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 

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Pulchritude

Way back in February I saw that David Tennant was to star at the Wyndham’s theatre in Don Juan in Soho, and bought tickets as I would happily pay to see him open a paper bag! 

I won’t lie, after last Saturday’s events in London, I was anxious about travelling up there.  I don’t believe that by carrying on we are ‘showing’ that we are strong etc, as I don’t think that the people involved in perpetrating terror gives two hoots. But we have to find a normality in our lives as we have little choice if we want to do things.


In many ways this was what the production was about, someone living life their way: selfish, uncaring , hedonistic and amblivient to others feelings, just their own gratification. 


I love the word pulchritude and use it often and it was pleasing that it was used in the production. David Tennant first came to the fore in Casanova and his comic timing is exceptional, some of his mannerisms remind me of Andrew.

After the interval there is a scene where he reflects on how we have forgotten how to live, so many living vicariously via their social media pages and that was very poignant. 


Before we knew it the end had come and the audience rose to their feet and the cast bowed to the rapturous applause. David came back on stage in a I ❀️ London tshirt, even louder applause. He then asked the audience to sit and he gave a brilliant speech and asked for donations to the Red Cross to help all those affected by Manchester and London attacks. I was moved, his humour, his words unexpected but welcome. I love the Wyndham’s  Theatre: a wonderfully intimate venue. 

And so time for the return journey, this was the penultimate performance and just before we left two people came in with bags of food, presumably the cast’s tea before their final hurrah!

Reviews were mixed but I laughed out loud and I cried too.

So now just wait to see what he does next.πŸ’•πŸŽ­

Education and what it can mean

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit another Catholic school in East London. The journey from Chelmsford was a real trip back to the past especially when we drove through Ilford, Manor Park and Forest Gate. Road names remain but so much has changed. 

We passed my old secondary school, the entrance door still familiar and the wall that cocooned us girls from the outside world still in tact.

We continued to drive down a road that I used to walk to the tennis courts, and to the Church where we celebrated many a Mass.


All this made me realise how fortunate I had been to have had a top class education, that despite my humble beginnings, my parents gave me the best start they could. I loved school and in the main,  academia suited me. This was a springboard for me and most days I am thankful for my language skills, my mathematical ability and my knowledge of the world and history.

Not everyone has these opportunities, or the support to make the most of them. For some, school and to conform, are not happy bed fellows, but we need to find a way to engage, support and encourage these as they deserve. 

One of my favourite songs is ‘different corner’ by George Michael, and I often reflect on the choices that my parents, myself and my husband have made. My life could have been very different but I have been lucky and I appreciate all that has been done for me.


The school I visited faces so many challenges: gang culture, poverty, immigrants, and inner city anxieties, but there was such a positive vibe within the school, a real determination to achieve and be the best you can be. It was a delight, but it’s tough I’m sure. 


I returned home and we all went to the polling station together to vote, and I recanted about my day and my journey, appreciation of where my family live, the opportunities that they have had and continue to have! 

Getting older…

Over the last few months, probably three years, I have struggled with fatigue, weight gain, changes in vision, and most recently tinnitus. 


I have had medication for high blood pressure for 18 years and for an under active thyroid for 7 years.


A few weeks ago I decided to make changes. A trip to the doctor means a blood test today-joy!


More frightening has been BP readings twice a day for a week. Erratic and too high. These have been given to the doctor  so with the blood test results should give a clearer picture.

Opticians and dentist yesterday and my eyes may be being effected by my medical conditions! Tishbapoo!


I have started to monitor what I’m eating and a conscious effort to walk more. This can’t be a fair weather change either. So far I’ve lost 6lbs, but a fairway still to go to feel comfortable. 

This getting older is a state of mind and I will do all I can to keep me healthy and to enjoy my life as I reach the grand age of 56! Although the morning aches and pains take longer to dissipate, I intend to grab what is ahead of me and enjoy to the fullest! Making small changes can make a big difference. πŸ˜‰πŸ’•πŸ’•

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’•

Final DayΒ 

The ultimate goal of our road trip was to attend the Final today at Murrayfield, and so it was, Saracens v Clermont Auvergne. 

I even purchased a rugby top for the occasion! 

The weather forecast was poor and we left North Berwick on foot to catch the train to Edinburgh Haymarket. Drizzle became quite heavy rain, the first for 6 weeks.

We decided to have lunch at a favourite of ours Omar Khayyam and it didn’t disappoint.

Whilst eating the cloud broke and blue sky was seen! A walk to the stadium ensued where we met a variety of fans along the way. There were the French, Irish, Scots and English. I have always thought of Rugby fans as more convivial than football but today that perception was shaken. 


Match underway and it swung from looking tight, to a Sarries romp, then back again. There was very flowery language from a particular young lady behind us and I can’t quite get my head round why people pay so much to be rude about other teams and just not enjoy the spectacle. A possible red card was discounted and some missed kicks and all square again. Just before half time though, a full cup of beer ‘fell’ from above onto primarily a Warriors fan,  the lady was drenched, and other people beside and in fronted her too. Very poor show! 


The second half had a few thrills and spills and a nervy time led to final whistle on a Saracen win 17-28! Hugs all round amongst the staunch fans at another final. 

We watched the presentations and commiserated with Clermont and their fans. We then took our leave to return home, and to celebrate with tea and biscuits!!


Tomorrow we pack again and make our way to Bakewell as we approach the final leg of our journey! 

Day 5 to North Berwick

Miles completed yesterday  over 140. After our comfortable stay at Ugiebrae in Seahouses, where nothing was too much trouble, we enjoyed our pre ordered breakfast. Poached eggs on toast and creamy mushrooms on brioche: another wonderful breakfast.

A stop at Bamburg Castle for a photo or two and we continued on our way

A couple of other stops but the weather began to close in!


We arrived in North Berwick in good time, enjoyed a cuppa then a light lunch of cheese, pate and crackers. 

A quick shower and titivate and we left for the station. We arrived in Edinburgh Waverley where a stiff walk up the Royal Mile to our meal destination. Over 30 Saracen fans were to break bread and enjoy the delights of middle eastern food: falafel, bone leaves,kebabs and flatbreads. All washed down with a variety of alcoholic imbibements. Dessert was Turkish delight and baklava, really sweet treats!

Cabs were summoned to take us to Murrayfield to watch the EPR Challenge Cup Final between Gloucester and Stade Francais. To be honest a lacklustre game with the French team winning 17-25. At least I saw Sergio Parisse score a try though! 


A good journey home on a dreech night, a cup of warm milk and some neurofen as I’m not feeling brilliant and hoping for a Saracen win tomorrow, especially as I have my new shirt to wear!