Today is 6th June and 76 years ago the D~Day landings happened, and it is seen as the beginning of the end of WW2. Back in May last year Phil and I went to France and as well as Mont Saint Michel and Conde, we visited some of the places, museums and cemeteries around the Normandy Beaches. Whilst I’ve been off work die to the Corona thing, I’ve been compiling a book of our travels there, and got it finished this week. I’ve uploaded the PDF version here. A couple of the pages are double spread pictures which get broken up for single page viewing, but the rest are OK. Feel free to have a scroll through!

Day 243

This time next week I should be sitting on a terrace in Tuscany with a glass of wine and some stunning views. That’s if the airline pilots don’t go on strike or Extinction Rebellion drones shut down the airport. Luckily that sort of thing only happens in London at the bigger popular airports, Newcastle is not one of those. I hope. I know flying is a big no-no now, and it doesn’t fit in with my eco-warrior efforts, but I’m going to forgive myself this time, it’s my present from Phil for making it to 60, an age neither of us thought I would get to. 🤣 Haven’t been on a ‘plane since my trip to see Eddy in Poland 2 1/2 years ago so it’s not a regular happening.

Net year I will be back to driving through to Normandy again which is going to be a pain after Brexit by the sounds of things, green card, International Driving Permit needed at the least, but isn’t going to put me off. Just p**ses me off that it’s going to be necessary.

This week I’ll be washing and ironing holiday clothes, shopping for new stuff ( it’s the law 🙂 ) and trying to decide which cameras and lenses to take- that’s the hardest bit. Also going to be downloading a book to read on the laptop but haven’t decided which one yet. Will need to check with Kim on that 🙂

So a busy week ahead. My hubby announced he was taking me out for posh nosh tonight, a table already booked in an Italian restaurant I’ve not been to before, as we didn’t go out for my 60th. I’m quite spoiled really. But I’m worth it 🤣🤣

day 243 ~ preparations

WIP Wednesday on Thursday Thoughts Day

The mosaic table top is finished and installed in our living room and looks quite nice and appropriate there I think.

I should have posted this yesterday but got carried away with planning our week away.  Regular readers will have followed my posts on our trip to WW2 sites in France, Belgium & Holland last October and as the model show that Phil attended at the end of that trip is on again in a couple of weekends time, so we are having another week travelling before we get there.

Still sorting it out, but we’ll be doing Arnhem and the Overloon Museum again, definitely Nijmegan which we missed last time, and possibly a bit of Germany, but ending up at the model show in Eindhoeven.  Of course a camera (or 2 or 3!) will be coming with me, and I’m hoping to give the Rolleiflex SL35 a good workout, but I’ll still need my Fuji for the model show.

Got a bit of a hiccup to sort out in Germany, who knew there were 2 Munsters??  I (now) know one has an umlaut over it and the other doesn’t, but it’s a bit confusing!  The Munster we want to go to is not as short a travelling distance as the one we THOUGHT we were going to. 🙄 Never mind, there’s still time to cancel the hotel! 🤣 But there’s a panzer tank museum in the far away Munster that Phil really wanted to go to, so we may yet decide to do it. Phil will have a fit when he gets home from work and I appraise him of this situation. The moral of this sorry tale is- CHECK YOUR UMLAUTS people! Make sure they’re not sneaking up behind you to b ite you on the ass! 

