Wednesday, 3 January 2018

288 July to December 2015

 July 2015

Trula and Jim's wedding:  After a completely mad planning session the day finally arrived.

Trula and Jim decided to have a humanist wedding in a forest. Yep, a forest! She is not religeous and regards herself as a Pagan. Her birthday being the 21st of June, the solstice, having more than a little influence in this. Logistically it was a bit of a nightmare as Trula wanted a venue in the woods with a clearing suitable for an outdoor party with a bonfire pit in the middle. Not a good combination in the middle of summer.
We searched for a while and eventually Trula found one that was suitable but it was seriously overgrown and required a couple of days strimming and mowing to get it suitable for a party. Then there was the wood for the fire, the seating (straw bales), BBQ facilities the food, Tentage and a towable generator for the nighttime festivities. We ordered the BBQ foor from Tescos for a home delivery at 10am on the day of the wedding.
Did I mention that the clearing was 200m from the nearest vehicular access down a narly dirt track!
We managed to sort it all out and get most of the stuff in place prior to the wedding but as it was in the middle of nowhere, we could not leave any attractive items, like the generator and BBQs on site overnight.
Karen and I were to be the witnesses to the  wedding, including the legal part at the registry office. Trula was asked, in passing, what she was going to wear at the registry office and when she replied words to the effect that as it was just the silly legal bit, she would be wearing leg-inns. We immediately informed her that if that was the case then we would not be coming. It did not take long to convince her that this was the only bit that actually mattered and if she did not treat it with respect, she would need to find some other witnesses. Needless to say, she changed her mind quite quickly.

11th of July: The long Wedding day.
It was a very early start for me (Ray). At 6am, I had to pick up a trailer with the generator and BBQs from our friends, the Kingsburys and deliver them to site hoping that once in place I could leave them for a few hours in relative safety. Fortunately I managed to get it all in place despite much swearing and perspiration.
I returned home where by now, the house was full of people, except the groom of course. The Legal, registry office, wedding ceremony was booked in for 11am and Trula Karen and I got dressed up for the registry office ceremony.

Our 10am delivery time for the BBQ food from Tescos came and went with no delivery. We were getting a little nervous as we were about to leave for the registry office but there were others in the house who could take it in for us. At around 10:30 I had a phone call from Tescos. I expected them to tell me that the delivery was going to be late. Wrong. Apparenly, they have had a computer malfunction overnight and not only was our delivey not on it's way, but they had also cancelled it completely. As I was walking down the stairs towards Karen (who was looking at me with an expectant look on her face), the guy on the end of the phone said "Sorry".  I replied, "Not half as fucking sorry as I am". Karen's face dropped with the obvious realisation that there was a problem of some sort. I told her the delivery had been completely cancelled and in Karen's true unflappable style, she just said, "OK, I'll go shopping after the ceremony". She can be quite scary with her lack of panic sometimes. It's times like this that remind me that I married the right girl.

So, off to the registry office, only to drive in behind Jim who had been taken there by his mate.
The ceremony was lovely and I secretly believe that Trula was grateful for us putting out foot down about the dress code. It may only be a legal formality (as far as Trula is concerned) but the setting and the staff made it a proper ceremony.

No! not a cross!...... a big "J".......  now a little "i" ........  and a little "m"...... now leave a gap....

Once out, it was a quick celebratory pint and then dash back home. Once home, Karen ran out and cleared out several supermarkes of burgers, rolls and sausages. In several places she upset other shoppers as it was shaping up to be a scorching hot day and many others had decided that having a BBQ was a good idea. Watching Karen stoll off with a trolley full having cleared the shelves gave them the hump. Oh dear, how sad, never mind. She really did save the day and all I can say is that I am eternally grateful.
The bridesmaids.
The bride and her daughter Paige.
 We now had the logistical nightmare of getting all and sundry the 5 milkes of back roads to the forest, still with no food of course.

It all sorted itself out in the end with everyone pulling together and Trula and Jim had a lovely ceremony beside a big spruce tree, given by a Humanist Minister. Karen had sorted the food out and all was going acording to plan (finally!).

Just an example of how mad cap the event was.

Even the cake had a tree hugger theme.

Ray, James, Rosie and Karen

Father of, and the Bride.

Mr & Mrs H dancing around the fire.

We danced around the fire and drank into the small hours and a lot of fun was had by all. At the end of the evening, most people went home and some of us had to stay to tend the equipment and to clean up the next day. When Trula first told me she wanted a forest wedding I tried to talk her out of it, I'm glad she went through with it in the end. Well done girl. 

At around 2am it was time for bed and I got a bit (understatement) gumpy when after being on the go for about 21 hours, I crawled into my tent only to find someone had passed out on my camping bed. Ho hum.

