A week in UK.

Friday 13th May

There’re was mild panic yesterday evening after the last post was completed.  I got a ‘phone call from Jane screaming for urgent help in the field as two of her horses were spooked by Dave firing up the tractor mower, even though it was across the road!!  The horses knocked Jane over and then trampled on her “extremities”, hands, arms and legs. and naturally Jane thought one or more bones were broken.  She thinks she was also knocked out as she was also kicked, “horses”, who’d ‘av ‘em??? Anyway by the time I found her she was moving and apart from shock, multiple bruises, and after a hot bath etc., she seemed reasonably OK.

Hope Farm Cottages

Back to Friday.  Our plan was to head out to Burnham on Sea and have a look around the area and also to go to “Timpson’s” to get some keys cut. But panic broke out again, but this time it was good panic as Jane had a late booking, arriving today so all hands on deck to prep the cottage.  The good thing about this was that all thoughts of Jane’s bruises, swollen fingers and stiff neck went out of the window; the job had to be done!!!

Modernising complete at one of Jane’s cottages

We eventually got out and did our jobs then went to the “Fox and Goose”, the pub we had booked previously for my Birthday lunch on Sunday.   The food we ordered was good but it was a rather “cold” pub that had a modern extension and was a hotel but the worse thing was they hadn’t any real ale, a definite black mark.

After lunch we drove to “Mark” the village we had seen the house with the overgrown garden and stopped at “The White Horse” to get a comparison.   Unfortunately it was closed but we met a chap mowing what looked like a “putting course” but actually turned out to be “Golf Football”; instead of a golf ball you kicked a smallish football into the enlarged hole.   The bottom line was, he sold us the idea of going there for my birthday lunch so when we got back we rang and booked a table.

By the time we got back to Hope Farm, we heard Jane had received another late booking with the “folk” on the way so it was another quick changeover with no help!!!

A quiet evening was had by all playing Marjon.

Saturday 14th May

Jane on Ferris wheel

Dave left at a very un-godly hour, heading to “Swanage” to go climbing and at a more respectable hour after feeding the horses etc., we headed to Weston Super Mare for a day of “touristing”.  Firstly we went on the big Ferris wheel, then ate freshly baked doughnuts on the seafront before heading for the sand where Mia was going to play in the kiddies bathing pool: it is one of these pools that are under sea water at high tide, though today there was no sign of the sea, just the famous “mud”!    During this time I was left in charge of Mia whilst Jane and Christine headed to the end of the Weston beach to give “Oreo” a good run.   After this we all sat down to ice-creams;  All very healthy food so far today!!!!!

Mia playing by pool

We had a quick flip-around Weston as Jane wanted to see where I worked etc before heading to Uphill to give Oreo another good run and to try out the new ball thrower I had bought.   Whilst the ball throwing was going on, Christine and I enjoyed a nice cuppa sitting in the sunshine.

Mia enjoying her ice-cream

Back in time for a “proper” meal before we settled in for the evening.  Dave returned later from Swanage after a successful day’s climbing.

Sunday 15th May

Up with the lark this morning as we were off to a horse show; Mia’s first “proper” show jumping competition and she was part of the “Mendip Hills” team, the local branch of the Pony Club.   The equestrian centre where this was taking place was a 30-minute drive away and her class was early, hence leaving, even before breakfast!!!    Still it was worth the effort, the team came third overall.

We arrived back at Hope Farm at coffee time and old habits die hard, I had to dig out the bottle of Soberano of course and we enjoyed all this with a rather spectacular birthday cake.

Cake made of cookies and chocolate

Washed and spruced up we headed for the White Horse in Mark for our Sunday roast, first thing this morning I had written to the Fox and Goose and cancelled our booking there.  

What a good decision, our Sunday Lunch was excellent and naturally they had “Real Ale” available so a good time was had by all, thank you Jane and Dave for this treat.

Sunday dinner

After lunch we were going to play the “golf football” but as it was raining that went out of the window, so took the opportunity to revisit the outside of the bungalow before heading back to the house.   This evening we sat and watched an old film, “Notting Hill”, “ whilst  eating “cake”.  Thanks to Christine, Dave and Jane, my 78th was a memorable birthday.

