Almost a year on

It’s been almost a year since we left Cape Town for the UK. It’s a been a tough one. And only now are we going to be moving into our own home – 10 days time.

During this past year there has been reflection a-plenty. It still continues, and it brings me to a point where big and small changes to my life have happened, and will continue to happen. And as they do so they will be embraced or kicked into touch.

Writing has been a big one – completely lost the will to do so. Maybe the new house will have me inspired.

Sunday morning it is then.  Sunday lunch needs to be prepared, and a visit to the local pub for  pre-lunch drink with my Dad is calling.

Happy Sunday all

 

 

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Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run

On a previous post I mentioned  how since being in the UK we have been enjoying the countryside and all that comes with it. I also said that I’d seen a couple of wild rabbits and that Hubster refused to believe it until he too had seen them hop, hop, hopping along.

So here you go, proof! Jeepers not sure how I managed to get this short clip. But I did. Ha, that little fluffy tail just keeps bouncing

 

 

Pants on fire

Hubster and I are staying in a great little place called The Old Stone Barn in Warrington for a few weeks. Set on a working farm, you can only imagine how beautiful it is here. Call me biased, but for me the home counties of Bedfordshire/Buckinghamshire/Hertfordshire are really special. See the photos further on and you’ll maybe understand why I feel that way.

Well we’ve been pretty busy the last 4 months, house hunting, furniture shopping, paperwork chasing, and occasionally arguing over whether my right is hubsters right, and whether our TomTom has an altogether other right than either of us, or mankind for that matter. So when we can, we take a break from hitting our heads against the same wall and walk.

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Hello, who are you? – photo RuthBH2Day

This evening on our stroll then, I spotted some wild rabbits, which hubster is refusing to believe exist until he sees them himself. (Hang on, does that mean he is toying with liar, liar, pants on fire? Hmpf!)  While yesterday’s leg exercising had us come across  a lama amongst a field of sheep – hoping to get a photo tomorrow. Oh yes, and also today, hubster swears some noisy flappy things who crossed our paths were Guinea Fowl – will also try to photograph them. Not sure on that one, but to be fair, if all I can come up with is flappy things, then who am I to argue.

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One of many wonky stiles we used – Photo RuthBH2Day

Anyway, one of the great things to do in the countryside is to follow the public footpaths and bridle ways that can take you in every direction imaginable, over and through fields and farmland, until you end up hopefully where you intended.

Lavendon then. Another village. That was our destination as we headed in the direction where Fiona (the proprietor) had pointed and shared. “30 minute walk, straight down there.”

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Wonderful walking across this field – photo RuthBH2Day

Straight down there then took us over wobbly stiles, through fields, past feasting sheep who didn’t seem to care a hoot we were in their space, past several farms, had us engaging in conversation with a local couple who confirmed, “yes straight down there, across the bridge, to the left.” Fiona never mentioned a bridge, or a left? 2.5kms later, parched to say the least we arrived and headed straight to The Green Man for alcohol, err um, refreshment.

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photo – RuthBH2Day

Sufficed we headed back. Followed the same route, took a wrong turn and ended up walking another 3.4kms to get home again.  We were pooped, but my goodness we enjoyed every minute of it.

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Ah, refreshment at The Green Man Lavendon – photo – RuthBH2Day

#lavendon #olney #Theoldstonebarn #holiday #homecounties

 

 

 

 

 

 

returning to pen and paper

george

When earlier this year we returned to the UK, after living in South Africa for a million years, I was more heart sore than I let on about leaving my girls behind. And despite them being young women, one married, one about to be, both happy, that wasn’t enough to allow me an easy “leave”.  Even before boarding the plane I was wondering how on earth we would be able to stay in touch. How would we be able to deal with not having our treasured meet up for shopping and dinner nights, or go to a movie, or visit a winery in the glorious Cape?  Even an opportunity to sit outside a changing room as they tried on clothes was going to be missed. Even harder would be the “are you home, popping round” calls.

Of course we have Skype and email and Whatsapp, which have been fantastic, and are the three things I wish had been available to me when leaving the UK for SA in the 1980s. Back then it was about pen to paper, email quality to keep the weight and cost down. Red and blue edged envelopes. Licking small, blue, airmail stickers, whose glue would leave you pulling a face, and wishing there was an easier way to communicate!

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And then it struck me. Why not write to them? I like writing. I can throw a few words together. Let’s give this a go. It could be good, just what I need.  And it is.

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Once a week, often Monday morning, I take hold of my pen, sit in a quiet spot, and write. Not pages and pages. Instead I fill a blank card, the sort you buy in a bookshop with beautiful photo images, often purchased from places we’ve visited, or a card that caught the eye at the supermarket. It’s enough space to have a nice chat, without rambling. If there is a little more to say, and space allows, the back is also used. I tell them about what we’ve been doing, what we are planning, and even things I’ve seen which had me chuckling – a lady outside her house, covered in what looked like ash, shaking herself off while yelling at her children to go to their room was one such chuckle moment.

