Thursday, 27 July 2017

Darrell and Nigel’s First Forage Of The Season …….

My tactic yesterday to distract Darrell from all things X Factor seems to have worked, because this morning he woke up distracted, not by the thought of what is in the bowl that Simon constantly picks at while he is judging, but by the thought of making jam …….………….IMG_3709………. and so in afternoon he persuaded Nigel to join him in a little foraging for blackberries for said delicacy.
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Armed with a Tupperware box off they trotted, however, I think that they had both forgotten that blackberry picking can be quite a prickly affair as Darrell had to untangle Nigel several times from the clutches of rampant rogue brambles.
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I think they have picked enough to make two jars of jam, with a few left over to freeze for crumbles etc. They decided it might be best not to run before we can walk in the jam making stakes, as we are absolute notices at the art, better start off small and then increase with confidence after a little success.
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The blackberries are now soaking in salty water to remove all the bugs, it would be just too embarrassing, should our jam be good enough to share, to proffer it to a guest only for them to find a “creature” splayed out inflagranti on their breakfast toast …………we like to do things just so at The Towers!!!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

A Bit Of A Distraction Strategy

I have to admit that the X Factor Boot Camp fever that seems to have permeated any semblance of normal life at The Towers since Darrell found out that he’d got two tickets for Saturday’s show has rather got to me, so I suggested that, perhaps, he would like to take himself out for a little fresh air and put aside, for a little while, all speculation on how low Simon would have his shirt unbuttoned to on said day, before I hit the Christmas Advocat, even if it wasn’t drinkable anymore, despite it being kept in the fridge!
IMG_3650I have to say he went quite willingly and in turn stumbled upon a small stall outside one of the houses along his route that was selling plants, vegetables, jams and marmalade for charity, and well, it would have been rude of him not to have a little mooch ……
IMG_3652……. if only to see what the opposition was like if  his own planned humble jam making turned out to be as successful as he hoped ….. ripening blackberries and plums willing!
IMG_3649In the end he availed himself of a jar each of Seville marmalade and a mixed berry jam, putting his money in an envelope provided through the letterbox. And, on his return, he promised that over breakfast tomorrow morning, he would initiate a conversation around to our new sweet spreading comestibles, rather than wondering if Louis would be mentoring the bands again this year, what is he like????!!!  Heaven help me!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

X Factor Fever Hits Chez Towers.

This morning absolute pandemonium broke out at The Towers…. Darrell has been trying to get tickets to  see the X Factor for ages, constantly checking to see if/when any were available and then applying, but all to no avail …….. until yesterday …..
IMG_3688…….. when the aforementioned pandemonium broke out!! He’s only gone and got two tickets to be in the audience for the Boot Camp stage of the show!
IMG_3690There was almost no doing with him, until he saw the date ……  it’s only this Saturday at Wembley! I have never seen him so focused, first he asked Nigel if he would like to accompany him, knowing that if he asked me I would insist that Nigel go anyway ………
IMG_3691I knew Nigel would also be beside himself at the thought of seeing Sir Lord Simon Cowell, Nicole Slingyourhook, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne in real life and the flesh!
IMG_3692……. Then train tickets were booked, as too a Premier Inn, Oyster Cards were also topped up, suitable wardrobe discussed and a small suitcase almost packed……….
IMG_3694What is he like, if not a well oiled, going to see X Factor machine, an event that has been on his bucket list for too many years to remember, I am so  excited for him ………
IMG_3696……. and of course Nigel, I just hope I can keep them both as calm as humanly possible until Friday, when their adventure begins.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Has Nigel Potentially Found The Biggest Book In The World In An Evesham Charity Shop?

This has got to be the biggest book Nigel has ever seen, not in pages but in sheer size, found in one of the charity shops of Evesham….. goodness knows how anyone who bought it would get it home as it’s almost certainly too big to carry for any distance, you’d have to get a wheelbarrow.
IMG_3506Nigel was so taken that it might be a world record breaking charity shop find that he asked the lady serving if she had a tape measure to measure it, he made it at 43.2cms x 66cms, which is humungous, potentially bigger than some dogs, and heavier!
IMG_3510It was a bargain at just £5 and if not used as a coffee table book, given a few artistically placed bricks, it could certainly be used as a unique coffee table in a dog loving household!!!  Nigel refrained, on this occasion, from making one of his considered purchases, thank goodness!!!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Evesham River Festival

