This chapter will cover my (our) various activities from age about 67 to 77 (if I live that long). So the major subjects covered will be multiple deaths, living alone, holidays and anything else that comes to mind.
In July 2011 she complained of bleeding from the bum and was in Lister hospital for a couple of days - I can't remember if anything was found. In 2011 and 2012 her hearing got steadily worse, and she tried to disguise this by guessing words. In March 2012 she had a fall and was admitted to the Lister again with a broken tibia. She was getting more and more confused and then stopped eating. She was transferred to the Woodland View care home, wouldn't eat, was sick and vomitted up blood, grew very tired with very shallow breathing. She was taken to the A&E department of Lister Hopsital where she died on the evening of March 17 2012.
She was diagnosed with high blood pressure in 2010 and was on pills for the rest of her life. The rectal bleeding returned from time to time but was never explained, even after an endoscopy examination in 2011. In September 2011 she tripped over a paving slab and hurt her teeth, bruised her face and sprained a wrist. In July 2012, while on holiday in the Netherlands she fell down some stairs at a restaurant in Haarlem, breaking her collarbone, chipping a bone in her wrist and bending a finger backwards. We finished the holiday with her arm in plaster. Back home, at the Lister hospital, they replaced the heavy plaster with a lighter gauntlet and put her finger in a splint. The gauntlet was removed after a week, she had physiotherapy for some time, only being signed off in January 2013. In April and May 2013 her sciatica returned.
|a quiet spot by Blae Tarn|
On the morning of 7 May 2014, I had got up and she was still in bed reading her library book. I heard a great clatter, went to look, and found her at the bottom of the stairs - she wasn't breathing. I tried CPR for a few minutes then rang 999. An ambulance came within five minutes and the paramedics worked on her for quite some time, even giving her an injection (of adrenaline?) directly into the heart. They transferred her to the ambulance and we raced off to the Lister, but she was pronounced dead soon after. Because she had officially died in hospital there was a post mortem - the cause of death was found to be a myocardial infarction that caused a haemopericardium - death would have been almost instantaneous.
We both hated funerals and had been to far too many lately - we had agreed that our own would be as simple as possible. I arranged such a simple ceremony, Zac produced a professional-looking booklet with plenty of photos from happier times. Our friends Bernard and Pamela couldn't make it down from Scotland but, shortly afterwards, we met up in the Lake District and scattered Maureen's ashes in Blae Tarn. I miss her dreadfully.
In late 2009 she had been sick several times and this continued into early 2010. We took her to the vet, who did a blood test and found that her kidneys were failing. She was put on prescription cat food (expensive) that seemed to do the trick but we were warned that it was only a matter of time. She died just a couple of weeks after Maureen - I'm just glad it was not before as Maureen would have been so upset.
After Maureen died I tried to keep busy, sorting out her things and taking most of them to charity shops. My sister Pat came up from Bristol for the funeral, and I drove her round Knebworth, Welwyn, Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin, showing her all the places I/we had lived and worked. After the funeral I had to get on with my life, but couldn't sleep properly by myself. Every morning, on waking up, I would turn over for a cuddle and there would be no-one there. Maureen's brother John came and took away a load of Maureen's family history documents and the ashes of his parents.
The house and especially the garden were far too big just for me, so I decided that I would move back to Bristol, and I started looking online for a flat to buy. A quite decent one turned up, just across the harbour from Welsh Back so I went down to look at it, taking Pat (who would notice things that I would miss). I liked it a lot but didn't have enough ready cash to buy it as Maureen's probate hadn't been finalised. By the time that her money came through it had been sold to somebody else. In the meantime I started looking for a flat to rent, just temporarily, and I found a nice one on the south side of the harbour, in Cumberland Road. I finished clearing out all the stuff that I didn't want to keep and got rid of 300 books (mostly Maureen's) and sold all my vinyl records. I put the house up for sale - on the 18th October we had an "open house" (27 people came and looked round, 16 made offers - accepted the highest one (from a Polish window cleaner)). I moved to Bristol on the 21st October 2014 and my furniture turned up the next day, then arranged doctors and dentist a few days later and posted many change-of-address letters. Virgin Media (telephone, TV, broadband) eventually installed. Christine's man Derick put up picture hooks for me. Got on with the rest of my life.
