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November already??

Apologies if you’ve read this post before but according to my WordPress account it has never been published and is still in draft form. Therefore am re-issuing.

This time last year I was working and most of the men in the office were growing moustaches – yes it was Movember, or rather November.  And now I’m six months into a new life without the daily 9 -5 and there are some aspects which I miss but others I do not.  One of the things I most hated working during the winter months was when the clocks changed and returning home from work meant walking home in darkness.  By the time we got to December it was going to work in the dark as well.  I almost felt I should be hibernating somewhere buried in straw or under some garden bonfire like a hedgehog.  I suppose the only comforting thing was drawing the curtains and curling up in an armchair for the evening with a book or a good TV programme.  I always knew, however, that by the last week in January it would be twilight as I was coming home and from there things got better.

This year has gone so quickly.  It seems like only yesterday we were in Oxford in February celebrating my OH’s birthday.  We had a wonderful hotel and I absolutely loved the city but boy was it cold!  In early April we spent a break in Chester.  The cold continued and I remember walking the city wall and wondering if it was ever going to get warmer as currently there had not appeared to be any increase in temperature since February!

In early May a big group of us had a long weekend in Lynmouth.  Four of us arrived on Friday and we took the cliff railway up to Lynton on the Saturday morning and walked to the Valley of the Rocks.  It was FREEZING!  Luckily we stopped for hot chocolate at Mother Meldrum’s Tea Rooms just before continuing along the cliff pathway back to Lynmouth with a  force ten gale helping us on our way!  I remember sitting in the B & B breakfast room on the Monday morning just before we were due to return home, looking out at the trees across the valley and wondering whether they would ever come into full leaf.  Of course they did, and we were treated to some really good weather later on in the year.  That, unfortunately did not include the week in Kingsbridge, Devon in late June – more rain than sun but we still had a great time, meeting family and running into friends and work colleagues who had all headed to South Hams at the same time we had.

I think the jewel in the crown for me as far as holidays were concerned was Lake Garda.  We’d been there in 2001 and loved it and decided to go back again.  Now this can be dangerous; you are setting yourself up for disappointment – but we weren’t, it was even more magical.  I absolutely Italy and its people and it has become my number one destination in Europe.  I think if was asked what I remembered most about Garda it was the cleanliness of the place – they seem to take pride in their environment.  Then there were the flowers – even in September such a lot of glorious colours.  Italian food, of course, rated highly and then there was the easy pace of life there even though it was a big magnet for tourists.  We visited Riva Del Garda at the top of the lake and the heat haze which rises out of the water in the early afternoon looked quite magical.

Last month we were off again.  Early October saw us in Bruges, another great place to stay and I’d highly recommend the Hotel Pand – wonderful champagne breakfasts and amazing service.  We ended our year’s travel in the UK with a stay in York.  Here I went on an ancestor hunt.   John Hewetson was made Freeman of the City of York in 1537 and I knew he was buried somewhere.  Certainly not in the Minster, where most memorials date from the 1600s.  As it was, tucked between the sightseeing and retail therapy, the search did not unearth anything positive.  It was only on my return home that I discovered by searching on line that he was in fact buried in All Saints Church.  I will, therefore, be checking it when I return to York again.

So here we are on the evening of the 6th November, by Sunday we’ll be in double figures and then it’s the gradual slide down to Christmas with all its associated expended energy – what to get people, who to invite to what and how much food to buy.  And then when it’s all over, the New Year and then the reality check.  How much money did I spend over the festive season? Is there enough left for that dress in the sales?  Am I really that heavy?  Cue fitness regime and financial tightening of belt then out with the brochures again to plan Holiday 2014.  Oh yes and I’ve a book coming out too!  Ah the cycle of life, never a dull moment!