Greetings and annual news
from Joy and Eric in Nottingham
with best wishes for Christmas 2020 and New Year 2021.
60 years married!
53 years in this house!
Lock-down! Well, what a year it has or hasn’t been. But before we get onto Covid and all that, apologies from Eric for the chaos last Christmas, you may not have received a card/letter/present/pot/pudding from us. That’s because in mid December I (Eric) decided to prune our big vine covering the verandah. I’d been kind and left the grapes on so that the birds could feed on the last of them. By now it was dry and dusty and mouldy, and I pruned with no head covering. And I’m allergic to the bloom on grapes. So I ended up being ambulanced to the night emergency medical services (NEMS here in Nottingham) and was under the care of Dr Ting Tang of the Dermatology Department in our main QMC hospital for a while. Sorry, not really serious but it did rather clobber Christmas and its preparations. It’s all my fault.
My genuine apologies to Joy for the trouble I keep causing her.
And I won't show you the photos of me covered in spots the hospital took.
So to this year, and lock-downs and all that. We have both been very careful, as the government say we should be. Even though I'm younger than Joy, I am the one who is classed as “extremely vulnerable”, I suppose because the hospital is still convinced I’ve got leukaemia. Joy keeps to the same rules as me, so didn't go shopping during the first lock-down. If she had gone out, the rules then say we’d have to eat, sleep, shower in different rooms, that wouldn't be good. Friends did all our food shopping (thankyou to Beth, Barrie and Urmala and family), and one week we even received an uninvited crate of food from the City Council. They would have delivered weekly, but it wasn't our choice of food! So we had no cause to leave our property except for "exercise", for us that is that is local walks and cycling. I do lots of potting during lock-downs, pottery is a great therapeutic occupation, especially the throwing. Joy is cursing the collection of pots that is building up in the conservatory. There have of course been no band gigs during this time, and none booked until next June. Both morris and clog dancing have ceased for now. We have regular “Zoom” meetings with family, morris men and retired maths staff, and are now contributing a song and music each week to Beeston Folk Club’s Zoom.
The garden has done very well during theses times, lots of care and attention and far more vegetables than usual. We've had super tomatoes (including tiger tomatoes, photo left), potatoes, lettuce, beans, carrots, but useless beetroot. And the usual raspberries and blackberries, lots now in the freezer. And all the usual flowers of course. The city have planted a tree for us in front of the house, a silver linden, we call it our "front front" garden, and keep it full of flowers all the year.
In June / July when things eased up a bit, we could meet up to 4 visiting people in the garden. Anita & Hamish & family came for the day several times. Jean & Rory came and camped overnight on the lawn in a small tent. Our planned big celebration for our 60th wedding anniversary (that's us in the photo top right) in July had to be cancelled, but instead we had a few people round for drinks and snacks on the verandah or in the garden, every morning and afternoon for two weeks. It was good in that we chatted to folks a few at a time, better contact than in one big gethering. And at one point we had the cloggies practising on the verandah 4 at a time (maximum gathering is 6 people) once a week, but that has now ceased.
During lock-downs we are permitted to exercise out of doors and have regularly been walking (both) and cycling (Eric). We've walked together in various parks including Clumber Park (photo left), the autumn colours have been fabulous this year. We've found a "new" local nature reserve just across the road from us, very handy for quick local walks to get away from everything. There's something comforting about being among trees. I cycle on my e-bike, which is wonderful, I’ve clocked up 1700 kilometres so far this year, I'm happy at that. Some of the early morning rides are misty (photo right of early view across the Trent), others it's hard to see where you're going with the low sun shining in your eyes. The canal and river banks can be very muddy and slippery after rain, but I haven't fallen in yet! The clothes all go in the washing machine as soon as I get home.
Our usual summer holidays (staying with the folks in Germany, then camping in Germany and France, we'd booked some camp sites and to stay in a vineyard) were all cancelled. But in August our lovely Karen and Angus drove over from Germany and chauffered us there through the Channel Tunnel. We had two weeks of holiday in Bommersheim relaxing, being looked after, and seeing family. Joy swam in their pool every day before breakfast and before evening meal. I walked/cycled round the local countryside most days. Then Karen chauffered us all the way home again. Wonderful, it really made the summer and was a wonderful break. I guess that's it for holidays this year.
News of family personnel. Joy continues to thrive, and for her 85th birthday (ceramic birthday card below left) in June it was again a few visitors at a time instead of a big party. She continues her Pilates in the dance room regularly. There was some clogging before the second lock-down, we could have 4 cloggies at a time practising on the verandah. Last week Joy made 16 Christmas puddings (photo right) to her mum's wonderful veggie recipe, so complicated. We've sampled one, it was delicious. Now she's making the Christmas cards. My 83rd birthday was just before the first lock-down, so we had a meal at the local friendly "Taste of India" restaurant (photo at the top left) as well as a party barbecue here with lots of folks on the verandah. I've spent some of lock-down documenting our (fairly extensive) foreign travels, only 80000 words so far, all the stories scattered roughly by continent among a number of files. All the children, in-laws, grand children and grandson-in-law are doing fine, Hamish has worked from home for many years, so no change there. The others have all had work interrupted to different degrees but are still continuing.
Lots of love and best wishes from Joy and Eric
Click on any of the above photos for a slightly larger image.
See our photos of the year here.
See our walking photos here.
See my cycling photos here.
Our Christmas card made by Joy, inner here.
Pottery: 275 pots, 430lbs of clay, 32 firings, 2000 kwh
60 trips, 1700 km, 110000 kcals
40 trips, 170 km
Snail-mail is still 31 Greenfield Street, Nottingham NG7 2JN, UK
Home landline phone is still 0115-9786858.
We don't use our mobiles much but you can try 07817 178 525.
e-mail us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org
The home page of our website is at www.chezfred.org.uk