Neglected Blog Update!

This is no way to keep a Blog!! It has been 6 months since my last post and I can’t believe how quickly this time has passed. I suppose I have lost the habit of thinking that I should post or there has nothing been of interest to write about… The truth is that I have been concentrating on other things, family orientated.

Last time I wrote about being diagnosed as borderline diabetic and that I had been looking at my intake of sugary foods and after 8 weeks had started to lose a few kilograms. Well since then I continued with the regime of NO biscuits, cutting out drinking hot chocolate and malted drinks in late evening. NO snacks in between meals and smaller portions, more vegetables and fruit, also trying not to eat after 6 o’clock in the evening. In September, I had the opportunity to enrol on a course organised by LWTC (Living Well Taking Control) where both Bernie and I met up with like people and discussed many ways to improve our health and well being. In March my blood sugar level (HbA1c) was 42 mmol/mol, smack on the border line but by the time the course started in September it was 37 mmol/mol, showing that at least I was on the right path. Below is a table with the various levels of HbA1c, thanks to http://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes_care/blood-sugar-level-ranges.html

HbA1c test for diabetes diagnosis

An HbA1c test does not directly measure the level of blood glucose, however, the result of the test is influenced by how high or low your blood glucose levels have tended to be over a period of 2 to 3 months.

Indications of diabetes or pre diabetes are given under the following conditions:

  • Normal:Below 42 mmol/mol (6.0%)
  • Pre diabetes:42 to 47 mmol/mol (6.0 to 6.4%)
  • Diabetes:48 mmol/mol (6.5% or over)

I have finished the weekly meetings and am awaiting the next session in December when the HbA1c test will be repeated. Hopefully it will still be in the normal range. I have also been keeping a regular check on my weight, always checking it roughly the same time of day before showering and breakfast. I am happy to report that that I have lost (working on a monthly average) 11.44 Kgs, roughly 1 stone 11 lbs.

Weight Chart Nov17

This may not sound very much but it has brought my BMI down to within the accepted normal range and my weight is around the same as when I was running regularly 10 or 15 years ago.

Now that I no longer have the responsibilities that came with being the Secretary & Membership Secretary of Midland Masters AC I have been able to spend more time on researching my Family Tree. This is something that I started way back in the 70’s before taking up the running again but I only scratched at the surface. This was pre the internet age and all the work was paper based and it was laid aside until about 2008 when I subscribed to Ancestry and started in a very small way to develop my tree. I quickly regretted not gathering more information from my parents but from what I already knew it gave me a good start. Even since 2008 there have been massive advances in the records available to search and from a very small start I have gradually built up my tree. In 2012 I realised that I needed something better to retain all the information that I had been gathering using Ancestry and several other genealogy sites instead of the increasing number of paper files that had accumulated. I needed to keep the Tree on my PC hard drive instead of relying on the online tree only. I therefore purchased a copy of Family Tree Maker (FTM). This software had the ability to synchronise the online tree from Ancestry with the tree on the PC. Any changes made either to the Ancestry Tree (AMT) or FTM were synchronised so that both trees were the same. FTM had the advantage of being a database so that consistency of data inputting is more easily achieved and it has the ability to produce several genealogy reports; charts and books. Since moving to Cornwall this hobby has gradually increased and I very often spend too many hours in research or “tidying” up the tree. In 2016 Ancestry dropped the synchronising feature and after a worldwide outcry sold FTM to a company called MacKiev who developed a completely new synchronisation and earlier this year I became one of the many “test drivers”. Since the 2017 upgrade has been available I have been on a very steep learning curve trying to master the many features and ways of getting the best out of the software as well as trying to maintain some research. For some this has been a very rocky road but for me, certainly after a slow start, it has been working fine. The only downside is that it does need many hours to put right errors that have crept in using the online Ancestry and being too blasé merging information from other AMT’s and not checking correctly the sources but I am getting there.

My tree now has over 2400 people in it, which is still classed as a very small tree. Some users state that they have 50,000 or more!

