Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Swallows in East Anglia

The barn swallow has been seen in S.Devon since mid-March, but here in East Anglia they are later arriving, at least in significant numbers. There may have been the odd ones earlier this month.

Today April  23rd, I had my second view this year (first last week) and my first close-up view, close to the River Ouse in Ely. The return of swallows from S.Africa, crossing continents and deserts to reach here, lifts my spirits. Even more so when the swifts arrive in a few more weeks' time. " All's well with the world".

See . Number are declining.

Flight MH370

The mystery deepens: still no definite wreckage found and no black box recovered and the black box batteries have probably died by now.  If on the deep sea bed it could be a long time being found.  I even read they are re-examining evidence that the plane may have landed somewhere after all.

A nagging gut instinct tells me we are not being told the full truth by the Malaysian authorities. Do they know something we don't?   Maybe the Malaysians shot it down but are too scared to admit this? For the relatives it must be sheer hell: a roller-coaster of emotions and uncertainties.

For all involved, I hope there is some definite news soon, good or bad. Good would be wonderful, but even bad allows grieving to begin.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


I have to keep reminding myself that I am making progress with my stroke recovery.

Walking is now easier, I am taking less liquid feed via my stomach peg (currently 700ml a day, was 1000ml) and I am eating a bigger variety of food by mouth. My biggest issues remain my giddiness/clumsiness (feels like I have had 8 pints of beer to drink, whereas I have had no alcohol since last summer) and a feeling of sickness/nausea that may be is helped by pills I take.

The real breakthrough will be when the giddiness is better.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Grandchildren gone home

Our home is very quiet again.  The 2 "London" grandchildren have now gone back to their London home and the elder one (6.5) goes back to school in the morning.

We have had the children on their own Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights - they were perfectly behaved - and their mum joined us on Sunday. Even though I felt quite rotten at times (stroke - sickness and giddiness), it was a great pleasure and joy to have them stay and again enjoy their childhood sense of wonder with the world.

For a few days my illness was not the main focus of attention. It was such a pleasure to have them and to enjoy their joy of life. We are fortunate indeed to have 4 lovely little grandchildren in our lives.

Climbing the windmill

On their last day with us before returning to London, Tim (our son), Jo (his French wife) and our grandson Lucien (6.5 years, old) are climbing to the top of our local windmill (inside). The windmill is just over our front garden wall.  Inside the mill, the steps/ladders are very steep, so I have advised them to take great care. All being well, we should get some good photos of our bungalow from quite high up. Amandine, our little granddaughter (3 years old) is having her afternoon nap. My poor health (stroke) is currently preventing me climbing the windmill - maybe later this year?
Our bungalow is to the left of the mill, just behind.
The recently restored 4-sailed windmill is part of our excellent local Burwell museum, both worth a visit.
Lucien on the phones in the museum (old exchange)

Visit to the local church
Our grandchildren love our local church, (picture above is on the church website) not for any religious reason, rather because it is a large, slightly mysterious place in which they can run around and explore. The toy corner is rather better than most too. Today their mum is taking them for a walk to the church, before their dad arrives around lunchtime. From here it is about 330m.

The church was largely built in the 1400s. It was designed by the same man who designed Kings College Chapel in Cambridge.  Burwell church  (and Kings College Chapel) is well worth a visit. Look for the medieval wooden animals carved in the roof timbers that are sometimes hard to see. Burwell is a fine English church in the perpendicular style much liked by Pevsner on his visits.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Egg Hunts

Amandine, Jo and Lucien  after the Easter egg hunt
After lunch today, Easter Sunday, we had an Easter Egg hunt in the back garden for Amandine and Lucien, our 2 "London" grandchildren organised by their mum who joined us today. Their dad is due to join us Easter Monday when the little ones go home again: we'll miss them. Several times this afternoon we found Amandine secretly nibbling chocolate Easter eggs.

This afternoon was the first day our local Burwell museum and windmill were open. Our grandchildren all love visiting as there is lots for youngsters to see and do. Our 6.5 year old grandson enjoyed hunting for Easter Eggs in the form of numbered pictures . He managed to find 24 all together. This year the windmill is open too.