John and Julia Non-Sailing - Blog

Our non-sailing activities

A walk in Ackender Wood, Alton 07 May 2024

Julia and I had a walk through the woods to see the bluebells before I went off sailing with Graham

A summary of the winter 2023 - 2024

Well it’s been a long winter with plenty on our mind, so I haven’t been so up to date with the non-sailing blog as I would have liked, so I thought I would do a quick summary. However there are plenty of photos in the non sailing photos section to accompany the following text

On Thursday 16 November 2023 we were called back to Basingstoke Hospital they suspected that Julia had breast cancer. They did a biopsy but the doctor was fairly sure but we would have to wait on tests and seeing a consultant. During this time we both kept getting colds throughout November and December and the weather was a bit miserable.

On Thursday 30 November 2023 we went to see Malcolm over in Turners Hill and we had a meal out as usual.

On Tuesday 05 December 2023 we saw a consultant at Basingstoke Hospital where it was confirmed that she had lobular cancer and that she would need surgery, most likely a lumpectomy which is where they remove the cancer but it might have to be a mastectomy where they remove the whole breast, but we have to wait for an MRI scan to know. Julia still unwell with a bad cough, and I became unwell as well.

On Sunday 17 December 2023 Julia had her MRI scan and by Thursday 21 December 2023, I was concerned that my belly button had swollen right out – kind of crept up on me. I consulted Dr Google and that suggested an umbilical hernia. I filled in an eConsult form and a Doctor got in touch the same day and agreed over the phone that it was most likely an umbilical hernia which he would need to see and we made an appointment for after Xmas.

On Sunday 24 December 2024, we went for Xmas eve dinner with Paul and Gillian and family, and had a wonderful time. Xmas day, we walked to the French Horn and Had lunch there and enjoyed the rest of the day on our own. On Boxing day I drove down to Lee on the Solent to pick up my mum and bring her to ours for the day. James and Dani arrived from York and we had a roast. I took mum home by car so she could sleep in her own bed.

On Thursday 28 December 2023 I went to the doctor and was formally diagnosed with umbilical hernia and put on a very long waiting list. Then we went to the hospital and saw the consultant again who confirmed we that Julia would only need a lumpectomy. We then came back and Oli and Em arrived and we had a nice evening with them and their dog. I suspect Oli gave me his cold as I was ill again after this.

On Thursday 04 January 2024 I got confirmation from Benenden Health insurance that I was covered for umbilical hernia, and so I could go ahead and get that sorted hopefully ahead of Julia’s operation.

On Tuesday 09 January 2024 through until Thursday 11 January 2024 we drove to Shrewsbury to see and stay with Neil and Jane and had a nice time with them.

On Sunday 14 January 2024 Martin and Michele our sailing friends from Salisbury came over for dinner and stayed overnight.

On Monday 15 January 2024 Ed came to stay until Wednesday 17 January 2024 and it was great to see him. He and I went to the boat and fitted the sprayhood on (back from cleaning) and went to see my mum.

On Sunday 28 January 2024 Elisabeth and Duncan came to have dinner and stay overnight with us. We met them last summer sailing their boat called Bimble.

On Friday 09 February 2024 Julia and I went to London, and after I got my hair cut, we went to Battersea Power Station and went up one of the chimneys. Great views.

On Saturday 10 February 2024, the Flemings came over for dinner and I cooked cassoulet.

On Tuesday 13 February 2024 Julia had the operation to remove the cancer.

On Wednesday 28 February 2024 we took the bus to Winchester for the day. It was grey and drizzly but we had a nice mooch and a lovely lunch at the Wykeham Arms.

On Thursday 29 February 2024 we saw the consultant again and he said that although there was no need to take out any more cancer, they had taken a lot out and it would have to go to the USA for a test that would determine if the cancer might return and whether she would need chemotherapy – whereas we had all hoped she would just go straight to radiotherapy. Chemo would mean cancelling the summer, and we had just secured our six month visa for France!

On Wednesday 06 March 2024 we drove to Romsey for the day and had a nice walk and lunch at La Parisienne.

On Thursday 14 March 2024 we went to Ocean Village and had dinner with Gordon and Christine and we stayed overnight. A nice evening.

On Thursday 21 March 2024 we saw the oncologist who gave us the bad news that the test had shown that the cancer might return and that she should have chemotherapy over the summer – six sessions – one every three weeks, and then at the end of that, radiotherapy. So this will take us through until September so we had to cancel our plans to sail to France again for the summer.

On Tuesday 26 March 2024 we had another meal with Jolyn and Val Lucas in Alton at Cucinos.

On Friday 05 April 2024 through until Sunday we drove to York and saw James and Dani and their new house.

On Thursday 11 April 2024 we drove to Cornwall and stayed in Penryn at Aly and Graham’s house. We overlapped with them for Thursday and Friday – they left Saturday. We stayed until Thursday. Whilst there we met more sailing friends Simon and Lesley from Smooth Torque and Rowland and Karen from Celtica.

On Friday 19 April 2024 Julia had a portacath fitted which allows them to have direct access to her bloodstream and on Tuesday 23 April 2024 she had her first chemo session. She felt sick for a few days and generally felt tired and woolly.

That brings things up to date, and so hopefully this blog can resume rather than summaries.

