Farewell to 2020 - May to August


The hot weather continued so we spent more time with local walks and time in the garden.

Everyone else seems to be doing baking as there were still shortages of flour etc in the shops. I joined in making banana bread and some chelsea buns.

In the middle of May, we were able to get out for a walk with our friends again. We were careful to stay distanced. Walks were enjoyed at Hemsted Forest, Hawkham and Sutton Valence/Wierton. With pubs closed, we now take bottles of cider/ale with us to enjoy with our lunch, one each for myself and Tracy, and two each for Dave and Karl.

We also found out that Treacle is a brilliant swimmer. We had stopped for lunch by a large pond and she swam right across three times, running around the outside on one of the trips. The doggies had a lovely time.

As another home project, I decided to renovate and varnish the garden seat. I was able to order some  strips of wood for replacement slats for the top from Wickes and Dave collected these for me. Shops like Wilko remain fully open and this is where I found the stain/varnish that I wanted. This job kept me busy throughout the summer.


I cleaned out a cupboard and found some cross stitch that I had started many years ago. I only had the Autumn one to finish and then the Winter one. I really enjoyed doing this and plan to do some more some time. I seem to have plenty more to do.

I finally found a company to buy my old car from me. It was recommended by D&D. I used cartakeback.com. They gave me a great deal. It was £200 more than the local scrap dealer quoted me. When I emptied the car, I took the spare wheel out of the boot too as my new one only had one of those inflate kits.

Walks this month were in Monkdown, Edenbridge and Coxheath.

The hot weather continued. It was almost unbearable some days. On occasions I was wishing I was back in the air conditioned office. Some evenings I would sit outside with a lager and my colouring book and pens. It was still warm at midnight sometimes. 

I took Kat and Jake to the goat sanctuary for the first time. They both loved it. Most of the goats are very friendly and don't mind being stroked. We had a really lovely afternoon.


The original plan was for us to be going to Marrakech but this was all cancelled. Our holiday has been rebooked but it was too expensive to book the same place, so we are going to Gran Canaria, hopefully. We have also had to pay another £200 on top of what we had already paid. I guess the holiday companies need to try and get back some of the money they have lost since planes were grounded. The skies have been considerably empty. I checked on the flight tracker app a few times.

One weekend we set up a tent in the garden when Jake and Kat stayed over and they slept the night outside. Best place to sleep on these hot nights. Jake loved his first experience of camping.

Our big July walks were at Shoreham, home of lavender and lavender ice-cream, Crockenhill/Chelsfield, a new geocache series set by myself in Benenden area, Tandridge/Godstone, Hamstreet, Eynsford and Kingsnorth.

On a mid-week walk with Karl and Charlotte, we actually stopped at a pub for drinks and lunch. Everything was table service and it was very well organised. I had my first fish finger sandwich and it was far better than expected.

The wearing of face masks became mandatory in shops and busy areas. I have decided to go for washable ones and stocked up with several, with some disposable ones in the car, in case I forget. 2020 litter seems to be mainly discarded facemasks. This is my favourite one.


Our annual Partylite conference was also cancelled, and rescheduled later in the month to be online. It caused extra challenges for the team as air travel was cancelled. As it was online and only for four hours, they had the highest number of attendees ever. 

For my birthday, we had a lovely day out with Dan and Cheryl. We had booked Segway at Leeds Castle. First we had a wander around Mote Park as we were too early to go in to the grounds at the castle and wait there due to limiting their visitor numbers. We had a lovely time whizzing around the castle on the Segways, after a brief training session. It was a perfect day for it. After this we went to Toby Carvery for lunch. It was good to be "out out". Dad visited the pub while we were there and we had a lovely catch up.

Kat, Jake and I went back to the goat sanctuary for another visit. Emily and the boys joined us too. We had a great time there and after we decided that we weren't ready to go home yet. So we went to a shop and got some bits for lunch and visited Teston. It was very busy. It seems to be the new thing to have outside birthday parties as going to friend's homes is not allowed in large groups. We were able to find a table in the picnic area. We had a walk around after lunch and reminisced about many happy camps there. 

