Category Archives: George’s Blog

Autumn is Coming

This week the bulk of the visitors to Cornwall began to dwindle as parents went back to work, and children to schools. The trees seemed to be heaving a sigh of relief at no longer having to look magnificent, and their leaves are beginning to turn to their autumnal golden hues. The weather has chilled just a little, and I am less tempted to wear shorts any more.

It has really sunk in now, that this is our new home. We have become locals (again) and the county feels far more relaxed, and its beauty can be appreciated without the busy roads, or packed streets in little villages, and we can find spaces in the car parks again.

My visit to the amateur dramatics group last week was very enjoyable. I went away enthusiastic about trying for a part in the pantomime, and I have a small bit of the script, and a couple of songs to get comfortable with before an audition. Then it dawned that I am setting myself up for an autumn of rehearsals, before a week of shows. I am questioning if my knee could stand up to the amount of stage work, if my voice is capable of the strain, and if I am trying to jump in too quickly with what might be quite a major set of lines to remember.

We also have a cruise coming up that will keep me out of rehearsals for a fortnight just as it would begin to get serious. On top of that, I am seeing the doctor tomorrow to review the X-ray of my knee. Although I doubt my knee will look suitable for replacement, there is a chance that I might be passed on to a surgeon for their ideas. If my knee is to be replaced, then the thoughts of hours bouncing around a stage are out of the question.

Deb and I have been out exploring again.

On Saturday morning we drove to the nearby village of Porthscatho where I have an appointment with the doctor tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon. It is about seven miles away from Tregony, and the roads have a white line down the middle for all but the last little bit. After discovering the surgery, and a convenient nearby car park, we drove towards home again. We stopped on the edge of the village, and went down a cliff path to look at the beach. It is nothing special but it is within easy driving distance, and good enough to sit on the pebbly beach and look at the sea.

We were back at our ‘village within a village‘ in time for morning coffee and a chat with our growing band of friends. This morning we met the oldest resident who is 99 years old, and still looks a spritely lady with a sharp mind. After a discussion we discovered we are the babies of the village. To put this into perspective, some of the other residents were the same sort of age as we now are, when they arrived.

On Sunday morning we were out again. We went to the ‘Lost Gardens of Heligan’. This very popular destination is about 15 minutes away, and most of the journey has white lines again. We arrived at the same time as a coach tour, demonstrating just how popular it is. When we got to the ticket desk, we asked about annual membership for the site, and were told that if we came back in October, we could get an annual ‘locals‘ membership for the same price as the entry for today.

We thanked the lady for the information, turned around, and went for a coffee instead of going into the gardens. We will come back in three weeks time and have the annual pass. That will allow us to watch the gardens evolve over the year.

Back to the car, and we went to the village of Mevagissey just a few miles further down the road.

This is another sleepy Cornish harbour village, and similar to St Ives or Porthleven. It was packed with visitors of course, all enjoying a beautiful sunny morning. Deb and I stayed for about an hour, and began our exploration with an ice-cream. Then we walked to the end of one side of the harbour, followed by a visit to the local museum. It was free to get in, and had three small floors crammed with memories of village life.

To round off the morning we bought a couple of sausage rolls, and ate them as we sat of the rocks looking at the scene around us.

At last we have begun our adventure in Cornwall.

This morning (Monday) began with a bit of a shock, with rain making the place look a little dreary. During a break in the rain, I trotted down to the doctor’s surgery to pick up a prescription. It rained again, so I got wet, and discovered my prescription had been kept at the main dispensary in Porthscatho. Never mind, I will be there tomorrow when I see the doctor.

I will spend some time with the new book editing later while the weather is less than inviting to go outside.

During the week, I expect Deb and I will spread our wings a little more to explore the area. Perhaps we will get a bit closer to our old home this week.

Three Weeks at Roseland Parc

Yes, it is three weeks today that we moved into our new home. We have met several of the other residents, and we are becoming regulars at the morning coffee and afternoon tea get togethers.

Deb is currently painting the bedroom (she has always been the decorator in this partnership). With a giant wardrobe arriving in the next few weeks, it is vital that the room gets painted before it comes. Once in place, I don’t think we will be moving the wardrobe again.

