Poppies, remembrance, lost lives, remembrance Sunday, WW1,

Remembrance

Remembrance, what does it mean to you?

While the world paused for thought at the 11th Hour of the 11th day of the 11th month remembering the courageous young men & women who lost their lives in WW1,  Remembrance, then turned to my own family. Only last Wednesday, I pushed the pooch into the back of my car & set off to West Sussex to see my brother.  Over the years, I cannot say that we have been close. Living miles apart from each other didn’t help – that’s what I told myself – but in reality we both perceived things in different ways & were both – mainly me – too stubborn to talk about our feelings & emotions.

sea, emotions, family, remembrance, short breaks
Stormy seas often reflect our emotions

Having suffered mental health issues since a teenage & being diagnosed with Bipolar in later life, I now know I wasn’t the easiest person to get on with. With reality comes the dawning that something has to be done about it. But what?  I spent many years in therapy, being told to “hold on to that positive thought, acknowledge it & let it go”. Didn’t seem to work for me. To be honest, I didn’t even know what they were taking about. I can only describe it as clambering up a crumbling cliff side. As soon as you think you are reaching the top, bits of stone & chalk start sliding under your feet & you slip back again & on and on the process goes. Of course, all this was hidden from the people around me. I just kept it to myself. When work colleagues found out I’d had a nervous break down, they all said “No. I don’t believe it, you are always so, jolly & happy, nothing worries you”. But, you see, that’s what its all about. Shame & people knowing. With that shame & silence, monsters grow in our minds, which are difficult to cope with. If we remain silent & ashamed these monsters can take over.  So seeking help & talking, is a must.

I digress. Having finally reached Sussex, through the pouring wind & rain & let my pooch, leap the break waters on the beach like a racehorse,  my brother & I took  afternoon tea in a small local hotel.  Delightful. I thought.

afternoon tea, food, family, dog walking, cake
Balliffs Court Hotel. West Sussex

Now. I must say at this point, the company was amazing. We spent a good couple of hours in conversation & I haven’t laughed so much in years, but, the food was appalling. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with cheap sliced bread with hardly any filling, but when it is priced at £31 per person, I think they could have done a bit better. Being a cook myself  truffleicious.org  I pride myself on fresh home made food, which is value for money.  This afternoon tea, certainly wasn’t.  The scones were hard & the cakes of dubious quality. Hey ho. that’s only my opinion. Did notice another two tea takers ask for a doggy bag.

Cake, afternoon tea, hotel, by the sea, dogs
Afternoon Tea.
tea, cakes, sandwiches, afternoon tea, family
No. Go on, you have it.

Tea concluded we set off into the dark, wet & windy gloom of a late afternoon in November.

I had booked myself & the pooch into  St Marys Gate Inn in beautiful Arundel, opposite the Castle & next door to the Gothic Cathedral. I had been a frequenter of this quaint little watering hole about 45 years ago & my how things have changed.  The establishment has been transformed from a gloomy pub, into a very smart Inn with comfortable accommodation, restaurant & cosy bar, complete with open log fires. Another great plus for me, when booking was that it is dog friendly. On arrival being greeted by the pubs five resident fur balls, was a delight. The staff & jolly landlady were also friendly & house trained.

After settling into my room & giving the pooch a quick trot around Arundel Park. It was time to retire to the bar.  My brother had returned, with his two lovely sons – my nephews – who I had not seen for more years than I care to remember. Bit embarrassing for them to be reminded of when they were about 6 years old. Photos being called for, Gypsy who had settled down in the brick hearth of a large fire place – unlit, not trying to toast her -, decided it was time for her to get in on the act. Now, we were sitting on a rather comfortable leather sofa, in front of a low table. Picking her moment, when one of the nephews had his camera, trained on us. Gypsy leapt, from a lying down position, straight on top of us. 28 kilos of furry Labrador proceeded to settle herself comfortably on our laps & pose for the said photograph. Needless to say a great time was had by all, with a couple of us feeling a bit worse for wear, in the morning.  It was really great to talk and I shan’t leave it so long next time.

dogs, labrador, photographs, family, furry friends
Just let me in this photo.

Next morning, after a freshly cooked breakfast, which Gypsy was determined to share, I set of for home, reflecting on the most enjoyable time we had, together & that it really is good to talk & drive out those monsters.

dogs, bed & breakfast, accommodation, hotels, Arundel
Pleaseeee let me have some of your breakfast.

Now there are three morals to this ramble. Those being:

Not everything that is expensive is good.

Make time & TALK to your family & friends.

and finally – to me the most important:

REMEMBER:

If you suffer from mental health problems, DON’T try to hide it & suffer in silence. It is good to talk & write things down. I found that writing this blog was very cathartic. Long healthy walks with my dog are also a great benefit & most of all meeting my brother & feeling good about myself.

If you wish to leave a comment, it will be gratefully accepted.

 

Time out

We all need a little time out occasionally, so it was that I found myself on the road to Instow, in beautiful North Devon for a few days down time. TRUFFLEicious mini break had begun.

Now, I didn’t stumble across my chosen venue by meandering the highways & byways of Devon, but on that well know site booking.com, of which I am not a fan. Each time I have used them they have got something wrong.

Anyway, I digress. Searching for dog friendly accommodation in Devon with twin beds – although my ex husband was accompaning me, sharing a bed is not something we have contemplated for many a year – I was given the choice of three suitable venues, within my budget.

The The Wayfarer Inn nestles on a narrow side street, just off the beach at Instow. Parking was difficult as it is restricted to two hour slots during the summer. However there is a car park a short walk away. We arrived about 7.30pm, unloaded and were lucky enough to find a space opposite where I could abandon my vehicle until 9am the next day.