My conclusion is that I shall never be finished but hopefully my information can be saved for future generations.

We have continued to walk as much as we can during the week and during the summer visited a few of Cornwall’s attractions. I continue to take photos when I can and I hope to post some of these in the not too distant future.

The New Regime

Weight Loss

After having a routine blood test earlier this year, my blood sugar levels were borderline with regards potentially getting diabetes and the Doc arranged for me to see a dietician at the local health centre. Although I didn’t necessarily learn anything new the visit allowed me to focus on what and how much I had been eating. She encouraged me to keep a food diary, which I religiously kept during the time I saw her. The aim was to cut down on the amount of sugar consumed and the portion size of some of my meals. I had stopped using sugar 17 years ago and salt even longer, so it was going to be quite difficult to cut down further. Of course the problem is the amount of sugar; fat and salt in the food we buy and this meant that we had to be more careful in our choices. The result was that our shopping trips suddenly became longer as we studied the labels more thoroughly. But with the tips the dietician had given and reading the literature we gradually started to make a few new choices.

My problem I think was that when I stopped running, around 10 years ago, I didn’t adjust the amount of food (calories) that I needed when running. Inevitably this lead to a slight increase in weight, seen mainly around the middle! Even when I was running (but not when I was training intensely) my BMI was just in the ‘overweight’ category, something I could never quite understand. The aim or target therefore was to reduce my BMI so that it dropped into the ‘normal’ range. This equated to losing about 5 to 6 kgs in weight.

I started at the end of March (2 months ago) by reducing the amount of porridge I had for breakfast down to the recommended portion. For me this was a big step as I only ever had this for breakfast and it always lasted me well right through until lunchtime. Additionally, I stopped having the high sugar cereals such as hoops; cornflakes etc. and learnt to like shredded wheat and muesli. I also cut out my biscuit habit. Ever since I can remember I have eaten biscuits on a regular basis, often with a cup of tea or coffee.

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I’ve managed to stop altogether and haven’t had one ginger biscuit for 7 weeks. Something else that I’ve done virtually all my life is to have a hot drink before bedtime, usually milk. Of latter years this drink had become either a malted drink or drinking chocolate, after checking the high levels of sugar in these it is now skimmed milk only.

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After 8 weeks of this regime I have lost 6 kgs and my BMI is down to 25.38, I have nearly reached my target. So I have to keep this up………..

Guess What I Did?

A slightly different topic this time.

I have been an avid reader of the magazine “Computeractive” since 2000 and most of what I know with regards computing is from what I have read or learnt from it. I always like to keep everything up to date and I have programmes installed to help with this. When Windows 10 came along I happily upgraded from Windows 7 and yet again launched into a learning curve to make the best of it. It has not been with out it’s stresses and strains but with the help of Computeractive I usually win through it. I use what I believe is a good anti-virus programme, Trend Micro Security, although it didn’t rate top in Computeractive tests and I’ve stuck with it since first using it in 2000 on my first Windows PC. I know it and it works well for me. On Computeractive’s recommendation I use CCleaner from time to time to help spring clean my laptop and get rid of those unused and unwanted files.

