Wednesday 22 January 2020

For the girl who has everything

Mr FF returned safely last night from his week in Tenerife and life in the penthouse returns to normal.   He had lots to tell me about the trip, mainly about the all inclusive meal plan.  Its nice to have him home looking tanned and relaxed.
What present did he bring you I hear you ask, he told me to close my eyes and hold out my hands, this is my gift. 

Yes 2 kilos of Canarian potatoes, he'd told me how much he was enjoying them.  Mr FF is noted for the strange gifts he gives me, I have in the past received tools for the Hoover, an industrial size blow torch for weeding the drive, it was so heavy I couldn't lift it and we ended up selling it on eBay.  At least these will be useful and hopefully taste as delicious as he suggests.  Lucky I am easily pleased. 

Friday 17 January 2020

Preserving and pampering (and pets)

Mr FF is in Tenerife, as you do he has taken himself off with one of his groups for a weeks walking at a large all inclusive hotel.  I was of course invited but the thought of mouching around all day, maybe having to be pleasant to strangers and listening to the walking chat all evening didn't really appeal and of course my life is never lacking sunshine so I am enjoying the winter here in Ilkley.  The 425 bedroom hotel with two pools, entertainment, so far including a nightclub, bingo and an Elton John tribute show,  made up my mind.  Last night I watched a programme on tv about a similar hotel in Spain, I was a bit shocked by the group of ladies who drunk 5 vodkas before lunch and then switched to cocktails and the fact that chicken nuggets were the favourite meal on the menu.  
So Mr FF is enjoying the sun and scenery when he can tear himself away from the buffet.  The island does look very pretty, he's sent plenty of photographs and the group are certainly getting away from the crowds.
I have been enjoying lazy baths, face masks, a pedicure, late night and early morning reading, too much time on the internet and strangely a lot of tidying.  I've also made the marmalade for another year, 9 jars and a small sample pot.  
I'm feeling relaxed and happy, particularly so as this morning there was an email from Mario with a photo of one grey cat.  We have no idea which one it is or if there are more but we have a cat and it looks like some sun.  

Friday 10 January 2020

Back over the border

Since we left Scotland back in September 2014 Mr FF has returned a couple of times, I had never been back.  Until this week that is.  
A good friend of Mr FF died just before Christmas, he had been ill for a while, it wasn't unexpected, and we returned for the funeral in Greenock.  We were invited by another walking friend also attending the funeral to stay with him the night before, which was a big help. The funeral was a positive celebration of John's life, complete with music from the Goons, Abba and we left the service to the sound of Ken Dodd signing Happiness which put a smile on everyone's face. 
Then we stayed two days with our dear friends Pam and Andrew in the village where we lived for more than 20 years.  
So how was it going back you ask.  Well it wasn't as cold as I expected, I took plenty of layers but despite some awful wet and windy days I didn't feel the chill.  I had forgotten how beautiful the Scottish hills are, I love where we live now with our views of Wharfedale but the Borders are dramatic and majestic, I needed a reminder of that.
The boys had a trip into town for curry, the girls a much more girly day out with bookshop and gallery shopping, lunch and coffee and cakes.   In one shop I met the wife of a man I used to work with, I was surprised and pleased she recognised me and reminded of my days working in Edinburgh.  
We caught up with friends who live in the same little development of 9 houses where we were, we got the warmest of welcomes and time flew by as there was so much to talk about.  We did of course sneak down the road for a look at our old house and were rather shocked to see the state of the garden, and not just ours.  Many of the gardens were totally overgrown, unkempt, walls and fences falling down, it looked truly awful and must effect the value of property.  It made me very cross that people do not care for their own environment, what hope for the world if they can't see what is on their own doorstep.  I was rather pleased we left when we did before the decline.
We had a leisurely drive home that involved brie and bacon baguettes and coffee on the side of Lake Ullswater, a stock up at a farm shop and a round of applause from me as we passed the Ilkley sign as we entered our town.
Despite the sad occasion it was nice to reconnect with people, I miss my friendship with Pam and all our chats, knitting together and her listening to my rants.  We keep in touch with email and rather infrequent phone calls but being together was so much better and of course neither of us has aged a day over the last 5+ years.
The day after we left I had an email and a photo from Pam of their lovely garden that morning, I think we did rather well to avoid this.

Thursday 2 January 2020

Another one over

I think its safe now to think about taking the decorations down, such as they were.  Despite the inspirational stately home visits, in the penthouse it was mainly greenery and candles with of course cards everywhere.  
Before you ask, yes the £5 stocking rule still applies though this year Mr FF failed miserably and ended up buying me a couple of magazines which even as an offer exceeded the budget.  I of course did brilliantly, knitted him a hat with a couple of balls of pure Falklands wool I'd found for less than £1, a book about Pompeii £1, a British made leather belt that he liked very much from the charity shop £1.99 and stuck for something to spend the last pound on I gave him a big bag of savoury snacks, normally food and drink are not allowed, snacks were this time.  Job done.
We had a calm quiet time with the nicest walks ,Mr FF out with his groups, or just he and I wandering round the town and over the river,  gazing at the really  expensive houses or sometimes up onto the moor.  New Years day there was the traditional plunge into the baths at White Wells, we walked up to see people taking part and shivering a lot.  There is a little video here from the Yorkshire Post taken this year, you get the idea of how horrible it is, by mid day when we arrived the water was filthy and 4 degrees, but Yorkshire folk, you know.
In a few days we are heading back to Scotland, sadly for the funeral of one of Mr FF's walking friends who had been ill for some time.   Afterwards we are staying a couple of days with Pam and Andrew in the village where we lived.  It will be the first time I have been back since we moved to the penthouse.  
I hope you had a wonderful time, that normality is returning and that 2020 is everything you want it to be.  Happy New Year.