Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

200404 England

THURSDAY 1 APRIL – Rod works from home so we spend the morning in the house distracting him.  Talk about April showers, the whole day is dull and miserable with a lot of rain.  I cook an evening meal for us in Nancy’s house and then she; Rod & Steve go bowling whilst I stop behind with Michelle.



FRIDAY 2 APRIL – Realise just how bad the roof leak is when we wake up to find ducks swimming in the bath, well they could have done as there was enough water in there.  Return to Haworth and wait in the van until it’s time to collect Daniel & Natasha from school.  We play in the van until Claire & Daz arrive back from work.  Claire’s rushing out to the show, Daz takes her to Halifax then continues to Manchester to pick up Mum.  David & Donna have already been down to Market Drayton to bring Mum up as far as Manchester.  Mum & Daz arrive at about 8.30pm with Mum staying the night at Claire’s. 



SATURDAY 3 APRIL – I have a bit of a lie in, as I’m still not well.  We leave Claire’s then head into Keighley where Steve places his bets for the Grand National on “David’s Lad” and “Amberleigh House” (very appropriate as we have a granddaughter called Amber and Daniel and Natasha’s middle names are Lee/Leigh).  We take Mum up to Mavis and Trevor’s for the afternoon.  It’s a wet and wild day so we stay indoors.  In the Grand National Steve is delighted when Amberleigh House wins.  Claire is performing in “The Beggar Student” at Halifax playhouse so we all go over to watch the show £7.50.  Having been briefed on the story we manage to follow things and it’s great to see Claire playing both a peasant then a bridesmaid and obviously enjoying herself. 



SUNDAY 4 APRIL – Leave Mavis & Trevor to drive over to Manchester and make it to the Trafford Shopping Centre by 12.15 despite traffic jams.  David picks Steve up to go to the Liverpool football match whilst Mum & I visit the shopping mall.  It’s very impressive inside with an area themed like New Orleans and another for China town.  After a quick shop and lunch we go to the cinema to see “Mona Lisa Smile” with Julia Roberts but both find it disappointing.  Time for another shop before the centre closes at 6pm.  Steve beats us back and we head off towards the Midlands and into another traffic jam.  We spot a stretch limo pulled up on the hard shoulder with lots of youths gathered round.  One is on the embankment squatting down having a poo with a beer can in one had and his mobile phone on the other – just how disgusting is that?  It takes us over 2 hours to do the 1 hour journey and en route the gear box warning light starts flashing again.  Stay overnight in Mums.



MONDAY 5 APRIL – Netty calls round to see us then drops Mum & I in town to do a few jobs.  In the afternoon Steve drives Mum to Shrewsbury to see the eye specialist.  She needs an operation on her cataracts and has decided to go privately to speed things along.  This means she can have the operation in about 3 weeks rather than 6 months.  Kevin & Sandra call round in the evening and take a few of our things from the cellar, about all we have left are photo’s, home video’s and a few personal items.



TUESDAY 6 APRIL – Claire’s 27th birthday.  Head off fairly early first to Stoke on Trent to buy an LPG adaptor £25 + VAT and then to a gearbox company at Preston.  They can’t fit us in until the end of April so we make a booking but ask the garage in Keighley to look at it tomorrow in case they can help.  Return to Claire’s.  Sheila & George baby-sit in the evening whilst we take Claire & Daz out for a Chinese at Dynasty to celebrate her birthday.  The food is excellent and we all enjoy ourselves.



WEDNESDAY 7 APRIL – Steve drops me off at the Doctor’s whilst he goes to the garage about the gearbox.  I’m absolutely fed up with my sinus problems and am delighted to find Dr Wilson’s replacement Dr Alison Brown very sympathetic.  She is going to write to the hospital asking for me to be reinstated on the waiting list in the original place.  In the interim she gives me steroid drops to shrink the polyps but advises me only to use them for a week so that I don’t shrink them too much.  If they become too small and I am called for an operation they won’t be able to do it!  Our local garage doesn’t have the diagnostic equipment to deal with the gearbox so we head off to Saltaire to visit our friends Les & Margaret.  Since we last saw them they have done an overland trip by motorhome from Keighley to Beijing in China and back.  Over lunch we have a most interesting conversation.  David phones to cancel on the weekend.  He has been offered a new job and must be in London on Sunday to start Monday morning.  Pick Claire up after work to return to Haworth.  Help Claire packing things for Daniel & Natasha to come away with us tomorrow. 



