Friday 17th September 2010 – Blue Bella and breaking down

When I was checking Facebook at lunch time at work, I noticed a friend's comment about looking forward to a night with the girls. That's when I remembered that I had been invited to a Blue Bella lingerie party. So after work and shopping, and cooking fish and chips for dinner quickly, I set off for Maidstone. When I was near to Maidstone on the motorway the “Stop” light and the “battery” light came on. The car was still running OK, and I was determined to get there and have a good evening, so I kept going. The car soon lost the power steering but I kept going as I was nearly there. I'm glad to say that it was a fun evening and good to catch up with Dee again, and meet her lovely friends, and the crazy ones too! Blue Bella is a spin off from Ann Summers. I'm not sure that the quality is as good as Ann Summers, and it is is similar in price. The “toys” were OK, if a little scary!

When I left there, I had to get the car out on to the main road as a breakdown truck would not have been able to get into the car park. I stopped a little way down the road in a slip road and near a street light, and phoned the roadside assistance. They said they would be with me within an hour. I got a jumper and blanket out of the boot and got ready with my book to be patient. I wasn't really paying too much attention to the time but I would guess that I only waited about half an hour. The “very nice man” but the Ontime “very nice man” said that the alternator belt was missing. He hitched up the car and drove me home. We got Dave out to shift his car so that we could back mine into his parking space on the end. I think it was nearly 1by the time I got home.

Thursday 16th September - The Young Ones

Today at work, our manager mentioned something she had been watching last night called The Young Ones. Not the comedy that we know and love but a new documentary. So this evening, I found it on iplayer and watched it while making dinner. It's the first time I've used iplayer and I'm very impressed, especially in the way that my laptop and wireless connection coped with it. It was just like having a TV in the kitchen. Not that we've ever had a TV in our kitchen! It didn't freeze and stop like it sometimes does when trying to watch You Tube. I really enjoyed the first episode so followed it up with the second one on iplayer and watched the 3rd one that I'd recorded this evening on Sky. It is about 6 well-known celebrities in their 70s and 80s spend a week living as though it were 1975, featuring Liz Smith, Dickie Bird, Lionel Blair, Derek Jameson, Kenneth Kendall, and Sylvia Sims. I didn't realise that there are now more people over 60 alive than there are under 16's.

It was cool at the end seeing Lionel Blair dance with Adam Garcia, who I recognised immediately from Coyote Ugly film. He is in a stage production called Tap Dogs.

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Wednesday 15th September 2010 - Peter Sallis

This evening I cooked up meatballs again, but found yet another different taste to give it. Shopping in Sainsburys yesterday I had found chopped tomatoes with olives. They were good. Must get some more. We started to watch a film that Dave had recorded. It was a 1961 black and white, a classic apparently. Saturday Night and Sunday morning. We watched it for less than half an hour before deciding it was definitely as bad as I expected. Interesting to see Peter Sallis in something other than Last of the Summer Wine. I have just checked on IMDB, and he was born in 1921! He is uncredited in this film and is known as “Man in Suit”. In 1947 he was in his first film and he has been in 295 episodes of Last of the Summer Wine between 1973 and 2010. I didn't realise that there were that many episodes! The Holmfirth-based show was axed this year after 37 years and 31 series.

Tuesday 14th September 2010

I went shopping with Kat after work to Pets At Home to get some guinea pig food and some bits for the cat. There is so much more stuff available for all pets now. I couldn't believe that you can get cat treats that help prevent fur balls. Whiskas anti-hairball! Tasty snack that reduces hairball build-up. Whatever next? I am assured that the cat likes them better than the fish flavoured ones.

Monday 13th September 2010 - Bowling

I'm not aching as much as I expected and I'm surprised that we won at bowling this evening. We were playing against one of the new teams who are very good. Batty had to use a pre-bowl as moving the ducks yesterday he hurt his back. His pre-bowl scores weren't brilliant apart from the 3rd game of 156. Luckily for us, Martin on the other team was suffering from gout and was in a lot of pain with each bowl. He was trying to use a lighter house ball to make it less painful. About half way through his second game, he switched to using his own ball and his bowling improved but he still only got 1 more point than his first game, 112. On his 3rd game, he found his mark and then bowled 195! Fortunately his partner then had a not so good game. We are now at the top of the league, ahead by just 2 points. Guess we'll have to enjoy it while we can!
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Sunday 12th September 2010 – Chilston Ponds Ice House Dig

I woke up without an alarm at 7.30. I've been doing that a lot this week. Today I risked turning over and going back to sleep for half an hour. Luckily I woke at 8, so I got up on time. Not quite sure where the next hour or so went but it was gone 9 before I got out of the house. A quick trip to Tesco Express to get my favourite prawn pasta salad for lunch then round to collect Chippy. On arrival at Chilston, we were greeted by one of the park wardens, Mike. After a quick briefing we got down to scrapping the walls clean and digging a bit deeper to uncover more of the stone work. It was quite an easy site to dig. The ground was very sandy and we had a clear definition of where we were to dig. No guess work needed to try not to dig up a post hole or scrape the edge of ditch. Uncovering walls was so much easier. A lot of debris had been used to fill in the front in the 1960's. We had to be careful not to disturb too much of this. We dug until 12.30 and then stopped for lunch for about half an hour. It was a really good day and it was warm and not windy. Think I've got a few pink bits from the sun and I'll probably ache for a while.

At bowling this evening, I was having a bad first game, by frame 5 I'd only got 9 on each one so I played a new game of trying to only get 9. This worked up to frame 8. I managed a 3 strike finish.

