Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Southport Flower Show

One of the things that I have always wanted to see is the Southport Flower Show. So continuing our 'let's appreciate what's on our own doorstep' tours, last Thursday we set off for the first day of the show.

With over 100,000 visitors each year, Southport is the largest independent flower show in the country and best of all, only an hour away from our house. Even with a mixed weather forecast the show ground was busy but not so bad that we couldn't walk around and see everything without fighting our way through crowds.

Everything from the parking arrangements to the catering was very well organised and we even managed to catch a glimpse of Christopher Biggins who stayed long after opening the show to chat to the exhibitors and the paying public. He wasn't even fazed by the hoards of women of a 'certain age' who wanted their picture taken with him and he looked positively relaxed in his panama hat, Bermuda shirt and pale shorts - even if the rest of us were in in t shirts and jeans with umbrellas and raincoats at the ready for the inevitable downpour - well it is summertime in England -

We had a lovely time and I bought lots of new seeds for next year, so providing that this bloody house move finally goes ahead, we can look forward to forests of tiny little sweet cherry tomatoes tumbling from their baskets outside our new seaside house next year - fingers crossed!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Gone Fishing

We've had quite a few viewers round the house this week. One couple brought the young children and while the grown ups were doing the whole 'what a fabulous room' thing, the little ones sat happily on the living room rug play with a magnetic construction toy.

They were sweet little boys and after a cold drink they wanted to explore the house themselves I took them into the garden to feed the fish in the pond. 'What kind of fish are they' asked the nine year old 'we call the heron food' I quipped. After much giggling behind their hands they wandered off to tell their Mum.

Now fast forward to Monday morning. All hopes of a lie in were shattered when the dogs started barking at 6.30am. Dave wandered down stairs to be greeted by the sight of a very hungry heron eyeing up the little goldfish in the pond. He opened the back doors to let the dogs chase it away but even with the sight of two overexcited young dogs charging towards it, the heron mearly flapped it's huge wings and settled on the grarage roof.

For the next hour or so the damn thing wouldn't budge, just flitting from the decking to the garage when ever the dogs charged out of the conservatory.

Eventually it gave up the battle but only when it was chased off by four very angry looking magpies - maybe if he comes back for another try we should spray Bella black and white and teach her to squawk!!!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Let's appreciate what's on our own doorstep...

We've been out and about again, this time we had a few days on Angelsey meeting up with three generations of the family who were on holiday there. We are very lucky to have this beautiful island virtually on our doorstep. Well maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but with the excellent roads through North Wales, Angelsey is only about an hour and a half away.

Our early morning start became something of an adventure when I had an unexpected phone call about half an hour after leaving home. "Hi Joyce, this is the Dale Winton Show on Radio 2. Dale really loved your choice of records for the 'golden oldies' slot and wants to know if he could talk to you about them on air this afternoon" - or words to that effect. Dave's expression was a classic as I relayed the conversation to him. He gave me that 'OMG what have you let yourself in for now' look, while I sat there giggling away like a teenager.

So picture the scene at three o'clock, on the beach in Treaddur Bay clutching Dave's mobile to my ear (mine didn't have a signal!) wanding around so that the wind didn't deafen the listeners and ending up outside of the restaurant on the promenade with my back to the beach and face to the wall, chatting away to Dale Winton. And now the whole of Radio 2 knows during the long hot summer of '76 when I told my Mum that I was going out for the day with Dave we were really spending the weekend together in his little tent - oh the shame!!!

The rest of our stay was much more wholesome with fishing in rockpools at building bonfires on the beach. The weather could have been kinder but it stayed dry and Paul swears that the sea was warm enough for swimming but you'll be relieved to hear that I didn't venture further than a little paddle so at least I didn't frighten any young children ;)

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

It's been a busy week

One of the benefits of the the 'current economic climate' are the deals that are around at the moment. Rather than leaving rooms empty at the weekend, some hotel chains are offering great discounts and last weekend Dave managed to book us into the Marriott in Canary Wharf for less than the price of the rail ticket down to London. From the twelfth floor we had great views over the wharf towards the O2 Arena and even if the weather wasn't quite what we would have wished for it was warm and mainly dry.

We spent Saturday doing the usual tourist stuff up in town, taking the Clipper from Canary Wharf we went through to Westminster and walked along the embankment and strolled up to Covent Garden and then on Leicester Square and China Town. I don't know how we managed to resist the wonderful smells from the many restaurants around Gerrard Street, the food on display looked fabulous but if we'd given in to temptation mid afternoon we wouldn't have had the energy to do much more than stagger back to the hotel. As it was the weather took a turn for the worse and along with half the tourists in London, we battled our way to Trafalgar Square and took refuge from the downpour in the National Gallery.

One couple who didn't seem at all bothered by the weather was this lovely bride and groom. They seemed to appear out of nowhere before posing for their wedding photos among the tourists and pigeons in the square. The ever resourceful bride even had a beautiful umbrella ready for when the inevitable next shower came.

On Monday rather than drive straight home we took a detour to Cambridge. I can't remember the last time we were there but it must have been when the kids were little as double buggies and beakers of juice seem to ring a bell. It was warm and sunny and a perfect day for strolling around the colleges or even just sitting watching the tourists trying their hand at punting on the Camb.

After our lovely weekend away we decided to make the most of the fine weather and fire up the van later in the week and head off to Coniston Water in the South Lakes. The dogs couldn't believe their luck, not only did they get to sleep in the campervan of a night but there was a huge lake for them to play in during the day. Luckily Dave and I were so tired after all the fresh air and exercise that we weren't bothered too much by the smell of damp dog wafting up from between the beds (well not too much!)