Not sure this got published and now a bit old, but posting it again anyway, for the record!
Yes, I know it was only August, but so much had happened, and last year I didn’t manage a Christmas blog, so I started writing now!
The main excitement this year has been the safe arrival of 3, yes 3, new grandchildren! But let me start back in January: we began the New Year at sea on the Marco Polo, somewhere between Madeira and the Bay of Biscay, having celebrated Christmas on board with lots of fine food and music. On the way home we met up with Jenny and Valerie at Victoria, saying Hi! to the twins, Aurora and Astrid, then 6 months. The downside was I had my mobile phone stolen on board the ship, which was annoying.
Back home, Paul started a pottery course at Ards which he enjoyed so much he repeated it in the summer term and produced some colourful bowls. Lindy, Dave and Robyn came to visit us in January, did the Titanic exhibition and enjoyed some Irish Craic in a Belfast pub. That month we also took a day trip to Dublin and met up with Sue and Terence for dinner at Clontarf Castle. Paul passed his Disability Test to continue driving, though he has not done much driving this year.
Throughout the year we have become more involved in the local Non-Subscribing Church where I’m on the committee and Paul has been helping construct a new notice-board. Colin, the minister has been very helpful, and we both value his friendship. We have attended the weekly Alzheimer’s Cafe in Comber and enjoyed the various activities they organise. Paul has also been seen regularly by the Alzheimers specialist in Newtownards, but has now been discharged to the GP’s care. In February we traded in both our cars for a nearly new diesel Nissan Note complete with built-in sat-nav, through Shelbourne Motors on the advice of my brother Artur, so we have used the trips up and down to Portadown to meet up with him and Liz occasionally.
In March we were in Richmond again for Immy’s 3rd birthday, and also a gala dinner at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, hosted by the company who did my last research project!
Our house is now completed as we like it, with oak wood floors in the lounge and hallway, and new seating and rugs. My choir, Voices Together has has several events in Portadown and Newry, as well as a get-together at Corrymeela for my previous choir, The Corrymeela Singers. While in Ballycastle we visited the housekeeper of Aubrey Brown who died recently. He was a first cousin of Chris’s father Harry. And then we had snow – lots of it!
But in April we set off again for GB, this time to see some of Paul’s old friends and neighbours in Stockbridge, Hampshire, then hired a car and drove down to Petersfield to see Paul’s grand-daughter Becky and his new great-grand-daughter, Lena, followed by dinner with his cousin Olive and her family, seeing old slides of when they were young! And finally drove the M3 to Twickenham where Jenny, Geoff and family had just moved into their new home!
A breather now from traveling, when we enjoyed the May Day Fair in Holywood, sessions at the local gym, Bookcrossing meetups in the John Hewitt, a play in the Lyric Theatre with Simon Callow and a trip to a pottery in Lurgan with the Alzheimer’s group.
On 25th May, Niall and Bara had a new addition to the family, Tobias, Jonathan came home for a short visit in June before setting back in Berlin, and in July we set off for Prague to meet Toby. Once again I lost my mobile phone, at Dublin Airport, but a kind Irishman found it on his way to Italy and returned it to me! Another trip to London next, as Marg, Geoff’s mother was over from Australia, and the two grandmas had a great time bonding with the twins!
Last trip of the summer (and what a brilliant summer this year!) was to Galway by train using our Senior passes, to see old friend John Yates and his wife Mary: theatre, an art exhibition and book-launch, shopping, a horse and trap ride around the town, lots of coffee and a drive with John and Mary to Co Clare along the seafront.