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The area that I’m working in is very near to a designated Dark Sky area….and it lives up to its name. Its DARK at night. So dark that if I’m standing outside I can barely see my hand in front of my face.

Its super cool for a restful sleep (I like it pitch dark when I sleep), but it’s not super cool when you have to drive in this dark, which I had to do last night.

Just after my break yesterday I realised that my face was swelling up again; same place as last time. That pesky parotid gland again 🙄🙄 And remembering that I ended up in hospital for 3/4 days the last time because I ignored it, yesterday I went into a bit of a panic.

I still have 10 days of my assignment to complete and I cannot afford to lose that much money. Besides which the agency wouldn’t be able to find a replacement for a few days. So I immediately got onto Google and did a search, found a surgery, cajoled the receptionist to get me an appointment and to her absolute credit she booked me in immediately.

And thus it came about that I had to drive in what can only be described as a black hole. The only benefit is that on the obscured turns, you would see a cars lights for miles. But on unfamiliar roads, with nothing to show landmarks, it was a bit nerve-wracking.

However, I’m glad I did, because the doctor put me onto some kickass antibiotics and that seems to have held the infection at bay…for now. At least it hasn’t gotten worse. As for the dark sky, just maybe before I leave we could have at least one night of clear skies, I might just get to see the stars 🤨🤨🤨😉 Do you think the universe might comply with my wish?!!

Meanwhile, the grey skies continue and the forecast is for much the same for the next week

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Who Gives a Crap

Just took delivery of our first order of recycled toilet paper from a socially conscious company.
Sustainably-sourced 100% recycled toilet paper rolls Extra long rolls contain 400 sheets (20p per 100 sheets) 50% of profits donated to fund sanitation projects.

Each box contains 48 rolls No inks, dyes or scents.

Who Gives A Crap donates 50% of profits to help build toilets for the 2.3 billion people who don’t have one.

They’ve donated over £1 million to date! Unlike the majority of the world’s toilet paper, Who Gives A Crap 100% Recycled loo rolls are made without trees.

Who Gives A Crap Eco-Friendly 100% Recycled 3-Ply Toilet Paper 400 Sheets https://g.co/kgs/PjQWdY

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I’ve been seeing so many posts recently about this walk… I guess I’m just going to have to do it 😂 😂 😂 😂

The South West Coast Path

After 3 trips across the “pond” my wife and I finally completed the South West Coast Path in October 2017. Originally we were just looking for something a little more civilised than our usual trips on our native Vancouver Island, where thick bush, ice and snow, heavy packs, rotten food and smelly tents are the norm. However, it didn’t take more than a few hours out of our original start point at Port Isaac in 2013 before we knew that we were in this for the duration. All those endless seascapes, impossibly lovely coves and fishing villages, comfy digs and good food are not a difficult sell, especially after the rigours of Island hiking.

Photo 2015-09-26, 9 54 58 AM Ann and Martin at the start of the Path in Minehead

Altogether it took us 55 days and 3 visits to get from Minehead to South Haven Point including some rest and short days. For those…

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No need to add anything more.

Pride's Purge

Theresa May’s kowtowing to the hard Brexiters in her party may have just cost the UK $1.7 Trillion of access to international projects after Brexit.

The U.S., New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine, Israel and Moldova have all blocked Britain’s post-Brexit entry into the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement, a market worth $1.7 Trillion.

And while the first six big players on that list may eventually (after perhaps years of hard negotiations) give in with separate trade deals, with the last one – the small country of Moldova – it’s unlikely.

Because it’s personal.

This is because Theresa May – in an effort to look tough on immigration – made the inexplicable and utterly disastrous decision last year to deny visas to a Moldovan government delegation who wanted to visit the UK on a trade mission.

Corina Cojocaru – a government adviser to the Moldova government – and her…

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Gosh, I can hardly believe it’s already a month gone since my daughter and her husband had their baby shower and gender reveal party. Finally after what seemed like months, but in reality was only weeks, of waiting, we had the gender reveal.

My daughter and her husband hosted a Baby Shower on Saturday 10th November for close family and friends.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

The happy parents; Cémanthe and Simon

They chose the delightful Helter Skelter Play Nursery in Broadstairs. It had a fantastic play area for the children ( and adults as it turned out), with slides, climbing ropes, plastic ball pool and many other wonderful play areas. Colourful is the name of the game at Helter Skelter…the walls are decorated in bright colourful paintings and children’s drawing adorn the walls.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

Helter Skelter Nursery, Broadstairs

We had a wonderful day with lots of laughter, a gathering of special people to share a special day of fun and good food.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

guests; family and friends

When the guests arrived they had to cast their vote on whether they thought it was a girl or a boy….interestingly it was a tie: 15 for a girl and 15 for a boy 🙂 In the corner the gifts piled up; colourful and interesting bags and packages.baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery

Tea and cake was served, introductions made and soon there was a happy buzz of chatter and conversation…some of the adults had just about as much fun on the slides as the kids.

