31/08/2023 … A month of very mixed fortunes!

Well, August you really gave us a very up and down ride! We had some lovely times…and some very unlovely times especially towards the end of the month. All will be revealed as we go through this month’s post. Let us start with the lovely things!

We started the month off with a great evening at Talkin Tarn watching the fantastic Pantaloons – a touring theatre company who mostly perform outdoors…in all weathers. They did a very amusing production of The Comedy of Errors…a feat within itself as there is always only four of them. It was very good and we managed to stay dry even if it did get mighty chilly as the evening wore on. We returned to Talkin Tarn for a second show by the Pantaloons later in the month…this time Alice in Wonderland and once again despite getting really cold by the end of the evening, we really enjoyed all the fun of this production too. If ever this group perform near you, I strongly recommend going to see them. They are very good.

Following this we went down to Runcorn for the weekend to be part of our granddaughter’s christening. The actual christening was in Phil’s family church and was conducted by their well-loved parish priest and went very well. It was really nice for a lot of Phil’s family (including his Nan) to be present at this service and the celebration afterwards. The little one (and all the guests) had a lovely day. The hotel we stayed in left a lot to be desired though the night before as we and some of Phil’s family had a very bad experience trying to get some food. Instead of saying to us that they couldn’t cope with providing food that night (they had a big wedding reception going on), they let us order and then kept us waiting for 2+ hours for food…and in fact some never arrived at all! Not the best really! That apart though, everyone seemed to have had a good time and the family were very pleased that the little one is now officially baptised! We are hoping to have another service of some sort in our church in Carlisle in the future, so that a lot of Hazel and Phil’s Carlisle friends and family can be there too. This little one will be well and truly blessed by the time that is finished!

We have been out and about as usual during the month too. We decided one Wednesday, our date day remember, to go to Kielder, a place I used to go to with my parents and somewhere I’ve not been to for a very long time. It wasn’t the best of days really weatherwise, but the worst part was choosing to drive along the forest toll road (which cost us £3 too) and which was entirely the wrong thing to do as it turned out! It was a terrible road, maybe OK if you have a big 4×4 car, but not really suitable for our little car. Eventually, we made it to the end … miles away from where we had wanted to be and very relieved to be back on tarmac again! We did salvage something out of the day by eating a great lunch at the Redesdale Arms, before driving back alongside the reservoir on the road we should have been on in the first place! Needless to say, it will be a long time before we repeat that experience! Our other days out have been a lot more sedate and we have enjoyed meeting up with Linda and Mike for lunch at The Sun in at Bassenthwaite and again yesterday at Upfront Gallery, two of our favourite places. We really enjoyed our trip to Allonby too one Wednesday, where we ate at Jack’s Surf Bar and then sat on the beach there in the sunshine (a real novelty for this August) for the afternoon. Geoff was very brave and went for a dip in the sea but I declined and spent my time collecting rocks to paint and sea glass instead. I’m saving myself for the Med next month…at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

We had a really nice afternoon at the country show at nearby Dalston too. We really enjoy going to these shows and this one is just the right size and has quite a lot of things going on that we really like. I love wandering around the craft and competition tents and seeing all the entries for flower arrangements, produce and craft classes. I always say that I should enter some of my stuff as I have done a lot of knitting and rock painting recently, not to mention some real watercolour paintings that I still have, and I still make the occasional flower arrangements and door wreaths, but I never really get round to it! It is always nice though to admire other people’s work. We also enjoyed a little visit to a lovely “Open House” event which was providing lunches and teas to raise money for a village hall project in a nearby village. We shared a table with two very interesting elderly ladies (aged 93 and 90) who kept us very entertained with their stories of what it had been like to live in the village when they were younger. It was a lovely lunch spent in great company!

