These last few weeks have given us a fantastic break, despite catching the Snot Monster’s (AKA one year old granddaughter, Hannah) cold. 

1 Hannah at Xmas

We ended up staying at home over new year because neither of us felt great.  Now I know what Jules Holland’s Hootenany is all about (we may get over it eventually…) , I’ve only ever used it in the past to know when to break out the bubbly.

Apart from that, it’s been lovely to catch up with friends and family, play with Hannah (OK, it mainly consists of her stealing my slippers and insisting that I put them on her feet)(it probably means that there is something wrong with her sense of smell, after all, what sensible person actually wants to wear the slippers of a menopausal woman?) and to get a bit more exercise.  We have been gradually increasing how far we cycle with the hope that we won’t have jelly legs when we go skiing.

We managed to cycle to Southsea, stayed in a nice little hotel called Ashby’s Boutique Hotel, finally saw the latest Hunger Games movie and cycled back the next day.  The hotel manager was a fascinating chap; he used to race motorcycles and now is passionate about mountain biking.  He gave up on road cycling after someone knocked him off his bike, breaking several bones, chucked his bike in a ditch and left him for dead in the middle of the road.  The police managed to find the bike and matched the paint on a car (the idiot actually followed the same route the next morning) and the driver got two years for the offence plus two and a half years (suspended) for attempted manslaughter.  He now builds hiss own mountain bikes and has put his own Harley together.  It was a great cycle back, but we got absolutely soaked.  Oh well, it is winter, after all.

We also cycled over to Brighton for our friends Pat and Dave’s wonderful annual curry party.  The ride there was fantastic as we were with the wind the whole way.  Coming back the next day took two hours longer and we were both shattered.  We must have looked a bit different, because Hannah acted as if there was a force field around us and would not come close to us for quite a while, until she decided it really was granny and granddad and not two lycra clad weirdos off the street.  She may be wrong about that….

During the last few weeks we have celebrated our anniversary (great night away at a pub called the Compasses near Salisbury; its claim to fame is that they shot a movie about morris dancing called ‘With Bells on’ there),

2Compases Aniversary

nipped up to London to see the Lego Art show

3 Lego 1

4 Lego 2

5 Lego 3

and stayed in the Tower hotel next to Tower Bridge,

6 Tower Bridge at night

celebrated my birthday in Salisbury,

7 Salisbury

where we stayed overnight at the Old Mill pub,

9 Old Mill

It’s a fascinating place; the blurb says that it started off as a fulling mill, then was used as a paper mill and then it finally became a bone crushing mill.  Yum!  The bar is one of the more modern parts, being only 400 years old!.  You can see where the water wheel used to be through a window in the restaurant

10 Water wheel gone

and celebrated my children’s birthday at Casson’s, a fabulous restaurant in Tangmere.  It’s just as well we are heading off again soon, or we will end up both fat and broke!

8 tea and cake

I have been trying out my new wizzy bridge camera, (which means I will have to carry less lenses and wont have to worry about being caught out in the rain) and I am very pleased with the results so far

11 Cold wind surfer

12 kite surfer

13 Boats

14 Squirel

This seems to be the plan at the moment; 2 weeks skiing in two different resorts, drive down to Rome to catch the ferry to Tunisia, three weeks in Tunisia, and then…..I cant wait!