I can hardly believe it has been a whole month since I added anything to my blog but it is an indication of how busy I’ve been. All that should now change though as I live life in the slow lane Pootling Around Australia. Today started off by handing in our house keys to the letting agent and heading off towards Scotland. We are staying in a lovely Marstons Inn outside Stafford and will visit Manchester tomorrow to say goodbye to Zoe, my son Graeme’s three year old daughter. Zoe is a lovely little girl with a mass of curly blond hair. We don’t see as much of her as we would like but will still miss her. She is a very bright little spark. Calling in on Manchester will give us the opportunity to give Graeme a plentiful supply of leftover spices, oils, foodstuffs and cleaning products as well as purchasing some honey mangoes from one of Manchester’s Asian food markets. My father’s birthday is always the time these delicious mangoes are in season and even though my son-in-law claims Australia has mangoes hanging from the trees everywhere you go, even he has admitted they are pretty awesome!
No decision yet on our Planning Application but it has been forwarded to the Planning Committee for their meeting on 4th July with a recommendation of approval – could be a double celebration therefore on Dad’s birthday. The Maidenhead Running Sisters surprised me on Monday with a lovely card and bottle of Champagne – maybe it really is all coming together and we can crack open the bubbly before we go.
June has been a month of eating, drinking and being merry. First there was my walking holiday to Ireland with my very dear and funny friends Louise, Fiona and Theresa. We had the most amazing time and right from the off it was laughter all the way – whether that was Louise drinking her orange juice out of Vivienne’s best crystal, Theresa learning that she needed to bite and suck to extract the water from her Camelback, Fiona’s lookalike spotting at the airport or my inability to remember the order of letters making up the name of our Guest House which earned me a new nickname. We were really blessed with good weather and the scenery was truly spectacular. I loved the hedgerows filled with fuschias and wild flowers, wide open beaches, fabulous seafood and Guinness. We’ve vowed to do it all again in a year’s time when I return from Australia.
Second trip was a week in Alonissos with my long standing Scottish friend Ann. We have been visiting different Greek islands for nearly 20 years and this year it was my turn to book the holiday. We always go self catering and have stayed in some really lovely apartments as well as some not so good. This year we certainly scored on the view and ate our best ever Greek salad. The apartment was a little on the small side with a very ineffective shower curtain and no plugs but staff were friendly and we did buy ourselves a cute little basin (“No, Ann, I can’t fit it in my suitcase”)! It was a little strange to be lying on a sunbed completely stress free one day and then to return the next and move into full steam ahead panic mode!
The last week of June, as I predicted, was total madness. We enjoyed a special Asian meal cooked by our next door neighbours one night and an impromptu party with our Orpington friends the next day. Jane baked a gorgeous Bon Voyage Sponge Cake and decorated it with one of her speciality beading items – a Union Jack which will look great in Jura. It was a glorious day and the rose wine went down a treat – something I regretted very much the next day. No time for self pity, it was time to move our boxes into storage.
Mike’s engineering skills came into play and he had managed to stack boxes in the right order for loading and unloading. Amazingly everything fitted in, nothing got damaged and amusingly, as the photo shows, we even managed to position the case of unopened alcohol centre stage! It is a strange feeling to see your possessions all squashed into 140 square feet. With the garage clear it was then time to turn attention to the cleaning. Many hours were spent cleaning windows, defrosting the fridge and polishing furniture and bathrooms. Professionals came in to do the carpets, oven, hob and extractor fan and my goodness me they worked absolute miracles.
We got served a few curved balls during the week including the accommodation up in St Andrews suddenly turning round saying they could not have us stay after all – this was accommodation booked for 16 members of my family all travelling from overseas for our father’s birthday party! Short version of resolving this nightmare is that we will all now be staying at University Halls of Residence instead. We were also called in to help our neighbour who suffered a sudden bereavement only to find they blocked our car in for over six hours when they went off to the funeral!
These little things aside, we are now entering a whole new phase. This is it – we’re on our way. Fingers crossed Jura will be ready for us on the 15th July but that is not yet confirmed as there has been a last minute chassis change – you couldn’t make it up!