A fantastic spread of snacks, the food provided by the lovely ladies at Helter Skelter was scrumptious, colourful, varied and mindful of various diets and allergies. We all ate ourselves to satisfaction and no-one went hungry.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

an amazing spread

We had a face-painter which everyone loved, especially the grownups LOL

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

face painting

Teams were selected and given colour markers and plain white baby grows to decorate – a splendid array of colourful pictures onto baby grows.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

baby grow decorating

The cake, a family affair, was baked by Daddy, iced by Granny, decorated by Mummy. The cake was cut by Emily and Matt…baby’s cousins 🙂

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

the cake 🙂

And then it was time for the gender reveal……anddddd IT’S A BOY!!! hoorah….I have a grandson on the way 🙂  Hoorah!! In just a few weeks, approx 3-4 (from today), I shall be the Granny to a wee baby boy!!

How absolutely marvellous is that. I am so excited to meet this baby boy, my Grandson. Daddy looks pleased and Mummy looks gleeful. 🙂

The guests were asked to guess the baby’s name and nursery theme to win a prize.

The theme of the nursery….space!!! 🙂

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

the theme of space was inspired by this baby grow

The name reveal : James Alexander McKenzie-Hoult – forthwith to be known as Jamie……what a fantastic name for a boy, so strong. Of course I shall still call him Peanut….at least until he’s 21 LOL

The expectant parents received some absolutely wonderful gifts with a gorgeous array of wooden toys, cute books, much needed toiletries and nappies, some treats for Mum and some beautiful baby clothes.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

some of the gorgeous gifts they received

We had a videographer, also a Jamie, there to capture the day for posterity and everyone agreed that it was a fantastic day and how delighted they were to share it with the happy Mum and Dad to be….and little Peanut, who will now be known as Jamie 🙂

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery

Jamie ….. he already has my heart in the palm of his hand

 

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Damage Done

This is a really shocking state of affairs and completely unacceptable. What is this Tory Government doing to our country

policecommander

Another week.

Another round of depressing headlines about Chief Constables stating that their Forces no longer have the resources they need to do all that is being asked and expected of them.

Another round of deeply disturbing headlines about police officers being attacked in the street. The accompanying film footage is too much for me to watch.

I have never known times remotely like these – and it set me thinking about all that has disappeared from policing in the last eight years. 

The list is staggering:

I. The loss of 44,000 police officers and staff in England & Wales.

Say that number out loud a couple of times and let it sink in.

II. The loss of neighbourhood policing.

  • London has more 600 local council wards. In 2010, each of those had its own dedicated Safer Neighbourhoods Team.
  • That meant a minimum of 1 Sergeant, 2 PCs and…

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Before setting off to Alton for the start of Day 3 along The Pilgrim’s Way, I visited Chawton to visit Jane Austen’s House Museum.

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

Jane Austen’s House Museum seen from inside the garden

I left the AirBnB fairly early and since it was raining quite heavily I took the bus to Chawton. After a short walk I soon reached the village. The museum was still closed, so I walked through the village to see the church where Jane Austen worshipped and the house where her brother Edward lived after being adopted by the Knight family.

The church is quite a walk from the village centre, but certainly worth the walk. After he inherited the house he offered the cottage on the estate to Jane and her Mother and sister.

st nicholas church chawton, jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

St Nicholas Church, Chawton

Stepping through the door of the church was quite awesome….and rather weird to walk in the same space as what Jane Austen had walked all those years ago. The church is quite beautiful and I enjoyed my time there.

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

St Nicholas Church, Chawton

Chawton House was unfortunately closed, so I retraced my steps to the village and visited the Austen house. I was the 2nd visitor of the day so was able to meander and enjoy the house in peace and able to take photos.

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

Austen family tree

The house is so lovely. Jane lived here with her Mother and sister from 1809 till May 1817. To see the chair and desk where Jane sat to pen her novels was spine-tingling. In her bedroom is a replica bed of the one she slept in

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

a replica of Jane’s bed

as well as many artefacts and poignant items from her life. There are letters

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

copy of a letter written by Jane

and a beautiful quilt made by Jane, her Mother and her sister Cassandra. There are 3000 diamonds hand-stitched in all.

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

the quilt made by Jane, her Mother and sister Cassandra

A visit to Jane Austen’s House, one of England’s historical houses is so very much worth the diversion

I’ve created a short video of my visit

Chawton is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as Celtone, so I was delighted to be able to add this to my list of Domesday Book villages visited for Project 101.

After I left the house I walked back to the bus stop….it was still raining. I soon reached Alton where Day 3 of my journey started.

In case you missed it, click the link to read about Day 2 of The Pilgrim’s Way

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