In January 2015 I fell over on the ice while crossing Prince Street bridge - no harm done. In February I finally exchanged contracts and got my money for the house in Stevenage; Maureen's probate also finally came through. In March I made a new will, and arranged "lasting power of attorney" for my niece Christine - my affairs are now in order, if I should fall off my perch. In August 2015 I was prosecuted for driving at 34 mph along Cumberland Road and had to attend a "speed awareness" course (surprisingly good).
In February 2016 I got gout in my left foot - would return from time to time. Had a health checkup in March (cholesterol 5.06, blood pressure 133/79, body mass index 22.4, I will probably live). In June 2016 I started going to a creative writing group in Bedminster library (I still go). In June 2016 I also started Internet dating with varying degrees of success - nobody can possibly replace Maureen, but might relieve some symptoms. In September 2016 I had a prostate examination - enlarged but no lumpy cancerous bits - prescribed tamsulosin to reduce swelling and something else that you don't need to know about. Stopped taking tamsulosin as it reduced my blood pressure dangerously. In November 2016 I got a pair of hearing aids fitted (from Boots) - they work very well.
In February 2017 I got a phone call from Glen (Maureen's aunt Edna has died suddenly). In March I had a dodgy tooth crowned and now my denture doesn't fit as well as it used to - have to be careful when eating. In March, I got new glasses from Boots - distance ones are not bad, reading ones don't work properly so I still use the old ones.
My nephew David married Sarah at Dunchideock in Devon, December 2014. They now live in a flat overlooking the sea in Dawlish and were nearly washed away by a huge storm that ripped up the railway line between them and the sea (it was on the telly). In December 2015 little Sebastian was born - my fourth great nephew.
We took Pippa to the cattery on the Wednesday then, on the Thursday morning, we walked down to the station (light drizzle) and got a train to Kings Cross, then walked over to St Pancras, and joined the 8.55 train to Paris, Gare du Nord. Karen, the rep, came round to say that there is a French rail strike but our train is still running. Had a couple of sanwiches and fruit juice as breakfast in the tunnel. Arrived, got the group together, then trouped out to find the coach that took us to Gare d'Austerlitz - lots of traffic congestion because of the strike so journey took nearly 2 hours and we missed our train - no reserved seats on the next one - sit and wait and wait (bought some sandwihes and coffee). Karen told us which platform our train would be (with an xtra coach) before it come up on the departures board, so we were in place for it. We left after 7.00 in the evening and got to Limoges at 10.40, escalators not working, pouring rain - joined coach and set off at 11.00, finally getting to the Hotel Relais de Soleil in Montignac at 2.30 in the morning. A cold buffet had been prepared, which we ate, and then we got our keys and went to bed!
|La Roque Gageac|
|boat at La Roque Gageac|
|Me, Perigueux||Maureen, Rocamadour|
|Cro-Magnon statue||our hotel, flower festival|
We had taken Pippa to the cattery the day before. After an early lunch we walked down to the station, caught a train to Kings Cross then the tube to Victoria and then the Gatwick Express, getting to the airport at 2.15, finally took off at 4.40, had M&S sandwiches in the air and landed at Palermo at 8.00 local time as the sun was beginning to set. The rep (Terry Regan) is Irish. We got to the Hotel Madarig in Castellammare del Golfo at 9.30 - early night.
After exchanging anniversary cards on the Wednesday we had a large buffet breakfast (no dinner last night). The coach took us to the Zingaro National Park with a couple of photo opportunities on the way (29°c and climbing). Some people stopped at a small cove for a swim, but we carried on to a small museum and wandered back. Then the coach took us to Scopello (short wander then sat in the shade drinking lemon sodas) then to Baglio Fontana for a short wine tasting and lunch (antipasti, 2 sort of pasta, meat & sausage, potatoes and salad, pineapple, cherries and a strawberry drink, coffee slumped in the bar). Had a wander, talked to a cat, coach back to the hotel for a cool shower. When it was a little cooler, we set out and looked at all the places to eat but just had gelati as we were full up from lunch.
