Saturday, 7 February 2015

Two years - a quick gallop!

I am flabbergasted! I had no idea it was nearly two years since I last posted a blog here! Where did the time go?  I suppose this blog had stopped having much of a purpose to be honest. And I'm not sure whether to keep it going or dump it or what. I'm caught between wanting an anonymous outlet and finding it restrictive to keep from mentioning identifying information. And if it's just a diary for me, why bother posting online at all?! I have Evernote and GoogleDrive, and such like, to keep online journals.

It's 7th February 2015. My birthday week (not a special one - that was 2 years ago!)

Not sure whether to even attempt to sum up the last two years -  it all merges into a bit of a blur. Some things haven't changed at all - I still work in a school as a teaching assistant, and I still volunteer as a Beaver Scout Leader. Still live in the same house.

One of the biggest changes is that my husband took early retirement (aged just 55) in January 2013 - so the whole of the last 2 years has been the first part of that new phase.

It has been a very positive change - he is much MUCH happier, and we've made it work financially, despite my initially concerns. We enjoy having more time together - in fact most days, when I get home from work at lunch time, we can sit and have a chat. Not that my husband is idle - far from it! He's such a self-starter that he has no trouble staying productive in many different ways!

In February 2013 it was my 50th birthday, so that Easter (early April) we had a fabulously special holiday in Florence!! It had always been a dream of mine to go to Florence some day, and it really did live up to my expectations. We had a wonderful time! And a special coach trip (full day) was a good way to get to see Siena and Piza and more besides!

Birthday photos for actual day in Feb - locks on the wobbly bridge and a meal at the British Museum with B. A few days later (and I'd forgotten this!) W treated me to a cinema trip to the posh Vue Scene at Westfields to see Les Miserables. I cried 4 times, apparently (Facebook status).

February half-term - trip to Dublin AND Belfast, experimenting with cheapest tickets (brief stay with N&J solo, then a few hours looking around Dublin, then bus to Belfast - and flew home from there)

Early March 2013 - I dressed up as Mr Wrong for Book Day at school!

March 2013 - visit to NH Cambridge (was this on the way back from the Spa week-end? I know I was on my own, but not sure of the circumstances)

March 2013 - Spa Week-end with 2 oldest friends, C & D

April 2013 - B and I did a Treasure Trail up in London

Early May - Bank Holiday trip to St Albans

In Spring 2013, (3rd June in fact) we bought a small flat in Bermondsey with my husband's lump sum(s). It was an really good investment (although we have still to sort out the purchase of the lease extension, as that went slightly wrong at the time - but no biggy; we will be able to do it this coming spring, albeit it will probably cost more!)

Our eldest son - and during her brief spells in the UK, his fiancee - started living there as soon as we got the keys, in spring 2013. They cover all the various bills (council tax, utilities, service charges) but don't pay us any rent.

So for the rest of 2013, and the first half of 2014, our son was living there mostly on his own, working long hours every week to earn enough to meet the financial requirements of the visa his fiancee would later need to gain access to the country for their wedding in August 2014. Meanwhile his fiancee was mainly in Germany (on a scholarship work experience posting).

June 2013 - the Garden barges - a lovely outing with W& J

Late July 2013 - went to see Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (with W&J) Right up in the Gods... the cheap seats (subsequently closed when part of the ceiling fell down in that theatre!)

Early August - trip to Northern Ireland (need to check further details)

Summer holiday 2013 was a cottage next to a Windmill in Norfolk. Lovely place - and we had a very enjoyable week, including a boat trip to see the seals. Another highlight was Norwich cathedral, and the wonderful medieval streets near it; and a boat trip on the Norfolk Broads (well I enjoyed it - B less so). Kept a journal - held on Evernote.

Summer 2013 - also met Js' mother, sister & 1 brother on their trip to London (had meal with us here but didn't stay with us) Also trip to Winnie the Pooh bridge with W&J plus A (sis).

(Late?) August - Went to see Midnight performance of Tempest at Globe (on my own cos J was poorly.) It was wonderful!

Late Aug - visit to neice & great-nephew with J (Mary Arden's farm)

Visit to Harry Potter studios was for Wedding Anniversary 2013! Wonderful!!

Visit to Bletchley Park was in Autumn 2013 (but when did we go to the Churchill WarRooms??)

Christmas 2013 - the Christmas of the Dressing Gowns (my parents with us for that Christmas) Also loved my present from W & G of recreated poses for 'then and now' photos. Very funny, and very cute!

Feb 2014 - birthday  Brunch with the youngsters at Pizza Organic. Then later matinee at candlelit Sam Wannemaker theatre with husband
(Given trip to top of Shard as gift by L (and G?) = AMAZING!!!
(The night before Shard trip was Panto I was in, with post-show booze really, really REALLY wasted!! And walked home on my own at stupid-o'clock!)

