Posted by: glenswatman | March 13, 2015

20150301-10 Family visits, sad death of a friend and back to Merryhill

SUNDAY 1 MARCH 2015 – Claire has been offered a company car so I join her and Natasha to look at the Hyundai I30 which is a contender. Once the salesman knows why she is looking we are completely abandoned! Claire & Richard are out to lunch so I cook up a Christmas dinner style meal for the rest of us. Early morning I’ve had a reply to my text to Brian to say that Dee (who had the same transplant as Steve) is fading. We’re gutted and struggle for the next few hours until just after 5pm we hear she’s gone. It’s really upsetting and yet another harsh reminder of just how many don’t make it and how lucky we are that Steve is doing so well.

MONDAY 2 MARCH – It has been snowing in the night so we scrape off the car and head towards the Midlands. Bad weather, road works, traffic jams and accidents abound and it takes us almost 4 hours to do what would normally be a max of 2 ½ journey. After being very poorly a couple of weeks ago Mum has made a remarkable recovery and is on good form. We lunch at Wetherspoons being amazed by their Monday Club ham, egg and chips at £2.49. Spend the evening at Netty & Ian’s catching up on their recent adventures to Helsinki and Edinburgh.

TUESDAY 3 MARCH – Ian’s out early to work and Netty goes round to Bobby’s to look after Olivia. When Netty comes back with Olivia we have a Teddy Bear’s picnic tea party in the lounge. Olivia is great entertainment. Steve’s a bit weary so I go round to Mums alone. She’s not eaten so I have a second lunch with her then we play Scrabble. She’s not been out today so join me for a walk around town and seems to be doing really well. Tonight she is off to Wolverhampton with the Theatre Club to see Oklahoma so life is pretty good. We join Netty & Ian to go to the Four Alls for an evening meal and they do well catering to my gluten free needs. By all accounts a new law says that restaurants must have a list of some form of labelling menu’s to show this now.

WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH – First stop on the way home is at the Stafford Boat Yard where John & Shirley have “Horace” out of the water to pain the bottom. It’s a really lovely boat that feels very homely and from talking to them I think it is something we could enjoy had we not got many other plans in the pipeline. We’ve still got over 3 hours journey so stop off at “The George Inn” at Spaldwick. Our lunches are delicious and fortify us for the rest of the journey. Arrive back at Merryhill Leisure at 4pm and by the time we go to bed everything in the van is up and running, the heating has warmed it up and all the unpacking is done (the benefits of travelling light). It’s really nice to be home again.

THURSDAY 5 MARCH – We’re usually lucky with the weather here and I manage to get washing on and pegged out. The old open shower area has been divided into cubicles and looks really nice but it does make it difficult to scrub each others’ backs. We take a walk around the park and stop off at Ian & Pauline’s for a cuppa. She’s about to go out to Dereham so invites me along for the ride. We have a good wander around and don’t get back until after 4pm. Ian & Stella call in to say “Good-bye”. They’ve sold back to Orchard Caravans and won’t be coming again now the park is no longer naturist. A lot of other vans are up for sale and a few have already been sold. At the moment there are a lot of different ideas as to how people will continue here.

FRIDAY 6 MARCH – In spite of the nice day Steve lingers in bed whilst I do a bit of cleaning up. Given that the van has been empty for 8 weeks there is surprisingly little to do and no signs of damp. Steve has signed up for the 6 week cancer survivors HOPE (helping to overcome problems effectively) course at the Big C centre. I drop him off and we meet up with fellow stem cell transplant survivor Emma who is also doing very well. With 2 ½ hours to kill I take my time shopping in Sainsbury’s. In the foreign foods sections I’m amazed to see “cock flavoured soup mix” – not sure I fancy it. Picking Steve up we talk through the course which has similarities to things we did at Penny Brohn. Steve has now set himself the challenge of dong 10 minutes yoga each day and it looks like I’m in too as his form say “with my wife”! Funnily enough whilst Steve was in the meeting I picked up a leaflet from the Buddhist Centre in Norwich where they do drop in yoga sessions so we agree to give that a try next week as well. Make our first batch of homemade soup with mixed root veg the flavour of the day.

SATURDAY 7 MARCH – It’s about 20 minutes drive to Broadlands naturist club where we meet the membership secretary for a look around. It’s more rustic than Merryhill and a member club so you are expected to help out with jobs etc. It wasn’t an option last year as we needed our own toilet and shower but now Steve is much better we can manage using club facilities. It’s similar to YSS but a bit more upmarket and has an electricity supply for the vans but not sure it isn’t a little too rustic for us to live for much of the year. Return home for lunch then I leave Steve listening to then watching football whilst I pop out and make a start on buying food to stock our freezer. When I get back I make a batch of cream of mushroom soup and bake a gluten free chocolate cake that contains courgette – tastes way better than it sounds.

SUNDAY 8 MARCH – We are blessed with another nice start to the day. I clean the back of the van whilst Steve does the front and it is soon looking really good. One of the park members is insisting on wandering around in the buff and has a bit of a run in with Jenny who threatens to call the Police. Whilst we are enjoying our boules session Jenny and Alan drive up followed by a Police car. They have a bit of an altercations with “F” refusing to dress even to go to the Police station at which point he is told that if he doesn’t get dressed they will arrest him. “F” holds his hands out for the handcuffs then gets escorted to his home – presumably to be forced to dress. We’re all a bit shocked and deflated to abandon the match. Given that this is a private park only for members rather than public land we are not sure what offence has been committed as no one was offended by his nakedness. It’s all go as we just have time for our Sunday roast before heading to the indoor pool. There is a naturist swim each Sunday from 2.15 to 3.45 and it is really well attended. Apparently 2 Police cars were here, one took “F” away whilst the other stayed to get statements. We must live in a wonderful part of the country if this is the most pressing matter for 2 Police cars. Eileen and Colin invite us back for a cuppa and chat and we make it home just before the rain starts.

MONDAY 9 MARCH – Join the Yoga class at Norwich Buddhist centre £5. During the 1 ½ hours we feel ourselves being stretched in places we didn’t know could stretch and realise just how inflexible we are. The class is good but we both struggle to understand the instructors’ accent as she is from Poland. Meet up with Emma and go for a drink. Listening to her and Steve chatting I realise how common it is to have after effects of chemo and that many people don’t just pick up where they left off after treatment has finished. In fact in the whole scheme of things Steve is doing remarkably well – but that’s not to say I won’t continue to push him! At Cinema City we catch “The second best exotic Marigold Hotel”, £7 and thoroughly enjoy it.

TUESDAY 10 MARCH – It’s so hot in the morning that we break the new club rules and sit out basking in the sun in temperatures up to 28C. Graham calls round and invites us for a cuppa in the afternoon. Along with wife Maureen they ran a business in Warminster dealing in model railways so have interesting tales to tell.


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