Saturday, 27 October 2012

Another Food Festival?

Today we were up and out of the house by 7.30am because we were going to Hereford with Mr and Mrs Bluefunnel. This meant we had to stop for breakfast and where else could we stop than Jo's Place on the A48. As usual the breakfast was fabulous and set me up for the day. I just can't put into adequate words how much I enjoy our days out with Mr and Mrs B.
Mr B is my cousin and he is more like a little brother to me. We have always got on well, even when we played Monopoly. When he met Mrs B and introduced us it was like he had given me a sister - more than that - he had given me someone who thought a lot like me and liked a lot of the same things and yet was so different to me that we got along like a house on fire. I'm digressing.

When we got to Hereford it was still not quite 10am so the farmers' market was still opening up and a lot of the traders weren't ready for customers. We were forced to sit down and have a cuppa. There were lovely heaters under these umbrellas and the tea and coffee was just gorgeous.

Then we made our way into the traders tent for the food thingy and Mr M pointed to the roof. It looks like the leaves are dangling from the roof when they are actually lying on the outside, because it is a tent! I took several pictures but none of them really show it too well.

While Mr and Mrs B sat down and had a coffee Mr M and I went to see the Mappa Mundi. This has been on my list of things to see before I die for ages and although we have been through Hereford hundreds of times we have never stopped and walked about before. I highly recommend a trip to Hereford Cathedral just to sit quietly in the Nave and listen to the history whispering to you is fantastic but to be able to see a map of the world, drawn in the 13th century is just amazing. We also sat and stared at the chained library. I have to say that it brought Terry Pratchett's books to mind where the books in the library of the unseen university are chained to prevent them opening and spilling their magic. The ones we were looking at were chained to stop scholars taking them home. What an experience!

We walked until Mr M's knees were giving out and Mr B's were right there with them, creaking and aching together we all limped back to the car. It was the Bluefunnels turn to drive so when we got into the car Mr B asked the satnav for the shortest route somewhere - on the way home - and then we had to follow exactly what the lady said. If we saw something we wanted to look at we could stop but we could not deviate from the route. Shortest doesn't mean quickest. It can mean going up teeny tiny lanes and over mountain tops... a magical mystery tour.
It took us through Talgarth and as the Mill and Cafe were open we stopped and had a late lunch which was just superb. I took a picture but the food was took fast to catch it all I got were the empty plates. They make their own bread from flour ground in the mill and they use local produce - pickled red cabbage, ham, cheeses, fruit, celery, salad, that was all just yummy. I am not a big fan of chutney, it's usually too sweet for me but the apple chutney that came with our food was so delicious I had to stop myself eating Mr M's portion too.
We continued with the mystery tour and at one point we were high above the town of Govilon looking across to Abergavenny in the far distance. It was a little country lane that eventually came out at Black Rock.  Not the one by the River Severn but the one above Govilon near the Heads of the Valleys road. We then went up through Llanhilleth onto the mountain and came down through Pontypool to home.
We had a simply fantastic day, found some good Christmas presents for a couple of people and stuffed our faces with great food.
Oh I bought a 5 kilo bag of pickling onions for £2.99 which is really good value and also two huge cabbages for my chickens for a pound for the two.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Calendars - how hard can they be?

at the 50th anniversary reunion for
Usk College of Agriculture
Lidl had some Just-add-pictures calendar thingies, two in a pack for £2.99. "We'll get some of those and send them to people." said Mr M, picking up the three packs that were there. I nodded, I mean how hard can it be to choose twelve pictures plus one for the front, stick them on the pages and then choose which people we want to send them to..... ah, well!

 This has been the problem. Should I choose places, or use the scavenger hunt pictures? Would pictures of the family be best? Should I go for funny ones? Oh, but will the recipients get my humour? Who am I going to send them to?