Weekend in Leeds and York Friday 17 - Sunday 19 November 2023

Friday 17 November 2023

We slept through until about 0815 and got going. It was a nice sunny day as forecast. We made sandwiches and hit the road at 1050 and it was a very slow and frustrating journey. Lots of roadworks and accidents. We had to come off the M1 and go 70 miles of A1 dual carriageway and then the wrong way along the M18 as that was blocked. We got to Leeds and parked at 1615. We had a look around the market and the shops and then wandered towards Fazenda. James and Dani more or less caught us up and we went into Salt for drinks and Ed arrived shortly after. I drank Zero alcohol beer and drove. We then went to Fazenda and had a great time. We all got on well. Julia had some wine – Ed wasn’t drinking either so it was James and Julia. We then followed Dani home and watched a little TV and had a few more drinks – I had some red wine.

Saturday 18 November 2023

We had a nice long lie in today and then we walked into York – 1. 6 miles, and went handbag shopping for Julia who got a nice navy one in Lake Land – the leather shop. We then shuffled round the crowded market and hit the Eagle and Child. We had drinks and lunch. I had a wrap and chicken livers with bacon. We then had more drinks and walked off to find a teepee for more drinks but James and I went to one and Julia and Dani another. James and I walked back to where the girls were but weren’t allowed in and the girls said it was standing room only, so we all left and caught the bus to the dormouse pub and had drinks there before walking home. We then had sleeps and James and Dani set out nibbles and we showed them our holiday photos. Then we watched Indiana Jones – the latest one and then bed.

Sunday 19 November 2023

We had another lie in and after some toast we left at 1016. It was a tough journey again with lots of traffic, roadworks, accidents, animals on the road and debris. However, I did a lot of undertaking and generally pushing it and we got home in four hours with a 5 minute pee stop in the middle of a jam at Leicester Forest. The weather was mainly rain showers. I had a sleep and Julia had some toast. I wasn’t hungry. Then we read the papers and had drinks and started watching Strictly, but stopped and I did lamb shoulder in the griddle pan and Julia reheated a veg bake and made baked potatoes. It was really lovely. Then saw the rest of Strictly and the results program – Angela Rippon going out. We then watched more TV and as I was tired headed to bed.

Seeing Oli and Emily Saturday 11 November 2023

Saturday 11 November 2023

It was a lovely sunny morning with a touch of frost. We were up at 0900 as we have to leave for Oli and Em’s at 1015 which we did. We had a good journey despite awful traffic coming off A3 to M25. We parked at the end of their lane and took them to the Chaser – a lovely country pub where we had a nice lunch. Oli and Julia had fish and chips, I had lamb shank, and Emily had a platter. Emily is still not well and they don’t know what is wrong with her. That said she looked well. We caught up on all the conversation and dropped them back via their horse yard. I drove there – Julia back. We came off the M25 and I navigated us across country through Effingham and Guildford centre and onto the A31 and home. We chilled and watched Strictly and a rubbish movie the Killer.

Raclette evening with the Flemings 14 April 2023

We walked 2. 5 miles to Paul and Gillian’s where we met Tom and Emma and Gillian did a raclette evening. It was lovely. Bryan the taxi picked us up at at 1030.

Seeing my Mum at my sister Linda's House 09 April 2023

Julia did breakfast and after James and I rescued his car, we drove in separate cars to my sister Linda’s. Oli arrived minus Emily a short while after. It was lovely and sunny, so we were able to sit outside. My mum was there which was the real reason for going. We stayed for a few hours, and then headed home.

Lex and Adam Wedding 08 April 2023

James and Dani arrived on Friday, and we had a pleasant evening. On Saturday morning, I made us scrambled egg and smoked salmon, while Dani had peanut butter on toast with bananas. We then all got ready and James drove us over to the Blacknest Golf Club in glorious sunshine. We had a drink in the bar and mingled. Then we attended a lovely ceremony. The couple looked fabulous, and then we had drinks outside and took some photographs and did some more mingling. Then we went inside for speeches and food. Then into the evening, the other guests arrived. Oli arrived without Emily, and didn’t drink as he was going home again. We took a Taxi home, and bed.

Dinner with Nigel and Suzie, Saturday 25 March 2023

We had planned to sail, but it was just too windy and on the nose, so we had a relaxing day, walking to the French Horn at lunch time and then driving to see Nigel and Suzie. I had planned to cook on board, so I took all the food and some pans so that I could cook there. Suzie has induction, so my pans didn’t work, but I cooked my cassoulet, and Suzie did a cheesecake, and we had a lovely evening.

We stayed over, but didn’t have breakfast as we were taking my mum out for lunch at the Bun Penny, and Nigel and Suzie also had a lunch out with some other friends

Lunch with Oli and Em at the Kentish Rifleman, Saturday 04 March 2023

We drove over to Kent and met Oli, EM and Winnie, their black lab puppy for lunch at the Kentish Rifleman. It was a lovely lunch – I had a pie and fries, Oli had fish and chips, Em had gnocci, and Julia had a burger. We then went for a walk with the dog, and then back to theirs. Oli and I walked to Tesco and got beer, and we had a couple before Julia drove me home.

