Thursday, 7 April 2011

packing up and packing it all in

Last Thursday was a day of packing up.  We took down and packed up the exhibition from the Gallery at Chipping Norton Theatre, took it home, then packed our bags and headed north to Huddersfield where we spent the evening with Katie, catching up on news and talking about the future over a good meal in one of the town's friendly Italian restaurants. On Friday we packed up again and moved on to Richmond further north in Yorkshire via the splendid cathedral at Ripon, the awesome ruins of Fountains Abbey and the amazing Studley Royal Water Gardens World Heritage Site.

Helen and Rob's house in Richmond was our base for the next few days, a great chance to relax with our hosts and friends Anne and Colin.  We caught up on everyone's news over a meal out on Friday night.  Saturday was a day to see the sights of Richmond on foot, from the walls of the Castle high up on the hill overlooking the town, down into the Swale valley, up to Culloden Tower on the hill opposite, back down the hill then up to the main quare where the market was in full swing.  Three of us did the tour of Richmond's Georgian Theatre Royal before heading back to the house for lunch.  In the afternoon it was back down the steps to enjoy the white water of the River Swale, over the bridge to the former railway station, now an arts centre, cinema, cafe and specialist shops, followed by a walk along the line of the former railway track and round the river to Easby Abbey before heading back into town.  More food and drink to keep us going in the evening an a hilarious board game which tested our powers of communication to the limit!

On Sunday we set off in heavy showers to Reeth, deeper into Swaledale for a walk in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  My purchase of waterproof trousers from a local shop did the trick.  No sooner had I put them on than the sun came out and stayed out for the rest of the walk.  We walked along the river, crossed the water and climbed up to Maiden Castle, an iron age fort on the opposite bank, then made our way back to Reeth for a well earned cup of tea and a snack before heading back to Richmond.  

Steve did splendidly well in spite of his creaky knees and compromised lung - not to mention the lack of strenuous exercise over the winter hibernation.  However, the fresh and walking had taken its toll by the evening and we were ready for bed when the time came.

The party broke up after breakfast on Monday, Helen heading off to work in Penryn.  Rob took Colin and Anne back to Leeds to catch the train south and we headed off home via Saltaire where we wandered around the famous Salt Mills and enjoyed looking at the collection of David Hockney paintings, drawings and photos over lunch in Salts Diner.  Thank you so much Helen and Rob, Anne and Colin for such a wonderful long weekend! 

The last few days have passed quickly.  We've just about finished unpacking but still have to find a home for the exhibition artwork, bits and bobs.  I've been to to the GP surgery to give blood samples - my last blood donation was in a batch which caused one patient to have a severe reaction so it needs to be tested in case there is a problem.  

It's also been a slog writing a note for the Counsel in Steve's damages case setting out our views on whether the case should go to trial in the light of the recent sample test results and our expert witness getting cold feet because they didn't show what he had expected.  The legal team may pull the plug without an expert witness to support the case. We hope they will get a second opinion given all the information in the disclosed documents which identifies over 60 positive samples of four different types of asbestos in the building where we believe Steve was exposed in 1971 when carrying out some demolition work as a student.  However, we shall just have to wait an see what the barrister says.

The good news is that the sun is shining, the weather is warm and we have a good idea of how we would like to celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary on Mayday.  That's much more important than worrying about a court case that may or may not happen in September.  Carpe Diem as they say!

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