Day 13 – Going Home – Written on Day 14 – At home!

As predicted dinner on Sunday night was in the old town but not before Mary had gone down to sit in the shade at the hotel, while I wrote the blog in our room. She managed to sit exactly where a glass had been broken yesterday and a tiny piece stuck in her heel and I received this text “So free glass of wine! I’m sat where the glass went over yesterday and a small splinter got my foot. As it happened, a GM was around, so I summoned him over and explained. Asked for a plaster – it’s tiny puncture wound. Said it shouldn’t have occurred. So now, one glass of wine and where I am is being swept!”

The one thing we never saw for the whole holiday was the moon! This has happened to us only once before, and in Greece and then just as now, we spent many nights saying, “Who stole the moon?”

Mary started with figs, walnut, feta and a glass of Prosecco, which was included! And had stuffed obergines for her main course and I had chicken. A lovely little restaurant recommended by two chums from the ship, who had eaten there the night before. A superb way to finish our holiday on our last night. This time the taxi was 55 Kuna going and 50 Kuna coming back!

Oh yes , and I had a cheeky Lime Cake to finish; pretty or what?! We sat in the seating area outside, in the hotel and had a coffee, jolly busy as you can see!

So, breakfast and that wonderful choice of mind boggling stuff to eat. (Should have taken a picture.) The car to the airport was early ! Well done Kuoni, who obviously didn’t want to make a second cock up.

Away to the airport, Mary had booked travel assist again, thank goodness not too bad at the Split end (no pun intended ladies!) but so good when we got to Gatwick. The airport was fantastic and only opened in 2019.

We were eventually transported into a a vehicle just like the one at Geneva, many months ago. And you get raised up on a tail gate and exit the thing straight into the aircraft – and we were first on board.

We landed at Gatwick and just a wheelchair for Mary and no buggy! So Malcolm had to keep up with the young man pushing Mary. A bonus ‘walking holiday’ of Gatwick North I called it afterwards! Our car was at the South Terminal, so off to the shuttle and the very kind man stayed with us. Report to level two on arrival, my ticket said, “Sorry,” said the man, “Your car is on level one,” Mary was calm in the wheelchair, I was panting and the passenger assist chap was not amused! Anyway we made it, thanked the chap with a nice tip and drove home. And that was that.

It has been superb and thank you for following us, we hope you enjoyed it too.

Take care M & M aka Mary and Malcolm 👍✈️ 👏💐50 years – here’s to the next 50! 🍷🍷🥂🥂

Day 12 – Phew it’s hot!

Climbing to 88 degrees in old money today – Sunday. Last night we ate in the hotel; both of us having the fish which was delicious. And the waiter put our wine in a bucket in holder of amazingly impressive proportions and construction.

Opposite on a table with two others, a lady jumped about and did a small dance every time any sort of flying creature approached her; how she didn’t suffer from chronic indigestion, we shall never know.
Mary worked out how to open the window and the view from it to the sea was glorious this morning. The choice for breakfast was mind blowing, compared to the MS Splendid, with almost every combination of fruit, yoghurt, pastries and cooked choices you could ever imagine. And then a taxi ride to the old town, which took all of six minutes and cost about a fiver.

It was already crowded with guided tours and swarms of people; again Game of Thrones has a lot to answer for! And there was one particular place that seemed to me to be a ’Covid hot spot’ including Roman soldiers, but perhaps I am just overly pessimistic! And if you thought the MS Splendid balls were big, you should have clapped eyes in the market at the size of a local dudes water melons!

Mary stalked the jewellery shops and at last found a pair if earrings for herself, as a little present. A very nice lady served us with two cokes despite the fact she wasn’t actually open! I must have looked very old, hot and bothered! Taxi back to the hotel for twice the price – how does that work? Mary once more into the swimming pool (she had one yesterday!) and again a light lunch.

And what a selection of those intriguing little tubes in the bathroom. So, that’s it for now, lunch in the old town tonight I expect and a ten forty pick up tomorrow morning and away to the airport. its going to be touching 90 tomorrow, so wish us luck. I think we both look well rested!
Thanks so much for being with us – take care. M & M 👍⛴👏

Day 11 – goodbye MS Splendid.

Just a couple of shots from the end of yesterdays river trip.

Another shot of that bridge build and Mary went to dip her feet in the sea while I sat in the shade outside a bar, for a good ten minutes. Obviously wearing my cloak of invisibility, as no one came near me!

Split came as a real culture shock. Hot, heaving with with people and noisy. We both thought it would have been better to start here and get quieter, than coming from tranquility into this throbbing metropolis. Dinner was a pleasant enough place by the harbour but we hadn’t quite taken in the constant pounding music until we were seated and started to order! A learning curve.

Back on board for our last nights sleep afloat, if not moving. We just got our heads down when the lights went out and the air con packed in. Luckily it came back on after about half an hour. Phew.

Morning and a fond farewell to the MS Splendid class of 2022 and a fine display of ‘Splendid’ balls to admire.

A taxi was waiting please note ‘promptly’ to take us to the hotel – and at 09-15 in the morning, words that bring joy to your heart, “Your room is ready,” I very nearly kissed him.

And there we are. A stroll round, a light lunch and a blog written. Later – who knows? Watch this space.

Thanks for reading M & M 🥂

Day 10 – Split.

Last night a really cheap meal – chicken and chips x 2, one salad, one bottle of water, a litre of wine (!), and two scoops of ice cream for £33-84. What’s not to like?

A pretty little church in Pucisca. And some splendid Lions.

Another early ish start and on a small boat at 08-30, to Omis and transfer to another small boat to cruise up Cetina river.

Fifty shades of green and a lovely cool breeze. And thats a shot of a bridge they are building. Mary spotted a shop that sold sandals and not before time M replaced his old ones; a very helpful man kept saying , “No problem.” as he fitted me perfectly, like an old fashioned shoe salesman. Back to the boat and our last lunch on board. Tonight dinner is in Split and ready to leave the ship tomorrow am.

There you go! Oh yes! We had the biggest bar bill on the boat, to settle! Be fair 50 years doesn’t come round that often! M & M 🥂🎉🎊50🎈🎈🎈

Day 9 – It’s been a ball and it ain’t over yet.

Last night was dinner on board and then a stroll round the town.

I personally didn’t get to sleep till around midnight – the live group which sounded like they were on the boat moored next door kept me very entertained until then. 😩

We sailed at 7am and arrived in Bol in time to catch a train (not one as we know it Jim!) to a beautiful long beach.

Mary went for a swim; I still haven’t quite got the confidence, with my dear friend my colostomy bag but one day I will conquer this phobia I know. I have the proper swimming trunks, I just have to be in the right environment.

Back on the ‘train’ and to the ice cream we got very close to having yesterday but failed!

Back on board and the captain was having trouble with his balls. These prevent one boat bashing into and damaging another. But we were so tightly wedged between two other boats, he couldn’t pull his balls on board to free us from our entrapment.

The Carry On, double entendre is alive and well in Treen’s blog. Finally the outside boat moved and we set sail for Pucisca.

Lunch is soon to be served but one last observation the air con in the cabin is better and less noisy than the amazing contraption almost permanently/temporarily installed in the hotel in Dubrovnik.

More soon – thanks for reading. M & M 🏊‍♀️⚓️⛴

Day 8 – continued.

