Posted by: glenswatman | April 24, 2015

20150411-20 Trip down south

SATURDAY 11 APRIL – I’ve been feeling a bit “snorty” the last few nights and now we both appear to have the makings of proper colds. I dose us up in the hope of nipping it in the bud and cry off tonight’s outing.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 12 APRIL – We’re both a bit worse for wear and have run out of fresh lemons and getting low on honey so I may have to go out to stock up. After a rainy morning the weather picks up in the afternoon and I venture out as I’m feeling much better. Steve also benefits from some fresh food and soothing drinks.
MERRYHILL

MONDAY 13 APRIL – Under the new system you need to have a regular check up when on repeat prescriptions and this morning I have my appointment. The latest “craze” is to try and get people off long term HRT but I manage to talk the Doctor into leaving well alone until when we get back next year. Unfortunately part of the routine is to take blood pressure and mines a bit on the high side but will get checked again in 4 weeks when I have my celiac blood tests. Dr Allen will also check about whether we can have 6 months prescriptions for when we go away in the winter. I continue to Dereham and have a nice stroll and do a bit of shopping before returning to nurse my patient.
MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 14 APRIL – By 10am it is a lovely day so I give the car a really good clean and wax. We’ve been having problems with our new Bush Freesat recorder and get a call from the delivery man to say he is at the gate with the replacement. I drive up there but then can’t get out of the car. The button to unlock the doors whilst the car engine is running doesn’t work and even turning the engine off the doors don’t unlock. Luckily the button works to let me out. Back at the van I find I can’t get out again even using the button which is now stuck in one position. I have to get Steve to open the door with a key on the outside. The passenger is completely blocked but the boot opens and shuts. Steve sets about reading the manual and fiddling around but to no avail and reckons I have done something whilst washing the car. Whilst pondering this Janet & Richard join us for afternoon tea and to use up some of the many scones frozen after our coffee morning. Through our Churchill Insurance we have basic Green Flag cover and call them out. In the interim I get a call from the pharmacy at the surgery to say they cannot issue more than 3 months prescriptions but we could buy the extra medication on a private prescription and she will find the cost. I was anticipating this so in the meantime have been ordering our medications almost a week early to build up a bit of a stock! I have problems connecting the Freesat box and can only get one of the two satellite dish input cables to work but will leave it at that for now. Green Flag arrive and after an hour he says he thinks it is an electrical problem connected to the alarm system and needs specialist attention. Well they do say problems come in 3’s and we’ve had our share today. New neighbour Dominic arrives whilst Steve is pottering by the car and gets chatting to Steve. Turns out he knows quite a lot about cars and offers to take a look and after about half an hour considers it is a different problem that he is happy to have a go at tomorrow after work. Throughout the day Steve has been feeling a bit better so with luck we can still prevent his cold getting really bad. Backed up by research on a medical programme that I watched at the weekend we know that honey lemon is generally one of the best treatments.
MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 15 APRIL – Another nice day and we set out for a walk around the park and end up chatting to Chris & Lynn. Seems we have a lot in common as they would rather go out for a meal than to a pub for a drink, like going walking and Lynn has problems hearing when there is background noise as does Steve.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 16 APRIL – Dominic calls in after work and after taking a part to work has discounted that as the problem. After checking all the wiring and other things he concludes it either needs a Rover specialist auto electrician or alternatively the cheap quick fix is to disconnect all the electric central locking system and install a manual one but this would involve breaking into the passenger door and possibly causing damage. Either way nothing can be done until after our holidays as the local Rover dealer is booked ahead for over a week.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 17 APRIL – At the Big C centre I have my back massage first then leave Steve to have his whilst I drive to the college. Today I am trying Hopi ear candling, £15. You lie on one side and a hollow candle is placed in your ear and lit. There’s a tray to catch any drips and a towel over your head in case any ash blows down. You can hear a crackling noise and a slight warming sensation and for no apparent reason it feels very relaxing. Basically the candle creates a vacuum and this draws out any impurities and wax from your ear and up into the hollow tube which is blown out long before it reaches your ear! It should help with sinus problems, headaches and other things and is highly recommended before a flight. The treatment includes a pressure point massage of your fact which winds it up nicely. Steve’s had a good last session on the Hope cause with all but one of the people feeling much more positive and happier at the end of it. They have got along so well that they arrange to meet up again in June.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 18 APRIL – I do the first part of the drive and notice how much more difficult it is for Steve to shuffle over into the passenger seat. It takes about 3 hours to get to the Devere Hotel of Wokefield Park near Reading. We came last year and had one or two problems so have been invited back for 2 nights in the mansion house on B&B plus an evening meal. Our first room has no bath tub so we are moved to 216. Head off to use the gym and spa area only to find the spa has now been closed down. After a session in the gym we walk over to the new block to use the swimming pool only to find it closed. There’s a big Asian wedding taking place so suspect all resources are being put into that. It is wonderful to see the guests in their brightly coloured outfits and interesting to note the bride in a traditional Western style ivory wedding dress. Return to iron our clothes for tonight then run a bath. The iron is broken and there is no hot water. 2 hours later still no iron and the hot water cannot be repaired so we are a bit fed up. I speak to reception who apologise and put us in suite 206. It’s really nice but I am not sure we need the separate lounge. Have also been noticing that in the public areas the carpets all need vacuuming and spot cleaning and generally cleanliness is lacking. After running the bath I come to put the bath mat down and find it is covered in mould. Long story short they replace it and arrange for us to see the Manager when we go to dinner. The Brocas restaurant is lovely (but still has a dirty carpet) and Manager Kim offers us a bottle of wine and apologies. Given that neither of us really drinks and the wine is well over £20 a bottle we ask if we might have a meal tomorrow instead. She agrees to one person’s meal free with the other paying which is fine. Interesting to note that even Kim’s blazer is dirty and badly fitting. Hard to pinpoint what is going on but such a shame that a beautiful place like this is becoming so neglected. Fortunately the meal is terrific and we enjoy all 3 courses.
WOKEFIELD PARK, NR READING 1