After the first coat of paint is applied, we will have a cup of coffee and then set off for the week’s shopping adventure. Today we will be trying out another supermarket (fourth so far) to help us decide which is to become the favoured one.

The news today is concentrating on the parliamentary fiasco. A huge number of people have rebelled against Boris Johnson’s ideas, and the press have joined in with the choruses for the right of democracy. Sadly, the press are so biased towards the remainers, that it appears the right of democracy has been forgotten with respect to the vote in favour of leaving the EU. I cannot see any way we will leave the EU now, and we will probably be penalised financially for being ‘bad boys’ by the rest of the Euro Club.

Is that really democracy, or is the press (mainly the BBC) deciding which part of democracy suits them?

Enough of politics.

I am so very happy today with the official Blog Counter hitting the 70,000 mark. It is actually a seriously higher figure than that, but the counting app seems to use a different set of criterial to recognise the ‘hits’.

Tonight I am going to the local amateur dramatic group to a meeting about the annual pantomime. They are always looking for men for these shows, and I quite enjoy a bit of acting the fool. Unfortunately, I am not sure if my voice is strong enough anymore, but perhaps there is something I can do without too many lines.

That’s enough for now, except to say a big ‘thank-you’ to Rebekah for posting a really wonderful comment on here. It is good to hear from the readers – and especially if it is a true comment.

Feeling at home – a bit

Our second weekend at Roseland Parc, and time to look around the area a bit.

Saturday morning we jumped in the car and took a trip down the little lanes of Cornwall in search of a nearby beach. I had forgotten just how narrow the lanes are at times. Our aim was the closest beach called ‘Portloe’ that is just a handful of miles from us.

Well, we found it, but by the time we arrived in the little fishing village, my stress levels of narrow lanes and meeting cars left me less than interested in stopping. We didn’t find anywhere to park so we drove through and carried on down the narrow pathways that were advertised as roads. I didn’t see anything that resembled a true beach, as the village is more for the small fishing boats.

After a further few miles of getting up close and personal with the hedges and oncoming car drivers, we came to another beach that looked far more promising. There were several people on surfboards plus quite a stretch of what looked like sand.

Once again there was nowhere obvious to park.

We decided to give up on the idea and continued between the hedges and back towards roads where my proximity warning alarms weren’t continually beeping.

It was only about an hour’s drive, but we decided to ignore this area for a week or two until the holidaymakers have taken their surfboards back home.

After lunch we both went for a swim, and I extended my distance a little as I gave my legs and arms a short burst of activity. That was enough for the day, and I felt we had earnt an evening bottle of wine while we watched the television.

On Sunday morning we drove (wide roads this time) to St Austell and B&Q. It was time to buy a second new toilet seat. When the local handyman/plumber was repairing a leaking sink waste, he sat too heavily on our toilet seat and broke it. The seat was an obviously rather cheap one, and the handyman is rather large gentleman.

We also bought some plants for the area outside the front door to make it feel a little more homely.

With the toilet seat fitted, I turned my attention to the cricket. As I looked text messages showing the score every few minutes I accepted that we were going to lose the match. There was just one wicket left before England lost the third test, and the ashes, so I turned to the boring dross on the television instead. Just before it was time to eat, I took a look at the cricket score again and was amazed to see that we were within 9 runs of winning.

I listened to the final few balls of the match and whooped in delight as Ben Stokes somehow managed to scratch the winning runs from what was a almost certain defeat.

Well done young man!

Now can the rest of the England team please take note of how to avoid getting out so easily.

Monday morning we drove the other way past Truro and down to Falmouth. It seemed rather quiet on the roads for a Bank Holiday. Falmouth was a little busier but not too bad. We went into the National Maritime Museum that is a favourite of ours. We now have entrance for the next 12 months to come back. We stayed long enough to get coffee and a look around the new Titanic exhibition but then turned our attention to shopping for more bits for the home.

Today it was a roller blind for the kitchen window, plus some white paint for the window sill. That will keep me busy tomorrow.

