Monthly Archives: August 2016

“There’s garlic bread there; it’s right in front of you”

So, I’m just back from a few very hot days in Chichester visiting Kieran’s aunt and naturally I feel the need to blog about it.  I said I would and I don’t have anything else to do on this really sticky Thursday afternoon so I might as well do a little recap of the last few days.  Plus, it’ll be nice to look back on in the future and remember the nice time I had.

 

Kieran had known that he’d be visiting the South Coast with his parents for quite a while and we’d agreed with G in June when I met her that, if they did and it worked for them, I could go and stay with them there.  Then, when Kieran was me visiting last time, G sent me a message offering me to stay with them, which of course I jumped at.  Once the dates were decided upon, I was invited to stay on this Monday into Tuesday for what Kieran had assumed to be an overnight stay, obviously very reasonable and kind of them all.  Well, it turns out that nobody said anything about only one night and I ended up staying from Monday until today, which was an extra nice bonus for me because it meant I got to spend more time with Kieran and his family too.

 

On Monday, Kieran text me just after midday to say that they’d just set off and would be `about an hour`; so while Mum headed out to join Dad for lunch, I double-checked that I had everything ready: my rucksack with spare set of clothes, pyjamas and wash bag; my rather large handbag with all the essentials; L’s birthday presents, which Mum had for some reason packed in multiple gift bags; and the two bunches of flowers, one each for L and G.  Then, I sat and waited.  True to Kieran’s prediction, they were about an hour, arriving at around one thirty.  In the car, we headed back in the direction of the other half of Hampshire and in the end to Port Solent and we sat at a table on the seafront, enjoying a drink.  We stayed there a little while and I couldn’t believe how long ago it had been since I went to Port Solent and how much it had changed in that time.  I remembered the wooden walkway and all the little restaurants well but there weren’t the many clusters of little shops anymore.  It seemed like the little seaside place had shrunken over the years.  It’s still lovely, though, it we commented on whether it was ever really busy.  I thought that it would be a nice place for couples to go for romantic meals or just strolls beside the sea or maybe for a family to go for a lunch out.  But I couldn’t imagine the place packed with people.  But as L pointed out, it must get plenty of customers otherwise the remaining businesses wouldn’t still be open.

 

After we’d finished our drinks, J drove us back to G’s, where I met M and the dogs Poppy and Bailey.  Their big fluffy cat Ollie was about, too, but I didn’t come into contact with him yet.  Kieran showed me to the room where we’d be sleeping, sharing a single bed.  G had previously apologised for the room and Kieran had said it was small but I didn’t see a problem with it.  We had plenty of floor space to put our stuff and a single bed to share, which we’ve accomplished plenty of times before.

 

That evening, we had L’s homemade lasagne with garlic bread for dinner.  The garlic bread was the subject of this post’s title because, throughout the meal and then for the rest of my stay, J commented, inputting each of our names: `there’s garlic bread there; it’s right in front of you`.  Kieran had told me a while ago that I needed to try L’s lasagne because it was lovely and he was not wrong.  I don’t think I’ve had lasagne since leaving college last year and even at college the food was never of particularly decent quality.  So L’s lasagne was delicious and I intend to eat a lot more lasagne in the future because I’d forgotten how nice a meal it was.  Messy, but very nice.

 

After dinner, Kieran and I decided to retreat to our room because we were both very full of food and a cuddle were required.  Plus, I was feeling quite tired as I hadn’t slept very well at home the previous night.  We ended up spending the remainder of the evening in there and hadn’t realised the time when L popped into say goodnight at just gone nine thirty, saying that everyone else had already gone to bed.

We seemed to sleep quite well that night on the single bed.  We’ve always managed it before so I hadn’t thought it would be any different at G’s.  The only difference was that it was quite a warm evening.  On Tuesday morning, we got up and had sausage sandwiches with cups of tea for breakfast.  J and L decided that we were going to Brighton for the day and as we were getting ready, I asked if I should bring my stuff with me, guessing that they’d be dropping me home after our day out.  But L seemed quite surprised that I’d ask that and said that the invitation hadn’t just been for one night and that I could stay again if I wanted.  The only issue I had with that was that I didn’t have any more clean clothes because I’d only bought one spare set, thinking I’d only be staying one night.  G said I could probably borrow some of her daughter’s clothes and L said we could go to a shop to buy some things if I wanted while we were out.  So, thrilled with the prospect of staying longer, I headed out to the car with Kieran.  On the way, we listened to Chris Moyles’ podcasts.  Although I live on the South Coast, I had never been to Brighton until Tuesday.  It is definitely the seaside attraction it advertises to be.  We did loads of walking! I think I accumulated the highest amount of daily Fitbit steps I’ve ever had.  We sat and had a drink at a little cafe and the icy cold coke was very welcome.  Tuesday felt to me to be one of the hottest days of the year so far.  I’ve spent most of the other hot days this year hiding inside the house away from the heat and the sun but it was nice to be out walking in Brighton on Tuesday.  Anyway, the massive addition to my Fitbit step count was a very big bonus.  We caught the little train on the way back to the car.  It has the strangest whistle but it was quite a nice ride back because of the breeze blowing through.  As we were heading back to the car, we took a quick detour into Asda to get a drink each and so that I could buy some clean clothes.