More time on my hands than I thought. So, early start to the Blue cave – and a short queue of thirty minutes. Our lovely on board rep Gordana tried to make sure we didn’t wait long but was thwarted by a rule allowing folk staying on the island to queue jump.

The boat trip was very quick but inside the cave was stunning. And boy was the blue but blue. Highlight of the interior, and this must be a pretty rare occurrence, but a loud splash and one of the other boatmen – there were two or three boats in the cave – fell in!

I guess its a hazard that goes with the job but by no means a regular event! The boatman took us back to our ship and we clambered on board and headed for Hvar.

A wonderful lunch ashore – the cathedral was closed – and now back on board for dinner.

There we go and more tomorrow.

Stay safe – be lucky – M & M ⚓️🏊‍♀️🤣 Thanks for reading.

Early visit to the blue cave – Day 8.

The tour of Vis was worth it. We climbed aboard a small mini bus and first of all took in a fort, built by the English; and that’s about all I took in because it was 82 degrees! But before all that Mary took a dip in the water off the back of the boat/ship.

The fort had some spectacular views, as most forts do! Built after the battle of Vis, won by the Royal Navy in 1811 by the British its called Fort George. We were heading for Komiza on the west of the island of Vis. And when we got there everyone fell madly in love with it – Mary even googling accommodation!

We moved on to a spot where everyone got out to look at an old air strip from WWll, but I’m afraid I stayed on the bus.

And we then had roughly a couple of hours to decide we really did like Komiza and so did a lot of our little group.

We had arrived just after a water and soft drink deliverer had dropped a huge number of bottles off the back of his lorry; we was busy re-cling filming them as we passed by. We sat and had a beer and as he passed by with them all now on a wheel able pallet trolley – they all fell off again! The streets are very narrow but somehow they get their deliveries.

Mary captured the moment. And we wandered and looked and we decided the cats here looked a lot healthier than many Greek islands.

Dinner last night was eaten in a restaurant right by the boat. I ordered scampi but there is obviously a slight language difference; as 12 of the biggest prawns I have ever seen arrived! Mary sensibly had pasta and we both drank very palatable local wine.

This morning an early rise to head off to the Blue cave. But as we approach Hvar our next stop, lets leave it there till tomorrow. Its turned into a two Ronnies blog – blogging about the day before!

Stay safe folks – we are in heaven. M & M ⚓️⛴🥂

All at sea – Day 7

So, half way through this spiffing break. Last night a splendid drop of fish at a restaurant Adio Mare, in the town centre, with a sizeable choir rehearsing in a church right next door which was joyous – keep your canned music!

Another town of superb backstreets and alleyways. And a fascinating ancient chemist shop that should be a tourist attraction.

So, away to bed and ready for sailing to Vis tomorrow and just three ships to climb over last night to get back to the MS Splendid.

We are on a little tour of Vis later today, after lunch – until then we keep sailing. So, I will bring the tale of all that tomorrow.

Thanks for reading M & M 🐟🍿

We are in paradise – Day 6.

The lovely lady who is our travel guide on board – Gordana, booked us into a restaurant last night and thank goodness she did. Some of these ships, I guess the folk dine on board but others swarm the town in this case village! In order to get to the shore last night you had to cross 8 other boats. When does a boat become a ship? When it reaches over 100 feet in length apparently – ours is 120 – so ship.

The restaurant was turning folk away but we dined successfully; Mary having shrimps that were delicious and myself plumping for the veal which was fine. The lovely French chap on board Michelle from Paris is a bit of a gourmet and said, “I didn’t come to Croatia to eat.” He had chosen exactly the same meal but his other half Susan, had also chosen the prawns and she too thought they were superb!

So that was Slano. A very, as always, wonderful church to look at and not a bad view from the office window last night.

The ship set sail at 5 a.m. but both of us managed to get back to sleep and hello Mljet. And this is where Gordana came up trumps; instead of hiking 20 minutes to the National Park ticket office and then walking – she organised a taxi to take us to a train (actually golf buggies!) to take a trip round the large lake and then the small lake and a taxi to bring us back. So we saw more than the walkers, stayed cool, rested that ankle and had a beautiful ride round.

We thought the scooter sign was a sign of the times! Back to the ship for lunch, Mary pausing for her first pistachio ice cream and wow pancakes and Nutella for dessert on the ship. Two young people in Switzerland were immediately notified!

And then we set sail again to Korcula. And that is where we are now – only three boats to climb over tonight to shore and dinner is a late one at 8-20pm – fully booked until then. ☹️

Be good and thank you so much for reading. And yes Terry those were onions 😢. M & M ⚓️🥂⛴

The damn thing didn’t sail till today anyway – Day 5.

You do have to laugh don’t you? We could have taken all the time in the world to get here – instead of standing in 82 degrees and panicking we would miss the boat! This wouldn’t have happened with Audley Travel.
Anyway all in the past – move on Treen. The power comes and goes just like Greece! We have quite a varied selection of fellow travellers – Americans, Australians, South Africans, and two lovely Geordies! Oh yes andFrench chap from Paris and his English wife.
The sun set as we had a three course dinner on board..

The night was a tad noisy because we were sandwiched between two other boats and next to a main road! And the folk on one boat had quite an evening till about midnight.

This morning it was fathers day and three lovely cards greeted me! One from Mary and two from the girls. So lucky.

I say so lucky because in this setting the house on the right reminded us of so many we have seen in Paxos. And right on cue an email arrived from our dear friend Pennie, saying she had scattered the last of Richards ashes in the olive groves near Loggos, on the island. We miss him so much – an emotional moment for all.

We had a little walk this morning and then lunch on the boat and as we ate it sailed and we said goodbye to Dubrovnik. Mary had a swim from the boat, when it paused for swim time and tonight we are moored in Slano and will eat dinner there ashore.

So tomorrow the National Park and onwards.

Thanks for reading – M & M still tussling the Wifi, so thank god I updated my phone!

A palaver that could have been avoided! Day 4

That second stop and watch the people place yesterday was brilliant, as the waitress directed us to a table outside but near open doors from the restaurant, where cool air conditioning was coming from.

Does anybody have a camera anymore?

Another wine tasting party last night and Mary looking wonderful.

This morning was breakfast as usual with a great view of the market.

A last look at the harbour and then it began to go horribly wrong.

I did wonder if the lady was going to get ash in her cucumber!

We were due to meet our transport to the port at 10–40, so we left the hotel at 10-30, the very nice man taking our bags back to one of the main gates into the old town. And thats all we were told.

We arrived at 10-40, and waited and waited and waited. Mary phoned – emailed – got in touch – nothing. We didn’t know what time the boat went, where it was, just the name. Eventually we were told to get a taxi to the port. Two waiters from the hotel, it was now 12 noon and 82 degrees, they were meeting other guests, very kindly helped us with the luggage into the taxi.

We were told by email we couldn’t check into the cabin till two o’clock, so why were we told to be transferred at 10-40? Angry doesn’t come close and Kuoni already know.

Anyway the taxi took us to the port, found the boat and a chap called Luca found us and in minutes we were in our cabin.

We toddled off for lunch! And we now await a briefing at seven o’clock and dinner on board.

