‘Summer’ in England

Allegedly, the summer
weather in England was beautiful – until we got back. August has been dire –
cold, wet and windy – and our shorts have been packed away for the foreseeable
future.

We’ve settled
well into our modern flat in High Wycombe, and are keeping ourselves busy with
various tasks, such as doing tax returns, putting together the claim against
the agents who mismanaged our flat in Slough last year, and planning our ruby
wedding celebration in October. Sandie has done some more work for the Ministry
of Education in New Zealand (due to the wonders of email) and Ian is trying to
get back into his painting. Despite the weather, we’ve managed to do a couple
of longish (10-12 mile) walks round the Chilterns, and have re-discovered the
joys of English country pubs on these and shorter walks.

We have been
fortunate to have been able to meet up with a number of our friends and relatives
during August, and spent a couple of nights away from home. We went to
Faversham to visit Andrew, Ellie, Hope and Isobel; we had an enjoyable pub
lunch together, and babysat in the evening while Andrew and Ellie went out to
celebrate their (ninth) wedding anniversary. We went down to Hove (near
Brighton) to pick up Ian’s art stuff that he left with Sandie’s cousin’s
daughter Jo. We had a pleasant time staying with her and her husband and their
young son Sam.

We were also
glad to be re-united with Lucy, our/Claire’s cat, who is now approaching the
ripe age of 17. While we were away she had a really rough time, being hit by a
car and suffering a badly broken leg. The vet said it would be almost
impossible to repair and amputation was the best option, so now we have a
‘tripod’ cat. Despite her age she made a really excellent recovery and is
getting around pretty well on three legs. She even apparently stole a chicken
leg from next door and made off with it at speed!

Twice this month
we had days in Slough, where we used to live, in order to visit our
hairdresser, dentist, optician and rental agent. On the last occasion we also
had a reunion with our friends from the Willoughby Tappers dance group that
Sandie used to belong to.

Claire’s work
routine has been disrupted recently, due to coming to stay with us in Florida
and also going to Poland with Raf and Charlie for nearly two weeks during
August. This has meant she has had to cram in a number of flights for Qantas in
quick succession, and we have been ‘holding the baby’ while she does so. In
fact, we’re now catching up with our grandparenting duties that we’ve neglected
over the last year.

Charlie stayed
with us for four nights in a row at the end of August, sleeping in the travel
cot in the spare room. He’s no trouble, and seems to have adapted well to being
looked after by his grandparents. His walking is progressing well, and he talks
a lot, although no-one can understand him (unless it’s Polish he’s speaking).
Over August Bank Holiday he came with us on a number of trips, including
Windsor, Virginia Water (an artificial lake in Windsor Great Park), Boulter’s Lock
on the Thames at Maidenhead, and Hampton Court. It was good to be able to
re-visit some of our favourite haunts in the company of our grandson.

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