A week in Cornwall 17-25 February 2023

Friday 17 February 2023

We had a 0745 alarm, and I got up and made tea. Then we made final preparations and were away to Cornwall. We left around 1000 and made the Otter Valley Ice cream place for lunch at 1200. I drove the first bit. It was a nice lunch – coronation chicken wraps. I had reasonable weather but as we went further west it got more grey and drizzly. Julia drove the last 2 hours and had some bad fog on the moors. But apart from one slow bit down to one lane, it wasn’t too bad. We arrived at 1500, and Aly and Graham were just walking back. We unpacked and had a cup of tea. Chilled out, and then went for drinks at the Muddy beach café, and then back to the house, where Aly did curry night. We had some drinks and watched Rick Stein on TV.

Saturday 18 February 2023

We lazed in bed until 1030, and Aly made us a cooked breakfast. I had a doze and the others went to the local shop. Later, Graham then drove us over to the North coast and we had tea and cake, and visted a teddy bear museum which was really interesting. Then we went back to the house, where we chilled and then changed and caught the bus into Falmouth. We had a drink at the PennyComeQuick pub, and then onto the Star and Garter for dinner. I was shocked by how limited the wine menu was and the memnu itself was limited but it all turned out ok. Julia had fish, Aly had duck breast and Graham and I had beef feathers – all very nice. We got the bus back and carried on drinking and listening to music.

Sunday 19 February 2023

We were up at about 0930 today. Aly made scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, and then they headed off. We then loaded more of our stuff in from the car and went into Pernryn to get the Sunday papers. We then came back and read them, and then as it was lovely and sunny, we went for another walk along the waterfront in Penryn. We found two tut shops that were open, which were fun and we even went into furniture shop. We walked up to Lidl and got some shopping and then walked back, and I had a sleep. We then started making our plans for food and visits. I booked St Michaels Mount for Tuesday. Then we did roast chicken for dinner, watched 2 Rick Steins and the last episode of Gold.

Monday 20 February 2023

We slept through until 0900. I made tea and we read the papers. Then after showers we made coffee – today with our machine, which we had lugged from home. Then after some time on our computers, we walked into Falmouth, and through the main street. We had lunch at the Chain Locker, which were nice sausage sandwiches and we booked the restaurant for us Friday night. Then we walked back to the Moor, and caught the bus back. We went into the country store and got a few things and then back to the house. I had a sleep and did some computer, and Julia did her jig saw. Then we cooked chicken kyev and watched TV. Vera tonight. This time I used my laptop directly.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

We were up at 0800 today as we were heading out for the day. We showered and made coffee, and then drove to Marazion where we parked, and headed across the causeway to St Michaels Mount. It was a grey day, but it tried to brighten up from time to time. It was a long climb up to the castle, but well worth it as it was nicely laid out and very interesting. We then walked back and into the Godolphin Hotel for lunch, and we both had crab rarebit, which was lovely looking out across the causeway.

Then we went back to the car, and set off for Carn Euny, an ancient village. We followed satnav (waze) and it took us up a track that got worse and worse, and although we were very close, it became too muddy, so I had to reverse back a long way to turn around. We then switched to Google maps that took us another way, and we squeezed into the last parking slot, in a very small car park. The ancient ruins were really interesting. Then we took the scenic route back and went into Sainsburys for some shopping and the local garage to top up with fuel. We looked again in the furniture shop and wanted to buy two chairs, but they said they couldn’t sell off the shop floor, and would have to order in, which we said was ridiculous and clearly not of interest as we were on holiday!

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Lazed in bed until 0930. Julia made tea, and we read the papers. Then we showered and I made coffee. This was a chill day, so we had no plans. I spent the day doing spreadsheets, planning for retirement budgets. Julia did painting and reading. We had lunch and enjoyed the sunshine outside. It was a nice day, but windy, and with spells of rain and hail in the afternoon. We had drinks about 1800, and I cooked up a chicken stir fry with coronation chicken. Then we watched spotlight, rick stein, and watched a movie everything everywhere all at once, which frankly, we did not enjoy.

Thursday 23 February 2023

We slept through until about 0815 when I made tea and we read the papers. It was grey today. We showered and made coffee and then headed for the bus to Truro. It was a nice trip, and the weather was improving, although it was colder. We got to Truro and mooched around the shops, and then went into the Bodega 18 tapas bar for lunch. It was a nice spot, and we had meatballs, pork, and aubergines as our first three dishes. Then three more, mackerel, fish in batter and cheese fritters. It was yummy! All washed down with some Tempranillo wine. We then went to M&S and then caught the bus back to Penryn. We popped into the country stores, and then back at the house, both had a sleep. Then we had bhajis for starters and Julia made tuna pasta. We watched some of Jeremy Clarkson’s farm.

Friday 24 February 2023

We were awake about 0815, and I made tea and we read the papers. Then we showered and made coffee and both did some computer stuff. Then we were off on the bus to Falmouth, where we swapped onto the small circular bus – 67, out to Pendennis Castle. That was lovely with superb views and the weather was nice too, although a bit windy up top. We then walked along the south beach road and saw where we stayed for Neil’s wedding, and then walked back into the end of town. We caught the inner circle bus – the 60 back to the Moor, and then a big bus back to the house.

