Friday 2 January 2009


Our few days away have been glorious...and just as a New Year should be. We took the long way round for our drive up to Peterchurch, going through the New Forest, and deciding to cross the Severn by the old bridge so we could head up the Wye Valley. We took the opportunity of stopping at Tintern Abbey - somewhere I'd wanted to go to for years. The boy was as awe-struck as me - there was a real atmosphere there, and if it hadn't been for temperatures that would make the Arctic seem tropical we would have stopped for longer. But I did buy the T-shirt for posterity.

Our gathering was at our wonderful friend's place The Barn, which manages to be both highly contemporary on the inside, yet warm and welcoming at the same time. It is a favourite place to come and relax several times a year. The house was crowdered [sic] with our friend's two lovely daughters, his ex-ish girlfriend and her poppet, Gym instructor, his wife and sons - one currently studying to be a vet in Edinburgh. Gym instructor is an amazingly gentle, fun guy...and his current claim to fame is he is the model for a new range of action dolls to be launched by the MoD. So look out in the shops. His other claim to fame is the need for furnace-like heat. So the house was kept at a constant 35C...oh yes we could all walk around in our bikinis sweating away the pounds whilst outside the frost got thicker and thicker and thicker.

We nearly had the opportunity to go off to the Point to Point in Ledbury, but seriously frozen ground meant that the horse part was cancelled. The human race was still on though (human ankles more disposbale than horse ones?). I thought I might have a crack, but ducked out when I was told it was seven and a half miles and I had no kit. The cold had nothing to do with it. Our host still went, and found himself racing against a very diminutive Richard Hammond, complete with jodhpurs. He was evidently a jolly nice chap.

For NYE, we had added friends from just up the lane, so a very full house indeed and a fine Jamie Oliver designed meal was rounded off by the boy entertaining us on the guitar. I remember thinking whilst listening and watching that I could think of no better place to be in the whole world to be spending my start to 2009. We rounded off with a good toast to to all friends, and some fireworks as near as dammit as good as London's. So no doubt there were a good few shaken sheep around.

As you can see the frost was deep, and the place took on the most magical air. Just what the doctor ordered!

Happy New Year to you all

Sunday 28 December 2008

Aye Aye.

The boy returned last night so we headed off with unexpected friend to one of my favourite Brigton (Hove actually) restaurants - Harry's in Western Road, where fine English food can be consumed. There was a slight delay in departing as various mobile phones needed to be 'reflashed'...the boy has an unnerving knack of turning the latest technology into ex-technology. Mission accomplished, and a short dash in the bitter, bitter cold got us to the restaurant. Liver and Bacon for me, a veggie burger for UF and a ginormous steak for the boy. Delicious.

This morning we had two missions to accomplish. Get the broken glases fixed (see previous post...I can't hyperlink as a) I don't know how and b) I'm on a Mac which means I can't do anything other than type simple words one after another - the PC seems to be in a terminal state - my fault, nothing to do with the boy) And find a coat.

Down at Vision Express, we were dutifully entertained by the really nice staff - how do they find and keep these people; they should be pleased that they get everything so right. As it happens, the boy's glasses couldn't be fixed immediately (no lenses in stock), so we bought another pair after a quick eye check. This was supposed to be a cheap pair until the proper ones are done, but surprise, surprise, they are Ted Baker ones and cost designer prices. I took the opportunity of having my eyes checked for the first time in four years, and I remain still almost perfect. They took a pictre of my retina, which they say will be e-mailed to me, so when it gets here I'll post it here. I found that bit really exciting, as I'm gradually building up a complete picture of the inside of my body - I already have x-rays of my fractured wrist and fractured elbow. So if I keep going my inner soul will be entirely on display. Hopefully, I won't have to break anything to get more pictures though....

...the search for the prefect coat was interminable. I think we went in every possible shop imaginable. They say that shopping is Britain's most popular hobby. Please tell me why. It's a nightmare, of surly staff, in-the-way other shoppers, and extended choice of everything that is NOT in the sale. We searched high, we searched low. The coats all started to look the same to me, but evidently none were good enough....fortunately that included the £500+ Nicole Fahri one that he was never going to to be got anyway. We ended up in the most improbable place...indeed the very last shop in Brighton - Moss Bros. Amazingly they had the best selection of all, and in the right sizes. So not surprisingly several hours were taken up with choosing the right one. With new coat and new glasses, there is something of a remarkable resemblance to David continuing the apparent Dr Who theme of our Christmas!