Saturday, September 01, 2012

End of August, out of Cyprus

I was planning to blog almost every day while out of Cyprus, but somehow the last week has flown by. So just a few highlights instead.

On Monday, which was the August bank holiday, we decided to go and visit a garden centre a few miles away, just to have an afternoon somewhere different. It was a pleasant place:

We hadn't been there long when Richard said, in some surprise, 'Wow! There's an optimist!' I looked around, wondering who he had seen. Was it, perhaps, a girl in a skimpy sundress, quite unsuited to the grey skies? Or maybe an elderly man pushing an enormous trolley, planning to buy huge numbers of plants.

No... it wasn't in fact an optimist he was referring to, but an Optimist. A small dinghy. Right in the middle of the garden centre:

We have no idea why it was there, other than to make the place considerably more interesting to Richard.

Thus - well, apart from about three games of Scrabble - ended our time in Sussex.

On Tuesday we drove up to Birmingham, making a brief diversion to High Wycombe to drop something off. We stopped for lunch at a service station we had previously rejected because it advertised a kind of coffee that Richard doesn't much like. However it turned out to be a sort of food court with several possible places to eat - we were tempted by three or four kinds of sandwiches, all good value. Eventually we opted for this:

The baguettes were extremely good, and I think the coffee would have been good if we'd had it in crockery cups. We didn't realise until part way through eating that we'd bought our lunch at the take-away section of a shop that also did coffee in proper cups. Unfortunately take-away cups always seem to taste rather plasticky.

By mid-afternoon we were in Birmingham, re-united with Tim.

On Wednesday we spent the day in Alcester, where we played four games of Rummikub among other things.

On Thursday Richard had a meeting with the new Trustees of his organisation, where he had a surprisingly good experience with a local bank. Meanwhile I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon of reminiscing and laughter with two very good friends whom I've known since my teens, but have not seen much of for some time.

In the evening, we played our first game of Settlers of Catan for over a week. I think we must have been in withdrawal after all that time.

It was a good game; Tim won eventually but nobody was far behind.

Then at last Friday dawned, really the most important day of this UK visit, the one around which we planned our travels. Our goddaughter Emma was married to Jon, in a lovely ceremony at St Germain's Church:

It was followed by a reception at Rowheath Pavilion, which felt a little strange as it used to be almost home territory for us. The Pavilion housed both the toddler group and playgroup that our sons went to, twenty-plus years ago, and we walked through the park every day when they went to school.

The park looked much the same as it ever did, although the trees were perhaps bigger:

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