A Bar-B-Q in England

The summer family bar-b-q normally happens at the end of July, round about the birthday of the lovely Jules. This year the calendar is well cluttered at the back end of July, so we had it at the front. Everything was nicely organised for a full house of family, in-laws and friends, when one of our number decided to sneak in an extra holiday, the knock on effect being he had to work this weekend so we were an in-law down. The fun thing about the bar-b-q is that we do nothing except eat it. Jayjay prepares lots of nice food, and has the bar-b-q food ready too, and Gra does the cooking, plus he often brings things to try too. This year Dawn cooked a cake, which was also yummy. While all this was going on I was alternating between eating and chatting and wandering around the garden taking photos.

1537 Foot bridge at Ashford Kent
Footbridge as Art – as we head north to the bar-b-q.

1648 A garden awaiting a bar-b-q
Our chef Gra chatting to AJ

1670 Common Blue butterfly maybe
One of the locals resting up

1654 Butch guarding his tape
Butch in the shade

1680 Mating Green-veined butterfly maybe
If you have Sex at a Bar-b-q, I guess it’s best to do it discretely.

1693 Vietnamese Lantern
A Vietnamese lantern, but we didn’t see it working!

1735 Bar-b-q in progress
The first food to hit the bar-b-q.

1752 Sunshine and bar-b-q
An assortment of family, including in-laws and ‘adopted as’ in-laws. Well – you can never have too many in a family.

We have meat eaters, veggies, and gluten frees amongst us, so we had a wide variety of foods, and of course we all, (nearly), cross-ate to try all the flavours.
Come 7pm we started to scatter our various ways. Jules, AJ and I headed for Ynys Mon, Wales. I drove the first half of the journey, and the girls kept an eye out for Red Kites along the M40 motorway. As we approached Birmingham, a sunset started to develop, but I wasn’t going to stop until I got to the half way distance, 140+ miles, and when I pulled into a service station to top up the drinking bottles and swap drivers, the sunset was still prettyish but fading a bit. Jules took over the driving and headed north, but the woods and scenery hid the sunset, and I didn’t get a good view of the sky for the best part of an hour or so, and then the gorgeous colours and patterns were no more. Better luck next time.

As usual, I went into photo doodle mode, and experimented with the camera’s program settings. I discovered the moonlight setting and it takes three photos and puts them together to get the sharpest image. Unlike the burst mode that takes up to ten pics in a fraction of a second and saves them all, this only produces one photo at each press, and often at slow shutter speeds. The advantage is that in poor light it does seem to produce nice pics (not guaranteed of course) and I don’t have loads of pics to sort through. I can’t remember all the pics I took in ‘Moonlight’ mode, but I’m thinking most of them were. The blooming exif data doesn’t appear to tell us this info – which is incredibly stupid of some git at Canon. I’m going to do a carefully documented experiment to see if some of the weird numbers and things in the EXIF data give me a clue. Carefully documented and Andy don’t necessarily go together, so we shall see!

1761 Sunset from the M6 motorway
Pastel sunset colours from the motorway.

1775 Dusk from M56 Motorway
Stanlow Refinery from the M56 motorway with ‘moonlight mode’

1816 Night drive across North Wales A55
Jules cruising at 68 mph. Another ‘moonlight mode’ pic.

1820 Night drive across North Wales - in the A55 'Pen-y-Clip' tunnel
Nearly home, in the A55 ‘Pen-y-Clip’ tunnel.

Taken in ‘Moonlight mode’. Not perfectly crisp, but good enough considering the bouncy nature of roads. A nice safe ending to a fab day. I remember hoping that all my American friends had had a nice day too, celebrating their 4th of July.


Cat Sat

Chatty Bit: We have been on a birding and family visitation to the Southeast of England, namely Kent. This has been followed by a week in our daughter and partner’s house, cat sitting etc, while they enjoy the sights abroad. By this weekend we were well frazzled, and went into permanent chill-out mode, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I thought I’d take a series of photos of the garden here, which I could use for a Facebook post to show them how nice their garden is keeping, and a post here to show everyone I’m still awake, and thinking of you all.

