Specs, spots and family encounters

Easter, and the week following, was a time for seeing family and friends. We reckon we saw all of our close relatives in the space of a week, which must be something of a record!

Maundy Thursday (April 17) was Charlie’s 5th birthday, although his party was not until Easter Sunday. We took his presents round that afternoon. He went to Dragons (martial arts club for children) as he enjoys it so much, and afterwards we had dinner at the Pizza Hut – salad bar and ‘ice cream factory’ very popular!

Birthdays rule!

Birthdays rule!

On Good Friday Ian’s sister Maggi came over to visit, accompanied by her dog Jack, and bringing more presents for Charlie. Jack (a large dog, but very gentle and calm) was popular with the boys, but he was terrified by Mitsy, Claire’s new cat! In the afternoon we all visited a small fair that had set up on the Rye (large park close to Wycombe town centre). In the evening Jack stayed in our flat and Maggi came with us for dinner at one of our regular pubs.

That cat's looking at me!

That cat’s looking at me!

Charlie learns the art of dog-walking

Charlie learns the art of dog-walking

 

Fun at the fair

Fun at the fair

Saturday was a busy day, with shopping and party preparations in full swing. The boys stayed overnight with us and the following morning we took them to a children’s club screening at the local cinema. We saw Mr Peabody and Sherman in 3D. Charlie loved it, but Oscar fell asleep half-way through!

The party in the afternoon was held in a local hall, and was quite manic, with 16 children aged five or younger all rampaging around. Charlie was inundated with presents. Sandie went to help, while Ian ‘manned the fort’ at Claire’s house – a rather more peaceful occupation!

Birthday party rumpus

Birthday party rumpus

Pass the parcel

Pass the parcel

 

Lego-themed cake

Lego-themed cake

On Easter Monday Andrew, Ellie, Hope and Bel came for a short visit (yet more presents for Charlie). Hope and Charlie worked together on assembling some of the masses of Lego he received for his birthday. Since we cannot seat nine in Claire’s house or our flat (that’s our excuse anyway), we had lunch at a local pub. A common theme in this blog!

Lego master builders at work

Lego master builders at work

 

What happens if we push this button?

What happens if we push this button?

Another UK tour

On Tuesday 22nd April we were at Heathrow early to collect Sue from Venice, Florida, and her sister Alice from Atlanta. As part of a home exchange arrangement, they stayed in our flat for a week.   Meanwhile, we hired a car and set off on another of our ‘UK tours’.

First stop was Manchester, where we stayed overnight. When Paul finished work, we met up with him and his fiancée Alexa for drinks. Then the four of us went on to a smart Indian restaurant, where we were joined by Alexa’s parents for dinner.

The next day we drove on to Glasgow (Manchester is conveniently halfway) to visit Ian’s aunt, now aged 94. On Thursday we took her to an enormous garden centre at Milngavie – a popular destination for residents in Aunt Margie’s nursing home as it is wheelchair friendly. We had coffee there, and later walked across the car park to the ‘Tickled Trout’ pub for lunch.

Lunch in the pub (again)

Lunch in the pub (again)

After Jim (the home’s driver) had taken us all back to the home, Aunt Margie was tired, so we left her and walked down to Byers Road. There we looked at charity shops and had a drink. We crossed the road and strolled through the Botanical Gardens, but our visit was curtailed by a sudden heavy shower.

Glasgow Botanical Gardens

Glasgow Botanical Gardens

 

Inside the glass house

Inside the glass house

Next day we brought Aunt Margie to the Pond Hotel (where we stay) for lunch. Then we said goodbye and headed south again for Loughborough. Our original plan was to stop overnight en route, and stay Sat-Tues with our friends Roger and Jacqui. However, our tour was abbreviated as Claire had been unable to change a work trip scheduled for Sunday, so we needed to be back to look after the boys.

Aunt Margie, looking good

Aunt Margie, looking good

 

Viewing family photos

Viewing family photos

Thanks to leaving Glasgow fairly early, we drove all the way to Loughborough on Friday, so were able to stay for two nights before returning to High Wycombe. Most importantly, we were there for Saturday evening, as Jacqui had booked dinner and theatre seats at the Curve in Leicester. This time we saw a musical based on The Water Babies, which was a bit disappointing. We found the plot somewhat confusing, and the production was less spectacular than Finding Neverland, which we enjoyed so much at the Curve last year.

We arrived at Claire’s house on Sunday afternoon, in time for her to set off for the airport. We admired her new look, with glasses (her second pair – the first ones lasted less than 24 hours, being trodden on by Charlie).

 

Claire in uniform and glasses

Claire in uniform and glasses

We were also greeted by an extremely spotty Oscar – Charlie had had chicken pox two weeks earlier, but his spots were nothing compared with Oscar’s! By Monday he was bright and cheerful, and no longer infectious (although still spotty) so we were able to take him to Marlow while Charlie was at school.

 

Cappuccino is good for my spots

Cappuccino is good for my spots

We had panic phone calls later on Monday from Sue and Alice, who were moving on to Paris next day by Eurostar, and were concerned to hear about the planned tube strike. As a result, Ian drove them to Wycombe station very early on Tuesday morning. Then (after taking Charlie to school) we moved back into our flat, and resumed normal life – whatever that is!

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