Saturday 29th May 2010 – Art, Beer & Eurovision

Kat and I left the boys and went to Lenham to the Pilgrim's Way Art Exhibition. There was some beautiful work there. I especially liked the vibrant colours of Keith Siddle's work, I introduced myself to the Cathy who runs the Laughter Yoga group on Egerton. Her work is very cool too. When we got back to Ashford, we called into Mac Donalds to get something to eat.

We drove to the beer festival at the Hooden on the Hill. They had decided to only put 15 of the beers on just in case it didn't go as well as expected. We were warned before our arrival that Dave had done something silly. He greeted us with a pink and blue butterfly on his face. No real surprise there then! He was their first customer of the day. My first beer was Barn Owl (Cotleigh brewery). I liked the sound of the toffee and nut flavours. I think the others I had were Lord Marples (Thornbridge brewery), Bombardier (Wells & Young brewery) and Bear Ass (Beartown brewery). Later Batty was persuaded to have a bat painted on his face. It looked really good, even though we did then call them Bat Smurf and Butterfly Boy. Another big kid also his face painted with the St Georges flag which he got into trouble for. Dave later persuaded a Dad with his two little girls there that they should have their faces done as it only cost 2/3rds of a pint! Eventually the Dad gave in. They came back later all smiles as a pink cat and a tiger.

It was very cold and wet for most of the day. One game was chasing water out of the tarpaulin cover that was over most of the garden. The entertainment was good. Two guys singing with guitars, their first song of the day, optimistically, was “Here comes the sun!” They were very good, which is more than can be said for the accompaniment from our group. I left with Kat and Batty, and Batty drove my car home as he hadn't been drinking. The boys got a lift home with Chippy and Sam later.

At home I was so cold that I went to bed for a while to warm up. I tried reading but I was too tired to stay awake so I had a snooze. Kat snoozed too in front of the TV. I got woken when the boys got home. They disappeared to the pub for a while I got ready for the Eurovision evening at Andy and Heather's. I decided to wear my long black dress as this was a rare excuse to dress up. Heather had put on a lovely buffet for us. Andy had decorated their house with flags and photos of previous Eurovision contestants, and had recorded music videos playing on his PC while we waited for the 55th Eurovision final to start.

We also had score sheets to mark the entrants out of 30 for “Song Quality”, “Performance” and “Dance/Outfits”. Some comments from the evening:
Azerbaijan - “only one glove and not even a whole one!”
Spain - “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Dancers”
Moldava – they had good costumes
Belgium – the song was “Me and My Guitar”.... Heather said “as it says on the tin”
Belarus – the song was “Butterflies” and they had butterfly dresses
Ireland – we decided she was so tall she looked like “Hagrid”
Turkey – they had the Power Ranger dancer
Albania – Avon and Gary Glitter
Iceland – another tall person, Mrs Hagrid? Someone suggested that they could use her dress to cover the volcano
Russia's song was awful but I gave that more points than Germany, who finished in first place with 246 points. UK were last with 10 points. We cheered when UK got some points and were ahead of Belarus but it was short lived as Belarus got points straight away.

When it came to the scoring bit at the end, we were also being less than complimentary on what some of the country representatives were wearing. The worst was the guy from Estonia. It looked like he had skinned a dalmatian. Graham Norton said that even he wouldn't wear that! Another funny comment from Graham was that he “lies like a rug”!!

We had a fun evening. Thank you to Andy and Heather again for hosting. I don't think I could watch Eurovision if I didn't watch it with friends.

Friday 28th May 2010 - Visit to Sellindge

I thought I was going to have a quiet final day of the month. No such luck. I didn't stop for a proper lunch break and I still didn't get away until 6.30! It was probably a good thing that my candle party was postponed.

As soon as I got home, Dave and I went to Sellindge to see the kite fliers who are camping there for the steam rally weekend. We parked at the top of the fields and wandered to their field. It gave us chance for a little walk and to be nosy. With the kites flying, it was easy to find them. Collin looked after us with a cup of coffee. We chatted for a while and put the world to rights. We got back to the car about 8.45 and went off to MacDonalds for dinner. I must have been hungrier than I thought. Dave accidentally ordered large fries and I ate all of these and my burger.
I tried out the Sat Nav on my mobile today. It's a bit different from Tom Tom but seems easier to use. I need to practise using it some more, before I need to use it. It is GPS Maps. I didn't realise that it had full navigation facility. I thought it would have been just maps. It's quite cool.

