May…a month of birthdays & other celebrations

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…just add music! Yes, it is my birthday today and I’ve managed another year past the allotted three score and ten so I must be doing something right! We are off out for lunch as usual…it being a Wednesday of course…this time with our friends Linda and Mike and then later we will be going to see Hazel for tea and so my little granddaughter can sing the long-practised song It has been a pretty full on month really for birthdays and other family celebrations …and as usual the time has flown once again. In fact, yesterday was Hazel and Phil’s wedding anniversary (where did those eight years go to??) and it is really funny thinking about all the panicking we all did trying to organise that wedding, whilst we were still in France! I still remember being met at Carlisle station, two days before the event and being taken for a trawl of the charity shops to buy a big mirror “so we (or rather you, as in me,) can paint it black so that we can use it as a notice board at the reception”! My daughter still leaves everything until the last minute! She has also celebrated her birthday this month as has our granddaughter…all lovely happy occasions. We took Hazel to Crofton Hall for lunch on her big day and the little one had a fun day playing with all her new toys with a couple of friends. Although I loved all the years we lived in France, I really love being part of all these family events now we are back in the UK.

There have been other celebrations too of course this month. Who could forget the Coronation, which we thought was a magnificent event? The pageantry and ceremony was just wonderful and we loved all the marching and music too. I marvelled at the precision of those marching bands. How on earth do they stay in time, ride horses and still keep playing those musical instruments?? I have to say I was in awe of the whole thing. Geoff and I were both “present” at the last one …but as we were both still in our prams we don’t recall much about it!

We also enjoyed being able to be present at the wedding of one of Hazel’s school friends this month. We have known Sally since the first day we moved into our house in East Boldon, when we were up to our ears in boxes etc and there was a knock on the door and there stood a little blonde haired girl who demanded to know if we had a little girl and if so could she come in and play with her! She was never far from our house after that and I love the fact that all that bunch of “girlies” as I call them, have kept in touch and still meet up many years later. Sally got married in Newcastle and we sat at the back to watch the ceremony before leaving all the guests to it and taking the little one off for the day so Hazel and Phil could enjoy the rest of the day. We went over to Whitley Bay where we had a nice afternoon in our friends Gill and Charles’ garden, before taking the dog and little one to the beach…and getting both of them totally soaked as they splashed around in pools and the sea! We were not entirely popular with Mummy when she saw the totally soaked shoes later that night! The next day we met up with my brother, Alan for a lovely morning exploring the Hancock Museum before we set off home again. It had been many years since I had been there and I found it really good and very child friendly indeed. We all loved it. One other amazing thing from that weekend…Hazel had booked an AirBnB flat for us to stay in and I thought the address looked familiar. It turned out to be in the same street in Jesmond as the flat which I and my nursing friends moved into, when we moved out of the nurses home 53 years ago! Talk about going back down memory lane!

Talking about going down memory lane even more, I did just that when I gave my latest talk to the Wives Group at our church the other night. Following the success of my previous talk about our life in France, they foolishly asked me back for a repeat performance! This time I chose to talk about my training as a nurse in what I consider to be the “good old days!” I found my old staff nurse’s uniform, complete with starched pinny and collar and reassembled it – on a hanger I hasten to add as the waistband might have gone round one leg now, but not much else! I (with a little input from my friends) managed to make up the cap in the old RVI style too, so that it perched on the back of the head and bobbed up and down like a “little bird” as the patients always said. I also found all my certificates and record books from all my training (SRN,SCM and RSCN) which I also took along and which together with all my little anecdotes and stories kept all the ladies entertained. I thoroughly enjoyed doing the talk…and once again it reminded just how tough and how thorough our training was all those years ago. We worked very hard but we also had a lot of fun. In my opinion, it was still the best training ever.

So, what else have we been up to this month. Our lunches out have continued as always. We have had some lovely meals at The Sun inn in Bassenthwaite Village and The Blacksmiths Arms at Talkin village. We also visited a great exhibition at Fairfield Mill, somewhere we had not been before and really enjoyed that. Last week we had lunch at Lowther Castle where we managed to see the ceramic daffodils event. That was well worth the visit and the gardens are beautiful, but the entrance fee is a bit expensive, as is the café there. We ended our trip away last weekend with lunch with some friends, John and Elizabeth in a nice italian restaurant just outside Bolton on our way back up North. It was lovely to catch up with them too. Today we are off to another of my favourite eating places, Hidden River café, which I’m sure we will all enjoy.

I haven’t really been doing much swimming lately as both Linda and I have found it difficult to get our acts together due to family stuff. I did go with Hazel and the little one to Quarrybeck pool last week though and we all really enjoyed that. There are lots of lovely open-air pools in Cumbria, so we are thinking of trying them now that the weather has perked up a bit at last. Geoff continues with his pickleball sessions and now volunteers at Carlisle Youth Zone once a fortnight, where he tries to get the kids playing pickleball too…with mixed amounts of success! Geoff has also been going to quite a few classical music concerts (not my thing at all!) at the Fratry in Carlisle Cathedral and recently has been accompanied by Hazel, which pleases him immensely. I continue to attend the eye clinic regularly for injections and my craft group for some lighter moments! I am also continuing to work two afternoons a week in the Op shop, which I still love doing. We are still keeping busy as you can see.

This last weekend we went down to Manchester to look after our grandchildren, Ethan and Hadley whilst their Mum and Dad went off to a music festival to see one of their favourite bands, Pulp. This was part of Matthew’s continuing 40th birthday celebrations. It was nice to be able to spend some time with the children again…and next week we are taking them camping – or more truthfully “glamping” as we do have beds in this tent! There are limits after all! It has been many years since we have camped but we spent most of our holidays when the children were young under canvas. However, what you do when you are in your 20s and 30s is a bit different to when you are over 70! I will recount all the fun (I hope) we have, next month!

And now, as the sun is shining and it is quite hot, I’m off into the garden to soak up some rays at last. We are keeping our fingers firmly crossed that the good weather continues next week. Sunshine in the Lake District…is that too much to hope for?? Oh …and did I mention it was my birthday today…?? It has started well

A bientot mes amis.

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