Friday, 20 July 2018

Greenwich......


It was a bit of an impromptu trip as Daughter and O were going into Greenwich for "Dinosaurs in the Wild" experience (HE group booking) so Hubby and I went along for the ride.

Daughter did the driving and we parked at Stratford and took the DLR and the cable car over the Thames.

They did their event and reported back that it was fantastic and highly recommended. We had a lovely walk along the river and round the O2 and all had lunch in a Cafe Rouge when we met up again.  And still got back in time for our busy evenings.







Shapes of buildings fascinate me! 




Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Malta Holiday with family......

** reader warning, this is a long one, hope you've made a coffee and sitting comfortably! **

This time it's a Jet2 holiday with Hubby, sisterS and bilK flying out 20th June and back 30th June but lasting two days longer as S&K are sleeping over at ours the day before and the day after so we airport in just the one car.

I managed to get my packing done just in time as R, E, and O had done sleepovers in various combinations from Thursday to Sunday so no free bed to put suitcases on till Monday and beds needed to be stripped, washed, dried and remade for our guests.
S&K arrived Tuesday lunchtime and Daughter with R and O called round to see them (and also to use the kiln). Lunch at home with all leftovers into the freezer and dinner in the pub so no effort or washing up, and our holiday was well underway. 

Wednesday 20th  It was a late leisurely start which seemed odd, we're more used to getting up and out when it's still dark but this time we had later flights so breakfast at home and just a light snack at Stanstead. Easy at the airport with check-in and baggage drop stuff and the flight all went to plan. We all liked Jet2 with very helpful friendly staff and seats with plenty of leg room. Of course travelling later meant it was already dark when we arrived at Luna hotel, think it was about 9pm. We checked in dumped our cases in our rooms then straight out to find dinner. Came back had a drink in the bar then up to bed about 11pm. I spent some time unpacking, Hubby got into bed. It was really hot and stuffy but I couldn't get the aircon to come on, so he got out of bed again but couldn't get it to work either, we both fiddled with all the bits on the control box that needed fiddling with and we opened and closed the balcony doors a couple of times for good measure (aircon won't work with door open says the sticker). So as Hubby wasn't dressed I went down to reception armed with a photo of the aircon control box so I could be talked through what fiddling we needed to correct it. Receptionist Jorges was very helpful and said you don't fiddle with the controls as in one of the drawers there is a remote control. So back up and a treasure hunt for us both with no prize. Back down I go and this time Jorges comes back up with me and we stand back while he hunts (actually Hubby isn't standing he's sitting up in bed). Jorges had no luck either so came to the conclusion that not all rooms have the super-duper aircon and ours is manual but the symbols on the box had worn away. He left to make some phone calls and true to his word he kept us informed that he could find no fans for a temporary fix and the very best he could do was move us to a vacant room for tonight but we'd need to confirm with the manager next day to see if we could stay put or have to move back. So we hastily repacked and moved rooms at 12.45am. Of course I then couldn't sleep even with air-con! 

Thursday 21st First thing was to message S&K to say don't knock for us we've moved, second thing was to check at reception and yes they've rearranged their bookings and we can stay in this room.  We decided to stay local today and get a feel of what's nearby. So we went for a walk towards the bay and found Blu Beach Club for breakfast, a very modern restaurant with inside and outside dining spaces and a fabulous view across the bay (look how clear this water is),
and we met the lovely waitress Cheryl who looked after us remembering everything we ordered without writing it down, impressive! After breakfast we continued walking around Mellieha bay, some concrete, some rocks but mostly lovely sandy beach typically covered in umbrella shaded sunbeds. It was getting very hot but thankfully a gentle breeze. Of course we've come away during the World Cup so back at the hotel our men sat in the bar with football, beer and nibbles, we left them to it and went out for another walk in the opposite direction
Back to Blu for dinner as it has the best views and very good food. We were early to bed but I still couldn't sleep.

Friday 22nd  We decided on a lazy late start and out for breakfast again to Blu and a lovely welcome from waitress Cheryl who not only remembered what we'd ordered last time but automatically brought out the brown sauce that K had asked for yesterday. Back at the hotel for the Jet2 rep welcome talk, very useful and we think we'll book the night tour but not just yet although we did buy the 7 day bus cards for unlimited travel for €21 each.