After another large breakfast on the Thursday the coach took us to Segesta and a shuttle bus took us to the ampitheatre then, after another sit in the shade drinking lemon sodas we walked up to the temple At noon the coach took us to Erice along a road with lots of hairpin bends - had a wander then found somewhere for lunch (pasta con sarde, tonno in agrodolce, new potatoes, cannolo for afters, glass of white, half litre of acqua gassata, café). We walked up to the Castello di Venere, sat on a seat for a while then walked back down the Via S. Francesco (slippery polished stone) to the coach that took us back to the hotel. In the evening we walked down to the marina and then inland to Via Marconi and in a little side street we found the Trattoria Peccati di Gola (noisy but authentic) - pasta alle cozze con pomodori & basilico, then a fish mixed grill with salad (good, but difficult to eat), mezzo litro vino bianco, acqua minerale gassata, cassata siciliana, no coffee. Bed.
Friday was a free day and some people were taking boat trips. We had a late breakfast and then had an extended wander and a look in the museum at the castello; then back to the hotel and out for lunch at the Monsù - couscous al Monsù (with cuttlefish) (M), risotto al nero d'Avola & smoked cheese (J), rollini di spatolo d'arancia (M), pesce spada (J), zucchini trifolate & patatine fritte to share, mezzo litro vino bianco, acqua gassata, no afters. We had a quick look at the beach then back to the hotel for a siesta then I had a small wander while Maureen read her book. In the evening, after waiting for a religious procession to pass, we had dinner at Le Antiche Scale sitting outside on steps leading down to the sea - sardines, pine kernels and raisins in a sort of bread bomb (J), antipasto rustico (M, helped out by (J), busiate pasta with aubergines (J), with fennel and sardines (M), salad, glass of vino bianco plus what the man at the next table couldn't finish! Bed.
Early breakfast on the Saturday; then we were driven to Palermo. We had a little guided tour to orientate ourselves then were left to our own devices. We started at the Clarks shoe shop! through the market onto Corso Vittorio Emanuele, through a maze of streets to Piazza Marina, walked through the Quattro Canti, past the Piazza Verdi and stopped for a light lunch at Café Kabana - just panini and water, but succumbed to cakes filled with ricotta. We met the coach which took us to the Piazza del Normani where an Italian guide joined us (Lara). We visited the Palantine Chapel (quite good) then waited for the coach to take us up to Monreale (92 steps up from the coach park) where the guide lectured us through headsets. Then we visited the cloisters (free if >= 65) and the coach picked us up again (good view of the Conca d'Oro) and took us down to the Cattedrale in Palermo then back to the hotel. For dinner, we went just round the corner to Isola del Gusto - tempura di pesce (M), carpaccio di cinghiale affunato (J), spada siciana (M), fritto misto di mare (J), patatine fritte to share, mezzo litro di bianco, no afters, café. Bed.
After breakfast on the Sunday we were driven to the northern end of the Zingara National Park where we walked down to a small museum about tuna fishing and some people had a swim. Then we drove to San Vito, a small but noisy seaside town, and had lunch at "San Vito a tavola" - tabulé di tre pesce affumati (J), frittura di cappuchetti neonati (M), involtini di pesce spada (stuffed with couscous) (J), couscous allo scoglio (M), salad to share, glass of vino bianco, café. Then we sat in some gardens by the beach and then back to the coach and returned to the hotel via a photo stop - sat and read our books in the square. Later in the evening we went out for a meal at the Freedom Cafe - antipasti to share, spaghetti alle vongole, glass of bianco, acqua, café.
A big bronze-coloured beetle was scuttling around the bathroom when we woke up on the Monday so I captured it and put it out in the corridor. After breakfast the coach took us south to Selinunte where we explored the Greek temples and the Acropolis. Then the coach took us for an included meal at Da Vittorio at Porto Palo di Menfi where we sat at a long table overlooking the sea - bread, wine and water on the table, antipasto di gamberetti, polpetti salad with cozze, battered sardine rolls, fishcakes then fusilli with tonno, melanzane & mandorle then fried gamberetti and a bony fish that nobody could identify then fresh fruit salad, cafe. Staggered out. Back at the hotel, Maureen had acquired several insect bites so put some Anthisan on. In the evening we went out for a walk and just had a gelato (but saw several of our fellows eating dinner). Two more of those beetles dealt with.