Just had a total power cut. Oh gawd, wish us luck!
Take careM & M ☹️🚕😁⛴⚓️🛟

Dubrovnik is beautiful – Day 3

I think it’s official, well if it isn’t it certainly is with Mary and me. Last night we had a little pre dinner ramble to a fountain, where a man dressed wonderfully was playing a Tamburica, but with such a repetitive tune that was so short and so pointless, I couldn’t believe that if he did that all day every, he hadn’t by now done the decent thing and shot himself.

Anyway there were lots of cats to look at and the fountain had been bombed during the troubles and when repaired had a new dog popped on top.

As we ate dinner a wine tasting party were taking a group selfie and a religious procession, which we believe was for ascension day past by – complete with choir, but far too many people getting in the way to get a clean shot of the occasion.

And as night fell, Marys end of meal tea was accompanied by a timer – so not just in Beaconsfield then!

Today the breakfast once more was amazing and Mary had French toast and again I had poached eggs, which this time came coated in oil. This is so anti Slimming World but there is no doubt oil to a Croatian or even a Greek is almost why they exist; we grow the olives we make the oil, what’s not to like Treen?

We had to eat inside as a market was occupying the site normally taken by the breakfast tables but an opportunity to capture some fascinating ‘street’ faces.

And armed with masks we made our way to the cable car and a trip up to the old fort.

And were rewarded by the most magnificent views and Mary captured some swallowtails that were just all over a lavender patch.

We sat in the restaurant at the top and just gazed and relaxed; Mary with a beer and me with a glass of rosé, which was completely the wrong way round for the waiters liking! We kept looking at our weather apps, but the predicted storm got later and later and by the time we descended back down, it had vanished completely. So we are very pleased to report the predicted downpour and lightening, never came to pass.

After descending back down the steps into the old town, we sat in another restaurant and watched the world go by – again! I know we are getting pretty good at this now and above us the swifts performed their amazing acrobatic displays whilst calling noisily to one another.
Tomorrow we depart for the MS Splendid ~ Google it, it does look pretty good.

We shall be sorry to leave, not only the hotel but also a beautiful city that has been everything friends said it would be and more.

Take care and stay safe – what an odd couple of years we have all had. Anchors away sailor – we’ll see you all on board. M & M 🍸⛴⚓️

It ain’t half hot mum. Day 2

Now you need to be of a certain age to remember an actor called Francis Matthews but our waiter last night was a dead ringer. And there he was again at breakfast – hotel folk do keep some appalling hours.

This arrived, to tied us over before the cooked breakfast came! Mary had pancakes with a fruit salad and was in her seventh heaven.

We ate and watched the world go by and then we went for a gentle walk. There are many tour parties wandering around, with the essential leader of the flock either carrying a flag, number or umbrella. The Game of Thrones (never seen an episode!) has done Dubrovnik no favours at all, although I’m sure a tourist catering Dubrovnikan would strongly disagree with that sentiment. And there was one huge cruise liner in port called the Azamara Onwards and obviously this swelled the numbers wandering round – launched this year in Monaco by Princess Caroline.

We paused for a drink overlooking the beautiful harbour and by now it was 80 degrees.

We found where to get the cable car up to the fort overlooking the town, but neither of us had armed ourselves with masks 😷 and we decided a cable car might be a bit of a Covid hot spot, so thats on the back burner till tomorrow, although rain and storms are forecast. Gulp. But that forecast is only for tomorrow. A walk to the headland and then a sit down for lunch, once more watching the world go by, dining on whitebait and salad. Notice how empty that shady wall became once folk had returned to their tenders from the big ship. And I was intrigued by the shape of my wine glass; look closely and the top is higher on one side than the other.

People are busy taking selfies and everyone seems to have their camera on a stick. There are some fascinating faces to be seen and this old part of the city is an adorable cross between Venice, Lucca and Florence. No cars are allowed within the old walls, so once the taxi dropped us yesterday and very nice man (I know we keep meeting them!) lugged our cases through the streets to the hotel.

I think we shall dine in the hotel again tonight, its outside in the square actually but you sit and as I said simply watch the world go by and relax which we haven’t done for over two years. Happy Golden wedding anniversary to us. We are very lucky.

Thank you for reading. M & M 🍷😷

We made it! DAY 1

Real quick tonight – very tired but we are here. Mary plumped for passenger assist at Gatwick because her foot is still very uncomfortable and the thought of long queues at checkin and walking to the gate and another queue for the plane was all too much. Thank goodness we did – it was fantastic.

We had to queue a tiny bit a passport control but we had booked the lounge and a very nice man rocked up with a wheelchair for Mary after champagne and breakfast. We then sat on a buggy straight to the gate and he made a pathway through the line of folk waiting to board and we were first on the plane!

At Dubrovnik we got in a similar machine to the one at Geneva last year and sped through customs; nicely avoiding the probable Covid hotspot of folk packed on a bus – another very nice man taking our bags and wheeling Mary to the taxi. So twenty minutes top whack from landing to exit.

Fantastic hotel, brilliant meal tonight – I think we are going to enjoy this.

More tomorrow when we both wake up a little!

Thanks for reading M & M.

Croatia here we come.

Cross everything and keep it crossed folks – we fly from Gatwick, allegedly tomorrow.

This is our 50th wedding anniversary present to ourselves.

We had a great time with the grandchildren and now we are going to chill; we fly to Dubrovnik (3 nights) then board a boat that only carries 40 passengers and then finally arrive at Split (2 nights) and fly home. Back on 27th everyone.
The chapel at Sandhurst looked glorious on Sunday and just love these two youngsters so much!

Just testing my blogging skills! So, stay tuned and roll on tomorrow!

A beautiful rose that Laura bought us and I just can’t get those Alpacas out of my mind.

Take care – its still out there, trust us we know! Malcolm & Mary.


Day 3 – 12th of April 2020

The Millstream Hotel & Restaurant

We had such a good meal in the Anchor Bleu pub last night, that I wrote and thanked them. OK, I had fish and chips and Mary had a chicken dish but beautifully cooked and so cheap in comparisson to the Hotel but, but the Hotel was worth every penny. The beer in the pub was so well kept, it was a privilege to drink it and the staff have a really fantastic friendly attitude; it must be a great local to have on your doorstep.

So, to the Millstream revue; a tad expensive but worth it. The staff were all superb, the rooms were well appointed and the dinner, as I said last time was superb in taste and quality. The only faults I found – the curtains were really hard to draw and the bed was just a tad too small; hardly mega problems.

We went for a final stroll down by the incoming tide.

And then a quick look round a small shop that turned out to be a huge Emporium, containing many small retailers. And so off to home, it has been a lovely break. Picture on the left below inside the pub. Proper pub interior!

So, that is that. A great treat and a wonderful relaxing break.

Take care, comments as always please! Otherwise I think this has just gone into the ether!

Mary & Malcolm


Day Two – Monday 11th April.

So, first let me say that the dinner last night in the restaurant at the Millstream Hotel, has to be up there with our top five. We have had some memorable meals with chums Vena and Ian and a real couple of stonking ones at the Wedgewood in Vancouver and last night was with them. We both had the crab cakes to start and Bream for the main course; a tad expensive but it was a birthday treat and absolute top quality.