Knowing we wouldn't want an actual meal before the evening we bought lots of fresh fruit from a stall near the hotel and headed out for the afternoon. We took a bus to St Paul's bay (even the bus stop had a great view)
and another bus to Bugibba. We passed a sign that said Bognor which made me laugh. A pretty little town centre, so we had a walk around then the men settled into a bar with screen showing football, after a drink S&I went shopping, she bought a dress and while she was trying them on and debating I gratefully stood under a fan hahaha. When the football ended we got 2 buses back again. Hubby had carried the fruit but we didn't eat any till we got back, typical eh? We tried another local restaurant/cafe
and all ordered the local Maltese dish of Bragjoli (stuffed beef rolls braised in wine and tomatoes) and all enjoyed it. We ended the evening with a silly trivial pursuit game on the laptop.

Saturday 23rd  Up and out early for two buses into Mosta for breakfast. We went inside the Rotunda, Roman Catholic Church,

Which is most famous for the fact that during the war while part way through a service to a full congregation a bomb came through the domed roof but didn't explode, nobody was injured and it has been celebrated as a miracle ever since.
Another two buses took us to  Ta'Qali (they pronounce "Q" as "Oh") craft village, which had been highly recommended. Just a few units here and lots of building work going on so more a village-in-progress. First stop jewelers, famous for its silver filigree and the owner gave us a short demonstration, S bought earrings and I bought a Pandora charm. Next to the pottery but no purchases, then to the glass place where unfortunately the fires were raging but no demo, must be siesta time. I just bought two glass sweets to put in my sweety dish as a souvenir. Think there was a wood place but it was closed up so a short walk to the Aviation museum which our men really enjoyed. When we found their refreshment hut it reminded S& I of our childhood Nissan Hut home.
A slightly better version than their other huts

Having seen it all it was back by two buses to our hotel for BBQ Karaoke night which was a fiasco! Advertised on the board as starting at 8pm and the flyer advised to book, so the night before we told them at reception and it appeared they made a note. We walked out to pool side at 7:30pm planning to have a drink first but not only was the bbq well under way and the salads looking more than half empty, but there were no free tables and no staff coming forward to assist, so we left and went back to Zafarino (nearby restaurant we'd eaten at on our first night) for dinner. I ordered pizza and it was massive!

Sunday 24th Just two buses but totally crossed the island so on my bum for 2 hours. We went into Marsaxlokk ("x" is pronounced "sh") which is famous for its very popular fish market alongside the marina with very unusually decorated and colourful boats


 (fishing boats called isusu).

Actually only the end quarter was selling fish and the rest was normal market stuff that is sold everywhere so nothing different to buy.  We did half the market then stopped for breakfast, very welcome as it was nearly 11am and we were all starving. Of course we had to get back in time for the football afternoon kickoff as it was England v Panama so two packed buses back and we must look old, tired or needy as we always get offered seats which with my poorly knees is most appreciated. The men got off the bus in Mellieha Town to find a bar with a big screen and we stayed on till the hotel. S and I dropped our bags into our rooms then walked down the road to get gelato then we just sat talking in reception area as it was cool. We had heard some cheering from the hotel bar so knew the game had gone well and our men came back very happy as England won 6:1. Another local dinner as men didn't want to get back on a bus but a restaurant we hadn't used before overlooking the jetty and launch ramp and as it was evening we watched all the boaty people bringing their dinghies in and onto trailers and one even brought in all the cushions from their boat which gave us lots of speculation and conversation.

Monday 25th It was a bright sunny early morning and we had plans so Hubby and I waited in reception for the others, but then it went really grey and started raining which quickly turned into a full storm with thunder and lightning and the road outside looking like a river. It was fun to watch while we waited it out and once it stopped it dried up quite quickly. So out for a later breakfast and surprised that it didn't smell fresh like after a UK storm but muddy as everything is so dusty dry normally. Then back to the original plan and took the bus to Cirkewwa ("c" pronounced "ch") to catch the ferry to Gozo. Thankfully our prepaid bus card could be used on Gozo too and we used lots of buses as they only radiate from Victoria in the middle so if you go outward you have to come back in to the bus station to go out again. We visited the Citadel in Rabat
There were other museums all within the same grounds and one of them had more stairs inside than I wanted to use, so the others explored and I chatted to the museum lady who recommended Shara as a place we must go to, which we later worked out was spelled Xaghra! There we discovered the Ggantija Temples which are just the remains and restoration but the museum attached is so interesting
Lots more walking then bus back to the centre then ferry then bus to Luna hotel. Time enough to shower and change then another local dinner in a bar with football screens!

