Sunday, 2 July 2017


Saturday morning was spent at the pool again - this time with the Bickerstaffs, there weren't as many in the pool this Saturday as last week, but they had a great time.

We got out at 11.30, walked back home and then got straight into the car to Manchester.  It was another rainy, grey weekend so we thought a trip to Manchester for a Chinese, some Asian shopping and maybe pop in to see Adam and Karen would be a good way to enjoy it.

Dim Sum time - fantastic food
Luckily Adam and Karen were home, so we did our usual Manchester routine.  We didn't get to Wing Yip until 1.30 so were starving by the time we got there, and had to wait impatiently for the dim sum trolleys to come round.  They did get to us and we had a wonderful lunch as always.  We then did a quick trip round the supermarket and managed to stock up on the essentials.

Next stop: Go Outdoors of course for a run around the tents.  Tom got himself a much reduced Weird Fish jumper which he was delighted with.  We then headed to the Komorowskis.  Believe it or not the sun actually came out for a while, so we had a BBQ in the garden with one of Leia's friends, Blanche.  Blanche was staying for a sleepover, we were slightly worried that they wouldn't be interested to play with Tom, but that wasn't the case, they were playing piggy in the middle for ages and ages, it was Rosa who got left out - bless her!

Worried he'll be eaten
Anyway, we had a good time, drank a little too much (as always) but it was good to catch up.  They will probably come to visit us during the summer holidays so they can go swimming in the outdoor pool as they loved doing that last year.

We left them Sunday morning and drove back via Beetham Nurseries where we had lunch.  Then a quiet afternoon at home with a bit of gardening (we bought a new plant to fill our last remaining pot). Tom fell asleep in the car on the way home from Manchester (he hasn't done that for months) and complained that he was tired in the afternoon - so he was in bed for 7!

Goodbye Betty

So we got some sad news at the beginning of June. Matt's Godmother, Betty, on the Isle of Man had passed away peacefully in hospital.  She had had an operation, she came round from it and was happily chatting away, but passed away that night.

Port Erin sunset
We will always look back on our time at the Isle of Man in 2007 with fondness.  I went mainly to appease Matt, not really expecting to enjoy it that much, especially as we were staying with his elderly relatives, but Geoff and Betty couldn't have been any more warm and welcoming if they tried and the races were fab, especially because the weather was very good to us.

Calf Sound
Basically Betty was a very lovely lady, very welcoming and wanted us to be relaxed and feel at home in her house.  Geoff is a grumpy old man, but with a wicked sense of humour.  Both of them like a tipple: Matt and Geoff finished 2 bottles of whisky and Betty and I drank our way through all the gin in the house and then moved on to the Cointreau.  We had trouble keeping up with them and had a hangover pretty much every morning!

It was a good holiday.  Matt was quite upset to hear of Betty's passing and wanted to pay his respects to her, so we quickly put things in place so we could pop across to the island to say goodbye.  Tom spent Sunday with Grannie and Grandpa and took him to school on Monday morning and then he spent Monday afternoon and night with the Holmans on the campsite so he was more than happy.

Big fat seal
We got the lunchtime sailing from Heysham to Douglas on the Sunday and came back on the evening sailing on Monday - so a very quick visit.  We were blessed, once again with amazing weather - bright sunshine, very very hot so once again the island looked amazing.  The crossing was uneventful, we drove straight across the island to Port Erin where we checked straight into our AirBnB room in a house.  This was a slightly weird set up - we literally were renting a room in a house. We had to use the family bathroom across the landing.  All drawers and wardrobe were full of clothes  and items, there were no hot drink making facilities.  However, it was just round the corner from Geoff's house so it was ideal, and it was literally just a place to put our heads down for the night.

After some polite conversation with the owners of the house, we headed to Geoff's house to meet up with Kathy, Paul and some family.  Geoff was exactly the same as we remembered, maybe a bit thinner, but he was in good humour, his hospitality was the same (big measures of whisky for Matt - I wasn't drinking as I was driving!) I finally got to meet Kathy's daughter, Sam and her partner Russ and a number of Aunties and Uncles.  We went down to the pub for a couple of drinks (this family can ALL drink!).  I ended up buying a mini bottle of wine from the bar and took it back to our bedroom and drank it in bed.  Now, the problem with sleeping in someone else's house: you've been drinking in the evening, so need the loo in the middle of the night.  Do you flush or don't you?  At home we don't flush.  Always a problem, it's OK if it is family, but when we got back to the house, there was no-one around to ask.  Just walking to the bathroom was noisy enough, with creaking doors, locks that were stiff etc.   I tried not to go to the loo, but of course the more you think about it the more you need to do it!  We decided to flush in the end, I wonder if we woke them all?
Snaefell Mountain Railway