The spooky eyes caused by contact lenses
Her eyes are dark brown!
I spent two weeks going through pictures and trying to decide which ones to use. I had it narrowed down to 86 and asked Mr M to look. We finished up with three.
I started again. I didn't have a theme, I didn't have a list of recipients and I was getting heartily sick of the stupid idea.

Then I weighed the calendars and realised that if I post them to relatives overseas it will cost an arm and a leg, and probably a few other bits too. I mentioned this to Mr M expecting him to say we couldn't send them abroad but he just nodded and said "That's OK, it's for Christmas."
Not Greenday!

I had briefly forgotten just how much he loves Christmas. So sending them abroad is not a problem, but we still needed to choose the right pictures.

I went through the 2012 pictures again and noted that, as usual, there are a lot of pictures of us in cafes and diners. There are lots of pictures of food, all sorts of food. A pictorial history of our travels through the medium of food. There are also pictures of who we had with us at these eateries.

Youngest son and wife looking at my
photograph keyring
So that's what it will be. Twelve pictures of places we have eaten in 2012, including the special people we have taken with us.

Now, who to send them to...... I don't have addresses for some relatives, how do I get them without alerting said relative to the surprise in store. Oh this is so hard, whose idea was this anyway?

Monday, 22 October 2012

Proof reading complete!

Beautiful daughter and favourite son-in-law
Today's Happy Dance was brought to me by the completion of the proof reading for the December edition of Gwent Family History Society Journal. Tomorrow I send it to the printer and the copies should be flying out to the members by the first week in December!
I remembered to wish my son-in-law a happy birthday, out loud. This is very different to telling him that his card is on the diary by the phone. I also said happy anniversary out loud. My daughter says she chose his birthday to give him more chance to remember, it seems to have worked.
Eldest son and beautiful wife
Good news from North Wales, Eldest son and family will be attending the family reunion in November. This means my lovely daughter-in-law will get to meet all the cousins, and will perhaps begin to understand just what she has let herself in for.

Youngest son and beautiful wife
 Youngest son is also coming to the reunion with his family, and while my other lovely daughter-in-law has had more experience of this family she hasn't met all the cousins either. Mr M says they can both sit and not know anyone with him. He says that even after 32 years with me he still hasn't met them all and doesn't think anyone can possibly remember all the names. I said he just doesn't try hard enough.

I made a very successful quorn lasagna for dinner with a summer fruits pie for afters.

So, in spite of the weather today has been a good day for everyone. Oh, yes even for Miss EM. It seems that the child who has blighted her school life since reception class was, and I quote, "kicked out of gardening club, Grandma! and guess what for?"
I shook my head, not trusting myself to speak.
"For making mud castles, putting worms in them and then squashing them! She killed worms!"
As you can tell our budding Buddhist doesn't believe in killing anything but she was secretly delighted that for once The Bane had not managed to implicate Miss EM in her naughtiness.
What today didn't bring was the man from the insurance to inspect the sinking drains. We have hopes for tomorrow.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Just a couple of old fossils

The Knap, looking east
Today has turned out to be one of those priceless, special days. You know the ones I mean. Not much happens but you are with people who care for you and you care for them and it just works.
I went to bed fairly early last night. No point in staying up if you have to stand up to stay awake is there? I don't remember Mr M coming to bed but he must have done because when I got up at 4am - A Pox on getting old I say! - to go for a wee he was snoring for Britain. By 7am, when I woke again I just knew I was completely recharged and no more sleep could get into my batteries so I got up and did all the morning things that this household requires, plus the odd reset of the central heating boiler that isn't usually on my list.
The Knap, looking west
Slight tangent here but if you knew before you bought it that a central heating and hot water boiler would require you to occasionally twiddle taps and recalibrate pressure would you buy it? No, I thought not and if I had known that this all singing all dancing combi boiler was going to require me to do anything except adjust the timer I certainly wouldn't have let them put it where they did! OK rant over.
I let the chickens out and filled their food and water, took the tablets required to stop my head blowing off with high blood pressure, discovered that there wasn't enough washing to make a complete load - that made the day get off to a good start - and then Mr M was awake and sitting........ no I'll rephrase that..... And then Mr M was sitting at the end of the table looking all fuzzy and out of focus.
another fossil