Our fence was done on some of the hottest days of the year. I was constantly fetching out pints of water with ice for the guys. It took them 4 days. The new concrete posts are such an improvement. It was expensive but now there won't be any need for back breaking work replacing posts, just the fence panels which slide in if the wind breaks through them again.

We were able to get away for our holiday in Pewsey with Karl, Tracy and the girls at a lovely cottage that they had found. We were not able to eat out anywhere as the pubs were still limited on numbers but we did order a takeaway from the local on the first night. This came in individual meal boxes and was very good. We tried again to re-order later in the week but after a lot of messing about it turned out they were too busy and kept trying to book us into the following night. We ended up getting fish and chips from the shop in the village.

Our walks while we were there were at Netheravon, Milton Lilbourne, Morgan's Hill, Caen Locks, Wilcot, Little Bedwyn, Woodhenge and Larkfield on the way home. There was just one day when the weather too bad to get out for a walk so we stayed in and played games, Cluedo and Blokus mainly.

We also said a sad farewell to my step-brother, Michael. He had a good send off at Hastings Crematorium. His sister did the eulogy with fond memories of childhood. It was really difficult being spaced apart in the room and not able to support each other properly. There was a second room for overflow where they could watch on a video screen. Afterwards, we all went up to Dad's grave and left the flowers there. 

After several trips to Margate to get stuff moved out and into storage, we could finally cut ties with that chapter. It was hard work but we got as much done as we could in the short time we had and lack of help. I managed to put my back out so was really struggling at the end of it. This was my office for the weekend....

Sunday ended with a great family barbeque and far too much to eat. We had another opportunity to go "out out" on the bank holiday Monday. We went to a lovely Turkish restaurant in Hythe with the same family. We don't see each other for ages and then twice in one weekend. We were able to have two separate tables of 4 each. The food was very good.

September onwards to follow as soon as I get chance......

Farewell to 2020 - January to April

 I'm back.  Not sure if this will just be a one off for now or if I will keep it up regularly.  I can't believe I got logged into Blogger so easily after not being here for nearly 10.years. I expected to have username and password issues.

Another year over and this one was very different! The world as we knew it was changed and we all had to adapt accordingly. Here goes.... 


The year started much the same as any recent previous, with a New Year day walk with our geocaching friends at Badlesmere and a visit to the Red Lion pub. Four more walks were enjoyed this month at Camer Country Park, Ivychurch, where one of the doggies knocked me down into deep mud and Treacle found a turnip to bring home instead of a stick, a muddy wander near Goudhurst and another walk in Badlesmere. We also had a wander around Rye.  

We had been playing Munzee for a while but I was asked if we would be interested in joining a "clan". With monthly personal and group challenges, this added a new dimension to the game and has made it more enjoyable. There is much more to this hobby than we realised. 

New words were becoming more talked about, even more than Brexit... Covid-19 and coronavirus ....the invisible enemy that was soon to change our lives, apparently hitting the UK by the end of the month, as checked on Wikipedia. Although some friends have said that they had the worst flu like symptoms ever in the months before. Maybe it was creeping in before it got international fame!


The start of the month we got out for a meal with Dan and Cheryl at the Pheasant. Geocache walks for me this month were in High Halden and Harston, a geo meet back at Badlesmere and we enjoyed a short break away in Molesworth.  The pub where we were staying had a game that we were introduced to, Northamptonshire Table Skittles. They even had a league there that we watched for a while. 

We also enjoyed an evening at the Riverside Inn for Dave and Matt's birthday. We were now all carrying hand sanitizer, something that Matt has been doing for years anyway. The conversation often returned to Corona and how it was affecting us but we didn't foresee what was to follow in March.

I managed to get to see the Moon exhibition at Rochester Castle. It is a touring artwork by UK artist, Luke Jerram. I had hoped to take Jake there but he decided he didn't want to go so I went on my own after work just before it moved on. It was amazing. Glad I didn't miss it.

It was also my little brother's 50th birthday in January and my nephew's 21st in March, so a joint birthday party was held in Hastings. Fiona made a lovely cake with a cup of tea on top and a mouse. Apparently, Mike always has a cuppa and his nickname from school is "mouse".


