Wednesday 4 July 2012

Family, friends, art and sport.......and work

If you follow the blog, you will know that we are reluctant to make plans beyond the date of Steve's next assessment, not wishing to go back on commitments if the news is bad.  As a result, the first few weeks of the next three months of our lives tend to be rather low key in terms of activity as we slowly get back up to speed deciding what to do and making arrangements.  It's been rather different this time round, with some delightful, largely unplanned events!

The first weekend following Steve's last assessment, we had a long day out in London with our daughter Katie and her partner, Ed. After eventually finding each other among the crowds at Kings Cross/St Pancras, we headed off for the nearby Dog Eared Gallery to see a photography exhibition "We British" before lunch.  The early part of the afternoon was spent on a fascinating history tour of St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (the former Midland Grand Railway Hotel designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott) before traveling on to tea at Tate Modern, a visit to the Damien Hurst exhibition then back up to the Members Room for a glass of wine and more food to keep us going for the journey home!

We were off again for another family get together later in the week, this time in Bristol to see our son Jack and call in on Steve's mum to deliver a card and present for her birthday a few days later.  On the way we passed the most amazing poppy field. Couldn't resist it!

More socialising on Friday following an unexpected invitation to lunch with our friends Ian and Ruth, their daughter Em and partner Nick, before Ian departed for another stint of work overseas. Not only was the food great, but it was also a chance to meet up with other friends, Anne and Colin visiting from Chichester.  

A passing remark about the "Osney Olympics" and plans for the following Saturday afternoon were quickly sorted out. For those of you who don't know Oxford, Osney is an island very close to where we live, connected to the rest of West Oxford by a single bridge over a side stream of the Thames. Traditionally it holds an annual round-the-island race of home made rafts crewed by brave (mad?) people in fancy dress.  

This year, the event turned into the Diamond Jubilee Olympics, with a mile run three times round the island; plastic duck racing on the weir; race events and competitions for all ages - skate board slalom, hobby horse dressage, egg throwing, slow bicycle race (where the winner comes last....) as well as synchronised swimming - a bit weird with only one swimmer - and synchronised walking, which was hilarious to watch.  Sadly the raft race was abandoned due to high/fast water in the Thames, but the tug of war along the tow path made up for it!  

Over tea and cakes back at our house, as we dried off after a torrential downpour, we started hatching plans for our next get together in August - something to look forward to if it comes off!

In between all this social activity, we have managed to fit in some work.  The front hedge is now cut and we can see out of the window.  We've started clearing the jungle in the back garden so at least we can reach to clean the windows at the back of the house, if the gaps between showers allow us.  

I've finished a private planning consultancy job for friends, and after a meeting with the Council on Monday it looks like peace has broken out, I'm delighted to say. More planning work is lined up in Guernsey the week after next, then I shall be happy to take a break for a while. September in France, here we come - all being well!

In the meantime, as well as the Osney Olympics, we have watched England go out of Euro 2012 and Andy Murray get through to the quarter finals at Wimbledon.  He's playing David Ferrer as I write, or rather the rain has stopped play....again.  Happy July everyone!  Still waiting for the Olympic Park tickets to arrive.  Soon I hope, otherwise we won't be able to go up the Orbit!

Thinking about our plans for the summer brings home to me once more how lucky we are at present, especially when others are having a tough time with pain, chemo and difficult decisions to make about mesothelioma treatment, or have recently lost the battle, like Larry Davis in the USA who was diagnosed in July 2006 and has been an inspiration for many, raising money running "Miles for Meso".  I don't think I can run miles any more, but I may do a sponsored walk.  Watch this space :-)

Post script:  the rain stopped, tennis resumed at Wimbledon and Murray is through to the semi-final!

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