And here we go again. A new year & a lot of new things to do and discover. I`m not always a great lover of January…it often seems like a mega anti-climax after all the fun and activity of Christmas, but this year we seem to have been as busy as ever with one thing or another.
Actual New Year was a bit boring as always. I
ve never been a fan of New Years Eve, so our celebrations were as lively as always! We just about made it to midnight, I kicked Geoff out into the garden to first foot (minus several essentials as we had no coal or cake!), we had a glass together and then went off to bed! Exciting or what?? In fact, we found all the extra time over the holidays a bit tedious really. We appreciated that people who are working loved all these long bank holiday weekends, but for folk like us, not being able to resume our normal activities, because everything was closed got to be a little trying. Geoff kept suggesting we went out for a walk, but for someone like me who doesnt exactly love walking for the sake of it, this was not always greeted with joy! I was so pleased to resume “normal” life by returning to the Op shop and getting back to swimming with Linda again, I can tell you. I have also resumed my craft group evenings too which I am really enjoying . Our Christmas decorations were taken down and the flat returned to its usual self. I had to laugh when our defunct Christmas tree was collected by Batman and Robin in full costume, who were part of the charity collection scheme. That really made my day. The charity also made a colossal amount of money from this scheme, so I said bravo to all concerned.
Our car went off to have its MOT done and passed with flying colours thank goodness. We had at one time, when we first came to live back in the UK, toyed with the idea of not having a car here, and using public transport to get around. However, we discovered quite quickly how nice it is to have a car (albeit a very small one) to get around and we really missed it when it went into the garage! We really love being able to get out into the wonderful countryside around here, all of which would be so much more difficult without a car.
**Talking of this, we have had some lovely “date day” outings this month as usual. We had a really nice meet up with a couple (Andrew and Diana) who are friends of a friend, and who live in Penrith. We met up at Lowther Castle, where Andrew is a trustee, and enjoyed a very pleasant lunch and guided tour of the grounds. We all got on very well and it turned out that Diana also paints, so she and I had a lot to talk about! She pointed me in the direction of a wonderful local artist (Janette Phillips) whose work I really liked. So much so, that I have booked onto one of her workshop days (with Linda) in June. Something to look forward to…and a sort of new beginning for me as I haven’t really painted much since we left France. We also found ourselves lunching and having a walk at Buttermere one Wednesday. We realised that neither of us had really visited this corner of the Lakes very much. The day we went was cold, but the air was so clear and the views over the lake were fabulous. We will definitely return. Another Wednesday saw us meeting up with my cousin, Ken and Joy at a convenient half way restaurant at Lupton. The day before this I had found a lovely “silver” candlestick in the form of Joy
s name (in the charity shop of course) which I couldnt resist! Joy was delighted…I think!! Last week saw us driving up to Alston, somewhere I used to visit a lot when I was young, as my parents had a caravan in Weardale, at St John`s Chapel. However, I have not been there for many years, so it was nice to have a little mooch around again and we had a fantastic lunch at the Cumberland Inn there. As well as our “date day” lunches, we have “enjoyed” (I use the word lightly…this is me remember!) walks at Watchtree Nature Reserve, Silloth and yesterday saw us braving the bitterly cold wind at Allonby where we collected some sea glass, as this has become a passion for Geoff lately.
One Saturday, Matthew, Ethan and Hadley came up to Carlisle and we all went to the Paddington Exhibition at Tullie House. It was great fun and I would thoroughly recommend it to you all (it is on until 20th February), especially if you have small children to entertain. Mind you, I was not sure who enjoyed the dressing up (as Paddington and Great Aunt Lucy) the most…Geoff or the kids!**
One of the other activities we have done this month was to try and escape from an Escape Room! Hazel and Phil had bought me this experience as a Christmas present, and all four of us pitted our wits in the “Shurelock Holmes” room. It was great fun, really well pitched, with the puzzles being difficult enough to make us use our combined “Leetle Grey Cells” in order to solve them, but not so impossible that we got frustrated. We managed to escape with 5 minutes to spare…phew! I loved it!
Geoff has continued to play and enjoy his Pickleball matches. He did land himself in a bit of a pickle though (excuse the pun!) by trying to recruit more people to play with him on a Tuesday afternoon at Chatsworth Tennis Club, as the number of folk turning up had dwindled somewhat lately. He put out a notice via the U3A network to see if anyone would be interested in playing…and instead of the half dozen he hoped to get, he was inundated with people wanting to try it out! Panic! However, he managed to sort out some taster sessions for everyone over a couple of weeks, and now it looks like he has succeeded in getting several new players. All of this has pleased the guys he plays with, the tennis club and himself… he is now flavour of the month with everyone!
We did toy with the idea of jetting off to our little French abode now that the restrictions have been lifted a bit, as I would love to see the mimosa which is blooming in abundance all around the area. However, after a bit of investigation and the discovery of how much it would cost us, as there are no Easyjet options at the moment, plus the fact all the flights seem to involve changes in Paris or Amsterdam, which makes the timings unfriendly too, we have decided to wait until at least March or April. I will get to see that mimosa one day I hope…but not this year, I fear.
We have also made a few “new beginnings” with our flat at long last. I have always found the light in our living room was very dull so we bought some new light fittings in the January sales and have had then installed by an electrician. Let there be light…at last! We have also bought ourselves a new fridge freezer as our old one was not really working efficiently (we think the thermostat had given up the ghost) and I was getting fed up of mopping up pools of water in the fridge each day. Again, this was installed easily and is looking good …and working very well
We have had some “discussions” with various utility providers this month to make sure that we are on the right tariffs, before the expected price hikes come into being. Why do these companies work so mysteriously and so inefficiently?? The electricity providers seem to be happy allowing people to pay far less than they should and so rack up debts without telling them and as for the water company…! Geoff had a problem entering our meter readings and after investigating further, discovered that we hadn
t paid any water charges since we moved in here 2 years ago because they hadnt actually set up an account for us! This is all in spite of us having submitted the meter readings last year! We are now all up to date, after several frustrating chats with these two companies, but it does make you wonder just what they are playing at.
After a bit of a heart search, I have decided to continue finding, reading and recording a poem every day, as I have done each day of last year. I shall continue as long as I am still enjoying doing it. I have, though, found a new craze and am really enjoying (as is half the world it seems) this new phenomenon that is Wordle! I love it and am not doing badly so far. Long may it continue!
So, after quite an active month yet again we head off into February. I start that month “well” by having an appointment at the eye clinic on the 1st to have the implant put into my left eye, as the one I had done last month in the right eye is performing well. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to that at all. Hopefully the month will improve after that and we do have a little trip planned to celebrate Geoff
s “big” birthday. But all that is for next time isnt it?
A Bientot mes Amis…