The next morning we got up and chatted to our hosts - they had breakfast for us - every type of cereal you could imagine - shame neither of us like cereal!  They didn't have any bread, but found us some sandwich rolls in the end.  We then asked for an iron and ironed our funeral outfits.  Then we were hanging around for a while.  As it was such a gorgeous day we decided to cut our losses and went and did a little sight seeing.  We drove down to the Calf of Mann, as it wasn't that far to go and it was somewhere that Betty introduced us to.  It was beautiful, we saw plenty of seals, and it was so clear, that we could see the mountains of Northern Ireland.  We then headed back to Port Erin and took our places at the back of the church.
Our vessel - the Ben-my-Chree

Tell you what it was the most well attended funeral I have ever been too - it was standing room only in the church and it wasn't a small church!  Kathy and Steven spoke very well about Betty and brought her to life in the room.  There was a good atmosphere and a lot of love.  We then went to the graveyard to say our goodbyes and then back to Port Erin for the reception.  We met some more family (including Amy and Patrick - Steven's children who we met 10 years ago when they were 10 and 15 - so they are quite different now).  When the room emptied, we took Kathy back to Geoff's house and then made our excuses so we could get in a quick TT lap of the island in - was a fantastic day to do it - it was still gorgeously sunny and clear and hot!  Can't say I managed to go at the same speed as the TT bikes, but that meant we were able to see the island properly.  We stopped off at Bungalow and were lucky to see the old train trundle down from Snaefell.

Then down to Douglas and past the finishing line.  We parked along the prom and walked down to a cafe to have the biggest ice cream I have ever had in my life - very lovely it was too.  We found one shop that was open, so we bought Tom a T-shirt and then we then checked into the Ferry Terminal.

We had a very pleasant trip back to Heysham, we were in the Premier Lounge and enjoyed free drinks, snacks, a nice quiet atmosphere and the best view on the boat.

We got home around 1am.  It was a very quick trip to the island - we will be back!

Busy Weekend

It was a gloriously sunny day today.  What better thing to do than to go down to the swimming pool for the morning session?  It was bathed in sunshine, and we knew everyone who was down there.  Tom had a ball, hanging out with all his classroom friends and being silly in the pool.  How fab, it was a wonderful morning.

We met up with Matt at Bernies for lunch.  Can't remember what we did in the afternoon, but I'm sure we did something useful.

6pm saw us driving to Settle to The Craven Arms where we met up with Matt's friends, The Leighs.  They had been in Bolton Abbey for the day and wanted to meet up with us as they are coming to Deer Shed with us but won't be able to arrive until late.  They brought their tent with them, so we can pitch it next to ours so we are together.  This is especially important this year as the festival is booked out!
With the Leighs

We hadn't actually met Roz or their younger son, Louis before, but they are that sort of family where you instantly feel at ease with them and feel like old friends.  Andrew and Fabien stayed with us earlier in the year.  Tom and Fabien were friends instantly and Andrew was lovely.  Turns out Roz and Louis are lovely too.  We had forgotten they were veggies, so were quite lucky in that the restaurant had a lot of veggie options - imaginative ones too.  I went for tofu green curry and it was amazing - the tofu had been deep fried in a really good seasoning which made it ultra delicious.  So they were very happy.

We got home quite late in the end, but it didn't matter - it had been a good, friendly evening.

Sunday was Father's Day.  Tom had had an idea of what to get Matt way back in March, he gave me exact instructions, but in the end I took him to Booths so he could do it himself.  He bought him Emmenthal, Jarlsberg, Cashew Nuts and 2 cans of Elvis Juice.  All Matt's favourite things - he was a happy bunny.

We had breakfast together and then Bob came to pick up Tom as he was spending the day with them whilst Matt and I headed off to the Isle of Man.

Rainy Weekend

So this weekend it rained and rained and rained.  With Matt's lack of mobility with his broken foot - we pretty much gave up with trying to do something interesting!

Saturday we decided to break open a board game we got Tom for birthday called 'Ticket to Ride'.  Initially it looked really complicated but as we went along it all made sense and we ended up enjoying it and wanting to play it again.  It's all about building up a train empire across Europe so appeals to both boys well.