After breakfast on the Tuesday we packed (removed another beetle from a suitcase) and left the suitcases down by the bar, then sat outside on plastic seats and read for an hour or so. Then we had our last lunch, at Zio Andrea - arancetti & insalata mista, calamari fritti (J), risotto alla marinaia (M), usual bianco & acqua. Then back to the hotel and into the coach and off to the airport for all the usual hassle. Back at Gatwick there was an enormous queue at passport control. Then lightning had knocked out the Gatwick Express so we got a normal train only as far as East Croydon then another into Victoria. Got home eventually.
|Me, Selinunte||our hotel|
We had taken Pippa to the cattery the day before, as usual. We had an early start on the Wednesday, walking to the station at 6.45 and caught a train to Kings Cross then walked to St Pancras. Waited for our train, got onboard and ate sandwiches and grapes for breakfast - arrived at Brussels Midi at midday and were shown the departures board where we were to gather at 1.00. We had pain au chocolat and a coffee for lunch. We got a second train to Antwerp and changed to a third to Dordrecht (sat by Karen, the leader). From there, a coach took us to our hotel in Utrecht where, after a little muddle with room numbers we got one on floor #19. We were given a map of the town and then led through the railway station and the Hoog Catherijne shopping mall towards the centrum, restaurants being pointed out as we walked. We were walked up and down a main canal, past the Dom tower, &c. We chose the Graff Floris to eat at, with a table by the window - smoked chicken salad with cashew nuts and raspberry dressing (M), goats cheese salad with pine nuts (J), beef cooked in beer with apple and gingerbread syrup, fries, carrots and broccoli (JM), glass of pils each. Managed to walk back to the hotel without getting lost.
After breakfast on the Thursday the coach took us to Gouda where, after a small guided tour, we were let loose. We had a general wander, and looked in the odd church, then bought ice-creams and ate them on the way back to the coach. On the way back to the hotel we were given lots of leaflets on what to do in Utrecht. We walked into the old town and went to the Museum Centrale (strange mixture) then walked back, stopping for a tea near the Dom tower. In the evening we ate at the Artisjok - black bread, butter, tapenade on the table, bouillabaise, monkfish cutlet, Italian rosé, coffee (a bit expensive).
After breakfast on Friday the 13th we set off to Haarlem, where we walked to the Frans Hals Museum (quite good) and then were shown places to have lunch. We chose Dykers - club sandwich with curried chicken (J), with smoked salmon & scrambled egg (M), white beer, one apple pie to share. Maureen went off to the loo and, coming back down a spiral sraircase, toppled over and landed at the bottom. Her shoulder hurt and a finger was folded backwards. An ambulance was called and Maureen took her rings off and gave them to me. The ambulance came, and two paramedics helped her in and I sat in the front and we were taken to the local hospital. The finger was dislocated - she was given an injection of painkiller and it was clicked back into position. She had a series of X-rays - collar bone is broken, finger is chipped also possible the wrist bones. She was plastered and given painkillers and a DVD of the X-rays to take back to England. A taxi was called, and it took us to the station. I bought tickets to Utrecht via Amsterdam Central and was given a printout of timings and platform numbers (all very efficient). Back at the hotel, Karen was waiting for us (the restaurant had phoned the hotel) - said we should have come by taxi. We had dinner at the hotel (dreadful) and Maureen managed to sleep OK but I had to help her dress/undress and wash.
We had told Karen that we wouldn't be coming along today so took our time getting up - had breakfast in splendid isolation. We walked into town and bought some paracetamol caplets at a Boots look-alike. We wandered around most of the morning, stopping once for a coffee and sitting in a garden. We had lunch in a large restaurant by the main canal - cheese omelette (M), farmers omelette (J), salad, black bread & butter, beer (J), water (M). We went back to the hotel and Maureen read the newspaper and I went out looking for possible places to eat in the evening. Maureen didn't bother to change (too much trouble) and we ate at Vis & Meer - mackerel fillet with betroot salad (M), vitello tonnato (J), steamed haddock fillet with peas &c (JM) - Maureen managed without too much trouble, eating one-handed.
