Brighton seafront

What a gorgeous place Brighton is. So vibrant and picturesque. Every time I visit my younger daughter, I understand more why she’s chosen to live there.

A Christmas dinner

A Christmas dinner at The Connaught in Hove

Kim’s recently bought a flat in Hove so it was our first visit to her new home – and we spent a couple of evenings at a lovely local pub for a Christmas dinner on Friday night and a quiz night on Sunday where we just missed out on ‘winning’ the second loser prize!

It’s certainly turned a good deal colder recently, but the clear blue skies and sunshine (almost) make up for it.

Kim had already arranged to go somewhere on Saturday night, Barry’s 59th birthday, so we had a morning together wandering in Hove, and then Barry and I strolled the mile or so from Hove to Brighton.

Hove Parisian bar

A lunchtime drink at a Parisian bar in Hove

During the winter you can watch the sun rise and set from the beachfront – how amazing is that?

Brighton old pier sunset

A stunning sunset adjacent to the old pier – we somehow missed the sun rises!

Barry took a few photos too along the way, which will find their way onto the blog at some stage and far outshine my offerings!

Brighton Pier illuminated

The fair on Brighton Pier

One of the (many) reasons why I love Barry, is that he’s a man of few material needs, much preferring the simple pleasures of life than striving to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’. He did however suddenly state on our walk that he’d always fancied wearing a cap. So he treated himself for his birthday. And the friendly stall holder even gave him a £5 discount on the size 59 for his birthday. Very special – hold onto it Barry, maybe put your name and phone number inside?!

Stall holders in The Laines, Brighton

Buying a trendy cap in The Laines (it seems you can spell it either Lanes or Laines)

We had a couple of drinks and found a little Italian restaurant on the way back to Kim’s flat – no wild night’s out for us anymore!

We didn’t do much more exploring, as Kim had a number of ‘jobs’ for us to occupy our time. Mostly Barry to be fair, he’s such a great handy man. So he enjoyed a day off on Tuesday and caught up with his friend Dickie – needless to say travelling back on the train yesterday he wasn’t feeling too bright and breezy after an afternoon and evening of Guinness.

Meanwhile Kim and I had a gorgeous evening together drinking mulled cider in a few Brighton bars and watched the ice skaters at The Pavillion.

Brighton Pavillion Ice Skating rink

Brighton Pavillion Ice Skating rink

The dreaded hospital admission

I got the message I’ve been dreading yesterday morning, saying dad had had a nasty fall overnight and been admitted to hospital. He did time it perfectly in a way – on the day we’d planned to come back, and of course while we’re moored up in Worcester where their local hospital is.

So I never made it back to the boat with Barry. I left a stop early from the train at Droitwich, collected mum’s car and drove to Worcester Royal to see them.

Bless him he’s more confused than I’ve ever seen him, and being in an unknown environment won’t help. He did raise an occasional chuckle trying to find the words he wanted. Admittedly it’s sometimes difficult to find things to be grateful for, but the memory of his smiling face during those fleeting moments will always be precious.

I suspect the coming days, weeks and months are going to become progressively more challenging and sad. I want to wave a magic wand and make him better, turn him back into the proud and confident man he used to be. I want to talk to every nurse, care assistant and doctor there and tell them who he really is – that he’s not just a ‘94 year old man with dementia who’s had a fall, in bed x‘.

Instead I’ll do my best to care for mum, ensure dad gets the care and respect he deserves as much as I can, and be kind to myself, Barry and my family as we support each other.

Thank goodness Barry has an Aldi nearby to provide him with ready meals for the forseeable future!

Worcester Marina

On Friday last week, Barry moved Areandare swiftly along the fast flowing river Severn without a problem, and by Monday, he’d moored her up safely in Worcester Marina, Lowesmoor Wharf, ready for our three month winter stay. It’s nowhere near as picturesque as Tattenhall Marina, where we enjoyed an extended stay last winter, but it is very handy for a number of important things.

We’ve both got mixed feelings about being ‘static’ for so long, after nine months of happily moving around the system and a new view most days.

However, the electric hook-up, water on tap anytime, pump out at hand, Aldi a five minute walk away (I love Lidl and Aldi), a buzzing city on our doorstep, and public transport within easy reach will certainly outweigh our reservations.