Monday 24th May to Wednesday 26th May 2010

Monday - Christine left at about lunch time as her daughter went into labour, so we await the news. At bowling this evening, we lost 6-2 but we had a high scoring last game and we are back in the season to date high scores. Batty got 5 strikes in a row.

Tuesday - The good news is that Christine is now a very proud Grandma to an 8lb little girl, born last night. Another Emily (Jane). Baby doing better than Mum but they'll be home soon enough. She'll still be home days earlier than I was when Dan was born. I think new Mums are sent home far too early these days. I found 5 days was about right. Gives you chance to get used to the idea and get some help with feeding and stuff.

Wednesday – On the way out from work, I noticed that the field was on fire. I phoned 999 to report it but they said that there was already a unit on the way. My good deed for the day. At archaeology club tonight, Lesley did a talk on her trip to Turkey, with lovely pictures of the Greek temples and archaeology there. No, Dave, the greek writing inscribed on the stone did not say, “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

I've finished watching Lost now. I'm still lost and confused. Lots of unanswered questions. Now to put it all onto a DVD or 4!

Sunday 23rd May 2010 - New phones

Today we woke to the sound of our neighbour playing piano. It was slightly less annoying than the church bell and definitely less annoying than when the dogs on the other side start. I took my breakfast out to the garden and read a chapter of my book. It was very hard to get on with some house work. It was so lovely and warm out, and relaxing sitting by the pond. I got myself inside and got on with taking down the net curtains for washing and washing the windows. I got as far as cleaning the frames and window sills, and the front door, but there is still lots more to do. I had to leave the job and find a phone shop to replace Kat's lost phone.

I checked online and found that the Maidstone shop was open. Unfortunately, when I got there I found that it wasn't. I got the T-mobile phone number from the net via my mobile and rang it from a nearly phone box. It seemed weird standing in a call box with two mobile phones but I didn't want to pay for the calls when I could get them free! When I eventually worked out which “option” I needed in their menus, I got through to customer services. They called a few other stores for me and found that they were closed too. They suggested that I go to a store tomorrow. I asked if Carphone Warehouse could help and they said that they could. So I went to find it. Unfortunately they couldn't help as the phone insurance is connected to T-mobile. I phoned Kat to tell her the bad news. We were both upset and decided that we'd need to meet up tomorrow and I'd need to get a long lunch break to get this sorted.

Before going back to the car, I decided to try the Fones4U shop to see if they could do anything to help. They were brilliant. Nancy was extremely helpful. She explained to me that I could set up a new contract with them and they would cover the cost of the remainder of the contract. Kat is now the very happy owner of a Nokia X6 on Orange network and a Nokia 1661 for her T-mobile sim card (when we get the replacement) that she can carry on using until the end of the current contract. While we were chatting, I decided that it would be a good opportunity to sort out my phones and switch to just one contract and save money. So we traded in my two phones and they have covered the cost of cancelling my 3 contract. My Vodafone contract was already up for renewal and they have covered the final month's payment. I just need to contact them to down grade it to a Pay as You Go, and I have been given a Nokia 1661 for that sim card. I had to persuade 3 to give me my PAC code. It was hard as they were insistent that I don't leave them. My 3 phone number is being transferred to a Vodafone contract, and should be active by Wednesday. I now have a Nokia E72 which is like a bit like a Blackberry. It is lovely, as all new phones are! It even came with a little bluetooth earpiece, a case, a car phone holder and a phone charm. I'm sure I was in the shop over two hours. They gave me a pre-paid credit card for Kat with £10 on, and £10 plus the funds to cover the bills for the phones on a pre-paid card for me. I'm sure I was in the shop about 2 hours.

I went straight down the motorway to find Kat as she was very keen to get her new toy. She was well happy with it. I didn't get home until nearly 6 so there was no time to eat before going bowling. My scores were 124, 140 & 119. When I got home, I cooked dinner and put up the net curtains downstairs. I think they will need replacing next time they need washing. I had to cut about a foot of material off each end of the front window one as it was ripped at the top, probably where the other curtain had been catching on it.

