Thursday, 25 August 2011

only eleven days to go...

Well it's getting near time to be setting off back to the sun, we leave from Hull on the ferry to Zeebrugge in a week and a half.  It can't come a day too soon!

With this in mind we have been having a few days out since the last blog.  Starting last Friday when we when to see Allen and Jean, Allen and I went to play golf at a course near Selby which I had not been to before, it must have been the fact that it was new to me because I played absolutely abysmally, well that's my excuse anyway.  Later we went back to their caravan for an evening meal which Allen cooked for us, I can say beyond doubt that it was the finest food I have had for a long time.  A Moroccan curry on a bed of savoury couscous with pomegranate, it was very tasty and worthy of a Michelin star all on it's own.  Thanks for a great day you two.  

On Saturday evening went for another home made curry to Sandra's cousin Paul and his wife Nicci, again it was excellent fare with all the delicacies you would expect from an Indian meal and some very nice wine to wash it all down with, Sandra was driving so it wasn't a problem. A great night with stimulating conversation and good food who could ask for more?
Mark, Maureen and Sandra in the pub Garden
On Sunday Maureen and Mark came for the day in the "Barbara Bus" a wheel chair friendly people carrier, I was impressed by the winch installed in the back to lower Mark in his chair down the ramp and of course to raise him back into it when the time came for moving on.  I expected having to run full tilt with Mark screaming for mercy in order to get him up the slope, oh well I suppose I shall have to go back to kicking children for my laughs then (only joking before anyone writes back to me!).  I was going to get Mark to cook us a curry as I know he has been making them in the hospital as part of his rehab project, but I thought three curries in three days just might not be good for the environment especially when we get locked up in the evening in our little caravan!  So instead we went to the "Hope & Anchor" on the banks of the river Ouse at Blacktoft, just down the road from us and had another delicious meal and a couple of pints of "real" ale.    

Mark & I in deep discussion in our caravan awning (picture courtesy of Maureen from Facebook) 
On leaving the pub I walked with Mark through the village while Sandra and Maureen took the cars to Geoff's (Sandra's dad's) house.  An hour later and Maureen loaded down with produce from the garden and we set off back to sunny Yokefleet and our summer home in the caravan in the paddock.  We spent the afternoon chin wagging and coffee supping and before you knew it it was starting to come dark so the guys had to go home as the roads in rural East Yorkshire ain't so good especially those with ten foot deep dykes at the side.  Thanks for the great day you two and keep your chins up through the next few weeks, hopefully we'll get to see you both again around Christmas time when we are home again.

Finally I would just like to congratulate our eldest grandson, Dale, he has just received his GCSE results this morning and got 2xA's, 4xB's 3xC's and a D.  Well done mate we are both very proud of you! 

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Preparations are underway

Finley (No.5 Grandson) wanting to get on with some farming!
 The time is fast approaching when we will be setting off for Lefkas again.  With this in mind we have started getting things together for the "homeward" trip.  We will not have the usual overload which have had on previous trips in fact I'm hoping that we do not have to take the top box back with us this time which will be the first time in three years that we have not done so.  There are a few biggish items but I think that up to now we can stow these away safely in the car with the seats down.  Ebay has been getting a bit of hammering this last week in order to supply various bits which we have so far managed without in Greece but will make our life a little easier.
Arbour after it's haircut.
 Other than that it's been another week of getting everything in good order in the paddock in preparation for it making it's annual attempt at going back to wilderness.  My Youngest Grandson Finley really wants to help and is fascinated with the garden tractor, unfortunately he's deaf so has to be very closely supervised when machinery is being used.  I have taken all the plums off our Victoria plum tree this week, We've had a real bumper crop probably the most we've ever had on the tree, over 30 stones of fruit.  Most of the village has been given some and my father in law, Geoff, has been "hawking" them around the countryside trying to raise a bob or two as he's a whinging pensioner!
Perhaps some cider manufacturing?
The arbour collapsed under the weight of snow last winter so it had to be reinforced earlier in our visit home and now that the flowering has finished on it (well almost) I thought I would give it a severe haircut and try and cut down the weight in case there is a great deal of snow again this winter.  This has the added advantage of having loads of offcuts to feed through the shredder and mulch the rest of the flower beds with.

As well as a bumper crop of Plums we are also absolutely inundated with apples and pears, unfortunately these won't be "fit" enough to keep by the time we go back to Greece so will probably end up being wasted to a large extent, although Gray (No.1 Son) has been going to produce cider with them for several years now and not got around to it.  I think I'll stick to drinking wine as we could be in for a long dry time if we depend on the home brew availability.

