Posted by: glenswatman | August 1, 2009


WEDNESDAY 1 JULY – Margaret goes out early to join friends to yoga and I meet
her afterwards for coffee.  The teacher
Thelma is a very interesting lady.  She
met her Japanese husband at a Buddhist retreat in Scotland and went to live
over there.  She is also very well
travelled and amazes us with the story of her backpacking trip to Thailand with
her baby daughter.  On the Internet I
get a surprise message from Bev & Norm to say they are hoping to come over
to Europe for the month of August and would love to meet up.  As we are looking after Natasha & Daniel
that month it is going to take some organising so I swing into actions thinking
up different plans.  It is a lovely afternoon
so we sit out in the shade in the garden enjoying the company.



THURSDAY 2 JULY – It is a lovely hot day, 25C by 8.30am.  Peter & Margaret takes us out for
morning coffee at Luton Hoo Hotel, where the Queen used to stay.  It is a magnificent mansion with lovely
gardens.  Set out to explore down to the
Rock Garden with Peter following along on his mobility scooter.  Near the waterfall Margaret lives up to
their name “Rollason” and takes a rolling tumble onto the grass when she goes
over on her ankle.  She seems OK
although a little shaken.  Walking back
up to the house Peter takes his turn and falls out of the scooter when leaning
over too far.  They show us some of the
interesting features inside the mansion before we settle into the lounge for
coffees.  Rooms here start at £350 so
this is our only way of feeling rich without spending much.  The afternoon is spent between sitting in
the garden and going on the computer.



FRIDAY 3 JULY – We’ve had a great time with Margaret & Peter and it
has give us chance to unwind a bit and recharge our batteries after all our dashing
around.  We are heading to Wakefield
today and Margaret takes us back to Stevenage so we can retrace our steps to
London on Green Line, £7pp.   This seems
to be the only economical way to get to Wakefield.  For the first time we use Mega Bus, £13pp and they seem fine but
instead of taking about 2-hours by car it takes us 8 hours but we arrive safely
and Karen & Auntie Pamela meets us at Wooley Edge service station.  Chris is out at a friends leaving do but Sarah
is at home and along with boyfriends Mike joins us for a meal at the “Old
Mill”.  Chris arrives home late but is
still happy to stay up later chatting.



SATURDAY 4 JULY – Chat to Chris in the morning and decide to book their
cottage in France from 8-15 August to coincide with Bev & Norms visit.  It is in Brittany and close to many
attractions and sleeps 6 so should be perfect. James has called round for the
day so we leave the men watching Rugby whilst Karen and I make a trip round the
shops and pick up some food for tonight. 
Bob & Denise and her Mum come round for the evening and we get on
with them really well.  After eating we
play a card game, similar to Uno, and have a really good laugh.



SUNDAY 5 JULY – By luck Denise & Bob are going to Burnley today to
pick up a motorhome they bought on E-bay so we manage to get a lift with them
to Keighley.  Settle back into Claire’s.



MONDAY 6 JULY – We go round to Mom & Dads for the day except that I
have to go back to Claire’s for a could of hours in the evening to be with
Daniel whilst Claire & Natasha go swimming.



TUESDAY 7 JULY – Mom & Dad drive us back to Claire’s and we stay there
whilst I do us lunch.  Dad goes to Ling
Studios for breathing exercises in the afternoon and whilst he is there Steve
& I potter round town.  I spend the
evening on the Internet and book us a hotel for the night we arrive in Boulogne
and ferry crossings for us all.



WEDNESDAY 8 JULY – Last summer we went to Egypt with Arf & Jean and have
not seen them since.  They drive over
from Sheffield to join us for the day. 
Having spent the winter in Morocco in their motorhome we are eager to
hear all about the trip and really enjoy their company.