Saturday 22nd May 2010 - Cycle to Bethersden

We were late starting out as Kat had forgotten her phone, after charging it up before they left. We set off to Great Chart again but taking a different turning there up the hill instead of the way that we went last week. Our destination today was the George in Bethersden. Previously we had only been to the Bull in Bethersden but we fancied a change. We sat in the lovely beer garden. I had the mild which was cold and refreshing. For dinner I had Steak and ale pie. It was lovely. Others had steak pudding, scampi and chips, and prawn salad. As usual it was hard work getting back on to the bikes again. At least we managed to decline pudding. We stopped off at the Hoodeners Horse in Great Chart again and managed to get a table in the garden. The little garden right at the back that we have sat in before was closed. When we got home, Kat and I went up town. We needed stuff for the piggles and she wanted to show me the art exhibition that someone from her college had set up in one of the units in the shopping centre. When we got back home, we found the boys in the tattoo shop. Then we enjoyed our cake feast in the garden.

After Dr Who, we found out that Kat's phone was actually lost. We think she probably dropped it between the house and the car. I called T-mobile to put a block on it. T-mobile were able to tell me that it was last used at 11.20 in the morning. She was in Ashford then. I called the phone number that they gave me. It was Channel Taxis. They couldn't help. It hadn't been handed into the Police Station either.

Later we went to Chris's. Glenn came along for the first film. We watched Music and Lyrics and Shoot Em Up. Music and Lyrics is one of my favourites that I can watch over and over again, and I think Glenn enjoyed it too. Shoot Em Up was exactly what it says on the box. Not 5 minutes of the film went by that a gun was not fired. There were some interesting action shots.

Friday 21st May 2010

The air conditioning units have returned to work, from the Hire Station. It must be summer! Mostly I'm still cold in the office and everyone else is roasting. After the units had been on a couple of hours, it was noticed that they were leaking on the floor. Not sure what we were supposed to do to get rid of the water but they were all soon replaced with some that had built in collection buckets. We are not sure if they are working as it was pointed out later in the afternoon that there is no water collecting in these. We'll see!

As it has been such a lovely day, Dave and I went down to the beach. We thought we'd go to Dymchurch but as they are building up the sea defences and it felt like we were walking in a construction zone, we decided to go to Greatstone. We went to the fish and chip shop first which was very busy. Sausage and chips purchased, we wandered across to the beach and I sat on a sand mound to eat. I struggled to get up afterwards not wanting to put my hands in the sand to push myself up. We went down to the sea for a paddle. As high tide was at 5.30, we didn't have as far to walk as we had in the past. We watched the birds and there were cockle shells being washed up along the shore line. I was wondering how these creatures “work”. Are they like snails? Dave suggested that they only came out to eat. Later we realised that something was burrowing down into the sand leaving circular patterns on the surface. We watched and noticed that it was the cockles. They were fascinating.

I've been watching Ghosts of Girlfriends Past on the Sky Anytime. Dan pointed out to me earlier this week that when 2 programmes are recording, you can still watch Sky Anytime. I will be checking this out more often. I've decided that this is another of my favourite films. Last chance to see Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa now. This is quite a cool film in HD. The grass and the fur, etc really stand out.

Thursday 20th May 2010

This week I cycled to work on Tuesday and yesterday. It's much better than being in the car and the route is so pretty. It is cycle path most of the way. There are plenty of pretty birds about, the lovely smell of the flowers and I heard the frog chorus by the pond near the cinema. Yesterday on the way home, there was squirrel in the middle of the path. As I got close, he panicked and jumped up the nearest tree. Only it wasn't a tree …. it was a lamp post. Wish I'd had a video camera. The look of shock on his cute face when he realised it wasn't a tree and he sort of slid down it before disappearing into the hedges.

A couple of days this week a heron has been visiting the pond opposite our office. He is so graceful for such a big bird. He spends a little time fishing there before flying off again. We have also seen glider planes this week. They never used to come over this far.

After enjoying my swim while we were on holiday, I'm thinking I should join a gym just to use their swimming pool. I have checked a few local places and asked a few friends if they could recommend one. Apparently Bannatynes is better if you want to make full use of the gym and they have better classes but the Ashford International Hotel has a better pool and it is more modern. Maybe later in the year, when I can't get some exercise cycling to work. I might also consider signing up for one of the free one week membership offers that are on so that I can get some idea if I get chance to make good use of it.

