Well, here I am back at my desk. Nothing else is the same since the builders arrived. More of that later.
We travelled on the ferry, the Isle of Innishmore as always, from Rosslaire to Pembroke and as usual slept most of the way. We'd had to leave about 4.30am so were pretty tired. We took pillows and a blanket each and snuggled on the benches in the drivers' lounge. We call it our bedroom. Cheaper than a cabin.
The journey on land was pretty awful as it was foggy most of the way and it was also very cold. Jim drove as he mostly does. Because of the tablets I take, I often only last about 30 minutes before I start falling asleep. Luckily it doesn't seem to bother Jim and he just gets on with it.
It took us much longer than usual to reach Worthing and the house was freezing. We wound up the central heating and put on the gas fire in the lounge plus a fan heater in the bedroom but it still took 24 hours before it was anywhere near warm. Come back Ireland, all is forgiven!
We had intended to go and see Ali and the new baby but decided to leave it until Friday. Of course we couldn't wait and Poppy is just adorable. I took far too many photos naturally. Ali and Joe, the new Mum and Dad are doing well. Tired, but that's to be expected. Joe has to go back to work on Thursday (today). We stayed quite a while and hadn't had breakfast or lunch, so when we left it was off to the local shopping centre for lunch.
I had my eyes tested in Tesco and happily they haven't deteriorated in 2 years! At least one part of me is holding out! Jim's long lasting cold seemed to have abated at last but now he is in the full throws of another one! The hacking cough from upstairs just reminded me!
Just a couple of 'Poppy' photos!
Joe, Ali, Poppy and Purdy the cat. 13.12.08 Poppy 13 days old.
I love this photo I took of Poppy Rose. Here eyes are still somewhat battered from her birth.
Grandpa Jim as proud as punch holding his first Granddaughter
I look about 100 in most of the photos. This is about the best of the bunch. Poppy looks content.
That's enough for now.
Saturday evening was spent preparing for our trip up North. I wrapped and packed and Jim finished his presents. Then it was bed and collapse.
Saturday we headed up to Suffolk to take presents to son Jason, Sam and Jack. We managed to reach them by lunch time and bacon sandwiches provided by Sam soon revived us after the journey. Jack was thrilled to see us of course but has a bad case of conjunctivitis. We did lots of playing and Jack loved having Grandad there for a change. I hardly took any photos as my camera was in the car and it was too cold to go outside! Jim took one or two for a change but I look 150 in those. Need a face lift. A take away kebab rounded off the evening well, plus the semi final of Strictly Come Dancing. Come on Tom..... As it turned out, all 3 couples went forward to next week's final.
As I've previously mentioned, Jason and Sam are having their double garage converted into a flat for Sam's Mum. It's all divided up into rooms now and it's quite amazing how much room the builders have managed to make. They have also built a 'Suffolk barn' style detached garage to replace the converted one, which looks just superb. Rene, Sam's Mum, will be moving in after Christmas. She lives in a grotty part of London called Thamesmead where she daren't venture out at night. What a wonderful change for her.
We intended to leave for Derbyshire on our next 'hop' at 1pm Sunday. Friends Ivor and Maureen and their son Paul were coming at 12 mid-day, driving up from having visited Ken in London (who lost his wife to cancer a few months ago), so we hoped they'd be in time. Indeed they were so we had an hour with them. Sam had made us a lovely breakfast of croissants, those choccy pastry jobs and Belgium type buns. Wonderful.
I played 'camps' with Jack under the stairs before the guests arrived. Jack's imagination is brilliant. We had to cook our food (which was a large black basketball) then eat it, then go off with our cars. After that, we were tired and had to go to sleep! Then it was up again to cook the food.... Grandad took over for a while and he added new variations to the game! What fun to play at 60+. Some 'Suffolk' photos:
Jack, still gorgeous even with a poorly eye
Playing with Grandad Jim in his rather small camp under the stairs
Jack and I made aeroplanes out of pegs. Friends Ivor and Maureen look on
A rather bored looking Paul, Jim and Jason having a chat. What do the gaps in between signify?
