Saturday, 17 September 2022

Where were you?

I started this post on Saturday 10th September ( black font ) It's one week on now. ( Blue font ) Maybe I will finish it!


2022 The Queen

It's very strange to wake up and remember the Queen has died. 

I was at work, having just been in a DSL meeting, the first of the year catching up with all the new information that had happened over the summer for our most vulnerable and at risk children. The meeting had come to a close at 3.05pm and we were chatting more generally. We had been talking about the elderly and the head mentioned that the Queen was so frail and probably dying/at end of life but I took it as a general comment having not seen anything/heard anything at all of her since the Prime minister swap over and I remarked at the time that I thought she must have had cannulas in her hand as it was so bruised. 

"No." said my headteacher. She really is dying, its been on the news, the family is flying in. 

Well, my blood ran cold. I was sitting in her newly decorated office at a white table on a white chair. The hairs on my arms stood up and I became a bit overwhelmed with tears. It was a shock. Which is daft given her recent frailty and her age etc but as it has been mentioned by people on TV you kinda thought she would be here for ever because she has always been here forever. 

I was at the afterschool club until 5.30pm so did not see any more or hear anymore other than the BBC message that she was under medical supervision. 

I got home about 5.40pm and the HG and Mr 25 had just got home from work and Bluebell was doing her don't know who to greet first whilst wagging her tail off routine but as always, she settled with me. The TV was on and we all were chatting about how awful the news was and speculated, as probably every other household in the UK about what had happened/was happening. The HG rang his Mum to chat about her day and she has mixed dementia so she was busy saying she didn't know what had happened despite her having the news on ( an off day ) and I interrupted his conversation to say No , the Queen has died. He didn't hear me at first. I indicated to the TV where the proclamation from the PaLace was being shared. It was a renewed sense of shock and loss. We were a little stunned  - yes, she was 96, yes she was frail but this was the Queen. And that was that. The rest of the night we had the TV on in the background until I could no longer stand the endless commentary from the newscasters and we switched it off. 

I've been moved to tears many times:  the news footage this week of the coffin leaving Balmoral, and then onto St. Gile's , the King's speech, the grief etched on the faces of her immediate family, the heart gladdening of the King and his Queen being recieved in Ireland, the tributes and speeches from the World's leaders, and say what you like about Boris Johnson, he absolutely was spot on with his words. The pomp and ceremony and tradition of The Queen's coffin leaving Buckingham Palace was the most moving and yet spectacular piece of history I will ever know. I absolutely love the Queen, she was an amazing woman, who had this life foisted upon her, through no will of her own and she was incredible. 

Today, my lovely friend has taken the train down to London to go see the flowers and then wait in line to file past the Queen's coffin. I myself, don't have the urge but understand the urge for those who want to. 

Other famous deaths I can think of/meant something to me

Elvis Presley - I remember my Dad telling my Mum. I was sitting in our kitchen and he was telling her and showing her a photo. I was only very young but I recall knowing the name and hearing it a lot on the radio - or wireless as my beloved Nanna used to say. 

Michael Jackson - don't know the year and don't know where I was but know when it is because it was on my birthday! 

Diana Princess of Wales - easy for me to recall when and where. Mr 25 was born in 1997 in April. It was 5-6am ish and Id brought him downstairs to nurse him on the settee so as not to wake the then newly three year old Miss 28 and leave the HG a little bit before getting up to go to work. 

Plus I have always always loved that up first in a quiet house moment and the TV was on a rolling  breaking news thing that Diana had been involved in a car crash but was being taken to hospital with non life threatening injuries - I am pretty certain it was Anne Diamond and that Nick bloke on the sofa but those details are hazy. Not long after and I'd just switched the baby over bewbs wise and the news came that Reuters ( sp? ) were saying that she was dead and then it was confirmed. I stood up, baby still attached and shouted to the HG upstairs who I think had got up. I shouted for him to come downstairs now. He thought something was wrong with the baby - but no I said look - Diana is dead. And we were both dumfounded and I remember immediately thinking of her two boys and how their Mum's death was all over the news like it was. So that's where I was for that. I remember the days passing with all the flowers and I remember watching the funeral on TV but I wasn't a massive fan of her in the way a lot of people were. It was still a tragedy for all her loved ones. 

Victoria Wood - still devastated by this. Genuinely gutted about this one. My Dad mended her first husband's car you know. But she was genuinely one of my favourite women on the telly. 

Rik Mayall - saddened by his death, not sure when. Comedy genius. 

