Monday, 18 November 2013

All's well that ends well

There are times when everything goes to plan.  And there are times when the unexpected pushes us off track.  We've just had one of those weeks when few things went to plan but, in the end, everything worked out better than might have been expected. 

The intention was to spend some time in Bristol, putting in four days work to help our son finish off some DIY projects which need more than one pair of hands.  However, before driving anywhere we had to get the car repaired following a close encounter with a high kerb the weekend before.  The car wasn't ready until the afternoon and as a result we didn't arrive in Bristol until teatime on Day 1.  Having unloaded the car, unpacked and sorted ourselves out, we decided it was too late to start any DIY - we would move on to Plan B and begin fresh on Day 2.

Plan B was soon abandoned when we picked up messages; one from friends in America to say that their daughter Erin would be visiting Oxford and would like to meet up with us. Oh dear....there we were in Bristol with no contact details for Erin to say sorry, but we are not at home in Oxford to greet you....

The other message was from the 24 Hours in Bristol Photography Competition people asking for a high res version of an image I had entered into the competition so that it could be printed on Thursday and displayed in the exhibition which launched on Friday.  There we were in Bristol; the high res version of the picture was on the computer in Oxford.  What to do?

After a bit of agonising, we were on to Plan C: drive back to Oxford the following morning, sort out the picture and return to Bristol after lunch to fit in some DIY on what remained of the day.  It seemed a bit extravagant in terms of time and money to do the round trip between Oxford and Bristol on Day 2, but it turned out to be a good call.  

As we opened the front door at home, we were greeted by a unexpected sight - one of our neighbour's cats sitting on the stairs!  She must have invited herself in the day before while we were going backwards and forwards loading up the car, and we hadn't noticed.  Considering the cat had been locked in an unfamiliar house for nearly 24 hours without food or drink, she was remarkably relaxed; happy to see us and in no great hurry to leave.  We dread to think what would have greeted us had we not returned home for four days...

We also picked up a message on the answer phone from Steve's brother with a request to sort out some financial business for Steve's mum in Bristol.  Had we not returned home briefly on Day 2, we wouldn't have picked up the message for several days, too late to do anything about it whilst in Bristol.

There was just enough time on our return to Bristol to take a carload of wood and cardboard to the recycling centre before it closed, but that was all we managed to do on the DIY front on Day 2. However, we did have a very enjoyable meal out that night with Diana, another member of the Wride family based in Bristol and catch up with her news!

Both Steve and I were still having problems with our joints (my back, Steve's knee) the following morning.  Rather than aggravate our aches and pains, Steve went off in the morning to sort out some financial business for his mum, while Jack and I stocked up on food, and we all went to visit Steve's mum in the afternoon to bring her up to date with family news.  

So...No DIY whatsoever on Day 3...However, our nephew and his partner had invited us to a meal that evening, and it was wonderful to meet up with them and their lovely daughter Esme.  

Steve was honoured to be asked to read the bedtime story!

Somehow, it didn't seem worth starting any DIY on Day 4, knowing there wouldn't be enough time to make any significant progress.  Instead we had a family bonding session on the sofa watching the England-New Zealand International rugby match together; took our time to pack and load the car and drove back to Oxford in a relaxed mood on Saturday in the early evening.

The answer phone light was flashing when we arrived home. It was a message from Erin, the daughter of our American friends to say that she would still be in Oxford until Sunday and hoped that her and her boyfriend Forest could visit us before returning to London that night.  

Having restocked with food the next day, we were delighted to greet them for afternoon tea on Sunday and spent a happy few hours catching up with their lives.  Around 6.30 pm, Forest mentioned that they had left their luggage in a locker at the Ashmolean Museum to save carrying it round.  What time did the museum close on Sundays?  We checked online and it was already closed, so no way to rescue bags from the lockers that night.  The Museum closes on Monday too, but hopefully there would be staff around.

If you are a regular reader of the blog, you will know that after several months of on-off work, we now have a refurbished room to accommodate staying guests and a new sofa bed in the loft for overflow visitors.  Last night, they both came into their own, providing a safe haven for Erin and Forest until they were able to rescue their luggage this morning from the Ashmolean Museum and return to University in London.  We had the pleasure of their company for longer than expected, and they had a good night's sleep, so the new guest room and sofa bed in the loft are a success!

So...All's well that ends well as they say. The DIY will just have to wait for another time....  

I hope that by my next post we will both be 100% fit (or as fit as Steve can be with mesothelioma) with no more aching knees/backs and that a minor mouth infection and sniffle which have been bothering Steve for the last few days will have cleared up. He's convinced it's nothing to do with the mesothelioma (and I'm sure he's right).  However, anything that causes coughing starts alarm bells ringing, so I will be keeping a beady eye on Steve in the meantime!

With another busy week ahead, there's a lot to get through today catching up on the home front after our short break in Bristol and weekend visitors, and reading about what's happened to the other meso warriors over the last week...but here's a special big hug for Mavis who is recovering from a nasty fall, and for Jan, Lou and Ray who are all on chemo  xx

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