In the UK, two events are celebrated in the first half of November: Guy Fawkes Day and Remembrance Day. For Claire this year there was another celebration – contracts were finally exchanged on her house move.
Sandie went to two fireworks displays this year. On Nov 4 she went with our friend Caroline to a display at Wycombe Abbey School, where Caroline runs a Young Enterprise Group. On Nov 7 we both went with Claire and the boys to the public display at Terriers, just outside High Wycombe. Great fireworks and bonfires on both occasions.
On Sunday Nov 8 Charlie was on church parade, in his Beavers uniform for the first time. He did not have to parade far – just a few yards from the hut at the back of the church, into the church itself. We went to take photos, although that proved difficult. On Remembrance Day itself Charlie had another task to perform, as the school councillors (he is one) went to lay a wreath on the local war memorial.
It was also on Nov 11 that contracts were finally exchanged on Claire’s house sale and purchase. We were all twitching by then as there had been so many delays along the way, and attempts to exchange contracts on Monday and Tuesday of that week had failed. But it was third time lucky on Wednesday, and we all went to Pizza Hut (the boys’ choice, of course) that evening to celebrate. Completion is set for this Friday (Nov 20) – eight months after we made a successful offer for the house.
Time with our grandsons
Claire has been on two working trips to Dubai within the last fortnight, and the boys have stayed with us both times. The first time Claire was away Wednesday-Saturday, so the boys were at school. The weather was bad, with lots of rain, so no chance of going to the playground. We played games at home, and Ian started teaching the boys to play chess. On Saturday morning we went to the local cinema for a kids’ club screening of Inside Out. The boys had seen it before but we happy to see it again; we thought it was great.
Claire’s second trip was over the past weekend, so we decided to take the boys up to London on Saturday. We were accompanied by Fluffy, a toy squirrel which is Charlie’s class mascot. The child chosen to look after Fluffy for the weekend has to write a diary about Fluffy’s adventures. Charlie was chosen this time because he will be leaving, so it was his last opportunity!
Unfortunately, it rained most of the day, but we enjoyed ourselves nevertheless. We started from the Tower of London, crossed Tower Bridge and walked along the South Bank. This gave the boys a glimpse of several sights they had not previously seen, including St Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge. We went as far as the Tate Modern, though we were not impressed by this year’s installation in the Turbine Hall.
The highlight of our day out was a ‘Pirate Fun Day’ on the Golden Hinde (a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship). Two actors did a great job of entertaining young children. Later – when it was dark and the rain had almost stopped – we walked around the West End looking at the Christmas lights in several streets and deciding which we thought best (Carnaby Street was our unanimous choice).
On Sunday morning it was cloudy, but not raining. So we went for a walk from Downley (the other side of Wycombe) which took us past Hughenden Manor. This was mainly through woods, and the boys loved running around and climbing trees. The only problem was that, after all the recent rain, the paths were very muddy, so we returned home with very dirty clothes and shoes!