David Bowie - can recall being stunned to hear he had gone. Not a super fan or anything but understood his importance to Music.

George Michael - I think it was on Christmas day, not sure of the year. Wasn't surprised or overly moved. Very talented and tortured soul - same re Amy Winehouse - though couldn't stand the sound of her voice and couldn't see what all the fuss was about BUT a beautiful girl who missed out on so much life. 

I cannot bring to mind any more and it's now teatime so must go. 

Hitting publish. 

My friend has a wristband to go into the room where the Queen is lying in state between 6 and 7pm. I'm still not sure on the need and the extra buzz/joy of the fact the grandchildren may be there on show. It doesn't quite sit well with me but horses for courses and she was compelled to go, so she went. So far my lasting memory will be the sights and sounds of the coffin on the gun carriage being taken from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey - that's what I would have liked to witness in person. The sombre mood, the sheer synchronisation of the marching troops looking splendid, the way the King and his siblings marched all that way ( and it is a long way for an old man ) in time with the hypnotic back and forth side to side movement with the drums and the brass band. Long live the King and the Royal Family.


Love from 

Rachel *proud to be a royalist* Radiostar xxx

Thursday, 1 September 2022

September = School


 So

September

Sadness

School

Season

Spider

Season

Sorrow

Soon be half term. 

Freddie and Bluebell last week at Miss 28’s. 

It’s that time of year! It’s not been six weeks off! It’s been five weeks and three days off! We have two days of inset now and the childers are back Monday. 

I’ve allowed myself to listen to the flipping news of doom and got quite stressed yesterday about the energy price hike that’s looming. I did a little maths yesterday and concluded that I think I need to get my meter checked! Last month I used 499 units of electric  and Google told me the average house uses half that! We used 11 units of gas. Both with Edf on standard variable 




Hmmm

You need  a degree in something in order to understand the calculations on the bills! I’ve been carefully recording the meter readings since March. Something I’ve never really done to be honest. Oh quit with your audible gasps ! 

So there’s 3 adults here. 3 lots of devices on charge at some point in the day/over night. True it’s been the holidays and I have watched all of Game of Thrones but our TV is a new one so energy smarter than the old one but I’ve turned it off more of late rather than just leaving it on. My oven is electric. I’ve two fridge freezers. I’ve used my sewing machine a lot. I’ve electoral devices in the kitchen in daily use - the toaster! I’ve a washing machine and tumble drier. Both fairly new and energy efficient. I’ve used a lower spin this summer because clothes will drip dry etc. not as good when the drying window outside is shorter . I do have a heated clothes rail from Lakeland with a cover that is great and heats the room somewhat so will use that more. This month I’m going to not wash as much, spin less, shower shorter! To be honest this makes me sound like I’m over extravagant with my electric but I’m really not. We are at the moment in a big chunk of credit and are all working so 100 % better off than most. I really feel for those who live alone and no one  to share - there are people I work with who struggle already. There are food banks and food clubs already well used and over subscribed in my locality. I’ve access to emergency food boxes for those in need at work.  I strongly believe they will be more needed as the term goes on. I’m not so extravagant and wasteful as such, and there are many more out there more frugal than me and we could be a lot more frugal than we are now but I suspect that when one of us has had cancer and survived it, and the other had sepsis and survived it then it does lend itself to a more ‘f*ck it* attitude. 

Things I know I am guilty of ( those of a frugal disposition look away now! )

Shopping - the weekly food shop is mostly done online. Not at the cheapest supermarket in person as I could do. If there’s anything new or on offer, I cannot resist! I am a marketing man’s DREAM! I know all of their tricks and wily ways to get folks to buy! I do. 

I do buy treats - things that are none essential. Mainly for the HG and the dog. 

Buying way too much stuff - the tins and dried  cupboard is rammed, I bulk buy things when they are on offer. Probably a good habit. I’ve done this a lot. Fear of not having enough? Hoarding? Yes.

I have of late ignored the salad drawer in the fridge and not eaten all that I buy. 

Leaving electronic things on 

I do have some good habits going on! 

Well actually I always used to watch TV first thing with a coffee and the dog but now I’ve decided I’m not going to everyday. I can use my time better - in blogland for example haha. When I am at work, I do like to leave the TV on for Bluebell. I will endeavour to buy less and eat what we buy. I did do a stock take of the freezer in June and used lots of the things in there. Time to do another one. And I am enjoying free tomatoes grown from the seeds of a shop bought pommarino ( sp) tomato.


