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One year on…..

On the evening of 9th September 2020, I had a feeling something wasn’t right. My back had been painful for some time but this felt different, so I gathered some bits together, wrote out my Emergancy contacts and medication list and stuck it on the fridge and went to bed.

The following morning I woke after a restless sleep and needed the bathroom. I got there but then the most awful pain I had ever experienced happened. I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t sit. I was holding on to the sink for dear life. I’d lost control of my bladder and bowel. Not a pretty sight at all. Panic set in. What do I do? I didn’t have my phone with me and there was no chance I was going to be able to wake Ben at this hour.

Eventually and I couldn’t tell you how I got back to the bedroom, I rang Ben. No answer. I then rung Bev, I was now panicking and I knew I needed an ambulance. I left Bev to keep ringing Ben whilst I dialled 999. Ben appeared blurry eyed and unsure of what to do as I was screaming and panicking. No matter how I sat or laid I was in agony.

I was taken on to our local hospital, had tests and an MRI scan and the decision was taken to rush my to Kings in London. It was there after a few hours they decided to operate.

I was told after surgery that one of my discs had ruptured and trapped some nerves to my leg, bowel and bladder. But they had removed the disc and nudged the nerves over a little. ( ok they didn’t quite say it like that, it was all very technical) due to covid however though the next morning I was sent home. That in itself was frightening as it just felt to soon.

My friend Sam had stayed with Ben and Suzy and told me on my return she would be staying to help until I was back on my feet. Little did we know this would be two weeks later.

The next fortnight was very hard going. Lots of laying down, not lifting, tired, frustrated. You get the picture. Bev would come over and help me shower, Victoria came and helped around the house, Ben made lots of cups of tea.

Slowly slowly I was gaining strength. Sam went home, Ben stepped up and we started the road to recovery.

I was concerned that I would undo all the work that had been done on my back so I was extremely careful and often asked for help, not like me at all. So many of my friends helped. Took me out or just video called to chat. All of this helped so much.

Over the next few months, I increased my walking distance, time standing and continued my love of renovating furniture and other small projects around the house.

By October I was able to drive my van and we went on holiday to the Isle of Wight. By December I was back to standing for longer periods of time.

Now one year on, September 10th 2021………

Wow, what a difference. I can walk miles and miles, the longest so far being a 14 mile day, I have been Kayaking on the sea, scrambled down rocky surfaces. I am working out with the help of a personal trainer which has helped to rebuild my core and overall strength. I am working again and discovered new hobbies and craft techniques. The garden is looking amazing as I have been physically able to place new beds, re landscape and keep the ponds maintained.

This week I have enjoyed the most active week in Guernsey. Thanks to Martin and Nick we have walked miles and explored this beautiful country. I feel strong enough to be able to do anything now.

Feeling stronger has also helped in another decision. I had a breakdown in 2019 and have since been on medication for this. But I am now on week 5 of safely reducing the meds and I am really noticing the difference. Strong enough to make huge decisions like purchasing a second house to rent and taking on the new part time job. Also the confidence to start selling some of my new crafts. The anxiety creeps in occasionally but I have learnt to control it more.

So an end to the waffling but a few special thanks. (feels like the Oscars lol)

Sam for messaging me every single morning to touch base, Martin, Nick, Mark, Matt, Adam, Dean and Yvonne my geocaching buddies, along with Rob, Sian, Gav and Steph for involving me in the monthly quiz’s. Victoria and Jono. Paula for giving me confidence back and teaching me some new skills. Terry, Sandy, Lynn and my new friends over in Guernsey. Jan and Lisa. Cheryl. Bev for being there every step of the way and most of all, Ben. He has been through so much but helps when I’ve asked. He really is a wonderful young man.

Thank you x x

My dear friend Terry.
The gorgeous Sam.
Sea Kayaking.
Down nearly 300 steps to get here and made the same going back up.
Couldn’t stand straight, it was very windy. 🙂
My Ben x x

Guernsey, part three……

Thursday morning, we collected Terry and drove off nice and early so that Nick and Martin could do a special cache before our event in town today.

This was a tunnel cache that I had done a few years ago with Ben so I just waited it out whilst watching the sea.

Next stop was back into town for the Guernsey air show. My dad often visited Guernsey whilst the air show was on so it was nice to see it for myself today. It was a cloudy start but that soon lifted and we had great views from the end of the terminal.

Eagerly awaiting the start of the show.