I was interested therefore when I read in Computeractive that Microsoft had chosen to end those interminable updates and would change to two big upgrades a year the first one being the “Creators Update” (apparently Microsoft doesn’t like to use the apostrophe) which was released in April on a roll out basis. This means that it could be weeks if not months before I personally got the nod to upgrade. As Computeractive (CA) highly recommended this update as being the best yet, I thought that I wanted it now. The magazine explained how to be able to download this upgrade right away and last Saturday, I thought ‘go for it Tom’. CA did say that some people had difficulty with, let’s call it plan A, and gave a ‘plan B’ for a slightly different procedure to download. OK, I thought, let’s go with ‘plan A’. Several hours later (our Cornish broadband speed is not the fastest!) and after 3 attempts resulting in error messages, I opted to try ‘plan B’. Again, several hours later and after 2 attempts my hair I swear was becoming even greyer. This is only a hobby I thought and I shouldn’t be having this stress but if anyone who knows me, I wouldn’t let it beat me! The problem was that Microsoft was telling me to delete an App manually that wasn’t compatible with Windows 10, the App being “Trend Micro 2008”. Strange that because the laptop came much later than 2008 and I have been using Windows 10 since day 1. I searched thoroughly through all the files on the laptop and couldn’t find anything resembling this App, so I was stumped, or so I thought. This ‘plan B’ did give me an option to install all files but to delete Apps as an alternative to installing files and Apps. Did this mean only Microsoft Apps?? As I don’t use any, other than “Hacked”, I decided for the second time that day to go for it and it worked beautifully. Or did it?

It was like using a brand new laptop! Microsoft, bless them, had re-set absolutely everything to default settings and had deleted, yes wait for it, all my programmes including the Microsoft Office Word & Excel, which I use regularly. Oooops! Part expected, I suppose but hey I can download them again. Saturday evening loomed and I decided enough was enough for one day.

Sleeping on it was no bad thing and life seemed much better on Sunday. Morning and early afternoon was spent taking 250 photo images at the Trevornick 10 multi-terrain race near Newquay so when I arrived back home I realised that the first priority was to download my favourite image editing programme “FastStone Image Viewer”, tweaking the Windows 10 settings as I went along.

By Monday things were going much better, the Creators Update was living up to CA’s views and I was slowly getting my programmes back. Stress levels suddenly rose when our Sky+ HD box’s hard drive stopped working thus losing our recordings and box sets. Sky were excellent and replaced the box the very next day. Phew!!

I still had the problem of downloading Word; Excel and PowerPoint. I decided I wasn’t going to worry/bother about whether to get them back. This experience had meant that I was virtually starting from scratch and it was good to have had a good clear out. Therefore I investigated alternative programmes that were free (cheapskate!!) and decided to give the WPS Writer; WPS Spreadsheets and WPS Presentations a go. So far after a few days they all seem to be adequate for all my needs and I am writing this on the WPS Writer.

Once again I have to conclude that everything happens for the best and computer wise I now have a laptop whose system is faster and an improvement on previous versions, leaner and meaner would I think describe it. In hind sight I should not have got stressed over it or at least not until next time……

Local Visits

Poldark Mine

We are rapidly approaching the tourist season and we can see already more visitors around. Bernie and I thought that we would take the opportunity to visit the Poldark Mine before it got too busy. We arrived just in time for the tour and about 20 of us descended into the mine all wearing our hard hats. Within 20 meters I managed to bump my head thus confirming the need to wear them! Bernie fared better being somewhat shorter… The tour guide had explained to us that obviously the mine wasn’t originally named “Poldark” but after the original Poldark series had been filmed using the mine, the then owners applied for permission to use the name, which was granted by Winston Graham. The new series of Poldark also filmed underground scenes in the mine making it famous the world over. It was pleasing to see that unlike a lot of other attractions, the Poldark Mine has retained an original look and there was a very strong feel that not much had changed over the years. There was a lot of conservation still being undertaken and it was great to be able to wander around without too many people. We finished our visit with a relaxing coffee in the tea room and purchased a jig saw postcard of Aidan Turner (Ross Poldark) to send to a Brummie friend who is mad on anything Poldark.

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The Poldark Mine
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Tom – Hard Hat time
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Bernie – Hard Hat time
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Going down…….
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Our guide….
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A rusty bit of kit!
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Bernie

St Ives

Later in March we went to St Ives mainly to book our Dental appointments but took the opportunity to do some browsing as it was a lovely sunny day. Again at this time of the year it is relatively easy to get around the shops and along the harbour before it gets too crowded. And we couldn’t leave before partaking of something delicious from Ferrell’s.

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Tom
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Seagull beware!!

