Hi everyone, here I am again. I have tons to post about having missed November but I will get to it in due course!
Our trip to England was quite enjoyable but marred by it being somewhat wetter than we had envisaged and during the three sunny days we had out of the two weeks we already had something planned for those days, so never had the opportunity for even one walk. It doesn't help that it gets dark so early in England - in France we are an hour ahead so have light for longer in the evenings.
During our time at my mum's in Somerset we went down to Devon to visit my my old uncle who relocated from Bucks to there last year, so it was great to see him again as I think the last time I saw him was about 5 years ago!
It did strike me how elderly people shrink so much with age; when I was putting my arm around my uncle for the photo I remembered that he was quite a tall man in his day. I also tower over my mum now, and she used to be only an inch shorter than me! Here we are together at a hotel in Paignton where we had lunch - for some reason he was not wearing his glasses so doesn't look like the uncle that I know so well.
Also caught up with various friends of mum's whilst staying there, ate out a lot, went shopping in Taunton, saw my
brother over the weekend and actually even saw a couple of butterflies
(yes I know that's got nothing to do with family or shopping but hey I
love my butterflies, and it was mid November!) Haven't seen any insects
since as once it started raining that was it and now it's cold and
frosty back home!
Then it was off to Berkshire to my brother and sister in law's house where my parents in law were staying too. The whole reason for this trip at a not very nice time of year was for their 70th wedding anniversary. Did you know that you can request a 'telegram'* from the Queen for that? Apparently you can too for your 60th but you'd think she might have signed it personally for a 70th.... can't be too many couples who celebrate that anniversary (joking of course, Her Majesty isn't going to sign anything personally - gosh she doesn't even have to put a stamp on her envelopes!!!).
*It's not a telegram any more but something that comes from the postman in the mail. Just like a letter!
We had a lovely afternoon at an amateur dramatic production of The Sound of Music - my favourite film of all time. I'd have loved to have seen the West End (London) show but getting there would have been far too complicated. Whilst Captain Von Trapp wasn't a patch on Christopher Plummer looks or charisma wise and Maria didn't have the best of voices, it was all rather fun.
When we came back none of us knew that my sneaky sister in law had arranged for a bunch of her friends to come around whilst the house was empty to wait and surprise the happy couple - just when they had requested no fuss! I think they thoroughly enjoyed themselves though.
Yup my OH even got his mother up for a bit of a dance - my father in law needs no encouragement.
We had big balloons with 70 on them ....
.... a huge cake......
.....and a friend brought along an organ and we all sang along very karaokily to some really cheesy songs.
I don't have photos of everyone but don't think any of the oldies here will mind appearing in my blog, as I doubt they even know what a blog is! By the way I did have other clothes with me apart from this grey cardi, but we didn't know before leaving France that we were going to the theatre or that there would be a party..... mother in law told me not to wear jeans to the theatre and didn't I have a nice frock. Er, no. Jeans or half naked, sorry. Anyway, it was only a matinee, in Camberley for goodness sake. Not a West End premiere, lol.
Now I would have had my photo taken outside Marks & Spencer laden down with bags but we found shopping so exhausting! We think we've lost our shopping muscles as we are so out of practice and had to keep stopping to sit down and drink those giant buckets of coffee you get in England, for half the price of a 3 sip tiny cup in France.
There's just so much choice in the UK, especially for gifts. Came back with our huge estate car absolutely laden to the gills with half of M&S and Tesco (a supermarket chain). Got plenty of cheddar and English sausages in the freezer now and all that I need for Christmas, including all the pressies!
There were still some fuchsias flowering in my bro and sis in law's garden which at that time had not yet been frosted.
And I enjoyed watching the antics of the (American) grey squirrels cavorting about. They are considered pests in England though as they've driven the native red squirrel (the same one as we have in continental Europe) up to northern England and Scotland. I think my sister in law has practically given up feeding the birds because the squirrels just get everything. Here's one eating some stale bread that I put out. Chubby little things!
They have tons of squirrels and bird life because all around their garden and all the surrounding area is old forest and they have some huge beech trees and Scots Pines right close to the house.
This was the view yesterday morning from the ferry at St Malo just as we'd docked about 8.10am. I've lightened it just a little as there's a marina in the foreground but the hill was lit by the sun and there were actually three churches silhouetted on the top of the hill. I just had the point and shoot camera and this is handheld and I wanted to see how it could capture it. Not too badly I think.
So that's it for now - I have yet to do my November flowers post but there was much still in bloom before I left - the frost yesterday trashed most of it though so I have come home to a wintery garden and an enormous change in just two weeks!