Piccy Bit:

690 Chaenomeles japonica
We know this as Japonica, which is only half of it’s name. I discovered today that it is Chaenomeles japonica, an ornamental quince.

691 Chaenomeles japonica
A macro which has highlighted some dust particles, but they are between the glass works of the camera !!

697 Rhus
This is the flower (?) and new leaves on a Rhus. They have gorgeous autumn colours and need to be well pruned to keep them to a manageable size.

699 Bluebell

700 Bluebell
Bluebells of course, but these are the typical ‘garden’ ones, being Spanish or a Spanish/English hybrid.

728 Bee feeding on a Pulmonaria - Lungwort
A bee (?) feeding on a Pulmonaria (Lungwort) flower. It’s got a massive feeding tube, which is why I question it’s insectorial nomenclature. I had loads of fun trying to photograph all manner of bees and insects, with a success ration of 2%, LoL.

752 Pulmonaria - Lungwort
Pulmonaria in close-up.

748 Blue Tit at the bathing pool of the water feature.
A Blue Tit not bathing!! but some have been, plus Great Tits, Robins, Dunnocks and a Goldcrest, and on a daily basis too.

781 Pond and water slide
The pond and water feature with a Fan Palm of some sort against the fence.

756 Mahonia
One species of Mahonia.

766 Mahonia
A shrubby version of Mahonia.

767 Mahonia
Fruits on the Mahonia.

790 Daffodils
The Daffodils are at the end of their season, but a few still look very pretty.

794 Daffodils
A welcoming sight at the front yard / garden entrance.

Father’s Day Treat – but not on Father’s Day

All these special days are on Sundays, which might be fine for most people, but our Sundays are quite full already. Regular readers will remember that I adore Sundays, because it’s my day in the kitchen, and I do the English cooked breakfast, dinner and tea, and get to pamper Julie all day. We normally have breakfast in the hobby room, and Julie spends the morning working on her cards. I pop in and out with breakfast and coffees. After breakfast I logged on to Facebook, and discovered it was Father’s Day. When I mentioned it to Julie she said that she had meant to ask me if I wanted pampering today – well, too late now, and besides, not taking over the kitchen is not a bonus. The GUKs – Grown Up Kids – all rang during the day, which was brill, and we had nice chats, which are always a treat.

At the end of the day, Julie asked if I would fancy going on the steam train to Porthmadog. There was a train leaving Caernarfon at 1115, it gets to Porthmadog at 1345, and after a 25 minute break, it heads back to Caernarfon, arriving there at 1640. The steam trains are on the narrow gauge tracks run by the Welsh Highland Railway. It sounded like a nice idea – and I must admit that Julie does do pretty well in the ‘nice idea department’. The weather guesstimate for the Monday was pretty good too.

The Welsh Highland Railway poster

We awoke Monday to find the sun shining and birds singing, all presaging a wonderful day ahead. We got to the station at Caernarfon thirty minutes ahead of the departure time, so we were ready to start taking photos as soon as the train arrived from the garage(?) at Dinas. The train duly arrived, and the first job was to unhitch it from the front of the line of carriages, and go back to the other end. The back was about to become the new front. The driver was so nice, because after disconnecting, he stopped the train to let people photograph it, before steaming off to swap ends.

Train and carriages arrive
The Train pulls in from Dinas

We found a carriage near the back (the new back, for the outward run to Pothmadog) and it was less than a quarter full, so we had plenty of space and we used adjacent seats on both sides of the carriage, so we could photograph the scenery on either side of the train. The scenery on the way to the first stop at Dinas, is rural farming land and woods, with views across to the Irish Sea. From Dinas to Waunfawr the scenery gradually becomes hilly, and from Waunfawr we run through a valley at the bottom of Yr Wyddfa (Mount Snowdon) through forests and moorland and lakes through Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert. At Rhyd Ddu the up trains and down trains rendezvous before continuing on their way. This meeting of trains allows people from both ends of the line to do short distance return trips with no waiting. At Beddgelert, we turn right into the Afon Glaslyn gorge, or more properly the Pass of Aberglaslyn, through wooded hillsides, tunnels, and out onto the floodplain to Porthmadog. Even the flat bits are pretty.

