Saturday, 29 August 2009

Tap Tap Tapping on your door

Just to close the lid on any doubts we may have had over the last few days, check this out:
 
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Do you think they knew we needed reminding about how good things are for us…?

Friday, 28 August 2009

Getting Real

Well yesterday and today have been all about getting life in perspective again, oh and doing loads of washing too. See, the sense of humour’s kicking in again there, why mention such a daft contrast otherwise?

Thanks to Les from nb Valerie for this comment: “Pass on my best wishes to your son and I`m sure that the majority of folk here in the UK will join me and try not to worry too much. Look on it as if he’s just working away and will be home soon.”

And Debs, thanks too, your support is much appreciated…

It’s difficult to describe how Dave and me worked through the emotional cake mix, but it goes something like this:
  • We had a wonderful 5 days with Liam and Madddy, but it wasn’t long enough
  • Landed back here – just wanted to fly straight back.  
  • Should we sell up both house and boat? Go over there, buy an apartment close by, (thinking that way was just me).
  • Regretting buying a fancy black leather recliner settee rather than a sofa bed, so they could come here and stay at the boat with us. Last couple of times they’ve been here, alternative arrangements have had to be made and we both feel guilty about that.
Then the saying “never act on impulse” came to mind, and rationality slowly set in:
  • We’d spent 5 wonderful days with them – it was 1000 times better than none.
  • Landing back here – well it’s where we belong right now (even if the weather is sh*tty).
  • The boat? Well we still haven’t finished with improvements, changes (some major), don’t forget the DIY stuff that always causes a laugh – so give it a chance.
  • We have “rural” and “peace” here too, so it’s a nice place to be.
Being without a bed settee at the boat will always be a regret, but one we can live with for now, anyone want a "good as new" leather settee…?

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Our last day in Germany, happy and sad

After a slow start in the morning (due to last night’s merriment), a couple of painkillers later we dived about getting our bags packed and making sure we hadn’t forgotten anything.
 
It was 42 degrees C in the sun, we certainly didn’t feel like we’d been here since Friday. WE REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE because we knew we’d miss them SO MUCH. We were invited to Maddy’s grandma’s again in the afternoon for a bite to eat, then Liam would take us to the airport from there. So we reluctantly left their apartment, realising that the clock was ticking...
 
Here’s a photo of the front, I took this just to show the style of the apartment from the outside, it’s much bigger inside than it looks…
 
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The view from outside, ah…
 
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Me, Maddy’s grandma and Dave, just minutes before we set off for the airport. The smiles were strained, we really didn´t want to go back to the UK...
 
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Sorry if this sounds a bit depressing (most unusual for me) but it’s the truth. After saying a teary farewell to everyone, Liam drove us to the airport on his own, it took an hour to get there but it felt more like 24...
 
Not much was said and I was quietly weeping to myself all the way, there was this empty feeling in the pit of my stomach that was almost too much to bear. When the time came to say goodbye to Liam I was a wreck, couldn’t hold it together anymore and sobbed my heart out.
 
We both hugged him hard and told him to look after himself, Dave managed to hold it together till after Liam drove away from the “drop off” zone and I ran out of tissues.
 
I think all parents know how it feels to say goodbye to a son or daughter that you won’t see again for a while. But maybe only parents of soldiers can understand the additional emotion it creates within. Especially now we know he’s doing a tour in Afghan next year.
 
Sorry if this post is a bit depressing to read, the flight back was pretty mundane really and we came back to the remnants of a hurricane. I knew I’d just have to work through these feelings. But I was so emotional when we landed, it even made me question whether living on a boat was the right thing for us. Dave finds it difficult to deal with, but can be more much more practical than me, which helps a lot.
 
A mother’s love…

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Fun filled Tuesday in Germany, and it´s my birthday!

But I’m not revealing how old I am ok? Although sympathisers do say I look 10 years younger than I am, so that’s some consolation. Dave too, must be what happens when you lead a colourful life…

Liam and Maddy took us to another lovely town today so Dave could get me a birthday present. When I talk about towns close to where they are, I mean the nearest one is about 30 – 40 minutes drive away! No popping round the corner here then!

It was very nice of my hubby to buy me something (anything really). Because when I asked him what he was going to get me before we came here his reply was: “You’ve already got it, a plane ticket to Germany and back.” I think he felt guilty because he’d forgot my birthday card and left it at the boat. Hence the extra present? Hmm.

So as you’d expect the menfolk followed us round about six boutiques without much enthusiasm. Meantime Maddy and me had a right good rummage through searching for the perfect dress.

After a while we decided to give up, get something to eat, then set off again on our quest. After trying on about 10 different dresses, then rejecting them all, the right one suddenly caught my eye. Perfect.

We could both sense a huge sigh of relief from Liam and Dave who tried to contain themselves without much success, but never mind, neither of them complained once. Liam even went and put an extra hour on the car in the car park bless him!