SUNDAY 19 APRIL – We tuck in to the full breakfast, again in a room with a dirty carpet. Enjoy a leisurely morning reading the papers then head over to use the swimming pool and sauna. Our evening meal is the buffet at the Steam & Bake Grill in the new block. Contrary to the bad reviews on Trip Advisor it is very nice indeed. So nice I ask the staff if I can take photos to do a Trip Advisor report to set the record straight. Yes I will complain if things are wrong but get far more pleasure from complimenting things that are good. When we come to pay we are told that is all paid for.
WOKEFIELD PARK, NR READING 2

MONDAY 20 APRIL – What a change, all the carpets have been vacuumed, there are biscuits at the comfort station and everything is stocked up. Maybe it was the wedding that caused staff to be deployed elsewhere at the weekend. Fill up on our buffet breakfast then head off doing a slight detour to look at the National Trust property Petworth House. There are couple of gems, a carved hall with Van Dyck paintings on walls completely covered in carvings and a fantastic staircase area with murals everywhere. Interestingly the servants’ quarters lead you to a back entrance directly into the town. It is a pretty place to wander around for half an hour. Arrive at the Haven Church Farm holiday park at Pagham to be allocated 73 Lagoon Close. We’ve booked directly with the owner as we wanted 5 nights and Haven only do 4. At £100 it is a great price but terrible location by the entrance road, next to the Spar and with a walkway beside the caravan. Although a much newer and more expensive caravan it is not a patch on ours but will suffice. Taking the boardwalk over the lagoon we eventually reach the beach. Typical with much of the Sussex coast it is all pebbles and rather windswept. Behind it is a real mixture of houses – old shacks in various states of disrepair adjoining modern expensive homes. Steve’s a bit weary and battling his cold so we return to the caravan. Early evening I take a walk around the site which is absolutely huge and set out like a housing estate with lots of named roads. The caravans don’t have skirting or enclosed gardens so it doesn’t look as nice as Merryhill and most visitors are families with young children.
PAGHAM 1, CHURCH FARM

Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2015

201401-10 Fleeting days of summer

201504 ENG
WEDNESDAY 1 APRIL 2015 – Steve has a regular check up at Norfolk and Norwich hospital. I leave him to go in alone and he tells me he has negotiated 6 monthly check ups rather than 4 months. He also told them about our 6 month trip to Australia with the 6 week cruise and initially they thought this was not a good idea but cleared it with specialist Matt. As always we push the boundaries but equally take extra precautions to compensate and do need to get life back on track. Take a short walk down near the University Lake to blow the cobwebs off us.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 2 APRIL – It’s such a nice morning we crack on and I stain the brown woodwork outside whilst Steve finishes off the patio and cleans up some outside chairs. We enjoyed a walk through part of Mattishall Village which looks to be pretty up market judging by the types of houses and how well maintained everything is. Steve has his 2 ½ year old diphtheria, tetanus and polio combined injection which means he should be OK to go to playschool. Next one is at 5 ½ years so he thinks he has a good spell without jabs. However it is recommended he has Hepatitis A for Caribbean and South Pacific and we both need Typhoid before we go which really displeases him. I’ve succumbed and ordered a Freesat recorder on EBay (£56.95) and get a call to say the driver needs a signature so can’t drop at Merryhill. Luckily he is heading to Mattishall and meets us at the surgery. As soon as we get back from Lidl I unpack it and am pleased to see the Bush recorder is really small and neat. After tea I get it set up and do our first test recording. I loads quicker than the Skybox and has a better way of filtering and listing channels so I am sure we will be pleased with it.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 3 APRIL – We have a morning wonder around the park and stop in for coffee at Anne & Nigel’s. Spend the afternoon baking for our coffee morning and knock up 40 plain scones and 8 cheese ones. Nigel and Anne come down in the evening and they are excellent scholars learning Canasta and we have a couple of really good games.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 4 APRIL – Tesco at Dereham have offered us some goods for our coffee morning but we are stunned to find a whole trolley full with coffee, tea, squash, doughnuts, Danish pastries and biscuits. It is a cold drizzly morning so we opt to move the venue into the clubhouse. We’re amazed by just how many people turn up, estimate over 40. Its nonstop making drinks but many people pitch in to help with that and also the clearing up. Fellow A.L.L. sufferer and transplant recipient Emma and a friend join us as do Dave & Denise who used to have the caravan in front of us. We’re delighted to find that over £130 has been raised to go on to Claire & Catherine’s Anthony Nolan marathon fund raising. Knock around at mini ten in the afternoon with Nick & Anne. I’m pretty hopeless but that probably means I get the most exercise in terms of picking up balls! There’s a band in the clubhouse in the evening and we enjoy the event and do quite a lot of dancing.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 5 APRIL – Steve is feeling remarkably well after such a busy day yesterday. In the afternoon we head to the swimming pool. I try a new strategy and instead of just plodding up and down I try to do a few laps at full pelt then take a rest before repeating the process. It certainly feels like it is doing me more good but time will tell. Colin & Eileen pop down for coffee afterwards and to help with eating some of the surplus food. Think we may have to have people in for drinks all month to get through it all and perhaps we should have auctioned it off yesterday but we did feel people had already been very generous and didn’t want to push our luck and those that could took what they wanted away with them so everyone has had a share. I’ve now had a week of eating gluten and overall haven’t felt too bad with a little bloating and a few delays in the toilet department!
MERRYHILL