Our 3rd Class carriage
Our 3rd Class Carriage, ample space and comfy

So how did our day go? Julie had packed up a backpack with some biscuits, and snacks and two sealed mugs with coffees in them. We didn’t touch these at first, but got coffees and fruit cake, and would you believe it? no barra brith on a Welsh train, hence the next best thing, the fruit cake. The rivers were very full today. We drank our coffee and ate the cake as the train went through the woods bordering the river from Llyn Cwellyn. Julie spent some time trying to get a photo of the train across a corner of the track, but trees and things would get in the way, or the track would veer the other way and take the train out of sight. I thought we could apply the classic pincer movement, and attack the job from both sides, and that didn’t work either. We solved the problem by waiting until we were riding high along the valley side, away from trees and forests, and besides which, I new that near Rhyd Ddu there were a couple of ‘Ess’ bends, because we had watched the trains trundle along them from our car on the road. Nothing like local knowledge is there.

Craig y Bera
Craig Y Bera

Nice photos got at last, we trundled into Rhyd Ddu, and I was hoping to catch the inward train as it came into the station, but it got there at the same time, so no luck there. There was always another chance on our return journey. As we left Rhy Ddu we ordered some bacon baps, and we started on the coffees in our steel thermos mugs, which were still nice and hot even after waiting for us a couple of hours. We entered the forest of Beddgelert, which has been a favourite spot of ours for years. Ironically, as the forest has recovered from it’s last harvest, a dozen years ago or more, the trees have grown and obliterated the beautiful panoramas. Today, on the train with trees just feet away, the forest beauty appeared in it’s own, inimitable way. Every so often the mountains and valleys fleetingly appeared, almost defying Julie’s attempt at scenic photo.

Train in Beddgelert Forest
Dropping down through Beddgelert Forest

Our bacon baps arrived just after leaving Beddgelert, where we left the forest and headed into the gorge, looking down on the pretty Afon Glaslyn. The track runs along the route of the old path, which hikers once used to traverse the Pass of Aberglaslyn, which, before that, was the route of the old slate train tracks to Porthmadog. We had walked these paths too, in the past, and through the tunnels, with Julie’s dad and sister, to meet Mick at a car park just past the end of the gorge. Amazing to think we did it without a torch! Back to the present; so out of the tunnel and through woods onto the flat hinterland, and on to the next halt at Pont Croesor, where the RSPB Glaslyn Osprey project is run from.

Rapids in the Pass of Aberglaslyn
The rapids in the Pass of Aberglaslyn

We go to Pont Croesor a couple of times a year, to see the osprey on their nest. Even with telescopes they are small blobs, so we had a nice surprise when we saw the nest from the train. We could see the female osprey on the nest, just, but with our binoculars we had a nice view of her, which was better than we get with scopes at Pont Croesor, which is mile from the nest. The hills and mountains around the flat lands going into Porthmadog, kept us occupied for the last part of the this trip. When we got to Porthmadog, it was a bit of a surprise to find us travelling over a main road to get to the terminus. The train has to go along the cob, to give it room to reverse into the terminus. A shunter did some of the work to enable our loco to unhitch and position itself ready to take the front spot again on the return journey.

We had twentyfive minutes at the terminus, so I pottered along the train to look at the Observation Car. It certainly has lots of space, and if you got one of the best seats, it would be well worth the £8 for a seat here. While it was in the station, the windows were cleaned ready for the next clients, which I thought was a nice touch. While at the terminus, I nipped into the café, and got a couple of hot cheese and onion pies, and a portion of chips, which I took back to our car to eat. The pies were big and tasty, as were the chips, and the other choices at the café all look appetizing. The pies and chips came to £5.60, $8.72, €6.95, which I thought was excellent value for money – I like a T-bar with user friendly prices, LoL.

Porthmadog harbour and marina
Porthmadog harbour and marina, viewed from the station

Just after 2 o’clock we were pulled back onto the cob, and our loco got hitched up, and off we set, along the road, and back out onto the hinterland. The return trip was just as delightful as the outward one, and this time I spent more time looking than taking photos, just concentrating on a few areas where I felt I could get some better pics. The male (guess) osprey was on the edge of the nest as we went past, so perhaps he’d brought fish for the female and chicks. My hopes for getting a photo of the opposite train coming into the station at Rhyd Ddu were thwarted again, as we made synchronous arrivals. Never mind, we go past Rhyd Dhu quite often, so I’ll just have to time a visit appropriately, and get that pic.

