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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Aged 11, I passed my exams for a very good Grammar school and my folks were absolutely chuffed to bits. They always believed in the importance of education, home ownership, a strong work ethic and personal development. So for their eldest child to make it to Baines GS was a proud moment, not least because for the previous few years I’d shown no great aptitude for learning and was placed in the bottom quartile in every exam. So in the final year at primary school they paid for me to be privately tutored – it must have been a stretch for them – and it was enough to get me through the 11 plus. ¬†Hurrah!

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After the last posting I was feeling rather pleased with myself. A little too pleased as it turned out. First off, after two months of dicking around, we got a notice from the letting agency who manage our apartment informing us that it seemed the owners of the property wanted to sell up. We could sign a temporary extension or find somewhere else in the remaining few weeks of our contract. We love this place which must have the best views in London, and to leave it would be a real wrench. But what do you do? Register with a load of local estate agents and start the dispiriting process of finding somewhere new to live. Continue reading

birthday girl (and boy)

This chasing business lark is sure making it difficult to get time to spend on the blog. I thought I’d have loads of time back here in the UK. But I’m getting lots of appointments and meetings, though I’m still waiting for the business to flood through…..no change there then. Ah well, I mentioned in the last posting that my wife C was in for a bit of a surprise on our return. A week or so after getting back it was her birthday which she shares with our grandson S. However this was to be the birthday all women dread I think. 40 might be the new 30 and 50 the new 40 but the big 6 Oh! remains the passing point into OAP status and those 3 little letters cut deep into any woman’s heart.

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a brucie bonus

Well C’s on her way to Rimini airport taking her delightful cousin P to catch her flight back to the UK. It’s been lovely to have P here this week – on her first visit to Italy. I hope it’s been a nice break for her. We haven’t done a lot – mostly the girls have been happy to catch some rays and just chat and chill, do a little bit of retail therapy and have some nice meals and a bit of wine. But the builders turned up unannounced 3 days ago and have been working non-stop on reinforcing the foundations to the extension (more later) and it’s kind of cramped the girls’ sunbathing style. So they’ve been heading down to the beach and yesterday I went with them, leaving the builders to it. And it turned out to be a good game, good game. 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