After lunch we headed to Bentham Golf Club to deliver 3 very different wedding cakes for Emma and Richard's wedding celebration (they actually got married in Scotland a couple of weeks ago).
Relaxing on the beach.

When we came home, it was still raining, so decided to give up and introduce Tom to Harry Potter and watched The Philospher's Stone.  Not sure he understood it all and a lot of fidgeting went on, but it didn't frighten him so I guess that's a start.  

Sunday was a grey day, after much deliberation and debate we finally decided on going to Hest Bank and the Shore Cafe to play armchair cricket and have lunch and watch trains.

Armchair cricket is our new invention, Matt sits in a camping chair and bowls to either me or Tom. Whoever is batting is also wicket keeper and the other the fielder.  It works quite well, and means Matt's not sitting by himself getting bored.

When the level crossing came down, the boys would hobble over to the bridge to look at the trains whilst I sat in the chair.  All very civilised and good fun really.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


Good looking lemon drizzle cake
Today we had catch up day.  Meaning laundry and baking ready for the Scout's Jumble sale on Saturday.  First though was the dreaded homework.  Tom had to write a story plan for literacy.  His idea of a story plan was one sentence?!  He put it in his book bag and was confident it was done.  I checked it and then spent the next two hours with him whilst he did it properly!  We had sulks, tears, frustration etc etc but we got there in the end.  His reward was to make a lemon drizzle cake for the jumble sale which he did well, although I don't think he can be left alone to make one just yet..

Tom then asked to mow the lawn, which I allowed him to do - he loved doing it, in fact he spent a good hour or so out there doing it.   In the end we had to pull him out as we had made plans to meet up with some friends in Hawes.  They were actually friends of friends who we used to meet up with as part of Shell Weekends.  It had been 4 years since we last saw them, but it was like meeting up with old friends.  We had tea and a bun at the Creamery and then did some cheese shopping.  Jessica (who is 6) and Tom got on immediately, in fact she is a real bright spark, you wouldn't guess there were 2 years between them.  They got stuck into the pyramid puzzle straight away and that was them sorted for the afternoon.

Creamery selfie

We got home, had tea and then went for Friday night cricket over on the Community field.  We went loaded with wine and camping chairs etc, no-one else did???!!!!  Oh hum.  We had a good time and we even had some sunshine creep in.  This time the parents were made to join in so I was on catching practise and I had to take part in a match.  Poor Matt was frustrated, as he wanted to join in.

The morning was spent doing even more gardening.  Weeds were pulled up, the edges strimmed and all the cuttings dispensed with.  We were very impressed, in fact he got a little extra pocket money for it as he worked so hard on it.  We went to Bernies for lunch, then to the Jumble Sale (as rubbish and awful as always, but we showed our faces)  We were hoping to buy some of Tom's lemon drizzle cake back, but it had already sold!.

All done!
We then packed the car with the garden rubbish for the tip and headed to Settle to the dump, then to a lovely little garden centre, Lay of the Land to pick up some plants for the hanging baskets (we are trying to grow our own baskets this year)  We all chose some plants (luckily they were labelled 'for baskets' otherwise we wouldn't have had a clue) and got some compost ready for the gardener to put together tomorrow.

Next we headed to Hart's Head in Giggleswick and met up with Pat and Bob for tea, very nice it was too.

Basket ready for hanging
We wondering what to do - with Matt only semi-mobile and after much discussion, decided to go to Lakeside to get a boat to Bowness.  It is high season now which means the big steamers are on the Lake.  We've only been on the smaller boats before so thought it would be nice to ride a big one.  It was a nice enough day - clear, but cloudy.  It was nice to be on a bigger boat - more space, a bar and a different commentary.  On arrival to Bowness we found lunch at Village Inn.  A very funky venue and the food was really good.  We had a starter each for lunch (mussels for me and ribs for Matt), they were delicious and massive!  Very glad we didn't order a proper dish - we would have exploded.  Definitely one to return to.
Cruising the lake

We got the boat back to Lake Side and headed home.  Tom put the hanging baskets together and we hung them up.  They look good, hoping they don't die too early...  I was then made to go and play cricket with Tom on the astro turf before having tea and bed.

Devon & Cornwall

Descending the rock
We drove down to Devon.  We did it in 6.5 hrs including a lunch stop which is brilliant.  No hold ups anywhere and decent weather.  We actually arrived to sunshine which was a bonus (it is always foggy in Devon) I took Tom down to the cricket field to play cricket for a while so he could have his run around and then we all collapsed after a rather good ducky dinner.

