Sunday 1 January
Happy New Year to all our followers – all eight of you! Hope you had a cool Yule.
We are recently back from venturing up to the Norfolk/Suffolk borders to celebrate the Christmas holidays with our pals the Tubridy/Deans (and Murray the Spaniel). It’s the first time we had done something like this, hiring a holiday home for the festive season, and it worked out very well overall, with only one hiccup.
|Mendam Mill - Our Christmas Retreat - Pat & John in the pic, along with our little Mercedes A Class|
But even though we were in the wilds of East Anglia, the Cat’s Whiskers was never very far from our thoughts. Thankfully we received no boat-related Christmas presents (I got plenty of those as retirement gifts) but I did get a book on baking bread from my son Kev, and want to start practicing immediately we return to Welwyn Garden City. I think it might be very handy skill to develop and quite therapeutic.
And on our return to WGC my pal Dorothy at the branch had sent us a home-made embroidered sampler of the boat, which I proudly reproduce below. This will have to be framed and be displayed somewhere prominently methinks
|We were thrilled and delighted to receive this from my pal Dorothy at John Lewis|
The mild weather over the Christmas period enabled us to enjoy the grounds of the Mill and to make excursions to Southwold, (Knightsbridge by the sea, as Paul called it) and on the day after Boxing Day to Norwich for a bit of sales shopping and to look around the city centre. I visit Norwich twice a year for meetings at John Lewis, but only ever walk from the station to the branch, and had never had a good look round. Both Pat and I thought it an impressive city centre. We also got a bit of Greyhound Racing in one night at Great Yarmouth and between the four of us who went got an impressive run of nine winners on the trot. So a very diverse few days and one I will not forget in a hurry.
The boat though, is always at the back of our minds, and Pat bought a stripy jumper on Christmas Eve that she thinks will be very suitable for cruising in, and we did look at the bargain towels in John Lewis Norwich. Good to see lots of people at the tills topping up my pension.
The period between Christmas and New Year is always a strange one, as most of the county goes into limbo and the boys at Kingfisher have not been immune, coming back at work on the boat this coming week. We hear the new oven has arrived to replace the one that was delivered damaged a couple of weeks back, so Pat’s nice man at Smev did deliver, as promised.
The week before Christmas we also had the letting agent round to value the house and give us tips on what to leave, what to put in storage, and the legal requirements we have to comply with if we want to rent our house out. Most of it we knew, as we rented several years ago when I had my six month long leave, but this time we have to clear the house out almost completely. The agent thinks we will have no problem finding a suitable family who want a large four-bedroomed house, but, of course, we have the added issue of our cats. They are both elderly. It is impractical to take them on the boat, and we would like anybody who rents the house to take the cats on, and the monthly rental will reflect this. Pat is adamant that we will not return there to live after we start renting, and she may very well be right. Luckily, it seems, we might already have found somebody interested. A neighbour on the green has a daughter who already lives locally , that needs to rent a larger home as she is expecting her third child in the spring. They have already popped in for an informal look around and were impressed so watch this space for more news.
It’s unlikely now that we will go to the boatyard until late January, unless there are any major issues. Then we will make a weekend of it as Ivan Brackenbury is appearing in a comedy club in Nottingham. If you have never experienced this chap, who does a complete spoof hospital radio DJ show as part of his act, then check him out on You Tube. It’s quite dark humour, but very clever. He rarely comes south, so this is good way of catching his act and spending some time at Trent Lock as well. I expect we will stay at the Premier Inn next to the Castle Marina in the city centre, like we did back in the summer. We will be taking up our new washing machine, and start to put things in the kitchen which will be totally finished by then.