Breakfast this morning took on a Fawlty Towers moment. A table of six had sat down and ordered – eventually the waiter appeared with two plates. A conversation was had and he turned round and headed back kitchen bound, bumping into the top honcho who asked what the problem was. ”The order is all mixed up!” Now head honcho had taken the order, so not best pleased. Had it been Fawlty Towers, he would have been giving his colleague a slap! A pause and they both reappeared with plates akimbo. Again a bit of a kerfuffle but pointing at the mum of the table, head honcho says to, lets call him Manuel, ”Give it to her, give it to her!” Manuel presents it and she says laughing, ”No!” Head honcho says and now in a huff addressing the lady, “What did you order?!” Lady replies, “Nothing.” Horrendous stares and titters break out; most notably on table Treen. Malcolm whispers, “This is all the right food – not necessarily in the right order.” It got sorted in the end but all had been peace and unruffled quiet until that point.
This is Mary’s iPad and yes mine is now too feeble an iOS to support our wordpress site!

The internet in the hotel is now playing up – so back to my phone! You couldn’t make this up. We went for a walk by the sea and then off to the Fishbourne Roman Palace. After almost two hours there, I emerged thinking how really cool those Romans were! Fantastic small jewels, amazing cooking ovens, mosaics to die for and under floor heating! Come on, they were just mind blowing dudes.

Lunch was simply sandwiches at Bracklesham Bay overlooking the sea, after a walk where we nearly got blown away at Selsey Bill.

That will do! Back to the Anchor Bleu pub for tonights dinner. Take care folks, chums are dropping like flies with the dreaded Covid.

Thanks for reading – comments always welcome. Do put your name at the bottom because some of yesterdays were signed in code!!! 😂

Mary & Malcolm


Sunday April 10th

Well now this is a novelty, writing the blog on my phone! I’m guessing my iPad doesn’t have a high enough iOS for me to log in to blog anymore! 😱 Having just forked out £85 I will not be defeated. Thank goodness I upgraded the phone. Sandra, do you think I am right?

Anyway, a birthday treat for Mary and we are staying in a very comfortable hotel until Tuesday. Bit chilly but sunshine this afternoon.

We came down a few weeks back and liked it so much, it was the obvious place to return for a treat. If you park your car near the water be careful – the tide comes in every day and your car may be floating about when you get back. It obviously comes up the streets sometimes as well because these flood barriers are permanent concrete jobs!

Folk have shortened their doors and I guess you limbo inside. We are staying at the Millstream Hotel and dinner is soon to be calling. I really hope you are avoiding the dreaded Covid, many chums have succumbed – so be careful out there.

More tomorrow, thank you for reading. Mary and Malcolm and as always comments very welcome.


Dateline 1st FEBRUARY 2022


Two special people never got these Christmas presents.

The same two people are missing from this picture.

No, I am afraid that Safi and Zach never did make it at all during the festive season but the presents, now that Laura is finally back working over here, have been slowly getting back to them in Switzerland. The first week was a total disaster for Laura, when her PCR test, (should I name the company?) never came back with any result, in that it just never came back, and she lost a complete weeks’ pay because she couldn’t go in to work. Anyway, things are now on a slightly better track and despite the lateral flow testing, the PCR checks, somehow, it must be an age thing, she is coping rather well.

We went to the Wisley RHS Gardens ‘Glow,’ which was a fantastic display of lights on quite a lengthy trot round the gardens. Of course, two tickets were not used, which had been booked and we all agreed Safi and Zach would have loved it. Never mind, it was the first year we have been and it is a regular annual occurrence apparently, so we considered we had an agreeable test run for next year! And Mary was nobly pushed round in a wheelchair by dear Dean, hence her appearance at the bottom of the frame in the above picture!

Last time in Treen Towers News, I completely missed out reporting on a trip to The Vyne that we did just before Christmas, which looked wonderful all decorated for the season. We were given special permission to enter through the main gates, because of Mary’s foot (sometimes it pays to be a volunteer!) and we drove up the driveway in style to the front of the house.

It gave Mary a chance to see her Vyne chums and have a good natter and for us both to have a lovely wander round the ground floor of the house; the top floor is still closed because of Covid. How this wretched disease has affected all of our lives over the last two years is just incalculable.

Mary remembered that she still had Benenden private health cover, left over from her Transport Road Laboratory days that she still pays into; it doesn’t cover major health complications but does allow some physiotherapy to take place. So, the NHS having been delayed somewhat due to Covid (No!) she has now embarked on a weekly session in Farnborough, which has given her more exercises to do and does seem to be doing the trick as far as mobility is concerned. She managed to carry a cup of tea in from the kitchen recently and this was one huge step for mankind. The NHS has finally caught up and she will be attending a session in Fleet fairly shortly and we are hoping that you can never have enough opinions, exercise and treatment, in order to get her back walking properly again and more importantly driving!

And then the inevitable came to pass and our dear chum Teresa finally succumbed to the cancer that had hung over her for a number of years. It is always the case, even though you know it is coming, (she was in hospital in a pretty poorly way,) that when it happens it is still a very emotional and disturbing event. Our laptop was happily scrolling through photographs as they do in a non-active mode and when only literally minutes before we received the sad news, it alighted upon a picture of Teresa that I took at her and Malcolm’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration on the 1st of August 2020, smiling and laughing as she was presented with a surprise cake by Mary and Jackie. A classic case of, ‘of all the pictures stored in this computer,’ one of those odd moments that fate has in store for you, with no satisfactory excuse for its coincidental occurrence.

The service was well attended by over one hundred people and the Rev. Stephen Dunwoody from the RMC at Sandhurst, officiated with such sincerity and fondness that I felt like popping a very light pencil booking into his diary, to rock up ay my internment, when the time comes. And so, another chapter of life closes but the book of memories will forever remain open.

Is it just me, or has no one seen the absolute irony that these Lateral Flow tests are manufactured in China? So, they cause the pandemic and then we pay them money to take a test to see if we have got it. What an economic master plan.

Much better news from down under in New Zealand as a video has appeared of Keith Warren zapping pass the camera in a motorised wheelchair waving and smiling; long may this progress continue and we both wish him well. And even more recent news, he has made such good progress they are considering sending him home in the not-too-distant future. He now has a walking frame and can almost dress himself. A remarkable recovery from the original desperately grave notification we had about his tumble. He has only just got our Christmas card apparently but then so has my uncle in Australia; do they put the mail in to quarantine as it has come from the UK? Keith has a good friend a retired GP called Philip Harrison who, along with 20 or so neighbours and friends, will be looking out for him when he does return home.

And more good news came in our last Christmas card to arrive from long distance chums Betsy and Bruce, all the way from Holden (just west of Boston) in the U.S.A., who we had not heard from for some time and the reason was explained in the enclosed letter. We met them way back in June of 2019, on our Alaska and Canadian tour, on our cruise on the good ship the Wilderness Discoverer.

We discovered the radio silence was probably due to a bad fall Betsy had in August and she had managed to break her right wrist! Rather than having a plate implanted, she chose to let it heal without surgery and as with Mary’s foot the healing process has taken some time. The cruise was only about a week long but with no Wi-Fi or telephonic communications possible, you actually talked to the people you were with and Betsy and Bruce were really such good company, hence we kept in touch. We have just seen that Cape Cod, where they have a summer house, was one of the worst hit areas of the latest snow storm to hit the east coast of the U.S.A. and also, they had power cuts. We are really hoping Betsy and Bruce can throw another log on the fire, because even in Holden the overnight temperature was minus seventeen Celsius.