Then Julia painted and I did some more spreadsheet work and had a snooze, and then I read for a bit. We then got ready and headed into town about 1745 and walked to the chain locker where we had pre dinner drinks. Then into a restaurant called Amanzi, which was South African, where we had booked, only she had us down for Saturday! Anyway, she got us in, and we had a superb meal. We both had meat cooked on a sewer and brought to the table hanging from a hook. Julia had ostrich – Ostrich Sosatie, and I had beef – Espetada. We enjoyed a bottle of South African wine that we had not heard of, and I had an Irish coffee. We then walked back up to the bus stop, and had a quick drink in the PennyComeQuick before boarding a crowded bus back. We then watched rick stein and the last Death in Paradise and bed.

Saturday 25 February 2023

Well – a lovely week came to an end. I was up at 0750 and in the shower. Then we had coffee and cleaned the house and drove home. It was a nice drive in sunshine for a lot of the way. We stopped for a sausage roll at the Otter Valley place and I drove all the way. The traffic was relatively light. We got home and Julia popped to the shops, and I had a snooze. Then we watched England struggle but beat Wales at rugby in Cardiff, and then I cooked us sirloin steak, chips and mushrooms. Then we watched a feel good movie – the bank of Dave.

Ella Mai and Elsie Birthday bash at the Thomas Residence - Saturday 28 January 2023

We then drove down to the boat late afternoon and put the heating on. We sat for half an hour and then took the bus up to Fareham and walked up to Andy and Jen’s. We were first there, and as it turned out, the only boaties as they had lots of drop outs, so it was mainly family, but we enjoyed the party to celebrate Ella-Mai’s tenth and Elsie’s sixth birthdays. We left about 8:30 and caught a 9 o’clock bus back. We had another glass of wine and bed.

The Sun Inn at Bentworth - walking out with Paul and Gillian Fleming Sunday 15 January 2023

A lovely sunny day today, but very cold. We lazed in and read the papers, and Julia went to Waitrose. Then we went over to the Flemings and donned our walking boots, and in bright sunshine, we walked 2. 4 miles to the Sun Inn at Bentworth – a lovely old pub, and had lunch there. Gillian and I had two starters, squid and pate, Julia just had the pate, and we shared fries. Paul had a roast beef. It was all lovely with good service. We walked back, but towards the end my achilles was very painful and I was hobbling. We had a quick coffee at theirs and then came home.

Non sailing weekend - seeing Paul and Gillian Fleming Saturday19 November 2022

We had a lazy day at home. I programmed for most of the day successfully completing the dot net maui course. We had toasted a sandwich and muffins for lunch. At 1800 we had a drink and then we walked the 2. 4 miles to Paul and Gillian’s. It was only us for dinner although they had invited 4 others. It was Curry night, which was yum - Gillian providing us with a grand asortment. We got the disco lights going and I blue-toothed my phone to the music system. Bryan our regular taxi driver picked us up at 2300.

Seeing Oli in London 15 November 2022

I was up at 0615 and on the 0715 train. I travelled light today without a laptop. It was raining hard as I left – so much so that I had to put waterproofs on just to walk to the station!The train was a bit late, and it was not raining too hard so was able to walk from Waterloo to Aviation House. I had a good Foundry meeting there. Then I walked to the Rugby Tavern and had a great lunch with Oli. It was Thai food – he had a pad thai, I had chicken red curry. We then walked to the Edgar Wallace pub, which was amazing, and Tom and Victoria joined us. We sank a few pints and some wine, and then I walked to Waterloo. I bought some food at the station and fell asleep on the way home. I was very tired when I got home, so I went went straight to bed.

Non sailing weekend - seeing Malcolm and Rob, Rosie and Matilda 5/6 November 2022

The weather was foul on saturday, so a quiet indoors day until about 1615 when we left for Malcolm's. We drove across country to avoid the spray on the M25, and the potential for Just stop oil protests. However, it was still a very shitty journey and took longer than planned. Anyway, we got to Malcolm's, and had champagne and then walked to the Crown - fortunately the rain had eased. We had a nice meal, I had ribeye steak, Malc had a chicken pie, and Julia had salmon. Julia and I shared cheese and Malc had ice cream. We then went back to his and watched Strictly. Well, in fact I missed a lot as I fell asleep, and even Malc was asleep at the end!

It continued to rain all night and after breakfast we took the motorway but there was a lot of standing water andso there was a 50mph limit most of the way. As yesterday, it was very tiring. We got in and read the papers and prepared roast. Rob and Rosie Taubman arrived with 2 year old daughter Matilda, and we had roast chicken. The weather improved but only briefly. I had some fun with Matilda once she overcame her shyness. They left and we watched have I got news for you and the strictly results, and started a new Netflix: the Alienist.

Trip to York to see James and Dani 14/15/16 October 2022

Friday, we had an early lunch and set off about 1315. There was very heavy traffic and every junction there were queues the other side and the weather was wet and miserable. We stopped for drinks and the toilet after 4 hours, and got to James and Dani after 5. 5 hours. We had a couple of beers and chatted and then James ordered pizza which came courtesy of Dominos, and then we watched Grand Tour.

Saturday, we were up about 0930, had some toast, and James drove us to the Air Museum, which was really very interesting. It was also very nice weather, athough a bit breezy with lots of sunshine. We came back for a grazing lunch, and then we went into York by bus as usual. For once James hadn't booked the Eagle and Child and of course, it was busy with a function. So we walked around and around and had to sit outside under a heater, so I was a bit grumpy for a while, as I was in a dfraft. Then we went into the Ivy which was really nice. I had ribeye steak and Julia had fishcake. Dani had vegetarian curry, and James had sirloin steak. It was bit expensive, but worth it. We came back to the house and watched Airplane.

