Our travels are not beginning again until May 27th, when we fly to Corfu for a walking holiday. Nevertheless, May has been a busy month.
By the beginning of May Sandie’s heels (badly injured on her birthday) were more or less back to normal (we hesitate to say they were healed). Her boots had been put on a special machine in order to soften the heels, and she was keen to try them out and ensure that she had comfortable footwear for the Corfu trek.
On May 3rd we did a pub walk from the village of Penn Street, not far from Wycombe. It was only 3.5 miles, and the boots caused no problems. So far, so good.
On May Day we had our grandsons staying with us, and as the weather was good we decided to introduce them to one of our favourite activities – walking the Thames Path. It is ideal for children as it is flat and there are always things to see on the river. We went by bus to Bourne End and walked to Marlow – only about 2.5 miles, and the boys are good walkers. We had ice creams and a picnic lunch along the way, and when we got to Marlow we spent time at the playground before getting the bus home.
The next day Claire was back, so we tackled a rather longer circular walk from Great Missenden. Sandie’s boots were fine for the first three miles or so, but then started giving trouble. Reserve footwear will definitely be needed for Corfu!
Well, they are not really babies any more. On 14th May Claire flew to Los Angeles, and after visiting Disneyland drove to Las Vegas. The purpose of the trip was twofold: to celebrate her impending 30th birthday, and to meet up with her friend Steph who was on her way home after nine months in Australia.
The boys moved in with us on the 13th, as Claire was leaving early the next day. Two days later, Ian’s sister Maggi (an expert at DIY) arrived to decorate Claire’s living room. For the next four days she stayed in the house with her dog Jack and Claire’s cat Mitsy (who objected strongly to Jack’s arrival, but learned to tolerate him). Ian spent two days helping with the painting, and we did general things such as moving furniture and washing curtains. Sandie also took Jack for walks: she is a novice at this, but fortunately Jack is very calm and well-behaved. This enabled Maggi to press on with the decorating, and by the time she left the room was looking great.
At the same time, we were of course looking after our grandsons. Charlie was at school, and enjoyed walking there from the flat, especially when accompanied by Jack. With Oscar at playgroup three mornings a week, and nursery two afternoons, and Charlie having several after-school activities, the routine gets quite complicated. Fortunately the weather was great most of the time, and we managed to fit in some visits to the local park, as well as helping Charlie with his school project.
On Saturday morning Sandie walked into town with the two boys and Jack. Completely by chance, they happened on the ‘mayor weighing ceremony’ which takes place in High Wycombe every year. We’d seen it on TV, but this was the first opportunity for one of us to see it live.
May seems a good time for birthdays among the people we know. Charlie went to a schoolfriend’s party after his swimming lesson on Saturday 17th. Next day a friend of Claire’s collected both the boys and took them (with her daughter) to the party of a mutual friend in Henley. And the day after that it was Ian’s turn. For his birthday dinner we went to the Gate, a country pub with an excellent playground attached. As the weather was warm and sunny we were able to eat outside, and drink while watching the boys play.
Claire arrived home on Thursday 22nd, and her birthday was the following day. We had a family tea at the local Pizza Hut, as we did on Charlie’s birthday last month. Then it was back to Claire’s house, where the boys went to bed and we were joined by friends for birthday bubbly. Claire’s main party was on Saturday 24th; she went out with friends for dinner and drinks, and knew she would be very late back, so the boys spent another night in our flat. They’ve been here a lot recently, but this will be the last time for a while, as we shall be off on our travels again soon.