The last really nice thing we have done this month was to go away for the weekend with Hazel and Phil and of course, the little one, to a caravan park near Hexham, where we stayed in a very nice lodge for the weekend to enable us to go to the wedding of one of Hazel’s university friends. The wedding itself was lovely and Helen looked stunning and very happy. We went to the church to see her married and then spent a great afternoon looking around Corbridge and Blanchland, two of my parents’ favourite places again, and which are full of memories for me. We were on standby to pick up the little one from the wedding reception when she got tired and this we did and then put her to bed without too much bother. However, the next day was the start of the not so nice things! Whilst taking the little one to the on-site playground to allow her mummy and daddy to finish packing up ready for departure, I managed to trip over her, lost my balance completely and hit the deck very badly indeed…face first. I had managed to damage my mouth very badly (after an x-ray later I discovered I’d broken the bone across the top of my mouth) broke one front tooth and loosened two or three more too. I also managed to rip the finger nail completely off the little finger of my right hand. Really great, eh?? I don’t do things by half do I? A call to 111 saw me attending the urgent injury unit at Hexham Hospital soon afterwards where my finger was cleaned up and dressed, but the teeth had to wait until another call to 111 got me an appointment at the dental unit at Cumberland Infirmary when we got home, After X rays and a lot of consultations with consultants, it was decided to put a temporary splint on my front teeth in the hope that when the fracture heals they can be saved (although none of this is certain) and after telling me off soundly for not having registered with a dentist since we came back to the UK ( I am a total denta-phobe by the way), I was told to get a dentist the next day as I would need a lot of treatment in the weeks to come. Oh, Bliss Oh, Joy! Now, actually getting a dentist here in Carlisle is not that easy these days but we managed eventually to register with one and so the next morning resulted in another 2 hour session being assessed, having the broken tooth filled to make it more presentable and having more x-rays done. This is the stuff of nightmares for me, you understand! So, this last week has been a succession of trips to see our practice nurse to have my finger re-dressed (it is now bearable to be touched but is not very pretty) and I have an appointment at the dentist again today, where no doubt they will outline the plan for the future…and give us the go ahead to disappear for a month to France, we hope, all of which is not ideal timing you understand. I will add the conclusion to that when I get home before I post this.

Another thing that has upset both of us this month has been the news of the deaths of two of our friends. Our friendship with Ann has gone back many years to when we were first married and living in Seaton Sluice. She and her husband David were fellow members of Blyth Rotaract and we did lots of things together. They were also the very first people to visit us in our new home in France…in fact they helped us move in, by moving things from the house to the gite and making up dismantled furniture. Ann was a big fell walker and was never happier than when she was walking in the Cheviots and her sudden death came as a great shock. She was also our age…and a lot fitter than us . The second death was of one of my Twitter friends, Kath. Although we never met in person, she has been my friend for a long time and I always loved hearing about her beautiful doggies which won many rosettes in very prestigious dog shows. I also loved receiving my surprise parcels of fantastic Irish Black bacon which she very kindly used to send to a few of us, her Twitter friends. I also know her daughter Dawn, and I have been following her problems trying to sort out end of life care from France (Kath lived in Northern Ireland) which has been a nightmare for her. That situation has made us realise just how right we were to sell up in France when we did and move back to the UK. Everything becomes so much more difficult to manage for families at such a distance. We send our love to both families and although we will be unable to attend either funeral in person, we will be there in spirit.

We are continuing though with our preparations to get away on Monday with our fingers firmly crossed that we can. We are both so looking forward to being back in France again and to having some decent weather. We understand that the canicule (heat wave) seems to be over now and the temperatures are still nice but not unbearable. Whether or not I will be able to swim in the sea will depend on my finger healing but again I am hopeful especially after the first week anyway. Hazel, Phil and the little one are also coming out to see us this time and to go to a couple of the rugby world cup matches…and yes we will be on baby sitting duty again for those! Let us just hope there will no repeat of spectacular falls when that happens this time!

Quick update on the above…I am now back from the dentist and so long as I go to a French dentist while we are away, to have the splint which is on my teeth removed next week, they are OK for us to go…youpi! We are now trying to sort out a dentist in St Aygulf who will be happy to do this, but there are several to choose from so we should be OK…I think! So now it is all systems go for Monday…France here we come! Bring on the sunshine

A bientot mes amis…

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Sorry to hear of your fall.
Anything dental is awful.
We have had the canicule here in Burgundy, but it is over now and the nights are cold so the temperature in the pool drops.
Better next week.
Good luck for your trip

Thank you. We are soooo looking forward to getting to our little relaxing place