May – a month of motivation & happiness**

Oh isn`t it lovely to be really “free” again! We have really enjoyed getting out and about most of this month despite the not so motivational weather. The weather has been pretty bobbins to be honest, but as we come to the end of the month the sun is shining at long last. Yesterday was the first time our parasol has been up since we bought it! The weather has not stopped us doing things though…we are just so pleased to be able to get out & do all the sort of things we wanted to do ever since we moved back here.

So, what have we been up to then? We started the month without my usual bunch of muguet (lily of the valley) as my little plants in the garden were not anywhere near flowering & although Geoff did enquire at the florists, his request was met with no enthusiasm & a quote of perhaps £50 for a bunch! Er that wasnt going to happen! There are two small sprigs on my plants now but it’s a bit too little, too late! We went off to the Lake District instead in search of a bluebell wood Geoff had read about. We didnt find that either, but we did have a lovely drive & ate our picnic at Ashness Bridge instead which was nice. Of all the times I have visited the Lakes this was the first time I`d ever been there! On the way home we called in to the craft shop & wool shop in Caldbeck where I got some inspiration for my next knitting project…a lovely poncho for Hazel using some of their very expensive but beautiful home spun yarn. The wool shop is a bit of a nightmare as the stuff in there is fabulous …but a bit expensive.

Since that day out, we have continued with our Wednesday date day lunches each week & have enjoyed them very much. The first of these was to The Trout at Cockermouth where we ate outside in a very sheltered courtyard. The sun shone that day (briefly) and we even took our coats off! The week after, we headed across the border, as Scotland lifted its rules earlier than England and we were able to eat inside at the Eskdale Hotel in Langholm. What a treat…actually eating inside…Youpi! Since then, we have returned to one of our favourite haunts, Upfront Gallery where we met up with our friends, Linda and Mike and heard all about their attempts to get permission to go to Australia to help their daughter who has just had her first baby. Since then, after three refusals, Linda has finally got a visa and is off to Oz next week…minus Mike who is not allowed to go still. She has to isolate for two weeks in a hotel on her own when she gets there before being allowed to see Laura and the baby, but is looking forward to being able to see them at last. Last week we changed our date day to Thursday for once and met up with my cousin Ken and his wife Joy, half way between their house and ours at Lupton, where we had a nice meal and more importantly a long overdue catch up chat session. It is so nice to be able to see folk again and do things like this :blush:

Several other important things have happened this month. I managed to get my hair done at long last and once again, although reeling at the price, I was very pleased with the results! And we voted for the very first time in many years in the UK again. It was a bit disappointing to only be able to vote for the Police and Crime Commissioner…something we hadnt much clue about despite reading all the blurb the candidates put out. None of the candidates were very inspiring Im afraid, but we dutifully voted all the same. We found it odd though, that the officials didnt say “a vote” as we dropped our voting slips into the ballot box, as they always do in France! We have both also had our second vaccinations against Covid. We both had the Pfizer vaccine and despite having them at the same time, in the same room, from the same nurse using the same batch of vaccine, I got a very sore arm whilst Geoff had no side effects at all! The kids have all had their first vaccinations too…and again with varying effects. Our daughter in law, Susie was really poorly and off work for a week after her Astra Zeneca jab whilst our daughter, Hazel had no problems after hers. Matthew had the Moderna jab and Phil the Pfizer…and again no problems. It is very random the way people react isnt it and just show how difficult everything about this virus is.

I am back to really enjoying my stints in the charity shop again…but I never seem to escape without buying something! The stuff we sell there is really nice and the prices are ridiculously low, so it is difficult to resist! I do love interacting with people again though. I am also enjoying the weekly swimming sessions with Linda again too…although, as she is off to Oz now for several weeks, I`m not sure if they will continue. I think Geoff will probably come with me, but we will see. I have also had a couple more visits to the eye clinic to continue with the ongoing treatment. I got excited after the first of these appointments …despite the inevitable injections which are not so exciting… to be told to come back in a week for laser treatment which will be more permanent and will put an end to the injections. However, there was disappointment when I saw the consultant on this visit, as my eyes were not in an “optimum state” for the laser after all and so I have to have more injections next time & maybe laser after that. It was a bit of a let down after getting all psyched up only to have nothing done after all :frowning: Hey ho…maybe soon, eh?

We have been happy to have been able to help our neighbours a bit this month. Cosmina and Radu are a young Romanian couple who live in a neighbouring flat with their 10-month-old daughter, Maya. They were applying for a foundation business degree course and Geoff and I were able to help them with the application interviews and assessment tasks…which we thought were really hard, even for us who have English as our first language! Happily, they passed and will start the course in October. Cosmina has also just returned to work last week after maternity leave and as Radu sometimes can`t guarantee what time he gets home from his job, I have been sitting with Maya for the half hour or so to fill the gap. She is such a lovely happy baby…it has all worked really well so far…apart from me having to endure the TV nursery rhyme programme in Romanian, which she loves! :blush:

Hazel`s birthday came and went with a bit of a celebration, a bit of cake, candles and some nice pressies. Our grandson Ethan has been invested into Beavers at last too. The photos of that investiture brought tears to my eyes as he looked just like his Dad did, when he was invested into Cubs many years ago. I hope Ethan enjoys his time in Beavers, Cubs and Scouts as much as Matthew did.

Geoff is continuing with his morning walks with Xena. He is now becoming a bit of a regular in the parks of Carlisle where there is a sort of camaraderie with all the other dog walkers! Xena had to have an emergency visit to the vet this month unfortunately, when she got a bit of an antler chew (which she has had for many years without incidents) wedged stuck across her back teeth. She wasnt in any pain or having problems breathing or swallowing, but Hazel & Phil just couldnt budge it, so went off to the vet at 11pm…and were charged a princely sum for a two second forceps removal of course! Antler chews are now banned!

As the rules and regulations surrounding Covid are steadily being lifted, I and many others are enjoying our newly rediscovered freedom and are rejoicing in it. I do find though that many are still running scared of this virus despite all the vaccinations and this is leading to a real sense of negativity amongst some people which I find hard to accept at times. Life is here to be lived and we cannot hide away for ever…that is just not human nature and will not make us healthy. I am becoming increasingly fed up with all the folk who see massive problems everywhere and really dont try to accept the joy of life. I am still hearing of people being afraid to go out, being afraid to meet people and just basically being afraid to live! I really am becoming very tired of all the doom and gloom merchants…including many “scientists” and medical “experts” who seem to think that no-one has the right to enjoy life anymore. Please, good people…be cautious, yes but dont give up on all the things we enjoy in this life. We only have one life after all and we need to live it now. Rant over!

Well…off into June we go then and …youpi… we start that month with a holiday at long last! It has been over three years since we had a proper holiday and I cant wait. Scotland here we come! All looks good at the moment apart from us having to change one of our destinations (Glasgow) due to ongoing Covid restrictions there. It was not a problem though…we will stay near Loch Lomond instead 😊 We are blowing the dust off the cases and digging out our summer clothes now as the weather looks as if it has turned the corner at last. Mind you we will still be taking the macs & cardies…just in case! Also, I have just discovered that all my lovely summer dresses no longer fit me…they look like sacks! Off I go to the shops this week then for a replacement or two! Ill share our holiday adventures with you all next month. Today is my birthday and although I really dont like the fact that I am getting older I am going to have a great day today. I have just opened my pressies & cards and we are going to meet up with my family for lunch…the first time all of us have spent my birthday together for a very long time. I am so looking forward to that I can tell you. As I said above, Im determined I am going to live life to the full every day now :blush:

A bientot mes amis