MONDAY 6 APRIL – It is Easter Monday but with Norwich having the coldest weather in the country (high of 10C) the campers are soon packed up and off. Have to pop up to the mail shed to get phone and internet reception and it feels like sitting in a fridge. Do hope that last year’s weather was the normal and this is unusual rather than the other way around!
MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 7 APRIL – Steve decides that we shall walk to Sainsbury’s and back believing it to be about 3 miles one way. I’m not convinced but happy that he has suggested it. Unfortunately most of the walk is down country lanes avoiding cars and then on a footpath beside a main road. We gain sustenance from the purchase of half price Easter eggs which probably negates and calories we have walked off. Steve’s already weary as we set off back but with no buses to Merryhill we have no choice but to plod on with an odd rest stop. Arrive back to hear my Endomondo tell me we have done 8 miles which is really way too far for him. Far better to do a couple of miles each day I’d say. We have another cracking card session playing Canasta with Anne & Nigel in the evening. Unfortunately Nigel works so this won’t be a regular occurrence as invariably the games go on for hours.
MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL – Unsurprisingly Steve is quite weary but I do understand his need to push himself when he has really good days even though he pays the price later. Luckily we have a relaxation class at the Big C which is most enjoyable.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 9 APRIL – Cashing in on the nice weather I wash the net curtains and a few other things as a spring clean. I make a massive pan of mushroom soup and we sit out enjoying a bowl for lunch along with some homemade seeded bread.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 10 APRIL – The last day of forecasted good weather so again I get stuck in with the washing. We sit out enjoying the warm sun having put up a windbreak to create privacy. Steve goes alone for his massage and Hope course. A couple of our sort of age are being shown around all the caravans for sale in the park and settle on the one behind us, assuming they don’t have kids this will suit us nicely – children are prone to be heavy footed and race around inside caravans creating quite a lot of noise. It’s Tony’s birthday today and 14 of us meet at “Namco Funscape” ten pin bowling lanes at Bowthorpe. We buy the £10 per person 2 games and a drink package each and set about playing with the 7 women on one lane and men on the other. Neither of us has played for about 3 years and I’m a bit concerned about Steve’s collar bone. He starts gently then increases the oomph and ends up being the best male with 150. I’m second in the females and just clear 100 with 101. With 7 on a lane it is quite sociable as you have plenty of time to chat between bowling. In the second game Anne again wins the women’s with me second and Steve wins the means but with a slightly lower score as his shoulder has started to ache and his bowling has suffered. We’re invited back to Chris’s for pizza but knowing we are out tomorrow night we opt to go home. Notice a Police car on site at the clubhouse so no doubt the jungle drums will fill us in tomorrow. You can’t say life here isn’t exciting.
MERRYHILL

Posted by: glenswatman | April 1, 2015

20150321-31 Wintery weather

SATURDAY 21 MARCH – its Mom’s birthday so as soon as I hear her stirring I get up and prepare her a breakfast tray. I tap on her bedroom door but find she is already up (and packed) so opts to eat at the table with us. She leaves from Norwich bus station at 12.45pm but wants to be there in plenty of time. Wasn’t really necessary as there is plenty of room on the coach and she gets her favoured front seat behind the driver. We visit “Merge” for their Asian buffet with dishes from China, Japan, Singapore and Korea – not that you can really tell which is which. Excellent value at £7 and I’m delighted with the ice cream bar with sweetie toppings and a chocolate fountain. It’s a bitterly cold day so we opt to head home to get the caravan warmed up and relax.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 22 MARCH – The sun is through by 8am but there’s ice around so it has been very cold. I quickly get a load of washing on. Steve goes to The Otter to watch his football whilst I enjoy the afternoon swimming session.
MERRYHILL

