Tuesday 5 September 2023

Sad News and many other things.

What has prompted me to blog again after almost a year - I am sorry to say it is with the news that Monty went to Rainbow Bridge last week.  He was an amazing dog, a great companion, utterly faithful and was a superb supervisor when I was working locks.  He was 11.5 - his Mum is still alive at 16, so this is a lot sooner than we ever expected.  He started to develop signs of a cognitive disorder/dementia  about 2 years ago.  These things creep up slowly, so it is impossible to say when it started and I won't bore you with all the details.  We did everything we could, but nothing worked and his life had become very difficult for him, so we made the decision on the advice of our vet to stop his suffering.  Our last act of love.  The house is very quiet - the only thing I don't miss is the dog hair!  May he rest in peace. 

Monty where he loved to be at the end of our final trip on Tentatrice on 4th July 2021

Chris and I plod along and manage to keep ourselves busy.  I am on the WI committee and somehow or other I seem to have been awarded 5 different hats!  I book the speakers, I am membership secretary, I also update our branch's website regularly and at the end of the year I will be producing a printed programme for each member for 2024 and the year book for 2023!  Enough to keep me out of mischief.

I am glad to say that there have been no more trips to hospital for Chris and he keeps well enough.  We do still miss the boat, but know we made the right decision.

We have had two holidays this year - one for 2 weeks in Wales where Chris has family.  We were there for the last week in May and the first in June and we had blue skies every day and not a drop of rain!  Our daughter and her family were with us for a few days and some friends joined us for the second week.  Trains featured highly in the holiday - we went on the Talyllyn Railway and the Vale of Rheidol.  Both were fabulous trips.  Finally Chris and I took the train from Machynlleth to Pwllheli and return all the way along the coast.  It was stunning and well worth doing if you are ever in that part of the world.  We also visited the Dyfi Osprey Centre and oh my goodness what a huge amount of pleasure that has given me over the last few months.  They have a live stream and I have watched the two chicks every day since we got home as they grew, fledged and it now appears they and their parents have migrated. Mum went first, then the female chick.  The male chick was last seen on Monday and Dad has not been around since yesterday afternoon when he was circling around with a large fish looking for someone to feed.  I have been entertained and educated.  I will be back watching and waiting for the return of the parents next March.

Mother - Telyn

Father - Idris - he is an amazing provider for all the family

Cennen - female chick

Seiont - male chick

The quality of the live feed is amazing.  I got all the above photos either from screenshots from the live feed of from their blog where there are many more and loads of information if anyone is interested - Dyfi Osprey Project blog

In June Chris and I celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary with a night away in a superb hotel in Malvern.  That weekend our family gathered for a BBQ on the Saturday when it was warm enough to eat outside (so rare this summer) and then Sunday lunch for us all at a local pub.

The first weekend in July saw me take 4 trains to and 3 trains back to Aldershot, Surrey where I was met by an old school friend.  Another friend joined us on the Saturday and we headed off to Ashford, Kent to visit our old school who were celebrating their 125th Anniversary.  It was an interesting exercise and good to catch up with Liz and Sue.  The lady on my right was in our house, but a year above us.  

Sue even still has her school blazer!

The events kept coming - the following weekend saw us (along with two friends) make a very early start to catch a train from Droitwich which left at 06:20!!  The instructions were firm - we stop for 2 minutes and if you are not there - well too bad we will go without you!  It was a steam heritage trip to Dartmouth and back.  A treat the four of us had been promising ourselves since 2019 when we were booked to go on Tornado (the only modern steam train in the UK) when it went unserviceable and the trip was cancelled.  Something occurred in 2020 that stopped the world, 2021 was not a lot better and somehow we did not get around to it in 2022, so this was a long awaited treat.  We had expected to catch the train an hour later (and that seemed early enough!), but there were engineering works on the line, so we had to go and come back via Newport and the Severn tunnel.  The upside for Chris and I was the trip along the Severn when we remembered our jaunt down there with Tentatrice and Sue and Ken on Cleddau in 2015.  We picked up our steam engine in Taunton and it was not just any old steam engine - it was non other than Sir Nigel Gresley.
 A very rare photo of Chris and I where we both look okay!