Train heading north out of Rhyd Ddu
Heading North out of Rhyd Ddu, along the lower slopes of Snowdon

The ride back to Caernarfon was as delightful as the rest of the journey; the sun had moved round, and the scenery took on new shapes and hues; the stewards were very polite and friendly, and they plied us with delicious coffee; the train driver had to swap ends again, to take the carriages back to Dinas, and once again, he paused during the manoeuvrings to allow us to take more pictures of his beautiful loco; it all typified a delightful day out, what more could we want?

The Stats. £60 on tickets and £20 on coffees and food, so £80, $125, €100.
Clicking on any picture, apart from the poster, will take you to the Flickr pic, and you can view the other thirty+ pics there, or use the link in the side panel.

A Geocaching Jaunt with Ann and Pete

We had a call from Ann and Pete suggesting we have a geocaching jaunt, which sounded like a brilliant idea to us. As the weekend approached, we settled on the Sunday as THE day, which meant having my Sunday cook-up, and pampering of Jules, on the Saturday. This was not a hardship for either Jules or myself.

We decided on an early night at the end of the Saturday, as we had arranged to be at A&Ps for breakfast, and what a super meal it was; sweetcorn pancakes; sausages; bacon; tomatoes; toast and fresh eggs from there own hens – so yummy. We ate heartily, not just because it was all so delicious, but because the plan was to have enough to last us through the day, and it worked well, and we didn’t feel hungry until tea time.

Anuerin arrived just as we were leaving, but he didn’t stay long once he knew we were off for the day. When we got back, he rang up to make sure we had got back ok – he is such a sweetie. We used our Kia for today’s transport, as it suits Julie’s hips for getting in and out of, but even so, her hips and joints hurt for two or three days afterwards. I did the driving, and left the cach-nav (GPSs) handling to the girls. Pete and I were using our iPhones, but we had some problems with zero signals in places. Pete drew the short straw, because he sat in the front, and I’m not much of talker when I’m driving, so the poor guy didn’t get a lot of conversation, – sorry Pete.

We found 20 caches on the day, but only 19 were new to Jules and I, so I got 19, and one was for premium members only, and Jules doesn’t have that, so she only got 18. The days totals set a new record for us, our previous best being 13 in one day. Ann had done all the research, ferreting out caches that were disable friendly, apart from a couple she rather fancied, and we added another that we had fancied for a while too.

I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account of each cache, but here are some of the highlights. Our first cache was at the tidal wetlands near Porthmadog. The ospreys fish here during the summer, and near the car park we discovered a hide, so this is on our list for some birding. We did a loop to the A470, and then left it and headed down the Harlech road. Our 4th cache was down a side road at a railway station, and during the day we were to do several of these ‘side tracked’ series of caches at little stations, mostly just platforms with a large ‘bus shelter’ style place for customers to sit out of the weather, but some were still very pretty.

Looking over Traeth Bach of the Porthmadog estuary towards Snowdonia

We weren’t very far from a cache Jules and I wanted to do, but the terrain was too rough for Jules, so we left her to make the coffees, and set off with Max. We walked along the tide line of the estuary, but it proved to be a mistake, as we found ourselves opposite the cache with a salt marsh between it and us. We found a reasonable route through, which only required a jump or two across the channels. Max had a super time, so Pete had to wash his paws before he could get back in the car. We had but a square of carpet in the boot for Max, so he had a comfortable ride between walks.

Ann had researched a multi-cache, which is a cache where one builds up the co-ordinates through a series of clues, and we got to the area it was in few caches later, and these had taken us through some super narrow pretty roads, with gorgeous views from hillsides, looking out across Tremadog Bay. To get to the multi-cache, we had to follow some public footpaths over a hillside, with more of those pretty views. Ann’s calculations were spot on, so she was rather chuffed, and we were very pleased too. This was one cache where we had to leave Jules behind, but hopefully, we didn’t take too long.

