The end of a very different summer

August…where did you go?? We often have said that over the past few years but in the past, it has been because we have been working flat out with B and B and gite guests. This year has been very different in lots of ways…but the month has disappeared just as quickly.

So, what have we been up to then to make the month pass so quickly. We started the month dog sitting Xena staying at Hazels house for the weekend. We worked very hard on the garden and got it looking nice by the end. That was very tiring…we had forgotten how much hard work these big gardens are! We have since done a whole week’s dog sit for them as they went on holiday, but we got the work/sitting in the garden ratio right that time! We did harvest a lot of apples though and I made 2 batches of crumbles to put in their freezer. We also invited one of their neighbours, a recently widowed lady who is finding life a little lonely at the moment, around for a coffee, which she really enjoyed. We were like Lord and Lady Bountiful, even inviting her to pop round any time she likes…totally forgetting that we dont actually live there! Hazel and Phil will love that!! Xena, of course, loved having us there but she does seem very settled in her new home…and by the looks of all the treats and toys there, she is being very loved…and spoilt!

I had my diabetic review at the surgery as planned and got gold stars as I have lost almost two stone in weight and my blood sugar results were good, showing that I am now just above the threshold for diabetes, which is good news. I got told off (of course!) for having cold feet…something I have always had since being a child…and telling the nurse that I never wear socks or shoes if possible. Tut, tut…diabetics are not supposed to go barefoot. Well that’s not going to change Im afraid and I told the nurse that. I am a “challenge” to her apparently…oh good! I have also had the diabetic retinal screening test done at long last – it was cancelled during lockdown. I am awaiting the results now and hoping it is not bad news – I have had quite enough of that this year! Again, I was astounded that none of these checks take me anywhere near a doctor…do they actually exist? A health care assistant and a medical photographer in residence this time, both of which were very efficient, but it does make me wonder just what doctors are actually doing these days. I still have not heard from the hospital re the eye problem which I was referred for at the end of June. Im afraid the NHS service is still not thrilling me.

We have been out and about again quite a bit this month. I went with Hazel to watch her and a group of friends to learn to paddle board. No…I didn’t paddle board (not my scene really is it?) but I spent a lovely afternoon sitting on the shore of Derwentwater enjoying the scenery and swimming a bit too. It was a nice spot and getting in and out of the water was fairly easy once you negotiated the stones and rocks. It was good to be swimming again :blush:. I have taken Geoff there since then, and we really enjoyed the swim…but we have since both treated ourselves to some board shoes, as those stones hurt! We were supposed to stay with Matthew for a night to see the “new” house after all the extension work has finished, but as they live in the Greater Manchester lockdown area, that had to be postponed. Instead we went for a two-night stay in a lovely little hotel near Cartmel, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We met up with Matthew and the grandchildren at Morecambe and spent a great day on the beach with them. I`ve never been to Morecambe before and was pleasantly surprised as to how much we enjoyed it. We did the obligatory photos with Eric too of course! We also got the chance to visit the Foulshaw Nature Reserve. If you remember, we had been following the progress of the osprey chicks there for most of the summer. We saw their tree…in the distance, but no sign of the birds, alas. However, it was nice to actually visit the reserve at last.

Geoff and I went to a garden open day at Armathwaite which we also enjoyed. There were two gardens open that day and both were absolutely fabulous to see. We didnt envy all the work they must need though to keep them looking as wonderful as they were. Of course, I bought plants…doesnt everyone at these events? We bought raffle tickets too and much to my surprise we won two prizes. I never win raffles and so was delighted to win a bottle of port (which, being a lifelong TT, will be recycled into an Amnesty International raffle sometime) and a Sunday lunch for two at a local inn. We did enjoy that one :blush:

We have had meetings with our friends Mike and Linda too. Geoff and Mike went for a walk whilst Linda and I did a bit of shopping in Carlisle and of course coffee…without cake as the diet continues. Booo!

Geoff and I have been enjoying some “Boris” meals out too to take advantage of the discounts offered by the government to get restaurants moving again. So far, we have eaten at the wonderful Upfront gallery near Penrith, our meal at the Cartmel hotel came under the scheme and last week we ate at the Penny Blue bistro in Carlisle. All the meals have been lovely and we will be sad when this scheme ends. But it does seem to have worked as far as the businesses are concerned, as it proved hard to get a table anywhere on these scheme days. We also managed to get to see some theatre, at last, this month. We went to an outdoor play (Sherlock Holmes) done by the magnificent Pantaloons troupe of actors at Talkin Tarn near Brampton. It was great and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. We did end up wrapped in blankets and had covered ourselves with ante midge stuff mind you, but that all added to the charm of the night! And it was sooo good to be seeing some live theatre again at long last :blush:

I have at long last had my hair done again. I have been dithering about whether to let my hair go natural (i.e. grey) but after a consult with Hazels hairdresser I decided to have it recoloured but with highlights to lighten it up and make the transition to grey easier in the future. I have to say I am very pleased with it…even if I had to pay more than Ive ever done in my life for a hairdo! Also, having been used to spending one whole hour (colour, cut and blow dry) with my lovely hairdresser in France, Geoff thought I`d run away as it took well over 2 hours here!

Geoff has been working hard this month again, mainly on a huge document (or a book really, as it is so big) for his university clients, which has proved to be extremely complicated. He will be very pleased when that is finished and has been sent off at last. He has more work in the pipe line too, so we decided to splash out at last to buy a laptop computer in readiness for our proposed trip to St Aygulf next week, so that he can continue to work from there. Having done that, and having managed to get our heads around using it (no mean feat for us non techies I can tell you!), we have now postponed the French trip yet again in light of the new restrictions imposed by the government. To say that we are fed up with all this now, would be an understatement. Although doing the quarantine when we get back would be a pain, that is not the real problem. We are still unsure if France with retaliate with quarantine of their own and as we plan only to stay for a month this time, spending two weeks indoors there does not appeal. The other complication is that we have flights booked to return to Edinburgh …and the plane does not get in there until midnight. Our plan was to stay a night at an airport hotel and then another night in the city itself, taking the train home after that. We are not sure any of that falls within the quarantine rules. But what else would we do, arriving at midnight?? So…we have moved the flights back another month and are keeping our fingers firmly crossed that once everyone gets back to school and from holiday in France, the restrictions will be lifted. Personally, I suspect we won`t see our little flat again this year :frowning:

We are continuing to play tennis whenever we can…although once a week is about our limit really! We are still enjoying it though, so we will continue. We are still in need of a bath when we get home…even if we dont run around very much! Also, we are beginning to enjoy a bit more of the UK television offerings at last. In particular we are loving The Repair Shop…something I never thought Id like at all. And its not just because the young cabinet maker Will is absolutely dishy! I have been scouring the flat looking for anything wooden which I could take along to be fixed by him though! It is a fabulous programme. And now of course we have the delayed Tour de France to watch…just like being back there again :blush:

And so, August & summer is departing and already the weather wise it has become a bit autumnal. In fact, the last few days have been decidedly chilly. We have been having discussions about turning on the heaters already…although Im not in favour just yet. I am dismayed by the amounts of berries on all the rowan and hawthorn trees around here which is usually a harbinger of a bad winter…bliss, oh joy ☹ Hopefully we will manage to get a bit of Cote dAzur sunshine on our skin before the winter sets in for real. Who knows??

A bientot mes amis

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