A Month of Celebrations


Well, the merry month of May has come to a close. We have been quite busy as usual and we have had more than our fair share of days to celebrate various things.

The May Day Bank Holiday came and went here without much going on. We retired folk don`t really get that much out of bank holidays these days…in fact I get a bit annoyed because often, as they fall on a Monday, my usual shift in the Op Shop is cancelled…and I miss that. I also missed having any muguet (lily of the valley) in the flat. I loved the French tradition of giving bunches of that to everyone on May Day. The lily of the valley in my garden is a bit pathetic unfortunately. Geoff did enquire at our local florist but was met by total bewilderment and a maybe price of about £50! He declined that offer!

The next day was not much fun and definitely not a day of celebration as I was at the eye clinic yet again and the news was not good really. The blood vessels at the back of my eyes are leaking again and so I need more treatment. This time they wanted to put a different implant in to my eyes – one which lasts for a lot longer. I had the first one done a couple of weeks later (not a pleasant experience) and I`m hoping that it will last for the three years they are telling me. I still need the other eye done next month…something to look forward to eh?

We have continued with our Wednesday “date days” this month. We have teamed up our lunches out with a couple of lovely walks to see some beautiful bluebell woods…one at Lanercost & the other near Hesket Newmarket. The bluebells are fabulous this year and I have realised how much I missed them when we lived in France. Our walks were super…the woods were peaceful, the bird song wonderful and the flowers fantastic. We also had a lovely couple of nights away exploring a corner of Cumbria wed not been to before. Our daughter Hazel & Phil were having a bit of a break with the dog near Dalton in Furness & we went down to help Hazel celebrate her birthday on the 10th of May. It gave us the chance to visit Walney Island near Barrow, somewhere wed been keen to visit for a while. It was a bit cold(!) but it was great to see the wildlife reserve there, even though the seals which it is famous for, were nowhere to be seen - wrong time of year. The reserve is very good though and we will try to get back there sometime in the future. We also took the opportunity to visit Holker Hall with Hazel to attend the Spring fair there which we all enjoyed very much. We want to go back there again sometime to visit the gardens, as we didn`t really have time to do them justice. We enjoyed our visit to this part of the county and all the celebrations which we were lucky enough to be able to take part in while we were there.

We have visited the Lake District too of course this month…the bit of it which is nearer to us. We met up with our Scottish friends, Jean and Ewen, who we met on a cruise a few years ago and who were holidaying in the Lakes, at Cockermouth one day for lunch. More things to celebrate like lasting friendships :blush: Last week saw us drive down to Ambleside - a place which Geoff usually likes to drive straight through without stopping as it is always busy! However, he wanted to visit the Amitt Museum, as he is still very interested in different methods of teaching, and he wanted to learn more about Charlotte Mason and her ideas of education. That didn`t interest me much …so I took a rare opportunity to explore the shops in Ambleside instead

after we`d had a lovely lunch! Happy days!

The Spring/Summer Fair season seems to be in full swing around here at the moment and so we took ourselves off to Newby Hall one Sunday to visit the fair there. I found the craft stalls very nice, but a bit expensive so not much was purchased! Also there does seem to be a bit too much emphasis on “craft” gins and other alcoholic tipples…which to me, as a life-long teetotaller holds no interest whatsoever! However, we did really enjoy strolling around the beautiful gardens there. The azaleas and rhododendrons were magnificent.

Another new event for us this month was an evening spent having a talk & visit to a cheese farm…along with some delicious tasters too of course! This was an event organised by the owners of Torpenhow Organics, who have a farm, cheese making dairy and a wedding barn business near Wigton. It was a very interesting evening…despite the rain which curtailed a bit of the farm visit…and the cheese was delicious. I highly recommend it if you see any for sale at local farmers markets or outlets.

Our church organised a good quiz night alongside a pie and pea supper one evening too. It’s a very long time since I ate a pie and pea supper, I can tell you! The quiz was very good…apart from the round where we had to solve clues to give us names of streets in Carlisle! That was a bit beyond us as newcomers to the city! Our team came a very close second, beaten only by a wrong answer to a question about the Tour de France, would you believe! Geoff, who spends many hours watching that every year, will never live that wrong answer down, I can tell you! We also survived our first attempt at doing the coffee after the Sunday service at church this month. Apart from not knowing where anything was in the kitchen, and making very strong builders tea as instructed, we did OK. So much so that we seem to be on the rota now!

I have continued with my knitting as always throughout May and finished off a very cute bunny (which went as a present to a little girl), and Her Majesty the Queen (to be raffled off during the Jubilee celebrations at church this coming weekend) …both of which were knit whilst sitting on the balcony in France…many moons ago or so it seems. I brought both of those back home to be stuffed and finished off. I am back knitting baby stuff now …just to have a break from the toys for a bit. Geoff is still enjoying his pickle ball sessions and is playing twice a week now. He says he is beginning to improve at last! Linda and I have only managed one swim this month unfortunately. A combination of us both being busy with family and the pool being booked up a lot more, are not allowing us many opportunities for our weekly swims and catch ups.

We have also recommenced watching and following the ospreys at Foulshaw Moss via the great webcams they have set up to look into the nest there. The parent birds have 3 chicks (or bobbleheads as the twitter feed person calls them!) now and so far, they are growing well. Those birds are wonderful to watch as they feed their chicks…dad flies in regularly with fish he has caught, and mum sits there in all weathers protecting the babies with her wings. I love having the opportunity to follow their progress each year.

So…the final May celebrations for this year are now in progress. Hazel and Phil celebrated their wedding anniversary yesterday (7 years now…where did that time go ??) and of course today is my birthday…a significant milestone one unfortunately. I certainly dont feel this age in my head but my body says other things to me now, so I know it must be true! My son did put in perspective a bit this morning though with his card which reminded me that if I was a cat, Id be 490 years old today! I love my children! I have had a lovely morning so far opening cards and presents and I am trying very hard to keep up with all the messages on FB and twitter. Thank you all so much. I am being treated to a meal at Hazels tonight and then there are more celebrations planned for later in the week when Matthew, Susie & the children return from their holiday. So, you see, it is not only Her Majesty who has things to celebrate this week. I am, though, very grateful to her for having people put out flags and bunting everywhere…which I regard as for me too of course! We will also be off for a night away in Northumberland on Wednesday, which Im really looking forward to. It’s a long time since I visited places like Alnwick and Bamburgh. I`ll tell you about all our family celebrations next month.

A bientot mes amis

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