Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Return To The Hills

I’ve really been enjoying the recent sunny, summer days and spending time at my caravan in East Anglia, where we’ve been on some more fun family outings.

Last week we made a return visit to Pleasurewood Hills in Lowestoft, that we visited for the first time last year.

Once again we were entertained by the fun parrot and sea lion shows, but instead of the illusion extravaganza supplied last year by Sean Alexander, we were thrilled by the amazing Acapulco High Dive Show team, who demonstrated a great range of high dives displaying both dramatic and comedic elements. The show definitely had the ‘wow’ factor.

Of course we also enjoyed a variety of rides, though I must confess to be more of a spectator when it comes to the big ‘thrill’ rides such as Wipeout (a large roller coaster that goes backwards, forwards, upside down etc) and Enigma (with its dramatic plunge). But thankfully, Pleasurewood Hills offers a good variety of family rides, which are literally much more down to earth.

It was very relaxing to ride the paddle boats (OK, I was a passenger allowing others to do the work), great fun being driven in the dodgems by my son, who is a master of the avoidance technique, and like a return to childhood riding the carousel and miniature railway!

The theme park has a lovely, friendly feel and a relaxing countryside setting, making it a great choice for a family, summer outing.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A Supermarket – But Not As I Know It

Following my recent, more rural, move, I have had to make a number of changes to my everyday life. One of these changes has involved visiting a different branch of Tesco to do my weekly shop.

Formerly I shopped at a big Tesco Extra store, which always seemed to be busy, even mid-week when I opt to shop. Queues would often build up and negotiating the aisles could be a tricky business in itself. But my new shopping venue is a smaller Tesco store (not an Extra, but not a Metro, something in between), where the whole shopping experience seems that much more civilised.

To visit this branch I have to venture out from my new village location to the nearest small town. Once in the store the aisles are pretty devoid of customers, with the few I do meet generally pausing to pass the time of day. What a joy not to have to play ‘dodge the manic trolley driver’ or ‘avoid the mass of parked trolleys’!
On my first visit I was pleased to see that the checkouts looked, what I considered to be, very quiet, with only about one customer at each. So imagine my surprise, when as I approached, a call came over the tannoy requesting, “All red cardholders to checkouts please.” Why? Was that busy by their standards? Anyway, I shouldn’t complain, as I was promptly whisked to an empty, newly opened checkout where I was given help to pack the shopping!

And no, this wasn’t a one-off as much the same thing happened on visit number two!

OK, so it doesn’t offer the all-singing, all-dancing non-food aisles, but at least I can get my weekly shop without being tempted to buy all the other things that I don’t really need. Sounds like a win-win situation.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

A New Chapter

It's been a busy few weeks, packing up the last remnants of our 'old life' and moving on to pastures new - quite literally as I am writing this in my new setting, surrounded by green fields!

Shopping, as so much else, has taken a bit of a back seat at the moment, finding homes for all that we already have, has left little time (or need) to accumulate more. We are still in the early stages of a multi-layered move, currently living in a building not really designed for family life, but which has lots of, what an estate agent would call, potential. The fact that we are living a semi-camping existence is quite forgiven, when we look at the views of rolling hills, picturesque countryside and a tranquil river.

We are now starting to embrace our new rural, village life. It was certainly a different experience to hear the sound of bell ringing practice at the village church as opposed to the traffic noise and sirens of busy town life. Indeed there is no traffic passing our front door (or our home at all) except for boats, which are restricted as to when they pass by the tides.

The first view that I saw when I got up yesterday morning was the sight of cormorants diving for food - makes a change from just seeing the odd sparrow in the garden.

Of course, I will still be venturing to supermarkets for the weekly shop (supplemented by visits to our local village store) and to High Street shops for the odd browse and purchase, but I feel my life is about to become far more village-based - and not just because there is only an hourly (sometimes two-hourly) bus service.

This is indeed a whole new chapter of my life!