And then in a week already awash with emotion Barry Cryer died. I worked with him over many years at LWT, where he famously was one of our audience warm up guys. In the old Wembley Studio days after Hark at Barker, I regularly gave him a lift home to Hatch End, not a million miles from Pinner where I was sharing a bungalow with Ken O’Neil and Rob Loyd, two other sound department operatives. David Frost swore he had a sign outside his house saying ‘Last comedian before the M1,’ and no we weren’t close but you do begin to reflect on your own mortality. As Barry said recently, perhaps I should stop buying green bananas! And one of his fans posted that the funeral cortege should definitely pass-through Mornington Crescent! If you do not listen to the radio that will mean absolutely nothing to you at all but I’m sure Barry would appreciate that remark.

Quick to a laughing moment, caused by dining at The Phoenix pub near Hartley Whitney twice in December.

We had given ourselves a little treat and for some reason when my bank statement arrived, I noticed that allegedly we had visited the premises on New Year’s Eve. A minus figure of some £80 to Phoenix ss and my mind began to race. We certainly had not attended on New Year’s Eve; we had been keeping that day free for the arrival of the grandchildren. So, I wrote to the establishment, got no reply, so went to visit them, bank statement in hand. I gave a print off of the email I had sent and handed over the proof to a young waiter, in the form of my statement and boldly marked the three visits, two of which were legit although the cost of the meal seemed to have rocketed on those! My letter luckily was quite light hearted and not in an ‘angry from Tunbridge’ kind of form. The landlord telephoned us the following day and explained that Phoenix ss, did not stand for ‘steak and shiraz,’ as I had stupidly thought but Phoenix ‘service station.’ Gulp. This is a petrol station just in front of the pub that I frequently visit (clearly from my statement!)  because their petrol is some of the cheapest in the district. Gulp again. I hastily booked a table for the following week, when I went back to retrieve my bank statements and left before the landlord, who was luckily out and about, returned.

And once more that just about wraps up this January; it’s gone a lot quicker than last years did, in my humble opinion. Mary now having NHS physio as well as her private visits, which all amounts to twice a week; we are hoping that this will speed up the progress but she has been told it will be, because of the nature of the injury, slow. I telephoned for my three-monthly blood test, as always well ahead of the date required because there is always a long delay but I got an appointment for the following day, which took me completely by surprise. Next month more physio, Safi’s ninth birthday and we really hope that she and Zach will now venture to the UK at Easter, and we are planning to book a holiday on a small cruise ship in Croatia for June and our 50th wedding anniversary. And Mary will hopefully visit Peterborough for a singing weekend and by the way, the RMA Sandhurst choir has almost returned to normal services. In other words, normal service has been resumed.

A few Barry Cryer moments:

You don’t retire from this business. The phone stops ringing.

A man drives down a country lane and runs over a Cockrel. He knocks at a nearby farmhouse door and a woman answers.  “I appear to have killed your cockerel,” he says, “I’d like to replace it.” The woman replies, “Please yourself – the hens are round the back.”

Quick : The sound of a dyslexic duck.

Did you know that the actor Yul Brynner was a life long Liverpool fan, and that he never wore aftershave? That’s right, Yul never wore cologne.

I backed a horse today; it was so slow the Jockey kept a diary of the trip.

                             Thank you for reading from Mary and me.


                           Illegitimi non carborundum


Dateline 1st JANUARY 2022

Let’s start immediately with the good news. My blood results and CT scan were absolutely all clear; so, I was able to enjoy my second Christmas post operation. Both cars are now repaired and looking spick and span and the Swiss dropped their ten-day isolation for visitors from the UK as quickly as they had instigated it. So, although taking tests, Laura was able to come over and start work on Fast & Furious and has since returned to collect the grandchildren, more of that later.

Mary returned to Frimley and the dreaded boot can be dispensed with overtime, starting in the house; she has to try using her foot again normally. The pain is ridiculously beyond the extent of the injury, and everyone is fed up to the back teeth with it still continuing to gripe and cause disturbed nights. Which reminds me; the other good news was that the implanted tooth was finally implanted, as much to the relief of the dentist as that of the patient. Yippee! Almost the anniversary of when the whole procedure had begun.

Radio Frimley Park did two street collections for our charity and the folk of Farnborough and Camberley were all very generous indeed. This year we had a new-fangled card reader so that folk who had not got any loose change on them (so often the case these days) could tap a machine in order to donate. We raised £1,262.75 and that makes it our most productive collection ever; God bless all who helped. One of our guy’s Bob, dressed up as Father Christmas and went down a storm. Highlight moment for me was a young lad of five or six, who toddled up and asked him straight to his face, “How did you get here?” Bob mused and came back with, “On my sleigh. It’s parked on the roof; the reindeer are having breakfast.”

“Oh!” He craned his little neck up and gazed skywards, and seemed satisfied with the answer, despite the fact you couldn’t see Sainsburys roof from where we were. Just such wonderment does restore your faith in human nature and the innocence of youth. I did my annual chat and Christmas greeting with Neil Dardis, I had hoped by now we might have been unmasked but alas not.

Bad news came from down under, in the form of a report of a bad fall by Keith Warren in New Zealand. He is ex-LWT sound department and we saw him on our great expedition to the beautiful islands in 2015. He is pictured below with myself in happier times and my pre–Slimming World days!

He is in the Burwood Spinal Unit in Christchurch, after the back and neck breaking fall but is progressing well. He is now able to use both hands and legs somewhat and hopefully very soon will be able to hold the phone. We do not have any news of how this happened but it must have been a truly mind-blowing tumble. Get well soon from all of us dear Keith.

Cousin Beryl sadly passed away; she was Mary’s mum’s sister’s daughter. And was married to Vernon who died back in 2016; he was the vicar who married Mary and myself. A sweet little church in Little Paxton, in Huntingdonshire and a lovely friendly service given by the Reverend Canon Annette Reed; she was warm, friendly and very caring. All, of course, in the congregation socially distanced and suitably masked but at least we were there to say goodbye. We stayed in an hotel to save me driving back in the dark and not being able to share the driving. We were actually housed in the conference centre, which didn’t matter for just one night, as the hotel was being refurbished; they didn’t tell you that bit until you had completed your booking! Anyway, all absolutely fine until the morning when neither of us could get the shower to emit hot water. You sometimes wonder why these things are so complicated, don’t you? We made do and mentioned it to Megan a not unattractive girl at the reception desk on our way out. “Oh, you should have phoned, I would have come and reset it,” was the reply that made you realise this was not unusual. In fact, it was probably a common occurrence by the sound of it and then Malcolm’s vivid imagination, as always, took flight and he wondered exactly how many half-naked folk Megan encountered on an average day at the office. “Hello, darling. Do start your breakfast, Megan is still here just resetting the shower!”

Mary managed a couple of concerts sitting down, of course! One for Thames Voyces, where the audience just managed to outnumber the choir but not by very many. And another for the Cecilia singers, or Karen’s lot as I call them, in St. Mark’s church which I didn’t attend. It has been an awkward year for choral singing and the Royal Military Chapel is still blowing hot and cold on which services can or cannot go ahead.

