We now live quite close to the Peak District yet we have spent very little time there. We drove to Knockerdown Farm Cottages to meet up with Jenny, Liam, Martha and William. The views on the drive would have been better without the fog, but even so, it was a very pretty drive. It was the fog that often occurs after a night of heavy firework activity.
We had a good time, wandering around the premises. We enjoyed crêpes, the children enjoyed walking through gates, finding the TV remote controls. William fell out of a wardrobe: a long story, but the footage is well worth £250 from You’ve Been Framed, we think.
(Appy-polly-loggies if the picture appears sideways on your device, but the video should play ok.)
Martha had a go at table tennis and managed to hit the ball back a few times.There were some traditional, wooden children’s games too which were good fun.
Liesel and I looked after William and Martha while their parents did whatever they were doing, and we said we’d provide alibis, if necessary.
Carsington Water, the 9th largest reservoir in England, is just along the road. Time for lunch and lots of fun in the water. No, not the water, the playground.
On another occasion, we’ll probably go for a longer walk, maybe even take a boat out.
After a few days in Somerset and Surrey, Helen drove back and she and I met up for a coffee/tea and a nice chat. She went to collect Martha from nursery while I went to collect her granny, Myra (Sarah’s mother) from Stockport station. Myra’s credit card didn’t work in the machine at the hotel. She had used the card successfully earlier in the day. She wasn’t allowed to pay with cash as she had no driving licence nor passport. Her photo-id bus pass wasn’t acceptable. I couldn’t use my id to pay with Myra’s cash because it had a different address to that from the one given when the booking was made by Helen using Jenny’s address. In the end, I used my card. My phone buzzed telling me that payment had been taken. But Lisa behind the desk insisted that it hadn’t. Computer says no. She phoned tech support and someone else and in the end, called Jenny too. While this was going on, my phoned buzzed again: my card had been re-credited with the recent hotel payment. I tried again, payment made, payment received by the hotel, Myra received a key to her room, Lisa and I had a laugh about stupid technology. Because, of course, it was the computer that made up the stupid rule about not being allowed to pay by cash without id.
We had a big family meal round at Jenny’s: eight people in all, according to Martha’s accurate accounting.
Helen looked after William for his bonus swimming lesson the following morning, after which, everyone came round to ours for lunch. Well, all except Liam who was at work and Martha who was at nursery, so not really everyone at all, I don’t know why you said that, you’re just confusing the readers.
In the afternoon, we visited a local venue that we’ve driven by, and seen signs for, many times, always intending to visit one day: Bramall Hall, near Bramhall Park and yes, those are both correctly spelled.
We’ll have to visit the Hall another day as on this occasion, it would have been very difficult to lure William away from the muddy puddles.
We went for a walk down to the river, where William had a good chat with the ducks.
Myra stayed for a second night at the hotel and on this occasion, she wasn’t locked in her room, so that’s a bonus! We all met up for coffee in John Lewis where we fully embraced the Christmas spirit. Both Martha and William enjoyed being let loose in the toy department, without being too disruptive.
Liesel and I escorted Myra to the railway station where, due to perfect planning, tip-top timing and a lot of luck, she only had to wait a couple of minutes for the train.
Liesel had ordered a bed for our spare room so that future guests won’t have to camp out on the floor, or use the futon in the living room. The mattress was delivered promptly but for the bed frame itself, we were given a delivery date of mid December, in six weeks time. So what a surprise when they sent a message to say that it would in fact be delivered the next day, between 9 and 11 in the morning. This meant moving lots of stuff out of the spare room, a task that we thought we could take our time over. But again, with perfect timing, we were able to be do this because we were at home on what would normally be our day of looking after William. Instead, Helen had a wonderful time with him.
Two strange men came in and made our bed for us. By which I mean they built our new, spare bed, taking about half an hour to do so. Liesel and I would have taken much longer and probably had bits left over.
The phrase uttered most frequently today was, “We have too much stuff” or variations on a theme. Despite getting rid of loads of stuff before we moved, here we are, still inundated with clutter.
I had lots of fun looking back through some of my old school books and university work.
Interesting to see that my handwriting in those days was neat and legible, much nicer than the scrawl I produce nowadays.
We also came across more paperwork from decades ago, including maps from my first trip to Australia in 1986.
I felt a bit sad about recycling the old maps, but they’ll never be used again: technology has moved on and of course, the geography has changed. Some of the brochures had Sarah’s written notes too: I don’t know why this sort of thing is so emotionally hard to dispose of.
Meanwhile, Helen and William had a lot of fun. I think he wants to be a firefighter.