Sunday 16th April 2010 - Cycle to Pluckley

The plan was to leave at 11 but due to the trains being as unreliable as ever, Stephen was late getting to our house. We left about 11.30 and took the route through the park, through to Singleton and through the underpass to Great Chart, down past the golf course, “Five!”. The last bit was hard going as it was very UP. I think we all walked in the end,and we were overtaken, but only just, by the Wacky Races car also struggling up the hill. As we got into Pluckley, Stephen suddenly realised that he had put his Ghostbusters tee shirt on today. The Black Horse pub was apparently built in 1450. We had a lovely big table with candles. I had the roast lamb (no surprise there then) and I managed to clear my plate. We decided to pass on dessert.

Going back was 15 minutes quicker due to it being downhill most of the way. We stopped off at the Hooden in Great Chart for a drink. We had Phoenix from the Cobbold brewery as we hadn't seen this before. When we got back we had donuts and lattice pastry things with our tea/coffee. I ate two donuts which is not like me. Probably not the most sensible thing to do after exercising but cycling works up an appetite.

I phoned my sister to check on how the boot fair went. It was very good apparently. They took £180, and still have more stuff to do another one.

At bowling, I got 124, 123 and 158. On my last game, I'd got 4 9's in the first 4 frames so I started to keep a “no tap” score. (No tap = 9's count as strikes). I finished off with 240. This was a good practise for our fun night.

Saturday 15th May 2010 - To Hastings

Trying to get ready to escape to Hastings, I was delayed by a call from Facts International. If I had known how long it was going to take, I would have asked him to call back. I was later than planned anyway. I got down to Westfield about 12.30. Time for a cup of tea before going to the hall to set up for the pound sale. There was so much to do to set up by 2. Aimee was looking after the book stall, and there were about 4 tables full. The bric a brac, otherwise known as “tat”, was interesting varying from stuff that was fit for the bin, a big tiger that was flattened and torn, two beautiful big vases that were Nan's. After such a lot of hard work that went into the day, it was a shame that there wasn't a better turn out. There was so much left over, that is, most of it. There were only about half a dozen customers. The first lady through the door, took home some great bargains. She got a side table, the big vases, the horrible tiger, a puma type ornament, and some other stuff. Shah and Lloyd both had their legs waxed for the charity. They had raised £200in sponsors for this. For someone who has lots of tattoos, he did make quite a fuss about being waxed. Not that I've tried waxing so I can't really comment. Towards the end of the afternoon, we boxed the decent books from the rubbish and had a sort out of the clothes. Siobhan is going to do a boot fair tomorrow to get rid of some more of it. After all the advertising/leaflet drops that had been done, there should have been a better turn out. It was such a brilliant idea. Apparently there was a jumble sale at the hall a few weeks ago and they were queuing outside the door waiting for opening time. I picked up some bargains - a leather coat, 6 plates, some books for Emily, more books for me (like I needed some more), a frying pan for camping and a tupperware jug.

The charity sale was in aid of Shah's trip, the Balarus Improvement Project 2010. This has been delayed now until 4th June so there is still chance to show your support. You can use the following link for this and to see more info:

When we had packed up and cleared the hall, I went back to Dad's house for a while. Marian and I watched TV for a while when Dad got a call out for “Grandad's taxi”. Their cat, Jacko, is a funny little thing. He runs away when you go near him but then tries to swipe you through the stairs. We went over to Siobhan's house about 8 o'clock when the currys had been delivered. My chicken korma was lovely. There wasn't much left. Everyone enjoyed what they had.

I left there soon after dinner, and headed for Chris's via home. They had already watched the first film and were waiting for me for the second one as I wanted to see it – Sherlock Holmes. It wasn't as good as I thought and the story was weird, not as expected. I wouldn't have imagined Sherlock acting like that but I've not read the story.

Saturday 8th May 2010 - Home again

I got up earlier than I had done all week to go with Sam and Emily to the swimming pool. I'm glad that I did. I enjoyed it. We were in the water before 8.30. We were surprised at how busy it was at that time of the morning, especially as it is Members only between 8 and 9. After our swim, we went back to the caravan. Lou and Alan had arrived and cooked breakfast was soon ready.