So we had some time to spare and called in for a drink at a fancy bar. We sat on the roof terrace, and that was the start of my Birthday party. Afterwards we went back to their apartment and got ourselves ready for a brilliant night out. 
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his is the designer handbag that I bought with money kindly donated from relatives…
 
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My birthday present from Liam and Maddy was a lovely meal in a very posh restaurant.We sat outside because it was so warm…
 
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Back at the apartment, and this awful sight is what I look like when, to put it politely, “well gone.” Oh, check out those footless tights, they didn’t tell us they were luminous in the shop!
 
My nice new dress is covered by my cardigan in this photo. But no worries, it wasn’t luminous too…
   
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So my birthday (our last night in Germany) proved to be a momentous evening indeed, talk about going out in true party style…
 
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Cheers hon…
 
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PS: Remember the neon tights? Well I didn’t realise how “far gone” I was till I went the loo then tried to stand up.  Oops, I forgot all about them and fell forwards hanging on to the bath. Maddy thought I’d fallen over, came running in only to find me laughing so much I couldn’t move.

She tried to help me pull the footless neon lights tights up, but I couldn’t stop tittering for long enough, (and neither could she).

So without any airs and graces we just pulled,, (peeled) them OFF instead…

Monday, 24 August 2009

Fun filled Monday in Germany

Today the four of us went to another beautiful park to play mini golf, (no tittering please), not quite the professional kind I know. But even so, a high standard of talent was on display, I suspect the great Tiger Woods himself may have struggled to keep up with us.
 
Come to think of it even WE struggled to keep up with us, guess who came in last on the scoreboard? No, I’m not ashamed to admit how crap I am at this kind of thing, but that blue ball was supposed to bring me some luck. Sore loser? Nah, it’s all about having a laugh!
 
Liam and Maddy leading the way while we stopped to take some photos…
 
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Then we went to this outdoor cafe for a glass of wine, and assessed the standard of clubs we were given to be of a very high standard – no plastic stuff here…
 
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Getting down to business, the golf tournament begins. Note that Maddy’s lost her golf shoes already…
 
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Dave was too good at this – I think we should’ve given him a square ball. Oh and that’s my outsize handbag on the right, not his golf trolley…
 
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A-MAZE-D…
 
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I mean c’mon this was a difficult course and there were 18 like this altogether…!
 
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Liam discusses tactics with dad…
 
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Um…
 
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Later on we went to an Italian Restaurant in a small town nearby and sat outside on the terrace for a really nice meal.
 
Then we went back to their apartment for more laughs, Liam gave Dave his own captain’s hat to keep which was really nice of him.
 
At midnight I was presented with a tray full of lit tea-light candles to blow out and little trinket box as a present – it’s my birthday tomorrow – darn it, another year older.
     
Captain Cod…
 
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Cheers Liam…
 
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It must be 20 years since Dave and me last played mini-golf, (with the kids of course).
 
This time 4 adults turned into 4 big kids, Har Har…!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Fun filled Sunday in Germany

Today we went to visit Maddy’s mum and family at her house, another gorgeous home in a different way. More traditional, full of character, with three floors and a cellar, blimey I kept getting lost!
 
The living room was on the second floor which opened out onto a MASSIVE balcony with polished wood flooring, WOW. And even the balcony was totally private, what a great peaceful place to sit on a balmy evening.
 
When we first arrived there we had a quick snack, then they took us to see a nearby marina "German style." Sorry no canal boats as we know them, but the stretch of water was a canal not a river…
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Teapot dancing outside an open air restaurant by the waterfront…
 
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Classic cars were also strutting their stuff, we put a deposit down on a VW Carmen Ghia…
 
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And paid cash for this Porsche…
 
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Meanwhile Liam had his heart set on something a bit more modern, one of the newest Jag sports cars, suits him doesn’t it…?
 
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Later on, it was back to Maddy’s mum’s for a lovely meal and drinks on the huge balcony, it was so impressive. I wish I’d got a photo which showed it’s true size…
 
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Way after midnight and it’s still 30 degrees C…
 
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Maddy’s mum and partner Kristoff…
 
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Hmm, somehow Maddy’s two younger brother’s managed to escape any photo shoots…
 
Big thank you to Maddy’s mum and family for another great day…

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Fun filled Saturday in Germany

After waking up late with an almighty hangover we all cruised around very slowly in recovery mode.
 
Later on we went to Maddy’s grandma’s, her house is GORGEOUS. With marble floors, a wide sweeping staircase, big rooms upstairs, and a sun terrace out back,, all in a totally private garden. Wow.
 
We had a lovely meal there. Most of the family arrived, so there were quite a few of us. Maddy does most of the translating, Liam does some, so it works out in a jig-saw way! Forgot to say the weather was GORGEOUS too!
 
