Monthly Archives: Oct 2020

Marlow and cook off day.

Making the most of my mini break, I headed to Marlow on my way home. Suzy and I parked up and just as we were about to head out of the van it started to rain. I did have a do I don’t i moment, but I have good waterproofs so does Suzy so there was no excuse.

Our aim in Marlow was to complete another adventure Lab Cache series and just have a wander.

There are some quaint little areas to see and one of my favourites had to be the suspension bridge and the view down the river to the weir.

Marlow suspension bridge.
Sir Stephen Redgrave.

Leaving Marlow was a little bit of a challenge as the suspension bridge had a width restriction and guess where my google maps wanted to take me? Yep across the bridge. This is one challenge that I have found going it alone in the van. You can’t drive and find an alternate route at the same time without pulling over. Today there was no where to pull over so I just kept driving up alternate roads until google maps got me back on a suitable route.

Safely home and van I packed it was time to relax before Saturdays Cook off.

Some of you may have seen that once a month Since this crazy pandemic, Martin, Nick and I meet up and enjoy some home cooked food.

We alternate who cooks starters, mains and desert. Today Martin made a very tasty mulligatawny soup, which was a soup that I’d not made before and didn’t even know the ingredients involved.

Nick was on Mains today and he made a mince beef, onion and mushroom pie with mash, Brussel spouts and carrots. Again delicious.

Desert was to be a coconut and jam sponge with home made custard served in mini milk bottles.

We had picked a theme for today’s meals. School dinners is something we all remember. Lumpy raw mashed potato, roast dinners, Brussels like bullets, pink custard and Tottenham cake, gypsy tart and so many more. I am please to say there were no lumps in sight and no yucky skin on the custard. Another great success. Next month we are going for an autumnal bonfire night theme. I now have a few weeks to think about what starter I can serve.

The evening was completed with a few rounds of Jenga. A tense game with so much concentration and holding of breathe.

The eyes of concentration.

I hope that you are all staying safe and positive where ever you are and making the best of these strange times. Ben and I are trying to and I think we have to use this time to try new things and challenge ourselves.

A mini break to Henley

As if I haven’t had any challenges lately, I decided that it was about time Miss Lexy and I went for an adventure. I’ve not been away with her on my own but I am determined to continue the journey for Rich.

We chose Henley as our destination. Not to far to drive (first time driving the van since my operation), a campsite that I was familiar with and I knew that way I wouldn’t need to do any heavy lifting, and good walks for Suzy. The town is also a short walk away and their is a cafe on site.

The drive down was traffic free (some positives to many having to work from home still) despite the heavy rain. Suzy was quite content on her bed with her seat belt on in the back. She sat up most of the journey as she can see out of the front window from there.

Once we reached the campsite, the barriers opened automatically and we drove straight to our pitch. The campsite have had to change all their booking in procedures to comply with Covid regulations. This means no going into the reception, and then sending you a map and you pitch in advance so that you can come straight in.

Once in we received a lovely welcome phone call from reception to ensure we had arrived safely and found and had everything we need. I’d booked a hard standing pitch with water supply, grey waste point and fresh water to save me from moving the van during my stay. Also this made lighter work for my back😉 However the pitch is slightly on the tilt so I had to drive Miss Lexy onto her levelling blocks. In the past I’ve had to have someone do this or guide me as it’s not my strong point. But after checking twice I was levelled and chocks in. Pat on the back for Me.

Our first afternoon Suzy and I went for a walk round the nearby fields before heading back for a cup of tea and some relaxation time before dinner. Sadly the cafe isn’t open at the beginning of the week in the evenings but I had come prepared with a homemade chilli which just needed warming and the rice cooked. Great comfort van food and little washing up.

Chilled out Suzy whilst I set up.

Suzy started to get chilly, bless her. She has recently been to the Suzy Salon, so I snuggled her up in her bed, wrapped her up and put the heating on. One of the bonuses of Miss Lexy is that she has great heating and hot water settings.

After a good night sleep and brekkie, Suzy and I got ourselves ready and took a gentle walk into town. Everywhere is so pretty with all the autumn leaves.

I love the walk into and around Henley. The architecture is so beautiful. Lots of historical buildings and quirky features. Our aim for today was to follow a set of adventure lab caches around the town. This way I would find out a little history, have a gentle stroll with little rest stops and Suzy could explore. Many of the shops here allow you to take dogs in which is so handy as I was unsure of how to be out and about on my own with Suzy. What if you needed to go to the loo? Get a drink or snack? It’s strange not having Rich here as we would share looking after Suzy.

Our first stop was a quaint small pet shop. As I mentioned Suzy was chilly last night so we enquired what outfits they had that may be suitable. The gentleman was so helpful and he tried them on Suzy. She decided on a grey hoody, very fitting with a compass on the pocket detail.