A cuppa in Porthcawl
"How about," I said in a clear voice that would cut through the deafness of sleep, "How about Bacon and Eggs?"
"OOh, bacon and egg sandwiches!" he said still looking a bit fuzzy.
"No, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, black pudding and a slice of fried bread, how about that?"
The fuzzy edges were gone, he sat at the end of the table fully awake and smiling from ear to ear.
After this repast we had to go out to a shop called Buyology. They always have something we desperately need and they didn't fail us this time. I have a Christmas card holder that is crying out for me to "embellish " it a bit and there were some excellent stocking filler type things for the older grandchildren and some cute little LED candlelights that look like mince pies. I also found a pocket diary and a desk diary for next year so now all the important dates have been transferred and when we go to the dentist next month I have Mr M's shifts all sorted for when I have to make the next appointment.
"Where shall we go now?" he asked as we climbed back into the car. "Anywhere you like" I replied.
So we went to Morrisons in Barry for a cuppa and then carried on along the coast to The Knap.
Now I have never been there! How could my father not have taken us there? anyway I was enchanted. The beach is totally made of pebbles but when you look at the cliffs they are of a totally different type of stone - how can that be? It's not man made, as far as I am aware. It is certainly a good beach for finding fossils as Mr M shows. The pebbles are quite a uniform size, or they were where we were standing. It's just so lovely. We decided that we could live there in one of the waterfront apartments with a big patio space so that Mr M can sit and listen to the waves splashing over the pebbles and then sucking them back as they retreat.
From there we travelled past Cardiff Airport to Porthcawl. This used to be the holiday destination for the welsh miners and every year the town would be full to overflowing with folk from the valleys, during miners fortnight. Of course it wasn't just miners but steelworkers and foundrymen who came to Porthcawl for their annual few days of fresh air and sunshine. Plus the odd pint of beer. Porthcawl was traditionally the place where people came for a holiday while Barry was the day trip capital of south Wales.
The Knap is the posh part of Barry, where the white collar workers would stay in bed and breakfast for  their holidays and the middle classes retired there. The rich went to Penarth of course.
You cannot go to Porthcawl without going to the fairground or having a cuppa at the chip shop. My cup of coffee was absolutely what you expect from a sea front kiosk, weak and tasteless, but it was hot and did go down very well. Mr M said his tea was just the same.
We had a little walk along the front and watched the people for a while. Then the sea breeze reminded us that even with such beautiful sunshine it was still October and the cold was creeping under our fleece jackets so we climbed back into the car and came home.
The sunshine was a delight, the company was superb. The conversation flowed between us with barely a pause, except for a few moments on the beach where we stood arm in arm and just listened to the waves. Just a couple of old fossils

Saturday, 20 October 2012

One little Moment

It's 2.15 Saturday 20th October.

I am sitting on an uncomfortable chair in the front row at a meeting. The Annual General Meeting of the Family History Society. The Chairman is reading the minutes of last year's meeting and I am irritated.
I wriggle and look at my blank notebook, then back at the Chairman, willing him to look up and realise that everyone has a copy of the minutes and if he asked for corrections everyone would read them, but he continues to read them aloud.
The people behind me are quietly correcting his mispronunciation of some words and I realise that they too wish he would just ask for corrections. This reduces the irritation I feel and induces a slight smile. I glance quickly to the side to see if anyone has noticed and once again think how clever I am to have chosen a seat in the front row.
This sets my mind on a little meander through why most people will sit at the back of the hall no matter what and I am interrupted by the chairman asking for corrections to the minutes! Hurrah, now we can get on with the meeting and then listen to the speaker who is supposed to be good!

