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The view

          I don’t think Mum-in-law has managed to time a visit to our seaside to co-inside with the summer season, she’s usually here while storm something-or-other is passing through, but this time the town is alive with holidaymakers.

          One of Weymouth’s summer traditions is a fireworks display out in the bay each Monday throughout August, and so combining two traditions, Punch and Judy put on a Monday evening show too.

          I went along with Mum-in-law and we found a good spot just behind the railings. Each time I watch Punch and Judy I’m reminded how much the show makes me laugh, and this time was no exception.

          After the show Mum-in-law spotted a space to sit on one of the benches next to the flowerbeds on the prom. She kept a space for me while I queued for a tea and coffee to warm our hands with.

          We sat on our bench holding our warm cups and waited for news of the fireworks starting. I heard an announcement over the loud speaker and kicked my legs up and down at the knees from my sitting position, to my accompanying attempt at a chorus tune. The rest of the crowd started to chant “10”… “9”… “8”… And I realised the speaker had asked for a “Countdown”, not a “Can-can”.

          As the crowd counted the fireworks in, we scuttled around to behind the bench and clambered onto the low flowerbed wall, both laughing and wondering about how we were going to climb back down again.

          The lights went up and the bay was filled with colours and bright reflections.

          This “second childhood” is so much more fun than the first one … And no one makes you eat your greens.

          Thanks to “The View” and the many other eateries who stayed open late to provide refreshments for the fireworks.

More from before: a variety of “visitors and visitees“.

Covid casualties

PART ONE ….

          I’ve been on the train again …

          I went off to stay with Little Sister on a bit of a roller-coaster visit this time. Normally we only manage about two visits a year, and that’s counting one of us each way, but this is my second visit of the year, and I have another trip already planned for next month too …

          I went to stay with Little Sister in May, and we spent the weekend putting up a giant “Shed” in her garden for her to turn into a craft cottage … Now that I’ve seen it finished … Wow! … I want one.

          On my last visit I saw my Mum and Dad, and my Dad was trying to ignore a few health problems. I promised, if he didn’t go to the doctors, that I would nag him, and being married for over thirty-five years, I’ve had a lot of practice at nagging so was pleased that within days he’d been and booked an appointment.

          Mum and Dad were supposed to be visiting us at our seaside last May with plans to go to the Swannery in Abbotsbury, and after Covid had delayed things for a whole year, the trip was arranged again this year to coinside with the flurry of little cygnet feathers, but Dad wasn’t well enough to travel, he had however, been to the doctor and his health was under investigation.

          Meanwhile Eldest Daughter and Son-in-law planned a visit to us. A first away visit with Grandson. Eldest was amazed at how much “stuff” was needed for a visit with the Little Man… Whereas I was amazed at how little she had brought.

          The Little Man managed to pick up a virus to bring with him, not the covid virus, just your everyday sore throat and runny nose, but even with the sneezes and snotty nose, the weekend was a pretty good test-run and since my Dad was unable to travel up to finally meet the Little Man himself, Eldest arranged a weekend to stay with Little Sister to visit with Mum and Dad instead.

          With several different health issues on the horizon, and a bit of luck with the matching dates, I managed to gate-crash Eldest’s visit and so that’s how I found myself once more trying to stay awake by tapping away on my phone at a blog post as the train rattled along its gentle swaying way.

PART TWO …

          With the long weekend over it was time to make my way back home on the train. It wasn’t quite so straightforward on the return journey, as when I arrived at the station I found that my train had been cancelled and I had to go round and round the mulberry bush on a mystery tour to make my way back to my seaside.

          Train journeys are more than a little daunting for me at the best of times, and with Covid still about, the extra rules and requirements mean my poor marbles get rattled beyond recognition. I’m not sure if hiding behind my mask makes it better or worse.

          We’ve been quite lucky with Covid in general. Working for the NHS, Hubby was one of the first of our family to be vaccinated. It’s been such a relief everytime I hear of the next in line being “jabbed” or “double jabbed” as they work down through the age groups and now everone has been jabbed at least once with their second one coming over the horizon.

          Lockdown’s have been a scary pain in the neck, but although we all know of people who have been seriously ill or died, we’ve not lost anyone in our inner family circle. Mum, Dad and Mum-in-law were instantly sheilded . Youngest Son-in-law, also an NHS worker, tested positive and had to self isolate with Youngest Daughter. Their symptoms weren’t too bad and they weathered it well, with hopefully no hidden long covid problems left hidden away for later.

          We’ve pretty much survived by just existing, but at what cost ?

          The NHS has done a wonderful job of coping above and beyond with Covid, and I well and truly take my hat off to all of them, however they now have a battle on their hands to limit the casualties who stayed away to “protect the NHS” .

          My Dad has been caught up in this part of the war as he battles a cancer which has lurked for too long un noticed. Although his future is still not set in stone.