I did attend an AGM there of the ‘Friends of the Chapel’ after one service, because I am now on the Committee. (Mary, much to her chagrin, has not attended since Switzerland) I did find myself writing a little humorous note to the Chairman after the meeting. It was the shortest AGM on record apparently; it was held in the chapel after the service and the reason for the brevity was the cold. The Chapel has never been what I would call warm in the winter but there is palpably something really amiss with the heating at the moment. I wrote to the lovely Chairman Sue, saying I could barely hear the sermon because of the sound of my knees knocking together, and I know Jesus was probably born in a very cold stable but recreating the temperature of that occurrence in Jerusalem, on a weekly basis, has not knowingly made me a better Christian. I don’t think the padre himself was impressed on the day because he said to the congregation, “You can tell we are nearly at the end of the service, because Roy has opened the doors to let the warm air in.” It does distress me that we are only the custodians of that building and it really must be preserved for future generations, otherwise all that history will be lost forever.

So, all down hill to the Christmas lunch and roast beef and Yorkshire pudding were on the menu; Laura, Hannah and Dean and myself and Mary: Dean providing lashings of wine. The turkey was being held over till New Year’s Day when the grandchildren can join us and there, I run out of anything (Chris) witty or erudite to say. THEY WILL NOT BE COMING.

Laura has just phoned and here I have to be so careful with my words because Laurent, Laura’s ex other half, has tested positive for Covid. If you remember they were all due to come to us for Christmas as they, very grown up like, take it in turns to have the children and it was our turn to have the grandchildren for Christmas. Laurent announced he had no more leave left for the New Year, so could he have them for Christmas instead, and we could see Safi and Zach for the New Year. We agreed but he then got Covid and they now have to isolate and cannot come to us at all. Gutted just doesn’t cover it. But as Mary said, so many families must have once more been torn apart this Christmas by this wretched Covid disease.

Taking Laura back to Gatwick on December 26th, I finally found the end to my new book. Still writing but hopefully finished soon; but you’ll have to buy it to read it! I’ll give you a clue in that it is two years since she had the brainwave she talked about.

At least some of our neighbours have found a sense of humour in these dark days:

Look after yourselves and have a great New Year. We will be back in 2022, refreshed and invigorated, I’m sure.

Now some Prince Philip gaffs:

“Oh! It’s you that owns that ghastly car, is it? We often see it when driving to Windsor Castle.” To neighbour Elton John after hearing, he had sold his Watford FC-themed Aston Martin in 2001.

“I would like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.” In 1967, asked if he would like to go to visit the Soviet Union.

“If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she isn’t interested.” Of his daughter, Princess Anne.

“Do you still throw spears at each other?” Prince Philip shocks Aboriginal leader William Brin at the Aboriginal Cultural Park in Queensland in 2002.

Thank you for reading from Mary and me.



Illegitimi non carborundum

Happy Wednesday

I ventured into Camberley yesterday, and into the Vodafone shop to enquire about an upgrade.

A wonderful lady served me, complete customer satisfaction and I emerged with a new phone, a reduced monthly rental and I am able to blog again from it! Total win, win for once!

Happy days! Well almost!

Malcolm & Mary

Tuesday in dear old Blighty.

It’s actually Wednesday now!

I was not only too knackered to write anything on Sunday evening but also on Monday! And ran out of time yesterday. My chum David Keay will immediately relate to this! I took Mary to the hospital in the morning on Monday, and myself to the dentist in the afternoon. But first that flight home.

Avis car hire were absolutely useless I have to say. I phoned them on Sunday morning to ask where do people normally drop folk off, because Mary was never going to be able to negotiate the bus from the Avis car park and return to Terminal 1. They didn’t know and they hadn’t a clue.

So, I decide to phone BA; I had made the booking for the wheelchair assistance on Friday; they must have loads of cases like this during the skiing season, surely? Hung on for 20 minutes and that BA theme tune began to wear mighty thin. Finally a human spoke and I simply asked where could I drop someone off near to the wheelchair assist place. Where was that, and was there somewhere Mary could sit while I took the hire car back to Avis? She had no idea either and then had the front to say, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” How I kept my temper and my mouth shut, I shall never know.

So we had our final lunch both of us ordering the Filet de Perche, in La Poularde, the chicken in a basket place that Zach has sadly told us is to be knocked down, as it has been sold. A sad passing of our history with Romont. So, it may well have been our a final lunch ever.

It was another glorious sunny day and folk were sat outside, as you can see behind me. The Covid pass was asked for and worked and we sat down in a bit of a glum mood, thinking that this may well be the last time that we did so.

And then away to the airport with time to spare, because we were still pretty unsure where to park or where to go. We tried the ‘kiss and fly’ lane; the romantic Swiss name for ‘drop off’ but this lane was too far from the entrance. So, out of the airport round and back in again, luckily we are quite familiar with the road system. We parked much closer and I spotted two police officers who were lurking on the pavement; I galloped across and asked where the travel assist place was and could I park where I had parked? No I couldn’t park where I had parked but as I was now parked there anyway, they would turn a blind eye for a few moments and the park assist was literally just to the left inside the door we were stood outside of. How lucky was that? A really helpful chap got Mary seated in a ‘quiet corner’ and got her a small stool to put her foot up on and I dashed off to return the car.

And now feeling all was well, everything went very smoothly. The lovely chap escorted us to check in, to get our boarding passes and rid of the suitcases. When we were ready, he whistled us through the back stage security area and parked us in a Geneva assist waiting area airside and said he would return to get us on the flight. He did and we entered a vehicle that drove off right to the side of the plane, rose up and we entered via the side of the normal walkway, right by the entrance to the plane. First on, we were seated and eventually away we went and the crew were just terrific. So well done British Airways, just folk on the phone need to be a bit more with it.

At Heathrow the crew waited for the wheelchair to arrive, bless them. We got put on a buggy and as we had landed at a ‘C’ gate which, for those who know Heathrow, normally means getting the little train to the main terminal. We didn’t, we sped along I presume below the railway, at a really fast speed and took a lift or two that finally brought us out at passport control. Then down a side alley to our own private desk and I couldn’t help noticing how busy even the eye recognition gates were. Through passport control and down to baggage reclaim; where Mary was transferred from the buggy to a single electric wheelchair with an operative. A discussion ensued about overtime and a nine o’clock finish but we sped on our way. The lovely guy grabbed our suitcases off the luggage belt, and sped us up to the meet and greet car park, where our car was waiting. He insisted on putting our cases in our car himself and I did pop a little note in his hand for being such a kind dude.

Thence to Frimley Park hospital on Monday and it was confirmed as a fracture. A moon boot has been put on but can be taken off for exercise and bed; so, at last some good news the self injecting heparin jabs can be stopped. Yippee! So, the boot stays put for FOUR weeks; god help us all, said Tiny Tim!

That’s it folks! Thanks for reading. Stay safe.

M & M ✈

Saturday …….. goodbye kids, its been emotional.

They have lots of those triangular warning signs round these parts for cows.

It must be the most superfluous sign ever to be put up in any country in the world. Why? (I know it’s because they are crossing the road but per lease!) Because wherever you look right at the moment there are cows! They are herds in between houses, by the side of the railway, and the fields are alive with them. I swear if a grassed roundabout was big enough they would be on there. There is one cow for every five people. There is even a small heard, in a small field just outside the front door of the co-op, who know me almost as well now as the operative, who always seems to be topping up the yoghurts as I enter. Always guaranteed a, “Bonjour!” and raised eyebrows above the mask, complete the greeting; even if I say so myself, having practiced it so well in that Leysin post office, my response does now sound pretty local!