Trengwaiton Gardens

Earlier this week we took ourselves off to visit the National Trust property, Trengwaiton Gardens. We had visited here last year at the same time and it’s a good time to see the magnolia trees. There are plenty of opportunities for photographs and a selection appears below.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary

A couple of days later we re-visited the Seal Sanctuary at Gweek near Helston. Sonny was keen to fill in the quiz questions that appeared around the site, with a little bit of help from granddad!! There was only one seal in the hospital, a good thing, but there were a few in the Convalescent Pool ready for their release back in the wild. We loved to see resident seal, Ray, who is totally blind and can be seen in the photo below being fed individually. Another seal likely to become a resident is the one who is blind in one eye, I forget his name. Great work done here at the sanctuary and well worth a visit and its dog friendly to boot…

Starting Married Life

It has been over two months since my last blog, I really must write more!

Quite a bit has happened since the New Year and first and foremost was my marriage to Bernadette on the 14th January. Some might say about time too! I have known Bernie for 16 years and we have lived together for 13, so we both thought that as we have settled in Cornwall and very happy, now was the time to tie the knot. We didn’t want a huge fuss and this is why we quietly planned the day and only had two witnesses in the form of my daughter, Tracy, son-in-law, Rich and of course my grandson, Sonny. The ceremony took place in St John’s Hall, Penzance and a lovely venue and lasted less than 30 minutes. The weather was fine and mild and we loved every minute.  We went back to Tracy’s in St Ives for a celebration drink and later took ourselves off to St Ives Hotel & Spa for lunch. Where better to get married?

I announced our marriage on Facebook and emailed my relatives and friends and this resulted in many congratulation messages. I lost track how many and was humbled by everyone’s best wishes. Many thanks to one and all……

Life continued pretty much as usual after this special event and we tried to maintain our walks, although sometimes this was difficult with Bernie’s work shifts and the weather. A few days later we walked down to the Millpond in Hayle and pleased to see that the swans were back in residence. There was no sign of the turtles; I think it was still too cold for them to come out but the ducks were as usual vocal hoping that we would feed them.

During half term we went with Tracy and Sonny to Tehidy Woods and had a lovely circular walk through woods with Max the Whippet. A bit muddy but very pleasant.

We are waiting to get our ‘official’ honeymoon sorted, probably a few days somewhere in Cornwall later in the year, meanwhile we spent a few hours in Falmouth while it was quiet before the tourist season. Lunch was at the award winning Harbour Lights Fish & Chip Restaurant; this just had to be done!

Last week we drove the short distance to Chapel Porth, part of the National Trust, of which we are members. After a little sustenance (coffee) at the small Café sheltered from the wind we took the short walk along the coast path, about half a mile, to Wheal Coates. Here we explored the ruins and took quite a few photographs. The weather wasn’t great but the rain kept off, the wind keeping it fresh. This was a gentle introduction to the tin mines of Cornwall and on our bucket list of places to visit are the Poldark Mine and the Geevor Mine. The choice is seemingly endless.

My nephew, Stuart, and his wife, Kerry, have moved down to Cornwall from sunny Walsall!! It’s been a long time in the planning and they are hoping to run one of the café/restaurants in St Ives. It is also a much better place to bring up Frankie-Jean who is 11 months old. Last weekend, my daughter Tracy drove me up to the Eden Project to meet them for the World Pasty Championships. We didn’t see much of the competition but took the opportunity for Stu and Kerry to register for their local passes to the Eden Project, well worth it, and a good look round the biomes. We find that there is always something new to look at and experience and no doubt we will be there again before too long.

To while away the dark, wet days I have taken up my childhood hobby of making pom-poms and to give it some meaning have made two pom-pom rugs. This is my second effort……

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Catching Up

The Year Ends

The first day of the New Year seems to be a good time to reflect on last year and look forward 2017. The weather today is not too kind although it is still very mild, dull and raining, a day to be spent indoors I think.

