Where’s the summer?

We can’t believe there are only two full weeks of the holidays left. And we feel that we haven’t had (a) a holiday and (b) a summer.

The Thames at Cricklade – so there was one sunny day

More rain today. The bathroom roof has held up, but the water has been pooling outside. It’s concrete, on a slope with no soak-away. I think I may just have worked out why the floor is buckling….

J was in the Big Adventure Club in Prior Park today. He seems to have enjoyed it, although he eschewed the “water play” session. Unlike him, but as it was tipping down outside, it was probably a sound (though illogical) choice.

After dropping him off, I wondered around the environs of Cricklade, then had my second breakfast in the excellent Staceys. I say “excellent” because they do a brilliant super-value big breakfast and I have discovered a liking for thickly buttered toast. But I shall be as big as a horse by the time J leaves Prior Park.

Roads flooded on the way to collect J. Not pleasant.

I was, however, delighted to see some gypsies had moved into a field just outside Cricklade on the Purton Road. Two delightful colourful old caravans (smoke was billowing from one) and some proper gypsy horses; one cobby and black and white, one cobby and strawberry roan. Am I too old to run away and join them?

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It is hard to believe it is nearly a week since J went into the John Radcliffe for his “bronch.”

As I got the call to bring him in on the Thursday (whilst mooching around the Designer Outlet), we didn’t have time to get nervous. J spent the day enjoying himself at a Smiley Cat’s workshop at the Steam Museum. Afterwards, he seemed happy enough to “buy into” our explanation that the doctors were going to give him sleepy dust and put a magic camera in him when he was asleep. Excited even, which is either a relief or terribly sad, depending on your perspective.

The worst part was the no food after midnight and no liquids after 6am rule. Our plans to get up early (before Jensen) were thwarted .  We wrestled with our consciences as we tucked into our pain au chocolats and tried not to listen to the protests and cries of hunger.

On Friday, we arrived at the JR an hour early. Having allowed for Oxford traffic, we were caught out when there was none. We quickly adapted to “hospital time” (endless waiting interspersed with flurries of activities). Jensen got a bit suspicious at the Emla cream (used to numb his veins). Otherwise, he enjoyed himself on Play Station (I think he rates the JR’s children’s ward up there with the play centre).

X  Ray

Not J’s (no clouds)

He took the canula well (distracted by the play therapist who challenged him to Find Stig) and did a good impression of a drunk as the anesthetic took effect. We kissed him good bye and left Dr T to do her stuff.

Twenty minutes  and a couple of strong coffees later, we were back on the ward with a very sleepy Jensen. His sats were good and he was soon off oxygen. For about an hour though, he was very drowsy, so I enjoyed flicking through Ideal Home Magazine and having those desultory parent-child conversations I’d always dreamed about. At one point he did complain that I had two heads and he kept asking when the doctor was going to give him the sleepy dust. But he was soon back to normal and demanding food.

We get the results in about two weeks’ time. Dr M says one of J’s lungs had a lot of white gunk in it, but no obvious signs of infection. Over the past couple of days he’s been quite productive, but we’ll just have to wait and see. At least the “bronch” went well and we can now concentrate on getting him out of doors and using his lungs.

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The ones that got away…resumé

As the body count mounts

Number One, nearly got to exchange before “minor” (or not so minor) structural problems revealed.

Number Two, absolutely delightful, but we dragged our heels because of perceived flood issues – and went for Number One instead (not the safe option we thought) and when we revisited it to make an offer it had gone.

Number Three, more prevarication, during which it “sold” (actually not convinced that I can survive a location more than 10 kms from the nearest source of fresh coffee).

Number Four….more prevarication (or “research” as I call it) under offer….just when we were about to make a move.

Number Five (well, sort of). We never got as far as viewing – estate agents phoned to say an offer had been made, which had been accepted, but we could keep our appointment and consider making a counter-offer. Nice to know high ethical standards live on…..

Ian now jokes that I could hire myself out to frustrated sellers. As soon as I start to show an interest, the house goes under offer…..a prediction that is proving uncannily plausible as a possible No 6 apparently now also has an offer pending.

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Pipped to the post again……

Another house escapes us….after much prevarication we were going to pursue a “project” in Purton…but were pipped to the post.

So back to the drawing board. Meanwhile, the bathroom roof here has sprung a leak. We have been blaming Jensen’s nocturnal loo hunting expeditions. Unfairly, it transpires. Yesterday evening, he ran into the kitchen, clutching his willy and crying it wasn’t me. This time, I could see droplets on the ceiling in addition to the splattered floor and toilet pan.So he’s off the hook.

Standing on the bags of sand in the garden, surveying the asbestos roof, I could see that the down gutter stops short and drains over the roof, which could explain the saggy plaster board. Still, interesting to gain a tenant’s perspetive.

Otherwise, Jensen is still having problems with mucus in his lungs, not helped by his finding it difficult to do his breathing exercises properly. Tomorrow he is meeting the CF team in Swindon.

Apart from that nothing exciting on the horizon until we venture West for our annual pilgrimage to Blue Anchor Bay. Ian is looking forward to hearing the rain on the tin roof at night….remaining unconvinced that lying in the bath at home, anticipating the pitter patter of more local precipitation, is much the same.