Tuesday 26th I slept really well last night for a change and didn't want to get up! The plan for today was the three island boat trip which included time for diving and snorkeling, K was really keen, S and I are terrified of boaty things but assured there would be opportunities to explore on firm dry land and Hubby as always was happy to go with the flow! So we gathered all our stuff together including beach towels and headed off for breakfast noticing how windy it was. The boats in front of our breakfast table were getting quite bouncy as the waves got choppier and eventually we talked ourselves into a postponement or maybe a not-at-all. So we took the opportunity to go inside the Tunnara Bay fishing museum which as the name suggests is dedicated to tuna fishing

We took a slow walk back along the shore line, it was hot but still quite windy and far from calm waters. Back to our rooms to drop bags etc and I had the start of a migraine! We told S&K to go out without us and we stayed in our room till we met for dinner at 7.30 thankfully I felt so much better by then, think it was the heat getting to me again. They reported that they'd bussed into Valletta and it was extremely hot and walking was all steep flights of stairs and hills so I'm glad I didn't chance it.

Wednesday 27th Out for breakfast as usual. As we'd booked the "Malta by Night" tour which leaves too early for us to have dinner first we decided we needed a substantial late lunch. We'd promised ourselves a visit to the local church at the top of the hill and its daytime cafe was highly recommended, so today was the ideal opportunity.
This picture was taken from our usual bus stop so you see it's only about 20 mins walk away but all uphill so we chose the bus. It was really interesting inside the lower church that had a full exhibition of its restoration and the visit from the Pope some years ago (no photography allowed inside).  It has been the place for many personal miracles and there is a whole wall displaying thank-you messages and abandoned crutches, walking sticks, plaster casts etc. Unfortunately the main church was closed. The cafe looked nice and was busy but didn't have enough food choice mostly sandwiches so we went into a restaurant/bar nearby that had the football on (happy men). We were back in plenty of time to get ready for the booked Night trip.

Pick up from our hotel was late by 45 mins and apparently they had informed reception but given our wrong room number so we never got told, even though we were sitting by the front door in front of reception for an hour! Then it was a mini bus transfer, making other drop-offs then finally us to our Hop-on-Hop-off tour bus and Hubby took us all straight upstairs on the open top deck for a better view, it was really blowy and cold up there! If only we'd known we would have brought blankets. There were headphones to plug into the bus to get a running guide. First stop was in Valletta then a short walk and up in a big lift and into a cinema for a 5D show. We had the history of Malta condensed into about 20 mins, 3D imagery (hence the very attractive glasses), we followed a flying bird some of the time to get an aerial view, and when he swooped and glided and dived so did our chairs, when we witnessed riders on jetskis passing right in front of us we were sprayed by their wake and when snakes slithered off of a table under some chairs we could feel them against our legs. All good fun.
Back on the bus then another stop for us to take a walk along the main street of the old city of Mdina.

By the time the bus completed its circuit and we then had our mini-bus transfer back it was a very late night but really enjoyable.

Thursday 28th. Yes another football day but not till the evening! So first a bus to l'Imgarr because on the map it showed a church and two temples and a museum. It was a long bus ride and people kept getting off and no others were getting on until eventually only two locals were left on the bus apart from us, an elderly man and a lady with her grocery shopping who kept looking at us then eventually asked where we wanted to go as obviously this was not a tourist spot. She told us when to get off, the place looked deserted. The church was shut, the temples apparently were a long walk away, the buses were hourly and we hadn't eaten. So into the only restaurant bar and they didn't have a breakfast menu so we all had burgers. We spoke to the waitress who said there really wasn't anything to do in this village and she hoped we wouldn't die of boredom hahaha. You guessed it we got back on the next bus back to the hotel! Here's the church we didn't go inside, the umbrellas are where we ate and we're standing at the bus stop and that's about it.
We spent the afternoon in the hotel, hubby had a sleep when he was bored of the afternoon football, think K went for a swim but it was all hanging about just waiting for the football. We decided to go back up to the local Mellieha church as the bar we'd eaten in before has a huge screen. We got up there really early and after checking that yes they were going to show the England v Belgium game but no they don't reserve tables, the men sat down and guarded the best table, while S and I had a look round the now open church. We ate there first and soon after the game started us girls left them to it and came back to the hotel. The men suddenly arrived back at half time as that place had a great screen but no atmosphere, they watched the rest in the hotel bar but said it was a boring game and England lost although it didn't matter as they were through anyway.....seemed a total waste of time to me!