The Spitfire, biplane, chinook we’re amongst the line up but one of our favourites had the be the Typhoon with its loud roar as it shot past.

https://youtube.com/shorts/-wwJmcosbIk?feature=share

The best was saved till last when the red arrows came roaring in formation over the island and out across the sea. Impeccable line up as always and they really did put on a good show.

You may remember that a few days ago we celebrated finding my 9000th cache. Well today it was Nicks turn to celebrate a milestone. I’d suggested the cache called The Lost World. Not for the faint hearted as it involves a descent of just under 300 steps down to the most beautiful bay at Petit port.

Looking energised before the descent.

As you can see by the picture it’s idyllic and only a few other people around.

Nick and Martin went off in search for the cache whilst I enjoyed the sunshine and another paddle in this glorious sea.

Off into the cave they go.
At one point Terry wanted to go in and give them a hand, I was not keen on the idea and when I mentioned this Terry’s reply was “ I’m only 83!” I couldn’t watch.

Eventually Nick and Martin returned with huge smiles after signing the cache. Well done Nick also for completing your 4000th cache in such a stunning, challenging location. Time for one last paddle before heading back up the steps. Did I mention there is just shy of 300 steps??

It really is up that way.

Guernsey adventures, part two……

Tuesday, another glorious day so we headed off towards Fort Hommet. However we did’t get very far as someone put a kiosk on route where we enjoyed breakfast number two.

Back on track and we parked near the fort for some exploring and of course to find a geocache.

Fort Hommet is a fortification on Vazon Bay headland in Castel. It was built on fortifications that date back to 1680 and consists of a Martello tower from 1804. Bunkers and casemates were added by the Germans during World War 2.

After the liberation of Guernsey in 1945, the British army and the islanders stripped the fortifications. By the late 1940’s all the metal fittings, including guns and blast doors had been removed for scrap. Many of the bunkers, including the gun casemate were buried in an attempt to return the coastal landscape to its pre-war condition.

Fort Hommet.
The Martello tower.
View from the fort.

After the fort had been explored we took a walk along the coast to a cache that required scrambling over the rocks. As I had found this a few years ago I took a seat on the rocks and watched whilst the lads clambered this way and that until they eventually found the very well hidden cache.

It was now up to 30° again and with no breeze it was hard work exploring so after one more cache we headed to Cobo Bay kiosk for a well earned refreshment stop before our afternoon activities.

The next few hours were spent kayaking out of Cobo bay. The views were incredible, the sea crystal clear and did I mention, the sun was hot?? Great fun was had by all including Terry who had joined us for the afternoon.

No spell out on the sea would be complete without a good debrief in the nearest pub. The Pimms was very welcome.

Pimms o’clock anyone?
Debrief.

Wednesday – the weather forecast was not looking good. Thunder storms and rain had been predicted and the weather people were right. Quite a bit of thunder and lightening before 10am, So we had a leisurely morning with Nick going for a dip in the pool. Once the weather had cleared up we shot out to investigate the Little Chapel.

The Little Chapel.

The Little Chapel was a work of art and labour of love built by Brother Déodat, who started work in March 1914. His plan was to create a miniature version of the famous grotto and basilica at Lourdes in France. The first, measuring a tiny 9 feet long by 4.5 feet wide, was criticised, so Brother Deodat spent the following night demolishing the building. He soon set to work again and, in July 1914, the grotto was completed and officially blessed. This survived until September 1923; Brother Deodat demolished it in that month because the Bishop of Portsmouth had not been able to fit through the doorway.

He soon set about the construction of a third chapel – which we see today. The building operation proved laborious, collecting pebbles and broken china to decorate the shrine. Then suddenly the Little Chapel became famous, thanks to an illustrated article in the Daily Mirror. Presents poured in from around the world and Islanders brought coloured china to Les Vauxbelets with the Lieutenant-Governor offering a remarkable mother-of-pearl.

In 1939 Brother Deodat returned to France because of ill health. After his departure the care of the Little Chapel was entrusted to Brother Cephas, who continued to decorate the building until his retirement in 1965. In 1977, a committee was established to restore the chapel and today it falls under the care of The Little Chapel Foundation

This is such a pretty little Chapel and well worth a visit.

The heart in the chapel.

It was time for a spot of lunch at Moulin Huet. The views here again took your breath away. After it was time for a spot of clambering and caching around the Parish St Martin’s.