Sunday, we were up at 0815 and away at 0915. We got to Towcester early, so went for a lovely walk along the water meadows in glorious sunshine. Then on to the Folly for a nice Sunday roast and then Julia drove us back. We made a mistake by going on the M4 for the last section as we discovered it was shut at the next junction,which was a pain and we had to crawl up to junction 11 and going around the big roundabout there was a nightmare. Anyway we got back home, and had a few drinks, a grazing dinner, TV and bed.

Rhodes Trip 01-13 September 2022

This is the third year we have been going to Rhodes where we are always looked after by Stratos and his family. This year the weather was amazing, and it was over 30 degrees every day with blue skies and a breeze, but never too much breeze. As ever Stratos, Marianthi and Yannis were so good at looking after us, and we enjoyed every day.

Rhodes Thursday 01 September 2022

We were up at 0200, but in all honesty, neither of us had any sleep. I showered and the taxi arrived at 0230 – Bryan again. It was a clear run and we got to Gatwick in just over an hour. There was not much of a queue to drop bags, but the machine was confusing and we needed help twice. Then we found security wasn’t too bad and we got through smoothly. What we did notice was that the place was heaving. We were lucky to find a couple of seats and Julia got a coffee. We went to the gate on time, but we could see time drifting, and we could see that boarding was a joke. It was overcrowded and they didn't call rows, so it was uncontrolled and they loaded from both ends so people were crossing along the plane. We were due to leave at 0610, but got away at 0650. Rhodes is 2 hours in front and we had a quick flight and landed at 1225 local time. We were through passports in short order but then had to wait an hour for bags, which was sad. Stratos very kindly came and picked us up, and we crammed into his Fiat Panda. We then stashed the bags in the room, and went down for a well earned beer, and had some lunch. We had Platini eggs benedict, which is fried eggs on toast with the hollandaise sauce!Then we went to the supermarket and spent 100 euros on booze and essentials and then had a snooze. We then got up and had drinks on our fantastic balcony (room 203) with our usual music from our Bluetooth speaker brought from the kitchen at home,watching the sunset - the first of many. We then went down to dinner at 1930 and I had BBQ pork contosouvli, and Julia had chicken schnitzel. We had 2 carafes of house red with it and then we went back to the room and watched a bit more of House of the Dragon on Netflixbut paused half way through and went to bed as we were so tired.

Rhodes Friday 02 September 2022

We slept in this morning and had coffees and Julia went to bag some sunbeds, although none had been bagged yet and this was 1130!How different to last year where it was a bit of a bun fight most days. At beer o'clock (1200 in this case, but it varies) I had a beer, and Julia an orange juice. At 1300 we came up for lunch and had the remains of her chicken schnitzel from the night before with mayo, and the pitta from last night. Then I had a snooze and we sun bathed. We were back in the room having showers about 1700 and then had drinks on our balcony with our music as usual. We then down to dinner and I had stuffed kebab and Julia had a lasagne thing called poistitsio, all washed down with 2 more carafes of house red. We then went back to the room and watched the other half of House of the Dragon and an Umbrella Academy and bed.

Rhodes Saturday 03 September 2022

We slept in until 0930 then I got up and shaved and showered and bagged some sunbeds as the only other ones with a shade had gone. Then after a bit, we went to the bakers and got bread and fresh orange juice and then into the supermarket again. We then back down to the sunbeds and had a beer and some perrrier and went up for lunch about 1345. We had ham and bread for lunch and then I had a snooze. We then went back down to the pool and chilled and sun bathed until 1700, when we came up and Julia showered. Then we went for a walk and booked a hire car and bought an ankle bracelet for Julia and into Stratos’ shop and bought some baklava as a present for Kevin and Jenninext door for looking after the flowers. Then we went back to the balcony to watch the sun set with beer and pink wine and Jax Jones on the music box. Then we went down to dinner and both had Moussaka, which was wonderful as ever washed down with more house wine. We then went back to the room and saw 2 episodes of Umbrella Academy to finish series 2 on Netflix.

Rhodes Sunday 04 September 2022

We slept in until 0930 and at 0945 I went down to get the sunbeds. I said hello to mama – Sophia. Julia came down a while later and we had the pool to ourselves most of the morning. At 1200 it was beer o'clock and then at 1300 we came up for lunch – today we had egg mayonnaise made by Julia with bread. In the afternoon we went back to sunbathing but the two girls from the family put some music on their phone which was quite close to me,which spoiled my peace a bit, so I had to go and get my headphones. We then went back to our balcony at 1700 to watch the sun set and have a couple of beers and some pink wine. Then we went down to dinner and both had whole sea bream with rose (pink) wine. Then we invited Oli and Hannah who we had been chatting to by the pool, up for drinks and they joined us on the balcony,and later we went down to drink and chat with Sophia and Stratos.