I know Nigel has, at times, hankered for the days of the village carnival and the floats that used to pass by Castle Greysquirrel each year …… but yesterday Evesham came up trumps and I have the feeling that we may never hear the melancholy sighs for those particular occasions again ………..
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……. because in the afternoon we all decided to amble up to the Evesham River Festival ….. let’s just say …..it was emotional. 
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Nigel had mentioned while Darrell and I were getting over our jet lag that there seemed to be more water bound traffic than usual passing by The Towers in a town type direction, and this was obviously the reason.
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When we got into town it was thronging with people wielding, Darrell noted, what must have been de rigueur for the occasion, very large picnic baskets…….
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…… and then all down the river boats and barges were decorated like carnival floats, just like in the homeland, but on water, I thought Nigel was going to burst ……
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……. and on board all the nautical type people were entertaining their family and friends very acceptable looking teas and suppers, it was all so English …..we felt proud, no one does bunting like we do!
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All the flats on the opposite side of the river had gazebos and parties along the towpath and in the riverside communal gardens …….
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……. to be honest, when we saw this we were a little jealous, if we were just a little nearer town we might have been able to the same.
IMG_3671There were stalls, live music, a dog show and a duck race amongst other things……… and, where we were very sadly lacking, aforementioned picnic baskets and blankets in every direction, with everyone vying for the best position, because there was more to come …….
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……. because, as the balmy Evesham night drew in, all the boats lit up, and by then Nigel really did need to be calmed down, just hoooooooooooooow romantic is that?
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……. and that’s not all …… because, at half past ten there was a humungous firework display and it has to be said, that by this stage our old village carnival had been totally eclipsed  for Nigel!!!
This year we were absolute novices, mere observers for the first time, next year we will be prepared, perhaps Nigel wanting to get a boat by then is a touch ambitious, but we will definitely be there with our plaid blanket,  a Gordon Blue cordon bleu picnic basket and Darrell has promised special River Festival Cocktails to sip thorough out the proceedings …….. what are we like?

Saturday, 22 July 2017

A Promise Of Fruitfulness

Before we went away, I had checked on the blackberry situation and it looked very promising, but on our return Nigel decided to check too ……..
IMG_3699…… nothing disappointed!  Give it just a week and I think we will be able to pick our very first punnet of said blackberries of 2017, and from the looks of it, there will be even more than last year, when we were found sadly unprepared.
IMG_3705And, as an extra bonus, last year, for some reason, we totally missed the plum trees at the bottom of the bank in front of The Towers ……..
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…….. let’s just say they are laden, with the promise of a freezer full of plum and blackberry crumbles in the bag, nom nom nom.  They are a bit high up, so we aren’t completely sure how we will actually capture them, we may have to find a very long stick, do a bit of serious brandishing and then watch where said fruit falls to forage …….. but where there is a will, there is a way.
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We also have yellow plums in abundance too ……. Darrell is currently looking for plum jam recipes on the internet, as we are not sure how difficult it is to make, but even one jar would be a momentous achievement and occasion, and we would be so proud!
IMG_3712One thing’s for certain, scurvy will be a total stranger to The Towers this summer ……. and our five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten a day regime assured, we are truly blessed in a cornucopian type way!!!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Peace Of Mind

Darrell and I still seem to be suffering from an unduly vigorous and debilitating bout of jet lag, we have always succumbed to a certain degree after all our Greek Odysseys, but never this bad.
IMG_3804Some cynical readers might point the finger at the last round of cocktails we enjoyed in Arillas before our mini bus picked us up, but as seasoned cocktail aficionados, I think that it is very, very doubtful!!!
IMG_3803However, Nigel has been bright eyed and bushy tailed and as such a most attentive “nursemaid” ………….
IMG_3802…….. he’s a pretty good pillow plumper and his frequent cups of hot sweet tea, accompanied by the odd  hob nob or two, or three have been almost degenerative  regenerative in their powers!
IMG_3436But, he had been a bit worried about his beloved swans, so domestic duties performed, he nipped down to the weir to see if he could spot them, sadly they weren’t around, but the good news, he bumped into his friend The Swan Lady and she said mum, dad and the remaining two babies were all still doing well.
IMG_3437The Canada Geese were very pleased to see Nigel though, it was most probably something to do with the big bag of swan and duck food Jan The Fan had sent him that he was carrying, but nevertheless it was a warm welcome.  All is well along the riverbank, so relief all round for Nigel.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Back On Hallowed Ground

We arrived back at The Towers in the very early hours of the morning, to be honest all Darrell and I wanted was our beds, Nigel was a little more chipper. Because Greece is a whole two hours in front of us, we know we must expect to endure the rigours of full blown jet lag, so we will remain in bed for the rest of today and perhaps tomorrow, until our body clocks readjust to UK time.
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Our journey back was pretty uneventful, but while Darrell and I preferred to just don our eye masks, ear plugs, flight socks, inflatable neck supports, sip water and get it done with,  Nigel was determined to embrace every last second, from the mini bus to the airport and beyond …….
IMG_3410……. but making sure that his Twix Xtra, (the last thing he bought at The Arillas Supermart before we were picked up), got through all the security checks etc.  On our outward flight he couldn’t get over, I don’t think he ever will,  being charged £2.80 for a normal size Twix from the trolley, I thought he was going to pass out.  He vowed that it would never, ever, ever happen again, and if he wanted an air bound snack, he would always buy one well in advance at the proper price in future. £2.80 for a Twix?????? Poor Nigel!
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And while the Head Steward bought Darrell and I blankets and hot chocolate, Nigel stayed awake ….. looking down at the twinkling lights thousands of miles below us ………
IMG_3412……… and making bets with himself as to which passenger would be the first one to stand up and open their overhead locker the second we landed, necessitating an announcement to stay seated by the aforementioned Head Steward!  What is he like ……… but very tired now!