So the mist came in again during lunch.

Another fun filled day which was ended with another ice cream over looking the views of Herm and Sark in between the sea mist and a taste of the air show tomorrow with some of the planes out practising. (Oh and another few caches of course.)

Within minutes the sea mist had caught up with us.

The adventures of Guernsey, part 1…..

Every year I used to holiday on the island with my Dad, Bev and Ben for a week whilst dad worked. The island has continued to keep us interested and has new things to discover all the time.

However this year, with no dad and the pandemic brining in certain rules meaning Ben couldn’t visit, Martin and Nick gladly excepted the offer to join me for a week of exploring and caching.

It’s been quite a while since we have been able to fly anyway but the time had come. We flew from Gatwick to Guernsey on a short flight and we’re greated not just by the sunshine but by my friend Terry.

London Gatwick and a real aeroplane.

My favourite way to explore the island is by car as you can lose yourself in so many tiny lanes. This year we have a Vauxhall Crossland. Not a bad car at all but we still had to play car Tetris to get all of our luggage in.

I left the men to it.

Off toward St Peter Port for some brunch and caching. Nothing is ever to far away on the island so this didn’t take long. I noticed that quite a few of the shops in town have closed since my last visit in 2018 which is such a shame. But again due to the pandemic the island has taken a bit hit against its tourism trade.

Some time was spent exploring, caching and an impromptu dip in the sea before heading off in search of our apartment at Grandes Rocques, drop our luggage in and head to the supermarket.

Remembering my dad with an ice cream x

Time was getting on and we were shattered. It had been an early start so after fish and chips whilst watching the sunset we headed to our home for the night.

Fish and chips at sunset.

Sunday:- today I was aiming to find my 9000th cache so we had to be mindful not to find to many before my caching event on the beach later in the afternoon. The best way to do this was to show Nick and Martin some of the great caches that I had found on previous occasions. One of which was called Military Monday which is placed in an old German series of bunkers and trenches.

The event was held at Port Soif kiosk. For those of you that haven’t been to Guernsey, along the coastal roads are various little cafes called kiosks that serves very reasonable priced food, drinks and ice creams. Port Soif does a good range of tasty cakes. Perfect for a catch up with friends.

I can’t quite put into words how good it is to be able to be “normal” hug people and sit close together and not a mask in sight on the island. (we have done a series of covid tests before entering the island and since arriving.)

The 9000 Guernsey gang x

No trip to the beach though would be complete, especially in this warm weather ( I won’t say sunny today as it’s been low mist and visibility all day.) without a dip in the sea. This ones for you Bev x

Just for Bev x
Martin and Nick clamber for a cache.
Somewhere behind me is the beach. In fact I am standing in the sea but you can’t see very far at all.

That evening we enjoyed the most delicious dinner at the Rock Mount, a short walk from our accommodation. We were also rewarded with the sea mist lifting whilst we ate to the most stunning sunset.

Lamb cutlets.
Sunset from Cobo bay.

Monday:- me and my mad ideas. Even after all my visits to the island I had never taken the trip across to Sark. So this year it was to happen despite my non love of boats. (Sea sickness queen here)

The boat trip was a doddle, calm, smooth and the sun shining. We were treated to a show of dolphins on route and back. They were however to quick for my phone camera.

Sark was fantastic. Quite a few caches which we found by bicycle. Hard going at times in today’s heat, but still fun. The views are well worth the journey. Breathtaking.

Sark is the crown jewel of the Channel Islands, nestled in between Guernsey and Jersey. Car-free with spectacular scenery, bays, coastal paths and cliff top views. Sark has no street lights to pollute the skies and so became the first dark sky island in 2011.

All aboard the toast rack to take us to the top of the hill.

One of our first stops was La Coupee.

La Coupee is an Isthmus (narrow strip of land with sea either side) made up of sedimentary rock. The rock is made up of sediments of various types of rock but is crumbly and the sea is eroding both sides of the this walkway.

Until 1900 there were no railings extending the whole length and on windy days the school children would crawl over the crumbling path on their hands and knees.

La Coupee.
Posing for the virtual cache photo.

Many caches later, cycling up lots of hills it was time to drop off our bikes, enjoy a cold refreshing drink in the Mermaid pub before heading back to catch our boat back to Guernsey.

Another smooth crossing with a brief display of dolphins and we were back in time to meet Sandy for dinner at The Terrace. Scrumptious Thai food eaten outside over looking the harbour.

