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  • clivenmel

Aug 3rd

We're back!


Sorry for the delay but since our return from holiday we have had problems with the webserver, which has resulted in us not being able to upload anything to our website! Hopefully this will soon be resolved and we shouldn't have any more problems, we hope!  You will also notice that the blog page has changed, this is because our website provider has been upgrading the site - probably what is causing all the trouble, updates always do!  So at the moment I can't add any  photographs to the blog but this should be sorted out over the next couple of days.  I also apologise for any weird punctuation, eg random question marks!  This once again is the website converting word!


Well it's been a while since the last blog and a lot has happened in between.  Vicki came and collected us from the boat on Thursday 16th July and drove us up to Huddersfield.  We went straight to my brother Nick's as Clive had to get the MOT certificate for his TR6 then Nick took him to the Post Office to get his tax disc.  He needed the car to be legal immediately as Nick had invited him to attend the Huddersfield Motorclub's annual reunion that evening and of course everyone goes in their cars, both new and old.  We had a lovely afternoon in the garden at Nick's with his two lovely grandchildren, Ella and Barnaby.  They have grown so much since we last saw them! 


On Saturday 18th July we were up beforedawn getting ready for our flight to Palma, Mallorca and the taxi picked us all up at 5.00am - itshard work enjoying yourself isn't it!  Wehad a pleasant flight and it was lovely and warm when we arrived.  We had hired a people carrier for the week asour villa was quite out of the way and nowhere near shops or anything else sotransport was essential.  The vehicle wasa Fiat Doblo, a seven seater with approximately six inches of boot space!  However as there were six adults, awheelchair and six people's luggage to get into it, it was perfectly obvious assoon as we saw it that it wasn't big enough! Clive went back over to the Europcar office to explain our predicamentbut unfortunately they didn't have any larger vehicles available so we just hadto take it.  So with a shoe-horn and alot of ingenuity we finally got everybody in - just! 


We set off, following the very precise instructionsgiven to us by the tour operator, and soon found Villa Can Corro and it waslovely.  It was set in the heart of thecountry, nowhere near all the razzmatazz of Alcudia itself.  We had our own swimming pool with lovely gardens surrounding the villa itself and the scenery around was stunning.  As soon as we were settled in, Clive (who was the designated driver), our brother-in-law Ivan and I headed off to Alcudia to find a supermarket so that we could stock up on supplies for the week.  Once back at the villa with our booty we quickly got into our swimming stuff and went for a swim to cool off.  The pool was gorgeous.


All in all we had a lovely holiday ? it was very hot and we even managed to get Clive's mum and dad in the pool!  Mum hadn't brought a swimsuit with her as she had no intention of going in the pool whatsoever but we managed to persuade her in the end and she really enjoyed herself.


Interestingly, when we first went into the pool we  noticed that there was a very small variety of long-legged wasp which used the pool as a source of drinking water.  At the shallow end was a step and the water above this step was very shallow, this is where they came to drink.  They would alight on the water and the surface tension would support them whilst they drank, all the while keeping their wings up so that they didn?t get wet.  This was all very well when the water was still but when there was anyone swimming in the pool it obviously disturbed  the water considerably and many of the wasps got swamped!  Therefore I spent the whole week on Lifeguard Duty rescuing the wasps that were drowning with a sieve I had found in a drawer in the kitchen!  Sometimes the wasps I fished out looked completely dead but as soon as they were placed on the hot concrete edge of the pool they would twitch and revive and after a few minutesthey would flap their wings madly to dry them and then fly off!  I actually can't believe I did this - I hatewasps as a rule but these were actually quite cute and it was fascinating to watch them coming to drink.  I managed to get a photograph of them floating on the water in the little garden pool aswell. 


One of the things we enjoyed about our holiday was the wildlife in and around the villa garden. Each evening we were fascinated watching the gecko's which came out to catch insects attracted by the lights. They were absolutely gorgeous little things - needless to say I took far too many photos of them!  There are some in the gallery.  We also saw lots of dragonflies, one of which was bright scarlet. As it was so hot the Cicadas were out in force, their "song" is quite amazing.  Considering the insect itself is about the size of a large beetle the noise that emanates from it is extremely loud and sounds as if it is produced electronically!  It sounds a bit like an electric drill whens everal are singing together.  I managed to photograph one who was hiding in the oleanders ? it took me a while to actually pinpoint where the sound was coming from but I finally spotted him!  There were also lots of birds in the garden.  We also spotted birds of prey rising on the thermals above the villa but never managed to get a decent shot of them.  Clive thinks they were Peregrine Falcons or their European equivalent. The other bird that we saw quite frequently was an Egret.  They used to fly over in the evenings and come down to drink on the next property where there was a reservoir.


Whilst we were away we had some lovely news from back home in Huddersfield, our niece Holly (Carol and Ivan's youngest daughter) informed us all that her boyfriend Matt had proposed to her and that she had accepted! So, many Congratulations to Holly and Matt.  There may be wedding bells next year!


