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Sept-Dec 2013/Jan-Apr 2014

11th - 30th September

We arrived back in the UK on the 11th September after an uneventful flight (even though it was 9/11!) We stayed with Julie's Mum in Wellingborough most of the time with a visit to Newport Pagnell to see Linda and Seamus, a weekend in Wakefield and another to Kessingland.

October 2013

On the 17th we moved up to Pontefract near Wakefield in Yorkshire to house-sit for three and a half months for Rachel's parents while they are in Australia. We have two RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) sites within twenty minutes driving distance and spend many mornings or afternoons exploring both these and other sites not to distant such as Old Moor, Potteric Carr etc.

Grand Hotel - Scarborough Redshank in the harbour

Our plan while spending the next few months in Yorkshire was to get out and about (yes - even though it is going to be deep mid winter) and see some of Yorkshires finest places - and there are lots of them. Our first "major" outing is to Hornsea Mere, Flamborough Head, Bempton Cliffs and Scarborough with a night spent at the Grand Hotel in Scarborough. (for the princely sum of 29 Pounds - including breakfast).

Lovely Robin at Dalby Forest  Meadow Pipit at the RSPB, St Aidan's

On the way home we go through the southern edge of the North Yorkshire Moors and Dalby Forest which has the claim to fame as having held the World Mountain Bike Championships. There are also some nice walks without getting mowed down by all the cyclists.

November 2013

Early November we take our first trip to the Yorkshire Dales. Parking at the National Park Centre we head off for Janet's Fosse (Fosse being an old Viking name for Waterfall) and Gordale Scar. Not only is it a really nice walk but Julie also gets to see for the first time in the UK the elusive Dipper. Not just one but three of them!!!!

Dipper in the stream Janet's Fosse waterfall, Malham, Yorkshire Dales

Ron at Gordale Scar The Dipper

Other events of the month include the unfortunate death of Ron's Mum after a long period spent in a care home, a visit to the movies to see the new film "Gravity" and a fair amount of walking in the RSPB sites. Watch this space for more photographs of "Gods Country".

29th November. Charlotte's 7th birthday party at Capri Restaurant.

Charlotte and Susie at Capri restaurant for Charlotte's birthday Lisa and Helen (cousins)

December 2013

December is family time. A visit south to see Julie's mum and a quick trip to get a job done on the car. Followed on closely with a visit to Kessingland to see Rons kids and grand kids. And of course - enter a new one. Sophia entered this world at a very lightweight 5 pounds but other than that nice and healthy. Congratulations Simon and Amanda. Lunch out with all the family including sons, daughter, grandkids etc. A really pleasant time. A few more trips out to our favourite RSPB sites, another visit to the cinema this time to see "The Hobbit - Desolation of Smaug". Also a little bit of culture entered into by going to see the Huddersfield Choir accompanied by the Black Dyke Brass Band. Julies 'brother in law' Robin sings with the choir. All the preparations for Christmas which are not really that much this time as Ron's sister Yvonne is hosting Christmas Dinner for 15 family members so chaos will no doubt ensue.

Ron and his new granddaughter, Sophia Grace Ruby Iris, another Granddaughter

13th December. Christmas Concert in Huddersfield

Huddersfield Choir and Black Dyke Band Christmas Concert Beautiful Kingfisher at Fairburn Ings

25th December. Lunch with the family.

Christmas lunch at Yvonne and Dermot's A good spread and lots of wine

January 2014

New Years Eve saw us celebrate with John and Rachel (Rons brother and Sister in Law) initially in a local hostelry in Castleford and then back to "our place" where considerable volumes of alcohol were consumed through until the wee small hours as the Scots would say. New Years Day was pretty much a "non event" day.

Through the month various visits were made to RSPB sites at Blacktoft Sands, Fairburn Ing and St.Aidans, by ourselves and with Linda and Seamus who came for a weekend, but due to the winter weather visits to further places were seriously curtailed.

19th Ilkley. This was a special outing for some of the family that were able to make it. A visit to Ilkley Moor (and yes nobody was wearing a hat) was made in honour of Ron's mum as this had been one of her favourite places to visit when she had been able to some years ago. A decision had been taken to scatter her ashes here in her favourite place right by the river. Having the children with us made it a much more enjoyable day than it could easily have been. RIP Mum.

Julie, Marie and Lisa The girls posing

24th January. Another special occasion this month was a visit to Rowley Manor Hotel in the East Riding for John's 50th Birthday Party. Twenty of us turned up to enjoy the occasion including friends and family and a great and fun time was had by all. Many thanks John for the exceptional hospitality.

John and Rachel at John's 50th birthday party Yvonne and (Grandson) Joe

Also during the month Julie has been determined to keep up her fitness programme. Even though many of our visits had to be curtailed and hiking was very limited Julie persevered by walking round the Pontefract Racecourse whenever possible. On occasions even accompanied by Ron. Her 10,000 step programme seems to be working; at least according to the new pedometer!!! The boating lake in the Park area of the Racecourse also provided a few unusual birds not least of which is the "hybrid" below.

Unusual duck - half Tufted and half Pochard (?) Willow Tit at Fairburn Ings

We moved away from Pontefract at the beginning of February and realised just what a great time we managed to have there. Many thanks to Rachel's parents (Graham and Mary) for allowing us to house-sit for them. 

So, back to Wellingborough for 11 days before we headed off to Majorca for another 11 days to visit Hans and Gisela, old friends from sailing days in Turkey (s/y "Tunnix").

13th - 24th February - Majorca

Hans and Gisela on the Sunday walk Breakfast at the apartment

Purple Gallinule at Albufera Red-Knobbed Coot

Our lunch restaurant at Port Soller Julie at the point at Cap de Formentor

25th February - 16th March - Wellingborough

We spent this time packing up for our ship cruise to Cyprus.

The forecast... ...the reality!!

17th - 31st March - Grande Mediterraneo Grimaldi Cruise - Click here for trip account

1st April - July - Larnaca - Please see Cyprus.



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