MONDAY 23 MARCH – It is a beautiful morning and perfect for sitting out and taking advantage until it clouds over at lunch time. In the afternoon we go on our first proper walk and comment on how much more you can see with the hedges cut back and no leaves on the trees. Call in to Ian & Pauline’s on the way home.
MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 24 MARCH – Serena comes round to do my hair. Having worked at Toni & Guy in London she is really good and in fact when she cut our Aussie friends Bev’s last year Bev said it was the best cut she had ever had. No dramatic change with my bob but she does even it up nicely and sort out the wispy bits at the back, very reasonable too at £15. All morning I’ve had an upset stomach and felt queasy. Just before Debbie is due to arrive for lunch I’m in the bathroom throwing up. Debbie arrives and Steve suggests it might be best to put off lunch until another day which she agrees. Mid afternoon I’m feeling a bit better and enjoying a walk to the mail box before sitting out.
MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH – Still feel my stomach is not settled and that I have somehow got out of synch. The afternoon relaxation class at the Big C helps a bit. Talking with Steve afterwards it turns out we both went to numerous beaches when she was talking us through our beach walk as each scenario made us think of an even more appropriate one to fit the scene. Think this just confirms what beach bums we are at heart. Steve makes me a hot water bottle in the evening which certainly takes my mind off my stomach ache. It leaks and spills hot water on my belly but lucky I realise quickly enough and only have a small burn and 1 blister. Looks like the rubber has perished near the neck so I’ve been really lucky that it didn’t all come rushing out at once.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 26 MARCH – It’s a foul day with heavy rain. Debbie texts to say she is not feeling well and won’t be joining us for our re-scheduled lunch. Hope it is not Steve’s turn to be ill the next time we plan it. We’re both happy to have a duvet day and not get dressed at all. By afternoon the rain stops and heavy winds come making the trees behind us sound like ocean waves crashing on the beach – bit of wishful thinking there.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 27 MARCH – We start to clean the patio, scrubbing the moss and mould off the tubs and paving stones and it comes up really well. After dropping Steve at the Big C I visit Norwich College for my Indian Head massage, £7. It’s nice but difficult to get comfortable leaning over a table on to a pillow. I get my back, shoulders, head and face massage but overall prefer the full body massage with oil. Stop and chat to Emma when picking Steve up and everyone sounds more cheerful this week.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 28 MARCH – It’s a horrible morning with winds and heavy rain. Visit Janet & Richard for coffee and a real good catch up having not seen them since September. They are very positive about Merryhill and will be staying here regardless which cheers us up. When the rains stop the winds get stronger and it is interesting to watch how much the trees sway in the wind. Spend the evening at the clubhouse playing “shit head” and then a board game “Logo” with Anne, Nigel, Emma and Dan.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 29 MARCH – What a day, strong winds, heavy rain and to top it all hail. It’s so bad we take the car up for our afternoon swim. I’ve not been too well this last week and finally concede that I really need to get to the bottom of whether I have celiac disease or not. The first step is eating a diet containing gluten for 6 weeks before having a blood test so I begin today and must confess it is rather nice to eat normal foods. So nice I bake homemade seeded bread. Have a feeling that the next 6 weeks may not be much fun once the gluten effect kicks in though.
MERRYHILL

MONDAY 30 MARCH – With poor weather forecast for most of the week we make the most of the half decent morning to head to Cromer. There’s a lovely stretch of the Norfolk Coast walk heading east along the cliff tops towards Overstrand with fine view from the lighthouse and a section through the Royal Golf Course. Back in Cromer we indulge in fish and chips and take them out onto the pier to eat. I haven’t been able to have battered fish for 8 months and boy does it taste delicious. At the pier cafe I can’t resist their banoffee cake and a coffee deal. Feel like a naughty girl let lose in the sweet shop! Steve holds out until he spots a local church offering a pot of green tea with free hot X bun. He takes great delight in pointing out only £1 whilst mine was £3.50! Ken & Sue are back in the park and I pop round to ask a question and end up staying chatting for ages. Overnight the heavy wind and rain return. The wind seems to get under the shed roof which is behind our bedroom and it rattle like crazy making sleeping difficult.
MERRYHILL
TUESDAY 31 MARCH – I manage to use enough pegs to hold the washing on the line and it dries in now time. Good job too as the rain returns early afternoon. It’s a good day for baking, clearing out cupboards and doing odd jobs. We’ve noticed little of interest most of the time on TV but often a 3 way clash at 9pm. I succumb and order a Bush free sat system off EBay (£56.99) so we can record and watch what we want when we want in the future and hopefully watch better quality TV and not greater quantity!
MERRYHILL