Feb half-term 2014  Trip to Bury St Edmunds, and Ely: (22nd Feb - from Facebook) 'Just back from an excellent mini-trip with B - and dog (set off yesterday morning, back this evening)! We visited Ely for the first time - and also managed a quick look at Bury St Edmunds before we headed home this afternoon. Beautiful weather, lots of fascinating history and architecture, long walks with the dog, good food and a very nice overnight stay at the Red Lion in Stretham. The highlight (while Cadi had a snooze in the car) was getting to climb up Ely Cathedral's medieval Octagon Tower - this even included clambering around its supporting timbers, up among the angels. The central octagonal lantern (clad in lead and weighing something like 400 tons) hangs in the centre - as if floating in space, all its weight thrust out and down, taken by the massive diagonal 'spokes' of oak, set into the surrounding stone pillars. Out on the roof - above the supports - we could see as far as Cambridge, right on the horizon, particularly the distinctive shape of the University Library. Over the course of the whole trip we (mainly Bob) took over 250 photos!!'

March 2014 - did Beaver Sleepover at Chalfont (again!)

March Went for lunch (unsuccessfully) and show with EW and lots of others.

Easter 2014 - April 2014 trip to Selsey (including East Head at West Whittering) Also Roman villa at Fishbourne.

18th May - Beaver Bonanza (Pirate theme)

Went to see both Wolf Hall play  - with B. First one was in late May 2014

24th May - Murder in the Cathedral
 25 May - Calvary at Electric Cinema

End of May 2014 - Portsmouth Historic Docks & the Mary Rose (day trip)
(Late May - hunting for outfit for Wedding, and arranging for wedding dress cleaning)

6th June - gas emergency, with big holes & engineers around all night!

June 2014 - 5:2 diet (again!)
11th June - Bring Up the Bodies (2nd play, Wolf Hall was 1st)

Summer 2014 - A V SHORT PRE-WEDDING HOLIDAY (as soon as term broke up) - Dorset: stayed in Hotel inland for a couple of nights first, then room at an Inn nearer the coast. VERY HOT SUNNY WEATHER! Lots of swims in the sea!! Found lots of beaches never found before!

8th Aug - went to Guardians of the Galaxy with just Wynn

12th Aug - Richard III (but with understudy rather than Martin Freeman, unfortunately - but still v g)

15th Aug - the desperate measures (inc driving up to Sheffield) - to get the visa processed in time

August - G&L moved into their rented flat (not long before W&J's wedding)

THE WEDDING ITSELF!! (with a bit of drama immediately beforehand!)
Day itself was magical and wonderful - but just a tiny sting in the tail at the very end, for B (which had lasting after-effects)

Trip to Langrish House (after guests left - a week after wedding)

Early Sept 2014 - our 25th Wedding Anniversary. On actual day, nice meal out at favourite restaurant.

14th (ish) really really horrible cold - a lurgy that just went on and on and on and on!

(bought a new washing machine....had a bit of bother but eventually got it installed so we could use it!)

20th Sept - George Inn meal then Julius Caesar at Globe with EW

23rd - Ani Di Franco at Union Chapel with V & chums

27th Sept - Beaver Hike at Ruislip Lido

Also the King Charles III (4th Oct)  - with B

11th Oct - big get-together for my mother's 80th. ALL the young ones from both families! (B got a bit stressed)

October 2014 - Day Trip to Blenheim Palace - Ai Weiwei exhibition included with B

Oct 2014 - Quiz Supper with A&I (& we won!!)

Gone Girl film with B

Teh Internet with EW (was vg)

Oct Half Term 2014 - Bruges trip!!!!

8th Nov - Mr Turner film with B
9th Nov - remembrance day parade. Then Tower of London poppies (shadow photo my v best shot!) and then to the Burg for meal with W&J

11th Nov - New Boiler!! Hot water on demand.... (Works well, but hard to get upstairs rooms warm enough - ever!)

15th Nov - Went to see Imitation Game film with B

24th Nov SIGNING EVENT WITH CARY ELWES at Picadilly Waterstones - WONDERFUL!!! (cryptic posting on FB to keep the secret)

Beaver & Cub Xmas Show - 12th Dec
14th - Panto outing to Hammersmith Lyric with Beavers & Cubs (Dick Whittington)
19th - Carol Concert at Bloomsbury Baptist Church (to see J)

Christmas - W&J (from Xmas Eve, & J&I went to midnight mass), plus G (fetched along with kittens Xmas morning; gave L lift to her mother's place; she then got taxi to ours that evening) B did traditional meal, albeit with no full bird.

28th - visit to Burg, with walk to Burgess Park & beautiful sunset!

My parents came for New Year. Visit to G&L's flat - with meal cooked & taken with us by B. Then everyone together for big meal on 31st.  Big Jigsaw of London - given by G - completed in time for NYE - but with one missing piece (never turned up sadly!)

B's birthday - all met for lunch up in London (unfortunate theft - poor G!)
Trip to Cardiff for P's birthday
End of Jan - Trip to Hunston for W/e (immediately before my birthday)

Birthday - out with B: Museum of London (lunch then Sherlock exhib) Evening - round to G&L for take-away