All too soon the holiday was over and we flew back to Manchester - it felt quite chilly here in old Blighty after the Mediterranean heat of the previous week!  However we didn't have time to dwell on that as we had things to do and places to go!  On Sunday Clive and his father drove up to my brother Nick's to collect Clive's little classic car, his beloved Triumph TR6, which he was going to drive back down to Cambridgeshire.  In the meantime I was travelling back down with my sister Thelma and our luggage.  Clive was very concerned about the weather because under normal circumstances his TR6 doesn't come out in the rain (I think he is worried it might melt!) only on lovely dry, sunny days.  There is one very good reason for this as well - the windscreen wipers don't work very well!  Well it was built in 1973 so it's doing very well really.   The plan was that he was going to watch the Grand Prix with Nick and then set off on his journey South.  Needless to say it was raining when he set off and ten minutes later the left windscreen wiper fell off!  He managed to stop and retrieve the wiper and put it in the car, fortunately the wiper on the driver's side was fine and so he could see where he was going. The rain finally fizzled out and the rest of his journey was uneventful.  Thelma and I of course had set off earlier and hardly saw any rain at all on our trip down, just a couple of light showers.  We arrived back at the boat around 4pm.  The first thing I did when I got back was nip to the office and get tokens for the laundry as I had some stuff to wash and dry ready for my next holiday!


Clive finally arrived around 6ish and we decided to go out for dinner as I didn't have anything in the freezer that would feed three people - everything was in double portions! Thelma drove us into Godmanchester and we found a lovely Chinese restaurant, the food was absolutely delicious.


We were up early on Monday morning as Thelma and I had to drive to Burwell, which is a village in Suffolkt hat is not far from Cambridge.   Thelma and I have been attending the Burwell Bash for several years now, Thelma first went in 1997 and I started going in 2001.  It really is a fantastic week of wonderful music and great camaraderie. We arrive on the Monday morning and within half an hour we are in a timewarp - really weird - you feel as if you never left!  Thelma plays the fiddle and her tutor for the second year running was Jock Tyldesley, who is a master of Appellation,Cajun and Old Time fiddle music - absolutely brilliant.  I have to say I love his music so much itmakes me wish I could play the fiddle!  Iof course play flute and whistle (not at the same time!) and my tutor, as ever, is Brian Finnegan - the most brilliant flute and whistle player ever, he is just amazing - how anyone can move their fingers as fast as he does is just unbelievable!  I touch-type and can type pretty fast but even my fingers can't move as fast as Brian's, they are a blur!  Jock and Brian are ably assisted by two former pupils of Burwell; Lizzy Doe on fiddle and Katherine Mann (was Millman) on flute and whistle.  They are both fantastic musicians too and it is great to see these two young musicians continuing to keep folk music alive for the generations to come.  There is also an Accordion class led by Sam Pert (another brilliant young musician) and finally a guitar class led by the inimitable Ed Boyd.  This is what Burwell is all about, we have people ranging in age from youngsters at 10 to the more mature in their 70?s!  It's a real melting pot.   Anyway, suffice it to say Thelma and I had a wonderful time, learned loads of brilliant tunes and came away buzzing as usual!  Our only disappointment was the weather! Considering I have been going to Burwell for the last 9 years and it has always been red hot and sunny, this week was quite a let down!  However it didn't spoil our enjoyment.  I believe Clive really enjoyed his week of peace and quiet too!


It was good to get back on board Lady Arwen on Friday evening, having called at Gareth's on the way home to spend a bit of time with him and Indeia (our granddaughter), he even cooked dinner for us - that's a first!  I have to say, he makes a mean spaghetti Bolognese!  We had planned to go to our folk club at Whittlesford on the Friday night but by the time we got back to the boat it was after 8.00pm and we were all exhausted, so we had an early night instead!


We decided to stay put on Saturday as rain was forecast.  Thelma and I were intending to practice some of the new tunes we had learned at Burwell but somehow we never quite got around to it.  So we had a very leisurely, relaxing day, just what we all needed.  That evening there was the most spectacular sunset, the colours were absolutely amazing!


Indeia is celebrating her fourth birthday on Tuesday 4th August (I was actually at Burwell when she was born in 2005!).  We decided to have a family day out with her on Sunday so we all went to the Nene Valley Railway at Wansford (near Peterborough) because Thomas the Tank Engine was actually pulling trains this weekend.  We were all very excited to see Thomas and got on board for a little shuttle trip to Yarwell and back.  When we arrived back in Wansford we all trooped to the funfair and Indy had a great time on the bouncy castle, bouncy slide, bungy trampoline, a teacup ride and even a roller coaster.  She also had a go on the Catch a Duck and won a fairy wand!  After all that we got on board another train, which was being pulled by one of Thomas's bigger brothers, and that one took us to Peterborough.  When we got to Peterborough we went to a fantastic restaurant called The Sessions, which Vicki had told us about.  It is in what was once the courthouse and prior to that was a gaol!  The Sunday carvery was absolutely scrumptious and we all enjoyed it very much indeed, even Indy!  Then it was back to the station for the trip back to Wansford.  We then droveback to Gareth's house and Indy opened all her presents and we brought in the birthday cake for her to blow out the candles. She was thrilled to bits with the new bike from her daddy!  Then we all said goodbye to Gareth and Indy. Vicki and Ben went on their way and Clive, Thelma and I drove back toBuckden.  We had all had a really lovely day, especially Indy!


It is now Monday morning and Thelma has left us - we are alone again.  It's been a very hectic few weeks and we are really looking forward to a bit of peace and tranquillity again.  We are going to have a bit of excitement now though - we have to take the boat out of the marina onto the river and then moor up at the services for a pump-out!  This will be the first time we have moved theboat since we arrived three weeks ago!


We are not planning on going anywhere until 14th August so there will not be much to report in the blog for a while, but once again, please don't go away, normal service will be resumed soon!


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