Here we have rarely seen footage of the grubby cavapoo, emerging from her natural habit after digging her escape tunnel.
We had a weekend to ourselves this week which actually made a nice change! I am very appreciative of being able to socialise again but sometimes just need some relaxing time at home.
As it is our anniversary at the beginning of September we usually try and organise a trip away somewhere around that time and so I used Saturday afternoon to look into finding a dog friendly cottage for us to book. I found something that looks like it will be just right, dog friendly pubs nearby, interesting walks within a reasonable distance and in the area of the UK known as the Cotswolds. On the subject of holidays, an ex work colleague of mine was on the ITV news on Friday, being interviewed on the subject of passport applications that have gone astray. 36 hours after her interview, her 'lost in the system' passport renewal suddenly arrived in the post. Coincidence? 18 weeks and 3 days after she sent her old passport in for renewal. It has taken her 400 phone calls, over 50 hours on hold waiting to speak to someone, many emails, a letter to her MP and a national television interview to finally get some action. Just weeks before she is due to go on a big family holiday to Iceland to celebrate her son finishing uni and daughter leaving school to start. All's well that ends well!
Lots of neighbourly speculation nearby too as work started on a house just around the corner from us. As the days have gone by it has become obvious that the work that the builders have been doing bears no resemblance to the planning permission that was granted. The people adjacent and behind the very obtrusive extension have complained to the powers that be and the extremely large new loft conversion has suddenly been removed. You can imagine the local gossip!
So what does this week hold? A real mixed bag. Normal childminding duties, Zumba is back after a week's break and we are going out for lunch with friends on Friday. Saturday we will be going to a memorial service for an old work colleague of mine who died during lockdown restrictions. Her daughter lives in New Zealand and this is the first time she has been able to return to the UK. It will be bittersweet but I am looking forward to sharing memories of her with her other friends and family.
I need to also crack on with my blanket making as I seem to have ordered some more wool in preparation for a new crochet-a-long that starts in a few weeks time 😀 The existing blanket is growing nicely
photo credit: Unsplash
Usually I would start the month with my online book club choice but I chose not to read the designated book this month; the book chosen was The Diamond Eye which is set in Kiev in World War 2. Like so many other people are finding, the news from Ukraine is just too heartbreaking and at times overwhelming so in search of something easier to read and more lighthearted I downloaded The Break by Marian Keyes.
Following the loss of his father and a close friend, Amy's husband Hugh announces to her that he needs a break. Therapy sessions and medication have not helped him, he has decided that he needs six months on his own travelling in South East Asia. He isn't leaving her, he just needs to get away. He promises he will come back. Six months is a long time, will he be the same when he returns? How will Amy be feeling after that much time alone? Amy's first husband left her and she honestly believed that life with Hugh would be very different so she is in total shock by his announcement.
I haven't read anything by Marian Keyes for years but I had a feeling that this book would be just the kind of reading that I needed. I found myself reading this with an Irish accent in my mind because I've heard Marian being interviewed so know what her voice sounds like!
I enjoyed this book, I wasn't sure how things were going to turn out when/if Hugh returned from his six month break; I wasn't convinced it would be a 'happy ever after' ending as the book progressed. I also went from feeling cross with Hugh for leaving to sympathising with him and not being surprised that he felt he needed to go and put some space between him and Amy. In amongst the various threads of the book the author moves between the amusingly surprise internet vlog sensation that Amy's mother unwittingly becomes to the serious issue of the problems encountered by Irish girls who find themselves carrying an unwanted baby. Marian Keyes seems to have a knack for mixing humour and seriousness into her books and I enjoyed dipping back into her work.
By now it was the middle of the month and I needed another book to read so I have continued with the next in the Inspector Gamache series, The Cruellest Month. (The fact that I was reading it in April took me straight back to A level English Literature when we studied TS Eliot's The Wasteland where he states 'April is the cruellest month ...')
Honestly, Three Pines is a very dangerous place to live because, wouldn't you know it, there is another crime to solve there! Is it possible to literally be scared to death? A seance in a deserted house has tragic consequences and Inspector Gamache is called to return to solve the mystery.
These books can be read as standalone novels but I am finding it interesting to read them in sequence, with each book revealing a little more about a past event in Gamache's career and also the people who have been sent to investigate and solve the case alongside him. This part of Gamache's story takes up a lot of the last few chapters of the book and ties up many loose ends. While I enjoyed the easy reading style of this book, I don't think I enjoyed the story line quite as much as the last ones. It won't however put me off reading the next in the series!
So that one was finished on the very last day of the month and I have now downloaded May's book club choice which is a non fiction novel this time and it sounds like it is going to be very interesting and thought provoking. Come back in four weeks to find out what it was!
Day 1 It was freezing cold, it snowed, we booked a holiday to Portugal and our daughter in law tested positive for Covid. What a mixed start to the month.
I mentioned before that our son and daughter in law gifted us a hotel voucher as a Christmas present, and we made our booking for last Friday. Coco was booked into my niece's house for a couple of days and we headed off, bright and early, for the Chiltern hills.
When we were trying to decide where to go, we didn't want to go too far afield and waste our limited time away in the car so we chose Amersham, which is only about an hour and a half away. Isn't it strange how we tend to venture further afield to discover new places and not visit places closer to home? We based ourselves in Old Amersham at The Crown Inn. If you've seen the film Four Weddings and a Funeral you will have already seen where we stayed as it was used as a location where Hugh Grant and Andi McDowell stayed there!
We started our exploration in West Wycombe which has close association with Sir Francis Dashwood who built the mausoleum dedicated to his family.
It would seem that at this moment in time I may be Leo's most favourite person ever (well apart from his mum, dad and sister!) and it's because of something that was completely out of my control! I didn't want to go over the top with Easter eggs this year as the kids will get more than enough chocolate so I just bought them one small one, and put it in a colour yourself canvas bag with a little gift. Olive had a egg shaped stacking toy, Max had a Spiderman in a car, Rosie had a Polly Pocket and Leo had a couple of packs of Pokemon cards.
At 7 o'clock on Sunday I had a WhatsApp video call from an over the top excited Leo because in one of the packs was a very rare collectable card - what were the chances? He was so happy! Apparently they are so rare that they sell on eBay for about £350 - not that he will be parting with it any time soon, but what a lucky pack that was.
We had our Easter family day on Friday which was absolutely lovely, the sun was shining and we spent the whole afternoon outside in the garden with all the cousins playing so well together.
So what does this week hold? Well, after we have our routine childminding days out of the way we are venturing away for a couple of days - shh don't tell Coco she is off on a little holiday to stay with my niece! We aren't going that far from home but will be using the hotel voucher that J&S gave us for Christmas. I'll share more next week but the weather forecast is looking good, there's a good restaurant attached to the hotel and hopefully we will discover some interesting places to visit in an area that we haven't explored much before. It's been over six months since we had some time away from home so I need to dust down our overnight bags. Having been made to stay at home for so long means that even a couple of days away feels like a big deal!