Maddy and her Grandma…
 
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Dave and Liam, “lost and found” in translation…
 
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Later we went to a “British Night” in a local park, it was a really nice place. A pathway through the park lit with candles led us to a fireworks display all timed with some great British rock music. Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Oasis, and Pink Floyd...
 
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As for the London bus, Black cab and old red telephone box, well they added to the ambiance as we walked past them!
 
At midnight a German rock group started playing a gig in a big outdoor arena that was just around the corner, previously out of sight. The arena soon filled up and we stopped for a while, then went back to Maddy’s grandma’s for a “nightcap” which lasted about another hour!
 
What a great day we had, and the effort the family had gone to for us was really appreciated…

Friday, 21 August 2009

Rewind

This next few days posts will hopefully be an interesting and light-hearted “instant replay” of the holiday in real time - even though today is actually Friday the 28th. If you see what I mean. And it’s exactly one week since I even looked at my blog, never mind posted to it, hence the title. So here goes:

We set off for the airport and arrived in plenty of time, I don’t think either of us has ever been on such a short plane trip. It was really strange, we’d just got up to cruising height, the hostesses just had time to come round with drinks and a snack, just time to look at the "Buy this at half price” magazine. Then we started descending again.

We’d been keeping a watchful eye on where we were, ahem, where we thought we were, which at one point was somewhere over southern England. Then the captain suddenly announced we were flying over Amsterdam and beginning our descent. It meant that we’d  missed the North Sea completely!

Liam was waiting for us at Paderborn Airport, after meeting and greeting on a grand scale, we were whisked away to the lovely apartment where he lives with his girlfriend Maddy.

Time differences aside it meant we’d checked in two hours before take off at Manchester Airport and were only up in the air for 1 hour and10 minutes… Couldn’t believe it.

Another hour’s drive in the car and we were met by Maddy who’d really gone to town with decorations and “little things” that mean a lot, like leaving little cards saying “Welcome” on each of our pillows.

By this time it was beyond midnight there and still 24 degrees C. So we sat down, relaxed and caught up on life whilst having a few drinks of course...!

Where they live is beautiful, very rural and peaceful. Could even tell that in the dark…

Oh, I forgot to say, TODAY IS OUR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! Well it was "different" in a very nice way of course…

Guten Tag

Well the suitcases are packed, we’re nearly ready, and all boxes are ticked on my massive list. Been running round like a blue assed fly all day.

I’ll keep a diary while we’re over there to blog about when we get back. No blogging for 5 DAYS, never mind dear reader, there’s more important things in life. But like it or not “I will be back!”

Question Time:
  • Have we both been to Germany before? Yes
  • Can either of us speak German? Nein
  • Could it be a problem? Ja
I was going to post a photo of both our suitcases packed and ready to go, but firstly that’s too boring, and secondly I haven’t got time.
 
Bonsoir (OOPS)
 
I mean Auf Weidersehen?
 
PS: Had to Google that to check I’d spelt it right, bet it’s still wrong but never mind 
 
So Tatty Bye for now…

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Disorganised? No and Yes

I can’t believe that in three days – at this time of night, we’ll be up in the air on a plane to Germany. We’re going there to stay with our son Liam and his girlfriend for five days,.It’ll be great to see them,, we can’t wait to get there.
 
But Dave and I are only any good at this kind of organisation when it’s all done at the last minute. Don’t ask me why – it’s just the way it works out. A fine example is Christmas. But that’s all about presents and stuff.
 
This is different, but the principle’s the same. I mean we’re now at the countdown stage, you know, like when you get up to the “well I’ll only have time to do that (whatever) once more before we go."

I’ve got lists scribbled on bits of paper all over the place, but none of them make any sense at all, no worry's, I'll sift through and legislate. Well at least the taxi’s booked!

But I have every confidence (well nearly every) that all loose ends will be tied together. By Friday afternoon, we’ll both be sat here twiddling our thumbs like a couple of jitter bugs. Whilst wondering what we’ve forgotten, I can see it now.
 
I’m sure there was something else I was going to mention, but I can’t remember what…

Monday, 17 August 2009

Suave Swanlets

Latest update on Mary, Rex and family:
 
They came to round to say "Hello" earlier, just as a nice big black cloud was rolling in. So these photos don’t really do them justice.
 
But I just wanted to show how much they’ve grown and changed in just under three weeks. Gone are the prickly feathers, they’re all downy in different shades of grey and white now.
 
From prickles to stripes…
 
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Sunday, 16 August 2009

Spots before the eyes

YESTERDAY…
 
A few blobs of undercoat and the engine control box has measles…
 
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And the strip of blue paint that surrounds the engine cover looks anaemic…
 
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TODAY…
Dr David does his magic…
 
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Sheeny chic or what…?

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Re-doing the cream anti-slip paint either side is on the agenda somewhere…
 
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And so, after a hard day’s toil, (well, for one of us) we set off round to the local for a drink or two. Which meant tip-toeing between the drying paint. Such balletic poise was easy on the way out, but um, not on the way back for some reason…