          I’ve been out to work at my supermarket throuout the pandemic and I’m quite glad I was forced to put one foot in front of the other and step out over the doorstep, some days I found it difficult to leave the house, but I kept some form of sanity intact by seeing that the sky hadn’t turned purple, and the rain still fell in a downward direction. Some of my shielding friends and family found it a lot more difficult to finally step out into the strange new reality.

          The “free press” have a lot to answer for spouting doom and gloom about “the plague” and telling us all we’d be “going to hell in a handcart” …

          Thank goodness for the vaccine.

          After what seems like an eternity of being told what to do, how to wash our hands, and how to behave in almost every situation, we are finally to be given the freedom to use our own common sense once more… I wonder if relying on the common sense of some humans, we should fear for humanity itself.

          As we are officially freed from our rules and regulations spare a thought for those who have been scared witless by the hype and have become terrified of pretty much everything, everytime they leave the house.

More from before: a variety of “visitors and visitees“.

Christmas bus

         Christmas 2020 was put on hold until we were released from enough covid controls to be able to celebrate together. If our Christmas had been last year in December, then Grandson would have only been a few months old, but this year, when we celebrated it in May, he was a lot more aware of his surroundings and although he didn’t actually know it was Christmas, he did get to enjoy dinner with us at the table, and of course, was able to investigate his presents for himself.

         We usually do our Christmas on Boxing Day. When we were younger, many, many moons ago, before my girls were even just “twinkles in Daddy’s eyes”, we used to have two Christmases each year, one at Mum-in-law’s house on Christmas Day, and another with my Mum and Dad on whichever day my Dad’s shifts allowed. This worked really well, until Eldest Daughter’s first Christmas. I remember it well, not because of it being Eldest’s first, she would have only been about four months, so her second Christmas would have been more memorable for that reason, but because it was the first year for many that my Dad’s shifts had allowed him to be home on Christmas Day.

         Being the first time for ages that my family had been able to celebrate on the 25th, it was to be a special occasion, but Christmas Day with Hubby’s family had become the normal thing to do and so this left us with the dilemma of choosing which celebration to go to, and which set of parents to offend.

         In the end, we chose to start with Eldest’s first Christmas as the first Christmas we stayed at home in our new family unit. We bought a round “Bernard Matthew’s” roast which was pretty much the limit of my culinary skills then, and I was to cook Christmas Dinner for us to eat at home.

         Hubby went out on the 24th and celebrated a little too hard so was very hung over on the 25th, and after cooking “the roast” I abandoned the rest of the culinary delights and just sliced it to make turkey sandwiches for Christmas Dinner. All in all, I think that year ranks right at the top of the worst Christmas we’ve had.

         When my girls were of school age, Hubby’s shifts often meant that he had to work on Christmas Day so our Christmas would move around the season to wherever it fitted best. When they started dating seriously, and the inevitable clash of Christmas Day at which family arose, both Hubby and myself remembered how family politics had spoiled our Christmas on that one particular year and we moved our Christmas to Boxing Day from then on to avoid a clash and the Girls always went to Boyfriend’s for Christmas Day.

        Boxing Day buffet became a tradition in our house, and so, as I always leave things to the last possible moment, the tradition of me spending Christmas Day wrapping presents also began.

         Christmas 2020 with the girls had been arranged for early January but when covid caused celebrations to be limited to just one day, our Christmas was delayed… And so was my wrapping of the presents.

         During the first few months of 2021, I returned one or two of the presents I’d bought and exchanged a couple more to work around the delay. I also watched from a distance as Grandson, like many children before him, expressed an interest in packaging rather than presents.

         Much like the rest of Britain, we shopped online and receives many boxes of varying shapes and sizes. One box in particular grabbed my attention and saved itself from the recycle bin. In true “Blue Peter” style, I covered it in a roll of “sticky backed plastic”, and turned it into a bus.

         I unpackaged any of Grandson’s presents which didn’t require adult supervision and put them into the box for him to discover for himself, and I bought a toddler’s steering wheel which made appropriate driving noises when buttons were pressed. The day before our Christmas. I added the batteries to the steering wheel, and the red bus became the packaging.

         With complete covid restrictions not due to be lifted until June, Christmas was arranged to take place in Younger Daughter’s garden. Different pieces of garden furniture and different pieces of Christmas Dinner arrived from different directions and ten of us sat down to a Christmas roast dinner in the garden in the middle of May… Complete with crackers, Christmas hats and traditionally bad jokes.

         After surviving 2020 with all covid had to throw at us, it was wonderful to all be together again. I think even my cooking of christmas dinner might have been accepted with a smile.

         Grandson enjoyed his bus, and of course, Hubby and myself, we enjoyed real live cuddles with Grandson.

         Eldest Daughter and Son-in-law liked the bus too. A bag of ball-pit balls provided the finishing touch, and I have it on very good authority that if you listen carefully you can catch the sound of Grandson pressing buttons on his musical steering wheel while being pushed around the room in his bus by Son-in-law… Accompanied by the appropriate beeping and brrrumming noises as required of course.

         More from before: a variety of “visitors and visitees“, and a little peek further into the world that I’ve “Created“.