Our plans to head off again to warmer climes in January were frustrated by two factors. One was that Claire and her partner Raf had separated, so she needed help with childminding while she was flying. On each trip, she is away for three nights and two days. As she works part-time, she does an average of one trip a fortnight, but she managed to schedule four trips for January, when it became obvious that we would be around. So we have been based in High Wycombe, alternating between the Gordon Road house when Claire is away and the Travelodge when she is at home.
The other reason for our continued stay in the UK was that Ian had a number of medical and dental appointments. His new ‘bridge’ tooth was fitted on Jan 15, and the basal cell carcinoma was removed from his arm on Jan 30 (stitches to be removed Feb 12). He continued to suffer chest pains and breathlessness, and hospital tests on Jan 7 indicated that (contrary to the GP’s theory) he had angina. The next step was an angiogram, but that had to wait until Feb1, and travel plans had to be postponed until the results were known.
The main downside of being stuck in the UK in January was the weather. This year we had snow and ice for a couple of weeks. Charlie enjoyed building a snowman with Sandie in the back garden, but for us the cold was to be endured, not enjoyed.
In one six-day period with no childminding or medical appointments, we hired a car and drove first to Loughborough to visit friends there. We saw a couple of theatrical productions: the musical based on Whistle Down the Wind, performed by a very good amateur group to a full house in the town hall, and a one-act comedy called Out in the garden, performed by university students, often with no clothes on (Brrr!). Despite snow on and off, we were able to visit some old haunts, including Leicester, Wollaton Hall (near Nottingham) with its collection of stuffed animals, and Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
From Loughborough we drove to Faversham and spent a weekend with Andrew, Ellie and the girls. Fortunately the weather had improved by then. We spent Saturday afternoon in Canterbury, mainly exploring the bookshops and charity shops. Claire brought the boys down on Sunday for the day, and we all had lunch together in a local pub.
STOP PRESS: Ian had his angiogram on Feb 1. He was diagnosed as having ‘mild coronary artery disease’, which will be treated by medication (he now has five sets of pills to take daily, instead of two). He was in the hospital for 12 hours, as he suffered internal bleeding after the procedure. More internal bleeding necessitated a trip to Stoke Mandeville hospital early the following morning, but we have been assured that it is a fairly common occurrence and nothing to worry about. He should be back to normal soon!