November 2016 saw us pay our first visit to the Midlands after our move to Cornwall in July 2015. It was for a family celebration of Bernie’s sister’s 70th birthday and Bernie’s nephew’s wife’s 30th Birthday. The party was held at Walsall Rugby Club so we decided to stay the 4 nights at the Holiday Inn Express, Junction 10 as a convenient HQ. We took the opportunity after travelling to Walsall on the Thursday to go down to the Birchfield Harriers training night at the Alexander Stadium, Perry Barr to meet up with our friends. Despite lots of new faces there were plenty of my old training partners to catch up with and re-live a few of the good times spent at Perry Barr. The next day we drove into Birmingham to meet up with more friends and were disappointed when the meeting rendezvous, The Fiddle & Bone pub, was closed. I had spent many hours in this pub listening to local bands and it held many happy memories. During the foot & mouth outbreak in 2001 when Cannock Chase was closed to the public we had to find alternative training venues and the canals of Birmingham proved to be ideal (and much flatter!) and we usually based ourselves at the Fiddle & Bone, changing into dry clothes under the arches in the courtyard and then spending the rest of the afternoon (and many an evening too) in the pub soaking up the music and a few shandies. It was here also that I first met Bernie, so it was appropriate to have a reunion at the Fiddle. Our friends, John; Liz and Alex plus ourselves decided that lunch had to be at the other great music venue, The Brasshouse, and we spent the remainder of the afternoon, minus the music, eating and reminiscing. On the Saturday we had a late breakfast at my nephew’s Café, The Premier Diner, in Walsall and this was followed by a walk around Walsall looked at some of the places I remembered as a child. It was very depressing how Walsall seems to have deteriorated and looked very shabby. The new buildings weren’t sympathetic to the old one’s still standing and the market was devastated. It was so sad but reinforced why I enjoy it so much in Cornwall. Saturday evening was the party and I was reunited with my school friend of over 65 years, Mervyn.

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Tom & Mervyn

Sunday lunch was our opportunity to meet up with my son, Andrew, daughter-in-law, Susan and granddaughter, Mollie-May. We see even less of them now we are in Cornwall so it was a delight to spend a short time with them. The next day we travelled back to Cornwall glad to have seen so many friends and relatives but pleased to be return home.

Later in November we took ourselves off to The Acorn Arts Centre in Penzance to see Kent DuChaine perform his special brand of Delta Blues. We used to see Kent whenever we could when he performed in Birmingham or Lichfield and didn’t think that we would see him again. We therefore jumped at the chance to see him when he set foot in Penzance. We had a lovely time on one of our rare nights out.

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Kent DuChaine performing in Penzance, Cornwall, England

December was quickly upon us with Christmas rapidly approaching. For the second year running we enjoyed a lovely, good value Christmas meal at Trevaskis Farm the week before the big day and the day itself we spent at my daughters.

The school run once a week and the occasional dog walk have continued and we try to get out and walk as much as we can. We walked the 4 miles return trip to Angarrack to see the Christmas lights and fortunately this year it wasn’t raining. A pint in the Angarrack Inn was the reward!

A quiet night in for New Year’s Eve rounded off the year nicely.

Our Second Year in Cornwall

Once again I have been neglecting to keep my Blog up to date. I guess it’s because of my keeping busy with other things and time waits for no man!!

Settling into life in Cornwall is a continuous process and we are still discovering new things in Hayle and never tire of our walks around the area. The summer season has now finished and there are fewer visitors (tourists) to be seen. Although we go to St Ives on a regular basis, visiting my daughter who lives there, we rarely venture into the town at the height of the summer as it gets very busy with the narrow streets blocked. It’s a delight to visit in quieter times and we look forward going there over the winter/spring. We also occasionally go to my daughters to walk their dog, Max the whippet.

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Bernie with Max the whippet

In August, the Man Engine came to town. The largest mechanical puppet in Britain was in Hayle celebrating the areas mining history.  A great show in the centre of the town.

