Oh boy, long time no speak is probably what is being said. Sorry, but trip to UK has slowed down my workrate quite a lot so will just have to summarise the whole on today’s posting, the day we got back.
On Thursday 20th November we deposited the cats with Yasmin as that gave us lots of time to pack and get dinner before an early night. we went down to The Blue Song to eat as I had agreed to lend Kerim my car, whilst we were away. we were tucked up in bed by 9. p.m. as we needed to get up again at 3 a.m.
Friday 21st. We dropped Joan’s Peugeot off at Tiga Motors as we had arranged for them to give a thorough service, MOT and Emission test as well as store the car whilst we were away. Interesting last few miles, because the system requires you to meet their man at the garage and he then travels with you to the airport. This meant Joan had to climb in the back and sit crossways on the dickey seat as her car is definitely has two plus a couple of legless people space.
Anyway we made it to the airport in plenty of time and had a comfortable ride to Stansted, with of course the obligatory stop in Istanbul. We arrived at 1200 hours local time, collected our hire car and set off for New Romney. Only one huge snag, a 8.5 mile queue of traffic all trying to get over the Dartford crossing, it took us about 1.5 hours to get through this, but we made it down to Jill & Les’s by 4 p.m. Great to see them both again after almost a year, hopefully by this time next year, Les will also have retired. Joan was also happy to see their cat, Charlie, again but jill had warned us that she was probably on her last days. Almost 18 years old so maybe she had had enough.
Charlie in her younger days, enjoying the sunshine.
Joan and I walked down the high street this morning to see what changes have taken place. There is an extra Chemist shop, a Mexican restaurant and The Romney Grill has now become an Italian restaurant but still with the same owners. Les is still operating his Shoe Menders, Key Cutting service etc out of the little shop in the old wall.
This was the pic taken when Les took over the business, 11 years ago.
In the afternoon, Joan and I went over to De Bradlei Wharf in Dover. a shopping complex that always has a good selection. Managed to buy a nice pair of shoes and a sweater. Joan came away empty handed, very unusual.
Sunday 23rd and it rained all day. Charlie was fading fast and is eating very little, despite the special treats the girls have been buying. Jill asked Joan if she would go with her to the vet tomorrow morning, as they feel that it is time now and they don’t want her to suffer. This evening we popped Charlie in her little warm igloo bed and went round the corner to the Italian. Nice meal, but unfortunately, when we got back we discovered that Charlie had passed away. Sad after all these years but a little burial job for tomorrow, she is to get a plot next to her predecessor, Amy.
Monday 24th. We took Jill over to Ashford with us to visit the new Dunelm shop which has opened up there and of course the big shopping mall known as Tented City. Also we were able to order the wheel nut covers that were missing on Joan’s little car. We were able to buy some good sized bedding for our super king bed with the very deep mattress and I had ordered, by e-mail, an English language handbook for my Toyota so were able to collect that at the same time.
Tuesday 25th. Joan and I went over to Canterbury to meet up with a couple of old colleagues of hers from her days, before retirement, at the university there. Of course we took advantage of the bigger and better stores which are available in the city centre and one of the little back street pubs for lunch. Not much has changed in Canterbury but a huge influx of students is quite noticeable.
Wednesday 26th. Horrible day, misty at the start and then lots of rain. We had agreed with Norman that we would drive down to Lee-on-Solent and spend the night there with him. The weather was so bad that we did not rush and took the coast road all the way along the South Coast, a much nicer road than the motorway routes and anyway, what’s the rush? We arrived down into Lee early afternoon and went with Norman to a club he belongs to. Very palatial building and a nice snack lunch before going back to Norman’s flat. In the flat building where he lives there is some general decorating going on, so we were not able to use the guest suite which they have there, so Norman had booked us into a B&B just around the corner. Later we all drove over to Gosport to see Margaret’s sister and her husband and then the three of us went to The Jolly Rodger pub for dinner. Very nice food and it must be a nice place to sit in the summer, overlooking Portsmouth harbour.
Thursday 27th. Joan and I were driving back to New Romney today but Norman came and joined us at the B&B for breakfast. Nice, a full English without having to cook it and Norman had agreed with the owners when he booked us in, that he could breakfast with us. A nice surprise was the bill, £70 for the two of us with no charge for the extra breakfast. As we were leaving the area, Joan spotted a large shopping complex just off the road, so guess what we needed to visit. We got back to Jill at around 3.30 p.m. We were pleased that we had been able to firm up our Xmas and New Year arrangements with Norman, who is joining us in Bulgaria.
Friday 28th. We took Jill with us to Folkestone as she had heard that a shop called The Range had recently opened up there and we all wanted to be nosey. In the evening we met up with some other old New Romney friends, Ann & Peter, at The Bell in Ivychurch on the marsh. As usual with these two, a very enjoyable evening.
Saturday 29th. Quiet day locally and an early dinner before going to a Jazz concert in Lydd Church. Les had seen the advert for this concert so we decided to give it a bit of a whirl. Absolutely brilliant, some real musicians who understood trad jazz in it’s better form and who could really play the instruments of their choice. The group was led by a guy called Chris Spencer who was the trumpet man ably supported by a saxaphone/clarinet player and a fantastic pianist who was even decked out in Fats Waller style shoes. There was a banjo/guitar man who used to play with Chris Barber, a drummer and an Oboe player. This lot had obviously known one another for many years and just loved what they wre doing, playing jazz as it should be played, with great freedom. An absolutely great night and we all were so glad we went to see and hear this concert. Lydd church is from Saxon times, apart from the little bit around the altar area, rebuilt after bomb damage during the 2nd World War and it made a very nice setting with great acoustics for a jazz concert.
Lydd Church Jazz concert.
Sunday 30th. Our last day in UK with Jill & Les so in keeping with tradition we all went off to the pub in the early afternoon. We met up with many like minded friends who also enjoy a traditional English pint. One couple was, Reg & Brenda who are currently home from their place in Portugal. Some may recall that when Joan and I had our motorhome we spent some time with them there on our way back to France. Quite a little crowd and a super afternoon, but the beer quantity was treated with a little caution by me as tomorrow is an early start back up the motorway to Stansted.
Monday 1st December. We left at 7 a.m., quite early for the trip up to Stansted, but today is the first day of the new regulations at the Dartford crossing. The Highways Agency, in their wisdom, have decided to do away with pay booths, automatic toll barriers etc and require everybody to pre-pay and register their vehicle number. we had gone into the website yesterday, registered the car and paid for a singly journey at a cost of £2.50. On our way up there we had some very heavy traffic around the Maidstone area, which slowed us up considerably, but when we got to the crossing barriers, everything worked like clockwork and we found ourselves in Stansted, minus our hire car, by 9.30. Plenty of time to check in early and grab a bacon butty at Wetherspoons and also to buy some sandwiches for the later part of the journey. All in all, a good trip and we had unpacked everything and got to bed just after midnight local time.