THURSDAY 9 JULY – David and Donna decide to pop over, David can’t wait for
us to deliver the cigs we have bought back from Russia.  They stop for lunch and a chat then drop us
at Rod & Nancy’s on their way home. 
Their daughter Jenny now runs “The Ling Bob” pub and we meet Nancy there
when she arrives back from work.  There
is a good menu and the food is delicious and reasonably priced.  Rod & Steve drops us in Riddlesden so
that they can go on to play snooker whilst Nancy & I walk to Sharon’s for a
natter.  They forget to pick us up and
the first we know of this is when Claire phones to check why we are not at
bowling for her to pick us up!  She
collects us from Sharon’s and we stay at Claire’s until Rod drops Steve home.



FRIDAY 10 JULY – We are lucky that Claire pops home at lunchtime as she can
run us down to Sandra & Keith’s to save us getting wet.  Sandra gives us a tour of their new
campervan “Freddie” and it reminds us of Billy in Australia and makes us
motor-homesick.  We enjoy a light lunch
then spend the afternoon chatting and even sit out for a while when Sandra has
a nap.  A guy from Sky comes round to
show them how to use their new system and we can now understand why our parents
are totally confused by it all.  Shimla
Spice were awarded best restaurant in Keighley so we book for 6.30pm and can
see why they won.  There is a vast
choice on the menu, mainly Pakistani food, and we all seem to make good choices
and really enjoy it.  Return to Sandra
& Keith’s to chat until late.



SATURDAY 11 JULY – I go down to Keighley baths to watch Daniels swimming
lesson in the morning.  In the evening
it is Steve’s turn to go to watch Natasha in a swimming gala at
Aireborough.   Natasha’s mind is not
really on it as she is going to a friends birthday party and sleepover
afterwards so she doesn’t do as well as she might have done.



SUNDAY 12 JULY – Pop down to Morrisons with Claire and pick up some beef
for dinner, think I must have bought part shares in a cow as a small joint
costs almost £10!  In the afternoon
Steve joins Claire & Natasha going to Shipley swimming baths for another
gala.  This time she returns with a
bronze medal and was only 2 seconds off getting a huge trophy for being the
most improved time in the 4 x 100 metres medley.



MONDAY 13 JULY – For the first time we set out
from Claire’s house on foot – she lives way out of town so you need to car to
get to everything.  There’s a bus stop
nearby and we buy a K-Day ticket for £3 and this gets us all the way to Leeds.  National Express charge £3 to Manchester and
we arrive around 1.30pm and find David parked in the taxi rank waiting for
us.  He has had a message to call into
the Army office to be measured and weighed and due to the numerous one way
streets in the city we get a grand tour before arriving there.  They tell him all the reports have come back
fine and the next stage is the medical. 
Back at his house we pick up Toby the dog and head over to Heaton Park
for a long walk.  In front of the
mansion is an unusual “ha ha” wall, designed to keep the cattle from coming
onto the lawns whilst being invisible from the house.  Beginning Wednesday Macbeth is being performed in the park using
many locations and we see some of the actors rehearsing.  Donna cooks a nice evening meal and we sit
in their newly decorated dining room. 
They have recently bought a new double bed so we get to stay in their
bedroom whilst they use an airbed in the lounge and very comfy we are too.



TUESDAY 14 JULY – David drives us down to Mums
with Donna joining us.  There’s a hold
up on the M6 and when we get to the trouble spot we see that a caravan has come
unhitched and gone up the embankment. 
At Mums we chat over lunch then David heads home.  I walk up town to collect my book from WH
Smiths.  It should be £19.99 but I ordered
it on line for £11.99 and just have to wait a couple of days for it to be
delivered to the store.  Now I can get
on with doing some reading about South America to decide if we want to go
there.  Bobby calls round in the
evening, he has done a brilliant job resurrecting my old Acer computer and it
now runs as a basic laptop with Windows 2000. 



WEDNESDAY 15 JULY – I run Mum and Pauline up
town then visit the library to do Internet dodging the showers on my way
back.  Bobby comes round again to join
us in the evening.



THURSDAY 16 JULY – Seems we are in for mixed
weather for the next week or so meaning I try to time my visits up town between
the downpours.  Mum goes out for lunch
and it is actually rather nice late morning and we mange to sit out sunbathing
for an hour.   I have had a chunk come
out of one of my teeth and take up an emergency appointment with the dentist in
the afternoon.  I get off lightly as he
says the “temporary” stuff he fills it will can sometimes last 10-years so the
whole job is a reasonable £20.   Netty
& Ian go to visit Bobby in the evening and the operation has gone well
although he himself is not feeling too good.



