18th October, 2015
This is the anniversary of the death of Jane Barnes five years ago today.
She is sorely missed.
Up at 6.00 am and out by 7.30 am on a bright and mild morning. We set off for Oldham in Lancashire. This is something of a packed and flying visit. Our first visit is to the crematorium. Five years ago today we said goodbye to Pauline’s Mum, a lovely, kind and determined lady who lived to the admirable age of 96. On this day each year since then, under the damp and autumnal trees, we visit the crematorium record room to read the listing of her death and to mark it in a moment’s thought.
From Oldham we drove to Meltham – a lovely, Yorkshire village that we lived in in the late 1970s.
On from there we drove to Helme – a nearby and even smaller, Yorkshire village we lived in during the 1980s and 1990s.
From there we drove to Brighouse where we had booked a suite in the Holiday Inn. We arrived in time to watch the rugby and to confirm arrangements for Monday and Tuesday.
19th October, 2016
Up early and, after breakfast (How many breakfasts can we survive?), drove down to Honda.
The car was having a 3 hour service. Paul, the Service Manager, who we’ve known for almost 30 years, drove us into Huddersfield town. There began the longest ‘shopping’ trip I’ve done for many years. We walked the length and breadth of the town in delightful, autumnal sun. I had taken a coat but the day was far too warm for that. It was definitely a shirtsleeves morning.
We have loved the town of Huddersfield for forty years. It has a solid, post-industrial majesty which seemed to symbolise all that was admirable in the North of England. Returning after five years and looking with ‘cold eyes’, it is now an impoverished place of very poor people. So many town centre shops are empty or taken over by charities, Pound shops of different hue, quick cash shops. Down at heel and probably out of work people shuffle along the pavements and stare through the windows. When looking for a new house, we had considered returning to Huddersfield. We are so glad we resisted that ‘sentimental’ urge.
After 3 hours, I could take it no more. We phoned Paul who came to pick us up. Our car was ready and, after a chat with Chris and Tracy who we’ve also known for thirty years, we returned to our hotel to freshen up before setting off for Oldham. As we did, our sat.nav. warned us of an accident causing six mile tail backs on the M62. It offered us a diversion over the moors which we took although we drove from strong sun into thick fog as we crossed the moorland. We were meeting our old friend, Little Viv – so called because she’s five foot nothing and named Viv.. We had arranged to have a late lunch at The Old Bell Inn in Delph on the edge of the moors.
The meal was delightful and Viv looked healthier than she has for five years. We parted pledging to meet again soon.
20th October, 2015
Up early and off to Shaw after breakfast to see my old friend, Brian. We spend an hour and a half talking over old times and then drive back to Huddersfield in the early afternoon to prepare for our next meeting. Showered and changed, we drive over to Marsden to meet an old colleague of Pauline’s and her husband. After about an hour or so, we set off for a newish restaurant in the village of Meltham where we lived forty years ago. Actually, the restaurant call Quirky’s, is sited in an old, stone building where we once took furniture to be re-upholstered by a restorer. How times have changed!
After a delightful two hours of talk and wonderful food, we parted and drove back to our hotel. We were both exhausted. We have met and talked to more people in the past couple of days than we would normally interact with in six months of retirement. When you get out of the habit of social relations, re-entering the world is very tiring.
21st October, 2015
Slept really well after a gruelling couple of days and we woke at 6.00 am to a lovely, mild morning with plenty of weak sunshine. After breakfast, we packed and set off for Repton to say ‘Hello’ to Mum & Dad before leaving for Surrey. Mum & Dad’s grave looked fine and Grandad & Nana’s grave even had a flowering geranium placed on it. Who would have done that? I wonder.
We left Repton shortly after 1.00 pm and we’re back in West Byfleet by just after 3.00 pm. The weather was lovely and the colours of Autumn were all around us as we drove. The temperature was around 17C/63F. The last 30 miles saw a fine rain falling as the sun disappeared below the horizon and the temperature fell.
22nd October, 2015
Happy Birthday to the twins – Little Mike & Liz. Unbelievably, they are 58 years old today. What is the world coming to?
A mild autumnal day. At the moment, we are not able to garage our car. It is parked in a visitor’s spot at the back of P&C’s house but under a glorious tree decked out with fiery red and orange leaves. The only problem is they fall every night – on our car. Before we can drive the next day, we have a major clean up to do. At 11.00 am we were doing exactly that. We had a wonderful couple of hours at the Health Club which incorporated hard work on the jogging machine with swimming, Jacuzzi and sauna. Felt so good after that. Must do it again tomorrow.
For our meal, we griddled boneless chicken thighs outside with mushrooms and shallots which we ate with Greek Salad. It was delightful to get back in the diet and exercise routine.
23rd October, 2015
Up early because I have my annual health check at 9.20 this morning. Also, we are staying with Mandy & Kieron for a week from this evening so we have to pack things up before we go. When we return, it is to fly to Tenerife for a month. There is no rest for the wicked, as Sarah will tell you.
Went to the Medical Centre for my annual diabetic review. Usually, I have blood pressure, weight and lower limb check. Not this time. I had already had a blood and urine sample analysed. I was informed today that not only was I no longer classed as diabetic but I even fail to reach the ‘pre-diabetic’ classification. I was given the choice of whether to have an annual check up or not. I chose to continue because I like the pressure of someone else monitoring my progress but it is certainly good news and rather life affirming.
24th October, 2015
Went out at 10.30 am to do a bit of shopping and book a taxi to take us to Gatwick airport in a few days. The return trip to Gatwick from here is £90.00. We are travelling in social hours and thought the price was worth paying. Parking at the airport for a month would be very costly. The problem is where to park our car safely and leave it unattended for a month.
Almost as soon as we got back and unpacked, Pauline had second thoughts and checked the Gatwick site. Unbelievably, a month’s parking in the Airport Long Stay is only £120.00. We booked it on the spot. We will have to cancel the taxi tomorrow. We will stay in the Gatwick Holiday Inn the night before we fly so we don’t have to get up too early.
We’ve booked our seats and will check in on-line so all we have to do is drop off our cases.