 

It was really hot on the way back to G’s, so we had the air conditioning on in the car while we listened to a Frank Skinner podcast and then some music from J’s Ipod.  Kieran fell asleep for a little bit of the journey and a bit of me wished I could sleep while travelling.  We watched some Judge Judy before dinner, which seems to be becoming a tradition whenever we’re together.  G cooked us chicken and chips for dinner, a much bigger success than our meal at Wetherspoons in June.  We had little chicken bites and strips with chips and French stick bread.  It was a very nice meal on a hot afternoon and good after all the walking we’d done.  After dinner, we spent some of the evening sitting in the lounge with the family, watching old episodes of the ITV show Vera, which I’d seen snippets of with my grandparents when I used to stay there.  It isn’t really my kind of thing but I’ll always go with the flow and it was OK to watch.  It had a good storyline to follow so that was alright.  We went to bed quite late that night because we’d all been sitting in the lounge talking and playing with the dogs, who are both very excitable and seemed to find chasing their ball the short distance across the lounge floor highly entertaining.  G also brought Ollie across to me so I could say hello and also understand what they’d all been saying about him being a large cat.  He is indeed very fluffy and a big cat.  Sleeping that night was nowhere as simple as Monday night had been.  It was seriously hot durst the night and it didn’t feel like the temperature had changed.  Thankfully, the fan was on and it helped quite a bit.

 

On Wednesday, J went to the races while we stayed at G’s.  We’d said that it was far too hot to go and when L spoke to J during the day, he said that it was really hot where he was.  It was really hot where we were, too, and with very little breeze.  We had sausage sandwiches and glasses of juice for breakfast/lunch.  Kieran and I had stayed in bed quite late because we hadn’t slept very well and it was quite comfortable where we were.  As every knew there were no plans to go out anywhere, we thought we’d take the opportunity to sleep more.  Before we had lunch, Kieran and I sat in the lounge and he read through  bong list of groceries available to order on Amazon Prime Now.  I hadn’t even known Prime Now existed until yesterday morning but they really have some nice stuff.  They seem to have partnered up with Morrison’s because they have all of their own branded stuff plus proper branded options too.  The prices were normal shopping prices and they even seemed to have the current Morrison’s deals available.  Kieran and I were very jealous to see that a lot of their ice cream was half price.  The cool thing with Prime Now is that you can place an order and two hours later your items will be delivered to you.  We ate our lunch out on G’s decking under a sun umbrella.  We kept having to scoot our seats around the table as the sun moved on to us.  Kieran discovered that Amazon had released a new Kindle and I looked into it, wondering if they had made this one accessible to the blind.  But that like all the other Ereaders, the new Kindle Oasis doesn’t have speakers or a headphone jack so Voice View and text-to-speech aren’t available on it.  Of course, I already have a Kindle Fire but am always interested to see whether they’ll make one of the Ereaders accessible to the blind.  I’ve come to love my Fire, though, so am glad at least that is accessible and a possibility for blind people.  While we were sat out in the garden, Kieran’s cousin D came home.  She’d been staying with her boyfriend and I hadn’t met her yet; we said hello but then she headed back out.

 

When J got back from the races, we had dinner.  Kieran, G, J and L all had chili but I had some of the leftover lasagne from Monday.  We had French stick bread again which was very nice.  Wednesday was another ridiculously hot day and the evening didn’t seem to be cooling down.  We’d come in from the decking earlier, and watched more Judge Judy, when we felt spots of rain but at eight thirty it started to rain quite heavily.  We’d had flashes of lightning and claps of thunder while we were eating dinner so the rain coming down was very welcome because it meant the temperature finally cooled a bit.