A couple of caches later, we got to Pensarn harbour, which was more like a haven really, and owned by a yacht club. The cache-navs indicated the cache was on the station, and there were two teenaged boys sitting in the shelter where we suspected the cache would be. Ann checked out a likely alternative hide, but found nothing, so I suggested a coffee break, and went off down the road searching for a signal for the phone. I had a couple of caches I had yet to log, and I needed a signal to do it, but the area was as dead as a doornail. We only had to wait fourteen minutes for the train to take the muggles (non geocaching persons) away, and we resumed our hunt for the cache – but nothing in the shelter. Ann went back to her alternative hide and found the cache, so we need not have waited for the train, but then, we wouldn’t have had a coffee break either, and I do like the odd coffee break.

We went to a cache near a camp site that we used when the kids were young teenagers, and there is now a boardwalk through the dunes to the beach. Max and I had a run along the boards to the beach and back, and Max beat me both ways – LoL.

Pete heading into the Barmouth sandbar

Sand featured again at our 16th cache, which was on the quay at Barmouth. There must have been a helluva storm, as the beach and sea were umpteen yards away, yet sand was piled up across the road. Jules didn’t like the idea of her car getting stuck, so Ann, Pete, Max and I walked the last fifty yards to the cache. Dusk was approaching, and Jules was hoping for a pretty sunset, but we were disappointed.

Sand and sky at Barmouth

Our last four caches followed in quick succession as we drove away from Barmouth in the direction of the A470 near Dolgellau, and an hour later we were back at Penegroes. A&P treated us to an Indian take-away from the village, which we ate at their place. Jules and I had chosen a lamb korma and a chicken korma, so we could mix and match – it was delicious. The meal was very filling, and I didn’t really want to move, but every one was feeling tired, and so we set of home.

We had one job to do, and that was to refuel the Kia. Now then – Pete had a voucher giving 6p discount per litre, and he’d been looking for it before we went out, and carried on looking for it when we’d got back – and eventually he found it. It had to be accompanied by a receipt, which he gave me too. We pull into Morrisons petrol station; I squeeze every drop of diesel I can into the tank; 49 litres worth; I walk into the shop: I plonk the receipt on the desk – and – no voucher. The lady doesn’t bat an eyelid, she scribbles paid or something over the receipt, and knocks off £2.94 from the bill. Gob smacked, and not believing my luck, I amble back to the car. What a lucky day. Thank you Pete.

The whole day was tremendous fun, being with people we like, who are lots of fun, and of course, being family, we had lots of chats and laughs. Ann’s research was brilliant – I’ve tried doing the same thing, and it is amazingly time consuming – we all appreciate her efforts. Thank you Ann.

Thanks to Jules for the Photos.

Xmas Fun

Xmas turned out to be a very happy occasion. We had a bit of a panic in the last week, as we discovered we’d bought the wrong present for Dawn, but luckily, Amazon came to the rescue, and delivered the new present on time. Bry and Dawn came home a couple of days before Xmas, so they visited some friends and we all played lots of Wii. We all popped over to see Ann and Pete, and Enuerin of course, and got treated to a gorgeous meal, and lots of chat. Their new fire is a super focal point, and Bry and Dawn got to catch up on all the modernising to the flatlet.

Gra arrived at breakfast time Xmas day, and every one had a snacky breakfast before opening our presents. We didn’t buy as many presents this year, but it didn’t make our enjoyment any less, as we all managed to come up with some surprises for each other. Julie cooked dinner, but it turned out to be a joint effort. Julie did most of the work, but we all helped with things like the washing up, laying the table, taking the food; probably not a lot of help, but it felt nice, every one being with Julie at one time or another as she cooked us a delicious meal.

We spent a lot of time playing games, and Jayjay had given us a new game too, called Bezzerwizzer, (a game of trivia, trickery and tactics), so we ended Xmas day playing it. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and we Played oldies versus youngsters. We oldies won the first game quite substantially, but the youngsters just beat us on the next one, but they whipped us very well on the deciding game.