I have been much more mindful of late of the lights being left on and switching more things off at the wall but stuff like the TV and the various boxes that my son has linked into it need to be left attached to the electric because they’d all reset every time and it’d be a right ballache if I quickly needed something on screen. 

I am changing our internet/tv subscription from Virgin to Sky making a huge saving ( I just hate the upheaval ). 

TV watching is one of my loves! I love watching TV. I do. I’m not right interested in the reasons and whys  that some people have to not watch it or own one, their choice, that’s ok, it doesn’t affect me in the slightest bit oh my goodness the other way around? There are some right TV snobs about!! 

I’ve loads of free ( at least for ten years ) ways to occupy myself too. 

Walking the dog, knitting ( I’ve enough wool now in my stash to knit til kingdom come and beyond ) same re sewing and reading to name but a few. 

Right I’m boring myself now and losing my train of thought! A pictures interlude … 

I finished my Lego set of the bunch of flowers my son bought me. I’ve LOVED doing it and I really love the different colours and shapes of the flowers! I’ve yet to arrange them totally to satisfaction but here are some photos for you to get the jist. 






Also I finally sewed the coat pattern for my Luna Lapin. It was the one thing I saw at the knit and stitch show a few years ago that sparked my curiosity and admiration. I thought it was just exquisite and amazing and I never thought I’d be able to replicate it. Well I did and I’m dead chuffed! I made two! One from an Asda Tea towel and one from the beautiful boiled wool felt from Coolcrafting. 



My mum was 70 last week so me and my two little sisters took her for Afternoon Tea and it was just lovely. We are not all together often so Mum really loved it. My nephew had made her a school cake that the staff let us surprise her with after we had eaten. I love the food at the hotel we went to. It was all absolutely delicious! 




We then enjoyed lunch at a pub on Saturday ( I had scampi and chips no photo but it was delicious ) with Mum’s brothers and sisters, cousins and friends. I live that her best friend from school was there with her hubby. True romance story…. Mum’s friend was not a potter as locals say  but her beau was, they eloped to Gretna Green as soon as she was 16 to get married as they’d been forbidden to by his family! Over 50 years later - still happily married! THEN we went out for Sunday lunch at a different pub! 

I had roast lamb.

with my middle sister and her 4 children and me and mine as Miss 28 had come over from Newcastle with her Beau to celebrate! It was quite the shock to the system to have to cook for myself n Monday! 

Right best get a wriggle on and get sorted to go to work. Gonna be honest, I’m not right arsed about going back and I cannot stand all the faux joy and jollillity on getting back together hearing about everyone’s amazing holidays! But I will smile and fake the love for those that I must! 
Once back I will be fiiiine- it’s just the transition from full on laziness and pottering about and doing as I please and being with Bluebell all day that is the heartbreak for me! I’m fully aware also I do a good job, I’m good at my job and it pays for the nice things I like to spend ££££ on ! 
 Lots of love from 
Rachel *bra on, smile on* Radiostar xxx







Friday, 19 August 2022

Last but one Friday off

 Oh the outrage at the fact my six weeks holiday is actually only five weeks and three days! Every year it goes faster and faster. 

Today I’m having my hair cut so am really looking forward to it . I love having my hair washed for me. Especially since the arthritic shoulders arrived! Then tomorrow we are away with friends just overnight, to see lovely old friends for a covid postponed catch up. 

I’ve been playing a kind of fabric patchwork soduko/sudoko/sodoku ( all pronunciations covered! 

My friend had a clear out of all her fabric bits n bobs and the other week I ironed and sorted and decided not to stash it away but to make something with it. So I decided on new outdoor cushions and a tablecloth for my outdoor table. Typical- the HG worked like mad to tidy up the garden by getting rid of the scrap metal he was collecting ( £515!!! So worth it - free money but I’m glad it’s gone and I’m not looking out on Steptoe’s yard ) and done the bay tree and power washed ( sorry drought stricken friends in the south ) and done a tip run and now weather has changed, the nights are drawing in and SPIDER SEASON has already began here!

 Back to my patchwork, I wish I’d read Poppy Patchwork’s Hexi post and considered the different cottons and poly cotton qualities but too late. I’d have left out the yellow with red roses, the green and red printed with daisies gingham ( which I love ) and the red anchor fabric. Anyway - for the tablecloth I started with large squares but I really do like these smaller squares so I may just join four large squares together and chop them up!I tried to join a light to a dark, no spots, squares, plain or flowers together haha failed but it’s cheerful and I’m enjoying my little self. 