FRIDAY 17 JULY – Set out on a local tour with
Mum making our first stop in the attractive village of Audlem with an
interesting church.  Unfortunately the
guidebook is not clear on where to find the other points of interest in the
different villages and Acton church is closed. 
We settle for a wander round Nantwich where we are extremely impressed
by the numerous black and white old buildings. 
In the afternoon Mum & I join Netty to visit Bobby.  He’s asleep when we arrive but soon comes
round and shortly after we get a visit from a nurse to say he can come home with
us.  It takes an hour or so to get his
discharge papers and for him to have a support stocking on his leg.  I’m very impressed by the fact that he can
put weight on the leg and walk quite well on crutches.  He sits in the back of the car with his leg
on my knee, as he can’t bend it.  Just
about get back ahead of a torrential downpour. 
According to the news there are many areas in England that are now
flooded.  Netty & Ian call round for
a chat in the evening and we sit out in the conservatory trying to talk over
the rain.



SATURDAY 18 JULY – We missed going to Netty
& Ian’s wedding so promised to take them out for a special meal when we got
back.  They have chosen Grinshill Inn, a
small pub and restaurant in the village near Shawbury.  On arrival we sit in the bar perusing the
menu.  It has recently received a
Michelin award so should be good.  The
bar area is nothing special but the restaurant itself is lovely with lots of
candle and an open kitchen set up.  The
menu is not extensive but the food is delicious and nicely served. 



SUNDAY 19 JULY – Both Mum & I have had a
disturbed nights sleep due to an intermittent beeping noise.  She points me to her newly fitted fire alarm
but it has a 10-year sealed battery set up. 
The company phone number is only for Monday – Friday and the instruction
leaflet is no help.  Kevin & Sandra
call round to pick up their Russian cigs and for a chat.  We had planned to go out walking with Netty
& Ian but are put off by the rain. 
Instead I invite them round for dinner. 
Mum goes out in the afternoon to meet her friend Diane and we sit in the
lounge watching a movie.    We all get
fed up with the alarm and find the troubleshooting suggestions unhelpful.  It has 2 solutions; vacuum the sensors or
check where else the beeping is coming from. 
We’ve done the first and what is the point of the latter!  In the end we figure we might as well remove
the detector and put is somewhere out of hearing.  Having done this we are amazed to still hear the beeping in the
hall.  Unbeknown to us and set on the
wrong track with Mum pointing to the new detector we had overlooked another one
connected to her alarm system and this is the problem.  Mum doesn’t have the correct replacement
batteries but once put back in the sensor stops beeping.  Meanwhile Netty & I have managed to re
set the alarm but replacing the new fire alarm we realise it is not working



MONDAY 20 JULY – Late afternoon we drive to
Telford to Netty & Mark’s.  Along
with Stacey we go bowling, a bit pricey at £12 for 3 games but fun.  It takes a long time to fit in our 3 games
as Stacey and Netty need to keep nipping outside for a cig, the toilets are a
long way from the lanes and football is being shown on the big screen.  The lanes are poor and the bowling balls in
bad condition so we resign ourselves to challenges such as who can bowl the
fastest bowl.  Mark throws one at over
16 mph but Steve is the overall winner on points. 



TUESDAY 21 JULY – I take Mum up to Morrisons
so she can do a big shop.  She has
kindly agreed to lend us her car until the end of August so I help her to stock
up a bit.  In the afternoon we do the
Internet at the library and begin researching a cruise to Antarctica.  It seems that the expedition style cruises
where you go to some of the island by zodiac only come down to around $3000 and
are for about 7 days whereas we have seen a 16 day proper cruise including 3
days cruising around the Antarctic for about half that price so need to
consider our options. 



