Saturday 21st August 2010 - Moving and Bewl Water

I left home about 10.30 and went to help Matt and Lisa with their house moving. Not sure that I was much help. When we got to their house, Lisa was just leaving with the van. We left the car there and walked up to Matt's new flat. There wasn't anything we could really help with there. Dave and James helped with some heavy lifting. After having a cuppa, we then walked to the bank with Matt and then rushed back to their house to do a bit more. Kat did some hoovering, I cleaned the floor and the walls in the kitchen, while the boys dismantled the bed. It was soon time to stop for lunch. We drove up to Farmfoods to get some pizza and stuff. Then back to the flat to cook and find out that Matt can't have Sky there due to the big building opposite in the way. After dinner, we went home. I went via the petrol station as the low fuel warning light had just come on and I didn't want to be filling the car up while dressed up later.

In the evening we went to a Tudor event at Bewl Water for Drew's 40th birthday. The birthday boy and his family arrived in a horse drawn cart, looking very much the part of King Henry (albeit a slim one), his queen and his army chief and young Prince. After some photos, we went down to the lake and got on a boat. We had a tour around the lake while we had wine to drink, or soft drinks for the drivers. We were entertained during the whole evening by a jester/entertainer. We were back at the building for about 8.30 for dinner. He was very funny. He also played musical instruments from the period. Mostly we stayed with our friends from the astronomy club. Nearly everyone had dressed appropriately. The most original costumes being the row of houses which were very cool and had taken a few days to make. He also made us balloon animals, as long as we wanted dogs! We could have a giraffe too but that was just an upside down dog. He told us stories of the era too and after dinner he taught us some basic dancing of the era. He was very good. A brilliant evening was had by all.

19th August 2010

My order from conference order arrived today along with £90 of goods that every attendee gets sent. All useful to start off the new season in September. We pay about £120 for conference and then get this “goodie bag” sent to us afterwards. Love it. Tonight we had meatballs and curry sauce for a change. It made a quick and easy meal.

I then went to an Ann Summers party at Gaynor's. It was good fun. Our first game was to make clothing out of a bin bag in teams of threes. We dressed Gaynor up. I was pleased that I wasn't the only one who wanted to sit out the sexual positions game. I would have been uncomfortable playing this with someone I had only just met. All in all we had a fun night. I wish I hadn't been driving though so that I could have had a drink. Maybe another time.

18th August 2010

Today would have been Diane's birthday. It is now 5 years since she was taken from us. I had intended to phone Sean but didn't have chance. I should phone them and see them more often. Once or twice a year is not enough. I guess they are as busy as we are, or they'd be in touch more too.

This evening we just had pie and chips for dinner with a bottle of wine. We watched Almost Famous that I recorded. I didn't think I would like it. Dave didn't, he slept through most of it. I will look out for it in the cheap DVD sections. I would like to watch it again sometime.

Sunday 15th August 2010 – Steve took us on an Adventure

We set off from Folkestone and headed off to Capel-le-ferne. Well, 5 of us went in the car, Dave and Steve went on the bus. When we arrived we waited for ages for them. Eventually we got out of the car to go searching for them. It transpired that they had sneaked into the pub for a crafty half.
Having regrouped we set off up the foot paths along the cliffs. It was quite a trek, past a something large that we later found out was a sound mirror We soon found the holes that we were looking for. They barely looked big enough for a rabbit to get through but somehow most of us managed to climb into the darkness underground. It was DARK. Taking photos with the flash camera was interesting as just for an instant you could see what was there. Time for the torches. I went down the first hole but I didn't venture down the second one. I still don't know how Dave and Steve managed it. We went on to search for another entrance down the front of the cliff. Well, Steve and Batty did. Kat and I stayed up the top and had kittens with the boys being so close the edge! Down the third hole, there was a long corridor leading away from the light into the darkness and round a corner to another long corridor. This one had two battery rooms off it.

There were also lots of spiders and their sacks of babies hanging from the ceiling that were quite fascinating. Some people we know might have been scared of them. When we were heading out of the holes, Steve thought he was the last one out but Batty was hiding in the darkness and scared the living daylights out of him. Oh, we did laugh!! Think Steve needed new pants!