My first impression on entering the establishment was furry friends. St Bernards. German Shepherd & a Greyhound – the later of which turned out to be mine hosts – & a gathering of people which I took to be locals.

 

Greeted by a cheerful, smiling girl, I was shown to our room, on the top floor.

A large airy, twin room faced me, with a view of the estuary, bathroom with fantastic power shower & equipped for the heat wave we are experiencing, with a large column fan. I was home, my time out had begun.

Time was marching on, the sun was well over the yard arm, I needed a well earned evening tipple.

Now, I don’t know what takes your fancy? But I am a Gin girl, boy, had I struck lucky, this place was a Gin heaven. On ordering a Bombay Sapphire & tonic, I was informed that I should “try the Pink Gin with a slice of orange” Mine host obviously spotted a succour & I was hooked.

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Ice & a slice

Gypsy, my faithful hound was also in her element, new smells & doggy friends were abounding. We decided to mosey outside & let her inspect the beer garden. A pleasant large open garden area, with plenty of seating, an outside bar & large screen TV – think football – greeted us. I must say, I was a bit concerned about the artificial grass, which covered the ground, would Gypsy think this was a carpet or grass? The later proved to be the case, as she promptly decided to do her business there & then.

 

After a comfortable nights sleep in our quiet room, a run along the beach, with the dog & a morning blast in the power shower, we were ready for breakfast.

Food, Bed & Breakfast, Full English, Pub, Accomodation
Now. What to have

Now, I am not a breaky person & certainly did not want cereal & orange juice followed by the delicious looking huge full English, with toast on the side, that was proffered.  I was more than happy with my choice of scrambled eggs & two large grilled, fresh tomatoes. Service was speedy & the serving wench, cheerful & friendly.

The Wayfarer Inn at Instow, is well placed for a touring holiday of Devon. We chose to spend our day on Westward Ho beach. A great place for surfers & sunbathers alike. The hound & I spent happy hours jumping the waves, but, whatever takes your fancy. Also in easy reach is the quaint cobbled village of Clovelly & if its gardens you are after, Tapley Court is but a stones throw away.

Returning to our accommodation for the evenings repast. We encountered a bar full of early Friday evening revellers, & I must say, the natives are a very friendly, fun loving bunch. We got rather carried away in the spirit – Gin Cocktails – of things.

cocktails, beer, gin, coastal inn, pubs
Now, what shall I have?

As well as good management, a great bar person is always an asset to any Pub & Helen, barmaid of the night was fantastic, not only did she provide excellent service, she was the cabaret act for the evening too. Long time since I have laughed ’till I cried.

 

All that’s left to say is THANK YOU to all at the Wayfarer Inn, you are highly recommended. We will be back.     Meanwhile:

Labradors, dogs, beach, dog walking, holidays
Into the wild blue yonder.

 

labrador, dogs, frost, wandering, wiltshire, walks

Wandering in Wiltshire

Off goes the alarm. Yuk, I pull the covers over my head & bury myself in the downy softness of my duvet.

A soft thud is accompanied by a short series of delicate twitches, followed by a frenzied scrabbling. My toes feel a waft of cold air & a wet sloppy tongue licks them. Yep. you’ve guessed it. My faithful friend desperately wants to partake of her early morning ablutions & I need to get up.

Labrador, gun dog, retriever, Wiltshire, walking
My faithful hound

Kettle on – need tea before I go-, while I attend to my own rituals. Gypsy, my faithful hounds name, patiently waits outside the bathroom door. When I emerge she follows me to the kitchen in the hopes of a morsel of food. She is unlucky. Always hopeful, she is well aware that breakfast is served on our return & it has a proviso. She needs to be obedient & not turn a deaf ear to my recalls.

Down the stairs, woolly hat, coat and boots on – me that is not the dog- I paws for thought I have put her harness on, but what about her lead? is there anyone about? are the dogs from the Manor out? Hmm, better be on the safe side, I click on here lead & we are off.

Gypsy, dog, Great Chalfield Manor, gardens,
“A little sun bathing” me thinks!

I am lucky enough to live in the beautiful grounds of Great Chalfield Manor, however like all good things in life, it has its draw backs where Gypsy is concerned. While I love her to bits, she does have her moments. Gypsy is a 21 month old, bouncy black Labrador full of spirit & mischief, with a penchant for deafness when the mood takes her. She can hear the rattle of a biscuit packet at a 100 paces, but the cry “Gypsy come”, -unless food related-, has her bounding about like a kangaroo & very vociferous she is too.

Now. my landlord, a cheerful chap & his good lady wife are very tolerant pair, where Gypsy is concerned. Should my hound spot their dogs, Orla & Ming, she’s off. Ming, being the distinguished old lady she is, responds with a sharp snap, of which Gypsy totally ignores & Orla being a young lady, tends to be a bit more physical. “this is my patch” Orla barks, Gypsy’s response being “I want to play, chase me pleaseeee”. So. off I go trying to capture my errant mutt who is completely oblivious to my calls. Around the gardens we go, through the lake, into the Manor – yes, expletives are used by me – finally to be caught by my landlord who lured her into the boot room with a dog treat, allowing me to firmly attach her to the lead. It gives people watching a giggle, but leaves me feeling worn out & determined to do more training. Dog training that is, not marathon training for me.

In the short video clip above, you can follow us over the fields at Great Chalfield & have a preview of the delights we came home to recipes for which can be found at the Recipes page of this site.

We will be back with more rambles in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime:

Gypsy COME.