WEDNESDAY 22 JULY – Nicole is visiting from
Australia and staying with her Mum whilst daughter Paula and family are renting
an apartment.  We walk up to visit them
and have a good chat with them all. 
Paula’s husband Jason gives us lots of info about Africa for next year
and we also catch up on their family news and meet their new son Darcy, 3, and
James who is considerably bigger than when we last saw him 3 years ago when he
was Darcy’s age.  Nip back to have dinner
with Mum then drive round to Netty’s to do some Internet.  Bobby is home and walking very well without
his crutch.  We make a spur of the
moment decision and book a Holland & America Antarctic cruise for 20 nights
departing from Chile and ending up in Brazil. 
The nice thing is that it leaves on 21st December so we are
on board for Christmas and New Year. 
The American site
has the best deal with an outside cabin working out around £1200 each including
taxes etc.  So now we have to decide
where in South America to fly to in September and what route we are going to
take to get us to Valparaiso by 20th December.  Steve pops back and brings Mum round to
visit Bobby.  She has made him his favourite
oranges in lime jelly and he and Nick demolish it in one hit.  In the evening we drive up to Manchester for
a chat with David.



THURSDAY 23 JULY – Mum’s friend Ann calls
round and we enjoy hearing about her daughters project to build a wooden home
in Utah.   After our last lunch with Mum
we make our way across country to visit our friend Steve in Winsford.  He and his wife Rosemary brought a B&B
there a couple of years ago.  Their
B&B is well located for visiting Cheshire and we are surprised to learn
that Winsford has the largest underground salt mine in Britain where they are
busy digging the stuff out so they don’t run out like they did last
winter.  It is great to catch up on all
their news and to hear that they are doing well with the business but nice to
know we don’t have to run our own business anymore.  Call in for a quick chat with David then head on to Claire’s for
the night.  Steve even manages to fit in
a game of bowling.



FRIDAY 24 JULY – Claire heads out at 7.30am to
drop Daniel at Daz’s whilst we drive off in the other direction to go to
Manchester.  We are booked in at Double
Take studios for a photo shoot.  Claire
had one done earlier this year and got some fantastic shots so I would now like
a nice one of Steve & myself to replace the older ones on display at both
Mums and one of myself before I age much more! 
Arriving at the studios we fill out a questionnaire asking about what
type of make up and what style photos we would like.  Next I really enjoy being pampered with a hand and arm massage,
full make up and hair styling.  Steve
gets his turn with just a little powder on his nose and some hair wax.  We are introduced to our photographer Mark
then shown the changing rooms where we begin with the first of our 3
outfits.  This is not a personal
experience as there are numerous rooms with props, many photographers and lots
of other people having their pictures taken. 
I am quite nervous and feel very uncomfortable but begin to relax into
it.  After the shoot we move to another
waiting room, have snacks and drinks provided. 
They ask you to list phone numbers of people who may be interested in
the experience and reward you with gifts and discounts.  I end up putting 75 names down – so odds are
if you are reading this you are going to get a call up, sorry.  In a private lounge we view our pictures on
a big screen and feel disappointed that there aren’t any with a wow factor for
us.  However I really want a pic of us
as a couple and one of me alone and this has to be our best shot having had my
hair and make up done professionally so we re assess and pick out 4.  Total cost £199 for the digital images that
we can reproduce however we wish plus an 8×6 of one pick and the option to
change the choice once we have spoken to Claire.  Return to Claire’s and begin unpacking our things, as this is now
our base until September.  Dad is not
well so when we get there to sleep over I end up preparing tea for us all.



SATURDAY 25 JULY – We get up early to be back
at Claire’s by 7.30am.  Steve is joining
her and Natasha at a swimming gala whilst I am staying with Daniel.  He gets us quite late so we go straight to
the shops, to the new Asda, to stock up. 
I hate it, as it is busy, large and confusing but am determined not to
have to do it again before we leave a week on Thursday so manage to fill up 2
trolleys.  It’s no joke shopping for 5
and instead of being able to load it into the motorhome we have to put it in
the car then take it out again to take into the house.  Still playing housewife I put the washing
out and another load on before sitting out to sunbathe in the hot afternoon
sun.  Natasha hasn’t won anything today but
has got a couple of personal best times. 
Back at Mom & Dad’s I sort out some tea before we settle down for a
TV evening.  Dad seems much better



SUNDAY 26 JULY – We get up late, as it is a
dull drizzly morning.  I cook us all a
roast pork dinner and it goes down really well.  I’ve corrupted Mom by making lots of fresh fruit salad then
negating the health benefits by pouring alcohol over it.  Late afternoon it is back to Claire’s where
I start cooking another meal.    Natasha
has got some best times at the gala so is very happy. 