4th and 5th September 2010 – Sumners Ponds

We set off as early as we cold for our first camping trip to Sumners Ponds. Four of us plus our luggage, tents, etc for one night all packed into Dave's car. We had decided to travel light as there was just the few of us going for one night. We had an uneventful drive down to Horsham. We stopped at Tesco for BBQ food and breakfast stuff before going to the campsite.

Having set up our camp and said hello to everyone, it was soon time for our walk in search of a pub or two. Dave and Tracie were our guides. We set off to the footpaths and over the stile. I didn't have a good start. I fell over it and performed a hat trick, broke my favourite long nail, caught my hand on the barbed wire and hurt my ankle. Grr! I was more upset about my nail though. It takes ages to grow them and seconds to break them!! It was a lot further to walk there than we thought and it was quite a hot day. We soon got to Bax Castle where we had a lovely dinner. I passed on ice cream as I was enjoying my beer. A few hours and full tums later we set off back to the campsite. A few of us got left behind and took a different route, we were almost back to the campsite when we realised that we'd managed to miss the pub. We soon found everyone and enjoyed another beer or two in the Queens Head.

Back at the campsite, I tried to read but soon the heat and the walk made me sleepy so I had a doze for a while. Before it got dark there was some tent swapping to be done too. The second tent that we had brought with us was Kat's little pop up tent and it was very clear that this was not going to be big enough for two. So we borrowed a tent from Dave and Tracie which was much better. Sabrina and her cousin used the little one. They weren't going to stay originally.

The BBQ was soon lit and we cooked our food on a corner of the large grill. It took ages to cook and there was plenty to eat. Someone was cooking curry in a tin foil tray which looked very interesting. There were several of us looking after the food for each of our parties. Everyone brought their chairs over and we spent the evening drinking and chatting until late. A great evening with friends old and new.

On Sunday morning, the last thing we wanted was rain but unfortunately that's what we got. It was hard cooking in the rain but we soon got ourselves fed. We got the tents as dry as we could using towels and lots of kitchen towels. As we had got damp and there was no wind to fly kites, there wasn't a lot of point staying until the afternoon so we said our farewells and set off home.

Apart from the rain, it was a great couple of days. I guess we will go again next year but not travel so light.

Sunday 29th August – Day three of Batcamp

After breakfast Molly pup enjoyed finishing off the pate. She had such a good time at her first camp. Lots of people to make a fuss of her and interesting things to eat and smell. Terry and I went shopping in Headcorn to stock up on a few things that we had run out of. While we were there we were asked to specifically get cream which we assumed was for “special” coffees.

Later I went up to see the fisher peoples. I got given a rod while Kat had a break. A fish caught my line and I pulled it out. I had to have it unhooked for me as I didn't want to touch it. Then I managed to get the hook caught in my finger. Fishing isn't for me.

Chris arrived in the afternoon for a visit and very kindly took Steve, Trudy and Molly home when he left.

Dinner this evening was fajitas cooked by Batty. They were very good and we all stuffed ourselves silly.

Before it got dark we went to see the ducks and put them to bed. They took a bit of herding but we soon managed to catch them. We were able to have a cuddle first before putting them away. They didn't mind too much.

When we got back to the camp, we had farm picked blackberry fool with cream.... so that's what the cream was for!

Later we sat around the camp fire again until it was time for bed. The fire was burning really well this evening as it was fuelled by the wind. Usually it needs assistance from the pyromaniacs amongst us pretending they are bellows.

Saturday 28th August – Day two of Batcamp

After breakfast, we set Martin on “NOT taking down” the old hen house. Apparently it would be a terrible shame if the old hen house was dismantled. With serious red mist up with the axe, most of us stayed out of the way, except for Jose and Kat who also got a bit keen with another axe. With the wood stacked up ready for the fire later, we set up the targets and curtain so that we could do some archery. Chippy joined us too. There were a few seriously colourful bruises obtained by the archery virgins. They need to get their own arm protection that fits properly. Tina and Jason arrived and after lunch a few of us did some more archery with them.

I was on dinner duty today and started the preparations in the afternoon. I had decided on pork and apple braise and there was a lot to chop up. With everything prepared we waited for Steve and Trudy to arrive. With everyone settled in, we ate dinner which I think everyone enjoyed. The fire was built, and then it rained. Luckily it passed over and we could then all move from the tent to the campfire. Stevie made some banana and chocolates and wrapped them in foil to go in the fire. We had marshmallows to cook in the fire too. We passed around the usual port and other shared beverages, and chatted until late. The numbers dwindled slowly and it was soon time to get off to my sleeping bag.

Friday 27th August – Off to Batcamp

I had to work on the Friday again as it clashes with our end of month busy time. With the car packed on Thursday night, I went straight out to the farm after work. I arrived at about the same time as Terry and Irene. They had been worried about where everyone had gone as they were unable to contact anyone in the bad signal area. With the cars unloaded, Terry and Irene, assisted by Jose, cooked us a wonderful curry for dinner. We spent the evening drinking and chatting in the tent until very late. It was the guinea pigs first night under canvas. They had been set up in a hutch that wasn't in use at the moment.

Monday 23rd August - Bowling high score

Bowling this evening was fun but infuriating. On the first two games we couldn't get anything to go right. It didn't help when the balls were getting jammed in the ball return every other go. It then stopped playing up and we managed to redeem ourselves on the last game and bowled much better. I only missed 3 pins in total and finished on 182, beating my last week's high score of 170. This is just the second game in the current season. We are placed in 2nd place on pinfall but the 3 teams at the top have all won 14 points so it could be a close season.