I’ll see. This is laid out on the floor and I’ve been switching and switching! I had to walk away! 



am almost done with my other little sewing project too - pictures to follow! 


I’ve also done one jigsaw which was a birthday present. The lighting for the photo wasn’t brilliant. It doesn’t do it justice! Lovely rich vibrant colours. I’ll keep this one and do it again. 




I’m also on with this Lego set my son bought me for Mother’s Day. I’m only doing one a day as I’m enjoying it so much, I’m ekeing it out! No smelly flower water to change just a dust with the feather duster now and again! I will take again with better lighting - it’s the dining room windows behind my table. 

I’ve something on the needles. A little white baby cardigan for my future if any grandchildren stash. I’ve baked, walked the dog, almost finished Game of Thrones. I’ve read the first Cornish Cafe book - easy light frothy reading but so enjoyable! About to start the second. 

Google found me this photo! 

Me and my friend went to the poshest hotel everrrr for afternoon tea. We go in memory of her Mum in August and because we like a good old gossip over iddy biddy sandwiches and tiny cakes! 

We are now employing ourselves as Secret Afternoon Tea -ers 

So this was The Belsfield Hotel, Bowness on Windermere. If you have ever been to Bowness where you get on the ferries right at the bottom of the hill, and turn around and look up the banking, there’s the hotel! It was as hot as the surface of the sun but it was cool and quiet inside. Such a beautiful old building. Of all the visits we’ve had so far this one tops the charts for the venue. 10/10






Staff - again very lovely  and attentive with the right amount of ‘madam’ and manners! One young chap should have had a dressing down off the Maitre D for his uniform. Desperately needed a wash and some needlework. 8.5/10 marks - loss of marks for unkempt waiter and a significant wait for the second pot of earl grey. We had to ask a second waitress to remind our waiter! It would have been a 7, but we awarded a 1.5 for them allowing us to put our boxes of uneaten delights in the fridge whilst we had a cold drink on the terrace

Food 




Sandwiches - fresh doorstep bread, white, brown and seeded

Egg and cress - needed seasoning - I had double egg because I don’t like salmon 

Cream cheese and roasted red pepper - our absolute favourite - delicious

Salmon - my friend ( we need to make up some Lady names I think ) said it was lovely 

Ham - roasted on the bone and the mustard was good though my friend wasn’t a fan. 

Cakes - the very lightest strawberries and cream square - the one we liked the most. It was gorgeous. There was a thick rich chocolate torte, a piece of good old fashioned vanilla school cake and then the scones. A fruit one and a plain with clotted crem and strawberry jam. Very light in texture and they were delicious but a tad on the crumbly side. Also a bit tight with the currants! The plain ones we took home! Stuffed. We also had a glass of fizz each - Prosecco for me and champers for her! 5/10 



Have a guess how much this pint of lime and soda and half a pint of lemonade cost! 


So that’s the lowest score for food but made up in ambience and opulent surroundings!! 

I may start up a side page for these ! We are hoping to squeeze another in on the Tuesday or Wednesday before we go back to work

Enough chit chat for now. Stuff to do, patchwork squares to wrangle! 

Love from 

Rachel *new hair day* *same style as per but shorter* Radiostar xx

Sunday, 14 August 2022

How much more can we stand?

It is Summer. It is hot. Relentlessly airless and all my pores are cleansed due to the free sweat therapy we have had! My left leg calf has three massive bites from horsefly number one and then think the others are spider bites ( shudders ) but I’m on bite watch as they are inflammed, swollen and hard and ITCHY. I’m on anti histamines, got magic cream etc 
But. 
I write this damp and cool having just come inside. 
It just rained. Big fat warm rain drops. Glorious to stand out in! And now there’s that ‘smell’ of it rains when it’s hot. And again, it’s glorious!
Hopefully those down where they really really need it gets some respite soon. 

A few months ago I wrote a post on the fact we were watching Chicago Fire and loving it and some one commented about the sister shows Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. well we are currently mid season 2 of Chicago Med. We love it and are thrilled haha when the fire department bring in patients! 
Also am watching New Amsterdam - I think it’s superior to CM but neither are a patch on ER which was the greatest Hospital Drama ever in my telly watching opinion haha. 

