It still feels strange writing 2023 doesn
t it! I make no apologies for wishing you all a Happy New Year, even though the first month of it has already gone by! In France people continue to give New Year greetings throughout the month of January so Ill continue here too. We are still receiving Meilleurs Voeux cards from our French friends…but I`m not sure is that is to do with all the postal delays or not! We have also been getting lots of wonderful photos from the Auvergne region, showing the vast amounts of snow they have there at the moment. I do miss that snow…but maybe not in such large quantities as has fallen recently and which looks like staying around for some time yet! At least the ski resorts there will be delighted at long last.
We started the new year off with a very cold walk along the riverside at Lanercost with the dog and witnessed actual mist arising from the white frozen ground…something neither of us had seen before. It was bitterly cold though, that day. We started our weekly date day excursions that week and so far, we have enjoyed some super lunches, often not far from home due to icy roads or nasty rainy days. We have eaten in Dalston (The Bridge End), Talkin village (the Blacksmiths Arms), Wetheral (The Wheatsheaf)…all places we know and like a lot. Last week we ventured a little further afield and drove into the Lake District and had lunch in Bassenthwaite village at a great country pub called the Sun Inn. We highly recommend all of those pubs…the food has been fantastic at all of them.
We also had a great little trip away one weekend across to “God`s Country”- my old stomping ground of Newcastle upon Tyne! As you will all know by now Geoff has really got into playing pickleball (he plays regularly twice a week now) and when he discovered that Pickleball England were running a leader’s course in his old stomping ground of the Northumbrian Tennis club in Jesmond (he used to play a lot of squash there when he was younger) he booked onto the course. Rather than him getting up at the crack of dawn to drive over on the day, we decided to make a weekend of it and reserved a hotel, close to the club in Jesmond. We drove across the day before and spent a very pleasant afternoon exploring the Quayside area in Newcastle. Geoff wanted to visit the Sage and the Baltic Art Gallery so we did that too. Afterwards we spent a very happy late afternoon and evening wandering round Jesmond…and not recognising much of it, at all, now! We actually met in a pub in Jesmond but that was 46 years ago…and things have changed a lot since then! However, we really enjoyed our trip down memory lane! On the Sunday I went off to see Liz, one of my nursing chums for a great morning of chat and coffee whilst Geoff attended his course. All in all, we both had a very good weekend
Apart from that trip, our lives have been a bit mundane this month. Geoff really enjoyed going to a piano concert at the Fratery in Carlisle with Hazel (it was his Christmas present from her). I
m not a lover of classical music and concerts like that are absolutely not my thing, so going with his daughter was a great move! Next month I get my turn as my Christmas gift is a trip to the ballet, which she is also coming to My craft group held a New Year social session for our first meeting of the year which was nice, although having to “not eat” all the lovely food that everyone had brought was a nightmare! I still hate this diet! We both also attended the AGM of the management group who are responsible for the upkeep of the mill complex we live it…which was “interesting” but not entirely satisfactory in its outcomes we thought. We pay quite a lot of money in charges here and would like to see a bit more being done really. We cant help to compare the way the French equivalent of this meeting (we also have a committee like this for our flat building in St Aygulf) which somehow seems to be much more proactive and communicates much better with the residents. However, as neither of us wants to take a role in this committee, we decided not to complain too much! We also kept our heads down a bit too, at a recent meeting at our church. Its very difficult to suggest things when we don’t really want to take on any responsibility.
I had another visit to the eye clinic last week and another set of injections in both eyes. We are trying hard to fit these appointments around our forthcoming trip to France, and so far, so good, all looks like it will work out. I have nothing but praise for the clinic staff who really listen to what you say and accommodate the appointments around you as much as they can.
We did do something we have not done for a lot of years now, and treat ourselves to a new pair of curtains for our living room! I am struggling to remember the last time I actually bought curtains as I hate doing that! I have real problems with any kind of numerical and measuring tasks and so we have either inherited curtains whenever we have moved house, or have taken existing ones with us…as we did when we moved to France, only for them to languish in a box in the attic for the whole time we were there!! In fact, the curtains which we have replaced here, came from a house we left in 1995…we gave them to Hazel when she moved into this flat many years ago! Such excitement, eh?? We also bought some matching cushions and a throw so the room now looks a lot more co-ordinated at last!
And now for the planning part of this month
s blog title. We have, of course, now booked our flights for our next trip to St Aygulf and after a conversation with some friends, who we met a few years ago on a cruise, and who will also be in the area the same time as us, we have booked our hotels for the night when we arrive and the night before we fly home as always. It turns out that Ewen and Jean will be on the same flight home as us, and will be staying in the same hotel that night too We have also been sorting out a few trips with our daughter and family as they seem to have a few wedding invitations this summer and need us to accompany them to do some babysitting…so we will be enjoying another weekend in Newcastle in May and another in Northumberland in August We are also looking forward to a trip to the Borders in February, where we are going to celebrate Geoffs birthday. At the moment, I am looking into a little trip away with our grandchildren, Ethan and Hadley, in the summer. As yet we haven`t decided where or in what we will be staying (we set the bar very high with last years motorhome excursion!) but hopefully it will be just as exciting for them…and hopefully a bit cheaper too!
The other bit of planning I have done, has been to enter the Carlisle Music and Drama Festival. I still love reading my daily poem aloud (you can see those still on my Twitter account) and when I found out last year that I don
t actually have to learn the poems by heart…I can just read them…I decided to have a go. I used to enter lots of these festivals when I was young…but it has been very many years since Ive performed in public like this, so we shall see how it goes in March!
Our last bit of planning has been less exciting! As Geoff
s 71st birthday approaches in February, we have at long last got round to sorting out our Power of Attorney forms…which we have been putting off for ages! No one likes the idea that we are getting old do we? Anyway, they are now almost complete and just need our children to read them and sign them, and then they will be sent off in readiness for the time when we are no longer deemed capable of managing our own affairs and health decisions. The latter was more complicated for me as I have a life long dread of someone else making those decisions for me! I dont trust the medical profession very much really and certainly don`t want to prolong my life when I am not “in control” as it were. I have expressed this wish and hope that it will be adhered to by all concerned. We both needed a lie down in a darkened room after completing those forms…not easy decisions really.
So now its onwards into February, which according to the calendar looks as if it will be quite busy. Several trips to the theatre are on there, plus our trip away to Peebles and no doubt several more dates will be added as the month progresses. We shall of course also be continuing with all our regular things too…Op Shop shifts and craft group meetings for me and lots of pickleball sessions for Geoff. Who said we were getting old??? We shall resist as long as possible!
A bientot mes amis…