|We’re now used to living in a very small space. Everything has a home and things have to put away once used. The housework is fun, done in 10 minutes. The laundry is another matter. It has taken a few attempts but I think we’ve learnt the knack of using a launderette. It’s quite the highlight of our week :--).
I have spent a couple of days taking Dad backwards and forwards to the hospital for check-ups and to have monitors for his blood pressure to be fitted for 24 hour periods. He is doing OK but I believe the stroke certainly gave him a scare.
Met up with Paul’s old boss from Honeywell Bracknell, Geoff Skates and his family. Also another colleague, Chris Ruane, joined us. We had a great evening sitting in front of the raging fire with a glass of red and the guys talking nineteen to the dozen about old projects and people from Honeywell. We also met 2 of Geoff and Carol’s grandchildren, twins Gibson and Florence, born 7 weeks ago. They are beautiful.
Paul and Geoff are planning a fishing trip for Saturday if the weather holds.
Speaking of the weather, winter has well and truly arrived and so has the snow. We had 6 cm fall one night. It looked magical when we opened the blinds in the morning. All the fields and trees covered in white sparkly powder. Christmas must be coming.
It’s been so cold at night the toilets and showers in the amenities block freeze. Thank God for our facilities in the van. Even though it drops to -8 deg C at night and gets to the dizzy heights of 1 deg C during the day we are keeping cosy and snug in the van. It must be love that’s keeping us warm :--)
My sister Linda turned 50 last week and the snow tried to postpone her celebrations. It was 20 cm deep down her way and all the roads were blocked. Fortunately by midday we heard the motorway to Southampton was fairly clear so we packed the car with Mum and Dad in the back and headed south. As we got closer to Southampton the landscape got whiter and before long we were driving through a winter wonderland of snow drifts and trees laden with snow and ice. Driving into Linda’s neighbourhood was like driving on an ice rink. All the roads were covered in compacted snow and ice. We managed to find her house in the white landscape and all trudged in to a welcoming cuppa and a delicious birthday cake. That evening we had a lovely meal out at Gun Wharf Quays in Portsmouth. That was an adventure. The mini bus (as there were 10 of us) braved the snow covered roads and dropped us off as close to the restaurant as he dared then we slipped and slid in our heeled shoes over the ice to the seafood restaurant Martin (Linda’s hubby) had booked. We had a wonderful evening with all the family.
At the weekend we stayed with our good friends Alasdair and Caroline. They had had 25 cm of snow. Everywhere else was in thaw but their village of Lasham was still deep in the white stuff. It was wonderful to see them and Paul certainly enjoyed the reminiscing he and Alasdair did on their childhood and teenage years.
Paul and I have been busy walking. Runnymede is just up the road where King John signed the Magna Carta (the beginning of civil rights). So we have walked were history was made! We walked around Savill Gardens which was a pleasure ground for the royals and is now open to the public. Today we ventured into Virginia Waters which was heathland until the 18th century when Queen Anne had the gardens laid out. The lake in the gardens was the largest manmade lake in the country and along the edge we found Botany Bay Point.
The Grandmother of the campsite owner passed away last Friday and they have had a 4 day wake. Three large marquees had been erected in the ground equipped with heaters, carpets, tables, chairs etc. The funeral is today (Tuesday) and the caterers have been busy all morning as they are expecting 800 mourners. Yes 800. We saw the hearse leave followed by 8 black stretch limos, all covered in floral tributes and the remaining floral tributes, some 2 metres high, were put on three flat bed trucks that followed the procession. At least half the women attending the funeral wore full length black fur coats and nearly every car was a Rolls Royce, Bentley or Mercedes. We have discovered that the family are Romany people (gypsy). It was an impressive spectacle.
Looking forward to catching up with Tina and Nikolas. They are having a ball, just left Berlin and are now in Prague. The weather has been very Christmasy for them, snow, snow and more snow.
Alasdair and Julie are well. Just returned from a very wet Rover camp on the central coast. Alasdair looked very soggy on Skype and was trying to dry out after all the rain.
It’s been very cold so Paul is making good use of his stylish hat :--)