We walked on and found another underground feature to investigate. It meant climbing down a ventilation shaft. The others went down but I couldn't navigate myself over the edge so I looked after the coats and bags. I need to go down there one day. It sounded really interesting and the pictures looked good too. We then had the trek home back to the Royal Oak pub at Capel-le-ferne for a well deserved drink. Dave and Steve got the bus back and we picked up Dave in Folkestone before heading back to Ashford.

Saturday 14th August 2010

The intention for today was for a cycle ride to the Honest Miller in Brook. All of the weather forecasts said that there would be heavy rain by 1pm so we decided to find somewhere else to go. I did a Google search for “cheap pubs kent”. Somehow a pub in Iden came up, The Iden Bell. The menu looked good, plenty of choice for Kat and starting from reasonable prices too, so we amended our plans and set the sat nav for here. We arrived at 12.30 and met up with Heather who was already there with Michael happily snoozing in his pushchair. As soon as Batty arrived, we ordered our dinners. I had scampi and chips, Heather had burger and chips, the boys had steak and mushroom pie, Dave had a pork stuffed marrow special and I had scampi and chips. Four of us had puddings but not me. They were home made and looked lovely, but far too filling. The bill for 6 of us, with drinks, came to £105. Definitely another place to come back to. I had a lovely cuddle with Michael after he had finished his milk. We realised that this was his first trip outside Kent.

We left here with the intention of going to World of Water at Rolvenden but we changed our minds en route and went to Tenterden Garden Centre instead as there is more to see. They have beautiful fish tanks – marine, cold water and tropical - as well as the reptiles, etc and the massive catfish called The Stig. Dave bought some pond accessories. We wandered up to the new spa shop. I bought some crystals for Jose and Maria. We now know where we may be able to get them a present for Christmas.

Home again, and the boys went to the fishing tackle shop. I had to get ready to go to the quiz night in Hastings as we had to leave about 6.30. The venue for the quiz was at The Bullet which is a cafe in Robertson Street. We made our introductions, got our drinks and found seats downstairs. While standing outside with the smokers a little later, I found Dad who was looking even more lost than we were when we turned up earlier. We ate some food from the buffet before the quiz started. Dad joined our team. The quiz was in 2 rounds, 30 questions each round and worked very well. Well done to Jay for doing the questions. With our combined brain power, not mine, we managed to win. We gave the prize money back to the charity. There was a raffle too which Jose one the first prize which was a Blackberry. This went to Maria who is well happy with it.

Friday 13th August 2010

This morning, I had not long since been up when I heard the fortnightly clinking of the blue box boys coming to collect. As usual, mine was still out the back garden. Having accumulated quite a few bottles from my birthday party, I thought I should rush out and drag a box full out the front. I nearly missed them. As I went out they had already started driving away. The driver saw me and reversed back a bit so that I could hand my box to the guy in the back doing the sorting. He asked me if they had woken me up. When I got back in, I realised why he said that. I checked the mirror. Not only had I run out in my pink pj's, my hair was even more of a mess than normal. Like I care!! At least, I got rid of some bottles. I guess they'll get used to me eventually!

On the way home from work today, I heard an advert on the radio. "Starburst, made to make your mouth water". Not quite the same as "Opal Fruits". It sounded so much better.

Thursday 12th August 2010

We've been watching Man V Food showing on the Travel channel. The portions they serve at some of these place in the US would feed a family. Adam Richmond is a legend when it comes to eating. Surprisingly he's not very fat. We think he must have a week off after making one of these episodes. When Queer Eye for a Straight Guy was done in the US, it worked when they brought it to the UK. Super Nanny works when it goes to the US. Not sure that there is anywhere in the UK that can compete with the giant portions that the Americans can produce.

Wednesday 11th August 2010

With the on-going road works at the Drovers roundabout and Junction 9 improvements, I saw one of the guys doing a job that I would never have thought of but obviously some poor person has to do it. He was cleaning the white reflective bits on the orange cones! I guess it's a never ending task!

This evening I tried a new recipe, Cod and cheese gratin. I think it worked out well and will definitely try it again one day.... when I can find the recipe! We watched the Twilight sequel, New Moon. As with most sequels, it was OK but not as good as the first one.