Having a chat with Victor Hugo.
St Peter Port Harbour.

So there you have a snapshot of our first few days on this wonderful island. I hope you enjoy sharing it with us from our pictures x

My Geocaching story…….

Recently someone asked me what is this geocaching that I often mention. So I thought I’d share some of my experiences and tell you how it has enriched my life and helped me through some really difficult times.

Geocaching is a game using Satellites and coordinates to search for a container or location of interest using an app or a GPSr. When you find what you are looking for you can sign the log sheet and log your find online. It’s basically a treasure hunt. If you would like to look at the website look here: https://www.geocaching.com/play/search

I started looking for treasure (ok small bits of Tupperware) back in 2010 using my phone app. Slowly at first then becoming more drawn in to the game. (I will mention that this was to be a free hobby, apart from a small yearly subscription for the premium membership. However over the years as the game changed for me it saw me buy a VW Campervan, a few inflatable kayaks, climbing kit, knee pads, walking boots and clothes, a decent GPS amongst other things)

After a while I heard that geocaching events were organised in the county where I live and I went along. I knew Nick and he met me at the pub where the event was being held and introduced me to a few others. Little did I know how much some of these friends would mean to be and how tightly the friendships would form over the coming years.

Gradually I joined other like minded people in organised walks and events exploring the countryside and some of the pubs in and around the area for a well deserved drink at the end of the walk.

Still smiling through the mud.

Now you don’t have to go on long walks, you can just find one cache maybe near you place of work or on your route to somewhere else.

A few years on and my adventure took me to Brugge in Belgium where a larger Mega event was being held. My dad and son came along to and we made a holiday out of the trip. My dad discovered that he also enjoyed caching in his own way and loved to drive me around so I could jump out the van and sign the log or stand back whilst I searched and searched before he said “why are you looking there? Perhaps you should look here” he had a rather good eye for spotting something out of the ordinary.

Mega event in Germany.

Now I was really hooked. I could combine my love of travel and exploring off the beaten track locations with friends and family, looking up the caches descriptions and photos to plan my next foreign adventure. I consider caching to be my travel guide.

Over the years I’ve found caches in many European countries as well as America, Canada, St Lucia, Norway, the Channel Islands and many more.

The Channel Islands, Guernsey in particular was where I was to find my milestone 1000th cache. I’d asked on their local Facebook group if any could recommend a worthy find and Terry answered my message. He said he would meet me and help me at a cave cache. This was the start of a fabulous long friendship with him and his partner Sandy we have since met up on many occasions either in England or back on the island.

The lost world cache in Guernsey.

Then I must have got to an age where I wanted to see how far I could push myself and you can still do this with geocaching. First I found myself crawling through tunnels, wadding through murky water, paddling my inflatable kayak along the river Medway, climbing small trees and then I met Rich.

Getting ready for our 24 hour caching adventure to France, Belgium and Holland

We spoke about our need for adventure and started to combine our caching with climbing. We had a lesson with another Cacher who was qualified in rope work and off we went. Climbing trees and a sailing off stuff. Rich and I even did a weekend recreational tree climbing course with in-depth instructions and rescue techniques.

Yep, I am hanging off a bridge.

This expanded our hobby as we were now off caching in Europe where they love their out door sports and adrenaline rushes. Holland, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Austria. Wow some fantastic adventures, great food and such interesting locations.

Slowly however things began to change. Rich could no longer climb but that was ok. The beauty of caching is that you can adapt the way you cache to suit your needs.

We had a more gentle pace and our friend Matt started to hold small events in superb little cafes that Rich was comfortable to attend and that I could still join in for a short walk after. This meant so much as it kept us in touch with our friends and enabled us to get out.

Then we lost Rich, then dad, then lockdown happened. Then I needed major surgery. When would it all end? We were all isolated. No longer able to go out and meet friends, stop at a cafe or pub for refreshments. For quite a while I also didn’t want to cache as it just wasn’t the same without Rich. How could it be? And to be honest I didn’t want to try and make it the same as it had been before as that wouldn’t be right.

Months passed and finally we were able to meet up with a few friends. The beauty of caching is that is it outdoors but did I want to be finding and touching Tupperware with a world pandemic? Also I hadn’t yet walked to far after surgery so wasn’t sure how much I could manage. As it turned out I could do short walks but twisting and bending were a slight issue.