All packed later, we set off about 12.30. We stopped off at Fleet Services for a late lunch. Dave and I chose KFC. We got home about 5 pm. After unpacking, it was soon time for me to go to Chris's. We watched Law Abiding Citizen. It was OK but it had some very gory scenes. It made Martin feel so ill that he had to remove himself from the room. I hid behind a cushion! The second film was Coraline. It was very weird, very Tim Burton. If you like Nightmare Before Christmas, then you will like this.

Friday 7th May 2010

The boys went shopping with Emily while Sam and I tidied up, hoovered and packed a few bits. When they got home, we watched more Ceebeebies. I now know what Iggle Piggle and Macca Pacca look like. Waybalu teaches yoga to tots. The Number Jacks was another one. There are so many new educational programs on. I was glad to catch up with Auntie Mabel, it's been a few years since I've seen that.

In the afternoon, we went on the bus into Weymouth for a bit of shopping. Our first pub stop was the Boot. We were disappointed that children were not allowed in so we sat on the bench outside and didn't hang about long. We then went back to the Red Lion and managed to get a table under some heaters. From here we went on to the Ship Inn with the idea of staying there for food. After all it did say “food served all day”. What they didn't say was that this was just simple foods, not meals. So we left there in search of a fish and chip shop on the sea front. They were all closed so we went back to the bus. From the bus, I noticed that there were a few fish and chip restaurants open that weren't on the sea front but we were on our way now. We decided to go straight to the Mash and Barrel on the caravan park and have dinner there. I fancied a curry and didn't realise it was curry night. £7.95 and this included a drink. I opted for the chicken korma as it looked good.

In the evening, I carried on reading my book while those that were awake watched the comedies on TV.

Thursday 6th May 2010

Today we went back to Abbotsbury to use our combined ticket at the Sub-Tropical Gardens. It was very pretty. There were a few pheasants wandering around. Emily soon fell asleep in her push chair. We took lots of photos. We didn't fancy the steep climb up to the look out point especially as it was overcast, There were some sculptures, mostly figurines, mostly made of metal. Not any that I could say I liked. The ornamental ponds were good. They had lots of fish. Plaques around the pond dated the garden as set up in 1915. The fish weren't brave enough to feed from Dave's hand like ours do. Emily woke up while we were there, in time to see the fish and chat up the little boy.

We had lunch in their restaurant, jacket potatoes. After here we thought we would go to the beach to take some photos but at £3 to park, we turned around. We found a little kite shop – The Kite Shed. Dave bought a little kite and a flag. Emily now has a new windmill for their garden. Although they had quite a few kites and deltas, they didn't really have any big power kites. We decided to try Bennett's Water Gardens. At £6.95 a ticket, don't bother. The Monet bridge was cool but that was the highlight of the attraction. It had been opened by Paul Daniels apparently. Apart from that and an oriental style view, World of Water at Rolvenden has more to look at and they don't charge.

Before dinner later, we had a wander around the caravan site nosing at the ones that are for sale. Some of them have more space than some of our friends have in their houses. Tonight's dinner was pasta, tuna and garlic bread. Later we had strawberry cheesecake. Tonight our entertainment was Fever Pitch.

Wednesday 5th May 2010 - Swimming

This morning we stayed in the caravan as it was soon clear after breakfast that Emily needed to have more sleep. I started the next House of Night book. I'd finished Chosen and I am now half way through Untamed. They are very good.

When Emily was up and about again, we went swimming. The pool opened at 2 pm. As we were too early we went for a drink in the bar. The bar didn't meet our standards. If we had been eating there, the food on the menus looked good and wasn't expensive. We had a lovely swim. It's been ages since I've been in a swimming pool. The last few years, I've only swum in ponds or rivers. I'm glad that I can still swim. I'm just not a strong swimmer. I also don't like to get my face wet. I hate it up my nose.

When we got back to the caravan, we had a late lunch. It was nearly 4 pm. We then went for a little walk. We got to the other side of the caravan park. Sam and Emily turned back as Emily was too tired to go on. We walked a little further along the coast and took some photos of the bay. It's not as pretty when the tide is out. It looks very muddy and dirty. In the evening, Dave and Chippy went to get fish and chips from Alf's which is off the site but not far. The fish was lovely. Massive thick pieces. Roaring Meg was the new beer that we tried tonight. A honey summery one that would be better served chilled. We then watched the Dave channel for a while, Top Gear, QI and Red Dwarf. We drunk a bottle of port, with cheese, biscuits and grapes. I think that Dave drunk half of the bottle and we had the rest.

