July Jaunts

We have had quite a full month of events and outings. It is so nice to be able to plan ahead and get on with life more and more… whilst all the time being sensible and not putting anyone (including ourselves) at risk. I still haven`t totally thrown away my masks but I am wearing them less and less now. The charity shop where I volunteer is still asking us all to wear the masks and although we no longer insist on people wearing them when they come in, most folk are still doing so. The so called “Freedom Day” was in my opinion a bit of a badly named damp squib but people are certainly seeming to enjoy being able to circulate more freely…us included :blush: The weather has been fabulous too recently with lots of hot and sunny days, so there has been a lot of sitting in the garden…and a bit of work done in there too.

We began the month by looking after our grandchildren for a night to allow Matthew and Susie to have a night away at long last. They have had vouchers (bought as gifts) for months now and at last got the chance to use them. They had a good time and so did we! Our grandchildren kept us on our toes for the two days but we did get them to play in the park (despite the rain), do some craft stuff, beat us at junior Cluedo and do some gramdma devised treasure hunts! A great time was had by all…but we were a bit knackered when we got home!! We met up with Matthew & the kids again last week at the Crook of Lune where we had a great pic-nic and played/swam in the river in the sunshine. Great fun :blush:

We also had a lot of fun when we went to see a really good production of The Tempest which was performed out doors beside the lake at Talkin Tarn. We have been to productions done by this company (The Pantaloons) before and thoroughly enjoyed their ingenuity and the energy they put into these performances. The Tempest (albeit a slightly abridged and adapted) version was performed by only four young actors…and was really great fun :blush:I can`t tell you how good it was to be actually be watching some Shakespeare again…I loved every minute. We are off to another of The Pantaloons productions next month and we are really looking forward to that.

We are back to our “date day lunches out” routines again. We started doing this in France, when we would give ourselves a day off from the house and guests in order to have a bit of “us” time in the summer months. We love exploring this part of the world and so far this month we have visited the Solway coast a couple of times… with the dog in tow too! We all enjoyed a nice dip in the sea on one of those days….and it was amazingly warm :blush: We also went to Ravenstonedale one day and had a lovely lunch there. That day we went to Bowber Head Farm, the Wildlife Trust reserve to walk through the great wildflower meadows there which we loved. We also ate one day with our friend Mike at Ravendale Manor overlooking Bassenthwaite lake which was nice too. Last week saw us eating at Bowness on Solway and afterwards we had a walk at another Wildlife Trust reserve, Drumburgh Moss where we saw a few of the dragonflies and damsel flies it is well known for.

We had another outing to visit a very nice lady we had met at an open day event at Susans Farm one day, who runs the Carlisle U3A gardening group. The U3A are very keen to have a flower arranging group and although I think I could probably do this, I am very keen not to over commit to too many things at the moment…especially as we still hope to be able to spend some time in France again in the autumn if we can. However, we enjoyed a nice meet up in Fionas lovely garden for coffee and I have said I will do a taster session as a “guest speaker” at one of her gardening group`s meetings in October …if we are here that is!

We have had another couple of attempts to get back to church this month but frankly we are becoming a bit frustrated by turning up on a Sunday morning only to find it closed. Last Sunday, after doing this again, we decided to go to a service at St James Church, the C of E church near our daughter`s house and which of course, also runs the Op Shop where I volunteer. It was nice to be back inside a church again…and to be able to sing too. Time to think long and hard about our commitment to the local Methodist church…which frankly has not really been very lively or outgoing in its efforts to keep us updated with things for a while now.

I have been doing quite a lot of work in the Op Shop this month as they are really short of volunteers just now. I do love working there…but find it tiring so I am trying not to do too much. I am always amused by the clientele who come through the door, and I am getting to know some of the regulars now. There are some lovely folk…and also one or two not so nice ones…a real reflection of life, I always think. One mother comes in regularly with her children who spend their pocket money on toys. Her little boy loves the little cars he can buy for 20p each! One young woman tops up her wardrobe with bargains each week…a good way to get good “name” dresses for next to nothing prices. One elderly gent regularly buys a big soft toy for a young neighbour who is not so well and needs cheering up. One lady, who is not very polite really, annoys me by checking every item of clothing for miniscule marks so she can ask for a discount (and remember these are items costing £1.50 or so) and delights in ordering us around. Im afraid I found myself saying “please” to her demands the other day, as I would to my grandchildren when they had “forgotten” to do so! She gave me a very venomous look for that! Then there are the “dealers” who buy some very odd bits of bric-a-brac for next to nothing and you just know they are going to flog them on E Bay or at car boot sales. I do love it though when people who obviously have very little spare cash come in and can buy outfits at bargain prices for themselves and their kids. I count myself very lucky at times …and also am very happy on the days when I escape from the shop without buying something…which doesnt happen very often!

We have been doing our own bit of helping people out this month too by looking after our neighbour Cs little girl, a couple of times to help her out. Her mother who was here from Romania to help with child care, had to return home suddenly as her mother had been taken ill, which left C in a bit of a pickle as she struggled to fit work and the course they are doing, around baby Maya. Geoff has been brushing up his pram pushing skills and our family heirloom wooden toys have been in use in the last few days! Hopefully, Maya will soon be starting nursery so our help will not be needed quite so much. We have done a bot of dog sitting too which of course is always a joy for us. We still love Xena and it is great having her so close to home. Geoff walks her every day and looking after her is always a pleasure. It also means I get the bed to myself for the odd night too as Geoff finds it easier to stay at Hazels rather than get up mega early for morning wee walks! Win, win all round!!

We have done some more mundane stuff too this month. I had another visit to the eye clinic which disappointedly resulted in more injections. I don`t seem to be making as much progress with this eye condition as I had hoped. I now have a month off and will fit in the next appointment just before we (hopefully) fly out to France.

Talking of France, we did miss the celebrations for Bastille Day very much this year. I think we realised how much we are really missing being in France now & really hope we can make it in September. We loved our life in France and although we feel that we have settled in really well here, there are times, like on July 14th that we really have pangs to be back there watching all the fireworks and celebrations.

Well, after all that we now move into August. where we seem to have quite a bit already on the calendar once again. We start with a couple of nights away next week as we go to Buxton, a place we know well from when we lived in Marple, for the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. I am really looking forward to seeing some G and S again…although I am not so sure Geoff is looking forward to the ride home as no doubt, I will be warbling all the way back! Anyway, more of that next time…

A bientot mes amis…

Hi Catherine,
If you are a bit cheesed off with the Methodists why don’t you have an outing to Swarthmoor Hall nr Ulverston?
It is a fascinating place and full of the history of the Quakers.

We have Ulverston down as a place to visit sometime after reading about it in the Cumbria Life magazine. It is apparently a nice place with lots of interesting shops. We will add Swarthmoor Hall to the visit now :slight_smile: We visited a Shaker village in the USA when we were there & that was a fascinating place.

I visited the Cumbria Crystal factory in Ulverston many years ago (at least 30 years). They did a tour of the glass blowing part of the factory - everything is hand made. It was fascinating. Not sure if they still do this. After the visit, I started collecting thier ‘Ambleside’ range of uncut crystal, which is no longer manufactured I think. They have a fantastic reputation for high quality hand made crystal. I believe thier glassware is to be found in most UK embassies around the world. You also can spot thier designs on many period dramas on TV !
Ulverston is also the birthplace of Stan Laurel.

Why did I call you Catherine?
Probably because our daughter is coming soon and she is on my mind, sorry.