The drive home was not so quiet with the roads were now packed with tourists making the most of their last day in Cornwall before rushing home for work tomorrow morning.

The afternoon in Roseland Parc was a quiet one, and I fell asleep on the balcony in the sunshine.

We have been invited to a gettogether at one of our neighbours at 5:00, and I am looking forward to seeing some new faces.

No Boxes Today

First thing this morning we both went for a swim. The centre’s pool is only small but gives me a chance to stretch out lazy muscles, and exercise tired joints. The pair of us were the only people in the pool, so Deb was able to attempt her tumble turns while I floundered up and down. We were only in the pool for about 15 minutes but that was sufficient for me.

After the exercise it was time to try out Truro’s Park and Ride system. They have huge car parks to the west and east of the city that are serviced every 10 to 15 minutes by the modern and clean buses which go on a loop between the two car parks. We have used it in the past while on holiday, but that was from the western side, but our new home is on the east.

Car parking is free, and the bus tickets are £2 each or a family ticket is £4. The ride was little more than five minutes to the centre of the city and much more pleasant than driving a car in the busy traffic while looking for a parking space.

Our visit to Truro was little more than a chance to try out the park and ride and to have a break from cardboard. So we had a cup of coffee (with a cake) and then bought a few bits to allow our home making to continue.

Deb and I were only out for about 90 minutes, and home by just after 11:00.

The sun is shining today, but a chilly wind made it slightly uncomfortable to sit out on the balcony. The forecast suggests the wind will drop tomorrow giving us a warm weekend.

Yesterday evening we both went to see our new doctor. The surgery is small with an office where appointments are made and where prescriptions are dispensed. A waiting room has chairs for about 10 people with the usual racks of outdated magazines.

The doctor was running late but considering we were able to book an appointment so quickly cancels out a bit of a wait. We both had 20 minute slots, and I was first. Our records have already arrived from Kingstone so our history was available to be seen by the new doctor.

I overran my time a little but came out with a letter for an x-ray of my knee, and an appointment for a week’s time to have an injection in my shoulder. Oh, and even some new pills to try and regulate my blood pressure a little better.

I think the doctor was much happier with Deb, as her session was much shorter than mine.

Well, that brings us up to date. I think I will spend some time this afternoon getting back to my new book. ‘From the Furnace to the Freezer’ was planned to be on sale by the end of the year, but there is a lot to be done still.

At Home in Cornwall

Well, Deb and I have been in our new Cornish home for just over a week. We moved in on Wednesday 14th August and since then we have done little else than empty cardboard boxes and try and find places to put all our worldly goods.

Oh what a lot we have got!

There have been several breaks to go shopping, trying out Sainsburys in Truro and Asda in St Austell. Currently Sainsburys is winning the battle for our custom, but there are other options to experiment with.

On Tuesday we had another shopping moment that took us to a local furniture shop to find ourselves a wardrobe. I won’t mention the name of the store, in fear of annoying them, but they were incredibly expensive, and the quality of the wardrobes didn’t appear any different from what we have seen elsewhere.

Anyway, as we crept away from this shop, we spotted a large high-street chain that might be more to our bank balance. After 20 minutes in there we had bought a wardrobe that looked quite similar to what we saw in the first shop but with a figure 2 missing from the front end of the four figured price.

That will be delivered in early October, so until then we will continue with our portable stands in the bedroom. We spent a lot more money on Tuesday when we booked ourselves a cruise for the end of October. That will be on Oceana going to the Canary Islands for a fortnight. It was really cheap because of a complete re-programming of the ship’s planned schedule after cancelling all cruises to and from Dubai.

So what else have we been up to?

Well, the pair of us have been ploughing through correspondence and attempting to update our details with the vast numbers of organisations and businesses we deal with. That is not a pleasant game, especially as neither of us can remember our new telephone number yet and have to have it jotted on a piece of paper wherever we are working.

I think we have completed the vast majority of the important ones.

On Sunday we went to Truro to find a new charging lead for Deb’s tablet – the original was left in a hotel bedroom. We also bought a small storage box for one of our balconies, and a bench with storage for out side the front door. They will take some of the items that couldn’t be found a home inside the apartment.