So time to rethink. How could I carry on with this hobby? A type of cache called adventure lab had expanding rapidly. It’s similar in the traditional caches but instead of finding a container you go to a set of coordinates and look to answer a question online. Perfect. This means I could have bite size walks, in towns and villages, stop when I needed to and not have to bend down or handle any containers.

Little did I know this was the start of my new favourite bit of caching. So much so when we could travel again I would choose destinations and days out based on where a set of labs could be found.

I’ve seen some beautiful villages and architecture on my recent travels and of course I love to stop and look at the gardens.

Then going forward a new series was released. I’m not often bothered by completing a whole series these days, as it’s more about the days out and friendships however, this one has quirky cache containers, some similar to the ones I had seen in Seattle and art work around the east coast of England.

Here is the link if anyone would like to find out more.

https://www.englandscreativecoast.com/see-and-do/englands-creative-coast-art-geotour/

So far I’m about half way through the series and have seen some fantastic coastal areas. I’m really enjoying the various art works, street arts and architecture that I’ve come across and of course it’s always nice to be by the sea.

Last weekend I enjoyed a last minute camping getaway with my geotour and walking buddy Martin. A series of 107 caches all puzzle types that had to be solved to obtain the corrected coordinates to reveal the route. Some were simple questions to research the answers and some were online jigsaw puzzles. Another part of caching that fills time when your relaxing at home.

Despite breaking the series into sections and waking 20 miles over two days we didn’t get to complete the series as the weather on the first day had other ideas. We were soaked, Suzy was not impressed so we headed off to find our campsite. Later on the weather did brighten up so we enjoyed a walk round the village of Ashwell completing a series of lab caches and Suzy got to enjoy padding in the crystal clear springs

Mummies little helper having a lie down on the long walk.

Matt messaged whilst I was away to say well done for getting so many points in the new caching challenge. I wasn’t really aware there was a new challenge but hey another good reason to continue with the Geotour. The idea is to virtually climb a mountain by collecting points based on what type of cache you find.

REACH THE PEAK

Inspired by the mountaineering challenge of reaching the summits of the tallest mountains on all seven continents, we’re inviting you on a challenge to reach new heights in geocaching. From August 2 at noon UTC through March 6, 2022, earn up to two new souvenirs each month of the challenge by collecting enough points to reach the summit of each month’s mountain. The points required to earn the summit souvenir each month will correspond to the height of that month’s mountain. Geocachers who earn all 14 souvenirs will earn an additional meta souvenir. Search for Reach the Peak on the official Geocaching Blog to learn more.

Am I bothered by finding caches to be rewarded with points and souvenirs? Not so much, but what was great about this was that Matt had messaged me after spotting that I’d already completed the August challenge on day one! So ok I’m not fussed either way if I complete it but the positive thing about it is that it gave us something to talk about, message each other and see what our other friends were up to. Kept us socialising. So important after the last 18 months.

So there you go. An insight into the world of geocaching and how it can evolve and adapt to your limitations and interests. There is so much more but I won’t go into it here. Why not sign up on the website and have a go yourself.

Grab a cuppa, it’s time to catch up……..

Yes, I know it’s been a while. Sorry about that. It’s been rather busy here. What with a trip or two away, geocaching adventures, gardening, some DIY renovation projects and a new little job.

Back in June Sam, Mark, Martin and I went on a trip to Windsor and Eton for the weekend to celebrate Sam’s birthday. No trip away would be complete without geocaching but this was slightly different as rather than searching for lots of containers hidden in random places, we had a printed out picture sheet with just a little piece of a part of a building or statue. It felt like we were back at school on a trip.

It was a great way to view the area as it made you look up, down and all around to try and spot the pictures. This combined with an adventure lab or two took up two full days and many miles, along with a tea and cake stop or two. Windsor was such a beautiful place to explore.

Windsor castle.
The queen and her corgis.
Pimms cake anyone?
The meeting chairs for the Magna Carter.

We also had a flying visit to Exmouth for a last minute break. We enjoyed a luxurious house so near to the sea and the town. It was great to explore little quirky villages and paddle in the sea. There may have been a cream tea involved.

Weekends have been filled with exploring various towns around the east coast as part of a new geotrail.

We have explored Margate, Leigh in Sea, Walton on the Naze, Harwich and Rochester amongst others little places. Each day has been glorious sunshine and topped of with great company and food. It’s so nice to be able to support local businesses again and eat out.