Not such a good photo, but the fish and chips in Dartmouth were the best we have ever had
It was a fabulous day and well worth doing.

Then before we knew it Chris and I were off to Whitstable in Kent - why there you may wonder?  Well it is all the fault (unbeknown to them) of Ian and Irene on Free Spirit.  A couple of years ago (I think?) they visited the Battle of Britain Memorial in Folkestone.  That suddenly rang a big bell for Chris and I as his Dad (Fred) was a B of B veteran and he and Chris' Mum went to the laying of the foundation stone by the Queen Mother in July 1993.  Sadly they did not live long enough to see the completed memorial and somehow we had never got round to going.  We had the most amazing visit and found Fred's name on the wall of names.  In the entrance their is an electronic display of all those who were in the B of B along with details.  Fred was a rear gunner on Defiants - not a plane that most people associate with the B of B, but they were a vital part of the defence of our country.  Very few survived, so Fred and his pilot Frederick Hughes, but known as Des, were lucky to make it through relatively unscathed.  I found the scramble experience so moving, I was reduced to tears.  

Before we left we went for a wander round the shop when we came across something astounding (well to us it was) - a model of a Defiant, but not any old Defiant - it was the one that Des and Fred flew in the Battle of Britain.  It is a limited edition and if you look at the bottom you will see the names of both of them.  Also note the Red Hand of Ulster on the nose - Des was from Ulster and the five symbols (two are red and hard to see and three white) under the cockpit which denotes the number of planes they downed.  

And this is a picture of Fred under that very plane.

We obviously had to buy one, but ended up getting two so we have one to leave to each of our children in due course.  A very moving and emotional day and one we will always remember, so thank you Ian and Irene.

Whitstable is a fabulous place and the house we stayed in was so well placed that everything was within walking distance.  It also had private parking behind a locked gate for two cars.  That is worth a fortune in Whitstable where on road parking is almost non existent and the car parks cost a fortune.  If anyone fancies a visit I can highly recommend Seascape, Whitstable

August was a bit of a non event for us.  I will try to do better in the future and not leave posting for quite so long.  Even if no one reads my ramblings - I do enjoy looking back every now and then.  I still read quite a few blogs and we have recently met up with the Cleddau crew for dinner in the Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford and then the Chouette crew (non bloggers, but we met when we crossed The Wash with them in 2014) at The Boot Inn, Lapworth, both places on the Stratford Canal.  If anyone is a car journey away from us, please let me know and we will try to pop over and say hello.

And finally - Tentatrice as she is now. Please give them a wave if you go past.  We believe it means 'Our House' in Malay. 


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

I was sad to read about Monty, it is never easy making that decision and too many people don't make the right choice. You knew when was the right time and I'm sure if he could have talked, his words to you would have been, thank you. We both send you our condolences.

You were right about us visiting the Battle of Britain Memorial although it was Ian that did most of the wandering around. I think I was having problems with my knees at the time.

We saw Ken and Sue on the Ashby, it's always lovely to have a long natter with them although I still can't get my head around how long it has been since we last met.

Hopefully, we will be able to meet up with you at some point again one day. There is a lot of catching up to do.

Sending love

Jennie said...

Thank you Irene for your kind words. One day I am sure our paths will cross. Jennie

Pip and Mick said...

Oh Jennie, such sad news re Monty. I'm sure the house is so very quiet without him about. Pets capture a large part of our hearts and saying goodbye is such a hard thing to do.

I may be wrong but I think we may have seen Tentatrice sometime this year and that photo of you and Chris is lovely.

Take care
Pip Mick and Tilly

Jennie said...

Thank you Pip for your kind words. The house is, indeed, very quiet, but we are getting there. We do know that the people who bought Tentatrice intended to use her quite a lot, so I am sure they have been out and about this year. If you spot her again and have a camera to hand....! Jennie xx

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Jennie and Chris,
So sad to have lost Monty and at a relatively early age. A hard decision, but a good one. Sending you big hugs.

You have had a busy year and are clearly in better health now - that is a boon!

We are heading back to NZ in 13 days and we won't see you this trip. We are selling Waka Huia very shortly, and still thinking about what to do about coming back to the UK next year. We are sad to let the boat go, but it is time.

More hugs, Mxx