Our main concerns in January were healing up from the injuries sustained in December, our court case against the rental agents who rubbished our flat, and trying desperately to sort out where we’re going in February. And now we’re off – but where?
On the 11th Sandie went back to High Wycombe Hospital for a check-up on her wrist, and repeat x-rays confirmed there were no bones broken. Since then she’s been able to use it pretty well, but still gets some pain on and off. On the 5th Ian went back to Stoke Mandeville to have one plaster removed and another (lurid red) one put on. Three weeks later, he went back to have the pins removed. He is now in a wrist splint rather than plaster. He has been discharged from the care of the hospital, but will need physiotherapy and time to get the wrist back to normal. He’s had a couple of visits to the physiotherapist, who has given him exercises to get on with.
On January 14th we had the final chapter of our courtroom drama, with the full hearing of our case against IPS Property Services. We were claiming for the furniture that went missing, the renovation that was needed, and changing the locks because they lost the keys. The judge believed our version of events, backed up by all the evidence we produced, and awarded us damages. He cut them down slightly from the total we had claimed, but we were still awarded £3600. As the judgement was announced, there was an apocalyptic thunderstorm overhead, which we took as a sign of divine vindication. In principle we should have got £2000 almost at once, because that was what they had already paid into court, but there has been a hold-up due to red tape. On the other hand, much to our astonishment, we received a cheque from IPS for the balance of £1600, which we paid into the bank very quickly indeed.
Because of Ian’s arm we knew we couldn’t leave as we’d planned at the end of January, so we managed to arrange an extension on the flat where we’re living till 18 February, in the hope that he would be fit to travel by then. But where to? – another interesting story. We had been finding it hard to get any communication from the people in Ghana, but then suddenly we did get an email. This mentioned a room over the office which was being converted for our use – not quite the 3-bed house we’d been promised! We felt this would probably not be suitable for an extended stay, and asked if they could they find an alternative. There were also issues with the visas we needed, and eventually they came back on 27 January to say they weren’t really ready for us and it would be better if we left it a bit! Needless to say, this was bit of a shock after assuming it was all go and we’d be leaving for Ghana mid-February.
So the South America trip got pulled off the back burner and reinstated as the main plan. We went flat out contacting all the tours we’d been investigating and re-booking the flights. Fortunately we had not cancelled the carnival tickets and hotels in Rio and were able to go back to our original itinerary, except that we have lost two weeks off the front and start off with just two weeks in Buenos Aires rather than four. But we fly out on 10th February, so watch this blog for news of our trip.
Apart from all this, we haven’t managed to do a great deal since Christmas. Early in the new year we managed our traditional Christmas visit to London, seeing the lights and the Winter Fair on Hyde Park, and going to the theatre to see ‘Deathtrap’.
Another day when the sun was shining we got the bus to Bourne End and walked along the Thames to Marlow. The path was very muddy but we enjoyed seeing the Thames again.
One Sunday Claire drove us and Charlie down to Brighton, to visit Sandie’s cousin’s daughter Jo, her husband Jay and 4-year-old son Sam. The main purpose was to take back some of the stuff we’d borrowed from them for the flat, but it was good to see them again.
The following Sunday we had a day trip to Faversham to see Andrew and his family; we all went for a pub lunch, and Charlie was able to bond with his cousins again.
Our gap adventure is turning out to be somewhat more unpredictable than we bargained, but it’s all good. The next instalment of the blog will probably come from Buenos Aires. One thing’s for sure – we shan’t miss the British winter!