The New Year

New Year’s Eve in Dartmouth was a wonder – wonder what happened…. We were promised fireworks, told that these were the envy of the surrounding area, despite no one knowing exactly where they were to be positioned. The whole town, apart from us, were in fancy-dress. Flintstones, giant traffic cones, cowboys, Aretha Franklins, you name it, costumes were out in force. We’d left DD at 10.30pm and headed to the Dolphin pub with live music and lots of costumes, before heading to the other end of the high street and the Dartmouth Arms, where we’ve won a few pub quiz prizes and the landlord is very friendly. As midnight approached we made our way to the waterfront with hundreds of other people celebrating the end of 2015 and welcoming in 2016.

Midnight struck and a volley of fireworks lit up the roof of the Old Castle Hotel…. for 60 seconds, then all went quiet. Nothing on the river, nothing at Kingswear on the opposite shore, a couple of distant explosions from the direction of the castle, and that was it for the fireworks. There was however an amazing moon rising behind the hill at Kingswear, which illuminated the sky as it rose ever higher and it was beautiful.

The following day the weather deteriorated dramatically and more torrential rain and high winds whipped up the Dart once again. Welcome to the New Year! My friend Vicky fearing for our wellbeing invited us for roast dinner and to stay the night at Ottery St Mary, which I jumped at with both feet off the pontoon before Clive could say, “have you remembered your toothbrush”. Clive thought it wise to stay behind to look after DD and the ropes, and be rocked to sleep in the ensuing storm. Even the house was rocking later on in the high winds so I dread to think what it was like aboard. Clive slept through it admirably, though by the end of this last week he’d had quite enough, and after adding a couple of extra ropes he packed up on Saturday afternoon to head, saturated,  inland through floods in horizontal rain and gusting winds.

In the meantime I had a complete change of any plans for the first week in the year. Many years ago I had a great friend Flick who was tragically killed in a car crash in 1984. I’ve remained in touch with her mum Betty all these years and have become good friends with her and Flick’s siblings, in particular Sue, Kathy and Patsy. Sue got in touch on 4th January to warn of the impending demise of Betty at 88 years old. I got in my car the next day and drove to Aspley Guise in Bedfordshire to say goodbye to a most remarkable lady. I’m very glad I did as she passed away the following morning. The funny thing was as I drove through the area a couple of weeks before, I felt Flick’s presence and told my mum that I thought she was around and was there for her mum. When I got there, Sue & Kathy said oh yes, she was there. They’d had so many signals it was quite emotional.

Talking of lives passing, it was very sad to hear David Bowie died this morning, my favourite musician and an amazing performer. I have many of his singles (Jean Jeanie was the first single I ever bought with my pocket money back in ‘73) & albums and saw him at Milton Keynes Bowl with Icehouse and The Beat in 1983, where among 50,000 people Flick & I managed to find each other. So listening all day today on the radio to great stories about his life and his music, some of which I haven’t heard for years, has been a day for reminiscence in many ways.

I came back to Harwich after seeing Betty to sort the cottage after having an Airbnb guest over the New Year and stayed to play crib on Thursday for Tracy and the team at the Globe. We lost the doubles though won the singles, which gives us more points apparently. Hurrah!

I had been deliberating on whether to head back to Dartmouth and regardless had decided to go and see my parents this coming week when my back decided it had had enough and needed to see Angus the Osteopath, not before crunching my hip and rendering me incapable of walking over the weekend. So painful, I don’t think much of this getting older malarky! So crunching and manipulation and exercises to do, with another dose on Wednesday, and my trip to the Cotswolds postponed for a week.

Clive’s heading back here from Frome on Wednesday and we’re going to the Pantomime in Ipswich on Thursday, “Oh no you’re not!” I hear you call, “Oh yes we are!” One of our neighbours here is in The Sword In The Stone, a brand new production written especially for this season at The New Wolsey Theatre, and he sorted out a few tickets over the weekend. It’s not something I’d normally go to however we were offered some spare tickets last year and it was superb.

The weather remains turbulent country wide and Jason is thinking he should be building an Ark, not a house! The Essex coast is so much drier than the West Country so if we stay a while here we have no need for growing webbed feet. Now where are my wellies…..



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