Xmas lights on in Worcester

Worcester embracing some of their xmas decorations – lights on around 3pm as it’s dark so early now

And really, it’s the season for stillness and hibernation, so we’re going to embrace that whenever possible.

We’re looking forward to exploring Worcester more. We love the city, and the Cathedral is magnificent. I’m planning on going to a few evensongs and carol concerts, I imagine the acoustics will be outstanding. Most of the time we visit cities without the luxury of staying, so this will be a pleasure.

Our main reason for choosing Worcester is there’s a handy bus service to my mum and dad’s, so it’ll be easy to get to them during the day time and back again!

Running The Home Brew Boat will be breeze too. An address for deliveries and a half mile walk to the nearest UPS parcel collection place where Barry’s already becoming a regular customer sending on-line orders away …

Weekends away

Last weekend I spent at a Hoseasons lodge in ‘Cricket St Thomas’ on the Dorset/Somerset border, celebrating my younger sister’s hen weekend. With unseasonably mild weather we were able to relish a few country walks and a relaxing soak in the hot tub each evening. There was underfloor heating AND a log burner. Very cosy.

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Our luxury lodge for three nights in the middle

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Crisp, clear blue skies and sunshine all weekend – once the mist lifted

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Saturday lunch at a splendid local pub – with my sisters, Viv’s soon to be step-daughter Rachel, and daughter Samantha

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Kath, Linda, me and Viv saying goodbye for now – we’ll see each other again on 14th December for a family xmas lunch

Tomorrow we’re taking the train down to the south coast (via Birmingham New Street as the tickets were ridiculously cheap), venturing to the buzzing city of Brighton staying with my younger daughter Kim and celebrating Barry’s birthday.

He says he loves having a winter birthday rather than a summer one.

I think he’s crazy!

We’d planned to have a night out with his friend Dickie and wife Sandra, but sadly they’re no longer able to make it. So we’re not sure what festivities lie in wait, but I’m sure we’ll find fun things to enjoy before he reaches his 60th year – yikes!

We’ve enjoyed one of our longest moorings in Stourport for the past week – having been forced to overstay the ‘allowed’ time. I guess this is something that happens frequently during the autumn and winter months due to the weather.

It’s not been a problem for us, we really like the town.

Last Friday was their xmas lights switch on, and it seemed as though the whole town had turned out despite the driving rain and cold. It reminds me why people here seem to make such a big deal of xmas, and for such an extended length of time before-hand. The dark and dismal days are brightened up by getting people to focus on an event so far away, maybe it helps to boost their spirits.

At the weekend we were in Cheshire celebrating our grandsons fifth birthday. Barry got to help put the new swings up in the garden on Saturday, and come on an adventure with us both on the Sunday to give his mum and dad a chance to catch up.

I borrowed my parents car for the trip, and took it back on Monday, imaging we’d leave Stourport on Tuesday and travel to Worcester.

Unfortunately after all the downpours we’ve had lately, the red light was showing at the top lock which takes boats down to the longest river in England – the Severn. Barry was reliably informed that rain from Wales takes a couple of days to make its way down, so to hope it’d dry up a bit to ease the flow. Additionally, the lock-keepers on the river are only available Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at this time of year, and have to be pre-booked.

Barry’s got a booking for today at 11am. I popped back to pick up a few bits yesterday and took the shot below. Facing upstream is the correct way to moor on the river, and the current looked as though it was flowing at a great rate. It’ll be a swift journey, he’ll love it!

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Areandare moored up outside The Angel pub on the River Severn yesterday

So I’ll miss the cruise down to Worcester, as I returned to mum and dad’s on Wednesday and today will be heading down to Devon for my younger sister’s hen weekend. It’s not likely to be anything raucous, rather a delightfully chilled weekend at a lodge with a spa, and lots of pampering treats. And spending time with my three sisters will be fantastic, it’s a rare event as we all live so far apart and now spend each weekend with one of us caring for mum and dad.

From Monday 1st December we’ll be on our mooring for three months, hooked up to the electric, water freely available anytime, in the heart of a city and right by public transport links.

Hibernation time in UK! A great time to be reflecting on all the incredible things we’ve done and seen this year, and make lots of lovely plans for 2015 travelling, trading, and time with friends and family.

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