Friday 29th. We were staying local as it's our last day here and our bus tickets had expired so we tried breakfast in the hotel which K had always thought expensive but actually it was much the same price as we'd been paying in other places and a really nice and fresh buffet variety. Then we set out for a walk. I'd got about half way but there was no breeze and no shade at all so I decided to turn around but insisted the others went on without me. They made it to Anchor Bay and overlooked the Popeye Village taking great photos. Popeye Village was originally the film set for the 1980 musical starring Robin Williams but now it has grown into a theme park.

I took a slow stroll back and popped into the supermarket/souvenir shop but couldn't bring myself to buy any tat that's the same in almost every holiday souvenir shop anywhere with just a different country name printed across it. They returned and found me in the reception area with a mug of tea in hand making use of the WiFi.

It seemed really busy everywhere including the hotel. K wanted a swim but there were no vacant sunbeds so after a refresh S&K decided as it was the last day they would go for another walk and walked up the hill to Mellieha Town and had a drink, at least the journey back for them was all down hill. Hubby and I just ventured up to the hotel's sky bar had a drink and watched all the boats, jetskis and wind surfers in the bay. Our last dinner was Hubby's choice of back to Sunbank which was lovely.

Saturday 30th. Checked before bed and notice on the Jet2 board said transfer was pick up 7.35 to 8am. Hubby and I were packed and down by 7.15 and mini-bus man was already waiting for us so I messaged S&K and they were down soon after. The driver was very funny making us laugh but also very informative as a bit of a tour guide shame we hadn't meet him sooner. There were lots of other pickups but at the airport in plenty of time. Check in and baggage drop was queue-less wow and all so easy. The girl on the desk was chewing and I laughed and said "you're making me hungry, I've not had breakfast yet" she apologised and when all the checks were done and cases sent on their way she returned my passport and boarding pass together with a mini twix, winked and said breakfast, how lovely is that! Oh well it was all going so well, we'd enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, not far to the boarding gate, all on board no problems..... then flight delayed on the tarmac for an hour and a half. The pilot was brilliant keeping us regularly updated and even opened the cockpit to visitors, and once we got going there were no other hitches. Bit of a panic when Stanstead car park wanted £200+ to let us out when we'd prepaid, but that was soon sorted and home at last and pub meal and sleepover to round it off nicely.

Sunday and all too soon we were up, all had breakfast, S&K headed off home via fuel and shopping and I got stuck into the huge pile of laundry!
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Saturday, 7 July 2018

It's coming.......


I know I haven't written here for absolute ages, sorry,  but life had been plodding on as usual and it's been hot and dry like everywhere else which always slows me down.

We've just had a holiday in Malta and it's taking me sooooo long to write up the blog for that but it's on its way.

What doesn't help was sitting under a tree for shade, all day on our craft day Thursday, meant I was covered in those horrid thunderbugs and now I look like I've got chickenpox and itch like mad so mostly functioning with one hand and scratching with the other!

Well today is another hot one and Hubby is on one of his fundraising events so I'm here alone with no special jobs to get done. So the plan is have my breakfast, go have a long shower and preen a little in prep for the wedding reception we are going to this evening then sit in the garden and remember all we did on holiday.
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Friday, 1 June 2018

So, what's been going on here......


And in no particular order, some of the stuff that's kept us busy.....

Finally finished knitting this jumper (ongoing project most of the winter) which was a prototype to get a top-down pattern that's my size. I like baggy but not hanging off my shoulders or sleeves for an orangutan. Neck is too wide but great with a shirt under.