Just in closing I would like to add that my great buddy Allen, has got the all clear from his prostrate cancer problem this week.  Best news I've had in a while and although there are still tests and samples to be sent in periodically it means he can return to a near normal life again and will be heading out to Cyprus later in the year.  Well done Al.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Party time...

I was worse than this guy - HONEST!!
Finally managed to have a couple of games of golf this last week.  Real pleased at only coming 4 over par for my handicap (with a score of 8 and 11 on two of the holes) magic, when I hadn't touched a club for a year.  Also got an invite to Leanne's (catering manager at the club) wedding the next night, "and don't forget to bring Sandra" she says!  So never being one to turn down a bit of a do we go.  Both Sandra and I drunk the same amount of wine (two bottles each), I'm totally off my trolley and Sandra is just at the happy stage, what's going on there then!!  Anyway I was sick for the first time in years, so I apologise for my behaviour to anyone I may have upset.  Good luck for the future to Leanne and James, great do and thanks.

Wet day in York but some had fun.
 Sandra's dad's birthday this week so we decided to take him to the Jorvik Centre in York where he's never been before despite living near it for years.  For those who don't know or haven't ever been there it's a museum based on York's Viking past life and it's well worth a visit.  We hadn't pre booked so Sandra went to the ticket office in front of the two hundred yard queue and asked if we could book for an hours time as we had two disabled people who couldn't queue for long, they were very good and took the booking for an hours time, just long enough for us to go and have a coffee and scone with jam.  When we returned we again went to the front of the queue with Geoff and his friend Sonia in tow with their walking sticks and promptly only paid for them two as senior citizens and Sandra and I went in free as their carers.  Good old Sandra she knows how to do a deal!!

Sandra with her dad and Sonia.
It was wet in york so we didn't stay in town for too long after exiting Jorvik just back into the car and around the ring road for Fish and Chips at the Wetherby Whaler, you can't beat fish and chips with the seniors!!!
Sandra's dad taking in the Jorvik Centre.

The weather has been pretty Grotty here this week so it's been a case of watching telly and chilling all week, tough work but someone has it to do!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Warm and Sweaty, but enough about our sex life...

Gary teaching Finley how to ride his bike.
 The weather has certainly warmed up considerably since last week up here in Yorkshire it's been around 25 centigrade but towards the south of the country it's passed 30 in places which puts it on a par with Greece.  However, we all know that it ain't gonna last for long though, in fact yesterday evening the thunder storms started and caused some flash flooding in Goole which is about 10 miles from us.  The heat in England is not nearly as comfortable as it is in Greece because with it always comes humidity and at this time of year thunder bugs, corn flies, pesky little black things, call them what you want but they are a real irritant especially when you are lathered in sweat!  Today, drizzle all day!
And they're off...

Blacktoft pub, on the banks of the Ouse
Sunday we went to a BBQ at our eldest sons house just at the other end of the village.
We had a great time watching Mason and Finley riding their bikes and generally being lad like.

We had a lovely evening with some (very) well cooked food and we even managed to get Harley, the cocker spaniel, to do as he was told - well some of the time!

We both had to get our eyes checked out while we where at home so on Tuesday we visited the opticians and found out that we both had to have new glasses and worse still both had to have another check next year and not the normal two year interval.  £240 lighter we left and decided to go and have lunch and a pint at the pub to get over it.  Blacktoft pub is situated on the bank of the river Ouse about a mile from it's confluence with the Trent, going on to form the Humber.  You can sit in the conservatory having a meal and watch huge container ships passing within a few yards of you, the bridges of the ships being about the level of the pub roof.  A very pretty area and great for people interested in wildlife as the famous Blacktoft sands nature reserve is on the opposite bank of the river.  It's amazing how many people stop in cars to ask where the reserve is and get a little miffed when you try to tell them it's twenty miles away by car but about five hundred yards if you don't mind paddling.

Looks like a bumper crop this year!
The fruit trees in our paddock are absolutely full this year.  I've had to tie up the branches on the plum trees as they are in danger of snapping under the weight of fruit, victoria plum wood is very brittle.  The apple trees will not unfortunately be ready for eating before we have to leave them but the boys or neighbours can come and help themselves when we've gone anyway.  For several years now our eldest son has had plans to convert the apples into cider but like many of Gary's plans they don't see the right side of the drawing board.  It's a shame though because on an average year I would think we have in excess of two tonnes of apples, far more than we can put to culinary use.