Rhodes Monday 05 September 2022

We were out on the sunbeds at 1030 this morning and it was nice and quiet. We then went to the supermarket and got a cooked chicken, and then back for beer o'clock. Today we had a slightly later lunch and then sunbathed. It was hotter today. We then went for a walk to Spohia’s dress shop and saw her there and had a chat and saw her new machine. We walked back along the beach and then Julia had a shower. Then we had drinks on the balcony and down to dinner for 1900. We had asked Yannis to get us steaks and he delivered with two huge T bones. It was too much to eat it all, so we took the remainder for a stir fry later in the week. Then we came back to the room and watched House of the Dragon.

Rhodes Tuesday 06 September 2022

We slept in a bit this morning,as we weren't bagging sunbeds and so got down a little later than planned and we had to wait 25 minutes for a taxi. But we got into Old Rhodes Town for about 1115. We noticed that there were many more people now that the pandemic has gone. I bought a Rhodes T-shirt, and we had orange juices in our usual bar and then we went on to La Veranda again, where we had pre-booked our table number 11. We got a very nice reception from the staff, and I had a beer and Julia had a tequila sunrise, and we ordered red wine and a shared plate of traditional Greek food. The meal was fabulous which ended with a nice moussaka in the middle. We sat and let it digest and they didn’t chase us for the bill which was nice. Then we shopped and found a nice gold chain shop where you can buy by the length. Julia got a proper ankle bracelet as the one I bought the other day disintegrated within a day, and after many years I decided I would go back to wearing a gold chain. It was 18 euros for Julia and 56 for mine and she sold us both for 70. We then walked down to the taxi rank and got a taxi back, dropping us off at the bakers, where we walked across the road a little to another supermarket that had Leffe and Stella, as our local one ran out of Stella and did not have a good range of beer. We then popped into the bakers and then back to the apartment. We met Annie out for a walk. She and her husband Christian we have met every year, but sadly this year he died. We then slept for an hour or so, and then Julia showered and we both did some time on our laptops. So much so we almost missed sundown. We had drinks and then we did Caesar salad, and watched a couple of Captures on iPlayer.

Rhodes Wednesday 07 September 2022

It was a bad night for me, as I couldn’t sleep well with the insect bites I have been getting which are huge and driving me crazy. Julia made coffee and I went down and bagged the sunbeds at 1000. We sunbathed all day and I read the Creek by LJ Ross in the day - a nice holiday trashy novel. It was quite busy by the pool today. Carly and family also arrived today. We got back up to the room and had a few beers and pink wine, and then down to dinner just after 1900 and the sunset. I had grilled squid, and it wasn’t as filling as some of Yannis’ dishes. Julia had a chicken and bacon kebab that was lovely, so I stole a couple of pieces and she still took 2 home. Back to the room and we watched an episode of Ridley but I kept falling asleep.

Rhodes Thursday 08 September 2022

Today was the first of two days car hire, so we were up and at the car hire place for 0915, and drove down to Ancient Kamiros where we walked around the amazing ruins. Then we drove down to Karimos proper which was mainly a strip of restaurants, and picked Dionysos Steki, and sat out on the terrace overlooking the sea. It was a lovely setting, and we both had a drink – Beer for me and iced coffee for Julia and then we had kalamari with chips. Then we had a walk about the grounds and then drove into Rhodes Town to go back to the jewellers and get another chain this time for Julia’s neck to replace her day to day one. Driving was crazy, and we passed a three car pile up. We managed to park right outside the gate and walked up and got a nice new chain at 30 euros, and then we drove down to Faliraki and Julia eventually found her old hotel again. Then we drove back to our hotel and had a few drinks on the balcony. We were saddened by the Queen’s death which was annoucned earlier today. Then we cooked a steak stir fry with the left overs from earlier in the week, which was lovely and then we tried to watch some TV but the internet – especially the BBC web site was overwhelmed by folk surfing about the Queen I think, so we gave up and went down to the bar and ended up chatting with Sophia Stratos, and Ron and Diana from Belgium and Carly’s mum.

Rhodes Friday 09 September 2022

Today we planned a day on the beach, and we were up and away shortly after nine in the car and got to Kallathea around 0945, which was a good time for picking a sunbed. We got a nice spot and discovered that the sunbeds came with a free juice, and 2 waters in an ice bucket which was a nice touch. We sunbathed and swam in the sea, and then at lunch time had club sandwiches in the restaurant. Julia had smoked salmon and I had chicken and bacon. We sunbathed until around 4pm, and then drove back, dropping our stuff off at the apartment, and then dropping the car back. We then both had showers and drinks on the balcony and watched another sunset. Carly came and said 'boo' and chatted to us for a while. Then we went down to dinner and we both had kebabs and then back up to watch a Suspect in ITV Player. BBC iPlayer refusing to work.

Rhodes Saturday 10 September 2022

We both slept well for a change. We read the papers and then I went down with my coffee to bag our sunbed spot and Julia followed later. We went to the supermarket and then had beer o’clock by the pool and lunch at around 1315 which was a mix of left overs. Then we went back to the pool and more sunbathing and book reading. We came in at 1700 and showered and took drinks again on the balcony and another stunning sunset. Then we went down to dinner to discover that our usual table was taken, which was a shame, and then the kleftiko we specially ordered wasn’t as good as we expected. We later discovered that it was made to a traditional greek recipe, which is what Yannis does, but we have been used to a different style back home with a lot less potatoes. We were both a bit tired amd so not getting our usual table and that made us both a bit down. We then came up to the room and tried unsuccessfully to view Shetland on the iPlayer and gave up as iPlayer just won’t work over a poor internet.