THURSDAY 8 APRIL – Swatours Junior sets off around 9am doing a quick shop in Bradford before my appointment at the breast clinic for a routine X-ray.  Pick up van parts at Rodley motors then set off properly with Natasha sat in the front by Steve.  She chatters and giggles non-stop so Steve is quite happy when we stop for lunch and Daniel takes his turn in the front.  John lets us in to Y.S.S and we soon settle on to our site (£10 or £12 with hard standing and power).  The daffodils are just beautiful and pheasants and rabbits are roaming around.  The kids are soon begging to go swimming so we spend a couple of hours up at the pool with them then have tea in the club house.  Having been before Daniel and Natasha are not at all shy and wander off on their own and spend a lot of time in the children’s caravan. 



FRIDAY 9 APRIL – We all get up at 8am to a cold and frosty morning.  It soon warms up and becomes a nice day.  Fit in a morning swim then another 2-hour session in the afternoon.  Natasha is getting better and now swims a length with “biscuit” arm bands on.  BBQ at Steve & Donnas.  Daniel discovers he likes sausages and can’t get enough of them.  Over at the clubhouse the adults use the sauna and cool down in the pool where Daniel & Natasha join us.  Children are allowed in the club until 11pm but Natasha drops off at 10.45.



SATURDAY 10 APRIL – The children sleep until after 9am which suits us fine.  2 swims throughout the day and lots of time spent in the children’s caravan.  BBQ at John & Maureen’s then entertainment in the clubhouse.  We start with a word search for which all the children get a prize.  Daniel wins the “Twister” game and a prize then Doug gives Natasha his game prize as he has little use for a pink cosmetic bag!  Nat drops off at 10pm but we have to drag Daniel away at 11, as he is busy playing cards.



SUNDAY 11 APRIL – The Easter bunny has been and Daniel and Natasha wake to find eggs hidden around the van.  Set off up the east coast to meet Claire & Daz at Reighton Sands.  We’ve booked onto the Haven site for a couple of nights and Daniel & Natasha are looking forward to meeting Rory the Tiger again.  Claire & Daz get stuck in a traffic jam so we take Daniel & Natasha to do the Easter egg hunt.  Once Claire & Daz arrive we hand over the reins.   We take our evening meal in shifts in order to retain a table in the clubhouse.  The place is packed and Claire can’t believe she has queued up just to see a Haven show!  Daniel & Natasha enjoy the children’s comedian and Anxious elephant.  The main show is a magician who uses lots of birds in his act.  At one point he has a duck on stage laughing at his tricks, a cockerel crowing and an owl pooing. 



MONDAY 12 APRIL – Natasha is the first to wake but we manage to stay in bed until nearly 9am.  Claire & Daz take the kids up to enjoy the morning’s activities then   Steve & Daz take the kids to the beach.  They return full of smiles, Daniel got stuck in some mud on the way back and Steve nearly got stuck trying to pull him out.  They are both plastered and very wet.  After lunch Claire & Daz take the kids swimming and return to report another accident.  Daniel jumped up whilst in the pool and banged his nose on the bottom of the slide.  It began pouring with blood and they had to evacuate the pool.  10 minutes later his nose stopped bleeding but he has a cut on the bridge and quite a lot of bruising.  When we go up for the evening show they are handing out bravery awards so Steve puts Daniel’s name forward and he is presented with a badge and certificate.  Entertainment is a Soul band and they are excellent.



TUESDAY 13 APRIL – The nice morning soon changes as sea mist rolls in.  We all leave after lunch and we arrive back in Keighley by teatime.  Claire & Daz stop off at a factory-shopping outlet near York and arrive in Haworth much later.  Manage to get a couple of load of washing done before dark.



WEDNESDAY 14 APRIL – Drive to Halifax to Specialist Coatings for them to start on the roof job.  Dave greets us and tells me to pack a bag, as we are to stay at their house whilst the work is being done.  It’s a kind offer but at the weekend Kate & Gordon offered us accommodation at their place in nearby Mytholmroyd and I would prefer staying with friends.  Dave’s going up to Middlesbrough and has left his brother Mick in charge of the job.  He takes us back to his place and lends us his Nissan Patrol car to use to get around.  Steve drops me at Kate’s; she’s off work with a bad back so I help out by doing the ironing.  Steve gets back in the evening to report that all the appliances are off the roof and most of the roof has been removed, so far so good.