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Writing to them somehow makes me feel as if I’m chatting directly to them, more so than taping at a keyboard. And while we continue to electronically communicate regularly, the writing to them is treasured. As is the moment I hand over the colourful envelope at my local post office. For it’s at that point I know what I’ve said is on it’s way. And as I walk away, I’m already planning my next card purchase, but never the content. That only happens on Monday morning when there is time to reflect on the last seven days.

I’ve lost count of how many cards have been written, but I’m guessing 8 to each of them so far. The aim being for them to receive a letter/card a week. Sometimes it works, and sometimes they get 2 at once. But so far so good. The SA postal system has not let me down.

And then there is a magical moment when I receive a card back. I held one in my hands today and beamed.

And as I did, I hoped they both do the same when they receive mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 things I’ve re-learnt since arriving back in the UK

  1. It may be Spring, however . . .  that doesn’t mean it is warm, dry or bright
  2. People are very polite – I can’t get used to cars and walkers pausing to let you pass. And make a call and they always end with a “take care of yourself” or “nice talking to you.”
  3. No matter how long ago it was you may have left the UK, there is still a record of you via your NI number
  4. If you have no car insurance you will struggle to get it, and when you do you will pay the premium of a 17 year old – seriously costly
  5. Funniest one yet – always having to remember to take your shoes off when you enter a house, even when you are house hunting – note to self: don’t wear threadbare or even worse socks with holes – not that I do!

Jedland – The Sequel

 

Jedland has always held a soft spot for me, and while I originally thought Jed’s story had been told, I now realise it needs to be finished.

The Jedland sequel picks up in 2016, where Jed is now in his early fifties, no longer working in the press room, yet still hankering for a final dream to be fulfilled.

Below is a short snippet

2016

Heading along Leighton Buzzard’s High Street in search of a cup of tea at May’s Tea Shop, Jed P Horton’s well-eaten, and almost non-existent fingernails held grip to a travel brochure he’d had his eye on for some time now. The brochure had been the only change to his routine. A routine that took him daily along the same route . . . always at the same time of ten in the morning . . . his feet religiously secured in a pair of favoured red Doc Martens, which after suffering years under his lumbered pace, were now held together with more of a wing and a prayer than the dozen or so tubes of glue he’d purchased over the years. It was fair to say Jed’s boots had seen better days. And it was fair to say Jed had too.

Of late the nip in the air had started to catch up with him, and not bothering to slow his pace, nor change his grip on the brochure, Jed sunk his neck into the up-turned collar of his weathered, brown leather jacket, going as far as pulling the zip hard until it would go no further, and even then giving it an extra pull to ensure it was right to the top.

As to the teashop, well it certainly wasn’t May acting as a draw card. Not a chance. For as Jed would say, May had taken the wrong turn when passing the looks department on her way to be birthed. She’d also gone on to make matters worse by adding tattooed lips and eyebrows – which even Jed would wager money on being a do-it-at-home job. She’d effectively done a hatchet job on herself, and having done so, now paid the price of garnering the kind of attention she’d hoped for, but yet beneath was along the lines of, what the heck has this nutter done?

Jed could vouch for this too, having paid witness to a combination of surprise, fear and confusion, as non-locals entering the teashop found themselves holding May’s gaze far longer than they really should do, or for that matter need to. They pretty much followed the same pattern, trailing an eyebrow to the peak, just below her heavy fringe of grey hair and of late purple highlights, and then back down again, before crossing to the other brow and repeating. If they weren’t careful they could be at it all day, eyes going up and down, down and up, all the while May smiling a toothless smile, as often than not she’d left her teeth at home, or had dropped them in a glass by the till.

In fact both ends of May had fallen victim to the wrong end of the body scale. There were bunions too. Great, big, onion sized lumps, overlapping her sandals. Jed had caught sight of them often enough over the years, and in doing so could well understand the ease of being put you off your teacake, should they be in view as you went to take a bite.

No, what drew Jed to May’s then was how she ran the place. Setting it up as you’d have expected in the 70s and early 80s. A place where when you wanted a cuppa, all you had to do was ask for a tea. There was none of this choose a blend of leaves from a carefully written chalkboard, secured to the wall behind the counter. Further more, and thankfully, there was no sight of egg-timers, fancy pots, and pyramid shaped teabags within a fifty-mile radius. No way, all you need do at May’s was offer a nod, a thumbs up, and a single word, tea. Magic it was, almost immediately you got your tea; a heavy, thick-lipped mug of strong, sweet tea that warmed you to the core, and called Jed back every day.

If he were to be lucky, May would have some sausages sizzling too. And being it was market day, she probably had some soft, fresh rolls to push two fat ones into, layering with them HP brown sauce and a flick of mustard. Talk about a winning breakfast. He was already licking his lips as he touched the door of the Tea Shop.