June…a month of being Granny and Papi in earnest

Here we are on the last day of June…and we are feeling pretty exhausted after a full-on month of trips away, days out, and a lot of looking after our grandchildren. I am not complaining about the latter, mind you…after all this was one of the main reasons we left France to live in the UK again, to be nearer our family and to spend more time with them, especially our grandchildren. It is tiring though innit?? There are many times when my head says that I’m still 21 and my body tells me in no uncertain terms that I am most certainly not!

So then let us start at the beginning of the month, when after a weekend of dog sitting duties, (mainly for Geoff that one though) due to our daughter and son-in-law going down to Liverpool to visit family there, we set off to spend a few days with our grandchildren, Ethan and Hadley, camping in the Lakes! Well to be honest it was luxury camping, as we did all have beds and there was electricity in the tent, which meant we had a fridge, kettle and toaster, but we were still under canvas, in our very large safari tent. We used to camp a lot when we were younger and had all our own gear then including a huge frame tent and all the camping gear imaginable, so there was no excuse really for the two really rookie mistakes we made on this trip. They both became very evident on our first night, which we spent on our own as the kids didn’t arrive until the next day, when we froze in our fairly comfy bed! We had checked the day time temperatures, which were very nice, but not the night time ones, which went down to 5C, and although we had sleeping bags and blankets, they were clearly not up to scratch for those types of temperatures . Also, when we used to camp in the good old days, I always put a rug under the sleeping bags on top of the li-los. However, I forgot to do this on these beds and the plastic mattress covers were very cold to sleep on. We contacted our son to tell him to make sure that the kids arrived with suitable warm night gear and bless him, he brought a duvet for us too when he brought the children the next day. Things improved immensely for our second night, which was just as cold but at least we were a lot warmer in bed! After that the trip went really well. The kids loved the tent, as did we, and the site was great. I even enjoyed my 3am strolls to the facilities, as the site was full of bunny rabbits, which were lovely to see…even at 3am! We didn’t really do a lot away from the site, except one trip over the Windermere ferry, where we found a nice bit of shore line and had a great afternoon swimming and playing in the lake. All in all, though, we all really enjoyed the camping experience…so much so that I can’t wait to do it again. I always loved camping and I got really bitten with the bug again with this trip. Mind you though…I have to have a bed! My days of sleeping on the ground have long gone!

We were back on grandparent duty again soon afterwards, when our son-in-law went off to Switzerland on a trip with some mates, leaving Hazel to look after the little one and the dog on her own for the first time. She took it all in her stride, but needed a bit of help with the morning and evening dog walking stints, so Geoff and I helped out by either walking the dog or minding the little one while Hazel took Xena for a walk in the late evenings. We also did a quick trip down to Manchester to look after Ethan and Hadley again one night, while Matthew and Susie went off to see Muse in Huddersfield. They had a great night away and we coped with collecting the kids from school…and getting them back to school again the following day too! So, all in all, I think we have earned our grandparenting brownie points well and truly this month!

We have, of course, done other things this month too. We have continued to organise the usual U3A French speaking group sessions, although they now have been put on hold until after the summer. I have been to a couple of meetings of the Carlisle Public Speakers Club, at the request of my son-in-law who is keen to join and improve his public speaking skills. I really enjoyed the sessions, although I find public speaking fairly easy…certainly easier than Phil does anyway, so I think I will join too. We have been fairly active at church too this month with some bible reading, doing coffee after the service and helping to organise the first “café church” session one Sunday morning, which was a big success but very tiring! We held the service in the hall rather than in the church itself, choosing to do so on a Parade Sunday, when we normally have a few representatives from the uniformed organisations (cubs, rainbows, brownies and guides) who use the church premises during the week. The idea was to try and encourage their families to come too so we offered a relaxed setting for the service, along with free bacon or sausage butties, orange juice and tea and coffee during it too. It was a great success…so much so that we had to put up extra tables and send out for more supplies from local shops! We were really pleased with it all…but boy, was everyone tired by the end of the morning! Geoff and I were pleased that, as it was Father’s Day also that day, we were able to go to Hazel’s for lunch afterwards…her treat for her Dad!

We have done only one real date day excursion this month due to other commitments! We had a lovely lunch eating delicious Turkish food in a restaurant called Aspava at Cockermouth…and really enjoyed that! We also went to a lovely Flower Festival in a charming little village, called Irthington near Brampton one Saturday, which I really enjoyed. The floral displays were beautiful.

Our final fling for June has been an overnight trip this week to explore a corner of Cumbria which neither of us has really visited before. We drove down the coast (in the rain I hasten to add!) to have a look at St Bees where we had a picnic (also in the rain) and then during a lull in the weather, a quick paddle in the sea. Then we went inland a bit and visited Boot where we enjoyed a great visit to the Eskdale Mill where Geoff was in his element as it has not one, but three water wheels! He loves a good water wheel! We concluded his day by driving off into the wilds to find a pretty spectacular stone circle…well he did anyway, I stayed in the car! Geoff loves standing stones and stone circles and apparently this bit of Cumbria near Millom is littered with them…youpi! We stayed overnight in a great BandB near Millom and the next day after a quick visit to Haverigg to look at the artificial lake there, we drove up to Ravenglass (having stopped en route to allow him to see yet more standing stones), where we took a ride on La’al Ratty (alias the Ravenglass and Eskdale steam railway) to Dalegarth station near Boot and back. It was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time and we loved every minute of it. It was indeed a great couple of days away to round off this month.

Of course, as always, there have been more mundane things that have happened too this month. I have had the first appointment for my annual diabetic checkup…which was its usual fun…not. I hate it! I am awaiting the follow up discussion when the results come through…bliss, oh joy! I have continued doing my Op shop shifts as usual…and spending money there too as usual! Geoff continues to play pickleball a couple of times a week and is now a regular volunteer at the Carlisle Youth Zone once a fortnight allowing the kids there to play too.

We are now looking forward to a bit less hectic July…although a quick look at the calendar has made me realise that we have a lot on in July, too. I think we need to escape back to France for a rest, sooner than later!! Oh and of course, there is a certain Tour de France which starts this coming weekend, I understand. Geoff has already got his wall chart ready for that…”le sigh”. I hope that he has already clocked that Wimbledon also starts next week too…let battle commence!

A bientot mes amis…

1 Like