Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oh I do like to be beside the Seaside..

It's the last of the Bank Holidays until Christmas, and I can hardly believe how quickly the summer has flown by. The weather has been a bit iffy, sunny one minute and rainy the next, but we Brits are used to that, and we carry on, on the beaches with our picnics and sea bathing. I do wonder at it sometimes, but it's certainly true that we are a hardy bunch: we go out equipped with rugs, windbreaks and umbrellas, plenty of towels and sandwiches and the usual sense of humour, which really helps. If only we had one of those enviable climates which are reliably sunny in summer it would be lovely, but then I suppose we would be overrun with even more tourists than usual. Ho hum, I guess we have to be content with what we have!

Today being Sunday, I met up at the Car Boot Sale at Shoreham with Daughter, Grandson, lovely Downstairs Neighbour and and her son Beanie, and an equally lovely Swedish friend of Daughter's. We were a very merry lot and tracked down various bargains while the sun shone after which we sat with bacon rolls and tea and chatted very happily. Only a sharp shower of rain sent us all scurrying, and I then spent 20 minutes sitting in a queue of cars to get out of the field! Such fun.

Son is in Poland for the Bank Holiday weekend, with his Polish girlfriend, where they are going to a Music Festival in Katowice, so he won't be at the Notting Hill Carnival this year for the first time in about 5 years. I think that's possibly a good move, because people are predicting more trouble than usual this year. Who knows, but I do hope not.

I went down to the sea for a blowy walk this evening: it was wonderfully bracing, with "white horses" racing onto the beach as far as the eye could see, and kite surfers out in large numbers taking advantage of the perfect wind conditions. There were great piles of dark clouds with snowy white summits looming over the Downs, but the rain held off while I was out. How lucky I am to have the sea on my doorstep!

Finally, I'm not about to go on about the football this weekend, since my beloved Spurs were totally hammered by Manchester City yesterday. The only slight sweetener is that Arsenal were hammered even harder by Manchester United today. But we really have to do better this season...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We're all going on a Summer Holiday..

We really are having a very good time this summer, despite the uncertain weather. I'm spending a lot of time with Grandson, and this year it's much easier. I guess because he's not such a little boy any more, and doesn't need a constant supervisory presence. Anyway, for whatever reason, it's much easier all round. Daughter has booked Grandson into the local Sports Centre, for general activities, two or three days a week. And on the other days, he comes to me and we amuse ourselves. This year will surely be remembered as The Year of the Skate Park because that is where we have spent most of our time. Actually he skims around on his scooter, which seems to be the ride of choice this year. There are still plenty of hardy skateboarders of course, but the majority ride these little scooters with tiny wheels, and they really do some amazing tricks on them. I'm becoming something of a connoisseur since I watch so much of the action, and it's certainly great exercise; some days we spend as much as four hours there, and he barely stops for a bite of a picnic roll or a gulp of water. It's great to see him so passionately involved. He's made a few friends there too; one is Johnny, a tall and expert skateboarder who is probably about 15, and is genuinely nice to the smaller boys. He and Grandson do "high fives" whenever they complete a tricky manoevre and chat away all the time, with Grandson following Johnny around like a little disciple. The other good friend is little Harry, who is only six and quite small; he has a really deep voice and is very good at big jumps on his scooter. He is also very funny and makes Grandson laugh a lot. Because he's having so much fun, it's always a problem to get Grandson away at the end of the day, but eventually I manage it and he staggers home, bright red and sweating from his exertions (unless we've had a dip in the sea or the paddling pool, both of which are handy). He then eats everything in sight and falls instantly asleep after we've had a story. Great!

Last week, on Thursday, we had a change of scene and drove out to see two of my BFs (the ones who live in a wonderful old house in the middle of National Trust woods). We had been invited to go for the day and to cook our own pizzas in their terracotta pizza oven in the garden. What larks! My BF's Husband, was terrific; he chopped wood with Grandson, gathered twigs to start the fire and showed him how to measure the temperature on the floor of the oven. In the meantime, we mere women were preparing the pizza dough, chopping the toppings (tomatoes, olives, mozzarella and chorizo) and making salad from the freshly cut lettuce. It was such fun, and I don't think Grandson will ever forget it. He was sliding the pizza in and out of the oven, on the paddle, and then there was the unforgettable bit when we all sat at the table and actually ate everything they had made. Yummy. And he also cooked our dessert pizza, which was topped with thinly sliced apples (fried in butter first) and home made raspberry jam. Double yummy. Of course we grown-ups had lovely wine to go with our pizzas, and then Grandson was off again, digging potatoes and washing them under the outside tap, and cutting beans for us to bring home. What a day! At the end, my two lovely BFs were on their knees. They don't have any grandchildren yet... I bet they slept well that night too...

I think I'm about done for tonight. I have a few days off now because Daughter and Grandson are driving to France tomorrow (crossing by ferry from Dover) and meeting up with the new Boyfriend who is working on his brother's house out there. It sounds lovely, and Grandson is very excited about putting the car on the boat and about speaking French! I'm quite excited at the prospect of going out for a glass of wine with a BBF tomorrow evening and saying goodbye to my last Student on Saturday morning. Roll on that lie-in on Sunday morning.