Today it dawned thick fog.  The usual weather for our visits.  It had been a while since I had done a run, so I put on my super stretchy leggings and went for a romp around Dartmoor.  I was sort of looking forward to it as it was a flat run, but I found I really missed the down hill sections that I get here.  It took me the same amount of time to do 5km of flat running there as it does for me to 5km of up and down running here.  I did sort of get lost at one point, I was planning to run to The Rock and back, first of all I couldn't see The Rock - not surprising as visibility was only about 5 meters.  I sort of went round a big circle trying to find it, got there in the end.  I then ran towards what I thought was Crapstone, only to end up at Leg O'Mutton.  Oh hum.  By the time I got back, I had done well over 5km.  I got back, had a shower and then the three of us headed out to the Dartmoor Diner for lunch (sort of becoming a tradition now - always good service and good food)

Dartmoor foal

After lunch, the fog had cleared so we went back to The Rock - completely visible now.  Tom had a clamber and then we played a new version of cricket.  Matt was installed in a camping chair and bowled whilst Tom and I took it in turns to bat and field.  It worked quite well.

We had an ice cream and then played a bit more before returning back to Crapstone.  Oh must mention, think it is prime foaling time at the moment, lots of bonnie looking leggy foals all over the place, all very cute.

An awesome lunch
We headed to Penzance.  Believe it or not, it only costs £15 for a return ticket for all 3 of us to Penzance (2 hours each way).  It was too good to not take up.  I hadn't been before and Matt only once when he was very little. It was a very pleasant ride down to Penzance, it really didn't feel like 2 hours at all.  All very lush and green, gentle undulating hills and tantalising glimpses of the sea.  The train was empty meaning it really was a very lovely trip.

Hiding in the tropics
On arrival, we headed to a cafe Matt had seen on trip advisor for lunch.  We sat down, looked at the menu and took a deep breath at the prices.  A fish finger sandwich for £8?!  Really.  Oh hum, there wasn't another cafe nearby and with Matt on his crutches and all of us hungry we decided to stay and ordered.   The food turned up and we weren't disappointed - wow, Matt's fish finger sandwich was immense - he was a very happy bunny, although now he has stated he could never eat a fish finger sandwich again as it was soooooo good, all others will  pale into insignificance!  Tom had an avocado, smoked salmon and cucumber sandwich which was just as big and delicious.  Luckily I ordered soup, meaning I could help Tom with his sarnie - there was no way even he could finish it by himself.

We left the cafe with very happy bellies and then explored the prom of Penzance.  Found a very cool shop full of pirate and sea side themed goodies.  Tom bought himself a Killer Whale which he named Kai with his holiday money.  We continued around the Prom (the only Prom in Cornwall), in the rain, past the huge triangular swimming pool (not yet open) and to the small amusements where we spent some time loosing £1 each.

Our train home
Then back up through Morab Gardens - a sub tropical garden which really was full of sub tropical species and very interesting for it too.  Next was a stroll along the high street, where we picked up some cakes ready for our trip back on the train.

It really was a very pleasant afternoon and I would like to return, hire a car and do some exploring.  Go to Land's End (just because you should shouldn't you?!), St Michael's Mount and visit the little villages and beaches.  In the sunshine, I believe it looks really nice!!!!

We got the train back to Plymouth, bus from the train station back to the park and ride and then drove home.  Matt had over done it and was exhausted.  Oops. He struggled to eat tea, and flopped on the sofa.

Pointing to old people?
Today was Grandparent day.  Tom spent the day with Granma and Pop Pop - they took him on the boat across the harbour to Mont Batten for the day.  Matt and I had a very quiet day so Matt could recover from yesterday. I went for another run across Dartmoor and didn't get lost (no fog today) and then we headed to the Garden House for lunch which was very pleasant.  The afternoon was spent sorting out more Malaysian holiday - just an airport hotel at KL to go now and a couple of tours and we will be pretty much sorted.
Date night!

Matt and I had a date night in Tavistock in the evening at the Cornish Arms, nice food but very very  slow service, meaning that we headed back home to have cheese for pudding as we couldn't bear to wait any longer at the restaurant.  Tom, G & PP went for a Chinese in Yelverton.

The long drive home.  It took an hour longer than on Sunday - due to a couple of traffic queues.  Oh hum.  Other than that it was pretty uneventful.  Couldn't face cooking so went to The Old Post Office for tea.  Then easy telly and bed.

