Life changes

On Sunday we drove to Bristol to our niece's new home, to surprise Kevin's sister on the eve of a momentous birthday.
I'd been nearby, actually having lunch at the above pub earlier this year, and after a very early start we arrived before the birthday girl.

Viv was suitably surprised and pleased at the gathering of family in the garden.

There were bubbles and beer, lots of chatter, laughter, (thank you Lizzie),and also talk of the family wedding in 2018. Victoria asked Georgina to be one of her bridesmaids, which meant tears of happiness.


Andy and Victoria's neighbour enjoys taking a photo or two, so he popped round and these are a fantastic reminder of the day.

Viv retired from work on the Thursday and her and Don have some great plans to bring to fruition, plus time to spend with the beautiful Bella.

Viv isn't one to speak at occasions, usually beavering away, but today she did, briefly. She thanked people for coming, and then the tears started. She continued and thanked Don in his support of her retiring early: it was so touching. Viv has a serenity about her and it is obvious that she is loved and cherished by all who know her.

I wish Viv a long, healthy and happy retirement, to enjoy the times ahead, and the memories to be made! (And that I can follow suit as soon as possible😉)

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Two decades and a funeral


Bev and I have known each other for over 30 years and a recent invite to accompany her to althorp was one that I had to take up.

Weather was set fair and I drove to her home, and we made the journey to Northants.


First stop was to visit the above, then we made our way to the cafe for lunch. Ginger beer and a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich went down a treat.

We wandered through the exhibitions delighting in the photos of Diana, reminded of her charity work, and her legacy. As we approach the 20th anniversary of her death, there has been renewed coverage in the media, only last week the programme with her beloved sons ‘Diana, Our Mother’ which gave a flavour of the fun loving woman she was.

We thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the ancestral home, with an enthusiastic and informative guide. We then made our way out to the lake.
It is such a beautiful spot and we spent time on a bench reflecting on the last twenty years. We are both blessed with wonderful families, good health, and take opportunities that come our way. That doesn’t mean that we’ve not had difficult times, but with love and support we have had the ability to cope.
A cuppa and a sweet treat were required before hitting the gift shop!

A long journey back and a fish supper was consumed, before I made my trip home.

A truly wonderful day spent in lovely company!

Another year rolls by

Another Academic year ends tomorrow, with more goodbyes with the prospect of hellos in September. Changes to roles and new students about to embark on their next destination of the journey of lifelong learning.


It’s been a year full of highs and lows and on Monday I return to a student free school with a list as long as my arm of things to do.

Fingers crossed the new sixth form facilities will be complete and ready for the students. Our students have had the very best education with committed, outstanding teaching, despite being housed in a corridor and a former students area. This new flagship facility will inspire and energise them further! 

I for one, can’t wait, but there is still a fair way to go. 

Dyffryn Gardens

Another day, another house and gardens, this one a National Trust property just outside Cardiff. The gardens less formal than yesterday, but a sculpture here and there.

The sun shone intermittently but the moisture in the air did not dampen our enthusiasm.


We stopped for the obligatory cream tea and wandered around the stalls where books were being sold. Debbie bought 3 wisdens at a knock down price. For drop everything and read at school I got of photo of me reading one. 


A short drive to Cardiff for some shopping, oh and a glance at the principality stadium! 


We booked to see the film Hampstead and the cinema is a short walk from where we are staying. The film was funny, poignant and based on a true story. Truly delightful. A burger at Five Guys followed with a stroll home to a face pack, strawberries and casino royale.


Onc again,exhausted from our wanderings, bed is welcome and much cooler, so hopefully a good niht’s sleep😴😴😴😴😴😴

Chippenham, Cardiff and Cricket.

Debbie and I left yesterday and travelled to Chippenham. A detour to the Swindon retail outfit resulted in English pounds being spent and a easy ride to our hotel for the evening.

A walk around to find our bearings and a refreshing cider each had to be done. Before we knew it it was time for bed and the comfort of our room at the Best Western Angel  +. This morning our task was to find breakfast and a short walk to Grounded provided that.


A short drive to Calne and to visit Bowood House, the family seat of the Marquess of Lansowne. We felt a rugby connection with Lansdowne Road, and the house is approached from Derry Hill. 

Another interesting fact was the 2nd Marquess was made Prine Minister for negotiating peace with America after the War of Independence.


The gardens landscaped by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown are stunning. Every twist and turn of the paths provide differing vistas to enjoy. The lake with the Doric Temple, the cascade and the House itself just beautiful. The grander rooms of the house were designed by Robert Adam, a prolific interior designer of his time, and the orangery he designed is where you walk in for the tour. No photos are allowed so you'll have to visit to behold the beauty.

We left after a cuppa to continue our journey to Cardiff. We arrived through rush hour traffic and were met by our Airbnb host. The flat is lovely with all amenities and near to shops and bars: handy for the Lions match tomorrow, weather permitting! 

We cooked dinner and watched the cricket being played at Taunton, the second match of three. SA won, setting up Sunday's match conclusion in Cardiff, the purpose of our trip.

We went for a walk in the rain and returned exhausted from our perambulation.

I'll leave you with two pictures 

Bank Holiday weekend

Unusually for me, there were no plans for this weekend, and as the weather was to deteriorate, a day of sunbathing was in order. But first the cloudy skies and a downpour seemed to put paid to that

But the clouds diminished and the sun shone!

