The month was almost totally taken up with my obsession. I spent days and evenings and nights planning the rooms, painting, wallpapering and assembling The House; and I loved every minute of it. Even the garden has taken second place. Ken and friends almost never made the list at all. That said I did manage to go to dinner with the Langworthy Group on the 7th at Smiths; always good to catch up with them.
By the ninth I had assembled the house and the new obsession of how to fill it began. I am still in its thrall.
One Sunday we gave Phil and Sue their usual lift to the airport and then drove to Stafford for a Dolls House Fair. Do I not have the best bloke in the world? (Poor Ken!) Talk about kid in a sweet shop - thousands upon thousands of 'things'.
By the third week we had a trip planned to Sally in Edinburgh but she decided we'd be OK not to bother as we would be seeing her in November so we decided to go to visit Ken's Susan instead.
So on the 18th we found a great camp site for the caravan beside a lake (Llangorse). We met her and a friend for a meal at a pretty good Thai restaurant which was very pleasant. The next day she joined us for a visit to a not too great NGS garden. The only redeeming feature was the ancient, charming and completely nutty owner who greeted us on arrival. Check jacket, shirt and tie, flower in buttonhole, silk hanky from pocket - an 'upper crust' character cameo from a 1950's movie. He told Ken he was 'a handsome chap' and kissed the ladies hands. We weren't in the garden very long so we had a quick flit into Brecon to look round the end of a flower, veg and cake show and said our farewells to Susan for a while. Our evening was spent in a very bizarre way writing our Christmas cards in a caravan by a lake in Wales. We leave them in the UK for our friends to post.
We haven't been to a movie in ages - that said there hasn't been a movie worth going to! We did get to see Winter's Bone on the 22nd, which I heartily recommend. If you can get it on DVD give it a go. I thought it was a truly original movie, fine acting and does many things for you - amongst which is making you count your blessings for the accidental geography of your birth and opening your eyes to other people's lives. Not to mention a good story!
The last week of the month before we leave for the States is always a mad flurry for me in the garden. Basically it is a case of putting the garden to bed far too early for a Northern clime like Bury. I had tons of very successful tomatoes on the edge of ripening - loved and nurtured for six months to all end up in the bin. Every year for three years I have sworn not to grow them and I can't resist. I binned and pulled up and dug in glorious stuff - harvested and ate the last of my spuds and beans and dreaded the thought of American supermarkets and American food and no garden.
In a couple of days before leaving I managed to get my hair crucified into a dolls hair perm - no it wasn't intentional - and see my friend Denise for the last time for a while. Always a bad with a good in this life.
This is a note I wrote on the 29th September:
Last night Ken and I sat eating eggs on toast with pink champagne. This wasn't one of our more crazy eat-up meals before jetting off to Naples - well the eggs were - but it was a thoughtful meal as we were wetting the baby's head (for the second time).
Our grand-daughter Lucy was born on Monday 27th September at 5.15 am Calgary time. The champagne came out shortly after and, hence, we finished it with the paupers'tea the following day.
Our world has changed irrecoverably and in such a delightful way.
I know all grandparents claim their grandchild is just perfect but in this case (of course) it is true. She was a bonny 7 lbs 12 ozs, in perfect health and without a blemish, not to mention exceedingly pretty. She also looks as bright as a button as she is already curious about the great big world.
We will be visiting, along with Sally, in November. It is very hard having your children living on the other side of the planet but I have now only just discovered that it is as hard to have a perfect tiny stranger living there too.
As you can imagine trying to sit down and prattle on about what we did in August and September seems very small beer against this event but I promise to do so in the next few days. Right now isn't possible as my diary is packed amongst 50 lbs of other luggage (yes it is a big case as are the other three) and my memory has been shot for a long time.
We leave on the 10.20 am plane tomorrow for Atlanta and on to Fort Myers and ultimately Naples. This time we will be staying right through the six months and not taking a break over Christmas or New year which on this side of doing it seems a bit strange and somehow disconcerting - not logical, I know; but when was I ever that? We have friends coming for a few weeks in January/February and I am hoping that Chris and Gayle and Lucy might come for some sunshine in February or March maybe. That would be lovely.
So for a wee while wish us Bon Voyage and this voice will be back with you soon.....