Next we wandered to the first lab cache point and spotted a local produce market. Superb, I love a market and I hopped it has a cheese stall. But that could wait to later.

The walk was very therapeutic, also my first carrying a small rucksack as I had drinks for Suzy and I, and I wanted a little space incase of any purchases. This doesn’t sound odd but I haven’t carried any weight since my surgery so it was a bit of a test. I’m pleased to say, although a little tired at the end of the day I managed it comfortably, even after our 4.5 miles😀

The warm sun shone all throughout our adventure. We strolled along the river, Suzy tried to make friends with the ducks and geese, they were not impressed. After finding a few of our locations we went to the angel pub for a light lunch and enjoyed the atmosphere whilst sitting outside next to the river.

Once reenergised we completed our stroll and headed back towards the market. It’s so nice to see the local farms displaying their fine produce. I purchased some Goats cheese Gouda which I am excited to try soon.

This is a selection of the photos I took on our walk around Henley.

A living wall incorporated over a painting of a dog.
Charter house.
Anne Boleyn’s house.

Something I’ve noticed around Henley is all the colourful front doors. One building which looks like the doors should be identical, isn’t. The doors are all slightly varying in size. Fascinating, I wonder why?

To complete our lovey day Suzy and I met up with Lisa in the campsites cafe for dinner. It was Mexican night so we enjoyed burritos and a good catch up.

Suzy looked very chic going to dinner in her new outfit and was warm and cosy.

Autumn colours from the campsite.
Very tired puppy.

Getting back to some normality….

Five weeks ago I could hardly move. Now I’m driving, walking very well, managing a bit of gentle gardening and back to my favourite pastime of upcycling.

So here is an update of what I have been up to in-between lots of relaxing and resting still.

The weather has been gorgeous on a few days so I have taken this opportunity to do a spot of gardening. Don’t worry, I’ve not overdone it and only done what feels comfortable. The front wall baskets have now been planted up with winter bulbs and very pretty pansies that remind me of oranges and lemons. Hopefully they will look even more spectacular in the spring.

Tete a tete bulbs going in.

During the week I have also worked on two cupboards from the living room. As you can see they were quite a dark wood and the living room is quite dark during the day so I set to giving them a lift.

Sanded then wiped down out in the sunshine with mummy’s little helper they were ready to paint.

We chose a colour similar to duck egg blue to coordinate with the grey sofa, sanding the tops back to the natural wood and waxing them.

I’m very pleased with them, but of course it doesn’t stop there. Next will now be the coffee tables and the lamp bases and probably the display unit. It’s addictive this hobby.

The back garden bulbs also started to be planted this week with Jono and Bev’s help. Hopefully the hyacinths will look great in front of the pond in the spring.

This weekend has been filled with meeting up with some friends. Saturday we enjoyed afternoon tea in Rochester, very indulgent, and today Nick, Martin and I went to see a show filmed at the 02 with Michael Ball and Alfie Boe but shown at the cinema. It was great. Lots of songs from the musicals amongst other greats. Trouble is it’s reminded me how much I miss going to concerts or the theatre. Let’s hope the theatres can open again soon.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…..

It’s a very exciting day today. Four weeks ago I had surgery on my back which has made so much difference to my daily life. So today a few of us had decided to have a trip out to Hastings to browse the antique shops, do a bit of geocaching and maybe treat ourself a to something nice to eat.

Martin picked up Sam and I and we had a good run down to the coast. When we arrived the sun was shining and the sea was so calm.

The caches we decided to do today involved us looking for blue plaques around the town. This worked out well as we could do this in combination with exploring the antique shops.

The antique shops were fun to browse and we played a game of I would buy this from each shop. I think at one point I chose a large metal sphere, and Sam and Martin some other odd items. There were so many nice pieces of furniture that I would have liked to have to renovate but I don’t have the room. Perhaps I need to buy my own chateau.

Brunch this morning was in a cafe overlooking the sea. I had scrambled egg and chorizo which was very nice.

As well as looking out for blue plaques there was some interesting art work around the town.

After exploring and seeing all these quirky places along with these old buildings we headed to the pub for liquid refreshments before dinner.

Of course dinner had to be fish and chips as we are by the seaside after all. They were enjoyed sat on the front over looking the sea with the sun starting to set over Beachy head in the distance. Beautiful.

A truly wonderful day that didn’t disappoint in any way. Great company, delicious food, sunshine and an interesting town. Best of all I managed to do all this with zero pain and able to keep up. Brilliant.

The last view of the day was this vibrant rainbow that appeared just after we had finished our dinner. We just made it to the car before the rain came. A wonderful time was had by all.