We got up early on the Sunday and I fetched some food from the breakfast buffet for Maurren to eat in the room. We boarded the coach and were given the seats in the front with more room. We went to an open-air museum near Arnhem where we wandered round individually. There were lots of different old farmhouses, windmills etc, each one having something to see inside - we had a demonstration of rope-making first, then trouped through most of the rest. We had decided not to go on to the Arnhem War Museum so looked for somewhere suitable for lunch - found a self-service with confusing prices - chicken stew, apple pie, fruit. Wandered around a bit more but Maureen was getting tired. We just missed the little train that went round and round so walked back towards the entrance (learnt later that the train had derailed!) and waited for the coach back from Arnhem. In the evening we went out to a French restarant (Le Bibelot) and sat with others from the group - avocado (M), calamari (J). Maureen wanted to have the rabbit but the waiter said that it would be difficult to eat one-handed so she had beef stroganoff, pigen breast with pears (J), salad & frites, carafe of red (mostly J). Early night.
I packed the suitcases on the Monday and carried them both down after an early breakfast; I carried Maureen's passport. The coach took us to Dordrecht station, we got a train to Brussels Midi-Zuid (packed but Maureen was given a seat). When we finally got back to Kings Cross there was a smart new concourse and we got lost looking for platform 9. Got home eventually and I picked up Pippa.
|me on a boat|
We had taken Pippa to the cattery the day before, as usual, and Maureen had an appointment with her physiotherapist (sciatica). On the Thursday morning we had a taxi to the station, train to Kings Cross, walk to St Pancras, then got the Brighton train to Gatwick airport and dropped off our luggage with Easyjet. Because Maureen was walking with her stick we were intercepted and led through a quicker route to departures. Plane was late taking off because they changed a worn nosewheel but we got to Marco Polo aeroporto by about 6.00. I bought combined bus and vaporetto tickets for the week and we got a bus to Piazzale Roma then a #1 Vaporetto to Salute then walked the short distance to the Hotel Messner. We were in an annex round the corner with lots of stairs up to a quite small room (M not happy). We had dinner in the hotel's restaurant - spaghettini alla nero di sepie, coda di rospo e verdure alla griglia, mezzo bianco, acqua minerale gassata. Maureen was better on the stairs the second time round and she did her physio exercises before going to bed.
On the Friday we had a buffet breakfast in the garden/couryard (nobody asked our room number or checked keys - so if you want a free breakfast in Venice you know where to go). All the other guests seemed to be French or Japanese. We walked to the Accademia vaporetto stop, got the #1 to Rialto and walked through to Fondamente Nuove. We sat in the shade and had a cappuccino while waiting for the #13 that took us to San Erasmo. We walked inland from the church then turned left and reached the Ca Vignote. It seemed deserted but I walked through the kitchen and found the staff having their lunch. We were seated upstairs by an open window with a pleasant breeze. The boss was very chatty (did we live near Brighton?) and told us to drink some wine before the meal (his personal health trick; we could follow his Italian reasonably well) - gnocchi di granchio, coniglio arosto with herbs, verdure frittate, braised artichokes, mezzo litro bianco, acqua (all extremely good). Two pairs of German cyclists turned up half way through. A hot walk back just in time to get the hourly vaporetto. We walked along the Fondamente, turned down by the Ospedale and sat and had a tè freddo (nice and cold) and watched the world go by. We walked back to the Rialto, got a #2 to Accademia (M in a disabled seat) then walked through to the Zattere (via a Biennale offshoot) and along to the hotel where Maureen dealt with two insect bites and a blister (new sandals). We had a siesta and Maureen did her exercises then we wondered where to have dinner after such a large lunch - in the end we went back to the hotel's restaurant (mozzarella caprese and a big insalata, wine & water). Early night.