Have a look here, to find the way to other simple moments my thanks to alexa for this idea

Thursday, 18 October 2012

My pictures in a magazine!

I am so excited because some of my pictures have been published in a magazine - and a teeny tiny bit of writing too.
take a look at page 80
I took quite a few pictures, in dreadful light, at the recent college reunion. One of the girls, I still think of us all as girls even though it was the 50th reunion, sent me an email asking if I could send some of the pictures to the magazine and a little bit of writing to explain what it was all about, so I did.
I hoped they would use it but deliberately kept a lid on my anticipation. Today I had an email from that same girl telling me to look at the online copy of the magazine and there are all the pictures! The one of Mr M and me was taken by my daughter's godmother.
I still find it difficult to believe that it was fifty years ago that I got away from home to go to Agricultural college. I have said before that it was the most important year of my life, although I didn't know that when it was happening. I don't have photographs from that time although I did have a camera and thinking back I am sure my reluctance to take pictures was because I didn't want to share that time with anyone who was not a part of it.
I remember how difficult I was to live with and what a dangerous person I must have seemed to be but they still talk to me even now - that says such a lot for the kind of people they are.
Now, for my next trick.......................... watch this space!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

If I had a Vacuum Cleaner......

We went out today, with Mr and Mrs Bluefunnel. We had a place we wanted to take them. We didn't tell them where we were going so it was, to quote Mr M, "a magical mystery tour without the magic"
We took them to Lechlade-on-Thames where there is a wonderful shop - The Christmas Shop - google it. If you like any little part of Christmas, and even if you aren't that bothered, it is just a fabulous place AND it is open all year around.
Mrs B was so excited she couldn't remember any of the tree decorations that she had and her mind went blank. So did mine because I totally forgot to take a single picture while we were there. I think this is because I want to go back again. Perhaps I'll take my daughter...

We hadn't really planned anything for after the Christmas shop so we let Mr B give directions to Mr M about which way to turn at junctions even though it was a non badge day. Um, I need to explain that don't I? Right.
When Mr M and I were in the Lake District we went on the Ravenglass to Dalegarth Railway and in the little shop I found some badges Driver, Fireman, Guard and Signalman. Ever since then we have worn those badges for our day out. Depending on who is driving as to who gets what badge. Today I searched my handbag and realised that I had taken the badges out since last time and forgotten to put them back in!!! Then, as we drove out of Wales over the Severn Bridge we realised that Mr B had forgotten his blue badge for disabled parking - sigh - it was a non badge day.
It's spitting! let's get in there
Mr B saw a sign for the Cotswold Woollen Weavers Mrs B and I decided that we did want to go there and have a look so we did a turn around and followed the signs. It was amazing! I was so strong and didn't buy a single piece of the fantastic woollen cloth they had, although my mind was conjuring up images of things I could make.

We nearly sprinted across the car park because it was just starting to rain as we got out of the car.
impossible not to touch
Mr B headed for the coffee shop while Mr M headed for the loos and Mrs B and I went in and began the meticulous investigation. There is a weaving museum mixed in with all the stuff for sale    and it is just so interesting to come across ancient tools and things when you are just admiring a particularly fine weave. Well, it is for me anyway.

Upstairs was even more exciting with loads of old fashioned toys and games to buy. I think I need to go back there too.

There were huge leather-bound books with real vellum pages that contained the pattern library for the weavers. Each one has hundreds of pages and each page can have a dozen samples of a particular weave in different colourways. There were five long shelves of them!
each one of these tomes is a pattern book with the
 weave patterns stored in them

 From there we went to a farm-shop with a restaurant. I have forgotten the name of it but the food was delicious even though the shop was just ok. We were heading slowly towards Cheltenham so that we could then go towards Gloucester and stop at Over Market. Now that's a farm shop! They have huge wooden crates outside the door with Pumpkins and cabbages of all colours and bags of apples - 2.5kilos for 3pounds, I bought Bramleys and Russets. I also bought a big Red Cabbage because I want to pickle some for Christmas.

