I’m slipping in quietly at the back of the room, hoping that no one will notice, or observe just how very late I am. I’m full of remorse for this scandalous neglect of both my blog and yours….
But life, life! Just gets in the way, really; it’s very distracting.
Firstly there was the great email disaster. I acquired a second-hand iPhone, and suddenly my emails descended into chaos and my computer into a monumental sulk. Google kindly returned every single email ever received, sent or – scarily – deleted, and I am not going to tell you just how many emails appeared; I am too ashamed.
But thanks to the dear, patient chaps in the Apple call centres (mostly the one in Cork, Ireland), I now know why this happened, and the difference between POP and IMAP, which behaved very badly with each other, fighting and roaring, and refusing to play nicely together. Until the Apple boys stepped in, and employing the creepy miracle of screen sharing, sorted out these two warring factions very nicely. But it took ages. Many hours of uploading and deleting later, computer making exasperated creaking noises throughout, my ear gently conforming to the shape of the telephone over a week of daily calls, all is well; I can now practise my new resolution to keep a tidy email system. And practise my rich rolling Cork accent, as used by Trevor, who called me “Miss” throughout, as though I were his primary school teacher, whilst quietly sorting out deeply-incomprehensible computery tangles, all with patience and charm.
Then there were the visitors. My fabulous neighbours-two-doors-down from Newcastle, Flossie and Tosca’s beloved foster mother Sandra, and husband Dave. They came a few days later than last year, when it had rained and galed ferociously for much of their week; they were marginally luckier this year, when it only rained, and only some of the time. A lovely visit was had by all, no matter what the weather, and it was good to catch up, slipping comfortably into our old tea-drinking conversations, Flossie in seventh heaven. But those three square meals a day have caught up with us. Another new resolution is now required….
Sandra and Dave generously house- and animal-sat for us while we had a night away in Devon. At this time of year, The Gardener daren’t turn his back for longer than a couple of days, or Nature takes over, cackling madly, and creates jungles where once were lawns, so a night away is a treat, albeit with consequences.
We stayed here, just outside Totnes, in a lovely lovely lovely Georgian house, with Marilyn, the delightful American landlady, who made us so welcome that we plan to return there as soon as we can; her assorted chickens, ducks and two lively little pugs were entertaining, the bedrooms superb, and the rest of the house comfortably lived-in, the sort of house where you could wander about in your slippers (and I did, down to breakfast). We relaxed, chatted, were looked after incredibly well, and were given a tour of the gardens. The Landlady and The Gardener talked a lot, waving and pointing, and arrangements were made for our next visit, to involve pruning and creating structure. I stayed well out of it, preferring to enjoy the welcome change to high ceilings and large windows.
After checking in, we went off to explore. I had stipulated a break that involved some walking around little shops, and charming, interesting Totnes was a good choice – or would have been if the cold wet weather hadn’t rendered it almost desolate. We dripped our way up and down the high street, promising to come back in better weather.
Totnes was exceedingly wet. So wet, in fact, that a duck walked about on the High Street, but still can’t have been as soaked as we were.
The next day was better, and we meandered, intending to get to Dartmouth, but diverting instead to visit Buckfast Abbey. Not my favourite (not old enough! Just over a hundred years old, and a remarkable achievement, but still, not old enough for me.)