Flat out

Photo: The completed task

We were on a mission. To complete Jan’s nearly god daughter’s school project. In December a letter arrived from Molly with Flat Stanley. He’d been flattened by a steam roller and was now very flat. The letter asked Jan to take Stanley on adventures and send him back to her school with photographs and a letter telling her what he’d been up to.

Inspired by Jan’s 2018 Monopoly running challenge we bought just the board (it folds flat) an proceeded to walk the entire board, taking pictures with Flat Stanley in shot for the record.

As you can imagine, we got quite a few odd looks as we held up a laminated cartoon character to photograph. It took us a few days but we submitted the board and letter before the deadline. Mission Imflattable complete .

Let’s see what Molly and the school make of it.

Time warp

How to stretch your age a little. Have your birthday in one decade and celebrate in another.

To be fair, Pete’s birthday falls in December when they tend to be overlooked, or even worse, combined with Christmas.

Other than Pete and Len we knew no one else at the party so we got to meet lots of their friends. We met people from Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria and even some Brits..

A great night out.

Cobweb clearing in Cornwall

Photo: starting out at Rame Head

A few fun days in Cornwall was just what we needed. With friends Angel and Neil we enjoyed clean air, walks, Cornish fishing villages, laughs, pubs and fish. Lot’s of fish. Cornish crab sandwiches became the lunch time mantra.

One of the joys of visiting sea side towns and villages in the winter is that they are generally devoid of tourists. Hypocritical we know, as that’s precisley what we were. The down side is that not everywhere is open. In Port Isaac the ice cream parlour and the fish and chip shop were closed. Even the bins were closed!

Fortunately, the pubs were open.

During a visit to Camel Valley Vineyard we were treated to a sales pitch which included the brilliant line:

This is our sparkling rosé. It’s won a best in the world award for four years running, so if you don’t like it, it’s you!

Further laughs came when we were discussing old photographs. Angela suggested we could look through their old wedding photos. Lacking an enthusiastic response she added “We could see whose still alive”. So began a bizarre conversation about an Alan Partridge style TV pitch: “We’ve got this idea for a new show where we track down old family photos and play Dead or Alive?”.

Thanks to Angela and Neil for a great time during which we all did our bit to support the Cornsh fishing industry.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Yesterday we said goodbye to Jan’s father, Roy, at his funeral. He died on the 30th December, eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

After diagnosis Roy had agreed that his brain could be used for medical research into this terrible disease. As he also had vascular dementia his brain was of great value to researchers all over the world. He hoped it would help other people, knowing full well it was too late to help himself.

Jan was with him for his last four days. Keeping him company overnight as part of the family’s commitment to make sure he wasn’t alone for his final days.

The ceremony included three of his children, and one of his grandchildren, telling us stories from their childhood with their Grand/Dad. Both funny and sad, it was very moving to hear four adults, including Jan, tell their stories with such affection for their “Grumps/Pops”.

Roy had been a season ticket holder at Anfield. The final goodbye was to Gerry and the Pacemakers “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. It’s going to be tough for Jan to hear the Kop sing it when we go to Anfield on February 1st, but I think Roy would be proud.

If you’d like to know more about Alzheimer’s disease then go to the Alzheimer’s Society website.

Flour power

Photo: David in full flow explaining what happened to him.

This evening we visited a friend of ours who ended up in hospital with a broken pelvis. David had been circling The Regent’s Park with ICC when he clipped the wheel of the bike in front and down he went. Falling from the saddle is an occupational hazard for this bike and horse rider. He’s fallen from both in equal measure.

Would you believe it, David and Catriona were due to fly to India today for a cycling tour.

There were already three other members of ICC around his bed when we arrived. They had brought him flowers, we took him flour. As he couldn’t go to India, we took a little bit of India to him. A packet of poppadums and mango chutney.

Memory Lane

Last night we sat down to watch Heston’s Marvellous Menu: Back to the Noughties. In the programme Heston Blumenthal re-united his old team and re-created the Fat Duck restaurant as close to 2001 as they could make it.

It included tracking down some artwork that is no longer on the walls. We recognised the artwork from when we celebrated Colin’s 50th birthday there, 5th May 2010.

We pulled up the photo only to discover that Colin was wearing the very same shirt featured above. It’s now relegated to a TV watching shirt, but what a co-incidence.

It was a better memory than earlier in the day. We went to the London Museum’s ‘London Calling’ exhibition. A celebration of The Clash’s iconic album. Disappointing. It was crammed into a corner and not that well curated. There were quite a few gentlemen of a certain age, those of us lucky enough to have seen them in the seventies. At least for us the Museum is only a five minute walk away, otherwise, travelling from afar they would have taken a “Train in vain”.

Searching for the Fat Duck photo we found this one of us having a birthday breakfast back in 2010 with Colin’s uncle Alan and Auntie Jill who were flying back to New Zealand later that day. There’s that shirt again.

Friends re-united

Photo: Earlier in the day (during the night) we saw Baga Chipz, a drag act at the Channel 4’s Alternative Election Night. That night another chip reference.

Three months ago Andy, Cliff, Gino, Jyde and Sean came out to Italy for the third ICC Pansèr Twinning trip. In a remarkable act of generousity they treated us to a meal out at 12:51 in Islington to say thank you.

Over lunch in Italy, they clearly paid attention when we chatted about our ambition to build a house in the UK. Not only were we treated to a wonderful meal but they bought us a book about self building and tickets to a self build show in January.

We had such a great time we completely forgot to take a poto of the evening.

Thank you guys.