Football golf course

Monday 16th May

Today was a fairly restful day, nothing much happened.   Christine did some gardening whilst I re-wrote and brought up-to-date the folders that are placed in the cottages for guests.

Tuesday 17th May

This morning whilst Jane was seeing to her horses we had a knock on the door, it was a cottage guest telling us “the little girl’s rabbit had escaped and was running around the lawn”; fortunately there was no one with a video camera filming me chasing around the garden trying to catch Truffle.   Anyway eventually I cornered her and put her back into her outside cage but for the life of us we couldn’t find how on earth she could have escaped, so decided she had run out of the house when a door was left open.

Truffles cage

Ten minutes later there was another knock at the door, it was the same guest; “I am sorry to disturb you again but your pet rabbit is running around the lawn again”: what!!!! How the dickens can she get out of the cage. It is an octagonal cage pinned to the ground with 9-pegs to hold it down and a top covers most of it, we were baffled but first we have to catch Truffle.   By this time Jane had returned and the three of us were charging around like lunatics.  Any way we eventually caught her and when we put her back into he’s cage we discovered how she had escaped.   She is a big rabbit and now we know strong.   She worked herself under one of the sides and when lose she just lifted the cage up, pulling the tent peg with it.  It appears Truffle is not only “strong”, but “bright” to work that out!!!   As we were getting late for an appointment she was “exiled” to her cage in the kitchen.

Sandford retirement village

This morning we had booked a tour of a “retirement Village” in Sandford, right opposite Thatcher’s Cider Farm, in fact the village is completely surrounded by Thatcher’s apple orchards.   Prior to our visit, naturally we had to take the obligatory lateral flow test for COVID; All clear, so we were allowed to join the party.

This retirement home is built in and around the old Sandford railway station and there is a small railway museum in the centre. The original railway station and line dates back to 1869.   The line and station ceased in 1963; part of the “Beeching Axe”.   The old railway engine and carriage, both mounted on a rails is an attractive centre piece of the village.   The village first opened in 2009, so very spacious, light and airy set in beautiful countryside yet close to limited village amenities however a couple of miles away is Winscombe, a much larger village with nearly everything you might need.   All ground floor flats had small gardens but the first floor flats had better views.  There were also a few houses on site.   We were very impressed by what we saw and have arranged another visit to one particular early June, though we are still not convinced this is right for us, we’ll yet!!!

This Afternoon we vacated our room after Christine had cleaned the bathroom etc., whilst I packed the car and then headed to Portsmouth.   We chose the scenic route across the Mendips through Salisbury but unfortunately it decided to rain, quite heavily so it wasn’t too pleasant.  

Wednesday 18th May

It was catch up day visiting Pat (Christine sister) for coffee, and later Jill for afternoon tea. Tonight we were taken out by Tom and Kathleen (Christine sister) for a rather nice meal at a local pub, “The Rising Sun” where we spent a very pleasant time

Thursday 19th May

Today we were due to travel to Chapel Brampton and spend the weekend with Mark, Paula and the girls but unfortunately we received a rather distressing ‘phone call about Paula’s sister so the weekend had to be postponed.   We wish Bev (Paula’s sister) all the best and a speedy recovery.

This morning we collected Jill and set off to the nursing home to visit her husband, Dougie who is 94 and not very well.   Dougie, ex RN was a great sailing “mate” of Christine over many years and I got to know him soon after Christine and I got together.  We have had numerous sailing adventurers together, along the south coast of England, the Mediterranean and in the Caribbean, and the centre of entertainment was always “Dougie”, having spent all his working life in the navy he had numerous tails to tell.   It is always sad when such a “dynamic” man suffers in this way. 

Dougie with a very young Andrew

This evening we popped round to Tom and Kathleen’s and collected a couple of trays of bedding plants to take to Hope Farm before heading to an old favourite pub, “The Bat and Ball” for their excellent fish and chips plus of course a couple of pints of “London Pride”.  

History of Cricket at Bat and Ball

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