There was afternoon tea on Sunday evening when we met up with a few of the residents. There are several of these gatherings during the week based mainly on coffee and cake, although a couple feature the bar being open as well.

Deb managed a first swim in the pool yesterday (Wednesday) but I am struggling with my arthritic joints and needed a quiet sit down instead.

The box situation is getting better with just a single figure number of cardboard boxes hidden in a cupboard. The walls are finally sprouting pictures, and the stress levels have reduced. Deb is currently sitting out the front of the bench with her tablet, and I can hear quite a regular series of “Hellos” as people pass by.

We have been invited to a late afternoon tea on Monday at one of the nearby neighbours. They are as interested in find out out about us, as we are about them.

Late this afternoon (Thursday) we have appointments with our new doctor. He might be content with Deb’s problems but I could be less popular when I recount my history, and list the joints in trouble at the moment.

OK, I think it is time I made a cup of coffee for us, so I will get this posted.

All being well I will be updating life in Cornwall more regularly as we make ourselves at home.

Goodbye herefordshire

Tuesday morning, and the removal men are loading our belongings on their truck. They will be finished soon, and then Deb will finish cleaning the last of the rooms before we set off for Cornwall.

It has been a long drawn out move, with lots of changes of date , but finally it is the moment to go to our new home.

Hopefully we will get to the retirement village in time to pick up the keys this afternoon so that we can say hello to the apartment and switch on the fridge, before we spend the night in a hotel. The removal truck will be there tomorrow morning to unload.

It is time to say goodbye to Kingstone and the wonderful friends we have made here over the last six years.

Thanks to you all.

A Break from Moving

On Wednesday we were going away for a couple of nights to get a break from cardboard boxes and legal frustrations. We weren’t leaving home until after lunch so I decided to call the removal company to check all was well.

There was a message to say that the number I had dialled was not available.

I checked, and retried a number of times with the same response.

PANIC!

To cut the story short, we attempted mobile numbers, left messages on Facebook, but with no success. I decided I had to drive to find their depot, and I had to do it before we went away.

Sadly, the postcode address did not get me anywhere near a removal company yard, so after several ‘U Turns’ and searches down lanes, I gave up.

Before returning home I rang Deb to see if there had been any responses…

“the number you have dialled is not recognised”

Realisation dawned. It was OUR phone line that was faulty, not the removal company’s.

I got home and explained to Deb my thoughts, and attempted to ring the removal company on my mobile.

Success, and all was well again.

It was time for lunch, and then we set of for the 70 mile drive to the Billesley Manor Hotel in Warwickshire.

Sitting in 11 acres of grounds near the village of Alcester, the hotel is around five miles from Stratford upon Avon. It is a stunning 16th century manor house that has been extended and turned into a beautiful place for a bit of quiet relaxation.

It has over 70 bedrooms that are all comfortable, and range from those created in the many yard buildings, to those in the manor itself. They are all large , light, and airy. We had one that overlooked a topiary area of the gardens with Yew Tree sculptures to delight, and sometimes confuse the mind. In the distance we could hear the splashing of a massive fountain that sat in a lawned area where there is even a helicopter landing zone for those very exclusive visitors.

The room’s bed was gigantic and there was plenty of wardrobe and drawer space… for a short break anyway. The bathroom had a long bath and good fittings with space for bits again. The room even had a discrete low level light to avoid having to turn on the main light with its extractor fan in the middle of the night.

My only reservation about the room was the noise made by the ill fitting doors of the wardrobe and bathroom.

Our meals were included in the package and I enjoyed the dinners each night as well as the usual choice at the buffet breakfast.

Of course the drinks were expensive, but with wine also included in the deal, we didn’t spend a lot.

There was however one problem with the hotel. It was infested with wasps. If you sat with a drink in the bars, or outside on the terrace, you were immediately visited by the little creatures.

The staff simply told us to ignore them, but I have always had a personal hatred of the stinging beasts. I am sure that if approached, a local pest controller could have done something to sort out ‘Wasp World’.

