Posted by: glenswatman | May 22, 2015

20150511-20 Exciting times, Sheffield, Keighley, Liverpool and Leeds

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

SATURDAY 16 MAY – There’s been a price drop on the cruise we are interested in and 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!


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.

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.

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.

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.


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