The End and the Beginning!!

Oh my! It has been such a long time since I wrote my last blog! Where has the time gone?? I am now settled into the life of a retired 50 something year old and finding myself so busy that the lap top has been through a stage of neglect and running around has taken precedence. Time to slow down, methinks and open the office door and spend more time at home! Or was it that the run up to Christmas had became all-encompassing? It took me nearly 3 weeks to decorate the house.

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The mammoth job began early in December, however,  it was a case of ‘little and often’ as the decoration boxes were stored in the garage and wtreeere very awkward to access. The walk between the garage and the house became quite tiresome so, after much deliberation and failed attempts at getting my disgruntled ‘stop-turning-the-house-into-a-grotto’ son involved in this festive activity, I settled for putting up the Christmas tree only. This took me a full 3 hours as the lights were tangled and seemed pretty nigh impossible to untangle and place neatly and strategically on the tree. I must add that instead of buying one box of lights with lots and lots of twinkles, I strangled the branches with 3 sets of 200 lights! What a palaver! This followed with a wild panicked search looking for an extension block to accommodate multiple plugs – 3 felfor the lights, one for the TV, one for the DVD and one for the Now TV. Oh and what to do about the lamp??? By the time the tree was up and the lights placed I was exhausted and needed a glass of wine or two! Thus ended any further attempts at decorating but it was definitely the beginning of endless Christmas cheer!  Wine, Elf and a lit Christmas tree! What could be better??

The next day I managed to conquer, effortlessly, the breakfast room. Followed by the kitchen 2 days later. That took another 3 hours. The tinsel refused to stay up and the drawing pins kept bending as I tried to loop the tinsel around the room. Ahhhh!!!  This was because the picture rail had been painted and for some reason the pins refused to stay, or because I chose the same holes as last year which had by now doubled in size resulting in the pins slipping out!!  Then the whole lot would fall down! Climbing up and down the ladder became a nightmare due to my bad hip so the wine had to rescue the situation again and put an end to any more festooning!! And this is how the story continued for the next 3 weeks and still, on Christmas Day, the decorating was not finished!! Oh well!! No one noticed. At least the lights were a success and the house had a warm cosy glow, filled also with a welcoming cinnamon and berry aroma from the numerous candles burning from every corner possible!! The transformation, indoor and out, was so magical it stayed this way until January 17th! Yes, my friends, I must confess that my decorations have only been down a week! BUT there is a reason. After such a traumatic lead up to the great day, the day itself and the ensuing week, I felt the need for some escapism and so dropped tools and flew away leaving Christmas in tact until
my return.

Barcelona to the rescue!

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Oh what a beautiful place. It was my home for 6 years many years ago but the ties there are as strong now as they were then. There followed 5 days of catching up, eating, drinking and making merry. An Easy Jet flight for £48.50 could NOT be ignored. It would have been very rude of me to do so and so, with a cabin sized suitcase a few euros, a non-reserved seat I set off on a cold Monday morning for a week of pure delight!

Ahhhhhhh! The joys of being retired! 

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to be continued……….

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Go, Kart, Go!!

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So, where to next?? My son has taken up go-karting! It may be a bit late in his young life to become the next Ayrton Senna but he is pursuing something that is bringing him great enjoyment, has met some great people and has certainly grown in confidence since being part of this team. So, my weekends are no longer my own anymore but we are having a good time even though I spend the race time with my heart in my mouth watching these karts go round the circuit at the speed of light!!  Our local karting club is at LLandow in the Vale of Glamorgan , South Wales where we race with a great team called Silver Fox.  We are relatively new to this compared to everyone else in the team but we are learning and bringing a little humour to the camp!silver-fox-logo

 

Click on the links and check us out

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I have certainly seen quite a bit of England in the last few months, mostly the Northampton area and its wonderful karting circuits – Kimbolton and Whilton Mill. There was also a visit to  Dorset and the Clay Pigeon circuit and Gloucester to Rissington. That’s lots and lots of miles in Vin, the T4! And I say lots and lots as  we always get lost on our way to each race meet!! We got lost on our way to Kimbolton – twice, when leaving Rissington we always end up in Cheltenham, and please don’t ask where I went wrong coming home from Whilton Mill. I am beginning to despair with it all. There is one further trip this year to Shenington so my fingers, toes and everything else that can be crossed are crossed!!

kimboltonOur first visit to Kimbolton saw me going 57 miles out of our way! I didn’t get off the M1 as Mary, my GPS on the phone went to sleep and neglected to remind me where to exit the M1. But I don’t know how I got on to the M1 in the first place as I should have been on the M42….. but there we go!! We finally arrived at midnight when everyone else had gone to sleep but the next day dawned bright and sunny and the weekend turned out to be a scorcher and lots of fun!! The boys work hard all day working on the karts, racing, drinking tea, more kart mechanics, changing parts, and  on and on and on……, while the two gorgeous mams prepare PIMMs, chat, read, visit friends, watch a race or two, drink wine, prepare a bbq and basically have a relaxing time!! I am loving it!!