THURSDAY 15 APRIL – Steve goes off to work in Halifax and I go to Hebden Bridge with Kate.  It’s very busy in the town, which is a tourist attraction on any day, but especially popular on Thursday as it is market day.  Kate gets booked in with a chiropractor for tomorrow.  We have to take Charlie’s keys to Halifax; Steve has gone to Hull to get a stainless steel sheet for the van roof.  Meanwhile Charlie has been in the oven drying out but they now need to move it and Steve has the keys.  I drop the spares off then go shopping at Tesco.  Steve gets back and is not very happy.  They were originally going to put a rubber roof on, they mentioned aluminium but finally decided it was better to stick to the original material.  When they phoned to collect the rubber they found there was no proper American roofing rubber left and they were offered but rejected black fishpond rubber.  They then said that aluminium would be better anyway but the only place where they could get the sheet in one piece was Hull.  When Steve arrived to collect it he found they had got him the industrial strength sheeting which is thicker, heavier and more expensive than caravan roofing.  However the caravan roofing doesn’t come in big enough sheets and would have to be joined and would not be strong enough to walk on.  Knowing our van is in the garage with no roof at all Steve has no choice but to accept what they are offering.  Steve lets off a bit of steam by going out to bowling with Graeme and Fozzie in the evening.



FRIDAY 16 APRIL – Hang around at Kate’s.  Steve returns and reports that the new roof still isn’t on and very little has been done today.  Dave is lending us his car for over the weekend.  I cook a Chinese meal in the evening.



SATURDAY 17 APRIL – Head off over the moors to David’s. Steve is going with him to the Liverpool match today as they are playing Fulham at home.  I stay behind with Donna and children Lincoln, Chelsea and Daryl.  After a fish & chip lunch we walk over to Heaton Park.  It’s the largest park in Manchester and some of the Commonwealth events were held here.  There’s a fair on and I treat the kids to a couple of rides each.  Stop off at the new adventure playground before walking back.  David & Steve return vowing never to go to a match again after a 0-0 draw.  We head off over the moors to Lothersdale to meet Neil and Cathy Wilson at the pub.  Neil used to be our doctor in Keighley but has become a personal friend as we have a common interest in travelling.  He wants Cathy to meet us and we hit it off straight away.  After a meal in the pub we return to their house “The old Vicarage”.  Neil has an incredible library of hundreds of books about 1/3 of which are about travel.  Wish we had the time to stay and read a few!  We leave at 10.30pm after Claire sends us a text saying they are going to bed.  As we are staying at their house we don’t want to be locked out!



SUNDAY 18 APRIL – Claire & Daz take us out to lunch at The Bridge where they do 2 for 1 on main meals.  The kids behave brilliantly and we have a lovely time. 



MONDAY 19 APRIL – Steve goes off to do more work on the van whilst I stay behind to look after Daniel and Natasha.  Claire takes Natasha to swimming lessons on a Monday and I go along to watch.  Lucky I did as she swims without armbands for the first time and gets her first badge.  Steve gets back after 10pm and is pleased to say the van is just about finished.



TUESDAY 20 APRIL – Return to Halifax to collect the van.  The roof looks good but inside will need a lot of cleaning to remove all the aluminium shards.  Whilst chatting to Dave we mention that we need an MOT.  He takes us to a garage in Halifax where we get booked in for 11am.  When we are ready to drive off in Charlie we ask Dave for the bill.  He says he has been too busy to work out the cost but we’re to take the van and he will phone us once he has a price.  Taking into account that he has never once returned any of our phone calls in the past that should be interesting!  Charlie gets through the MOT £40 and we are pleased to find that the garage will issue us with a 13-month certificate, as our other one hasn’t expired.  Drive back to park on Sandra’s drive and find her house in chaos.  She is having it completely rewired and the electricians are in.  There’s no electricity on but he does rig up an extension cable so we can use the washing machine, without it we would have to go to the launderette, as the bedding is too dirty to sleep in.  Sandra gets back after having had tea at her Mum’s.  The mess they are making and the fact that the job will take longer than originally anticipated does not impress her.



WEDNESDAY 21 APRIL – Sandra joins us in the van for breakfast then drops me off down town.  After Steve has been to the doctors we head off to Preston to the gearbox place.  Arrive around 11.30am to find them extremely busy.  They ask us to wait outside until they can make space in the garage to fit the van in.  After an hour they are nowhere near ready for us so we give them the keys and walk into town.  We spot a Chinese restaurant called buffet@preston and partake in the £5.50 lunch.  There are lots of things to choose from including desserts so we take our time and have a good feast.  Return to the garage but Charlie is nowhere in sight.  Sit in the waiting room for over an hour before someone appears with the van.  It’s been out for a test drive that included lunch hour at home.  Diagnostic tests reveal 2 faulty parts.  One can be taken off and cleaned but the other need ordering from America and won’t be here until at least next Tuesday.  Back to Haworth.