The same day that Mary suddenly stopped recycling, we picked the kids up from Betty, the lovely child minder; Mary stayed put in the car and I ventured inside to say hello. All down the hallway on one side are a line of the most enormous cow bells you have ever seen in your life, assuming you have ever seen any in the first place, of course. I imparted the news of Mary’s incident, to gasps all round. Safi was on the floor tying up her shoe laces and Zach in his enthusiasm to get outside to see the damaged foot, tried to squeeze past and over her. He ventured a little too far to his left and his head made a resounding loud contact with huge bell number one. An amazing domino effect followed as one bell swung into another and the force of the encounter was enough to knock Zach backwards onto the body of Safi who he had been so desperately trying to avoid. The accompanying ‘peel’ of the bells had to be heard to be believed; to me it sounded like six big bens all going off at once. Zach staggered up and rubbing his head but everyone including him were laughing hysterically, especially Safi! I complimented him on doing his own stunts and Betty wished them both a happy vacation; this was the last time she would see them for two weeks, as half term is looming.

Mary is now sleeping on the couch in the lounge, so as to make it easier to get to places during the night without disturbing everyone with the clanking crutches. The troops were still up very early even though there was no alarm. Mary is bravely self injecting with the anti coagulant, but unfortunately can’t have alcohol; I’m badly in need of a large gin and tonic myself and a capstan full strength, if I’m brutally honest.

You may well remember, Mary had booked the table in the restaurant by the lake for our last lunch together. We were asked upon arrival if we would like to sit out or in, as it was such a beautiful day. Zach immediately sang out for ‘in’; with hindsight this was such a wise choice, because of course we always forget that outside you are at the mercy of tables nearby who maybe prone to smoking. And as we looked out from inside, I could certainly see one lady smoking cigarettes between cigarettes!

Mary bravely hobbled in and her crutches were safely stowed away. The troops just sat and sketched, whilst we ordered from a splendid menu and we both ordered the trout and they both wanted steak! Sadly for the bank manager, they are no longer at the age to share just one portion of spaghetti bolognaise between two!

So another farewell meal at such a special restaurant, with such very special people. Oh, yes those drawings, do have a look.

Zach’s is on the left and Safi’s haunted house on the right. So there we go folks, I get the feeling the journey tomorrow may be recounted on Monday; I’m going to be far too knackered by tomorrow night for sure.

We have had a ball and always will simply seeing these two guys. They have such wonderful senses of humour, that I truly hope they will never lose. They were in absolute fits on the way back from the restaurant, which Mary blamed on a sugar rush from the meringues for dessert, that Safi had, but it was a joy to hear. The weather has been very kind, so in that we were so lucky. However, I have to publicly announce that my recycling days are over; I have no idea what’s brought that on………..have you?

Thanks for reading M & M ✈️🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

Friday; reflections.

As I gazed out of the doctors surgery waiting room, I couldn’t help thinking it would win ‘waiting room view of the year,’ in any world wide competition. Next to the windows was a huge HD + TV, showing a documentary on animals devouring one another, which was turning a pale little girl waiting with her mum, even paler.

I couldn’t get to Mary fast enough to prevent the tumble, if she had only waited for me to join her, I would have been right there. But that thought, as always, is brought to you via the wonderful world of hindsight; even at our age you don’t climb a set of stairs thinking, ‘I better wait till someone is behind me.’ It happened before my eyes, as accidents often do, in glorious slow motion. The site operative rushed over and enquired, “Ça va?” meaning are you OK, from a suitably socially distanced stance. I guess pre Covid, he might have rushed to help me get Mary back on her feet but not these days! ”Im OK, I’m OK,” said Mary furiously rubbing her ankle. She hobbled to the car and sat in it, while I continued distributing the bottles, the cans, the paper and cardboard to their allotted skips.

Back at the flat, we hobbled across the road, from thankfully a fairly close parking spot and upstairs surveyed the offending limb.

It really did look a tad swollen and sensibly Mary decided a second opinion may be called for. So, Laura was asked in West Wycombe, where her doctor in Romont was; the time was about ten to three. Laura got us an appointment and we had to turn up between half three and quarter to four. Hobbling fairly swiftly back to the car we google mapped the address and headed out of town. Instead of turning left at the vital moment of nearing our destination we turned right; I had misread 76-78 and 80 -82 on a signpost as inclusive of 81. It wasn’t, it was evens one side of the road an odd’s (we were looking for 81) on the other. I stopped at a small farm and wandered over to a man taking the air and the sun, in a chair outside his premises. Luckily the word ’doctor’ is pretty universal and he pointed across to the other side of the main road. It was at this point I noticed he was enjoying the beautiful day with an incredibly large pig by his feet, also very relaxed in the warm sunshine, who didn’t even raise or lower an eyebrow, at my arrival or departure.

Mary was very quickly escorted into a room with an x-ray machine in it. How many of those have you seen in your G.P.’s surgery? This must relieve the pressure on A & E’s, surely? Boris please note, don’t give them money with conditions, buy them all x-ray machines. I wandered off into the aforementioned waiting room, which wasn’t terribly big and by the time five of us were seated in there and then a family of six arrived; I was mentally thinking two things. First we are going to need a bigger waiting room and secondly masked or not, if I get out of here without contracting Covid, I’ll consider myself bloody lucky.

It took a while but a very pleasant young doctor, we think the same chap who treated Hannah a few years back for a food allergy, pronounced the foot was broken. They bandaged it, gave us a CD of the x-ray, a pair of crutches, a prescription for the chemist so that Mary can inject herself daily to stop any blood clotting, now that did give us real laugh! Not really! We are Frimley Hospital bound next Monday, where we assume a proper cast will be popped on.

The lady in the chemist was lovely and couldn’t quite believe this all had happened in a recycling centre but gave me a superb demonstration as to how Mary should administer the jab. That will do for the moment, I have to be off to the co-op (I know! I know) for more supplies.

Up next, how the troops got on at their last day of school before two weeks half term and how to book a wheelchair via “BA – your call is important to us” for your flight home.

Thanks for reading, you couldn’t write it could you? I know I actually just did!

M & M 🐄🐄🏥 🇨🇭🇨🇭🇨🇭🦽

Thursday and its about to go horribly wrong.

The Sushi last night was delicious and everyone got off on time this morning. Zach was at the bus stop in time for the bus and Safi went off up the hill with her chum Jessica.

The day was our own, so we headed off for petrol, some de-icer (bought at the petrol station not the Co-op!) and little scenic journey to ‘Misery’. Yes its an actual place; we joked about ‘oh, back in misery’ and ‘what a misery!’ and all I can say is careful what you wish for.
Lunch was fine, in the Restaurant Da Mauro, in Misery, after another failed zap of the Covid passes. Luckily we had our paper proof with us and our passports and were finally allowed to order a meal.

I had the fish and Mary a salad. We returned to Romont, went to the recycle centre and that’s when the trouble started. Mary tripped down the last two steps at the plain glass skip and all hell broke lose.

More tomorrow.

Thanks for reading M & M 👨‍⚕️ 🏥💉

Wednesday; no alarm, lunch near Gruyère and ballet.

The weather forecast had been a bit iffy, but the rain happened overnight and slowly during the morning the sun dried everywhere out. So a lazy start to the day and a gentle drive to the Restaurant de La Croix-Blanche, near Gruyère, at the request of Zach, who knew they did one of his favourites, ‘steak on a hot slate.’ Perhaps it’s because you get to dress up to eat it? See the huge bib below.