It was so warm and lovely to enjoy being in the garden. Blue skies, green grass and a cacophony of flora.

Poor Oscar struggled with the heat, trying to find somewhere cool to lie.

Sunday was spent largely relaxing, FaceTime to Melbourne and the Monaco GP. 


Today has been a little more industrious, and for half a millisecond the house was tidy! 

We enjoyed breakfast in the garden, but intermittent showers curtailed lunch outside. 

It has been wonderful to see the garden change over the last few weeks and no doubt this will continue, with colour now everywhere to be seen, smell is becoming a feature too. 


A paella and a glass of sangria for dinner and the weekend is over, with the news filled with more about the dreadful act last Monday. 

We live in scary times: we have before, and we need to allow time for healing. Easier said than done. πŸ™πŸ»

Diana’s Dresses

As soon as I saw the exhibition advertised I had to go. My companion today was my wonderful ex colleague Bev! 

The weather forecast was mixed, but we dodged the rain and made our way to KP. There was a queue, as would be expected and we sauntered round the King’s and Queen’s apartments before reaching the Diana exhibition. 

First Lady of the bed chamber!
Does my bum look big in this?

There is still such an interest in the iconic Diana, her beauty, grace and style. As with all of us, a complex women, she had her faults but did great good, broke down barriers and cut swathes through taboos!

Diana and I were born three days apart and I followed her life as she blossomed from the shy, gauche teenager into the beautiful, purposeful woman.


How would she have aged? What would her hairstyle be? Would she have married again? Would she have had more children? 

No doubt she would have loved Catherine, loved the Wedding, and adored her grandchildren, both at their Aunt Pippa’s wedding today! 

She lived for her boys and gave them the human touch that will shape their lives and loves. She would be immensely proud of them both. πŸ’•

We walked through the shop and emerged to darker skies, we sauntered round the edges of the white garden. 


The heavens opened and we took shelter but decided to make a dash to a nearby restaurant. We enjoyed some fizz, food and an impromptu visit from Bev’s brother Paul. We laughed, reminisced and  spoke of our travel plans over the coming months. 

Via different means we both are aware that we are in charge of our happiness, something that comes from within, not found in money. We are so proud of our children, all making their way, happy to celebrate their achievements, success and happiness.

A quick change at Tower Hill and cloudy skies with a walk to Fenchurch street, where we caught a train home. 

More laughter, more talking and a wonderful day! 

Homeward bound

After a night in a warm room we were woken at 8:32 this morning. This left little time for showers etc and as it was miserable outside, we made our way to breakfast, which was again, very good! 

A meander through the streets of Bakewell meant buying cheese, beer and treats for home!

We returned to the hotel, packed and we were on our way.


The scenery we have seen on this trip has been so beautiful to behold, even in β˜”οΈ. There are so many more places to see, we have just skirted round and through them!


Our final stop just had to be a cake shop, Patisserie Valerie, at Cambridge services. One last hurrah for us both. Satiated, we carried on and Debbie dropped me off at home at 980 miles from when the journey began.

Joe was just leaving as we arrived, but a window tap and bibib attracted his attention to turn round. Hugs all round then Debbie left to get home too.

I unpacked, watered the garden and took some photos

This last week has been so good,so good,so good (sweet Caroline), I’ve been inclined …. to drink too much, eat far too much, and laugh (you can never laugh too much!).  I am blessed with great family and friends and I am lucky to have the opportunity to do things like this, and the means too.

Wonderful memories made and also a wanderlust to visit more of our beautiful ‘green and pleasant land’

Two tarts in Bakewell..

We woke this morning to sunshine. We breakfasted and showered ready for today’s journey to Bakewell. 

We left just after 11.00 am and took the scenic route. We saw sheep, cows uninhabited terrain and enjoyed the odd oopla! 

We stopped off in Hexham, saw the gaol briefly and had a cuppa and a scone before some browsing in Beales. 


There was one more impromptu stop before the A1 to take in the glory of the Uk in the sunshine. 

We arrived at the Rutland Arms shortly after 6:30pm, slight issue as the room had a double but that was sorted and we dined enjoying good food, wine and company. 

What a week, full of fun, laughter and the occasional mad moment. A raft of memories made. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸΎπŸ€—πŸ’•

Treehouses to Seahouses

We travelled 102 miles to Harrogate and didn’t have to travel very far for breakfast. Just along the road we found Hoxton North: modern with a great vibe and fab food



Breakfast demolished we checked out, took a cheeky photo by a flash car, then we were off to Alnwick. Playlist was very 60’s, 70’s with the Beatles featuring. So many memories, emotion never far from brimming over, but joyous too.


Alnwick Gardens were bathed in sunshine and we took advantage of as many photo opportunities as possible. The poison garden tour was well worth it, interesting and informative ( maniacal cackle, whilst rubbing hands)

A cuppa and cake was now needed, and we had some company! 

We continued round the gardens and made our way to the treehouses. 


Such a lovely place and the third visit in eight months! 


Seahouses, not to see houses, but a fishing village on the coast. Not quite as expected but a bracing walk to the harbour certainly built up our appetite for fish and chips. 


Replete, we walked back to ugiebrae where we are staying tonight. Comfortable twin room, with all required accoutrements! 

The pleasure of beautiful surroundings, sunshine, and laughter is infinitesimal. 

Tomorrow and the delights of Bamburgh, North Berwick and Murrayfield beckons πŸ†πŸ€—πŸ’•