Posted by: glenswatman | March 22, 2015

20150311-20 Visit from Mom

WEDNESDAY 11 MARCH – In Norwich we visit Vue cinema in the Castle Mall complex. Notice a 2for1 deal flyer and get that sent through to my phone enabling us to buy 2 senior tickets for £5.75 to see Theory of everything. It’s the life story of Stephen Hawking, very moving and well done. At Revolution we enjoy our lunch and by joining their Privilege club (£3) we get 50% off our meals as their Wednesday special. Return via Broadlands where we get to look inside an old caravan they have for sale. Not a patch on the one we have at Merryhill but it would be very cheap and the set up at Broadlands could make a good base for us. Really not sure which way to go but Merryhill is already changing.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 12 MARCH – Ian pops round for a chat in the morning then after lunch we head to the dentist. Begin to think it is the up sell when she suggests I have special toothpaste with extra fluoride to help the exposed enamel where my gums are receding. It turns out it comes on prescription and because I’ve bought a season ticket it is free. Back on site I take an afternoon stroll and stop at Anne’s for coffee. There’s a meeting at Merryhill tomorrow and I want to check that we can mention a coffee morning we are planning as a fundraiser for Anthony Nolan via Claire who is running the marathon.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 13 MARCH – Steve’s a bit down and it is starting to affect me. I don’t think the situation at Merryhill is helping but at the moment Steve isn’t well enough or able to consider alternatives unless they are a fait accomplice. Whilst he is out on his Hope course I research motorhomes with an idea that maybe we could find a really nice one but keep it on a naturist site for this summer and still use the car as a runabout. He arrives back and tells me everyone on the course, including the instructor, has had a down week – now what kind of hope is that! Many people attend the evening Merrymakers meeting and it is quickly decided to let the people who ran the bar keep the small amount of surplus stock. The biggest area of contention seems to be between those who don’t want members organising any extra social functions (as this would make the club seem good and increase the chances of it being sold or the price it would command) whilst others say we are already paying our club fees so we should make the most of everything and pretty much carry on as before. We’re too new to voice an input but I’m inclined to agree with the latter and if they are intending selling then the sooner the better as new owners couldn’t be any worse.
MERRYHILL

SATURDAY 14 MARCH – Steve’s up really early unable to sleep. Playing on his mind is his situation, the fact that on the course only one person was in a better position than him, our personal situation and where we go from here, Merryhill and more. Sue & Ken arrive early afternoon so I am sure we will enjoy their company in the coming weeks. We visit Debbie & Andy in the evening and have a really nice time. She’s prepared a lovely meal, prawn cocktail, beef dupiaza then trifle. It’s nice to be with people our age and to have a really good chat.
MERRYHILL

SUNDAY 15 MARCH – Manage to speak to both the Mum’s for Mothers day. We only play one game of boules as it is bitterly cold, almost feels like it could snow. I’m in luck when I pop out to Tesco’s and find packs of 4 gluten free bread rolls reduced from £2.22 to 22p although I do have problems fitting all 6 packs in the freezer.
MERRYHILL

MONDAY 16 MARCH – Steve’s feeling a bit under the weather so lingers in bed. It’s a bit of a concern as he has had a headache for a few days and now says he thinks his glands are swelling but of course won’t entertain going to the Docs at this stage. We’re lucky to catch an old black & white movie called “The Malta Story” and recognise many places we visited last month and also learn a bit more about the effect of WW11 on the country. Early afternoon the sun breaks through so I manage to get washing done and fit the new wipers on the car. I’ve realised that baking kills two birds with one stone and warms the caravan nicely so late afternoon try out a new recipe for gluten free orange and almond cake. It looks great but is a bit soft and stodgy and more like a pudding, unsurprising as I had forgotten to add baking powder. It still tastes yummy served with chocolate sauce. Frank pops round early evening to ask whether the Police took a statement from us when he was arrested and as they didn’t would we be willing to give contact details so they can get in touch. He tells us a more about what is going on but in truth this is exactly what we don’t need as we are trying to put it all to the back of our minds. Funnily enough he tells us he was arrested because of the way he spoke to Jenny and not his nudity (that she was complaining about) so we would have looked pretty silly if we had all stripped off in support of Frank!
MERRYHILL