We had a reasonable breakfast on the Saturday then walked to the Salute (new plasters on M's blisters) then got a #1 to Giardini where we bought Biennale tickets that included the Arsenale (reduced for age >65). We walked up to the British pavilion first (Maureen kept getting stones in her sandals (pick your feet up, woman!)) - very good, even the video work. Then we went through the German and French pavillions, in one of which was Ai Weiwei's "Bang" composed of wooden stools (see photo). We crossed the bridge and did all those pavillions (can't remember much), then we had a simple lunch of foccaccia and water, sitting by a bar. After lunch we did a few more pavillions and the main exhibition. While watching some video, an elderly American couple sat next to us and he was pulling his wife's leg (literally) - she had sciatica, so she and Maureen exchanged symptoms. We liked the little clay figures by Peter Fischli & David Weiss (e.g. "Mr & Mrs Einstein shortly after the conception of their son" - asleep in bed). We did all the other pavillions but can't honestly remember very much. We got a boat back to the Salute and walked to the hotel where Maureen did her exercises and I went for a walk and found a few more Biennale offshoots. That evening we went to Agli Alboretti for our 45th anniversary dinner. There were lots of people walking around as it was "Art at Night" and all the museums were open and free. We had ravioli neri di branzino with salsa fagiolini & methe (J), capelletti di pere, mascarpone & tartufo nero (M), bottle of prosecco, water, spiedino di caposante & gamberi (J), brancino? with scampi, leeks and liquorice (M), insalata mista, left for some time then but large table of Italians kept us amused, some sort of Venetian bread pudding with raisins & figs served with mascarpone (bill was the same as five years previously, but paid by card anyway). Walked back via the Accademia (now closed) and back to the hotel. Bed.
After a reasonable breakfast on the Sunday we walked to the Salute and got a crowded #1 (a young Italian lady gave up her seat to Maureen (still walking with a stick)). We got off at the Arsenale and walked up to the exhibition. A pretty mixed bunch as usual - we liked Robert Crumb's "Book of Genesis" as a comic strip - I fell asleep in one of the videos. We had panini from the cafeteria at lunchtime, sitting at a table inside. A sort of motorized Viking boat filled with musicians sailed up and down the canal outside. We trudged around some more and finished in the garden by a Chinese temple - sat down in the shade and had lemon granitas. Then we left the Arsenale and found the Welsh exhibit ("Starry Messenger") - good in parts - didn't really "get it"). It was still very hot and sunny outside but we made our way to a Greek Orthodox church that had Ai Weiwei's exhibit of large wooden boxes with slits that you could look through - representations of the rooms he was held in when imprisoned by the Chinese government. On the way back to the hotel I managed to get us lost and M was hot and bothered, miserable with back pain. Back at the hotel Maureen had a lie down while I went out scouting for restaurants. Just before 8.00 we went out and walked to L'Osteria San Barnaba - risotto fantasia (to share), fritto misto di pesce & verdure (M), fegato alla veneziana (J) mezzo litro di vino bianco, acqua minerale gassata (presented with polenta & baccalà on the house while witing for the risotto) - all extremely good - café then staggered back along the Zattere to the hotel. Bed.
Monday was cooler with the possibility of showers. After breakfast we walked down the Zattere and caught a #2 over to the Giudecca where we got off at Zitella and found the other Ai Weiwei exhibit made from rebars recovered from schools that collapsed in an earthquake. We walked up almost as far as the Cipriani (guests waiting for the launch were being given drinks by smart waiters). We walked back and found a Polish exhibit but enjoyed the lovely building with good views rather than the "art". We walked on past the Redentore (tourists have to pay these days). Our favorite restaurant (Altanella) was closed so we walked inland and found the Trattoria Do Mori that was full of locals - gnocchi al granchio (M), tagliolini di pesce (J), then filetto di San Pietro (M), baccalà with polenta (J), insalata mista, quarto litro vino bianco (very restrained) and lots of acqua minerale. We got a #2 back to the Zattere and walked back to the hotel for a siesta. We then walked along to the Punta della Dogana where there is a new modern art exhibition - mostly good. We walked back, past the English church and sat in the shade for a while, then back to the hotel for Maureen's exercises and a rest. That evening we walked along the Zattere then in near San Trovaso to "Antico Montin" for dinner - prosciuto & melone (M), sarde in saor (J) then orata ai feri (M) (waiter deboned it), tonno con salsa verde (J), no afters, café. Back to hotel; bed.