 

However, the night was again really humid and our sleep was restless.  This morning, we were up around nine o’clock because Kieran, J and L were heading back up to Blyth today and it was time for me to go home.  L made us tea and toast for breakfast and we sat at the kitchen table and ate it while they started to load up the car and made sure we had everything.  Kieran brought my stuff out to me and once I had my shoelaces finally tied, we said goodbye to G and M and headed out to the car.

 

Thank you to G for the offer to stay and for having me.  It was really nice to see all the family it spend extra time with Kieran because, as you said in your message, we miss each other a lot as we live in completely different places.

 

To J and L, thank you for picking me up and dropping me off, for taking me to Port Solent and Brighton, for the underwear and for a really nice time.  Hope to see you again soon.

 

To Kieran, as always, thank you for all the hugs and laughs.  I had a great time and I look forward to seeing you again soon when I come up to Hereford again.  Love you lots.

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Open Uni: K101 Week27

So, K101 really is drawing to a close now. I am on week 27, with 3 weeks to go until it’s all over, and I can’t believe how quickly it has flown since I first started studying with the OU, 10 and a half months ago. I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved in these 10 and a half months, too; one module completed and passed and I’m on my way to hopefully doing that with my second. 3 weeks after I finish K101, I will be starting Level 2 of OU study with a Literature module I always planned to take right back when I first looked at this course.

 

As deadline day was last week, I had TMA05 polished and submitted on Wednesday. I think that may be the closest I’ve ever gotten to submitting on deadline day. I wanted to make sure this assignment was as good as I could possibly make it, partially because it’s worth 30% of my overall continuous score and also to make up for my lower grade on TMA04. When I first started to attack TMA05, I was a little apprehensive about it. It didn’t look too simple and I wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to complete it. But I managed to make the 2000 words up eventually, with what I think was a good introduction, main body and conclusion. The introduction and conclusion were quite lengthy, which I think is good for a longer essay; I hope my tutor agrees. I really need her to grade me well in this assignment so I have a decent OCAS pass.

 

As soon as the assignment was submitted, I threw myself into preparing my exam. Our exam questions were released last Saturday and I downloaded them in the morning, browsing them quickly and briefly considering which ones I’d choose. They gave you 9 options, from which you have to pick and answer 4 in 500 word pieces. I wasn’t sure about writing in such limited amount of words, but now that I’ve had a good go at one of the questions, I’m mighty glad they only require 500 words each. I don’t think there would be a whisper more to say over 500 words. The questions ask quite simple things and we just have to find material throughout the course books relating to the topic and use it wisely to answer each question. I’m really pleased I’ve made a good start on the exam and intend to spend as much possible time as I can on answering the other questions during the next few weeks. The exam needs to be submitted by noon on the 8th of September, so that’s what I have to aim for. I’m confident that I’ll manage it after my positive burst on Friday which left me  with 1 question almost completed. That just needs a little polishing and it’ll be done.

 

I decided to start on Friday with the question that looked the easiest, because the subject matter it required was from material I’d recently studied. I thought it made sense to start there as my brain was still a bit scrambled from the effort I put into TMA05. But I knew I needed to get as far into the EMA as I possibly could because I don’t have any time to waste being complacent. That should have been a mental rule for this module, but I seem to have done just that for a lot of it. I’m going to try a lot harder in October when Level 2 starts to spend more hours each day actually working on my studies. I’ve done enough with K101 – I’d be failing miserably if I hadn’t – but there’s no doubt I could have worked harder, probably achieving higher marks in the process. As long as I pass it and have a solid Level 1 qualification to take me forward to Level 2 I don’t care. When I get to Level 2, I can plunge my frustrations with myself of being lazy and my good pass into A230 Studying Literature and smash it. I’d like to keep progressing, keep getting higher and higher scores with each assignment, exam and module result. I know the only way to do that is to throw all my efforts into studying. I’ve never been a very focused person, I’m so easily distracted, but I know I can do it. I may never get a top grade degree in the end, I’m nowhere near expecting that, but I can at least get a decent degree result, something to be proud of. If I can manage that then this whole thing will have been worth it.

“It’s not broken, it’s just slightly…. Broken….

So it seems that I lied two weeks ago when I sat down and wrote a recap of the previous weekend’s events and said that there wouldn’t be another blog post like this for sometime because here I sit, on the afternoon of Monday 8th August, to write exactly that.