Anyway, we weren’t overly concerned, and enjoyed the many quiet spots in the gardens to read and doze away the stress of moving home. The pool was quite large and we used up a bit of energy in there as a change from relaxation.

I would recommend this hotel for anyone looking for a little bit of relaxation from life’s stresses.

On the morning of our stay we drove to the ‘Park and Ride’ system just about three miles away and used it to go into Stratford on the bus.

This was absolutely perfect to avoid the traffic, and very good value.

In Stratford we looked around and spent half an hour in the amazing Butterfly Farm. There was time for coffee and cake of course before we made our way back to the hotel.

By Friday lunchtime we were home again to our cardboard boxes, but our heads had been cleared of stress, and I felt so much more comfortable with the week to come.

The phone line has not been restored. Apparently it would take longer to book an engineer to reconnect the line, than we will remain at this address. At least we still have the internet, and the mobile phone, but it is a little frustrating with the amount of calls that will be needed over the days leading up to the move.

So, once again we have to sit back and wait for the legal process to grind on. Tomorrow (Monday) the solicitor should be back from holiday, and will sign the form on his desk when he gets in to work. When that gets back to the conveyancing solicitors, the process can kick back into gear, and exchange should be possible.

On Thursday (hopefully) we will be waking up early, and beginning the final bits of packing. Our removal men should be here by just after 9:00 and we will be able to set off for Cornwall before lunchtime.

On Friday morning, after a night in the guest suite at the retirement village, we will wait for the phone call to confirm completion and pick up the key of our new home.

PLEASE!

Still in Hereford

We should have been travelling to Cornwall today on a journey to our new home.

But no, it has been delayed yet again.

And not delayed by just a couple of days either. Our move has now been re-arranged for 9th August.

The problem is still a document from the seller’s solicitor. It is the Licence to Assign document, and it has been on the solicitor’s desk for over a week, but he is on holiday, and remains on holiday until next week. As the Executer of the previous owner’s estate, this form can only be signed by him.

To make things more convoluted, our buyer’s mortgage agreement has expired today, and so as to be re-agreed, meaning a few more days delay.

Hence, the ‘House of Carboard Boxes‘ that is currently our home is now feeling very ‘un-home’ like. The tape on some boxes is now about to be removed to look for sufficient bits to keep us going for 10 days. But the problem is, ‘Which Boxes?

In the meantime, we have been shopping this morning, and are currently considering going away for a break in a luxury hotel where we can be pampered, and not asked questions about our move.

Oh, and its raining!

Bi for now from Mr and Mrs very frustrated and angry.

Goodbye to Hereford

It is Sunday 28th July 2019.

Over the next couple of days, the legal issues should be completed, and this Cornishman will be moving home, and going back to Cornwall.

Since we came home from our cruise on Oriana, Deb and I have done very little else than pack cardboard boxes, dump unnecessary items, and spend hours on the phone to estate agents, and solicitors.

The legal shenanigans have been annoyingly long and frustrating. We have been awaiting for final letters from the sellers for over a week, and this has meant the planned day to complete has been delayed.

The move should have been tomorrow, but a ‘License to Assign’ letter is sitting on the desk of a solicitor who has been on holiday for a week. In the meantime, our removal company gave up waiting for a final confirmation and cancelled our booking. This was not pleasant, as they didn’t actually tell us what they had done.

Within three hours we had found another company and they had been to look at the job, and agreed to move us.

On Friday evening we had a farewell party to say a sad goodbye to so many wonderful friends and neighbours we have met and shared six years with. The party went on into Saturday morning, and they all sang Happy Birthday to me.

Our house has ceased to be the home we have enjoyed. There are cardboard boxes everywhere, and the furniture is virtually empty. Deb has just about emptied the freezer, and meals planned for the next 48 hours should see off the rest.

Tomorrow morning (Monday) I have an early morning trip to the dump to get rid of the final things, and then it will be time to begin phone calls to the solicitors again. The theory is that the required letter will be quickly signed and sent, and that will be followed by exchange of contracts, and the completion date set for Tuesday.

Sadly, I won’t be surprised if is delayed for whatever reason again, and we will have to grovel to the removal company for another day’s wait.