Boxing day was a fun day too, as Ann, Pete and Maria came, and Julie did a buffet meal. A day of lots of Wii games and chatting, and we introduced our lovely guests to a game called ‘Apples to Apples’. ‘Apples to Apples’ is a sort of word association game, but it gets it’s fun and interest from the interaction and repartee of the players. It’s quite addictive, and the more players there are, the more fun it is.

Dawn left on Tuesday, and the boys left at different ends of Wednesday. It was a super Xmas, sharing so much time with each one; I lent Dawn the iMac so she could work from home, Bry helped get Dawn organized, and helped me with some iMac things too, and Gra helped me with some Jewelry, & he showed us some of the gorgeous items he’s made. I even managed to get Julie a decent surprise present. Last but not least, we had mum with us, in the form of her Order of Service sheet, with her photo on the front (page 1). We put her in pride of place on our unit in the lounge, and she figured in some long conversations, plus lots of little cameo roles as we played games and stuff. Mum loved games, and she was so funny, leaving us with anecdotes and memories by the bucket load.

Finally, the end of year balance check. I weighed in, our rather out, at 12 stone 4 lbs on 30th December 2011. This is the heaviest I’ve been for two years. The year previously, on the 29th Dec 2010, I was 7 lbs lighter, but I was still one pound lighter than on the 29th December 2009, so bad news good news then. I hate being over 12 stone, in fact, I hate being near twelve stone, but it’s all self inflicted – and so stupid. Have a super 2012 everybody.

Wake for the Party

Mum always said she wanted a good send off, but sadly, she passed away in the early hours of the 30th November 2011, setting into motion all her forward planning. We got to Kent that evening, and Daryl, my youngest sister, arrived the next day, with Bryony, her daughter and Stuart her husband. We proceeded to do all those necessary things one has to do after a death. We were so very lucky, as everything fell into place, almost naturally; getting a slot with the registrar; the funeral parlour having a free date, and the crematorium having a slot to match.

Mum's Picture as it appeared on the Order of Service.

Mum had been very distressed in her last week, and it was a relief when she died. Her grand daughter Emm spent a lot of time with her in her last few days, and was a huge help, and she enabled us to ring mum up, chat to her too, and say a few words to mum. I think we all spoke to mum a few hours before she died, and let her know we loved her, and were thinking of her so.

I use texts for passing information to my sisters, as I know they get them almost immediately, and I get replies back, usually within minutes. There was a whinge about me referring to the post funeral get together as a party, and some wanted to call it a wake.

WAKE: a vigil over a coffin, before the funeral, from an old word meaning to watch over.
PARTY: a gathering of people, especially in celebration of an event.

I rest my case, especially as everyone wanted the funeral service to be a celebration of mum’s life. I wasn’t originally going to mums party, as I didn’t want to meet anyone else, but one of my sisters talked us into going for a while. Daryl left for Scotland at the weekend, after going to the funeral parlour to see mum, and to say some personal goodbyes. She had no intention of being at the funeral, which one sister said was appalling, but that attitude is appalling to me, for denying Daryl the freedom to mourn for mum in her own way. I’m a firm believer that every one should have free will, and that that behoves everyone to allow everyone else free will also.

The Fab Five came to the funeral, and to get some chatting time in, we all met at the motorway services at the M20 J8. Bryony and Julie’s sister Jane joined us too. It started off well, with Bry getting over enthusiastic in the hug department, and spilling AJs coffee all over her; amazingly, her clothes dried off with no sign of staining. We headed off to the crematorium, and bumped into loads of relatives, whom we introduced to the Fab Five, and before we knew it, the hearse arrived, and we followed the coffin into the chapel, where we met Sandee and family, who had been in the warmth of the waiting room.

Every one had some input into Mum’s service, Mum mostly, and the older two sisters chose the readings, and they were gorgeous choices. The vicar offered to read the eulogy, and I sent him Mum’s history as the basis of it; this was put together by us all when mum went into Park View care-home. It was originally made to give the staff a sense of what mum was as a person, and to this I added a bit of what mum was like as a character. Daryl, and her daughter Bryony put together the Order of Service sheets, and I supplied them with mums photo for it, and then printed the order sheets out on photographic paper, to give them some quality. The Reverend Chris Esgate took the service, and he was brilliant. He used everything we sent him, and he put it over so nicely, making it sound very personal. He didn’t claim to know mum, but he made comments about mum, showing that he found her and her life fascinating.

