blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A month later

Glowing in the dark!
We're back in Ottawa, having been on our travels again, since November 21st in my case; Chris set off a week later and we reconnected in Heathrow on the 29th. Our grandson Alexander came with me to meet his granddad, chattering all the way about his chess club at school. Alex is now 8 and for once I was there for his Birthday, December 5th, a glow-in-the-dark after school party for five boys, with pizza, fruit and cake.

Opening the birthday presents from his friends
After my arrival weekend in London, thrilled to discover when we went to the pool in Teddington that both of my grandsons enjoy swimming nowadays (Thomas wearing a buoyancy vest, Alexander mainly underwater), I travelled by train on a misty, frosty morning to Cardiff to spend four days with Mum, helping her with the shopping and housework, playing Scrabble (I still can't beat her), and visiting a nearby home "for those who find it increasingly difficult to cope at home without assistance." The staff are friendly and the interior's bright enough to cheer up the residents, we hope. Mum's to have a trial stay there next year (she would be the oldest person there, they told us) while my sister's away on a long holiday. One of the rooms is a "cinema" with Odeon style red curtains and red armchairs facing a big screen on which they show the rugby or films like It's a Wonderful Life. Children's art from the local school decorates the walls as does a collection of film star photos from old films, many of them produced in my own childhood which makes me think I must be getting old myself. The dining room overlooks a playground for the great-grandchildren.

My mother at the Christmas market in Cardiff
I took Mum into Cardiff to see if I could find her a better magnifier from the RNIB headquarters, but it would require an eye test first, which she's recently had. While in Cardiff I was amused to see Germanic Christmas market stalls in and around the Hayes, some even selling Bratwurst and Currywurst. With Mel and Faith we also went to a place called Chapter, a "multi-artform cultural space" in Cardiff where we watched the very long film Mr. Turner, starring Timothy Spall. It was rather disturbing, and brilliantly made, the photography the best I've ever seen in a film. Mum said she had trouble following the dialogue, much of the lead character's articulation being curmudgeonly grunts.

Thames bridge at Teddington
Back in London that Friday evening, I met the younger generation of my family at the Christmas Parade down the Hampton Hill High Street, a chaotically British affair, though I found an African bean stew to kept me going. Next morning Alexander chatted away about his chess club on our bus ride to meet Granddad at Heathrow. We all had a walk in Bushy Park that sunny day and on the Sunday a stroll with Thomas down the towpath from the Teddington locks (the "tide's end") upstream to Kingston, while Peter took Alex to a party.

Pool at the Kingston Leisure Centre
The next week Chris and I were in Germany (see separate blogposts, yet to be written), and on my third weekend back in London we were visited by the other grandparents, with lunch for 8 at Red Peppers in Teddington, and went swimming again after a Sunday morning at the new Quaker premises in Kingston, where Emma helps look after the children. The Meeting House is next door to the Kingfisher Leisure Centre, where the pool is.

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