The Silver Fox Cafe, under newer management
We then travelled towards Chepstow. This meant we had to stop at the Silver Fox Cafe - highly recommended on previous occasions but it has been transformed! It used to be a truckers cafe, all formica topped tables and pictures of old trucks on the walls. Now there are squishy sofas in the first room and there are table cloths and placemats on the tables. It was here that I said it.
We were reading the menu and Mr B pointed at something and said "does that say Waghorns of Prestbury?" I looked at it and said "If I had a vacuum cleaner I could read that."
My mind was saying magnifying glass but my mouth said vacuum cleaner. Of course they ribbed me all the way home about it and everytime something came up about reading or seeing Mrs B would say "She could see it if she had a vacuum cleaner. On two occasions I said it myself! I suspect that this will be one of those phrases that remains as a family joke for centuries.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Were you invisible today, Grandma?

I have often felt invisible, you know the feeling don't you? Sometimes someone will prove it to be true. They bump into you and then say "Oh, I'm terribly sorry, I didn't see you." and as they are so obviously not visually impaired you have to believe that until they touched you the invisibility spell had made you....well, invisible.
This was something we discussed when we played Advanced Dungeons and Dragons - AD&D for those of us who are in the know. Just how invisible was invisible? We decided this: If you cast an invisibility spell on yourself then you can see where you are and you can see your hands and feet and stuff like that but everyone else can't. If you think about it for too long it makes your brain creak and start to smoulder. In a different game system there was an invisbility spell that worked as long as no one touched you. Once that happened you became visible again. This is how it works in real life. You are invisible until they touch you and then you can be seen. Then the spell takes hold again and you disappear, until someone touches you.... The problem is that you don't always know when the spell is on, until someone bumps into you and says "Oh, I'm sorry....."

What's all this leading to? Well, yesterday I was waiting in the school yard for Miss Em to come out of school - This is something that has helped me no end and I can do it every day without a panic attack now.
Long straws take a lot of effort
I was reading my Kindle and in the space of three minutes three different people bumped into me and said the usual "Oh, I didn't see you." It just so happens that they were all men, and none of them said sorry. They made it sound like it was my fault. I was a bit cross because they were rude so when Miss Em arrived with bags and water bottle I told her that I must be invisible and why I thought this. She agreed that it must be a spell but that it only made me invisible to people who weren't my family because she could see me when she came out of the door.
Today she came skipping across the playground and as she reached me she said, with the bell-like clarity of voice that only a seven year old can produce. "Were you invisible today Grandma? Or did the rain stop it working?"
I chuckled all the way home

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Why do I blog?

Sian asked this question and I realised it would take more than a comment on her blog to answer it. I started blogging as a way of getting out of the house without actually leaving. After my parents moved in with us, so that I could look after them, I wasn't able to go out without arranging for someone to be here. If I did I could guarantee that my mother would forward roll out of her chair - picking up something she thought she could see on the floor - or she would empty her ashtray into the waste paper bin. The problem with this being that usually there was a lighted cigarette in the ashtray and the waste paper bin was full of tissues. They rarely burst into flames, by the way, but oh boy do they smoulder and produce smoke!
Gradually they needed more care than I could give. I couldn't lift my mother from the armchair into the wheelchair and then onto the loo and when she fell out of bed, note the when not if, Dad would ring the panic bell and then I would have to untangle her from her nightie to make her decent so that my wonderful husband could lift her back into bed. This got to be too much even with respite and so they went to a nursing home.
My Dad hated it and kept telling me that he hated me for "throwing us away now we are no use", I was so exhausted that those months are a bit of a blur and then my Dad died. So there I was, not going out and blaming myself for his death. My Mum surprised us by not following him straight away. She hung on for three years and then passed away quietly in my arms.
This still left me with no one to talk to except my family and how do you rant about your father being horrible to the grandchildren that adored him? Well, you don't.
All this conspired to make me have panic attacks every time I got to the front door. Mr M was wonderful and has been my rock always there to hold me and bring me through the panic attacks encouraging me to go out with him and gradually increasing the distance between me and home until I was able to go out with other people sometimes.
Blogging became a way of making new friends, talking to new people and this has helped me to get to the point where - and I am very proud of this - yesterday evening I remembered that I had to pay the deposit on the hire of the hall for the family reunion.
I put on my coat and shoes, grabbed my purse and keys and went out the door and across the road to see a woman I had never met before. We chatted for a few minutes and as I crossed the road on my way back I realised what I had done. All on my own, just like a normal person. I texted Mr M who was in work and then had a celebratory cup of decaf.
That's why I blog.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Storytelling Sunday: Let's dress up!

