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.

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