Thanks to Granma and Pop Pop for their hosting, great food, drink and company as always.

Half Term Hurray!

Friday dawned glorious sunshine, fab.  Smiles all around.

Tom was picked up from school from Bee - William's mum.  William is in year 1, but the two have become firm friends due to cricket.  Tom helps William out where he can at school etc, it's lovely to watch.  We had William for tea last year sometime, so Bee I think felt she had to ask Tom over.  It turned out really well, obviously Tom is old enough to play well without constant supervision, and I think Bee got a vision of the future.  She said he had been the easiest 'child home for tea' ever!  He did, however, eat her out of house and home!  Spag bol was on the menu - he finished it all and then had cheese and biscuits because there wasn't enough!  That's my boy!

Friday night is cricket night.  Last week Mac told us to bring deck chairs, wine, bbq etc, not needing to be told twice, we did so, so we turned up at the start (after an hour at the Old Post Office as we were child free), caught up with Tom and then enjoyed a very social evening drinking Rosé in the sun.

I then got home, had a quick shower, got dressed and headed to La Cascada to meet up with everyone who didn't make it to my cheese and wine evening last week.  I didn't drink though - I didn't want another hangover and anyway Matt can't drive with his foot so I had to be responsible.  I did well too.  John Manning came over to 'babysit' Matt and I found them very jolly with lots of empty bottles of beer and a half eaten packet of Manomasa crisps.  Think it was almost midnight before we finally got to bed.
New shoe

After speaking to the girls and looking at Matt struggling with his foot, I managed to persuade him to go back to A and E and ask for a boot.  We didn't have to wait long, less than an hour.  All the staff agreed that he did need a boot and he looked much much happier once he had it on.  He can put wait on the bad foot, so walk in a fashion.  He also doesn't need to be so scared about people knocking it by accident as it is protected.  He has also accepted that he can't drive the car which is a relief as I was pretty sure he couldn't.

We went to the Water Witch for lunch (very nice it was too - always good food there) before returning home.  Now, I was going to take Tom to Ingleton swimming pool as it opened today, but a thunder and lightening storm came overhead, so instead we went to Stacksteads where we met up with Matthew and Lynne and spent over 2 hours in the pool having fun.

Broken Foot!

Oriental language specialists
Saturday 20th
So Matt was in Cardiff for the weekend - attending a translation 'conference' (even Matt couldn't tell me it was work, however, translation is on the whole done at home, it is a much needed social so FB friends and colleagues can meet up.
All legs.
Boy and Giraffes

Bear playing
Boy relaxing

We didn't have football today so I asked Tom what he wanted to do.  He wanted to go to the zoo (we were meant to go at Easter but ran out of time).  So off we went.  Wow, he chose the right day - it was completely empty - we heard Liverpool accents from a couple of other families, but I'm guessing there were less than 100 people there - not a good sign, this zoo has received a lot of bad press recently, if people stop going then it will fold and what will happen to the animals?  Surely it is best to support it and make sure the animals have the best chance.

We have always liked it as the enclosures the animals are in are as natural as can be - lots of natural terrain, the big cats have to climb big wooden poles to get their food, there is a big enclosure where birds, lemurs and other creatures roam free.

Anyway, Tom and I had a great time, there are 2 new giraffe babies and a rhino baby which took up a lot of our time.

The snow leopards put on a good display, we watched lions leap up the wooden stakes, the penguins were quite funny, the vultures were mega ugly and huge and the bears came out to play for us.  All in all a good day.  Thanks Dalton Zoo.

So, poor Tom has been suffering from hay fever since the start of the month, he was so under the weather that he got a cold on top of it.  On the way home, he looked completely goosed.  We got home, had some tea and he was in bed and asleep before 7, bless him.
Not much left!

In a way it was good for me though as I was holding a cheese and wine party.  The huge cheese hamper I got for my birthday was smelling ripe and I needed help eating it.  I invited all the girls, only about 4 came, but it was enough and we had a good evening.  In fact it didn't finish until after 2am, Janine and Steph who didn't know each other before the night were best friends by the end of the night.  They ganged up against me for my music taste, but it was all in good jest and a great evening was had by all.

Oh - I got a call from Matt.  He was at Denzil's, he had had an incident on the motorbike.  His foot had got squished whilst filtering traffic at a traffic light.  It was sore, so Denzil put him in his hot tub for 2 hours and it was feeling better.  He was determined to continue home on Sunday.