We went to a friend’s for a catch up last night. I also nipped to my other friend’s daughter’s 18th. She is a most delightful young lady. She’s spent the last two years doing A’ Levels at Chetham’s School of Music or Hogwarts for Musicians as my friend calls it. And oh my giddy aunts, the child is talented. Her Mum is an amazing friend and a wonderful and talented music teacher and she fostered this love for it in all three of her offspring. Bella is the eldest. I’m not sure if this will work but wow! I’m not sure if the link will work but it’s worth a go.
Chat soon 
Rachel *tasty left leg* Radiostar xx





Friday, 12 August 2022

Part 2 of the caravan story is in progress but I wanted to blog normally

 I've been a bit of a teenager again with this caravan story! It's like it's turned into homework and I'm brattishly not doing it! 

This is now my third Friday off in the holidays and the time is flying by. Currently it's over 30 degrees but fortunately its cool in my house because I open NO windows or curtains! The dog has been walked by 8am and she has a cool jacket to wear that works brilliantly.


 


She also has a new pool to play in that's better than the foldaway one we have. It's great that one but a right pig to clean and dry. This new one can have just a trickle of water in and will rinse out and dry easier. 

Done a little bit of gardening today. Well, the HG had given our lollipop Bay tree it's annual butchering classeh trim and I've been the muggins slaving away picking it all up. I HATE that tree and love it with a passion. 

I've a few examples of things like that in my life! Moany old biddy grouchy rantings coming up. 

The Bay Tree

I grew it myself into the shape it is now. It looks amazing. The branches and leaves during the haircut fall all over and the fragrant smell of it soon becomes sickly and overpowering to me. And it takes FOREVER to pick all the bastarding twigs up! 


The Tall Chrome Radiator/Towel Rail

Looks gorgeous when polished and warms the bathroom a treat. It's a right git to polish, it gets dusty and condensates and we made the fatal error of not tiling behind it so the bathroom had been half undecorated for far too long. I hate cleaning the bastarding thing. 

The Italian Slate Kitchen Floor

Cool as anything to walk on in Summer, not too cold in the winter. Looked gorgeous when first laid.  Quite easy to keep clean. Has chips in it where I have dropped plates that then smash into a quadzillion bastard pieces from one of my kitchen to the next. It's a good job it's quite easy to keep clean because it looks filthy the minute the mopping has dried.


Anywayyyyyyy, I've done some sewing, knitting, reading, not baking because I am still trying to be less fat, socialising with friends, catching up on TV and marvelling at how fast the weeks have gone. 

I'm new to being a Strictly fan - however there's not many of the celebs I know being announced so far. But I am looking forward to the glitz and glamour and as I type in this deathly hot heat of summer, cannot believe that when it is well under way Ill be lighting the fire and be huddled under many blankets keeping warm! Heat the person, not the house haha  - I am not listening anymore to the scaremongering on the news about the ridiculous price hike coming our way. I have seen a deodorant that lasts for 72hours so that saves on the weekly shower bill hahahaha 


72 hours! I may well test it out! Let it take on my lady of a certain aid flashes! Doubt it would last 72 hours worth of that! Anyway I am going to foot my energy bills by hiring myself out for hugs having an internal core temperature of a million degrees Fahrenheit! I could probably heat a room by standing in a corner and seething over such local matters that are pissing me right off lately. 

I'll chat about the books and jigsaws and afternoon tea next post probably. Hope all my bloggy chums are keeping well and are not succumbing to round 3 of covid, round 1 of monkey pox. global warming and death by who will be the next prime Minister. They are all lying self centred liars and no I couldn't do a better job myself! I am on holidays! 


What's new in your part of the world? 

Catch up soon


Lots of love from


Rachel *I'm Melting*Radiostar


PS. Fully aware of my lovelies darn sarf struggling with drought and hosepipe bans. I don't waste too much water on Bluebell and it then goes on the plants afterwards -  we are not on a water meter so I am fairly relaxed about it! Did you see the satellite pic of the UK on the internet the other day? Fascinating. 



Bloody hell it's hot. I'm TWOT!!

Thursday, 28 July 2022

All you need is a butter knife - introducing the debut novel - gripping thriller by Rachel *available for screenplay rights* Radiostar

All you need is a butter knife.