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The Man Engine coming alive in Hayle

We did visit St Ives for the Music Festival in September. We had tickets to see Fairport Convention and Rick Wakeman on consecutive days. Both were excellent evenings and very enjoyable with a good atmosphere generated in the Guild Hall. With unreserved seats we made sure that we were early in the queue to ensure we could get good seats and managed a front row view for Fairport and second row for Rick.

We still like to get in a walk if we can but with Bernadette now working this sometimes proves difficult. I often walk her to work and carry on for another 50 minutes, usually taking in the beautiful King George V Memorial Walk and on to the North Quay.

We recently spent a couple of days in Padstow, which is only about an hour’s drive away, but I suppose it was classed as our ‘holiday’. We stayed at the lovely Victorian Metropole Hotel located on the edge of the town and an ideal location for the local amenities.

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We took the short ferry trip across the estuary to Rock and enjoyed a couple of hours walk through the main part including a coffee break. Although sometimes dubbed ‘Kensington by the Sea’ or ‘Chelsea by the Sea’ because it’s a favourite destination for the jet set we found no evidence except the lovely houses.

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The Padstow/Rock Ferry

The rest of the time was spent enjoying Padstow including the Lobster Hatchery, especially the lobster called Brian!

On the way back home we visited Port Isaac (Port Wen in the TV series, Doc Martin), a beautiful little place if a bit hilly!!

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Doc Martin’s Cottage

Meanwhile we continue to enjoy the unseasonable warm weather going into our second  Cornish winter.

Our 1st Anniversary

After 12 months living in Cornwall, I can say that we have well and truly settled into the life here. It has been one year to the date that we moved to Hayle and we do not regret it one iota. We have found everyone friendly and helpful and a walk through the town involves many a “good morning” or “hello”, something missing in Birmingham and Walsall.  We still get mistaken for visitors but we quickly put them right, perhaps it’s the sandals and shorts?? Yes, it’s possible to wear sandals and shorts from April to October if so inclined and casual wear is de riguer. We’ve even seen shorts in December and January!!

We have now got local passes for both Land’s End and the Eden Project and retaining our membership of the National Trust has opened a wealth of places to visit. It is difficult to nominate a favourite but we love to visit several of the gardens during the year although we ourselves are non-gardeners, as proved by our small plot of artificial turf……..

Our aim of walking everyday sometimes is not achieved but we do walk more than in Brum and we often do small shopping trips on foot. Bernadette has a summer part time job and I often, if shift times allow, walk with her to work then carry on for another hour. I often walk along the North Quay in Hayle and wonder if I shall see the end of the re-development of the area and if the recent Brexit result will have an impact on possible EU funding. We shall see! Strangely one of my favourite walks is from Long Rock into Penzance and back or Long Rock to Marazion and back. There is a lovely view of the railway on one side but this is more than compensated by views over Mount’s Bay and St Michael’s Mount, which usually are stunning. This is a nice flat walk and easy on the legs. From Penzance it’s only a little further to walk on to Newlyn, the well-known fishing village.

I have maintained contact with most of my friends and acquaintances using social media and keep up to date with what’s happening at Birchfield Harriers and Midland Masters Athletic Club. Interest with running has continued and we often support my son-in-law in local events. These are nearly always quite tough because of the hills but the ultimate must have been the Classic Quarter, a 44 mile Ultra-Marathon along the south Cornish coast. Take a look at my photos on Flickr

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A fairly short post this time but I wanted to make sure it was done on our 1st anniversary.

I’m still here…………..!!

Ten Months – A Landmark?

We have now been living in Cornwall for 10 months and we are well and truly settled in. Perhaps not locals yet and I suppose we are still from “up country” but happy that we made the move.

We are now looking forward to the summer after several months of rain, rain and more rain, interspersed with lovely sunny days. As with most of the country, it hasn’t been cold, just the occasional frosty start to the day and we have found that another advantage of living in a new property is that we have only had to have the central heating on for a few hours a day, thus cutting down on the heating bills. Always a good thing!!!

