Cream Teas and Castles

This week I have had the pleasure of a visit from my parents and before anyone starts with the nit-picking over details, it’s actually my mother and stepfather. But this guy has been around since I was not quite ten years old and my biological father has not been around since I was nearly eight He’s been there and looked after me for as long as I can remember, so I think it’s fair and appropriate, to use the term “father”.

I try to ring my folks at least once a week, as they are so far away (250 miles) and I don’t get the time to visit them as often as I used to when my children were younger, when we used to go once every four or five weeks. I’m now really only able to make one or two trips a year at most due to work and other commitments I have. It’s always nice to catch up with mother and see how they’re both doing as dad gave us quite a scare the other year when his heart gave out while playing walking football. After some major surgery and therapy he’s on the mend, thank goodness, but it’s during these catch up sessions that I’m reminded how short life is and that you should always make time for that conversation; you never know how many you have left.

My folks arrived in Devon last Friday and went on the various  trips and outings around the “Torbados” area and got to enjoy the English Rivera at its best while Mrs Bob and I were working.  Then, on my day off, I picked them up and whisked them back to my home town of Totnes, where we walked all the way up the high street to the narrows, with a stop halfway for a beer and some food, then back down again stopping every few shops so that my mother could look in the window and comment on how unique the town was, for those of you who have never visited my home town it’s basically Devons biggest hippie commune, after walking all the way back through town to the car we decided to see Mrs Bob who’s had a really awful back pain for a couple of weeks, and was unable to join us for the day this gave my mother and Mrs Bob a chance to go through all the baby and other photos my mother had brought with her to give me as she was having a clear out due to selling the family home and relocating on the east coast. After a coffee and catch up, I took them out again, to look around the fabulous Berry Pomeroy castle which is about five minutes outside of the town and was built in the fifteenth century on land that the Pomeroy family owned. We had a good laugh took some photos and just basically had a good day out in the sunshine.

We returned home and had a coffee and got ready before taking them and Mrs Bob to another part of Devon that’s older than Berry Pomeroy castle, which is my place of work, a genuine thirteenth century pub in the middle of a small village near Totnes for a nice meal and some great conversation and a chance to fuss the gorgeous pub dog, before heading home to drop Mrs Bob off as her back was hurting her and taking my folks back to their hotel to pack before their coach left in the morning.

I got to talk about all sorts with my parents and I really made the most of our day together, I’m sure as familys we may all disagree and maybe even argue from time to time, but at this stage in life more than ever you have to look at things differently. Ask yourself is it really worth arguing over and holding a grudge, and do you want that to be the last thing you said to someone? I’m fortunate in the fact that I love and respect my parents for all the things they have done for me, even if i couldn’t see it at the time, they were always looking out for me. Especially my stepfather who has stood up and taken me on when my real father had abandoned me. So please if you do one thing after reading this call that loved one and make peace, tomorrow it could be too late.

Stay Safe X

Autumn Nights and Wood Fires

This week has been a very, very hectic one for me at work. As you know, I have Monday and Tuesday off – that’s kind of like my weekend, which is great as it means that my last night is a busy one filled with great locals, regulars and some fantastic live musical acts. I spent my weekend the same way I normally would, which involves a mixture of reading graphic novels (I have nearly 500 of them and there are 22 that I haven’t yet read), and playing computer games.  I say games plural, but I really only play a couple – mainly GTAV online. I don’t know why I like playing that particular game so much, given its graphic violence, drug smuggling, gun running, etc, but Los Santos has almost become a virtual second home to me.  The clothes and gun shops, the golf and tennis clubs, even the seedy bar out in the desert where you can play darts – this place has it all!

I also try to catch up on all the great new geeky TV shows that Netflix, Now TV and Amazon have to offer and boy do they have a lot of good stuff at the moment! I’m especially loving The Man in the High Castle, Marvel’s Defenders, Colony USA, The Good Place…. it can take up most of your time if you let it.  I’m also doing more of the housework as my long-suffering wife is struggling with a very sore back at the moment. Dutiful husband, me 🙂

So after a couple of days of trying to catch up with the almost neverending list of tasks, it was time to go back to work, but unlike many people who dread their Mondays, I genuinely love mine. Even when it’s super-busy, I feel happy and fulfilled at the end of a shift. How many people can say that?  I’m aware of how fortunate I am..,  unpleasant customers are few and far between and to some extent they come with the territory.

The other thing I have noticed over this week is the fact that we are digging deep into the back of our wardrobes for that big thick coat that we haven’t needed since March. I have my big winter coat and scarf on standby, although the temperature, like the weather, is startlingly changeable at the moment. Take the other day; I was standing by the front door watching the world go by, and it was a nice afternoon -not cold but not a heatwave either – and then literally out of nowhere it began to rain very heavily. For the next hour or so there was a veritable monsoon… then just as suddenly as it started, it stopped. Which was fine for me stood in the shelter of the porch but not so good for the people next door at the church. Did I forget to mention there was a wedding going on? Yes? Well, just as the wedding service was finishing and the church bells were ringing to signify their new joining,  the heavens opened up, followed by a loud clap of thunder.  My colleague came out from the kitchen, asked if that indicated that some unseen deity was expressing its feelings of disapproval, and then he sauntered back to the place where knives and hot things live. I felt sorry for all the ladies who had spent a lot of money having their hair done to look nice for all the photographs, only for the weather to put paid to that.

It’s only a matter of time now before we clear the decorative pile of logs from around the wood burner at the end of the restaurant, fire that bad boy up for the winter season, and watch the nights draw in. Although, as we head towards winter I get the feeling the only thing getting shorter will be the daylight hours.  I can’t wait for winter!

Stay Safe X