Sunday 21st
Not the best day.  I was very hungover and extra grumpy due to lack of sleep.  Oh dear!  Yes, I know all my own fault.  Once up we walked over to Meadow Falls to see Liz (she did the 3 peaks yesterday and I guess was very tired as she didn't drop round for drinks)  We took her some special foot balm.  It was quite fortuitous for Tom as he got to ride their lawn mower which he loved.  Couldn't stop giggling as he almost bumped into trees etc.

We then headed to the playground so Tom could expend some energy whilst I felt sorry for myself.  We were killing time as I guessed that Matt would get home around 1pm and would want lunch.  I was right, he got home pretty much dead on 1pm and was happy to hobble round to Bernies for lunch.  Just as well as I NEEDED a chip butty - nothing else would do.  I had one, and boy did it taste good.  I actually felt human for a good hour or so after it.

Can't remember what we did for the rest of the day.  Matt was hobbling around, (his foot is very swollen).  Tom wasn't 100% nor was I, so I guess it was a quiet day.

The aftermath
Matt asked me to drive him to Kendal Hospital as his foot was still really hurting.  I suspected he had broken it.  I took Tom to school and then took him along.  They did an x-ray, they weren't sure, it could be a hairline fracture or it might not.  To be sure, they put him in plaster, told him to keep it elevated and report to fracture clinic in Lancaster tomorrow.  Not a great outcome but at least he was being looked after

Took Matt to fracture clinic in Lancaster.  The Consultant wasn't sure if it was a hairline fracture or not either.  He took the plaster off and asked him to walk on his bad foot.  He could put weight on it, but it hurt.  He gave Matt a choice: a tubigrip or a boot or plaster.  Of course Matt chose a tubigrip, you would wouldn't you?  His foot is still very swollen.  He has been given a 6 week appointment to see the Consultant again but if it heals by itself he can cancel it.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Craven Wanderers Award Night

Arten Gill Viaduct
Friday 12th
Matt didn't have much work on and asked if I was up for a walk.  I haven't had much work to do at all since April - think the fact I redirected all my enquiries this time last year has killed my business this year.  I'm not great at not having much to do, and seem to sway between being bored, bored, bored or working on mad capped ideas to try to generate more interest for my businesses or the PTA.  It would be better just to have more cake orders, but I guess its going to take time.

Young Belties
So, we packed some fruit and headed over to Dent Dale for a walk.  We parked just above the Dent Head Viaduct and then followed a walk that Matt knew.  I was a little worried if I would be able to do it OK as I had been suffering from a cold and cough, but I surprised myself and did fine.  The walk was lovely - started off as rolling hills full of sheep and moved into shepherds' lanes, then directly under the viaduct and back to the car again.  It was a lovely walk, very picturesque, it didn't rain and we saw some Galloway Belties which is always a bonus.

Saturday 13th
Today was Tom's last football match - hurray!  Matt was playing cricket for Ingleton at Windermere and was worried he wouldn't be able to get back in time for it, so Tom and I headed out with Caitlin and Rich to Skipton.  The kids all did well during the match.  Caitlin got Star of the Week which was well deserved as she kept at it and didn't give up.  At all.
Above Arten Gill

We got home earlier than we expected, guess what - Matt was at home!  He could have come after all.    We said goodbye to him and then had lunch at Bernies.  We had a quiet afternoon at home before heading over to the Bickerstaffs for a drink before the Craven Wanderers Award Night.  Now we went to this last year and it was awful, so many speeches, it went on and on and on and on.  This year they sped it up significantly - phew.  We also knew to drink lots in order to enjoy it, so we did that and actually had a good time.  Tom was off as soon as we arrived, we didn't see him all night.  He didn't get an award, but to be honest we didn't expect him to, he unfortunately didn't start shining until the last month of the season, whilst all the others in his team shone for pretty much the whole season!

Matt, Craig and Rich seemed to disappear off to The Old Post Office for a couple of pints quite early, Janine and I stayed quite late, mummy dancing until Tom got hold of me, got me my bag and coat and told me it was time to go home.  It was almost 11pm, so I guess I couldn't say no (this was the second time he had my bag - earlier in the night he had grabbed my bag and me and told me I was being irresponsible leaving my bag unattended!!!!)  Matt waltzed in about 10 mins after us.  It had been a good night.

Sunday 14th
3D movie time
We were both a 'little' fragile on Sunday, so decided to head to Rheged for the day.  There was a photography exhibition that Matt wanted to visit, and a 3d film set in the National Parks of America which we thought Tom would enjoy, so we booked in.