Walks in search of Geocaches were in Norton, Stuppington/Chartham and Barham. After this walk there were no more for a while as "lockdown" was announced. It was almost unreal, like being in a film, with the Prime Minister addressing the nation about the seriousness of the current situation and how we were to "stay at home" as much as possible. Schools and non-essential shops were to close, along with pubs, etc and no bowling!! After 20+ years of bowling at least once a week, this came as a big change for me personally. Most people "don't like Mondays" but for me the start of the week was league night. I hope that when we can get back to bowling, everyone will want to come back. A week before lockdown was official, I began working from home as I had a slight sore throat on the Monday. A laptop had been prepared for me in advance. It took some adjusting to the new environment, setting up on the dining table with my work office in a couple of boxes. It was great not having the rush, and to be at home with the hounds.

March also saw the final breakdown of my silver Megane. It was taken to D&D Autos where it stayed for weeks as they had reduced staff and while we argued with the Warranty insurance company who wouldn't take action unless I could produce paperwork that proves that I had the cambelt changed at the correct time. I found every invoice except this one. 


In the end, I made the decision that, in the worst case scenario, the car was going to cost more to fix than it was worth. There were also a few other things not working that helped make that decision. So the car hunt began with Car Gurus. With working from home and not being able to go anywhere, there was no rush to find a new car so I took my time until I found the right one. I did consider buying something other than a Megane but after a lot of consideration, I found one in Sittingbourne with low mileage and Sat Nav. For the test drive, we were given the keys and could just drive around where we wanted on our own. We bought it the same day. 

We had some great weather in April and lots of time was spent in our garden enjoying the sun with unusual lagers from the local shop and big bags of crisps to share. I managed to finish the Lee Evans book that I had started a long long time ago. 

I decided to set up an Easter tree as we were home more and it was something cheery. It was a pink one that I had for a long time bought in a post Christmas sale, decorated with hanging eggs, some paper butterflies that I made and a Pocket Dragon at the top, A Point of Light. 

Zoom meetings became more and more popular. We had weekly meets with our geocaching friends, quiz nights with lots of friends and our Partylite training meetings were also now on Zoom. Without being able to have Partylite parties, my business was now all online. It is possible to do parties on Zoom, Facebook Lives or other but I haven't got to this yet. 

We also said a sad farewell to our geocaching friend, Richard. Unfortunately, it was not possible to attend the funeral, only the very closest friends and family could go and they were distanced too. We could watch the funeral online and were given a link and password to log on. It was a lovely service, with some lovely words from friends that were there. 

Shops saw shortages, I think this was due to manufacturing issues with social distancing, and delivery problems. Also, our crops are usually harvested with the help of foreign visitors. There was bulk buying mainly of toilet tissues, flour, etc and pasta. I went to Tesco one evening and had to choose things that I wouldn't normally buy and the dog food shelves were empty. I managed to get their food in Pets at Home but there was also limited choice there.

Farewell to 2020 ...to be continued

Wednesday 16th March 2011

I could have gone to an Ann Summers Party this evening but as I still don't seem to go 10 minutes without coughing, I thought it best to stay at home. Maybe next time. When I got home from work, I started cooking dinner and realised that putting my new saucepans in the top cupboard was not a sensible idea as they were very heavy to lift out. So time to clean out the cupboard and re-arrange. At the back of one of the cupboards I found an old sweet/biscuit tin that had 4 saucepan lids in. Two of these were for the two saucepans that I have replaced this week and the other two were for saucepans that were thrown out years ago! They have now been added to the stuff for the tip that I'm accumulating. I've used 2 of my 3 new saucepans this week already. They were half price from Sainsburys in their Homeware sale. We had a look at Matalan at the weekend but we didn't see anything this good.

Monday 14th March 2011 - Bowling Fun Night

Another league over, we finished in 2nd place. This evening was our Fun Night. We did have fun but not through the help of the bowling alley. In previous years, we have had a reduced bowling rate, buffet food provided and free game/drink vouchers for “spot” prizes for strikes when a coloured pin is at the front. No such luck this time. I had contacted Toni earlier in the day and she asked for us but the management wouldn't do anything for us. We played 9 pin no-tap, where 9's also count as strikes. Previously we have played a game where we take the best score over the 3 games and add these up. The aim is to a strike in each line. With the better bowlers now in our league, I thought we could see a few people getting 300 games. So we decided to take the total of the 3 scores and add in the handicap on each game, this made it more fair on the less skilled players. If we had played the other way, I later worked out that I would have won as I got an amazing score of 297. The winners for the evening were Frances for the girls and I came second. Stuart for the boys with Jim (Snr) in second place.