Laters Gaters 😀 

Thursday Thoughts

Well this is my first chance to do a post since returning from our holiday on Monday night.  Washing done, photo’s (633!) all sorted and uploaded to my photo site, and was back to work yesterday. I also had a dental appointment yesterday afternoon that has resulted in me having to take the rest of this week off!  Dental pain and trauma is just so horrible, and I’m surviving on soup :/ .  Never mind it’ll all get better soon I hope.  I’ll be posting the main reports on all the places we visited over on the universe blog.  I’ve cried a fair few times this holiday, at the wickedness of war, the sadness of young men buried too soon, the humility of those who survived, and at the kindness of strangers in other lands.  I’ve learned a lot of history, and seen some amazing places, had some lovely food, met some really cool people, driven many miles through France, Belgium and Holland and had a great time in the company of my wonderful, slightly mad husband.  We lost everything we had at least three times, where’s my purse? Where’s my other camera battery? where did I put this, that and the other.  Phil left his box of models on top of the car in the carpark in Dover and only realised 10 minutes after we checked into the hotel, (run Forest! Run!).  We got into Europe via Calais without a hitch but got searched by armed soldiers (they looked no older than 18!) on the way back at Calais. Then searched by the UK border force at Calais. Then pulled off and questioned and searched by the UK border force in Dover- practicing for Brexit no doubt! I pity all those Brits who go off to Provence and the like every summer, they’re in for a treat! 😀  Driving in Europe is lovely. Long straight motorways and no-one sits in the middle lane holding everyone else up, the only traffic jam was getting around Antwerp on the ring road, but even that was moving reasonably well.   Got back to Dover and then took 13hrs to do the what should be a 6hr journey home, because of roadworks, traffic jams and stupid sods who crashed and had the A1 closed!  In Europe we  found Radio 4 on AM and got edumacated about Lucien Freud the artist, the Russian revolution, on womens hour we laughed at Sarah Milligan and listened to Hilary Clinton about democracy and social media. Turned off the god spots but found  Jane Gardam (author) talking to Kirsty Young on desert Island discs, all fascinating stuff. Phil did his judging at the model show, which was huge and heaving with modellers, trade stands, club displays and some amazing models in the competition, over 2000!  I couldn’t photograph them all but did the best I could before my eyes went all googly.  Here are a few I-phone shots I took along the way

Dinner at our fave Chinese restaurant the night before we sailed.

Banksy in Dover making a point, or unmaking one I suppose.

white cliffs and seagulls (no bluebirds!)

waiting for dinner in Bruges

where did I put the car park ticket!!??

lunchtime selfie in Waterloo

one top of Lions Mound, Waterloo

soldier at Calais

going home



Thursday Thoughts

Not too bad a week for me, work has been busy but fun, the shed now has flooring, and my boss gave me a beautiful wooden desk for it, just needs Phil to put it all together.  My herb garden is still growing nicely

and my mum’s plant is shooting off gorgeous red leaves in the garden.

My thoughts have been busy today, as well as the Easter weekend coming up (more shed work and trips to B&Q) we are having two of our grandkids staying overnight tonight so I have been sorting out bedding, doing washing etc etc.  But also we now have a trip to Poland to think about.  We are going over to visit with Eddy and his family and do some photo’s for him so he can use them to advertise his B&B.  The wonders of modern technology are such that emails have been exchanged with Eddy to arrange dates, the flights have been booked and paid for, on-line check-in achieved and boarding passes for the flight sent to my iPhone, all from the comfort of my little office. A far cry from my first ever trip abroad which involved traipsing into town and sitting for what seemed like hours in a travel agency going through all the options.  We are only going for a long weekend, travelling out on a Friday and getting back on the following Monday, but it will still be enough time to do the photo’s and see some sights. Phil is even more excited than I am as it was reading about Poland during WW2 when he was 14 that got him into history. And we are so looking forward to meeting Eddy and his family.   Eddy and his wife Gosia built their own home from ground up, and more or less living off the grid, you can read about how all that came about on his fascinating blog HERE.   I’m looking forward as well to seeing all the animals as there are cats and dogs and goats and rabbits.  I’ve ordered a travel tripod as mine is too big for flying with and extra memory cards to make sure I can do a good job.  This will be our first time away in a couple of years, we didn’t go away whilst we had Storm and Skye as one then the other got sick, so it is quite exciting.

I still miss Skye a lot, she pops into my head several times a day and I have to remember she’s gone.  There’s a quick flash of her in my brain when I travel home from work and think she’ll be there, before I realise it’s not so.  I still shed tears over it all.

But good things to look forward to, as well as our Poland weekend at the end of this month, we are also doing a week away driving from Calais to Eindhoven in October, with stops along the way to see stuff, and a model show in Eindhoven at the end, where Phil has been asked to be a judge and have a display of his models.

So on with the housework before the kids arrive, Happy Easter peeps!