Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bits and bobs and the lovely Hestia


Morpeth

I was back home in the North East recently to see my dad, who is recovering from a major heart attack. He is 89 and still living at home and doing a very good job of being independent. Since my last trip 6 months ago, he has become more frail and a tad forgetful, but he still insists he does not need help. I was only allowed in the kitchen to eat the food he prepared for me with loving precision. He wouldn't even let me wash up. I did get to take him out in his car for small trips to see relatives, or do the shopping at Aldi. You know time is hanging heavy when he insists on taking their catalog home to read. I couldn't get him to stay anywhere for more than 10 minutes before he wanted to be back home. I didn't understand this until my sister in law told me that home is where my Mom is in his mind, and he just wants to be back with her.

I did score one success on this trip. I found him a mobility scooter he can use to get to the local shops. He doesn't really need it yet, but it won't be long before that short trip will be out of his range. When we got home, he took it out on the pavement to try it out. As he was backing it into his garage, he looked at me and said, " Well, it isn't as exciting as my old Yamaha 250, but I will get used to it."


Apart from seeing my Dad, I had two very special surprises. A good friend of ours, Victoria and her daughter Kaitlyn, were in Greece as a present for Kaitlyn's graduation. They ended their trip by coming up to the North East to visit me. It was a very special few days, as I got to show friends from my new home, how special my old home is. I took them to see the castles and beaches, of which there are many in Northumbeland, and we hiked part of Hadrian's wall.





We stopped in for lunch at the Battlesteads Pub in Wark, a highly acclaimed Gastro Pub and had some wonderful cheese and potted ham. The home made piccalilli tasted wonderful, but it did look a bit like cat vomit. Too much sauce and not enough pickle.

I did notice a sign in the toilet that perhaps reflects the current anti immigrant feeling in the UK.

Apparently, they are not too easy to dispose of up here.

When I go back, I always have to go for dinner at the Rat Inn, one of the best pub restaurants in the country. Their Lamb is to die for, and their beer selection is sublime. The girls ended up their brief stay tucking into the best food this region has to offer.
They promised a return visit. I hope so.


I spent some time with Terry Docherty and Pete Scott in Newcastle the following week, catching up with the local music news and trying out all the new beers and watering holes down by the old quayside.

I got to sing at a folk club and found some new songs that I just have to learn. I took the train back down to London on the Friday, and got to taste a "Fantastic Pastie" at the central Station, the subject of one of Pete's songs.


When in London, I always try and see my two lovely friends Jill and Sarah, both from school days. I usually stay with Jill and her husband Paul, and we save one night for a few drinkies in Soho.

 Last, but certainly not least, I got to meet the Lovely Hestia (Alison Cross). Now to say this lady has considerable talent, is a bit like saying the Pope is a Catholic. I love her writing, her humor, and all the little ways she has helped and encouraged me to write over the last few years. She was in London at a Tarot conference where she was presenting, and had some free time for a lunch on Sunday. I met Ali and her husband and son at the Dickens Inn. We had tried to get Jo from "A Girl's guide to turning 50" fame to join us, but we failed to let her know where we were in time for her to be there:(


To use one of Ali's expressions, I luff her. We had a great lunch and a wee walk through the deserted streets of the city, before they went on their way and I headed back to Jill's for the night.

I am now back home on Vashon and straight back into the routine.

What a memorable trip

16 comments:

  1. It was so lovely to meet you at long last. Tartarus was so relieved that you were good company - he was a bit anxious about it all. And as long as Sonshine had access to his DS all was fine from his point of view. The wine was DELICIOUS, thank you soooo much for bringing it all the way from Vashon. We're keeping the last bottle for Christmas, so you'll be in our thoughts on The Big Day!!!!!!!

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    1. I enjoyed his crack, the food and the great company. Next time I'm home I might have to make it up North

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  2. Hmm. I shall have to venture into town next time you are both there :-)

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    1. We would both love it if you did. Maybe we can start a blogger rendezvous

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  3. Excellent trip and your Dad seems like he is made of strong stuff! I'll be close to your old home next summer when we vacation in Cumbria. I'm looking forward to checking out the pub life!

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    1. I will give you some recommendations nearer the date. Thanks Dani

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  4. what a great post Wally! your dad sounds brilliant! Mr B hails from Newcastle, I love it up there. How lovely to meet Hestia and Sonshine = jealous! Grandma Whacker still follows your blog you know, you are one of her favourites!

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    1. Goodness gracious, Blighty. Where have you been?
      If you send me her address, I will send her a copy of the little book I did.

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  5. Amazing trip. And I am glad your dad is so feisty! The Rat, well that is a memorable name, I must say. I shall make a point of visiting next time I am in that part of the world.

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    1. Jenny, you must. Karen, the owner is a blogger too. I can't tell you here, but if you send me an email to forbesbell@comcast.net, I'll give you her blog name.

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  6. Oh, Wally,
    Your life of excitement keeps us hanging on every word here. As for your father to have suffered such a heart attack at his age is something else, he must get his zest for life from you. I hope he does well in his recovery and enjoys the freedom he will have with his red scooter, my mom has one and they get so dependent on it that it becomes there new legs.
    I will be looking forward to hearing your new songs :)
    The ones you found and will have to learn.

    Thank you Wally for once again telling your story so clearly with all the passion you put into words....life, luff, and living it.

    Thank you for taking the time to share with me your thoughts on all my salvage that inspires my home life.

    Enjoy your island life.

    Xx
    Doré

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    1. Thanks as always Doré.
      I will get one of the songs finished and post it for you. It is called cottages strangely enough.

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  7. Oh my gosh, my dad is exactly the same way. He is in his mid-80s and still the best cook I know and he won't let me do a thing when i visit even if I made him promise I could. I'll be visiting him in early December and very much looking forward to it. Let's see how the negotiations go this time. ;)

    Cat vomit, LOL!

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    1. My dad didn't cook until mom was too sick to do it. She used to say that if she went before him, he wouldn't know how many sugars he took in his tea.
      It isn't true you can't teach old dogs new tricks.

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  8. shame shame shame.........so many ways to keep in touch so little communication...... next time lets eat cake in Ottolenghi's!!

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    1. Sounds delightful Send me your contact details. I promise I won't sell them :)

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