The first Sunday in the month is Storytelling Sunday. This is brought to you through the lovely Sian over at FromHighintheSky. Why not go over there after you have read my contribution and take a look at all the other stories from around the world.

The story that sprang to mind when I read Sian's suggestion for this month isn't long, it has only one photograph but does, once again involve Mr and Mrs Bluefunnel.

It takes place in the mid 1970s in the village of Raglan - famous for being the last Castle to surrender to Cromwell's forces in the Civil War (This was the English Civil War in the 1640s not the American one a bit later)
Every year the village held 'Raglan Day' on August Bank Holiday Monday. Every organisation in the village had a part to play. There was a craft and horticulture show. The Junior Football Club ran the Five-a-side-football competition. The Girl Guides had a welsh cakes stall. The Boy Scouts had Mr Deakin and his win a fish stall where my three children won a fish each and I had the invisible one (I will explain later). Young Farmer Club did the skittles and the guess the weight of the piglet (boy was that noisy when people picked it up to try and guess) The cricket club organised the bar and various other events took place on the sports field during the day.
The main event was the carnival procession. The Carnival Queen was chosen from the village school and she sat on the back of a decorated lorry with her four attendants. There was always a celebrity or "important Person" to open the proceedings and give a little speech that no one could hear because the sound system never worked. The Celeb would then hand out the prizes to the entrants who had dressed up and processed through the village to the sports field.
Mr and Mrs Bluefunnel loved it and always thought of good costumes. Mr Bluefunnel went as the incredible hulk one year and they made me dress as wonderwoman. Thank goodness no pictures were taken (I am the picture taker you see so when I am dressing up the camera stays home.
This particular year - 1974 - Mrs Bluefunnel decided that she would make a large cardboard box look like a book and with her head sticking out the top and her legs at the bottom she would be a book worm. I wore a tailcoat with a dress shirt, black trousers and a flat cap and flippers on my feet, and had a large sheet of paper on my back proclaiming me to be a Penguin Paperback.
Mr Bluefunnel and my first husband both wore kilts and army jackets and became MacFish and MacChip. Macfish had a set of bagpipes that he had bought on a trip to Scotland but he couldn't get a peep out of them so he put a cassette tape player inside the bag and played the tape of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Band playing the introduction to Mull of Kintyre. This was great as long as he remembered to stop it and rewind before Paul McCartney started to sing.
My boys dressed up as Indian Braves. The only time we ever managed to persuade them to do this and I have a picture of them that was taken by a lady from the village and she gave me a copy.