We had a good look around the photos, whilst Matt managed to not spend a lot of money on new equipment (well done).  We then had lunch: I had to go for a full roast as I was in dire need of food, food, food.  Then to the 3d film which was very lovely.  We came out, had tea and a bun and then looked around the shops before giving Tom some play time in the adventure playground and return home.  The best use of a hungover day.


So Tuesday was my birthday.  It wasn't the most exciting of days, but then they rarely are now, unless you plan something yourself.

My day consisted of a Drs appointment, hanging around in Bentham for an hour and then an acupuncture appointment.  Now, the acupuncture appointment was actually quite lovely.  I didn't realise that the lady I see also does aromatherapy massage and cupping.  So I had a lovely hour of pampering: massage, cupping (doesn't hurt if you are wandering) and then some acupuncture.  Came out feeling lovely.

Had a normal afternoon and then a PTA meeting after school, followed by cubs for Tom.  Matt was out playing cricket in the evening.

We did go out for tea on Monday evening as we knew Tuesday would be too busy, unfortunately my dinner didn't agree with me so I had a bit of an upset stomach for the day too.  Oh hum!

Anyway, thank you for all your lovely presents.  I'm looking forward to spending my White Stuff vouchers, got a glass highland cow which I named Derek and a massive cheese hamper which means a cheese and wine party is in the offing.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Football & Colour Dash

Getting stuck in. At last.
Saturday 6th May
Tom had a football match at home against Embsay.  He was in the second team again, but WOW!  How good was his football?  He was amazing, he was tackling, racing up and down the pitch helping his team mates and trying really really hard.  He scored a goal too, which was well deserved.  It was a pleasure to watch him and I actually had butterflies as I wanted them to win so much and I was nervous for him.  We came away feeling really good about the whole thing.

We came home, put Tom in the shower and then headed over to Sedbergh for lunch.  Tom was allowed anything he wished, we tried out a new eatery (Smatt's Duo) and he went for scrambled egg and smoked salmon on crumpets - it was well deserved.  Matt went for a panini and I went for a jacket potato, and they were all really really good and large portions.  In fact the portions were so large, we had to have a cupboard tea once we got home.


We then went for a walk near Tebay and the M6 at the base of the Howgills, along the River Lune near the West Coast Main Line.  It was a really good location, miles from anywhere, down a long winding road from Sedbergh but, as I said, right next to the M6 (the pretty bit in the hills, just North from us).  We enjoyed throwing stones in the river, playing on a swing and just enjoying the scenery (whilst spotting Eddies).

Sunday 7th May
With Annabel and Owen
So today was the 5 km Colour Dash in Kendal.  I was slightly worried about this as even though I had explained the event to Tom and he was happy to be entered, he then came up with 'the winner is the one who gets the least dirty isn't it?"  and "isn't all the colour dangerous" etc etc.  I had to explain to him that it is fun and the idea is to get as dirty and colourful as possible.  We got there early and bumped straight into the Holmans.  We were glad we were there early in the end as there was a MASSIVE queue to register, in fact the even twas delayed because of the queue.  We got through and bought a couple of packs of colour to play with before we set off.  Wow!  Tom was first to open his pack and desperate to get it all over him.  Within seconds he was covered and had it in his hair and he was loving it!

Tom's blue period
We all started the race together but as Matt had a cricket match he was nervous he was going to miss it and shot off, Tom didn't have any trouble keeping up (I did!) so we lost the Holmans and I huffed and puffed behind them both.  Because there were so many people doing it and the pavements etc were quite narrow there was quite a bit of walking and the constant stop and start meant that I sweated quite a bit - not great when you are coated in coloured powder.  Put it this way, my T-shirt and face was way more colourful than anyone else's.  Oh hum!  Every 0.5km we had to run through a colour station where volunteers through loads of the powders at you.  It was fun and Tom loved it.

Getting into the spirit.

Before we knew it we were back at the start?!  This was way shorter than my Ingleton 5km.  I tracked it with my Fitbit and yes it was only 3.9km.  Hummmm.  At the end Matt went off to his cricket, Tom and I found the Holmans and we went back to the colour stations for a play.  The kids got stuck in playing snow angels in the powder, rolling in it, tipping it over themselves and basically having loads of fun.

We then headed to the fishery tea room we went to recently for lunch and then on to the Holmans for a water fight before showers and some wine.  I then had to leave the car behind and walk back home to find Matt (they lost), made tea and went to bed.  It had been a good day.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Holidays, snooker, industry and scarecrows...

