And for the rest of the year ….
Summer 2019, and by that I mean August/September, was not as good as I hoped. In August, while the rest of the country seemed to be moaning about the heat (high twenties, early thirties and the humidity), in west Cornwall we were barely getting into the twenties. We only ate outside twice and regular readers will know that we like to eat outside whenever practically possible.
I had visions of a hot summer and braving the crowded roads, carparks and beaches in Cornwall to explore and spend time at the beach. This didn’t happen. The 5 good days we got (and not all together) Neil had outside jobs to do on the van which needed to be one on dry days so we didn’t get to the beach. Neil suggested I went on my own but that’s no fun.
We have been using our National Trust membership in Cornwall and have visited some places many times. Glendurgan Gardens is one of my favourites for an afternoon stroll. Even in the wet weather the paths are still good and a walk through the gardens leads down to Durgan village where there is a small beach. Unfortunately it is now shut for the winter so we have been going to Trebah Garden which is only a mile away and leads down to a private beach. This isn’t a NT property but is discounted entry for NT members. We also visited St Michaels Mount which I really enjoyed and we were there on a rare sunshine day which made it even better.
We did have visitors over the summer. My younger brother Gavin and his family came to see us a couple of times when they were on their holiday in Cornwall. My cousins, Alan & Beckey, were visiting from America and came to see us for a day. Val and Tony friends and colleagues from the Commission were visiting locally and we met for a coffee. I went ‘up country’, as they say in these parts, back to Leamington for Lisa’s 60th birthday. Lisa is a friend from my Commission days and if we had still all been working togetherthen her big birthday would have been a big deal in the office. It was lovely to be invited to her vintage tea party and to catch up with the other girls from the office.
From mid October until Christmas it was wet. I think I can honestly say that in that period there have been less than 7 dry days here. It’s been tough with every day being damp and grey and sunshine being a rare sight. Am I finding it more difficult because we were so used to it being the opposite? Possibly. Neil has always struggled with the shorter, colder days and this year I too have been finding it a struggle. I’m so pleased we are through the shortest days and heading to midsummer! That is what I keep reminding myself; “the days are drawing out”.
I have still been making/crafting. I’ve been knitting socks. Still only the same pattern as I originally learnt. I’ve made socks for a present and then 3 pairs of socks for me for Christmas in festive yarn. I also knitted myself a hat with a sheep pattern which was my first attempt at fair isle knitting. I was so pleased with it that I made one for Gavin for his birthday. He used to work on a farm and helped hand rear a lamb so I thought it was appropriate. I did have some of my drawstring cotton bags in a community craft store in Camborne for a couple of months but they didn’t sell well at all. I sold a few when my friend Val included them on her stand at a number of Christmas craft fairs she attended. Problem is I enjoy making whether I can sell or gift them or not. I did get a commission from one of the ladies at Knit & Natter to make Christmas bags for her grandchildrens Mickey Mouse toys. I made reversible back packs with one side being a Christmas fabric for the gift giving then the other side in a childrens fabric for use as a back pack during the rest of the year. Ruth was pleased with them and I’ll hear at my next K&N if her grandchildren liked them.
For November and December I have had a seasonal job in a department store working on the ladies wear floor. It’s only been for 2 shifts a week but I’ve enjoyed being out meeting people; both my colleagues and members of the public. Also, it’s been good to be shut away from the weather. Generally you can’t tell what the weather is doing when you are in the store although when on fitting room duty I could hear the rain hammering on the roof. I’m hopeful that if the store has any hours available in 2020 then I could be taken on again.
We spent Christmas with Neils dad Ray and had a traditional turkey Christmas dinner, crackers and followed with a walk along the promenade at Gyllingvase. I didn’t work on Christmas Eve and we met up with Neil’s daughter Nicole and her boyfriend Simon in Mevagissey. The weather was not good. Mizzly rain, windy but we had a nice lunch and potter about the town regardless. I worked on Boxing Day although it wasn’t very busy at all. Personally I think the shops could be shut Boxing Day as well as Christmas Day. There is nothing we need so desperately that it cannot wait until 27th December. I’ll seem like a hypocrite because I have shopped on Boxing Day, in fact I did before I went into work, but only because the shops are open. If there were shut I would not be petitioning them to open. It is because they are open that I go. (Sounds reminiscent of “build it and they will come”). It seems odd to me that the high street stores are looking for customers to come to the store but then push their online stores to customers. Most UK large department stores start their sales online before they start in store. Surely if they want footfall then you would think they would give the stores 24 or 48 hours head start over the on-line sales or give bigger discounts in store. Just saying.
The start of 2020 is going to be difficult as it starts with my Dads funeral. Dad passed away at the end of November. Dementia finally took him. To be honest I feel that it is a blessing as Dad was existing rather than living. He could do nothing on his own or for himself and had lost the ability to speak completely. After his fall in August 2017 and his hip replacement he went downhill pretty fast and for at least the last 18 months had no independent function or speech at all. I last saw Dad when I was in Leamington in October. I felt he looked old and ill and although I did take photographs, it is not one I will share here. I’ll share some earlier pictures. In January we will reminisce and raise a glass with friends and family.
We have not made any plans for travel in 2020. We have extended the pitch rental here until February 2021 and will take stock in the spring as to what we want to do and whether we are able to do what we want to. Brexit is causing us concerns and we don’t want to make plans to travel to Europe long term before we know what will be required from UK travellers i.e. travel permits, driving licences, insurance etc. I personally am disappointed and saddened that the UK will be leaving the EU and that is all I will say.
Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful 2020.
PS: I have already seen open daffodils. Daffodils in December – wow.