...there have been trips away from home in Oxford to visit our son in Bristol, including indulging in tea and cakes at Beese's Riverside Bar and Tea Gardens next to the River Avon - an iconic Bristol location we are told! I had an overnight stay in the Channel Islands (business, rather than pleasure - although it was good to meet up unexpectedly with a former work colleague and enjoy a stroll along the beach as the sun set). I also went on a photoshoot at the Sheldonian Theatre with Oxford Photographic Society, which was fun.
...three of our friends had birthdays, so we enjoyed a birthday tea with Sally and a birthday tea dance with Alison, including a "quick step" lesson (the dance that goes slow, slow, quick, quick, slow...) and tea and cakes presented on delightful vintage china. We have yet to catch up with birthday boy Ian, but I'm sure we will make up for that!
...another friend, Sarah, was our house guest for the weekend and we enjoyed being tourists in Oxford for a change, watching the Morris groups dancing in the street as part of the Oxford Folk Festival and having lunch at the recently opened Weston Library cafe (recommended!).
After waving Sarah goodbye, we met up with other friends from my time at the City Council - Richard, Alison and Claire visiting from France, and Mike and Audrey who laid on another lovely tea to keep us going as we caught up with each others' news.
There have been days when the weather has been good enough to enjoy sitting out in the garden, where the tulips are in full bloom and the bluebells and forget-me-nots are coming into colour. On Friday evening, we were joined by a small bundle of fluff - a baby robin from the nest outside the kitchen door. When we tried to put it back in the nest, it threw itself out again so definitely ready to leave home!
We have been keeping an eye on it over the last few days, hoping that it will not be caught by the neighbourhood cats. There was a near miss this morning, but the cat was encourage to leave and the bird relocated to the bottom of the clump of bamboo where it can shelter and be screened. Phew....*
The other excitement has been the arrival of a new camera (but not enough time to play with it yet) and a major fire at one of Oxford's iconic buildings, the Randolph Hotel, which shut down the city centre and sent smoke over our part of town. Thankfully, no one seriously hurt and the damage has been limited, which is surprising given the height of the flames and amount of smoke!
There have also been three visits to the Churchill Hospital - two for me (a regular mammogram and an appointment at the Pain Relief Clinic to discuss how to manage the nerve pain caused by damaged discs in my lower back) and one with the lung nurse specialist for Steve. More of that in the next post.
* Sad news on the baby robin front....We returned from Steve's hospital appointment this afternoon to find it floating face down in a flower pot where some rain had collected. It is now buried next to the bamboo. We hope the robins return to raise another brood this year. From now on, all flowerpots will be stored upside down.....