Tuesday 4th May 2010 - Abbotsbury

Today we ventured into Abbotsbury to the Swannery first. We did the maze first. There were questions for a quiz on boards hidden in the maze. We never did work out the mystery word even though we answered all of the questions. The number of swans there was amazing. You just walk past swans sitting on their nests at the side of the paths and everywhere. They are all free to leave if they want to but, as the guy said, why would they want to. They are fed every day and the location is perfect, and they feel safe there. We got to see some eggs when one of the swans got off to turn them and have a stretch and prean. They are quite big. It was really interesting. The average life expectancy of a swan is about 12 years. They have recorded them living longer, the oldest being 23. Before leaving the Swannery, we had lunch in their cafe. We had to sit outside as all of the inside tables were taken. It was a bit cold but not too bad. I had chips which were very good. Emily had a play in the park with her daddy and we had ice creams.

We then went on to Abbotsbury “Animal Mauling Centre” aka the Children's Farm. I met a lovely friendly black goat with really thick fur. Emily made friends with a lamb. There were probably about 50 guinea pigs in an enclosure, and babies too. We couldn't catch any of the piggys but we were able to cuddle a rabbit. Emily was fascinated by the rabbit's eyes. Sorry bunny. My favourite animals were the goats though. The young ones were in a pen and they were really attentive and over friendly. Before we left we all got to bottle feed one. All armed with bottles, 1, 2, 3, go. Some take 3 minutes and some take 30 seconds so they have to be fed at the same time. The two pigs were cool too and the Alpacas, Red, Scotty and James. They also had horses, donkeys and ponies, and a budgie cage that you could walk into. Dave and I watched a video on smuggling while Emily was in the play area. Isaac Gulliver (acted by Robert Hardy who was Siegfried in the All Creatures Great and Small) told us his interesting tale.

On the way home we stopped at Morrisons. I stayed in the car with Emily as she was asleep. Tonight for dinner we had sausages, bubble and squeak and beans. After Emily had gone to bed, we watched A Beautiful Mind. Another film with Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany in. My cross stitch is progressing slowly.

Monday 3rd May 2010 - Portland

Today we set off about 11 o'clock to go to Portland market. It was OK but not as big as we'd expected. We bought some books for Emily, a waistcoat jacket with lots of pockets for Dave, a new peg bag (do you know how difficult it is to find a simple peg bag?), a hat for Dave (there's a donkey somewhere with a cold head), some grapes and bananas. We left quite quickly when it started raining. By then we had seen it all. Until then, I had been contemplating buying some sun glasses – yet another thing that I forgot to pack.

We then drove down to the lighthouse and went to the cafe there – the Lobster Pot. The hot chocolate was lovely and I had chocolate fudge cake which was good but quite sickly. We then went for a wander around to take some photos. On the way home, we stopped off at Asda in Weymouth to re-stock. As they didn't have a George section, we went to search for another clothes shop. We managed to find a Matalan. I got a new jumper as I hadn't packed enough. The ladies section didn't have any warm jumpers unless I wanted a “sports” one or if I was size 20+. I had to get a man's small sweatshirt. I also got a cardigan/jacket which will be good for work. Dave bought a red t-shirt and more socks.

Back at the caravan, Chippy cooked roast dinner. Before dinner Sam and I took Emily out for a wander. We had fun running around and meeting doggies. How much fun can a small person get out of rock! We found a way back from the back of the site through some prickly gorse and over a fence, which was obviously not the correct way to go. Chicken dinner was lovely. After Emily had gone to bed, we watched Master and Commander. I did some more of my cross stitch.

Sunday 2nd May 2010 - Holiday Sunday

Sammy cooked a lovely breakfast of bacon, sausages, mushrooms, black pudding (not for me...yuk), beans and lots of toast. After a relaxed morning, and persuading Dave to change into some long trousers and waterproof shoes, we wandered slowly to the bus stop. As the next bus wasn't until 5 to 12, over half an hour to wait, we went into Starbucks for a drink. I had a hot chocolate. The cream on the top was lovely but I'm sure it cools the drink down too quickly. The bus into town was £10 for 4 return tickets.

