North West to South West

On Monday morning (minus voice!) I had breakfast with mum before waking Billy, and soon we were on our way south with a picnic from mum sufficient to feed 5 (thanks mum πŸ™‚ ) We were having a few days away which we hadn’t done since this time last year and which we hadn’t done as just the two of us since 2009 – though the destination was the same as that of those two trips. For this visit we were staying with Judy and Gerry but seeing Helen and Mike on a couple of days too. We had a surprisingly smooth drive down with no hold ups, and saw a few City fans on the way – who smiled, chatted or beeped horns – and a couple of ManUre ones – one gave a half-smile and the other actually talked a while and was very pleasant and congratulatory.

We arrived early evening, were warmly welcomed and then our lovely hosts started the way they continued all week and fed us a hearty meal – in fact we spent the whole visit eating extremely well (back to the gym for me on our return! πŸ˜‰ ) Even breakfasts were big meals with Gerry’s delicious porridge and toasted home-made bread with Judy’s home-made marmalade, and one morning it was pleasant enough for us to sit at the top of the garden with it – lovely πŸ™‚ Another morning we had bacon, pancakes and maple syrup – which shouldn’t go yet was divine. Judy’s evening meals included a fantastic Hungarian chicken dish which was so good I had to copy the recipe to try at home, and every evening (and for the Billy, Gerry and Mike, often the afternoon too! πŸ˜‰ ) there was plenty of alcohol too. We were thoroughly spoiled!

We had days out including a day with Helen and Mike in Salisbury, a day sight-seeing by car with Judy and Gerry exploring the area around Maiden Castle and following the route of the many burial mounds along the peak, Durlston Castle, and Hardy’s Monument, and of course we went to Poole Harbour too. There were one or two pub lunches along the way of course, including an excellent one at Wool which we’d highly recommend. The weather wasn’t overly warm, but all in all we were lucky as it was mainly dry and not too cold.

On the Wednesday we went to Helen and Mike’s for the day to help them clearing their garden and and new extension as Mike was having an op on the Friday which would render him unable to do anything for a few weeks (a fourth op to repair his leg after a rugby injury) The extension was to be the new kitchen and various people, including Gerry, had managed to get most of the units and appliances installed but there was a bit to be done to make it ready for use and Mike was keen for this to be done before his op so that he wouldn’t have to worry about it. We worked hard all morning, not stopping for lunch until fairly late (another pub lunch) and then finishing up in the evening in time for us all, including Aaron and Joe who had joined us during the course of the day, to have a curry for dinner courtesy of the takeaway along the road. Somewhere along the way I managed to get stung by some spurge which was a new (slightly painful) experience but the finished results were very pleasing and although Billy and I felt we hadn’t done much in the grand scheme of things, we had been pleased to help a little and to be there to see everything ready by the deadline set. It also felt like we were providing a little moral support and distraction for Mike who was not looking forward to his op – which went very well indeed and he was allowed home Friday evening πŸ™‚

On our last evening, we were taken out for dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant which Gerry and Judy like. Helen was looking after Mike who’d just got home, and we’d seen Aaron off on his rugby tour weekend earlier, but Joe and his girlfriend joined us. The food was divine and Billy and I both ate 3 courses which is rare for us; even anything-as-long-as-it’s-pizza Joe cleared his (non pizza) plates and polished off some leftovers for good measure πŸ˜€ Not only did Billy eat a dessert which is unusual, but he chose apple crumble which I would never ever have chosen for him. Largely because for the 8+ years we’ve been together he’s always said he doesn’t like crumble! Live this one down? Never! πŸ˜€

It seemed to soon be Saturday, the day we were leaving, though we ended up not getting away until pretty late by the time we’d had a good breakfast and then popped round to see Helen and Mike on our way. Mike was downstairs on the sofa and though well dosed with pain killers was looking very well in himself which was great. We’d enjoyed our stay with our excellent hosts who are such lovely, lovely people, and it was great to catch up with all the family news and see everyone again (even if they did have some fun at my croaky voice πŸ˜‰ )

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