A Virgin Arrives……..

Thursday 12th November
Just a little update – so we’ve moved into our new flat, and it’s absolutely magnificent! Overlooking the Stray, and within hopping distance of many pubs! Admittedly, there are 47 steps up to our front door, meaning that moving-in day was a bit of an ordeal, but at least it means we’ll get good daily exercise! It’s a very warm cosy flat, and I’m happy just watching life go by below us. Not sure about our neighbours though – there’s a couple by the name of Rachael and Nigel who live 2 doors away who bring the tone down a little…… still, the adjoining house is up for sale for £2 million, so maybe we’ll get some class moving into there (although at that price it’s most likely to be a drug dealer).
Last week was my 46th birthday, which I was meant to celebrate on a beach in Bali! Oh well, never mind, we probably wouldn’t have liked Bali anyway, far too sunny and sandy for us….. So I’m another year older, and certainly another year wiser! Next week is my dear friend Peter Hopkins’ 66th birthday, and as has become tradition we are having our annual day out next Thursday in which we quaff as much champagne as possible. And then we drink some more! Peter has spent his life in the wine trade, and I used to work for him at The Tannin Level Wine Bar. Very happy days! Going for a drink with Peter is always an education in fine wine!
Speaking of drinking, I seem to have changed my drinking habits!!!! The P and P is no longer my first choice!! Instead, we make the 20 second hike to The Coach and Horses which we have discovered to be lovely and warm and welcoming. And 33 different types of gin. 70 different whiskies!! Due to our new custom they’ve been able to take on an extra 56 staff and make plans to renovate into next door!
We’re still struggling to find a home to accept mum. My daily life usually starts with a visit to a couple of nursing homes, which is never the best start to the day. Earlier this year I devised a TV game show which saw the contestants doing battle with the South American postal system. Now I’ve come up with the sequel – four couples fight to be first to house one of their parents in a suitable place. The criteria for “a suitable place” are
1. A residence that you’d actually be happy to put your dog in, let alone a parent
2. A residence that may have a bed available within the next 8 decades
3. A residence that costs less than £2000 per week
Believe me, to hit these three criteria on the same residence is not easy! I’m not even sure it’s possible! But it’s a fun game that all the family can play, if they so choose.
Dad came to visit our new place today and liked it very much. Now, Dad has a terrible memory for names. Of people, places, and things. So in every sentence there’s a lot of “doodahs”, “whatsits” and “thingummys”. But I’ve discovered today that I have a bizarre talent for being able to translate this! For example, when he talked of “whatsit from whatsit” today, I immediately said “Peter from Harrogate?” Correct. And shortly after, trying to describe a famous person (and I immediately apologise for the language here, but he is 78 years old!) as “doodah, Yorkshireman, poofter!” I said “Alan Bennett?”. Correct. This is a great skill I have! Is there a living to be made from it????
I had a strange text from Charlotte today while I was walking in town. It simply said “Virgin here X”. Of course I rushed home to find out more about this miracle! Imagine my surprise to find a 40 odd year old, moustached Geordie (haha, the description so far could still be a female!) It was of course a Virgin Media engineer, so finally we have a television, but more importantly broadband. I’ve really not missed television one little bit (who needs telly when The Coach is 20 seconds walk away?). Broadband however is very missable, and it’s a pleasure to have it back.
We had a lovely walk this afternoon, and met Lydia’s mum, Rags, which was very nice. And then we went to the new Italian bakery/cake shop, La Bella Bottega on Kings Road, which is owned by our lovely friend Daniella and her brother’s family. Absolutely fantastic! I urge you to try it, not just because they’re our friends, but because it is genuinely a wonderful shop with amazing cakes! Her brother Rafel has been a baker in southern Italy for the past 30 years, and they’ve just moved here to give it a try. Another thought occurred to us – Rafel and his family are obviously classed as immigrants. Immigrants generally get a bad name in the press. But they, like many others, have come here to work hard, and contribute to the economy. In fact I’m sure he works far harder than most of us (he starts baking the bread at 3am…..) I doubt whether the Daily Mail will report this though…… Anyway, visit the shop, and check out their Facebook.
I’ve got very much back in to my running, and am loving it again! Tomorrow I’m running with our neighbour Rachael. I suppose I’ll have to show her how it’s done…… 😊 Following that it’s over to visit mum at The Mount in Leeds, and then on for a “small shandy” with members of my old team! Can’t wait!!!!

The view from our flat, taken during the 7 minutes that the sun appeared this week!

The view from our flat, taken during the 7 minutes that the sun appeared this week!

Our nice cosy lounge

Our nice cosy lounge

There's no reason to stop beer of the day!!!

There’s no reason to stop beer of the day!!!

Good head!

Good head!

Seamus and his family are in town. Do not be surprised if your car is on bricks in the morning...

Seamus and his family are in town. Do not be surprised if your car is on bricks in the morning…

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