The front flower wall has had to be replaced as it had started to fall apart this year and was no longer safe. A neighbour fully rebuilt it for us and we are so happy with the completed wall. The new bed will be planted with Lavender when the weather is a little cooler.

Rather strange without the wall.

An old stool has been renovated to become my table for when I’m in the hot tub. It was a stool but last year the seat part broke. I found a cheese board in the shed (dont ask lol) and after treating it all fixed it to the legs of the stool.

The stair carpet was worn and faded so we have had that replaced. It makes such a difference to be in a lighter colour and makes the area look so much bigger. The only thing is the walls now need repainting to match better. Paint is purchased but this will be done in a few weeks time.

The garden has become a haven for wildlife over the last few weeks and a mass of colour. All of the hard work has been totally worth it and it is such a pleasure to sit (in between the rain) to enjoy it. There has been so many varieties of bees and butterflies.

After a few years of having a strange cylinder hanging in a tree at the bottom of the garden I am pleased to report that the leaf cutter bees have moved in. I’d noticed one of my roses had circular parts of the leaves missing and this is a sign that the leaf cutter bee is near by.

Evidence of leaf cutter bees.

Then when I checked I couldn’t help but smile at the bee working hard at filling the tube then sealing the end to protect its eggs. Nature is wonderful.

It’s impossible for me to tell you my favourite flower in the garden this year as there are so many, however I am so pleased with the Dahlias. The colours, shapes and sizes are vast and I have only from a small selection. Although I think it could quite easily become my new addiction.

Dahlia creme de casis
Dahlia Tirza.
Dahlia Cornell.

By now you are probably coming to the end or your cup of tea so I shall leave you with more bursts of colour from around the garden. Have a fabulous day x. X

This years one and only cherry.
The sunflowers are still growing.
Echinacea.
Rich’s lilies.
The first of the greenhouse melons.
A very large greenhouse plum tomato.
The Agapanthus finally in flower after a few years of dormancy.
The Mallow in its full bloom.

Summer in the garden…….

As I write this now I have a refreshing glass of Pimms by my side, feet up on the garden furniture in the shade. It’s been a scorching day here but sooooo lovely. Now I can make the most of it as the Patio rearrangement is complete and the hot tub ready to go.

On Friday, Nick came over to help extend the patio further for me to create more room for the table and chairs when the hot tub is out. Past years it’s been extremely cramped on the patio.

An additional one and a half rows went down and it’s made such a difference.

The completed patio extension.

Saturday I met up with friends Matt and Martin and we travelled over to Essex to continue our geocache tour. Last weekend was Margate. Margate sadly was not how it used to be but nevertheless we had a good day. This week we drove through Southend on sea and again this is not as I remember. It has actually had some money spent on it and improved the area.

The day was topped of by a visit to Leigh on sea and scampi and chips.

Today was due to be so hot, as is the rest of the week so the hot tub had to come out.

Patio swept, furniture rearranged, protective matts down and tub inflated. I’d love a proper hot tub one day but for now this one fits my garden well and is surprisingly good for an inflatable

Mummies little helper pops out to see what is happening then retreats back to the coolness of Ben’s bedroom.

After enjoying an alfresco lunch and dip in the tub it was time to relax on the lounger and read a book. I usually use my kindle but I had a real, paper book to read and I’ve really enjoyed it. You can’t beat turning the pages.

The last job of the day is now the watering. The bottom end of the garden has had its irrigation system reinstalled but all the baskets have been baked today so needed a good drink. It’s so pleasant strolling around the garden as the sun gets lower.

I hope you’ve all made time to enjoy this gorgeous weather we are having and I shall leave you with some photos of the gardens progression since last month. X

This rose arch is covered in pink buds waiting to burst open.
This clematis makes me so happy. It’s stunning.
The grasses by the pond have matured nicely.
This arch is covered in Strawberry hill roses chosen by Rich for the fragrance.
This Peony is flowering the best it ever has.

The trellis you see here in the middle of the veg bed and five others were made by my neighbour and myself to support our large tomato plants this year. Last year the branches would snap under the weight of the fruit.

The greenhouse maturing well with Melons, Cucumbers and tomato’s.
The salad lettuce loves this spot in a pot by the pond.
Tomato plants lined up where they will get the most sunshine.
This year the fruit cage is bursting with raspberries, strawberries and cherry tomatoes.
Must be nearly time for Wimbledon. The strawberries are turning red.