I dread to think what the couple buying our house are thinking.

Anyway, by the end of this week we will be back in Cornwall, and turning an empty apartment into our new home.

This blog will have to have a new name, as the ‘Cornishman East of the Tamar’ will have returned west of that Tamar River.

I’ll speak to you all again very soon – although it might take a day or two to get internet again.

Farewell to Oriana 12

Wednesday Afternoon

As the day progressed, the weather turned cloudier and the sea became lumpy. The wind strength was increasing, and concerns that we would not be getting ashore on Guernsey tomorrow were raising. The weather forecast was not promising.

After the Battle of the Sexes, that the ladies lost by just one question, Deb and searched for somewhere to have lunch. We ended up having a sandwich in the buffet. The lack of bright and warm weather means everyone is trying to find somewhere inside, and because we have a busy period between 12:00 and 1:00, we struggled.

On the way back from lunch I considered going to watch Bohemian Rhapsody in the cinema, but is was standing room only. Never mind, I have seen it before, and more opportunities to watch it again will come up.

We spent the afternoon relaxing, having tea and cake, and generally enjoying our last few hours on Oriana. Once the afternoon quiz was over, we put on our formal gear for the final time (this cruise) and had a glass of fizz in the Crow’s Nest.

Dinner was the Marco White gala menu and I had Beef Wellington because there was nothing else appealing. I am sure that Beef Wellington with a crisp(ish) coating is very nice, but the version on board is not. I peeled away the soggy pastry, and ate the meat.

It was a quiet evening because timings were all wrong to see the lady magician again. Deb and I did begin a quiz on television shows, but gave up after realising it concentrated on American shows. There were just two British created programmes, and after moaning about the content, we gave up. The quiz host made a note that this particular quiz is really not targeted at a British audience.

The remainder of the evening was all about reading in Anderson’s.

By the time we went to bed at 10:30, Oriana was bumping about more than at any other time on the cruise. Around 1:00 in the morning I woke and the noise of the wind and miscellaneous banging was horrendous.

Sleep was not easy to come by.

Thursday 27th June – Guernsey???

The noise and movement did eventually subside, and I got some meaningful sleep. I woke at 7:00 wondering what the chances were of getting onto Guernsey. The navigation channel showed we were sailing along the south coast of the island but the sea conditions didn’t look good. Just as we were setting off for breakfast at 7:45, the captain made the predicted announcement and confirmed the plans for Guernsey were off.

It was a little quiet around the ship as people came to terms with the news. Many passengers had tours booked, but they at least get their money back. The adventures and possible memories were not going to happen.

It is 10:00 in the morning now, and I am in Anderson’s catching up on my dairy. Deb is back in the cabin attacking the bulk of the packing. I keep out of this when the sea is anything other than flat calm. I struggle to pack in these conditions without feeling ill. Fortunately, Deb is rarely affected by the motion.

The entertainment team have organised and published a plan for the day to cover the unexpected sea-day, but around me in this lounge, most people are quietly reading and perhaps wondering what could have been.

Tonight, the Headliners are performing ‘We’ll Meet Again’ in the theatre, and a jazz trio are performing in the Pacific Lounge. We won’t be getting involved in either of these offerings. The Headliner’s show is a flag waving and audience singing show, and we avoid such things. I understand the passion for reminiscing and pretence of national pride, but I feel it is becoming out of date. Soon no-one will be left who remembers Vera Lynn singing the iconic song for the first time, and we need to find a new way of celebrating being British.

Final Update

It is 3:00 in the afternoon now, and the rough sea has continued. Activities are most definitely in door only.

The captain came back with an announcement a little while ago with an update. We had already noticed that Oriana appeared to be on course for Southampton, and that she was going quite fast. The captain informed us that there was a medical issue with another passenger, and it was decided the best option was to get back to Southampton as quickly as possible.

We are now due to be home by around 10:00 tonight. This will be for the casualty transfer only, and we will not be able to disembark until the morning.

This will be my last post now until we get home. I can summarise the 12 nights then without waiting for the internet to do its stuff.

Bi for now from Oriana