When Bernie’s brother passed away a few years ago, she inherited around 1000 of his books, mainly cookery books. Originally these were going to be donated to a college but this never came to fruition as it was all too soon after the funeral and at the time both of us we committed to other things. The upshot of this was that we had to transfer all these books with us when we re-located. My daughter, Tracy, filled her car a couple of times when visiting us in Birmingham and stored them at her home in St Ives and we brought the rest when we finally moved. In January we felt that we had to do something to relieve ourselves of the burden of storing such a huge collection when we just had not got the room. With the living room filled with piles of books I gradually went through every one sorting the ones with ISBN numbers from the earlier editions without these numbers, some first editions. By entering in the ISBN number on the WeBuyBooks website, http://www.webuybooks.co.uk I was able to sell around a third of the books. Another third consisted of those with no ISBN numbers and these we took to a local book auction, where surprisingly all were sold. The remaining third we donated to the British Heart Foundation. Although this took me nearly 3 months of hard work, I researched and indexed all the books that went to auction, we both felt that it had been well worth it and we have a few quid to show for it.         April 2016

Since relieving ourselves of the cookery books I have renewed my interest in researching the Family Tree another hobby that quickly becomes rather addictive! Bernie and I have kept our World membership of Ancestry mainly because Bernie has ancestors traceable to other countries. My ancestors seem to mainly based in and around the Black Country but I have now found a link to USA when my 2nd Great Aunt emigrated with her husband in 1906 to settle in Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately she committed suicide 4 years later in 1910, dying from Carbolic Acid poisoning.

We both received Leki walking poles from my daughter and son-in-law for our Christmas presents and we intend to make use them in the coming months.

We try to get out and walk as much as we can hoping to increase the distances more during the summer. Rapidly becoming our favourite local walk is King George V Memorial Walk which changes in appearance throughout the year and overlooks the Hayle Estuary and has access to the harbour and beaches.

Our excursions so far this year have included visits to

Trengwaiton Gardens in March

Keep of the grass!! Polite notice
Keep of the grass!! Polite notice
Bernie with magnolia trees
Bernie with magnolia trees

Penrose Estate in April

View of Loe Bar from the Penrose Estate
View of Loe Bar from the Penrose Estate

Glendurgan Gardens in April

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Maze at Glendurgan 

Godolphin in April

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Steps

Land’s End in May

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First & Last House

Looe Monkey Sanctuary also in May

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The three monkeys!!!!!

I’m afraid I have neglected this Blog but the days seem to roll by and we must make the best of where we live by getting outdoors and relishing our lovely environment.

2015, The Last 12 Months

The Last 12 Months

It doesn’t seem like 12 months since we traveled down to Cornwall from Birmingham for a couple of days at the start of 2015. We stayed in the Premier Inn, Hayle and visited my daughter; son-in-law and grandson in St. Ives.   Although moving down to live here had been muted in the past, the discussion had never reached a serious conclusion, probably because of my commitment to the Midland Masters Athletic Club and Bernadette’s work commitments. The subject was raised yet again and was once more put on the back burner.

It all seems a bit vague but when we were traveling back to Birmingham we decided to get the house valued, just to give us some idea how feasible a move would be. For me, the main thing was that Bernadette was happy to move away from all her relatives. Thus we started the ball rolling.

The first decision would be to decide what area we preferred, this was fairly easy as my daughter lived in St. Ives, so we knew that a 5 to 10 mile radius around there would be suitable. I felt that we needed to be within walking distance of all the amenities both from a practical point of view and so that pleasant walks could be undertaken. We therefore started to concentrate on the St. Ives; Carbis Bay and Hayle areas. We searched extensively the well-known property sites on the Internet sometimes spending several hours at a time. Thus we gradually formulated our requirements and priorities, not necessarily in order…..

  • Price range
  • Parking
  • Amenities including shops, health centre
  • No work or projects needed
  • Small garden

These proved to be a useful filter but we often ended up going round in circles. This wasn’t going to be easy!!!