Corrected the neck and knitted another. 

My friend has just bought a beech hut so I made her a present. This is a doormat made from ties and t-shirt. The ties were taken apart and the outer fabric cut into strips and twisted into cord. The cords were then finger crocheted into chains to make them wider. The chains were then hand stitched together. The outer border is a single crochet chain of t-shirt yarn. It's very wonky but my friend was thrilled to receive it.

More upcycling. This stripey top used to be a jumper but it had a very low v-neck and wearing something else underneath made it a bit snug so I never wore it. By adding the collar and front panel cut from another top I rarely wore it's now a lightweight cardigan/jacket which I think will be ideal for my holidays, although I keep wearing it now anyway.

A pretend black layer stitched underneath meant I could open the sides of this top layer. Making it looser and longer (but not warmer) all because I love the sleeves

Hubby and I went with Daughter for a pub night were she was Tudor busking. The chef at the community owned pub Daughter knows from Kentwell so they both thought they'd give a Tudor night a try and he cooked pottage too. Only a small audience but really appreciative and Daughter kept us all entertained with stories, descriptions, a rude song and of course her magnificent musical talent. 

R had managed to fit in a ride on the back of Hubby's blood bike. She'd love to go out with him lots more but never enough opportunities. 

Our beautiful girls have had another birthday! Sweet 16  :-)

R and friends have gone to Comic-Con again this year and were busy making their costumes. Kodama is the character name if that means anything to you. 


Daughter and E were going to Kentwell Through The Ages as visitors and I invited myself along. Beautiful weather, hot, sunny with a gentle breeze. Daughter knows so many participants so it was lots of stopping for long chats that she would never get the chance to do when she is her normal Tudor self. E was taking the opportunity to play with a retro film camera. I was so pleased at the end of our busy day that I'd walked around for nearly 7 miles (according to my phone app), the most I've done since damaging my knee, so I'm considering myself mended (although I'll still keep on with the physio).
Daughter came over to sort out all the camping kit needed (as it's mostly stored in our shed) and O decided he wanted to make the cat-cakes he'd read about on the Internet. Took him ages to find it, then announcing he must save it as a word file for next time, turns out it wasn't a receipe he'd just read a description of "fluffy white cake with whiskers painted on and shards of chocolate for ears, they were yummy" So I found him all the ingredients for the vegan sponge and suggested we could improvise as I didn't have any chocolate. Half the batch had chocolate digestive ears and vegan biscuits for the others and amazingly I found a very small tube of black icing that hadn't dried up. O used to be a very enthusiastic cook but recently he seems to come up with ideas, make a half hearted start then walk off leaving me to it. So I made these and Daughter and I decorated them together.

And last but definitely not least, I've had my 6 month post-op CT Scan with results of internal scar all healed and clear with no signs of cancer! Blood test showed no decrease in kidney function, in fact a slight increase! 
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Sunday, 20 May 2018

Theatre: Our Blue Heaven......



A New Wolsey Theatre Production

The 6th of May 2018 will mark 40 years since Ipswich Town’s Historic FA Cup victory - a moment when Ipswich united to celebrate success as the underdog became victorious. Join us to celebrate with a milestone musical production!

With a hasty wedding, a first birth and missing tickets to contend with, will our mad-keen Ipswich fans make it to the Final? Can the Town navigate the frozen pitch at Bristol Rovers, the rioting Millwall supporters at the Den, dodgy refereeing at Highbury and make it all the way to Wembley? Created from the heart-warming memories of super blues fans themselves, with a live soundtrack of chart hits from '78, join Bobby and his Blue Army on this nostalgic trip down Wembley Way.

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This was brilliant. Great 70s music and a fast paced (true) story running through. We didn't live in Ipswich in 1978 and I'm not a football fan at all but I still felt quite proud at the end of my home team. The acting was brilliant and the very limited scenery moved around so much the stage hands must be fitter then the footballers.

At the very end there was a guest appearance by Mick Mills who was one of the original players in that winning team. And as we left the theatre Mick Mills was greeting people and our friendS, who had been a regular ticket holder when young, had to shake his hand, quite star struck. Then friendP asked him for his autograph on the back of her theatre ticket, then came out and gave it to friendS who was thrilled.
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