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Worringly silent on OSL

We have had a few lazy days post-Bristol, mooching, sticking to my resolution of not cooking and trying to keep Jensen in check. Jensen was back in Bristol with the Big Adventure Club on Thursday on a trip to @Bristol. He loved it.

At John Radcliffe on Tuesday, he got another rotten score in his lung test so am now trying to sort out the DNase with Dr Reidy in High Wycombe whilst we are, in fact, now domiciled 80 miles away. And it was never easy……Today (Friday) he has been blowing up balloons and then chasing them upstairs as some sort of impromptu physio. Jensen, not Dr Reidy, obviously.

Today is also the day the BT man is meant to come and fit the landline. Well, he’s been, had a look around, appeared surprised to find there was no BT line (which is a bit odd given the request was to put a BT line in) and has now disappeared again – apparently he is driving to Purton to try and find the other end of the line. Meanwhile, Jensen is doing something creative with a piece of string and two tin cans.

My other main activities this week have been house-hunting and trying to get a wash finished from start to finish. The condenser drier here (which I have posted on before) would be more suited to residency in a Damian Hirst exhibition than the kitchen.  Nothing comes out drier than it went in. Nothing comes out cleaner than it went in. With the intermittent (but consistent) rain here that’s been an interesting combination. I find myself yearning for the lights of the Metropolis and the promise of a Laudramat.

Still the sun is out again now and the slugs are glistening in the dappled light. There’s room in the fridge for a bottle of Pear Cider (my latest discovery) and I’ll soon put Old Shaw Lane to the Domino’s test. Do they deliver?

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Back from Bristol

We got back from Bristol late yesterday afternoon. J has been on the loo most of the morning following a creon deficiency (probably down to the increased brownie consumption and a greater share of nachos than anticipated). That and the thought of his trip to the JR (and the anti-climax of being back home) means he’s not an entirely happy bunny.

Bristol was sunny and fun. We had a lazy time, moving between the Marriott on College Green and the various attractions around the harbour, so a pretty narrow area really. The sunshine and seagulls made us feel vaguely coastal. The only downside was my realization that the hotel suite was bigger than the footprint of our cottage.

We visited the pool (numerous times) J still clinging to his float, but enjoying it immensely. We visited the City Museum and the aquarium again, where I enjoyed watching the octupus misbehave and we all enjoyed feeding time on the coral reef. We wandered up Park Street, stopping at the Designers Guild again, where the cafe is mid-refurbishment, took in a trip around the harbour on a packet boat. Then back to Pizza Express again in the evenings.

Jensen on boat looking at houses on riverside

Unfortunately, we got the days mixed up and missed out on M Shed (closed Mondays) but revisited the SS Great Britain (J’s first visit). It has come on a lot since our last visit just over seven years ago and is now in dry dock. With the humidifiers sucking 80% of the water out of the air, we worked on the basis it was not too much of a risk to J. Well worth the visit.

The ship is fully restored and we marvelled at how small the cabins were (even in first class) and how hierachical it was (an actual line on the deck only first class passengers could cross). The museum tries hard to be authentic – even smells recreated (vomit, horse maure, burning food)….great for children.

Despite my best intentions, I bought two books in the gift shop – I am still fascinated by Bristol’s past and the whole pirate thing……sadly we missed out on Clifton and my favourite chocolate shop-come-cafe. Still, there is an urban art event in a few weeks’ time in Nelson street that I would like to make it to…..

Bristol floating harbour redevelopement

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Another sunny day in Cricklade

Drive time continues to improve, notwithstanding the HGVs and landfill traffic. No ponies or tractors this morning. But it is school holidays and gloriously sunny.

Still no movement on the property front (I’ve been watching the dust form on CB Slade’s windows in the heat haze). And those vendors in the market, by and large, appear to be (a) disinterested, (b) insanely optimistic, or (c) just insane.

Tomorrow, I am visiting a class (a) (vendor has to be pressed and pressed again to allow a viewing). Strangely the property has been on the market for over a year with a string of different agents.

This morning, I walked through the churchyard (quentissentially English) to have a look at our abortive “purchase.” The shared driveway (which the vendor has since apparently sold off independently to give the cunning appearance of a price reduction) is now also shared with lots of scaffolding…….

Other than that, and Tesco’s, Cricklade remains a charming little town of honied stone and olde world charm. I fed my mind in the charity shop, buying Jacobson’s the Finkler Question (which I have been meaning to read ever since I fell behind the Book Club’s schedule) and my ever-expanding waistline in Stacey’s (scrambled egg on heavily buttered toast – bliss).

Back home to the tedium of work and a complete absence of any evidence of our purchasers forwarding mail. The Post Office redirect has now kicked in (Johnny Boden has found me in my Swindon hide-out), but that’s about it. Nothing from agent or solicitors. OMG, I’ve just outed myself as a class B (insanely optimistic vendor)!

Cricklade Churchyard

Back of Jenner Hall, St Sampson’s churchyard, Cricklade

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