Bernadette’s work as a care assistant on bank hours had ebbed and flowed and she sometimes went days without work, she was not happy, so the decision to move on was easy. Her family was all supportive of any move also. My sister was terminally ill and she also blessed the move and hoped to see the new home, which sadly never came to pass.

But I also had a big decision to make. For nine years I was Secretary and Membership Secretary of the Midland Masters Athletic Club (MMAC) and had spent many hours developing the database to help organise the administrative side of the Club. After being self-taught in the use of Microsoft Access over many months I then found that the governing body of masters athletics, the British Masters Athletic Federation (BMAF) wanted to introduce a standardised system for subscription and competition entries. This made a lot of sense and MMAC became what turned out to be a guinea pig for the project. It proved to be a system under development and needed a lot of my time to make it work for us. Of course, and I admit it, that I was always too fastidious. I wanted to be very efficient and it was becoming to take its toll with personal relationships.

It was time to move on and retire properly. Once that decision was made it was easier to look forward and prepare for the move.

We put the house up for sale and organised viewings through Estate Agents in Penzance/Hayle area. This was achieved with a lot of help from my daughter, Tracy. In February 2015 we traveled to Cornwall for the first viewings. There was one new property that had stood out in our initial searches but it was over budget. We discovered that the asking price had been dropped, bringing it into our budget range and we included it into our list of viewings. Whilst in the middle of these viewings we received a phone call from our Estate Agents in Birmingham to say that we had had an offer on the house. We were now in the stronger position to be able to put in an offer ourselves on anything we liked. In all our discussions we always came back to the property in Hayle that we loved and ticked all our boxes. We therefore put in an offer which after a little bartering, was accepted.

Back in Birmingham we were able to put the wheels in motion and start the process of packing up. We were downsizing and there was a lot of ‘stuff’ that needed disposing of! Then one day we received a call from our solicitor asking to see us. It transpired the new property in Hayle didn’t have a 10 year building certificate and she refused to act for us on the new property. Whilst we were contemplating what course of action to take, we then heard the news that our sale had fell through and we needed to put it back on the market. After speaking to various friends we decided to take further advice from a solicitor that was based in Penzance on the Hayle property, which had in the meantime also been put back on the market. Within a short time we received a more definite offer on the house; we had a better feeling on this one and crossed our fingers.

More property searches ensued and we once more traveled down to Cornwall for more viewings and we also arranged for a second viewing of our original choice. Despite the other viewings we always came back to the property in Hayle and we decided to reaffirm our interest. We made an appointment with the solicitor in Penzance who reassured us that we had nothing to worry about and we decided to proceed with the two solicitors, one in Birmingham and one in Penzance. We were determined that the Hayle property would be ours.

Once more in Birmingham we then had to be patient and wait for all the legal stuff to play itself out, whilst in the meantime we continued with the packing and organising the move. The vendor in Cornwall was getting impatient and we were afraid he would pull out but we all hung in there and eventually contracts were signed and exchanged and it was all go. The move eventually took place on the 10th July.

It is surprising how much has to be arranged when moving house and I found the benefit of creating several spreadsheets to help out. Hopefully the transfer of all the MMAC duties went smoothly and I knew that concentrating on the move was the correct thing and I had to let go of other things.

We have now been living in Cornwall for nearly 6 months and have settled into Cornish life really well. We have had a most enjoyable Christmas, taking in the Christmas lights in Angarrack as well as the pantomime in Truro Dick Whittington

and the Winter Wood by the Rogue Theatre Company in Tehidy Woods, kicking off with a lovely Christmas Lunch on my birthday. New Year’s Eve afternoon saw us in St. Ives for a showing of the new Star Wars. We are trying to walk as much as we can and are discovering lovely walks all the time.

New Year Resolutions…. I never make any but I have promised myself to have a go at painting in watercolours and keeping as active as possible.