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Setting up!!                                                                                                  Relaxing and sunbathing!!

kimbolton-3    BBQ number 1!!

kimbolton-5   Midnight heat!!   kimbolton-6 BBQ number 2

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Top Team!!!

clayClay Pigeon was another great weekend. We set up camp and the racing was first class. Despite it being October, the weather was lovely, the camping cosy and the racing wizard!! It got a little cold in the early morning but with duvets and pillows and blankets galore there is nowhere warmer and cosier than in the van and inner tent! Not to forget the copious amounts of tea we drink ALL day and something a little warmer at night!! We all camped together in the ‘corral’ and spent a wonderful team weekend together. The BBQ was ‘a la extraordinaire’  this weekend with chicken and meat actually cooked in an oven and a delicious home made coffee cake to finish it all off. So much food but all polished off by hungry karters and tinkerers!!

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The karts

 

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The home xxx

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The Workplace

 

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Watching Rosberg win!! Nooooooo!!!

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How on earth could I have made time for this when I was in full time employment?

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Our Great Little Road Trip!

 

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Summer 2016

 

Well, the summer is over! Looking out of the window I am assured that the summer is over. Grey sky, wet path (invaded by the fattest family of slugs I have seen in a long time!) drips dropping from the downpipes, rather nippy, light mist, no children to be heard (I live near a school and it is lunch time but no doubt they are being kept indoors today!) and just that soggy feel to the air ….. wonderful!

I am not complaining. After having spent 9 days in unbearable (for me) heat driving around France and Belgium in the van, putting up and taking down the awning, walking miles and miles and climbing hills steeper than I had ever imagined encountering when planning this well thought out journey, theseheat-400x280 past 2 days have been a delight! I don’t usually complain about dry, sunny weather. In fact, I spent 14 years of my younger life living in HOT countries and didn’t complain – much! But, is it age? Being unfit? Carrying more pounds than I am used to? Suffering with hip pain while waiting for the replacement? I have no idea. All I know is the 34 – 36 degree heat with no chance of shade and cloudless skies really got to me! The trip itself, overall was fun. Just a shame about the heat!

I will once again digress from my Life’s journey and Simply tell you that I went on a wonderful holiday away with my son in the van. I have christened the van Vin. It was my first overseas journey in it and I experienced a number of sleepless nights before leaving, if I am to be completely honest!! Horror of horrors, Vin had failed the MOT on a MASSIVE list of faults (another story)! It spent a week in the garage and was finally made roadworthy. When I asked the mechanics if they would drive it over to Belgium, I was confronted with wry smiles and shakes of the head and shrugs of the shoulders!! Non committal is an understatement! I think the answer was ‘no way’!! Well, being one not to be swayed by others’ opinions, I had faith and trust van-cropin the old van and was not going to be put off by the experts! Hadn’t I already paid for the crossing and the F1 tickets? There was no going back! I took out EVERY insurance cover possible the night before departure, had a restless night, churning insides but kept a positive mind and attitude. What else is one to do?

Did it let me down? Not on your life!! What a trouper! It behaved impeccably! Big, strong, fast and furious!! Feeding off diesel (maybe a bit too much so vin-2
vin-2need to look into that) as it drove along making me the prouvin-2d owner of my very own Vin Diesel!

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So, Vin, Io and I were on our way! Insured to the hilt just in case, documents in hand, Vin packed, tank filled! Off we went! The journey to the ferry was easy and we got there early so we caught an early ferry!! The sea was calm and the weather was beautiful! But nothing prepared me for the heat in Belgium!! With Vin blowing out hot air (s0mething I have to get fixed soon!!) Elvis and The Traveling Wilburys musically entertaining us, water bottles in massive abundance and seat belts buckled, we trundled along the great motorway of the north through France and into Belgium.

Our adventure  had begun!!

 

 

From Hot Tub to Campervan!

So it’svan MOT time! I now have plenty of time to go nagging the doctor to check out wear and tear of this poor body that has been neglected for the past 35 years due to work commitments and that dreadful saying “I just don’t have the time to go to the doctor!”I have been having a niggling pain in my groin and hip for a few years now so it was time to sort it out! Well, it’s arthritis of the hip – also known as wear and tear – and one day I will need a hip replacement! Just keep taking the tablets in the meantime. It was a sunny day and on the way back from the hospital I had planned to go looking for an all singing, all dancing hot tub!! A present from me to me using up all my retirement money. I have no concept of money and lovvan 1e to spend it when I have it. So on the way to the show room I decided to call in and look at camper vans, as one does! It took me 25 minutes only to leave that garage having put down a deposit on a VW T4 camper van! Oh my!! I fell in love with it!!! I didn’t drive it, try it out, ask many questions – not at all. I  was a salesman’s dream come true when out tumbled those beautiful words of which I had no control – I’ll take it!!

A bit of mechanical work, an awning, camping equipment, wet suit, body board, table, chairs, CDs and a year later I can pronounce myself as one happy camper! One very happy camper! I love my van! I use it for a few night’s break or for day trips. I take anyone who dares step inside with me including my 95 year old mother and 15 year old son.

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I have always wanted a camper and now I have one! Living in Wales, we are very fortunate to have some of the most beautiful scenic routes in the world and we don’t have to drive too far to find them.

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We also love to have animals block our roads for a few minutes!!

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My son and I are off to the Belgian GrandPrix at the end of the month so the old van is currently at the garage having its MOT and a service but I shall still be taking out a Relay Cover with the AA just in case and then off we go!! I shall no doubt track our journey and report back at a later date!