The Swiss don’t quite understand ‘gentle driving’, and are amazingly similar to the New Zealanders; who we were warned by my chum Kieth Warren, were very fond of tailgating. I think I have mentioned before the sign I so love, underneath speed limit figures in NZ that reads, “ It’s NOT a TARGET!” Here you get a smiley flashing face, that can say, ‘bravo’ or even, ‘superb!’ depending on how much under the speed limit you are. If you then glance just over the top of the boot of your car, in the rear view mirror you will often see behind a very gruesome face, of the driver behind, registering ‘angry.’

Safi had chicken nuggets and Mary and I had their beautiful trout; our pass flashing worked absolutely fine, along with a passport check.

I forgot to say, that yesterday when Mary wandered into the restaurant on Lac de La Gruyère, she addressed the waitress in her immaculate French. Quatre personne pour Samedi etc. and verified the time we would be arriving and gave her phone number. As she prepared to leave the waitress looked in the book and said, “So, just to confirm, that’s four people for this Saturday, at one o’clock? Excellent.” Of course in immaculate English. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? Despite all that, the sun shone, the view looked fantastic and we stayed for a coffee, hence the pictures of the lake yesterday.

We returned back to Romont after lunch and Mary sprang into action to prepare Safi for her ballet lesson; hair in a bun and all that, Safi not Mary! She was suddenly transported back many years, to doing the same for Laura, what goes around comes around. We dropped Safi at her dance class and under Zach’s guidance in the Co-op (Doesn’t seem possible does it?) a few pieces of Sushi were selected for tonights dinner. An hour later and Safi was collected from her lesson and again back to the flat to FaceTime with Laura in England. The project she is working on is called, “The Nevers,” do google it, it looks like a big budget series.

Back to the school run tomorrow and the day is our own until 5-30.
Thanks for reading and your comments are deeply appreciated and we do reply!

M & M 🍱🥢🍶 🍱

Tuesday and all quiet on the Western Front.

A quiet night by all accounts and no snoring to report. Safi and Zach really have to be complimented on their behaviour in the mornings, which (touch wood) has so far been exemplary. We both can’t believe how mature they have become. A wonderful moment occurred, when Zach left us last Saturday, in the failed Covid pass restaurant, after I had taken Laura to the station. He asked if he could go back to the flat as he had finished his meal and was getting a bit bored, so we gave him the key and off he went. Safi looked after him as he exited through the door, and said, “I knew he would do that.” I think in unison, both Mary and I said, “Really?” Safi slowly nodded and said very sagely, “I know my brother.” She sounded about twenty going on forty two!
Laura made it safely back to Blighty and two negative Covid test results had her reporting for work at the crack of dawn this morning! And a very sizeable unit it appears to be.

Having braved another relatively quiet Romont rush hour, thankfully fog less, we then had yet another very swift shop round the co-op; I’m beginning to think about enquiring whether it would be possible to buy a season ticket. Everyone had masks on in there but despite that, as soon as you enter a passing operative will always say, ”Bonjour!” and I am immediately transported back into a post office queue in Leysin.

Meanwhile Hannah and Dean, (while Laura cat sits) have gone off to an Airbnb near Brighton; the place looks to have a wonderful outlook and a rather splendid hot tub. They have not had a break for quite a while together and so they so really do deserve this one. Zach has mentioned a couple of times how much he is already looking forward to Christmas at Treen Towers; we have everything crossed that nothing steps in to thwart their arrival on Christmas Eve, as befell us just before last Christmas trying to make that same journey but in reverse! Zach was also very chuffed to think he might see Uncle Dean again after such a significant gap.

On the left: I think we may assume that these may be Hannahs feet rather than Deans! Although, in these days of male and female liberation, no one could be truly sure, but Dean has never struck me over all the years I have known him, as a chap who would have painted toenails!

We took ourselves off, after the co-op, to book a table for lunch on Saturday, for us with the troops at the Hostellerie le Vignier, overlooking the Lac de la Gruyère, a friendly eatery we again know very well. Like the chicken in a basket restaurant, we have frequented this eatery on a few occasions over the years and we thought it would be a lovely spot to have our last lunch together; I think traditionally this has happened a couple of times. If you can call a couple of times ‘tradition’?

Lunch was back at the flat courtesy of Mary, chef de jour. So, Zach has gone off with Laurent for a parents evening and we will hear the outcome later. (He is back! All good and more about Zach’s next school move come September 2022, than how well he has done.) Mary is cooking pasta for tonight and the good news for tomorrow is that there is no school. We are thinking about lunch in Gruyères but the morning will be guided by the weather, which could be rain. Oh, yes that parking stress!

The Renault Scenic looking again ‘scenic.’ And you have to find somewhere here to park and sometimes that isn’t easy, trust me!

Take care everyone and our first day not having to flash our Covid proof, if you’ll pardon the expression, was wonderful. You can get bored with flashing, honest.

Thanks for reading. Do comment otherwise we will think no one is out there.

M & M 🐄🐄🍷🍷🚗

Monday in Romont.

They made it here and they made it there.

A peaceful night after watching “strictly.” Someone was snoring now and again apparently but I didn’t hear a thing. 🤷‍♂️

The alarm went off at 06-30 and Mary sprang into action, with the object of getting the younger ones fed, watered and teeth cleaned for a prompt departure at 07-15, to a car park in Massonnens. I have never driven in the rush hour in Romont and never in the rush hour in fog. Anyway, we made it. Zach went off to his bus stop to catch the bus to Le Châtelard, where he now goes to school and Safi waited for her chum Jessica to walk together up the hill to the school nearby.

We returned at a sedate pace to the flat. There is always a small anxiety to look forward to, simply trying to find a parking space; maybe this is an age thing? (I’ll take a photo of the street tomorrow.)

Breakfast for me consisted of two boiled eggs in an improvised egg cup constructed by Mary, followed by a visit downstairs to look at the amazing door outside Laura’s share of the cellar for storage purposes. It has to be a left over prop door from ”Vigil” or maybe this gaff was once a bank?

Away for a little light shopping once more in the co-op and the purchase of some egg cups came upon us! These two counters are just out of this world and the rather splendid one containing cream cones, I was luckily dragged away from at some speed!

We needed a new map of Switzerland and slowly touring Romont on foot, we finally alighted upon a shop where we could see maps through the window but it didn’t open till one thirty. As we are all eating tonight together in the flat, the shop was conveniently right next door to a light lunch crêperie type gaff. We entered and nervously opened our phones at the proof of vaccination QR codes. The waitress zapped them with her phone and uttered the magic words, “C’est bon!” Shoulders back down and relax. So what was different from that first time a negative reading appeared and a five minute discussion took place? No blinking idea. Mary just went for a sweet caramel and butter crepe, while I plumped for a cheese, bacon and gherkin one !

It was incredibly filling. And on the way back I took a shot outside the church, of the notice which I talked about. You are not coming in here without your Covid pass mate, I don’t care who you believe in.

We collected the lovely two from the child minder lady and I dropped everyone off and continued on in the evening rush hour, in the Renault bedraggled to a tame car mechanic, of Laura’s acquaintance, to sort the dreaded tyre warning light signal out and the wing mirror. He did both for 10 Swiss Francs. He is on my Christmas card list!

Thanks for reading M & M 🐄🐄🚗🚗🍷🍷