Rhodes Sunday 11 September 2022

I was up at 0845, shaved and showered and made coffee. Then I went down to bag a sunbed and read the paper and finished my book Paris by Starlight – it was a difficult book. Then we came up for lunch of egg mayo and ham, and then back to sunbathing. It was a very hot day. During the day we learned that our niece, Sammy had a baby boy. At 1700 we came up and showered and spoke to Neil and Jane on the phone about the planned sailing weekend with them. Then we watched the sun go down and walked to the Pizza place Napoli, where I had a meat lovers BBQ and Julia had ham, cheese mushroom and feta. It was a very nice meal. We then walked back and joined in the conversations in the bar and got to know Sanne and Chris from Holland, both in the Police and found out that Sanne was pregnant. We also spoke with Sophia, Carly and her folk, and the Scottish couple, who are always there for many weeks at a time.

Rhodes Monday 12 September 2022

We both slept well and got up at 0830. I went down to the pool at 0930 to bag sunbeds and read the paper. Julia joined me after an hour. We sunbathed and had beer o’clock and then came up to change and went out to lunch. We found Kostas at the end of the tourist street and had a lovely lunch which was beer, a carafe of rose and we shared seafood saganaki, kalamari, carlic bread and pitta. We were the only folks there. We walked back and resumed sunbathing, and started talking to Sanne and Chris our new Dutch friends, and we agreed for them to come to us for drinks and to have dinner together. They joined us on the balcony and we watched the sun go down over drinks. As usual Carly came and said boo. Then we went down to dinner and we all had the chicken and bacon kebabs. Then we retired to the bar and had a few more drinks and generally chatting to everyone.

Rhodes Tuesday 13 September 2022

We lazed in this morning as it’s our last day. I showered, and we went down to pay Stratos. Then we went for a long walk, and back for ouzo and an iced coffee, and after two croque madames, which were filling. Then we went back to the room for a final 20 minutes, and Stratos took us to the airport. We were in good time, and got through bag drop quickly, and straight through security. Then we bought some water and went through passports and then sat around for 2 hours. We got on the plane only 15 minutes late but then we had to wait whilst a helicopter delivered some VIPs to a private jet and that took off, and the helicopter left before we could go adding about 40 minutes. We then had a good flight and landed at 1930, whilst we were supposed to land at 1830. The bags didn't take too long to arrive, and we quickly found Bryan our taxi driver and were away from the airport shortly after 2000. It was raining. We got home just after nine, and ordered us a takeaway Indian from Miftas which we collected and Julia got some milk. So it was nearly 2200 before we ate, but the meal was nice. I had tandoori king prawn and Julia a tandoori duck tikka. We finally made bed about midnight.

Sunday lunch with Phil and Jane Ridgeway Sunday 31 July 2022

It was grey today and drizzling. We read the papers, and Julia popped out to Waitrose. Then we drove to Costco and sadly experienced some of the worst traffic I have seen outside of the rush hour! We then had to queue to get in the car park too. Anyway we did a basic shop and actually got away on time. We got to Jane and Phil’s and had starters of salmon and melon and then roast chicken. We sat outside for the main course, and the weather was not too bad considering it had been drizzling most of the morning. It was positively nice in some of the sunshine. We left at 1600 and Julia drove. When we got home it was the womens football euro final, but we read papers and kept an eye on the score expecting Germany to win. We had a light dinner, and then tuned in for the end of extra time and Wow! - England won 2-1 over Germany. We enjoyed watching the celebrations and then did a binge watch on Netflix to finally finish the Shannara Chronicles.

BBQ with Gillian Fleming Saturday 30 July 2022

We were both hungover this morning. I eventually got up and marinaded the pork and chicken and we had coffee. Julia went to the shops and it was a slow morning. I picked up Gillian at 1400 and the weather was nice enough to sit out. It was occasionally sunny, but although it was cloudy, it was warm. We had a pleasant drink and then I skewered the kebabs and did a great BBQ if I may say so. I got the meat just right and it was a lovely afternoon. Gillian walked home, and we watched some TV and were in bed by 9:30!

Oli came to pick up his stuff Friday 29 July 2022

We both had a light early lunch expecting Oli early afternoon, but he was held up by Em having the car. We sat in the sunshine and chilled. I popped out and got some more stella, and Oli arrived eventually at 1830. I then did a standard BBQ – sausages and burgers with baked potatoes. We drank a lot and chatted until late. Oli got up and left early the following morning.

Our 27th Wedding Anniversary Thursday 28 July 2022

Julia and I exchanged cards in the morning, but it was a work day for both of us. We both finished shortly after 5, and we had drinks and then went to Heaven’s Kitchen for rib eye steaks to celebrate. We came back home and watched the Shannara Chronicles on Netflix and then bed.

Alton Cricket Sun 26 June 2022

Julia and I had a lazy morning, and then walked over the Ridgeway to the Butts to see the Victorian Cricket, which was nice to see. It was very windy, with some sunny intervals. We went into the French Horn for a drink and discovered that the garden was sheltered and warm in the sunshine. So we sat out there for a while and then walked back.