Saturday 12th March 2011

I woke up at normal time this morning and decided that I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep so I read my book for a while. I got up about 9. After shower and breakfast, I got on with some cleaning. I didn't intend to clean the oven. I was only going to clean the outside. I opened the door to clean the top of it and before I could stop myself I was spraying Mr Muscle inside it. I cleaned out another cupboard too. By the time I'd washed all of the parts of the shelf rack a few hours had passed and the oven was ready to clean. I hadn't really thought that it needed doing but it definitely did. The water that I was rinsing the cloth out in was soon treacle coloured. I should try to completely clean the inside of at least one cupboard every weekend. It's hard when I'm out so much.

After Dave had finished the lawn, and we had some lunch, we went shopping. To Lidl's first for a few bits and pieces, then on to Dobbie's Garden Centre. It was still busy over there. They have parking attendants to help keep it running more smoothly.

At Chris's tonight we watched “Doomsday” and “Due Date”. I have no wish to watch either film again, maybe Due Date when it reaches TV. “Doomsday” was much too violent for me and I spent quite a bit of time “watching” from behind the pillow and trying not to listen to the sound. It was good to see Alexander Siddig (Bashir) again though.

Friday 11th March 2011 - Hospital with Dan

I was able to leave early today to take Dan to his hospital appointment. I'd made sure that we weren't busy and what was left was covered. The appointment was for 2.30. We arrived in plenty of time and were soon moved from the main waiting room over to another to see the fracture specialist, Mr Abed. He showed us Dan's x-rays on the computer screen. It doesn't look good. He pointed out the broken bits and the arthritis on Dan's big toe. Dan wasn't happy about that either! He sent us off to have the cast removed and then for more x-rays. There is a grey area showing that the consultant is not sure about what is going on there. With the plaster off, we went back to the main waiting room to wait for Dan's turn for x-rays. This was all before 3 pm. We were soon called round for x-rays. I feel sorry for the people laying in beds in corridors waiting, I assume, for x-rays. No privacy. We then had to go back and find the helpful, friendly girl who was assisting the consultants. Mr Abed is still not liking the look of the damage that has been done to Dan's foot and has passed him over to the foot specialist, Mr Southgate. Dan has to go for an MRI scan on 21st and then to see Mr Southgate on 29th. He will decide if an operation is necessary, and how to proceed. We then went back to the plaster room. Dan wanted to have plaster on at first as he was unsure what a “boot” was and how much protection and flexibility it would have. The guy in the plaster room was very cool and funny. He got a new boot out that apparently the footballers also have when they get injured. The boot is really clever. It goes on over a sock and then the sides, front and back are pumped up to support the foot. It is recommended that this is kept on more than off, and slept in too. A serious bit of kit with it's own little pump. We had to pay attention to his instruction. We got out to the car about 4 pm.

Everyone else went out to play poker at Chippy's, even Dan. I watched “St Trinians 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold. I thought I had seen this one before but now I'm not sure that I had.

Thursday 10th March – Chilston Ice House Talk

I got out of work promptly. I still had to go down to the City Link offices as I didn't have today's despatches ready until 10 minutes after our tame collection driver, Dean, had arrived. I was able to get home and we set off to Chippy's straight away. Dinner was ready almost as soon as we arrived. It was lovely. Meatballs and pasta, and grated cheese with a very cool mini cheese grater. Our destination this evening was a hall in Charing Heath, for 7 o'clock start. The only bit we were interested in was the Chilston Ice House Talk, as we helped with the clearing last year. Dave slept through most of it. Lesley talked about the work being done by Lenham Archaeology group in the area. She had a white box in tow. We wondered what a “1A pot” was when we saw it. Was it her collection labelling system? It turned out that it said “IA pot” for Iron Age!! Ah, that makes more sense. We escaped before they started their AGM and adjourned to the Red Lion pub. They had Early Bird on so it had to be done.