Prologue

Setting the scene -  Names have been changed to protect identities. I am me, there's Helga who's Aunt owns the caravan and Jemima who drove us there and here and there and back again. Helga had suggested a cheap and cheerful two nights away stay in the Western bit of Cumbria - Silloth. She had warned us repeatedly in the run up, that Jemima and I should have really low expectations of the caravan, and then when we visualised those expectations, lower them a bit more. The hard sell it wasn't! We didn't need inviting twice. We were all up for a giggle. Bearing in mind the last time we had stayed together was literally two nights before in what is supposed to be a posh Lakes hotel - more on that, next post. This was our third stay away with each other - the hen do of the wedding, the wedding and now this.  

Chapter 1 
Setting off

We had unpacked from the wedding and repacked for our first ever girls on holiday together. The group text messages since were mostly us saying how we were not packed yet. Helga had told us we would need warm clothes to sleep in and some bedding - bottom sheets too,. I asked the important question about bathing facilities. Helga replied...
Def fanny wipes. If you want to brave the shower then bring a bath sheet. Will be a Krypton Factor mission to figure the boiler out. She went on...
Lol am I selling the 5* Luxury caravanning? Low expectations needed. That way you will be blown away by the facilities.”
Then she put 3 laughing emojjis. 

I packed a single quilt ( after the HG questioned if I would fit in the sleeping bag ????!!!!! ) and flannelette sheet, some warm clothes, some food and drink and some beauty products for a pamper night. We had done this at the hen do and it was such a good laugh. 
So the budget break itinery was; eat, sight see, eat, enjoy each other's company on a two night sleepover.  
We'd decided to take a packed lunch for an in car picnic or eat in the van. There is a co op or a Spar in Silloth that we could go yellow sticker hunting in. There was an added option for chips ont prom. An ice cream at Allonby ( it's famous for it ) and then a trip to one of the nearby bigger towns. We all brought various bits of booze and food. Jemima had just started SW again. I was F8/SW. Helga is dairy and wheat free and is also on a Low FODMAP diet. All specialities just about covered! Helga and I used to always have salad and chips when we used to eat out as she was wheat/dairy and I couldn't eat eggs before I had my gallbladder out! Thank god for chips being all diets catered for! We brought a couple of games too to play. I also brought what I now know to be an endangered could have sold it for ££££££ bottle of Almond Baileys that I had in for ages. You can't get it for love nor money these days. I’d had it in a couple of years after buying it for one of Mr 24’s vegetarian girlfriends he had, however, the evil witch that she turned out to be* split up with him before the Christmas I was going to gift it to her. Us three chums are absolutely fine and pride ourselves n our ability and willingness to consume out of date items. So all was well. 


Jemima picked me up first. She has a smallish hatchback type of car. She’d gone for the double duvet and we squished my stuff in. We went to get Helga. She’d gone for the double duvet too. In it squished along with her big bags of food and supplies. We set off, excitedly laughing and talking none stop. We just got on the motorway and as we drove past the first service station, Helga received a phone call from her hubby, Augustus. She’d left her suitcase!!!!
At first we all just laughed our heads off. Helga declared we would just get something from the charity shop. But then she realised that’s where she’d also packed her medications. Anyway, we were close enough to leave the motorway at the next junction, pull into an unofficial lay-by, and await Augustus, the hero to the rescue, who set off with Helga’s case. 

Now I’m not saying that currently we are all a tad heftier than we would like to be,  ( See previous SW/F8/FODMAP ) but pulling into the lay-by, Jemima had to negotiate the massively uneven road surface and we all winced as there was an horrendous scraping sound as the possibly overweight car, lower to the ground than usual, inched over a huge mound, into a parking space. This made us laugh a lot! First the forgotten case - Helga’s possible demise on our hands and now we faced a journey of many miles wondering if the exhaust was going to fall off or the bottom of the car had been severely damaged. 

The journey whizzed by as we barely paused for breath chatting and laughing so much. Helga, all the time, explaining how we should not be expecting much. 
We arrived. The caravan site was huge. The address, Helga said, was Owl Close and we were in front of a field of llamas. We followed her directions and came to a nice bush that said Owl gardens. We looked for the llamas. None. We laughed as Helga said -  looking at the llamas was one big compensation for the caravan

Chapter 2
The caravan

From the outside? Well, yes, it looked well loved. It was a standard static caravan. Yes, one of the legs had almost rusted away, but the other legs, looked not quite as bad, up on their teetering towers of concrete breeze blocks. There was a small umm shelter/ shed at the side that was overgrown with shrubs ( That’s the shrubbery, Helga explained ) and the ahem,  Summer House with the patio furniture in. A lovely feature. Said patio furniture was green with moss and the like. We think it used to be white. It definitely had a patina I think they call it. Rich folks will pay a fortune for someone to apply a coating of yogurt to new furniture to achieve the same effect.  It just made us giggle. There was a rickety set of steps up to the front door. We all took a deep breath, tentatively gripped the less than stable wrought iron green handle and due to the afore mentioned heftiness, one at a time, followed Helga in.
The kettle will be explained shortly! But here is the way up and in. 


