So regular readers will know we have 3 lovely talented daughters and we are as proud as can be of them; not just about what they have achieved in life but also because of who they are – their funny, lovely natures. Now as you may know our eldest daughter Rebecca has Down’s syndrome. She is bright and engaging and lives independently with 3 friends, like herself, in London. She’s in her mid 40’s now but she continues to amaze, delight and frustrate us (and I dare say those supporting her!) as much as she’s always done.

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Friends and their kids

Yesterday we had our old friends J and G over and their lovely kids E and J. It was a super day, just great to catch up and J is as madly generous as ever. I can’t believe it’s 18 months since we last saw G. But almost the nicest thing was the realisation that all of our oldest friends’ children have turned out to be really decent people in their own right; well-adjusted, good company, fun, engaging and the sort of people you’d like to be friends with too. Just like our own kids. And in almost all cases there’s more than 40 years age difference between them and us old buggers. Delightfully they even forgive my occasional slips into industrial language without resorting to it themselves. Great kids; I love ’em.



Sadly we’ve had to say ciao to our lovely daughter E, son-in-law S and our two fabulous grandsons S and G who set off last night for the drive back to the UK. They texted late to confirm they has made Piacenza for the night and are already on the road heading for the Gotthard tunnel and Switzerland. We’re already missing them badly although we have youngest daughter S and husband I here for another day before they too head back tomorrow, with C. Then it’ll be just R and me here in Italy for a spell. Continue reading

friends and sir cliff richard

We’re having a friendly and frenzied final week here in the UK before heading back out to Italy. On Friday night we went to see M and G for dinner and had a fine old time. We went down the local pub which does some super food and G and M were generous as ever. Staying over is always an excuse for G and I to stay up very late but we were chatting mostly and G in particular was being quite careful with the wine. He wanted to be fresh for the prospective new gardeners turning up early the next morning for interviews etc. One cancelled and one was running late and G was not impressed despite M’s lovely breakfast. Then last night M and J invited us round for a meal. M called me in the week; his dad gene had kicked in in the last few months and he’s gotten the cooking bug too. He made us a belting italiano-anglo fusion of lasagna followed by traditional trifle. The kids (ha!) J and H joined us for dinner which was lovely – they are all grown up and doing grown up stuff which is surprising and delighting in equal measure. That little lad who came to play 5 a-side footie with us at 10 years of age now dwarfs me physically and socially. Both he and H told tales of their recent experiences which made ours seem positively trappist. Life eh… Continue reading

quiet house

Tonight E and S came to pick up the boys from us after a super weekend with our wonderful grandsons. C slept with baby G in his travel cot bed in our room; I slept with S in his old room – it was something that happened often when I crashed out reading his bedtime stories when he lived with us. Of course we had disturbed sleep a little; that’s the lot of the parent/gp and it’s amazing how it catches you out after a couple of nights. Plus of course the kids are pretty demanding of your attention and time. We’re feeling pretty jaded but elated to have had some quality time with the boys. The weather was lovely and clear but so very cold this week-end that we couldn’t take the boys out for longer than half an hour or so. So it’s been largely indoors entertainment. We got v close to seeing G take his first crawling steps(?) but he wouldn’t do it. Next time we see him we’re sure he’ll be on the move.

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Well after my feast of postings yesterday – there just seemed like so many things to rant on about and comment on – a bit of a writing famine today. We got up a little late after a little too much wine last night which is something of a rarity to overdo it these days. There are probably many people smiling in complete disbelief at this point. I didn’t say abstinence I just meant not going mad at it every night. Believe what you think. Plus I had a quite a bit of work on today so a busy morning bashing stuff out. Then C mentioned she wanted to go food shopping. Normally I’d go a little deaf at those words but I’ve been crashing away on the laptop all week and felt more than a little cabin crazy so I was happy for a chance to get a change of scenery – even to Waitrose in Towcester. The other reason was that our two grandsons were coming to us this afternoon and I love buying little things for them, like Thai sweet chilli crisps which S and I always have as a stay-up-with-grandad late night snack when he stays over. Full of rubbish and indulgent but hey, when you’re grandparents you’ll understand. Continue reading

very sad santa

Well hello laptop. How are you? I’ve not been online since last Wednesday when our grandsons S and G arrived for a stay whilst E and S went to a winter wedding up in Scotland. We’re nuts about our grandchildren and found no problem getting into a routine with them but they do occupy your attention 100%, from morning to bedtime and through the night in the nicest way of course. S called to collect them yesterday and it has been very quiet without them….

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take that…again

My daughters and grandson S are off to see Take That tonight at their final show at the O2. It’s S’s first concert and he’s very excited apparently. Kind of spooky really because we met the lads when they had just broken into the charts with Only Takes a Minute and they were appearing at the Children’s Royal Variety Show. We had some friends who were sponsoring the event. Both the lads and our daughters were quite young then. Mark took a bit of a shine to E if I remember; now she’s taking her son to see them. Isn’t life full of twists? Continue reading