MONDAY 27 JULY – We all get up late, think the
kids would have stayed in bed longer if we hadn’t disturbed them.  It is funny to see Daniel, Natasha and I all
working on computers whilst Steve tats around. 
In the afternoon I pop down to Keighley with Natasha, the problem is the
Grandma Enid sent her some money and it is burning a hole in her pocket and she
really needs to buy everything she sees!



TUESDAY 28 JULY – We rendezvous with Daz at
the leisure centre and pick the kids up so they can do their life saving
course.  However there is a problem in
that Daniel is not very well.  Last
night he began to have an ache in his hip and leg and today it is worse.  We defer their life saving class then take
him to the Doctors and get an appointment for this afternoon.  Return home for an hour then set out for our
second rendezvous in Oldham with Ian. 
When we left Mums we inadvertently picked up one of her bags along with
ours and it had to be the one she needs for holiday.  It is amazing how much lighter the traffic is everywhere with the
kids on summer holidays and we make good time on the motorway.  After handing over the bag we decide to
return on the country roads via Todmorden and Oxenhope.  Originally we thought we would find places to
stop and explore and take short walks but as it begins to pour down and with
Daniel’s bad leg this is no longer an option. 
Settle for a picnic on Lidl car park en route!  When we arrive back my map of South America has arrived and we
are both a little shocked to find it unfolds to a rug size sheet with the map
continuing on both sides.  We always
knew it was a large continent but this somehow makes it seem more so.  No matter my next task is highlighting the
places we really want to visit to enable us to plan our tour.  Claire goes out swimming in the evening and
whilst she is out we get a call from Lisa & Mick and they pop round with
Sian to drop of some tables to put stuff on to sell at the car boot sale this
weekend.  Sian is now working at the
local nursery with a chance of it becoming a permanent job in September.  They are all off to Turkey on holiday next
week.  End up chatting about the work
Mick has done on tracing ancestors and it is very interesting.



WEDNESDAY 29 JULY – I invite Mom & Dad
round for lunch, Dad is starting to feel a bit better and getting out of the
house seems to do him good.  In the
evening we go over to Bingley to see our campervan friend Pete.  He is back from Ibiza and has his camper
with him and is living in it on his factory forecourt.  We have loads to chat about but the topic
keeps coming back to how much we all prefer being almost anywhere but
England!  He had his Mercedes camper
built to suit his need with a garage at the back for all his sporting toys with
a bedroom above it and it is excellent. 
He travels with his dog Dolly and has been full timing almost as long as
we have.  His mate calls round for the
evening and having recently retired is eager to chat to us to pick up
tips.  We chat for so long that Pete
ends up nipping out for a Chinese take away to sustain us.  Hope we can get back for another chat before
we all leave.



THURSDAY 30 JULY – The kids stayed at Daz’s
last night and are there until tomorrow so we are home along.  I manage to narrow down our options for
flights to South America but it sure takes a long time.  I cook up a fish pie and invite Mom &
Dad to join us when Claire gets back from work.  Steve goes out bowling in the evening and Claire is out with
friends celebrating her exam passes. 
Claire did some work for Virgin Vie many years ago and the tax office
have caught up with her so I spend the evening summarising the figures for her
tax return – bit of a joke considering she is the budding chartered accountant.



FRIDAY 31 JULY – I spend the day fine tuning
our flight details so the extent I just have to contact a couple of the
companies who guarantee to beat any price to complete the final touches.  We are going to fly to Quito (Ecuador) early
September then back from Rio at the beginning of January so we are back to help
out with the kids during Easter holidays. 
In the evening we go round to Richard Johns.  He cooks us delicious bacon, chicken and cream pasta meal and we
have lots of laughs chatting and doing games on the TV.



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