Saturday 29th April
Foul throw!
In the morning Tom had a football match against Grassington at home and did very well.  After a shower at home and a well deserved lunch in the village, we took him to Grannie and Grandpa's.  They had requested a sleep over so they could watch the snooker with him - it was the final of the World Championship.  They had noticed on an earlier visit that Tom had been thoroughly absorbed by it.

It was good timing as Matt and I had a job to do - book our summer holiday.  After much discussion on where to go, we had decided on Malaysia.  We spent the afternoon planning where in Malaysia to visit, work out a schedule and then look into international flights.  By the end of the afternoon we had flights booked and had a skeleton itinerary of where to go.  Hurray.  We celebrated by having dinner in Platos in Kirkby, a grown up 3 course dinner none the less, and very nice it was too.

Sunday 30st April
Hoffman Lime Kiln
So, we picked up a happy Tom in the morning - he had had a good night watching the snooker with Grannie and Grandpa and had apparently really got into it.  He likes the maths behind it and already knows the names of the main players.  Apparently he was completely engrossed.

Beautiful 1925 Bentley
Today we decided to do some exploring of the Settle area.  We had discovered that there was a good Hoffman Kiln in Langcliffe (just north of Settle) and thought we would see if we could find it.  Well, how we have gone 4 years without being here is a bit of a mystery.  An amazing place, reminded us a bit of Telford - being an old industrial site with an incline plane and 3 different types of kiln.  The main one, the Hoffman Kiln was amazing, pretty much intact and absolutely massive.  It's a good job that iPhones have a torch built in as we needed them.  The whole area was well managed, with interpretive boards at every stage explaining what we could see.  Seems strange that it isn't signposted off the road?  Anyway, we spent much longer than we thought there.  Played hide and seek with Tom in the Hoffman Kiln, which went wrong because he couldn't find me and got upset but it was so big that I didn't realise!  He's still not the best at hide and seek bless him.  Oh hum.
Owl chicks

Next stop was Feizor and Elaine's for lunch  - where a beautiful 1925 Bentley turned up before doing the Oxenber Wood walk.  We did it hoping to see lots and lots of bluebells - the place is famous for it, but unfortunately they weren't quite out yet, although there were plenty of primroses and lots of other meadow flowers.  The best thing though was coming across a nest of owls.  There were in a hollow in a tree at eye's height.  3 of them all cuddled up, looking very fluffy, not making a noise but awake, alert but very still, obviously waiting for mum to come back with some food.  A sight you don't see very often and it very much made our day.

Monday 1st May
Today was the main day of the Wray Scarecrow Festival - the scarecrows are out, there was a fun fair and festival field with displays, food, crafts etc etc.  It is always a good day and this year we went with the Ellershaws, which made it even better.  We did a scout around all the scarecrows - the theme this year was Traditional Tales, but somehow Donald Trump did appear quite a bit.  It is always fun seeing all the scarecrows, the whole village get behind it so there is pretty much a scarecrow in every property.  We had a drink and the children a play in the cafe and then headed to the fun fair.  I told Tom he could have a go on two things.  He chose the penalty shoot out and rather tame roller coaster, I was quite surprised as there were some better rides and he has got braver recently.
Caitlin, Tom and Lottie

Caitlin decided on the rather more interesting ride which went up and down, she loved it.  As we were watching her, we noticed one of Tom's class mates, Lucy in the queue with her Dad.  Tom went over to say hi.  Lucy's Dad immediately asked him if he wanted to go with Lucy.  Tom said yes, Lucy's Dad was mighty relieved, lifted Tom over the gates into the queue and then escaped!  Tom pimped a free ride.  Andy, Lucy's Dad would not take any money from us.  Did Tom enjoy it? Oh yes, he loved it.  He and Lucy were giggling for the whole time.  Funny how much braver you become with a friend around...
Lucy and Tom

We had a late lunch - paella for me and a sweet pancake for Tom and then stopped to watch some displays.  The Ellershaws then had to leave and I got a text message from Liz asking if we wanted to join them in the pub and that Annabel had a surprise for Tom?  We don't need to be asked twice to go to the pub so we finished off and headed back home.  We found the Holmans in the Wheatsheaf garden in the sunshine, so the kids played whilst we drank.  We then decided we couldn't possibly cook dinner, so we stayed and had tea there too before staggering home.  It was a good day.