Thursday, 10 January 2013

Family Ties.....

Packing my case for a return trip to England created a good deal of worry recently.
An EasyJet flight meant restrictions and I had Christmas presents to take back for my family!
And what I wasn't prepared for, was the pre allocated seats they now issue.
It's so much more stressful flying these days, even more so when the seats are apart from those you are travelling with!
Em isn't keen on flying at the best of times, so you can imagine how delighted she was when I realised the only seats free happened to fall across the aisle, next to where I was wedged between a rather large couple!
At last I could relax, bags through and a reasonable seat with my daughter.

Our luck continued when we picked up our little bog standard hire car, realising it was a beautiful little pale blue Cinquecento!!!
A couple of nights with my sister in Sussex before collecting my eldest daughter, Lauren and heading for the Midlands.

I am always delighted to return to the place I grew up, as much as I couldn't wait to leave all those years ago in a plight to see something more of the world!
Basing myself with my parents meant I could help with stacking their wood delivery, something I have become a dab hand at having lived in rural Italy for so long!
As well as visiting dear old school chums and my other family from my first marriage, people whom I still hold close to my heart.

We all had a terrific week-end as by chance two of my nephews arrived and my sis which made quite a party together with family friends Daniele and Michael.
Daniele promised to send me a copy of her mother's Tarte Tatin recipe so I was thrilled, ever hungry for new recipes especially those passed down within a family!
She also told me not to worry when I make it for the first time because the original Tatin sisters, who ran a hotel restaurant in Lamotte-Beuvron at the beginning of the century, apparently dropped the tart hence it ended up upside down which made them and it famous!!!
I always enjoy time with Daniele.... she is great company.

View of the back field from my bedroom at home.... a frosty morning!


My trips back home would not be complete without spending time with my dearest friend Mish and seeing her Dad, Barclay, who I have probably mentioned before, still lives in the same house...the one where we played as children from the age of 5.
The house is full of very fond memories....nights of camping out at the bottom of the garden, carrying down piping hot jacket potatoes with lashings of butter and salt and the home where we frequently dipped our jam jars into the pond under the beautiful gigantic Weeping Willow, or so it seemed then.
The place where I looked after Montmerency, Mish's beloved mouse when she was away with the Guides!
I didn't particularly like the smelly thing but there wasn't anything I wouldn't do for my dear friend...the same today!

 I found Barclay in the same great spirit as always, an independent free thinking slightly eccentric gent whom I love.

Me thrilled to be with Tina, Ron and Izzy

This time around I was so pleased to make a visit to Tina and her family, another old school chum.
We have probably remained friends since the age of 12, Tina has always been dear to me.
I remember Tina having their first babe, Craig, and can still see her changing his towelling nappy as we knelt in front of their fire!
Tina and Ron met in the 6th Form at school when Ron came to work on the school heating system!
One of the very few couples if not only, whom have survived the passage of time,( known to me that is!)...... now grandparents, they are a wonderful tight knit family all living within a short car journey from one another.
It was great catching up with our lives, made memorable when a Sparrow Hawk flew into their garden!


Vonnie and I go back to when our children went to the same infant school in the village of Great Bowden.
We have always remained in touch, in fact it was Vonnie and Alan who looked after our 2 dogs Milo and Rufeo for a week before we drove to pastures new in Italy...........fortunate to have such dear friends.
We met for lunch to share our news since the last time we had seen one another....Welton's in Great Bowden is great for that, a nice little intimate place for chatting and eating.
I also collected tickets for the production of Calendar Girls. Vonnie had a main part, keen to see her acting skills I secured 3 tickets for Mum and Mish to come along!
The production was presented at The Coplow Centre in Billesdon by Billesdon Drama Society and great they were too, a very professional group.
We all enjoyed our theatre night immensely and would definitely book again next time.
Rear garden at The George Stamford

Mum and Dad outside The George

My parents

Enough time to enjoy a memorable lunch treat from Dad at my favourite place, The George at Stamford!
Made more enjoyable by the beautiful Reindeer Christmas decorations and tiny white lights illuminating an abundance of Christmas trees growing within the grounds.
We dined on the most delicious lunch!
I took note of the small upside down Christmas Trees hanging from the high ceilings, the decorations were particular.
The George always feels special to me with its grand rooms, stunning oak panelling, roaring fires and friendly staff.

Then we walked our lunch off taking in the view across the River Welland which had reached an alarming level!

And of course.......... made a visit to the book shop!

An elated Georgie with week old Ben!

Before I left England I was lucky enough to meet with darling Georgie, Em's old friend from when they were small and Dave and have a cuddle with week old Ben.........their beautiful baby!

Not forgetting Ben's totally adoring father Dave!

So delighted to see them! other Mum!

I visited my lovely other Mum whom I have known since I was 17!
She also lives in the same house that has been in the family for donkeys years.
It's comforting seeing her there, once again this house holds many joyful memories.
Lou still rides everywhere on her bicycle and is known by all in the town.
She has always cared for everyone and looked after all her brothers and sister.
A great cake maker, she once supplied Joules.
Mum is one of those wonderful people who puts everyone before herself, she is an inspiration and I love her dearly. 

Literally, as I was leaving Market Harborough, I popped in to see the Gilbert's.
A wonderful aladdin's cave of crockery, bake wear and everything else you would ever want for your kitchen!

The Gilbert's

The couple have always offered an exceptionally friendly, personal service and bend over backwards to ensure the customer walks away with the very perfect thing they need.
I derive immense pleasure from frequenting the shop and have remained a loyal customer when ever I have been around, for a very long time.
Visiting their shop, Frank Gilbert's, initiated by Mr. Frank Gilbert senior will always be a special experience to me.

I am collecting this lovely Cornishware from their shop, Cornish Blue.
It was first produced in the 1920's by T.G. Green in Church Gresley, Derbyshire and has become a British Design Classic.
It is said that the colours reminded a T.G. Green employee of the blue skies and white-crested waves of little bit of England!

Thank you for enabling me to take the photographs and for the trip down memory lane!

1 comment:

  1. Hi big sis,

    Really enjoyed your latest blogs - caught up again from last Septembers...
    Fantastic photo's and great to catch up with your travels and life in Italy.
    Itching to come out and visit you - maybe when i loose my job.
    Lots of love,
    Gary and Stef