I am six weeks into my "Got to get this book finished" phase and I just can't believe the time has gone so quickly and, I hasten to add, so enjoyably. I am like a pig in ........clover, with this whole project. I love having the flat as a base and I relish using the lounge as an office, without having to put everything away, every time I want to take a break. Looking back, the first few days in the flat would have made an observational study for a scientist. Yes, really. It was all down to the space issue, I just didn't know what to use each of the three rooms for. I'm not counting the bathroom, I haven't ever forgotten what that is for, well, not yet anyway-unless my forgetfulness marches on to full-blown senility. So, back to the point. I woke up the first day Mike left and decided I would spend the whole day in bed, which I did. Reading, writing and researching. I took my meals in there and wondered if I would develop a pressure sore. The next day, I rearranged the flat and set the bedroom up as my workspace. There's a lovely view of Norwich from there and I thought I could gaze at the view and words of inspiration would flow into my head. There wasn't really enough room and I moved everything back and set up my office on the dining table in the lounge. Finally, I'd worked it out. Breakfast bar in the kitchen for eating, lounge as semi-permanent office and bedroom, YES! Eureka- for sleeping. Why did it take me three whole days to work it out?
Mike returned from Germany and arrived here last Tuesday evening. He had an overnight stop in Zutphen, which he said was worthy of another visit with more time to spare.
The Norfolk and Norwich Festival is in full flow at the moment and has coincided with a wonderful heatwave. There was a family day in Chapelfield Gardens over the weekend and so we took time out to go and have a look. We wandered into a crowd watching the Lords of Strut. A pair of clueless Irish brothers, who were just so funny, we stayed on to watch their whole performance a second time.
Remember Mike's travelling companions from my last post? The Owl and the Pussycat. Their adventures didn't last long as Mike left them in the wardrobe before he returned to the Wildax factory with our damaged van on Sunday. I wasn't sure who was responsible for their creation but Mum got back to me. "Liz knitted the charming and lovable grey cat and Catherine did the face for her. I made the owl during patchwork sessions in Malta. I never dreamt it would have such an adventurous life."
Remember those dear little adventurers created by Edward Lear? "The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat."Well, guess what? Mike has also taken an owl and pussycat in a pearlescent grey van. Not nearly so poetic, but later on, in this post we will look into what Mike has been up to on his solo adventure to mainland Europe. As for the honey and money, I'll let you know how the budget is going next month. If you're totally confused by that last sentence read this.
Last week we set off from Dereham and headed to the West Country. Our first stop was the beautiful cathedral city of Worcester. We chose the campsite closest to the centre and felt let down because it was £15 a night, the shower didn't work at all, and looked very neglected, however the spiders would have loved an indoor life with no disruptions. We had a pleasant stroll along the river into the city and admired an attractive row of terraced houses on the opposite side of the river. It was disheartening when we took a close look at them from their side and we could see that nearly all of them were empty and they appeared to have flood damage. It was hard for us to imagine what a raging torrent the river would have been to have reached up to that level.
From Worcester we headed further West and South, to theForest of Dean in Gloucestershire. We parked overnight in a quiet location ready for a special family weekend away.
The occasion was my Mum and Dad's fiftieth wedding anniversary. They treated the whole family at the Forest of Dean log cabins. Luxury with a capital L. Clean, modern, hot tub, high quality fixtures and fittings. The only negative was the size of the fridge, but perhaps that just reflects the size of my greedy appetite. Anyway, a good time was had by all and we had lots of laughs. On Monday morning Mike headed East for Dover, for his onward trip to Calais and I went back to Mum and Dad's house for a quiet catch up as I hadn't seen them since Christmas.
There has developed, over a number of years a ridiculous ritual where we 'plant' a stuffed toy after a family visit. The idea being that you don't want to host this unwelcome guest in your house, flat, motorhome or car. Years ago somebody knitted an unattractive grey stuffed cat, it may have been Mum, or one of my sisters. This was soon joined by another feline, patchwork this time and then the menagerie was completed with the addition of a brightly coloured nylon owl. The idea behind the game is to place any number of these toys somewhere or some place at your host's. Hopefully not to be found for some time afterwards. The feeling when you do discover that one of the family has caught you is of amusement at their inventiveness but dismay that you were silly enough to let your guard down. There have been some truly memorable classics, one for Mike when he opened his briefcase during an important business meeting with clients to see a stuffed toy perched on top of his files. Another where we found the little blighters tucked behind the curtain of the motorhome after we arrived in the USA in 2004.
Mike set off for Dover and stopped at a service station for coffee. While he waited for the kettle to boil he did a quick inspection of the van from the outside and found an owl and a pussycat wedged in between the bars of the bicycle rack. All he could do, after muttering under his breath, was bring them inside for a warm up and some breakfast. So the three of them have set off on their travels. Pictures to follow.
Mike arrived in Germany on Wednesday along with a Dutch family who he met as he crossed the border. Unfortunately, their car was the unwelcome guest as it ploughed into the rear of the van. Luckily no-one was seriously hurt, although Mike can't open the rear doors and the 12v electrics have been knocked senseless. The vehicle failed to stop at the junction because they were admiring the view of the Rhine from the bridge. Poor Mike!
I've asked him to take a picture of himself and his travelling companions (owl and pussycat, not Dutch family) and hopefully his techno savvy self will make the grade.
Photos for April here.
That's all for now. Enjoy the bank holiday.
I love travel, any type. There is always a buzz in finding & exploring a place for the first time, meeting and making new friends and if you return things are never quite the same.
Going away? Travel essentials from across Amazon
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