Clean up the next day was very quick and after several trips back and forth the field was clear.

31st July 2015    Margo and Sandys 25th Wedding Anniversary.
It was now up to Dumfries to celebrate Margo and Sandys 25th wedding anniversary. They are both very proud family heads and it is a privelege to toast their 25th year of being together.
A smiling Sandy and Margo.

Karen, Susan (Margo's neice), Susans daughter Amy and Phillipa Margo's Granddaughter.

The whole tribe posing on the staircase.

30th August 2015: Graham's windfarm visit.
Today we went to visit Graham and Chris who live in Swaffam, about 50 miles West of us. Near their house is the only wind generator that the public can visit and climb up to the generator unit. Needless to say, we went up. The weather was a bit grim so there were not too many people at the venue.
Watching the blades swing past was a bit surreal.
We walked up there.
Graham and Karen in the observation pod.
Watching these sweep by was just wierd.
Sept 2015. Whitby.
We decided it was about time we looked for somewhere to move to and after a bit of soul searching we decided that somewhere up North would be better due to Sandys ailing health amd Mums advancing years. 2 places crossed our minds from previous visits: Whitby and Cumbria.
We drove to whitby first, the attracation being a seaside resort, down to earth, T shirt wearing Yorkshirefolk and hills. Oh, and great fish and chips too.

Whitby Abbey

Whitby seaside

Old gun emplacement on the beach.

The town was like going back in time.
Just behind the town - the Yorkshire moors

October 2015. Motos Picos.
The "Motos Picos" is a biker event based around the Picos Mountains near Santander in Northern Spain. It is supposed to be a classic bike rally but it has morphed, due to the great riding roads, into a ride around many on the picturesque mountain roads in the area.
2 of my old Police colleagues, Jon and Graham, go every year and when I come along, I tend to get a cameo role due to their superior riding skills.

Jon, (left) is a traffic cop but I try not to hold that against him. Graham is a Police motorcycle trainer. Both these loonies ride with such smooth panache that despite doing my best to keep up I cannot mainly due to fear.

Chasing Jon on the mountain roads

A much needed stress break - for me.

The roads were 'to die for' as they say.
The scenery was incredible

Wallace admiring the view

The beach at Santander

The Bits are here in force too.
November 2015.
We were at home one night. I had gone to bed anf Karen was watching TV. She heard a noise outside and being the brave nut case that she is, went to investigate.
She discovered a golden ferret entangled in the net used to cover the recycling bin. She called me and after donning suitable protective gloves, together we cut the net where necessary and freed the ferret wich turned out to be very friendly and crawled all around Karen's head.

The creature was so cute, I even had time to get the camera and take some pictures. We thought that the cute little thing had obviously escaped and thought we would go knocking on doors to see if anyone had lost it.

Once I had put the camera down, it was time to disentangle the ferret from Karen's head. I reached over and grasped the animal with both hands intending to take over head warming duties. Sadly the ferret had a different idea, with lightning speed, it swung its head to one side and sunk both its very long and sharp, front teeth completely through my right nostril.

OK.......  now what? Try not to panic Raymondo!

Here I am holding a cute little ferret that, due to the fact that its teeth are like hooks, is firmly attached to my face. If I pull it off, it will rip my nose apart. If I let it get closer, it may decide my eye is even more tasty.

Slowly, I moved one hand to the creatures head and gently squeezed its jowls hoping it would open it's mouth and let me go. No such luck. It did not want to let go of it's oversized dinner.

As you can imagine, by this time the cute little ferret image was not turning into more of a velociraptor one. My patience had waned and I then squeezed the stupid beasts jaws till it had no choice but open it's mouth. We were halfway there. All I had to do now was gently push the beast towards my face to disengage the hooked teeth. Not nice but absolutely necessary.

Sucess. I threw the beast down and told to piss off and find it's own way home.

The next problem I had was trying to resuscitate Karen who was laughing so hard she was struggling to breath.

On the bright side, the cats were a great help. Seriously, they are getting bigger and starting to take over.

December 2015: Cumbria
As stated above, Cumbria was on the list of places we wanted to look at for moving to. I think we picked the right time to go, when it was at its worst. This is an understatement. We arrived after the bulk of the floods had subsided as will be seen by the latter pictures.

Peoples goods and chattels being discarded after the flood had subsided.

This river raised about 10 feet. That is, 6 feet above the banks and collected these mobile homes and crushed them all together. Note the debris in the trees.

Gas bottles were strewn all over and only tethered by their gas leads.
Needless to say, this completely put us off of Cumbria. Time to look elsewhere. Norfolk Broads perhaps ?

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