TUESDAY 17 MARCH – Mom’s journey gets off to a bad start with the bus breaking down even before it gets to Keighley. National Express arranges a taxi to take her to Bradford where she catches a bus to Leeds. As she boards the London bus someone gives her a “sorry” card containing a code for a free trip in the future which seems very fair. Ian pops round in the afternoon and brings me a bag of groceries to make scones for the fundraising coffee morning we are holding at Easter. Mom connects with the same bus from London to Norwich. Rendezvous at Thickthorn Services at ¼ to 9. Considering she has been on the road since 10am she is in great spirits. Unfortunately the weather is now poor, cold and misty and not due to improve much but she finds the caravan plenty warm enough.
MERRYHILL

WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH – It’s a hazy day but we head towards the north Norfolk coast. Driving along the country lanes we spot baby deer in the woods. The small town of Holt turns out to be a little gem. There are wonderful buildings made of traditional Norfolk stone, lots of attractive courtyards and interesting shops. Join the coast at Blakeney which offers great possibilities for walks. Mom’s amazed by the unusual coastline as we head to Sherringham. This is another lovely time and after lunching on the pensioner’s special fish & chips we wander around. It’s mainly a bit chilly and misty but when the sun does break through it’s a really pleasant day. Think the exercise and fresh air has tired Mom out as she heads to bed at 9pm.
MERRYHILL

THURSDAY 19 MARCH – We leave Mom at home as we head to Horsham St Faith crematorium for Dee’s funeral. The car park is overflowing and people are parked all along the road. There’s another funeral at 9.05am before Dee’s at 9.30am. Brian did say they had a back lock so maybe they are booking them in closer together. Requested to wear or carry something yellow there’s are some interesting ideas. Our mutual friends John & Shirley make us laugh. When they visited Dee in hospital Dee said she fancied a banana. They have turned up with a giant stuffed toy one which also meets the yellow criteria and can later be played with by Dee’s granddaughters. A tin of sweetcorn and one of custard also make an appearance. We’ve been a bit more conventional with Steve wearing a yellow hanky in his jacket pocket and me with a scarf with bits of yellow and a daffodil. Although there is a light hearted reading about Dee the rest is rather sombre music with poignant words which leave Steve quite distressed. Everyone retires to Brian’s local “The Otter” which is a nice pub and one Steve might try out for his football. There’s a good buffet but it’s hard to get stuck in at 11am. We enjoy sitting and chatting to John, Shirley and their daughter Danni as we know no one else. After returning and sorting Mom’s lunch I take her for a ride to Dereham. She can’t resist picking up books in the charity shops whilst I have a good browse. I’m still on the lookout for “disposable” clothes to take on the long cruise and a black cardigan for 50p fits the bill.
MERRYHILL

FRIDAY 20 MARCH – There’s a full eclipse of the sun today but initially it is blocked by clouds. We are lucky enough to have a breakthrough just as the moon is moving onwards and get a really clear view through sunglasses. A FB friend jokes that he was told to look through a colander but it strained his eyes! We drop Steve at the Big C for his “Hope” course and head to Solutions Salon at the College for our treats. Mom has her hair done with a conditioning treatment £6, whilst I enjoy a full body Swedish massage, £10. Book myself in for an Indian head and back massage next week. Spend an hour in the Big C before Steve emerges. Judging by the mood it has been a slightly more light hearted gathering this week. After a quick tea we leave at 6pm to follow other Merryhill Members to Lyng where there is a Country evening at the Lakeside Country Club. Members Darren & Fay work there and staff and acts are donating their time free as it is a fundraiser for dementia. 15 from Merryhill attend. It’s not really our scene and they play few songs that we know but Steve does get up and dance a couple of times and I join the girls for a line dance. After 3 hours Steve has had enough so we head home.
MERRYHILL

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