The last few days at Redmarley D’Abitot flew by for us.
|Gingers final snooze on the bed|
We did a trial packing of the car to make sure we can get everything in for the long drive through France, which included an opportunity for pussy cats to creep into the car for a good look round, meaning we had to be careful before shoving another bag in!
|Jackie chatting to Judith at Redmarley|
We had a trip back to Alvechurch to return the bikes for storage in the huge garage attached to the magnificent old house owned by Jean, Pauline’s friend, another trip to Jackie’s dentist to check on a tooth giving her a bit of trouble (nothing he can do he said, except take it out!) and then an evening meeting with Jackie’s old, ex and current BBC colleagues for a beer in the Selly Park Tavern and balti in the Royal Watan, opposite the old BBC Pebble Mill centre (now sadly demolished).
|Owner Jay at Diwans|
As has been the case on a number of occasions, ex BBC people outnumbered those still working there, out of 12 people (including me, the only non BBC person) there were only 5 are current employees. Jackie was seated a little too far down one end of the long table so was a little distant from her friend Sarah (who receives, scans and emails to us all our post and allows us to use her address as our UK residence) and her favourite colleagues, so couldn’t join is as much as she would have liked. The conversation down our end, with the union representative and a couple of other current employees was very much the BBC, which for me was quite interesting, but it was a good evening, even though the service was very slow and it was 11:00pm before we got away, with an hours drive back to Redmarley and starving pussy cats wondering where on earth we were!
They seemed to forgive us though and, the next day, after repacking the car again, Judith and Richard returned with the four dogs and we were back chatting ten to the dozen, catching up on their holiday and our forthcoming visit to their house in France, our first destination once we leave the UK.
|With Ian and Helen in Diwans|
To give them a bit of time to unpack we took the four dogs for a long walk over the nearby woods, us being experts with them now, after looking after them in June. Jackie was pleased as punch when Ginger cat chose to spend our last night there with us rather than go in with ‘dad’ Richard.
After a lazy breakfast we headed off back up the M5 to Denise (my sister) and Pauls house in Solihull (actually), where we are now, for another 3 hours.
|With Denise and Paul on the hills above Henley In Arden|
Had a great 7 mile walk with them on Friday, starting and finishing at lovely Henley-in-Arden, with great views over the surrounding hills and taking in the church in Preston Bagot, before returning along the canal for a well earned beer in the White Swan on Henley High Street.
|With sis Denise outside the church at Preston Bagot|
Friday evening was our final meeting with Ian and Helen where we stayed the night so we could have a beer or two. G&T’s then a walk into Moseley for a beer at the Prince of Wales, fabulous balti at Diwans where owner Jay was in attendance with his usual entertaining chat, followed by a few more beers at the Old Moseley Arms. We used the juke box to the full and finished up jiving and dancing between the tables, amazing what a few beers can do!
Back to D&P’s on Saturday, feeling a bit jaded, so they took us out to Packwood House a National Trust owned old stately home, where we toured the house, but decided against a garden walk when we saw the heavy rain outside!
|The church at Preston Bagot|
It’s Sunday afternoon now and later on we drive to Portsmouth to catch the overnight ferry to Le Havre in France, setting off on the wrong side of the road at 8:00am for the drive to Judith and Richards French house in Pechaud in the Dordogne. We hope to be there around 4:30pm before it’s dark!
|The Stratford On Avon canal on the way back to Henley|
The roast lamb dinner is cooking, we’ve seen Steph and Sam and baby Rory, the car is packed, so it’s our final few hours in the UK for 6 months and, although we’re really looking forward to France, then Spain to see Jackie’s dad on the Costa Blanca and the 5 months skiing in France, we are sad to be going, it’s been a fabulous summer in some lovely places in the UK and it’s made us realise just what we have here and why so many people want to come here. Still. We’ll be back in May next year…
|A swan made from old tyres on a canal narrowboat|
|Henley in Arden High Street|
|After walk beer in the White Swan|
|Outside Packwood House|
|This is a garden ornament in Denise and Pauls garden. The rain had stopped, the sun came out and glinted on the rain drops on the spiders web. Art?|
|Steph and Jackie with little Rory and Sam putting Paul right with his ipad|
|Rory having his dinner and proving that it is impossible to feed a baby without having your own mouth open at the same time|