This was to be the last holiday that I had with Maureen. A good one, not forgetting the sciatica. The following holidays, by myself, were recorded in considerably less detail.
Following Maureen's death, I had decided to move back to Bristol. I took the opportunity of easy access to London to have a short break in Paris by rail. I booked train & hotel online using the Eurostar website.
No longer have to begin each holiday by taking the cat to the cattery. I walked to the station and got a train down to Kings Cross then walked next door to St Pancras International, exchanged my documentation for tickets. The train arrived at the Gare du Nord on time and then I managed to get lost walking to the hotel - had to ask directions in dreadful French - got there in the end. My room, in the Hotel Magenta, was up in the attic, quite small, but had air-cconditioning. For lunch I just bought a tarte au poir & amande and some water. Went for a walk to get myself orientated in the neighbourhood. In the evening I walked up to Chez Michel, near the station (I know the way, now) - no starter, ceviche de St Piere &c, Paris-Brest, café (quite good). Then I walked down to the Place de la République and had a bier at the Café Monde & Médias and watched the world go by. Back to the hotel.
Woke up early on the Friday and had a cup of tea! Breakfast in the hotel was not recommended so I walked down the road to a little cafe on the next corner and had a croissant and a hot chocolate. Then I walked down to the local Metro station (Jacques Bonsergent) took the #5 to Bastille and had a short walkabout, then headed west along the Rue de Rivoli (the Musée des Arts Décoratifs wasn't open yet), walked along to the Place de la Concorde, across the Seine and back towards the Pont Neuf (the little restaurant we ate in last time was gone) - getting very hot. I walked back to the Tuileries, sat in the shade for a while then had lunch in a little self-service place (good but crowded). After lunch I walked back to the decorative arts museum - it was large, disorganised and hot (but even hotter outside). I went back to the hotel for a shower and a nap. In the evening I ate at Bofinger, an Alsatian brasserie near the Bastille roundabout (6 escargots (very fiddly), choucroute paysane, a carafe of vin rouge and one of water, café - what a strange place). Back in my room I can see a light at the top of the Eifel Tower flashing.
|selfie with tower|
I went on a walking holiday, from Bristol, to Lulworth Cove. If I made any notes, they haven't survived. If I took any photos, I can't find them.
I can remember that the weather was fine, the food OK and the company acceptable. What more do you need to know?
On the Sunday before the holiday I drove up to Todmorden to stay the night with John (Maureen's brother) and his wife, Anne.
On the Monday morning I drove to Newfield Hall in Malhamdale and checked in.
On the Tuesday, after breakfast, we walked, mostly in horizontal hail, via Malham Tarn, Middle House, Dew Bottoms to Arncliffe where we stopped for lunch (ploughman's) at the Falcon Inn (aka the Woolpack in the soap "Emmerdale Farm"). After lunch, just for a change, the hail turned to vertical. We walked along the river Skirfare through Littondale to Kilnsey. After dinner the evening entertainment was dingbats, then Pictionary.
On the Wednesday we walked, through diagonal hail, from Newby, through Laithbutts Lane to Clapham, then along part of the Pennine Bridleway to Austwick for lunch at the Game Cock (rabbit stew). The hail went away after lunch and we walked through Feizor and Stackhouse, along the river Ribble to Settle. After dinner, the evening was a demonstration of watercolour painting (meh).
On the Thursday we walked along a Roman road to Cray, then to Yokenthwaite, then along the river Wharfe to Hubberholme for lunch at the George (soup and sandwich). Rain retuned in the afternoon as we continued along the river to Kettlewell. The evening's entertainment was the HF quiz.
After breakfast on the Friday I drove back to Bristol.
|Krka national park|
|view from Vidova Gira|
I got up very early on the Saturday and caught the 4.30 bus to Bristol airport, dropped off my baggage and got the Easyjet flight to Split. We were met by our guide, Mirja, and the coach took us to the harbour where we boarded the ms Eos - my cabin was on the lower port side up near the sharp end. A local guide took us to see the Palace of Diocletian and the rest of the old town, then I had lunch somewhere and we had a free afternoon. In the evening the coach took us to Krilo, up in the hills, for a very good dinner.