Have you ever read Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations? His powerful description of the room where Pip sees Miss Haversham? The sense of darkness and sad decay? Not even strong enough to describe what met us! 

To be fair to the caravan, it had been standing, forlorn and neglected for two and a bit COVID years - it had been ‘shut down’ by the site staff, which basically meant that the water was turned off to prevent damage by frozen pipes etc. 
We peered in, the curtains were shut so it was dark. As our eyes adjusted to the light we saw the beauty of what Helga had been describing. 
Inside it was direct from the 80s. All beige trim with Summer Chintz curtains. Perfectly acceptable to us. But there was black mould on every hard surface everywhere. Cobwebs too. It smelt ok, no damp. So all it needed was a bit of a wipe down and an airing and all would be well. We were given the guided tour. 
Three bedrooms, shower room, toilet, kitchen and lounge. The kitchen door was wedged open and the sound it made trying to get it shut was horrendous! 

and it was a long galley that we could only go down one at a time. Two of us? then it wouldn't have been just the door that was wedged! Jemima and I were already fine and had been charmed by the caravan! But we did need to clean it thoroughly! 
We needed water. 
Helga explained we needed to turn it on by turning on the external tap that was connected to the huge hosepipe under the vanSo that’s what we did. Helga went round the side of the van, Jemima and I followed to watch! 
All of a sudden, a tsunami of water, gushed from under the van towards Jemima and myself causing us to scream like the 15 year old school girls we had turned into! Helga appeared as quick as she could from the back end of the van, wondering on earth what had happended - we could only point and laugh and direct her gaze to see the torrential path of water, threatening to sweep us off down the valley. She ran** back round to the tap and turned it off. Upon further investigation we realised the hose connection had not been secure, we secured it and tried again. Wasn't fully secure as there was drippage but it would do for now. Back into the van we traipsed. We turned on the taps to see if we had water. We all collapsed with laughter again. Helpless with mirth, I think they say. 


The boring explanation is the site staff run antifreeze through during the shut down. That’s all it was. So we flushed all that through. Helga tried to light the boiler to no avail. There was a kettle. So we boiled water. Armed ourselves with cleaning cloths and bleach spray and set to work like the good little Cinderellas we were. We scrubbed everywhere. Opened the windows and doors to air it. Soon it was perfectly spick and span and clean enough and we were ready for a brew. We emptied the car, turned on the fridge, filled it with our food and enjoyed a lovely cup of tea and our picnic packed lunches. Helga switched on the gas bottles and then after a phone consult with her Aunty, she switched the correct bottle on. Helga had another go at lighting the boiler so we could light the fire as it was getting chilly. As she went to fill the kettle again, she dropped it and smashed it. As she tried to light the fire with several damp matches, she dropped a match on her Aunty’s bible and burned it. That’s it, we declared, we are definitely surely doomed now. 

We decided to go on a shopping trip for new kettle, via reception, to ask them to fix the water and turn on the boiler. We drove into the town. So empty and peaceful and quite pretty.  We entered the amazing world of Jaybees. The shop that sold everything. Unluckily for us,  the shop although it had the brill cream and cheap sunglasses on Helga’s shopping list, it didn’t have the quality £14.99 kettle we wanted so we decided we could live with boiling a pan for a brew. We got back to the caravan to discover no site person had been to fix our water/boiler so there were several more attempts to light the boiler. 

So we brewed up, sat and had a natter. I went to attempt the boiler again, we braced for an explosion but....success! I’d managed it. Not sure how, even to this day! I went for a wee on the way back to the lounge and came back laughing, declaring the bulb in the bathroom had gone. Talk about Carry On Caravanning!

Just then Helga’s daughter rang to see how we were getting on and that she’d see us all tomorrow as her and her young man were coming for an overnight holiday. It was dusk. Helga told her daughter all about our escapades but it was getting dark and we were going to think about making tea. She hung up. We closed the curtains and set about getting comfy for the evening. We put the big light on. That bulb had gone too. We hadn't managed to find a spare bulb yet for the bathroom! Helga said that there would be some bulbs somewhere as her Aunty basically had it stocked for the apocalypse. She turned on the kitchen light to look in the cupboards. Oh oh! No kitchen light had gone too..... 
Except it hadn't gone...There was no electricity! 
None!
We could not stop the hysterical laughter at this point. It was literally pitch black by now. 