A holiday. Really? Oh yes!

Restrictions are lifting, the vaccination programme is going well. Do we go on holiday? Yes, yes, yes.

Our original plan was to be in Scotland in May, however we weren’t sure if restrictions would be lifted enough, if at all so we changed our plans to a week in Beccles, Suffolk. ( We meaning two of my good friends Martin and Nick).

The house we found to rent turned out to be such a find. 3 bedroom, good size kitchen and the bonus, views over the river and a place to launch our own boat straight into the Waveney.

Our home for the week.

The weather wasn’t hot and sunny, however you have to make the most of things. So with careful checking of the weather app on a daily basis we managed to explore lots of Suffolk villages in between the rain, and when it did rain we ducked into a cafe for tea and cake.

Sunday was the best day for weather so it was to be canoeing and caching along the river day. Of course there was a pub stop to regather our energy along the way.

The paddle there was peaceful, pretty, a little sunny and dry. Caches were found. Once we reached the community run pub we ordered our drinks and our lunch which was a very nice hog roast.

The paddle back however was to be a little different as whilst we were just finishing our drinks the clouds turned black. Waterproofs on we headed off. The skies opened, big time! Not just rain but hail to. But in good old British fashion the sun soon shone and by the time we reached the house we were dry again. Turns out this was the only afternoon nice enough to sit out on our patio, feet up and cuppa in hand.

For the rest of the week we explored various villages and sea side towns by using the adventure lab caches. These are caches that don’t have a physical container but instead you have to go to the set location and answer the question. We have found these to be an excellent tour guide and also teaches up some historical information about the places we visit. Norfolk and Suffolk have plenty of these which suited us well.

Martin found his sign.
The most easterly point of the UK.

No trip to the seaside is complete unless you’ve had chips on the seafront.

Southwold is a place I’ve visited before on a few occasions with Rich. We really enjoyed wondering around, looking at all the old buildings and visiting the brewery. On this visit by completing the lab caches it took us to some locations here that I had not discovered before.

The view from Southwold pier.
Someone thought it would be a good idea to create a reading room for the sailors in Southwold to stop them spending so much time in the pubs. 😂
The wisteria is stunning at this time of year.
The Broads.
Beccles church.
Caching in a Pill box in Beccles.

On our way home we stopped at the village of Framlingham. Again a interesting tour of the village, shopping at the local market including some tasty dresses Cromer crab and lunch at the Castle inn. It was here that I managed to catch up with my friend Gerry whom Rich and I had met whilst on our honeymoon at Chateau de la Lande. It was so nice to see him again and hear some of his adventures.

Framlingham castle which is the inspiration behind the Ed Sheeran song, castle on the hill.
How strange the our house for the week had Rich’s initials for coat hooks. ❤️ ( the house was called Riverside House)

Time for an update

Hi, it’s been a while since I last updated you on our progress.

Since we last caught up I’ve been given the all clear and green light for training and rebuilding my strength from the consultant. Tuesday morning I went for my first swim in years and it was so invigorating.

The conservatory has been rebuilt. All through the winter we had to contend with leaks, plastic bags and towels on the floor. We couldn’t carry on like that so a friend of mine who works for Compass windows came up with the idea to replace the roof and fit a window in it. The difference is superb. It’s now warmer, dry and so much brighter.

The new roof light.

The garden has been evolving so quickly at the movement. A few months ago many seeds were started in the green house.

They have now been transferred to the recently built cold frame and some that have spent their time in the cold frame have been transferred into the garden this week.

Mummies little helper looking after the newly planted potatoes and salad veg.
The cold frame working beautifully.
A few tomato hanging baskets started.
Potatoes doing well.
Bags of large tomatoes under planted with marigolds and sunflowers.

So with plants leaving the greenhouse it’s been time to transplant the fruit inside. So on a very windy rainy day this week Suzy and I potted up some melons, cucumbers and tomatoes. The tomatoes have been under planted with marigolds in the hope to keep down the white fly.

Mummies little helper trying to grow big and strong.
Melons and tomatoes.

Every year I plant up the front wall and window box’s. However I struck a problem this week, as I was digging out the bulbs and preparing the soil I noticed the bricks that make the wall were moving and loosening. Dad and I had spoke for a few years about the wall needing replacing. Well this is the year, the wall will not survive the summer. So I have plans to get that rebuilt over the next month. I may still plant up the window box’s as the plants are eager to go in and out of their small pots.

