Well it’s been at least a couple of weeks since I last wrote, but I did want to thank you as always for keeping in touch here on the blog. I loved hearing all about your holidays, the house renovations, and getting a few more TV and book recommendations. Thanks also to Gillian for her fabulous memory of flying on Concorde while working for British Airways, it’s so good to share these things 😊
I think we’d all had a little moan about the weather too as it’d been such a grotty summer, but as soon as we shifted into September it made an incredible about turn which meant that pretty much the entire UK was bathed in sunshine! It’s been really tough on parents, grandparents and the children too, who’d spent most of this summer battling against the elements only to return to the classroom with temperatures in the 80’s!
It was such a soggy August and the rain has definitely hampered Colin’s efforts to complete the outside of the house where he’s been balancing on the scaffolding to secure, guttering, fascia and soffits. I had painted them, but he’s had to put them in place and it’s been a painstakingly slow business. I do think though, with the brick slips that were added earlier in the year, it’s totally transformed and improved the look of the exterior. Because he’s been working outside, not a lot has changed indoors, and we still have some timber work and painting to finish before the sitting/dining room is complete. There’s also major plumbing work to be completed in the en suite before we can start on our bedroom. I’m praying it will be done in time for Christmas so fingers crossed!
We had very sad news at the end of the month though as firstly Colin’s cousin Diane died following a short illness, and then his mother Kathleen passed away just four days later at the remarkable age of 102. They will both be very much missed by all the family…
Once the funeral dates were organized we decided on a particularly rainy and grey day to return for a week to Crete. Thanks to my pension we’re able to take these holidays and I know we’re very blessed… I think it was probably hotter at home than on the island, but we enjoyed Agios Nikolaos, Elounda and Ierapetra, the site of the Minoan settlement of Gournia.
I’ve always been fascinated by ancient remains ever since I visited Pompeii in 2015 and this was a real find! Gournia was first inhabited in 3000BC and over the centuries grew to become a small town where the inhabitants included fishermen, shepherds and farmers, and a great many skilled craftsmen and women who created pottery, bronze tools, wine presses and woven goods. All that remains today are the basements of the buildings as the hillside has eroded over the years, but there’s still a clear pattern of streets and houses and a huge Minoan Palace at the heart of it. It was fascinating, and incredible to think that the view for all those who lived there then was the same as it is today. Olive trees, hills, and a clear line to the coast. Just beautiful and a little piece of shared history.
It’s been pretty busy since we returned with preparations for Colin’s son Richard’s wedding to Jordana at the forefront. I say preparations, but in truth all we’ve had to do is choose our outfits and book the hotel as everything else has been organised with military precision! Richard is Colin’s youngest son, and his twin sister Lily has flown back from Australia and will be one of the bridesmaids on the big day this Saturday. They’ve chosen the Old Royal Naval College as their venue and the ceremony will take place in The Painted Hall, which was completed by the artist Sir James Thornhill and thought to be one of the greatest decorative painted schemes in England! Suffice to say it’s going to be a pretty grand occasion with the invitations suggesting we “dress to impress”, so I’m certain there will be some pretty fabulous outfits on the day 😊 I promise to have plenty of photos in my next blog.
Choosing the right outfit is something I’ve been stressing over although I was pretty chuffed with my dress for my son Sam’s wedding in June, but I wanted something completely different for this one. The shoes and hat I wore then will get a second airing but I’ve had a real problem with my hair… Over the last month or so I’ve noticed it thinning and breaking which has been pretty upsetting, bringing back memories of my total hair loss with chemo all those years ago… I think the sunshine and salt water haven’t helped, but with increased hot flushes and sleeplessness I do think my continual menopause has ramped things up too! I’ve been struggling with the menopause for the last 12 years but had thought things were slowing down so this was something new. I spent the day with Elise (Sam’s wife) who has her own hair salon and is a superb colourist and stylist. She reassured me that my hair isn’t falling out but it has been breaking and so we’ve resting it from all the bleach and I’ve gone for an ashy tone instead with a shorter more layered cut. She’s done a beautiful job as always and helped restore some of my confidence, which was very much needed, and we’ve agreed that I continue using Hairfix’s Follicle Intense Defence which is a peptide and caffeine scalp serum designed to encourage healthier feeling and thicker hair. At least I’ll now have something respectable under my hat on Saturday!
I did have a fab night out with some of my old mates from QVC last week when we met up to see the musical Mrs Doubtfire in the West End. Lovely James Murden organized it all and it was so good to spend time with some very familiar faces, most of whom I’d not seen for over three months. It reminded me just how much I miss working with them but what was really good was that we can all just get together as though nothing has changed. I think our next trip will be to the panto in January – it’s in the diary already!
I’m still working my way through the final series of This is Us – the American TV series that has won more Critics Choice, People’s Choice, Screen Actor’s Guild, Primetime Emmy and TCA Awards than most I can think of. The script writing and acting is superb and the characters totally believable. I think you’d enjoy it. We’ve just begun watching Daisy Jones and the Six on Amazon Prime which is a think loosely based around the band Fleetwood Mac’s story but very watchable. Have you seen this? Sticking with American writing, one of my all time favourite authors has to be Anita Shreve and I read The Stars are Fire while on holiday. It was absolutely beautiful and I recommended it to my dear friend Kathy Tayler who also thoroughly enjoyed it. Anita’s book The Last Time They Met was the first of hers I read and was utterly mesmerizing, written with such skill and reverse chronology that I defy anyone to guess the ending. It still haunts me to this day… I’d love to know if you’ve read it too?
I think that’s all my news for now and thank you for meeting up with me here. Do let me know how things are with you and I promise to reply. Take care,