Diary 2008

New Year

Colin decided to take up an additional, slightly less hazardous, hobby this year and joined the St Andrew’s Choral Society in time to practise for their summer series of concerts.

He wasn’t about to give up on biking, though. Having ruined a jacket when he broke his collarbone in September, he decided the moment was right to order the new made-to-measure leathers he had been eyeing for some time. Very smart they are too.


Having allowed maximum time for the collarbone to heal, we set off in March to drive via the Eurotunnel to Flaine for our skiing holiday. We enjoyed using the tunnel – no worries about winter storms and so quick! We broke the journey overnight in Calais. We were actually renting an apartment in Samoens, which proved to be a charming, proper town. The skiing was good, if rather foggy on one or two occasions. On one memorable afternoon we missed a turning in the fog and found ourselves coming down a black run that Pat would not have chosen to take!

At the end of April we were off on the repaired bike to the Black Horse in Hulland Ward for the traditional bikers’ meeting – the first outing for Colin’s swish new leathers. We had a thoroughly good time as always but on the way home we had a bit of an upset. Written off: one bike, two helmets, one jacket (Pat’s), one pair of boots (Colin’s), one pair of gloves and almost one hand. One of Colin’s gloves had come off and his hand was badly scraped as well as having a small bone broken. No other injuries though, and the new leather suit was able to be repaired.

Unfortunately, injuries and lack of a bike meant we had to forego the usual May Day weekend biking trip to France.

Later in May we met up with Colin’s brother, Rob, and his wife Sandi for an Old Boys’ day at Sherborne School. Unfortunately, when we arrived, the hotel professed never to have heard of us! We did eventually manage to book in elsewhere and we enjoyed our weekend. On the Saturday we toured the school buildings (pausing to admire the honours board) and enjoyed an excellent lunch with some old friends and the odd master or two. The trip down South was rounded off with a stay in Weymouth and a mini tour of the Dorset coast, part of Colin’s childhood stamping ground.

Amongst the old Sherborne pals was Jos Oswald, son of Colin’s godfather, who turned out to be another biker. We enjoyed a visit from Jos and his wife Caroline in June.


Our project this year was to dig a garden pond , which we achieved with a little help from our local handyman. We are delighted with it, especially as we now seem to have gained a resident frog. We hope to attract some newts eventually. The garden birds are equally delighted, and are often to be seen bathing in the little rill that we have feeding the pond. One day, while Colin was watching a sparrow having a lovely splash about, a sparrow hawk swooped down, took the sparrow and began devouring it beside the pond. We’re hoping he (or she) is not going to look on the rill as a personal delicatessen.

In June Pat visited daughter Jean and family in Massachusetts, sharing in Charlotte’s last day at nursery and Ian’s final ball game of the season, and reading Richard Scary books to two-year-old Noah. Jean seems to have twice as many hours in her day as any normal person; there’s no


other explanation for the way she stays on top of her lively bunch and still manages to write her magazine and newspaper pieces. And for relaxation she runs! July saw the (late) arrival of our newest grandchild, Jo and Tom’s son Arlo, who weighed in at almost 10 pounds. His big sister Iris was delighted with him, even if she does tend to treat him like a doll! Photos are, as usual, in the Family Album on this web site. Please email or ring Colin if you’d like the password.

We enjoyed a cultural summer season with Colin’s choral concerts, our usual participation (several concerts) in Saltburn Folk Festival and a visit to Edinburgh to see Colin’s nephew Dougal’s play, Departure Lounge, having a very successful run at the fringe.

August saw us in Bavaria on our new ZZR1400 (write-up here). What a beautiful part of the world it is!


In September we took the train (wrinkly rail passes to the fore) to Greenwich for Dougal’s wedding to Rhiannan. The sun shone, the bride was beautiful, the 3 best men entertained us all brilliantly, and we all had a great weekend. Greenwich Park was celebrating hosting the 2012 Olympics with candles everywhere; we climbed the observatory hill after dark to see the shapes they made.

For the first time, Julie’s daughter Ellen took part in the Great North mini run along the Newcastle and Gateshead quayside. We cheered her on from the cover of a bus shelter, glad that we weren’t out running on such a cold, drizzly day. She was full of enthusiasm and wants to do it again next year – her brother Benjamin is determined to join her.

The St Andrew’s Choral Society started rehearsals for the Gilbert & Sullivan production that takes place every February – this (i.e. next) year it’s Ruddigore.

Pat cooked a Thanksgiving dinner on the last Saturday in November, to which Julie’s and Jo’s families both came, together with Mike and Liz, Colin’s daughter Kate and her partner Matt.


December saw us taking advantage of a late discount to go skiing in Cervinia the week before Christmas. Unfortunately skiing was limited by too much snow the first 3 days and too much wind the second 3 days, but we still had plenty of fun.  We stayed in a large Crystal club hotel – a bit Fawlty Towers in organisation but with plenty of other guests of all ages to entertain us of an evening.

On Christmas day we were due to host Jo, Tom, Iris and Arlo together with Pat’s Mam, but all guests had to cry off with various illnesses. So we delivered the former family’s dinner to Leeds on Christmas Eve, and Mam’s on Boxing Day, and we had a nice cosy Christmas on our own. Colin says Pat’s the nicest stocking-filler he’s ever had.