The family was extended recently as some of you already know. We have a bird box with a camera in at the end of the garden and a few months ago a pair of bluetits investigated and decided to move in. Belinda laid 10 eggs and on the 25th April they hatched. Bert and Belinda (mum and dad) have been incredible attentive, wizzing in and out with grubs and worms for the babies. I have seen nine chicks, now all feathered and eyes open flapping their wings and preparing to fledge.

Bald, blind babies.
Bert and Belinda at dinner time.
Filling up the space.

So as you can see May has been incredible productive.

I’ve also been overwhelmed by some very kind words from some of my friends and readers of the blog. Rich and I started to write the blog to create a diary of our travels and adventures and it has evolved into my way of sharing my continued adventures and positivity during a world pandemic. Things such as “you inspire me in challenging times” “ your positivity is so motivational” “your blog is always so positive and gives me something lighthearted to read rather than the depressing world news”. So thank you very much for taking the time to read our stories and it helps me knowing that it makes you smile.

New life in the garden means we continue to beat this crappy virus and we will continue to a new normal. I love wondering around looking at what is sprouting and budding and bursting into life. Here are last nights photos for you. X

Loganberry blossom.
Strawberries are doing well.
Azalea coming into bloom.
The acer waking from its sleep.

My final piece of positive news I discovered yesterday. Last year our local hospital was overwhelmed with Covid patients. Most surgeries came to a halt as the theatres were filled with patients on ventilators. It was May that dad spent quite a few weeks there being cared for whilst his battled Covid. In a conversation with a nurse she told me that as from last Friday the hospital had been Covid patient free. I could have cried. I was so emotional at this news as was she. long May it continue. Onwards and upwards. X x ❤️

Dads final trip to Malvern

In April 2016 dad, Ben and I took a trip to Malvern for a short break. Dad was born in Worcester on April 25th 1946 and spent his younger years with brother Colin, sister Pauline exploring and playing on the Malvern hills. They would travel there by train from Worcester to Malvern. He would have been around ten years old, Colin five and Pauline 15 years old.

Whilst on this trip dad wanted to walk up to the Worcester beacon (425 meters at the summit) and share stories of watching the steam trains on the railway lines below with Ben and I as well as show us the amazing views. Apparently there used to be a cafe at the summit here.

Whilst we were admiring the views dad told us that when his time was up we were to scatter his ashes on the Worcester beacon. Strict instructions were given that we had to walk all the way up and that we couldn’t use my idea of a remote controlled aeroplane with a drop hatch and let him go that way. He found that very funny.

So almost a year after he passed away (May 4th 2020) and with travel restrictions lifted we were able to meet Colin and Barb in the North Quarry car park for dads final ascent to the summit.

With dad safely secured in Colin’s back pack, Colin, Barb, Bev, Ben, Suzy and myself headed up. A very steep path up. This was not the path we had taken back in 2016, I bet dad was having a good chuckle watching us huff and puff.

Resting after the steepest part of the climb.

Our idea was to first revisit the beacon for dads last ever trip then find a suitable resting place.

Dad is in Colin’s back pack resting on the plinth
A tad windy Suzy??

The weather couldn’t have been better for us today. Bright blue skies, sun shining and wind on the Worcester side of the hills just were we wanted to place dad. (On one side of the hills is Herefordshire and the other Worcestershire, with dad being born in Worcester we felt it right he should on that side)

We walked down the hill a little and found a rocky outcrop with great views. This was to be the final test stop for dad. We scattered him on the ground and toasted his memory with mini cherry Bakewells (one of his favourite cakes) We admired the views and swapped stories and memories.

Our walk then took us to the Hereford side of the hills, out of the wind. The views all around today were spectacular.

We decided to take the longer, less steep path back to the car park which luck would have it took us through woods carpeted in Bluebells, dads favourite flowers.

After some more chatting at the van sitting in the sunshine we went our separate ways and started the short drive back to our home for the few days we were here.

However with tummies gurgling I took us on a small detour and we called in at the Butchers arms pub for an early dinner.

The garden had a variety of different pods to sit and eat and the menu had a great selection. It’s so nice to be able to sit in a pub garden again and see others out enjoying the sunshine and pub grub.

Goats cheese crepe with roast vegetables.

So here’s to you dad, your the best. Happy 75th birthday. Cheers to your next adventure x x

Royston William Eade 25th April 1946 – 4th May 2020
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