In the last month, we have kept busy as usual, mainly with family events and medical matters. We have had some enjoyable times with friends, and even made a start on the Christmas shopping!
In and around High Wycombe
High Wycombe is surrounded by woodland, which means we have plenty of scope for country walks, accessed either direct from our flat or via a short bus ride. We have enjoyed the autumn colours, although some of the paths are very muddy. The area is also very hilly (hence the ‘high’!) which makes walking quite good exercise.
Wycombe itself has a good shopping centre, but sometimes it is nice to have a change of scenery. Thanks to the excellent local bus service, we have spent days recently at Watford, Slough and Reading.
Our grandsons stayed with us for the weekend Oct 18-20, while Claire was on a working trip. We took them to the Saturday morning children’s show at the local cinema, where we saw an animated film called The Nut Job. Charlie had a birthday party, and Ian did some pumpkin carving – the boys had to take one each to school on Monday morning. Oscar’s one had a Peppa Pig design (he is a big fan) and won the prize for the best in the nursery.
The week following was an eventful one. On Wednesday, Claire had a training day. Charlie was still at school, but the nursery department had already closed for the half-term holiday. So we took Oscar to Uxbridge, and went for a walk along the canal as well as a tour of the charity shops. Thursday was Oscar’s birthday – he is now 3! But his birthday treat was on Friday, since by then Charlie had finished school and we were able to have a family day out at Peppa Pig World (where else?) near Southampton. We had fun on the various themed rides, including the dinosaurs that bobbed up and down as they went round the track. After driving back we ended the day with dinner at the local Pizza Hut, but by then Oscar was so exhausted he slept right through the meal!
The next day, people arrived from north, east and west for a family weekend. Twelve of us (and Jack the dog) gathered at Claire’s house for lunch, after which Paul took Charlie to a football match. While they were there Claire met up with friends from Birmingham who were visiting other friends for the weekend. The rest of us went for a short autumn walk in the parkland surrounding Hughenden Manor. In the evening the eight adults enjoyed dinner at our favourite local Indian restaurant. On Sunday we went to the park so the boys could show off their footballing skills to Uncle Paul. We then had another lunch at Claire’s and dispersed to our various homes.
Not such good news
After returning home we put some washing in the machine, but it made the most horrible noises when spinning, and we had to seek a replacement. The next day we heard that we are not going to be TV stars after all! You may remember from our last blog that we had a screen test for A Place in the Sun. We didn’t fail, but the producers decided they didn’t want to visit the west coast of Florida after all (silly people!).
On October 29th Sandie spent the day in hospital, having minor surgery. Following a routine mammogram, she had been diagnosed with DCIS, which can be a precursor to cancer. The currently recommended treatment is to remove the affected area (which in Sandie’s case was luckily very small) and a small surrounding area, to check that the problem is not more widespread. Sandie recovered very quickly from the op; she emerged from hospital slightly sore and woozy, but nothing worse. However, there were some doubts about the wisdom of flying soon after a general anaesthetic, so our next trip to Florida has been postponed. We were due to go on 3rd November, but are now leaving on the 19th, after Sandie has got the results of the post-op tests.
Happy times again
On 31st October we babysat Oscar while Claire took Charlie and a friend to a Halloween party. Ian’s pumpkin-carving skills were in demand again! Later Claire took all the children trick or treating, while we stayed in her house and distributed sweets to several other groups who were patrolling the road.
The next day our friend Anne took us to Henley, and we all went to the ‘private view’ (bubbly included!) of an art exhibition which featured work by another friend, Annette (see http://www.amsoulstream.com). We have very talented friends! It was Anne’s birthday, so afterwards we had dinner together to celebrate.
After not going to the (adult) cinema for a while, we went twice within a week. On Monday we saw an NT-Live Encore screening of Frankenstein. The acting was brilliant, the settings superb, and yet we weren’t really ‘grabbed’ by the production. On Saturday Ian’s sister Maggi came to visit; she stayed overnight, and in the evening we went to see Mr Turner. We had heard a lot about this film, which has got wonderful reviews, so we were all keen to see it. But we were really disappointed: there was no coherent plot, and little dialogue – just a lot of grunting!
Changes to the flat
Our new washer/dryer was delivered on 5th November – but not installed. Unknown to us, there was a problem with the socket behind the machine, so we were told we would need to call an electrician and then call the suppliers back to arrange installation. Meanwhile, the new machine was ‘parked’ in our lounge.
A week or so ago, we noticed that one of our sofas (inherited from the previous owner of the flat) was sagging badly at one end. So they too have to be replaced. After some searching (in shops and on the Net) we decided on a pair of sofas which had been ordered for another customer; the wrong colour had arrived, but it was the right colour for us! This meant that we got a bargain price and avoided the usual long wait, as the sofas are already in the furniture store. We managed to dispose of our old ones, quite quickly, via Freecycle. The new ones will be delivered soon, but at present our lounge looks rather odd, with a washing machine but nowhere to sit!