Jemima and I had yet another comedy moment as when Helga was stomping round the van hunting for the electric box, by the light of our mobile phone torches, the water in the glass on the table was vibrating like it did on Jurassic park. ( We were wondering if the rusty leg was going to give way! )
 Before it got any pitch blacker, we decided to do what any modern day damsel in distress would - go find a man to help! Just before we set off in the car, I had  to evict massive tarantula via the mop head thrusting it out of the door method before we could get out of the caravan.  Because we were laughing so much, Jemima took many wrong turns and we included a 360 point turn with the indicators going in the car on the way to reception. Helga left us to find reception. She went, she came back …everyone from reception had gone home long long ago! Helga, by now was crying, helpless with laughter and decided to head to the campsite bar to ask for help.  Into the packed out pub she went, crazy lady with firmly crossed legs, crying, pleading for the barman to get help. She said she could barely get her words out! She tends to speak in a very squeaky thin tone when hysterical and would have been at the point of an asthma attack with all the efforts. It felt like Jemima and I were waiting in the car for aaaaaaages.  Writing it here does not convey how very very funny this all was. 
Eventually she came out and now it was Jemima and me laughing because we'd moved the car and were parked in a different spot and she couldn't see us! She got in, and said a knight in shining armour was on his way. 
We returned to the pitch black caravan to await rescue. It was the night of a big football match on the TV.  I said I bet the poor person they send will be effing and jeffin about effing holiday makers, effing well coming here, effing useless etc.

 Soon after, our knight appeared. 

 A small, squat knight  - our rescuer was erm a man in shorts. He had a  beard and a funny accent saying he’ll learn us what to do, all the while shaking  his head and falsely smiling. I could tell he was annoyed!  He didn't have official campsite clothing on. But we could have just killed him if needed with a game of All Pile On. So we put our trust in him. 

He opened the main electric box with a metal butter knife - waving it at us and said,
 "All you need is a butter knife!" 

He showed us, he mansplained it carefully and  told us it was sorted. He was trying to clear off when we shouted noooo come back it’s not on, he asked to be invited in ( rather like a vampire )and rifled through Jemima’s bedroom at the back end of the van.  He was in the cupboard, pressing buttons - the lights would not turn on. He asked us what had we done. He asked us what was plugged in. He told us to unplug everything. He got the lights on and we set about plugging the only two things that were plugged in. He told Helga it was her fault for breaking the kettle - reader, she had dropped it on the floor, now Im not an electrician, but I am pretty confidant,as Chris Tarrant would have said on Who wants to be a millionaire, that there was zero electrical issue with the kettle.  We then discovered it was the fridge tripping the switch. He broke the news we needed a new fridge. The  fridge that we had stocked with perishables - naturally we found this hilarious.  So it was fridge off,  lights on, beds made up, on Pjs on and tea! I said that the next day we should get a bag of ice to help keep stuff cool in the fridge but we wrapped things up in tea towels to help insulate and figured it’d all be fine! 






* Actually a nice enough girl, just didn't work out. 
** staggered, doubled over with laughing


 Back soon with the final enthralling chapters.....

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Beginning of April….the wedding with some photos - mostly the food!

 I attended the wedding of two lovely childhood sweethearts  - now aged 30, but been together 15 years already….with two of my very best friends. 

Here we are ready to set off in our floral frocks. My feet were freezing, so I travelled in my slippers!

We all had a coordinating fascinator  on - I borrow mine off my other very best friend and we affectionately call it the dead crow.

here’s mine on a jaunty angle….



and theirs….

I have to say we all scrubbed up really well! The bride looked stunning and it was a fabulous day. The colour scheme was pretty and the decor was not OTT.

The wedding breakfast was delicious. 
I had melon to start, 


roast beef for main 


and white chocolate cheesecake for pud. Followed by coffee and wedding favours! 


The cutlery was most pleasing to use. Very well balanced! 

 

It was bbq pulled pork and chips at night. 





The breakfast restaurant was divine. Little bunny joined us. View of the Lake and the breakfast was every bit as good as it looked! 





We had such a giggle and thoroughly loved our time together. 



So much so, we went away together a few days but that’s another post.

Lots of love from 
Rachel *trying to catch up* Radiostar