At the end of the day MacFish and MacChip took the children home while Mrs Blue and I collected all the prizes they had won on the various stalls and all the other stuff that had been borrowed and squeezed it into her Fiat126. We visited the win a fish stall last and collected the little plastic bags with the goldfish in them. There were four bags. "There are four bags, John," I called to Mr Deakin. "Yes" he replied, "the fourth one has the invisible fish in it."
We nodded our understanding and I got into the passenger seat and Mrs Blue handed the bags to me. I held those four bags as though they were made of spun sugar. Mrs Blue drove carefully through the lanes and we arrived safely at the Mill not having spilled a drop of water.
"Look!" I called to Mr Bluefunnel as I climbed carefully out of the car "We have three fish and one invisible one."
He looked at the bags, looked at Mrs Bluefunnel, looked at me and then said
"I don't know who's the daftest, you for carrying a bag of water," he turned to Mrs Bluefunnel, "Or you for letting her!"
We looked at one another and only then did we realise how daft we both were.
As is always the case the goldfish soon died, except the invisible one who lives on even now.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

What's the best thing at a food festival?

What would you think is the best thing at a food festival?

Nope! you are all wrong

It's this

Of course you have to be seven to really appreciate bouncing on a trampoline instead of tasting goat cheese or falafel - or fudge, or chocolate brownies, or chutney in any on forty two flavours.
None of those tasters were as good as bouncing on the trampoline.

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Scottish Trip: part nine.

It is obvious from the entries in the diary that we were all getting a little tired of living in a tent with each other. Much as we loved one another it is still quite a feat to live in such close proximity and not feel a little stressed. The fact that there was nowhere to talk privately wasn't as bad for me as it was for Wilmott and Kelly and yet here we are 33 years later and we are still as close, if not even closer. I have always thought that Wilmott is the closest thing I have to a younger brother and we have been that close since he was born. He has a brother and sisters but he has always been the closest of my cousins. Not even his sister who was my age was as close - isn't that strange?

Day 18. Tuesday 24th July 1979. Cloudy, a few specks of rain with SUNSHINE occasionally.
Went into Edinburgh. Kelly doesn't like the silly streets because they change their names as you go along them.
Walked down Princes Street, then up to the castle. Had a good look at all the museums. Spent ages in there. Walked the long way around, passed the Scot Memorial, stopped to look at the park.
Back to the car, back to the site. Complicated game of tennis after a super tea of mushroom omlette, chips and curry sauce.

Day 19. Wednesday 25th July 1979. Sunny with heavy rain showers.
Kelly and Wilmott went into Edinburgh and got wet. Tattoo stayed in the tent and read. Had fish cakes, peas and potatoes for tea then played a game of non-stop cricket. This gradually involved everyone around us including a whole German Scout Troop who slowly took us over.
Hotlips lost his cool when Radar disobeyed his orders to CATCH THE BALL!
When Kelly tried to explain that Radar was 50 yards from where the ball landed, Hotlips looked scornful and said
"He could have RUN!"
Note from technical-but-not-back-at-work Wilmott: "I sell Gabelstapler"*
Further note from Deutcher Wilmott: "Meines Auto ist ein combi!"
* Gabelstapler = Forklift truck

Day 20. Thursday 26th July 1979. No weather report because we decided to pack up and go home. Sent a telepathic message to Raglan saying "Mum, get the dinner on."
When we arrived home dinner was ready because Dad had said when he got up "They'll be back today missus, get the dinner on."
Pretty good eh?

And that was the end of the Scottish trip. It was at such an important time for my children. There father had left and they all secretly blamed themselves because they weren't "good". Their lives had become a great deal more stable but they still didn't really believe what was happening so having the undivided attention of three adults and being able to let off steam and to laugh and cry as they wanted to began the healing and maturing process. For me it was three weeks away from the pressure of my Dad's rules and for my cousins it was an experience that put them off children for life (I think this is a joke)
My children still talk about things that happened - some of them burned into the memory and not mentioned in the journal. For example while in Scourie Radar went to have a shower and a few minutes later Kelly came rushing back from the loo telling us to "Quick, come and listen!"
We all scurried across the campsite and stood outside the men's showers where we listened to Radar singing
"New Persil automatic washes whiter...." The influence of television eh? I have to say that he knew all the words to the whole advert.
I do hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures. perhaps I'll put another holiday journal on here at another time.