Matilda second birthday party Sat 25 May 2022

We were up and away to my mum’s via the Co-op in Alton. We saw my mum for 40 minutes and then went on to the boat. I topped up the water, and the fuel, and loaded all the wine on board and moved stuff out of the focsle. Then we drove to Gilkicker and joined Matilda’s second birthday party on the grass with all our Area 15 mates. We took our chairs and a table and were very comfortable. A bit cloudy and cool, but nice when the sun came out. It was a lovely afternoon. Then Julia drove home, and we opened some St Emilion. I cooked a chicken teriyaki dish, and we watched a movie about whales / moby dick.

Grand Union narrow boating on Namaste 9-13 June 2022

Thursday 09 June 2022

Julia and I got away about 1430 and headed for Berkhamsted. The traffic was awful on M25 and at a standstill. So not a nice journey. We got close to bridge 143, and parked up all ok. Went aboard Namaste and learned that Chris wasn’t well, and would we help them get the boat back. Didn’t bother us much, so we said yes. We had drinks and went to Margos at the Old Mill, just up the road and had nice pizza.

Friday 10 June 2022

As plans had changed, we were going to have to push on and get through the miles, so we were up and away early. Because Chris needs to lie down a lot, we have been given the bed in the saloon, that doubles as a table. We actually found it nicer than the cabin! Anyway we were up and away at 0745, and I helmed until the locks, where I handed it to Gordon, and Julia and I did all the lock work. We stopped at Waitrose in Berkhamsted, and stopped for lunch on the way. Chris did cold meats and a salad. The weather was sunny but windy. We made it as far as Grove Lock, having started at lock 55, we made just above lock 28 and had one swing bridge on the way. The pub was busy but we did get a table easily enough. It was late so none of us showered, and we went out straight for dinner. Nice enough meal. I had ribeye, and Julia had lemon sole. Back to the boat for some more wine, and a whisky before bed.

Saturday 11 June 2022

Again we were up and away by 0745, and stopped at Tesco for more shopping. The weather was sunny but windy. We pushed on with me helming and doing the locks today and Gordon and Julia doing the gates. There was a big drama overtaking a very slow historic barge with a buttie in tow. I hit a moored boat! Anyway, no damage done, and I got straight back in the saddle and found a good spot for lunch too. Chris did bread and cheese and in the afternoon we pushed on through Milton Keynes which turned out to be nice. We had pre booked the Giffard Park whilst having lunch. On the way I had to overtake the pair again which was thrilling. We got there and parked right outside, and had drinks in the sunshine in the cockpit. Then dinner and it was a real cheap pub, but the food was ok. I had a sizzling skillet with pork belly and Julia had a burger.

Sunday 12 June 2022

We were up and away early-ish and Gordon did the first hour, and then I took over until all the locks towards the end of the journey, when we hit the flight to Stoke Bruerne. Gordon paired with another boat through those which was fun, and we had some help from the other crew. On the way to the locks, I had to overtake a slow boat, and that proved hard too. Parked just down from the Navigation pub and the Boat inn, ready to go straight into the tunnel Monday morning. It was sunny but windy again, but we were able to sit in the cockpit and have drinks. We also popped into the maritime museum. Then we had dinner in the Navigation, which was fine but they didn’t have the wine we wanted and the food was ok. Julia and I had rib-eyes that could have been better. Back for more wine and drinks and early bed.

Monday 13 June 2022

We were up and away at 0630 to get through the tunnel before anyone else. I drove all morning and so did the two mile tunnel. Nothing came the other way. It was a grey and cloudy day. Then we carried on for another couple of hours and we made it to Nether Heyford, their marina. We parked and Chris did breakfast, and then Gordon dropped us at Northampton Station. We paid £48 for two singles to Berkhamsted (!) and then a £4.30 taxi back to the car. The M25 was shit and parked again, and as we approached the A30 it was stopping again, so we came of and went down the old A30 to Bagshot and rejoined the motorways there. Back home about 1415, unpacked and enjoyed the sunshine with some drinks. Then dinner, TV and bed

York to see James and Dani 21-22 May 2022

Saturday 21 May 2022

We were up early at 0500 heading to York. We left at 0545 and stopped at Watford Gap and again at Tesco York for petrol and we arrived bang on 1000 as requested. James cooked us breakfast, and then we had a nap. Then we went into York on the bus. It was a sunny day with some breeze. I went to M&S and got a bow tie and braces, then we went to the Eagle and Child for G&Ts – James and Dani had rum. Then we all played mini golf, and then wnet to the sky bar – it was nice but a bit windy. Then we went to the Ivy for dinner which was fab and a super meal. I had Korean chicken, James and Julia Malanise chicken, and Dani a squash curry. Then we caught the bus back and watched the Grand tour (French one) and a film which I fell asleep in.

Sunday 22 May 2022

We were up and away about 0930, and got the papers at Tesco. Then we came off the M1 at Towcester and went for lunch at the Folly. it was lovely weather again, but with a slight breeze. It was a super Sunday roast. Then Julia drove back across country with me navigating. Unfortunately, similar to when she drove the Avensis another time, the brakes started screeching – lost pads and discs we suspect! We got home and sat in the garden where we were sheltered and it was lovely in the sunshine. Then we both had a sleep, and then read the papers, and had drinks and nibbles for dinner. Then TV and bed. Afternote: It was new discs and pads at £640 !