THURSDAY 22 APRIL – Steve walks Daniel & Natasha up to school whilst I stay at Claire’s doing washing and making phone calls.  End up making a trip down into Keighley to try and sort out new tyres and deal with a few other things.  When Steve returns from collecting Daniel & Natasha from school he tells me Nat was sick in the car from nursery back to school.  I strip her off and put her in the bath as she has managed to get sick on every item of clothing and in her hair.  She wants her bedclothes on and snuggles up on the sofa with Steve.  Next thing I know Steve is in the kitchen and Natasha is nowhere to be seen.  She’s toddled off up the street in her nightdress and dressing gown (barefoot) to play with her friends, as she is feeling better!  Dress her up and send her back out to play and she seems fine until just after Daz & Claire gets back when she comes in and throws up on the hall carpet.  Before Claire takes us down to bowling at 8.30pm she’s sick again and seems to have a temperature.  Steve manages to get a game of bowling so Claire & I come back and leave him there.  Claire sends me a text to say Natasha has been sick yet again so no doubt she won’t be going to school tomorrow.



FRIDAY 23 APRIL – Steve walks Daniel to school whist I stay with Natasha.  She isn’t sick again but spends most of the day sleeping and obviously isn’t at all well.  I do lots of washing whilst Steve relaxes.  It’s a nice day so I get a bit of exercise walking up to collect Daniel from school.  As soon as Daz returns at 5.30pm we head to Sandra’s at Keighley.  The electrician is still at work and her house is a mess so we all go out to the Balti house for a meal.  Pav recognises Steve straight away and spends a lot of time chatting to us.  The meal is so good that I eat far too much and regret it later.



SATURDAY 24 APRIL – Move to Baildon to visit Mom & Dad.  It’s a really nice day so we spend a lot of time sat out on the deck and I help out by putting the new bedding plants in. 



SUNDAY 25 APRIL – A really nice hot day so we make the most of it by sitting out sunbathing until it clouds over mid afternoon.  Lisa, Mick & Sian call round in the evening.



MONDAY 26 APRIL – We’re evicted at 9am.  A new static caravan is being delivered and they need our parking spot to manoeuvre.  Copperwaite’s do a service on Charlie before we drive to Haworth.  Steve collects the kids from school and we stay on to baby-sit, as it is Claire & Daz’s 7th wedding anniversary.



TUESDAY 27 APRIL – Find out that the letter from my GP to the ENT surgeon has had some effect as they are planning on moving me up the waiting list.  With luck I should have my operation at the end of May or early June so we shall tour in England until then.  Leave Claire’s after lunch to return to Sandra’s.



WEDNESDAY 28 APRIL – Sandra leaves at 5.30am as she is going on holiday to Cyprus.  We set off at 7am to be at the garage in Preston for when they open at 8.30am.  Unfortunately it is after 12 before they fit us in.  By 6pm they are still not sure that they have completely cured he problem.  They have fitted the new part and cleaned another one but don’t seem at all confident when they send us off.  In fact they don’t even ask us to pay and say to call back tomorrow if the warning light has come on again!  Park nearby at our friend Peter Hambiltons.  We first met him when we had our original motorhome so we have lots to catch up on.



THURSDAY 29 APRIL – An uneventful drive down the motorway towards Market Drayton but as soon as we leave the motorway the gearbox warning light comes on.  Phone the garage from Mum’s and make arrangements to take it to a gearbox specialist in Cannock next Tuesday.  Mum manages to find enough jobs to keep us occupied for the rest of the day.  She’s waiting for a cataract operation and has had a letter from the specialist saying that in order to get the best results he must have the information about Mum’s eye measurements prior to her having laser surgery.  The corneal laser centre she went to is no longer in the same place nor has the same name so I have to do quite a lot of detective work to track them down before making arrangements for the records to be sent. Will make a note to track down my records whilst we are here as by the time I may need cataract surgery they will be even more difficult to trace. 



FRIDAY 30 APRIL – Whilst Mum is away visiting her friend Greet Steve & I tackle some of our own jobs and more of Mum’s.




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