The bunk in my room was rather uncomfortable but I slept OK at last. After a good breakfast onboard, we cruised to Trogir where it stopped, in the middle of the sea, for people to have a swim (no thanks). Lunch onboard was OK. In the afternoon we had a guided tour of Trogir, including far too much time in a tailor's In the evening I had dinner at "Restoran Tragos" (morski pijat, janjetina s bizima, 0.2l Tragos bijelo, espresso - so now you know!).
On the Monday we cruised north, then inland to the Krka national park - good, nice waterfalls. A coach took us to a winery in Bibich where we had a tapas-style lunch and a wine tasting (did not buy any bottles). In the afternoon we cruised to Sibenik and had dinner onboard.
Tuesday morning was a sightseeing tour of Sibenik then, after lunch onboard, we cruised to Zadar for some free time - saw the Sun Salutation light display then had dinner at "Konoba Skolbar" (kava, crni rizot, pasticada s njokima, mix zapaceno povrce, 0.2l toceno crno - don't ask me!).
On the Wednesday there was a walking tour of Zadar. We had lunch onoard, cruised to Zlarin and had dinner onboard.
On the Thursday morning we cruised to Hvar and had lunch onboard. We had a walking tour of Hvar town (boring coral museum, friendly cat), then I had dinner smewhere in Hvar with a group of fellow travellers and drank too much wine.
On the Friday we cruised to Milna on the island of Brac, having lunch on the way. The sails were hoisted, but only for effect. A coach took us to the summit of Vidova Gira where we were plied with fizzy wine - nice view. In the evening, back onboard, was the "Captain's dinner" with music (guitar, accordion and pots and pans).
After an early breakfast on the Saturday the coach took us to the airport and we flew back to Bristol. I was home about 1.30 and phoned Pat.
|My boat, the "Jeffyfish"|
On the Monday afternoon I drove up to Harrington House, in the middle of Bourton-on-the-Water, and had a wander around. Dinner was paté, chicken, lemon tart, and a bottle of Basking Lizards Australian shiraz for the duration. The evening entertainment was a sort of quiz where we had to identify strange objects. I have forgotten to pack any tops for walking - I'll wear a shirt tomorrow.
On the Tuesday I did the "harder" walk - 10 miles, Chedworth to Bibury. There was some sort of talk in the evening, but I nodded off.
After breakfast on the Wednesday I bought a top from the local Edinburgh Woolen Mill. I did the "medium" walk - 8 miles, from Gloucester Beeches to Cirencester. The evening entertainment was the HF quiz.
On the Thursday I did the "harder" walk again - 11 miles, Frog Mill Inn back to Bourton. Before dinner, for the evening entertainment we each made a "boat" for a game of Pooh-Sticks. Mine was made from two sandwich containers - it filled with water and sank.
I drove back to Bristol after breakfast on the Friday.
On the Friday, after washing the car, I drove down to Selworthy, checked in and had a little wander down to the shore. Dinner was whitebait, chicken of some sort, plum frangipane, glass of red. There was a selection of quizes as the evening's entertainment.
|walking along the coast||Dunster castle|
|art at (or near) the Giardini|
|art at the Arsenale|
|Damien Hirst art - "Treasures from the wreck of the Unbelievable"|
On the Tuesday morning I walked to Monica Wood house for my regular foor care then, at 11.20 I drove up to Monk Coniston, stopping somewhere on the M6 for a sandwich and some water. I checked in and was given room 13 overlooking the bit with the bootroom. At 5.15 there was an organised stroll around the grounds and we were lectured on tree evolution. At 6.45 there was a short safety talk then the usual walks talk was at 7.00 I decided on the easier walk (Troutbeck to Ambleside, 6 miles, 900 foot ascent) as I getting on a bit. Dinner, at 7.15, was some sort of croque madame, vegetable tagine and then pineapple something (glass of Merlot) - meh. The evening entertainment was skittles in the "barn" over the bootroom. Slept OK.
|gushing water||the path is wet in places|
|me by a waterfall||a view|
|slater's bridge||cathedral cavern|
|sheepfold / art|