Bryony read the two readings, and she did a marvellous job. I cried when I first read the readings, and so I read both pieces again and again to take the emotional impact away from them; it didn’t work – I cried yet again. Here are the pieces concerned.

Excerpt from ‘Death’ from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, chosen by Jo in New Zealand.

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

“She’s Gone” David Harkins chosen by Sandee

You can shed tears that she is gone,
Or you can smile because she lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes,
love and go on.

The party went very well, and although we had had differences in the past as what was best for mum, every one went to the party with the same attitude – to celebrate our love for mum, on this day dedicated to her life, by spreading love and hugs on each other. The Fab Five were brilliant, hugging and helloing everyone in sight. Sandee found the Funeral Party venue on the net, and I tidied up the arrangements. We went to the Conningbrook Hotel in Kennington, and the hot buffet was very tasty – it was a pity that they forgot to bring it until we went and reminded them. It was super meeting aunts, uncles and cousins we hadn’t seen for several years or more. After saying we’d only stay a short while, we stayed to end. A lovely if sad day to end mum’s time on on this earth, so we smile, open our eyes, love and go on.

Jamaica Inn – Sunday 6th November 2011

After last nights late finish, we had a late start. Every one eventually surfaced, and Bry organised a game of Wii golf. I was way out in front after nine holes, at 7 under par, and Bry only 4 under. 9 holes later I was only 9 under par, and Bry was ahead at 11 under. This was followed by a Fab Four packing session, and we then set off in convoy for Bodmin Moor, and by now, it’s about 2 pm. The plan was to potter through Bodmin Moor, and the fantastic foursome would head off home about 3-ish.

The Jamaica Inn

Bodmin Moor proved to be almost on our doorstep, so the Fab Four called and suggested a pub lunch. As we were heading towards the Jamaica Inn, Julie suggested eating there, and so that’s where we went. We parked at the side of the Inn, where there was a sign for the café, so we went in the front, hoping for a traditional pub lunch, only to find that there was only the one self service style foodery, but you could eat it anywhere in the Inn. We made our choices, and the serving girl was very nice and friendly, so it felt like the personal service we expecting from a pub. The vegetables were self service, but such a large selection that I had to resort to tiny portions so that I could get a taste of everything – a bit like Jules’s meals really. The roast beef was the main favourite, but I chose the steak and Cornish Ale pie, which was delicious. Bry treated us all to the drinks, which was very nice.

It was a lovely meal, and we sat and chatted for ages, but because this was followed by a cruise through the shop, goodbyes and hugs didn’t happen until nearly 4:30. We waved the Fab Four off, got back in the car, and Julie fired up the cachenav.

I’d down-loaded a geocaching program that enabled us to cream off the drive-by caches, and there was one on the cachenav, which was just a short way away. It was a clever hide too, and while Julie was filling in the log after finding it, I checked for other caches in the area, using my phone, just in case I’d missed one or two. In fact, I’d missed one back at the Jamaica Inn itself, so we returned there to grab it, post haste. Julie found a cache further East, along the A30 trunk road, and with that under our belt, we decided to head back to base. Being a dual carriageway, we had to potter along to Fivelanes before we could leave the road, and cross under it, to rejoin the West lane back to Bodmin.

A Cornish Sunset

There was a sunset developing, and we wanted to head back towards it, Sunset chasing again, but when we got to Fivelanes, Julie spotted a cache, so we had to nab that first. As we headed back to Bodmin, we kept hoping for a lay-by to appear with a good a view of the sunset, but each one was too low to give us a nice view of the sky. We stopped off at ASDA for fuel, and carried on through Bodmin and south to Lanlivery, then the sunset turned red again, but with out any clouds, it was just a bright band of colour near the horizon, which didn’t stop us trying one more time for a photo though.

Back in doors we got the Wii golf going, but had to put it on pause for a while to watch the Strickly Dancing and X-Factor results. We were going to get an early night, but we still managed to chat our way into tomorrow. The Fab Four texted us when they got home. The M5 was still closed when they got there due to a huge crash on the Friday night, but at least they got home safely.

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