Saturday, 5 November 2011

Life goes on, with barely a pause for breath

I have found it difficult to pick up again where I left the blog in mid-October, after the sad news of Ronny's death from mesothelioma.  But life goes on and when you know things could change at any moment, it's a great incentive to get on and do as much as you can, while you can.  And that's what we've been doing....

The fortnight of intense activity started with a quick hop across the channel to Guernsey, for my first visit to the Channel Islands and a short but enjoyable stay in St Peter Port.  

St Peter Port Guernsey

After one night back at home, we were off again this time heading north to Manchester to help our daughter Katie move in to a new flat - an exhausting couple of days, shifting belongings, cleaning up the old flat, getting some furniture for the new apartment, and honing our flat-pack assembly skills.  Steve enjoyed himself driving a big white hire van for a day around Manchester before we headed back to Oxford in the early hours of Saturday morning.  

By Saturday evening we were in Bristol where we stayed overnight with our son, Jack, before heading off to Cornwall the next day to house sit for friends while they off touring. After a day relaxing to catch our breath, we made the most of being based on the Devon/Cornwall borders criss-crossing the border on the Tamar Bridge and the Torpoint Ferry (which confused the satnav....)

On the Torpoint Ferry

We visited quite a few National Trust properties (and tea rooms!) in the area before they were put to bed for winter, including Antony House; Buckland Abbey; Overbeck's (where Otto Overbeck the inventor of the "Rejuvenator" lived - pity it didn't work!); Coleton Fishacre (great Art Deco house) and Cotehele, where we did the tour in darkness, finding our way by torchlight - very CSI!

Antony House garden

Cotehele staircase

We walked around St Germans where we were based; joined the families having half term fun on the beach at North Sands, Salcombe and watched the sun go down over the sea from the top of Finnygook Cliffs.  

Steve at Wacker Quay

Salcombe North Sands 

We couldn't resist a trip on the steam railway between Kingswear and Paignton, especially the return trip in the Devon Belle Observation Car, with its huge windows and comfortable sofas.

The Devon Belle Observation Car

Boarding the stem train

We spent a day in Plymouth, visiting all five of the venues where work was on display as part of the British Art Show. Our favourite piece by a long way was Christian Marclay's film The Clock, showing in the old Slaughterhouse at the Royal William Yard, a former naval dock yard now being converted into shops, eateries, flats and a gallery. The Clock features thousands of film fragments of clocks, watches and characters reacting to a particular time of day, put together to create a 24 hour long video that works as a clock, synchronised with local time. 

We put our heads into the screening room to see what was going on and were completely hooked.  Not surprising perhaps, when making the most of our time together is number one priority!

One of the highlights of our week in the West Country was having lunch with Debbie, another meso warrior, who has been a great inspiration and source of support and practical help since Steve was diagnosed.  Good to see you Debbie!

Thanks for the photo Debbie!

And thank you Chris and Glyn for the chance to house-sit for you.  If by chance you read this, we hope you are having a wonderful trip :-)

We traveled home last Sunday via Bristol to visit Steve's mum, traveling on the M5 motorway which was the scene of a horrific road traffic accident yesterday.  Living with a terminal illness is not easy, but knowing what's in store at least gives us the opportunity to make the most of life while we can.  Those killed in yesterday's accident were not so fortunate.  Our thoughts are with their families and friends.  

This week at home has given us a pause for breath in an otherwise hectic schedule and a chance to tick off some of the mundane but necessary things that keeps life rolling along - eye test, contact lens ordered, flu jabs, boots re-healed; house work - before we go off again!  It's also given us the chance to be sociable - a wonderful meal on Thursday, with our friends Elizabeth and Roger - and to celebrate some more good news on the photography front - a nomination in the 5th Annual Masters of Photography Cup and six more acceptances in international photography salons.  All the comings and goings over the last few weeks has not left much time for photography, but we are hoping to make up for that next week........Drop by again soon to find out what we've been up to!

To any Fotoblur friends reading this post, the next thing on my "to do" list is vote for images for Issue 12 of the magazine - a big task but a very pleasurable one :-))

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