Freedom…well sort of!

What a difference a month makes! At least I have something to write about today, as the lockdown restrictions have been semi lifted at long last. As you all know by now, I am not a fan of these lockdowns and have found them very difficult at times. I am so pleased to be out and about again – but relax everyone, we are not doing silly things and are keeping ourselves and others as safe as we can. As I well know, this virus is still with us but it is time to let people take charge of their own lives again, instead of hiding from it all the time.

So, what have we been doing? Nothing dramatic, but just getting back into the swing of “normal” life again really. We had a nice Easter weekend, where we met up with Matthew, Susie & the grandchildren at long last. We all took a picnic to our favourite meeting place near Carnforth and we all had a great time walking on the sand and playing in the pools with the dog and the kids. It was great to see them all again and the children loved the toys I`d knitted for them, as well as the Easter Eggs we had brought of course, so we all had a lovely day. We were lucky that it stayed dry even if it was a bit chilly…but we all have to get used to eating and meeting outside at the moment, so it was good training for us for later! Geoff and I really enjoyed a lovely drive home afterwards too, through an almost deserted Lake District…a rare pleasure especially as it was Easter weekend! On Easter Sunday we ate with Hazel and Phil which was also lovely. I even wore a dress…my new slim self in a dress…whatever next! We realised afterwards, that this was the first Easter for probably 15 years that we had seen both of our children. Easter was never a busy time for us with the gite and B and B, in France, but we always felt we should be there, just in case!

April is a busy month for birthdays in our family and so the on-line shopping has continued as gifts had to be bought for Matthew, Phil and just last week Ethan who celebrated his 7th birthday. Happily, Ethan was able to see some of his friends this year and had a great birthday weekend playing in the garden and enjoying his new bike and other presents. However…the shops are now open again and so Geoff and I have spent the last two Saturday mornings in Carlisle, enjoying again a bit of new found freedom by just mooching around, supporting the shops who are desperate for business and buying a few bits of stuff in the sales. I now have several new T shirts and a new swimming costume…although we still haven’t plucked up the courage to buy the wet suits yet, you will be surprised to hear! Nor have we felt tempted to join the queue for Primark either! It is just so nice to be out and about in town and we are enjoying being able to have a coffee in our favourite café again…albeit outside, of course. We even met a friend there last week for a chat…normality is returning, my friends :blush:

We have also resumed our Wednesday lunches out. I have to say that April in the NW of England sets a bit of a challenge for eating outdoors, but so far, we have visited a couple of our favourite places and have enjoyed the experience of al fresco dining, Cumbrian style…ie wrapped up warmly with scarves and gloves on and with blankets over our knees at times! We were joined by our friends Linda and Mike on one of these jaunts which was lovely too…although Im not convinced they were as enthusiastic about sitting outside as we were! This week we did get rained off at the end and so had to forgo dessert and coffee as the parasol over the table just wasnt adequate enough to keep us dry! Yes, I know…we are bonkers, but it is so important to try and support all these businesses who have had such a hard time over the last year and so we will continue.

I have also resumed my working in the charity shop…which I love. I was lucky enough to be there on the first day it reopened and it was so busy! People were just so relieved to be able to potter around again and actually speak to other folk. We even had queues outside at times as we are only allowed to have 5 people in the shop at a time, but folk were happy to wait their turn. Needless to say, there was also a steady stream of post lockdown donations arriving on all the occasions I have been working so far. Lots of wardrobe clear outs and de cluttering have obviously been happening lately!

Geoff has also been doing his bit in the local community by becoming a trustee of a community garden/allotment scheme which has been set up here. He has visited the garden, which is progressing nicely, a couple of times but alas has not felt the urge to get digging yet! He does have a dodgy back though so Im relieved about that! He also took part in a “litter pick” in the neighbourhood one weekend. I have to say he was in his element doing that…he has always been a bit of a Womble really! His enthusiasm was so great that Hazel and Phil have now bought him his own litter picker kit! He was overjoyed! Geoff was also very pleased to be back giving blood last week. He said that it was all very well organised as usual and he was pleased to be able to continue his quest to donate over 50 pints before he is forced to give up. He still bitterly regrets the fact that they wouldnt take his blood in France due to him being British and possibly having had contact with mad cow disease!