The seafront was cold and windy. Emily was walking and investigating every deck chair on the way, even though they looked identical. There were hardly any kites flying the kite festival. Not sure how they can justify the advertising of “Britain's Biggest Beach Festival”. If we had only come down for that we would have been very disappointed. Emily soon went into her push chair. The current sand sculptures were of Alice and Wonderland and the Mad Hatter, and a dragon. We walked around the harbour and made our way slowly to the Nothe Tavern to have dinner. They had a table providing we could be out by quarter to 2. We chose the carvery and Emily had Scampi and chips. The carvery was lovely. The meat was cut into thick slices. I had gammon and beef. As usual, I struggled to finish it even though I'd been careful not to put too much on my plate. We left there about 2.

We wandered along to Nothe Fort, which was open today so we went in. They have a mouse hunt for kids to search for the mice while they are learning about life at the fort during times of war. They also have an impressive collection of matchstick models there too. Details and pictures here -

We then walked back down to Brewers Quay and stopped for a drink in the Red Lion. They had Jurassic which I have not had before. There was band playing Beetles and other songs. They were good. We would have stayed longer if it was warmer and if we didn't have a bus to catch. The kite festival was still going on with some displays but hardly any other kites. Back at the caravan, we had a lazy evening, getting Emily settled didn't take long, aided by an episode of Ivor the Engine which we all watched. As we had already had such a big dinner we had cheese and biscuits for tea. Afterwards we had 3 games of Scrabble. I won 2 games and Chippy won 1. Chippy cleared all of his tiles twice. We played until about 11.

Saturday 1st May 2010 - Off on holiday

We set off from Chippy and Sam's about 9.30. War of the Worlds was the first CD on. Once we had got to the M25, a minor disaster was pointed out to me by text from Dan. I'd left my purse at home. We decided that we could manage without it. It felt like I'd lost my security blanket though. We had a good run up to Fleet Services for our first break in the journey. There was an interesting wedding party there. The dresses the ladies were wearing were amazing – lots of sequins and jewels, and lovely colours. There was also a party of girls dressed as Super Teds accompanied by 2 not so teenage ninja turtles. The next stop was at Winchester Services. We went for Burger King. We had the chicken pieces which were good. Emily had a little play on the frame and slide outside before we set off again for the final part of our journey. The traffic leaving the services was bad. It took us ages to get going again. It also rained very hard. Hopefully that's it for the wet now but I doubt it. We also listened to Rocky Horror Show CD and Joseph. We were on to Mamma Mia when we arrived. We found the caravan and parked up. Then we had to go to reception and collect the keys.

Once the cars were unpacked, it was time for a welcome cuppa before the boys went shopping for dinner. I've been introduced to Ceebeebies. Typically, nothing changes, the TV goes on for the little ones and the adults end up watching it. Hoof and Safety.... quality. “Hazzard!!” Dr Who was good. That sorted the angels out.... for now!! After Dr Who, Chippy cooked dinner. We had steak, potatoes and mushrooms. It was really tasty beef. Usually I cremate what I eat. It made a change to try it “medium rare” and I found that I liked it. I will have to do that myself sometime. After dinner, it was soon Emily's bed time, so we chatted and read for a while. Once the little cute one was tucked up in her cot, we watched 2012 film. It ws good. Dave was the only one to stay awake through all of it. I think the rest of us slept through parts of it.

Tuesday 27th April 2010

After work, I went back to Matalan again. This time Tony wanted some new clothes. I didn't mind but it would have been more convenient if he had let me know that he wanted to go on the Monday. After dropping Tony off, I had to make a quick trip to Asda to get us something to eat that was quick to cook. Kat had asked for sausages, waffles and beans. This worked out quite well as I had 6 to cook for.

We finished Heroes season 1 this evening. I have enjoyed most of it, apart from the violent bits. Shame so many characters had to die. It was interesting to see George Takei acting in something again. He's 73 now. I've just been checking him out on It looks like he's provided the “voice” for lots of characters in his long career.

Monday 26th April 2010

After work I went shopping in Matalan. I wanted a new swimming costume. I think I got my last swimming costume probably when the kids were babies. After sending a few texts to friends for advice, I opted for the pink swimming costume, rather than the black one.

At bowling, we managed a 4 all draw but not through my playing. I didn't do well at all. So annoying after doing so well yesterday. Luckily Batty was bowling extremely well and got 496 over the 3 games.