Here I go again! Me and my good intentions! It’s well over a month since my last post, bemoaning the infrequent nature of my posts. So let’s get the excuses out of the way without further ado.
First, we have been away for two weeks. Add preparation and recovery time and that becomes three weeks or more. Secondly, we returned (just over a week ago) in less than sparkling condition. I had acquired a streaming cold and Granny Anne had caught it and was about three days behind me. To complicate matters she had also developed toothache a couple of days before the holiday ended. As we sailed towards Harwich and the mobile phone signal came within range, you could have found me on the Promenade Deck of MV Athena ‘phoning our National Health Service dentist in Cardiff for an emergency appointment. Amazingly, when such appointments so often involve a wait of at least several days, we were fitted in at 8.30am the following day. That is what I call service!
These holidays could be quite stressful without the vital assistance of our wonderful daughter, Jennie. Not only did she get up at some almost unheard-of hour to transport us and our enormous cases to the rendezvous with the coach at the beginning of our travels, plus keep an eye on our house, on Henry and on Granny Anne’s numerous plants while we were away – she also ensured that we had food supplies for a few days on our return and was waiting for the coach as it arrived back in Cardiff. Our colds lasted seven days precisely (these modern viruses are clever like that) which meant that we could pass them on to others for a few days after our return. Fortunately this doesn’t seem to have happened in respect of Jennie and her family (our grandsons’ primary school is a great source of colds etc. so perhaps their resistance is greater than ours already) and I cancelled Maria’s next violin lesson as a precaution – which, I thought, was very chivalrous and noble of me!
Since returning home, and while Granny Anne has been busy with washing and hours of ironing, tidying up the garden (where a particularly warm spell in our absence accelerated the growth of just about everything), and catching up with her 2010 planting programme, I have not been idle. I have a list of tasks on which I have made a start. Henry, our tortoise, is now outside day and night and has a fresh pile of hay under his bush where he buries himself at night. Our small lawns have been cut and edged and lots of dead leaves and other debris have been brushed up and added to the compost bin. I have painted all the exterior woodwork that I could reach on the house and garage and the larger quantity around the edge of the roof was sanded and filled as necessary then undercoated and topcoated in a few hours today by a pair of professional painters with long ladders. The weather is now cracking up again with frequent rain expected for a few days but when it settles – and when I feel sufficiently patient, which might be another matter altogether – I have a wrought iron gate and some railings to paint. Then there is part of a garden fence to be renewed, tools to adjust and sharpen, another attempt to reduce the contents of the garage and so it goes.
My efforts to buy a couple of fence panels from a large and well-known DiY chain could make a story. Their system seems to be geared for their convenience rather than to give their much emphasised service to customers. I sent a message to them via their website last week in the hope of getting some help to sort the problem but have had no reply four full days later. I may be writing more about this.
I am sorry to disappoint Shoreacres – whose very kind remarks about my earlier travel writing were much appreciated if not entirely deserved – but my account of our recent cruise will be much shorter than the multi-episode saga of the 2009 Baltic adventure. This is partly because I took no notes this time and relatively few photos, of which the best have been pinched by Granny Anne anyway to supplement her own. So as she also took notes I look forward to reading her account.