The other great delight for me this month, was getting back to swimming. Linda and I enjoyed our swim at our local private swimming pool so much last week. Because my leg is still being a pain (literally) taking exercise has been a bit problematic recently, so being able to swim again was wonderful. My only problem has been booking a slot, as obviously everyone else has been desperate to get back to the pool too! We are booked in for next two weeks though so I will be trying out my new swimsuit then :blush:

My other major activity this month has been to get our holiday sorted. Although the cruise companies are bombarding us with offers at the moment, we decided a cruise this year was just a step too far really and so we will be “cruising” or rather driving around Scotland instead, in June. I decided, after studying the proposed organised tour we had looked at, that I could probably find better and more suitable hotels if I did it myself. I am not good with climbing stairs just now and the tour company use a lot of BandBs which couldnt guarantee ground floor rooms and so I have booked hotels with lifts or ground floor rooms myself. Also, by doing it this way, it has given us the chance to stay in some really more “upmarket” hotels which have swimming pools…not every night, but at least we will now get the chance to swim on some days without having to brave the Scottish climate and icy cold water! Our tour begins in Dunblane, with a two night stay with some friends, Ewen and Jean, who we met on a cruise a few years ago and who kindly invited us to stay. Then we will visit Edinburgh, Pitlochry, Inverness, Ullapool, Gairloch, Portree, Mallaig, Oban and ending in Glasgow. I have really enjoyed planning the route and booking the stays…maybe my next job should be as a travel agent! Only joking…I am a happily retired lady now! I have been a bit horrified by the cost of accommodation in the UK though. I made me realise that our clients in our B and B and gite really got a very low priced deal! We are really looking forward to this holiday, as we realised the other day that we hadnt actually been on a proper holiday since our trip to the States for our Ruby Wedding Anniversary, 3 years ago. We just now need all you good people (especially in Scotland) to behave and not give Nichola any excuse to close the border again! Oh …and a bit of good weather would be nice too of course :blush:

My trips to the eye clinic have resumed this month and I am happy to report that good progress with my DMO condition has been made. I had another lot of eye injections, following a review and more scans done last week which show that the oedema which causes the problems is much less now. I have another set of injections scheduled in a few weeks’ time and then, if all looks good after that, I will have some laser treatment which will be a more permanent solution. Great news as I still don`t like the injections!

So, after a much happier month I will draw this post to its end. May begins with a Bank Holiday here in the UK on Monday. Poor old Frances holiday (May 1st) falls on a Saturday this year so no day off for the French Im afraid! They will not be happy! I can`t find any lily of the valley here either which is traditional in France on May 1st. However I will be up at dawn on Saturday morning to dabble my face in the dew as tradition demands #shelied! I expect you will all be doing the same! We have some activities already pencilled in the calendar for next month and hopefully when lockdown rules ease even further, there will be more opportunities arising. Watch this space!

A bientot mes amis

Hi Christine, Is your favourite spot Jenny Brown’s Point by any chance?
I used to take my dog there regularly and I loved it.
Your holiday in Scotland sounds wonderful too.
We have just opened our swimming pool, but the weather has taken a turn for the worse and we will have to wait a bit before it warms up enough to swim.
Take care.

I know Jenny Browns Point…we used to go to Silverdale a lot when we visited Geoffs mother who lived near Preston. However we meet Matthew & his family at Archers cafe which is beside Red bank farm camp site near Carnforth. We often have a meal or coffee in the cafe & the kids just love playing in all the pools there with the dog. Its a great half way spot for us all. We are so looking forward to the Scottish trip I can tell you. Still no signs of us getting back to France though just now.

My uncle used to keep some of his cattle at Red Bank. I remember walking them down to the farm in Borwick.

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