I'm not quite sure what daughter in law Sam was doing here. Practising for 'Night Fever'? On the mantle piece is the advent calender I made for Jack last Christmas, all re-filled
So then it was off to Derbyshire on our next 'Deens on Tour' stop over. We made good time and arrived at tea time on Sunday. It was lovely to see K, Rachel and Luisa plus the odd visitor and of course Lina and Kirsty (my other Granddaughters) and later on, Tony (first Grandson) and David, (Tony's Dad). Confused? You should be!
We chatted and swapped presents. My step grandchildren also turned up and opened their presents straight away, as did their 2 children! Kirsty and fiancee Jamie fooled about as usual but loved the papier mache bin I had made for them, filled to the brim with sweets and peanuts! Lina really wanted to open her main present from us, so I let her and she loved her red and black raggy bag. I had made her a little pink one as a small child but she wanted a 'grown up' one! She is now a very grown up eleven.
Tony has been having a few problems with his girlfriend but managed to drag himself over. I was so glad he did, but he was clearly exhausted and after almost falling asleep, went home again as he has to be up with the lark for work. He is at college studying music and is doing brilliantly, getting merits for most of his work. I love this photo I took of him as he collapsed!
Tony still managed a smile
We were royally entertained over the time we were there, coffee and tea flowed, plus a bottle of red for Jim! K was naughty and enjoyed a single malt, but it is nearly Christmas. We also had a splendid lasagna cooked by K, salad by Luisa. All wonderful stuff.
Rachel's book 'An Ungodly Child' still hadn't arrived and for one reason and another, the Sunday book launch had had to be cancelled. I had ordered a heap of copies for Christmas presents, as had many others. Would you believe a box of 20 turned up on Monday, AFTER we had left of course!
Rachel mostly busied herself at the computer or doing' Christmas stuff' but it was, as always, lovely to see her. I took a couple of great shots of 2 of the dogs:
The most handsome Bear
and hormonally charged Trixie, causing chaos as she is in season!!
We had a great time and collapsed into bed at a reasonable hour - ready for the next 'leg' on Monday.
A few more Derbyshire visit photos:
Lovely photo of K approaching my car in Chesterfield
A fun photo of Connor, my Great Grandson (step)
He's a real character
Kirsty (left) and Jamie enjoying a cuddle in their most trendy designer specs! (they went to Spec savers)
Lina's at that 'I'm going to hide if you point that camera at me' age!
After a lovely breakfast, Jim and I headed down the motorway and back to Worthing. It was Ali's birthday on that day (15th) and Jim's other daughter Jenny's on the 17th, so we were having a joint 'do' at Ali's for them both. Russell and Caz (now married) also came as did Jenny's husband Matt. It was great to be all together and Poppy was the star of the show as usual! We indulged in far too much Chinese food and Jim was able to drink the red wine as I was driving. I did take the odd photo too!
Uncle Russell loving holding Poppy
Sisters Ali and Jenny. Ali puckers up to blow out the candles!!
Jenny joins in
Finally, Poppy on Grandpa's lap
It was another super family evening but we didn't stay too late as Ali and Joe were tired and we had much to do on Tuesday.
I had left my handbag at Jason's and Jim lost his 'maestro' card, so we had a bad time as far as losing things goes. Sam, in her ever efficient way, posted my bag which arrived at about 12.45pm Tuesday, so we could finally draw some money on my card and go shopping! This we did, I managed to buy some good things for Jim and he rushed about with one last trip to see Ali, Joe and Poppy. Oh, did I mention we left my camera at Ali's? Well, we did, thus the trip back there!
Much car packing ensued. The cement mixer has come over this time plus the remainder of my craft things and Jim brought some books. We left at 7pm for the overnight ferry back to Rosslaire and the long drive back to The Deenery at about mid-day. I'll leave the rest of the tale of our return until tomorrow.
Suffice it to say it was a most successful trip, presents were unloaded at all points and we also came back with many many parcels. Thanks for your hospitality one and all.