Monday 9th August 2010 - Packing up and Bowling Presentation

Breakfast today was a lovely omelette. I just can't get them right at home but Batty knows how it's done. Packing before and after breakfast, we got done about 10.30 which was quite good going. I guess we got home about 11.30. Tony and I got unpacked before Dave and Martin got home from unloading most of the camping gear at the farm. Once I'd dropped Tony off, I decided to take my car for a clean while it was empty. My car being cleaned on the inside is a diary entry in itself, and it only cost £10 for a shiny clean and a thorough hoover out. They have also reduced the cost of the clean only to £3.50. As if it wasn't cheap enough before at £4.

Back home again, and on with the unpacking. We were originally planning to go shopping up to Camping International and a few other places but as Dave is off tomorrow and I didn't really need to go, we decided not to go today. I spent the afternoon sorting out the money, etc for our bowling presentation evening. Luckily I had done the certificates already but I decided to mark up the envelopes for the money with the breakdown of the prize money. It took longer than expected and I had to rush to get ready.

The evening was good, the food and company were too. Jose started the presentation and I did the awarding of the certificates and money.

Sunday 8th August 2010 - Conference Day 2

In hindsight we should have got up earlier. We packed and got the bags to the car. Easier said than done. It was a nightmare waiting for the lift for ages. It took over half an hour to get from our floor to the car park. More people were giving up waiting and struggling down the stairs. I knew I wouldn't manage this so waited. We split up as there was limited room in the lifts and I was left waiting longer. We met up at the car and then went to breakfast together. We then had to queue to get in, then it was a bit of rush to get finished. We checked out and rushed to the hall where the conference had already started. I had won something in the door prize draw. Luckily someone had collected if for me. I've got another set of the large tealight holders. The first play of the day was the pantomime which is always very funny. Then we had the demonstrations of the new products. Lots of ooohs and ahhhhs! There was also more recognition/prize draws and inspirational talks. We had a full dinner and dessert today back in the same hall as last night. It was again good. It must be very difficult catering for such large numbers. We were back in the hall for more of the same and it was soon tea time, where we all drawled over the new catalogues.

We got away as quick as we could at the end of the day to get on the road leaving about 5.15. We had a good run back stopping off at the services to deliver Sam to her other half as they were staying with family in Nottingham for the night. We also grabbed a MacDonalds at the same time when we had found the right service station. We stopped at the wrong one to begin with. We had a toilet stop and used the shop which was very expensive. Karen got an unstable coffee that later ended up all over the car and herself. We won't be stopping there again! We had a much better journey back and got to Bethan's about quarter to 10.

Back to the campsite for a birthday drink with Gaynor and Mick. Everyone seemed to be really tired and I was wide awake. I was the last one up. I stood looking at the moon and stars in the clear sky for a while, listening to the kids in the park. It is much less scary there when there are more people staying over.

Saturday 7th August 2010 - Conference Day 1

We joined the crowds in the conference shop after collecting our welcome packs. A lot of the conference shop items were out of stock already as it had been possible to order online a few days before. I re-wrote my order and posted it in the box and then joined another queue to get some more Partylite brand goodies. It was soon time to go into the hall for the start of the conference. We had reserved seating this year so it was less of a scrabble. The conference started with Sandra entertaning us with news of the company and introductions of the management team from the rival countries. There were training tips and awards for those that had done well. The afternoon soon passed and we set off to our rooms to get ready for the evening's dinner.

Karen and I had a drink while we were getting ready and soon got our party dresses on to go back to the conference hall. There was more recognition and prize giving. It seemed weird being in the conference hall in our posh frocks. It was soon time to move into the other hall for dinner. What a lovely job had been done of the plain hall. The ceiling was black material with lights looking like stars and looked really good. I enjoyed dinner, even if a member on our table didn't. She wasn't one of the team and was really an independent. I can see why! She spent most of the time moaning! She was an interesting character. I can't recall what we had to eat now only that I enjoyed it. Before dessert, we queued for the photo session. Various group shots were done. From Karen's team to the larger unit. After dinner was cleared away, there was a live band for the evening. It was good. Just like being down the Star. Guess they could have been the “Live n Kicking” of Harrogate. This finished about midnight and we made our way back to our rooms.