On Thursday evening, as I sat on the sofa in our lounge minding my own business not really paying attention to the TV, I got the shock of my life. As always, Dad was late home from work as his Thursday shift finishes at 8pm. However, this was quite a lot later than usual. When he walked through the front door, I realised he had a companion, a companion who was wearing rather loud shoes, shoes we nicknamed “Ramzan shoes” as they sound identical to the shoes worn by a guy at college who’s surname was Ramzan. Only one person other than the shoes’ namesake I know wears shoes like that. He wears them on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday along with smart clothes which together forms his work uniform. But that person, right then, should have been in his makeshift home of a Gardner hotel room, probably slurping from a can of beer after ordering some kind of takeaway for his tea. However, he wasn’t there at all; he was walking through my living room doorway, no doubt with the biggest most mischievous stupid grin plastered across his face. The only remark I could think to make, as my brain registered who was in my house, walking towards me when he was supposed to be counties away, was about the shoes. With the biggest grin that has been on my face in ages, I hugged Kieran tight. Evidently, this was the payback he’d been promising from February when Josh and I turned up in Hereford to surprise him after his Cisco pass. I soon learned that Kieran had planned this all with my parents the previous weekend, seconds after telling me it would be impossible for him to travel down like we’d hoped he could. Apparently, as I went to tell Mum and Dad that actually Kieran wouldn’t be coming to stay, he’d been arranging it all with them that he would be coming but that they weren#t to tell me until he walked through the front door. Well, I think it’s fair to say he got what he wanted because I had no idea. On Thursday afternoon, I’d sat and thought how lovely it would’ve been if he had been coming to stay how we’d hoped but I just kept telling myself that he wasn’t and I should stop thinking about it or I’d only disappoint myself. Then, when I was using the Swarm app to check in to my street, I noticed that Kieran had checked into Subway in Worcester, which I thought was odd because he usually went straight to the train station. From then onward until he walked through the front door, I had no idea where Kieran was because he hadn’t checked in to any other places and his location on Find My Friends was unavailable. The only thing that I did think was how strange that was because that’s exactly what he said he’d do if he was going to surprise me. Apparently I’m far too naive for my own good, then, because obviously that’s exactly what he was doing. He was sitting on a train on his way down South to spend the weekend with me, just how I’d wished so much that he could. He told me, as we sat on the sofa in the living room and Mum cooked him tea, that he was staying until Monday. I didn’t need him to say that, though, because I already knew exactly when he was staying til. We’d planned it all the previous weekend, only he’d told me it was impossible. Just goes to show that it isn’t always dangerous to wish for the impossible. Or maybe it is because it was never impossible in the first place, only I was led to believe it was. I’m amazed my parents managed to keep quiet about the whole thing. Usually they’re lousy at that kind of thing, at least giving me a cheeky hint about what’s going on. but neither of them let even a whisper slip that Kieran was coming to visit. Looking back now, they seemed to do the exact opposite, emphasising what a shame it was that he wasn;t coming to stay and asking if I wanted to do anything in particular with the weekend. Of course I didn’t, I was miserable that my fella couldn’t come on a spontaneous visit. Ha! The last conversation Kieran and I had before he turned up was me expressing how disappointed I was that he couldn’t come and how boring the weeknd was going to be without him. Definitely far too gullible. Next time he says there’s no trains, I won’t believe him. To be fair, though, next time he says there’s no trains there probably won’t be any and I’ll be massively disappointed, just how I’d expected to feel on Thursday evening when Dad walked through the front door alone.

Still grinning, we went out into the kitchen so Kieran could eat his tea. I just sat and marvelled that he was actually here; like really, this weekend was going to be great just like I’d dreamt it could be and he’d said it couldn’t be. After he’d finished his tea, and told me the whole story of how he’d planned this and that as well as my parents, his parents and Josh also knew he was coming, we headed upstairs for a very big cuddle which mainly consisted of me telling him he was a very very bad person and that if he did it again I’d probably have some kind of heart attack. We didn’t end up watching anything because it was already getting quite late, and I don’t think I had the mental capacity available to watch anything.

On Friday morning, we certainly didn’t rush to get out of bed. I’d been dreaming of a lie-in and we certainly took full advantage of that. I don’t think my Mum was particularly thrilled that we were only up, showered and dressed after 1 in the afternoon. While we’d been dozing, the post had arrived, containing my brand new Ipad. I’d decided, with Kieran’s advice, to sell my Ipod Touch and 1st generation Ipad Mini so I could buy a new Ipad Mini. On Wednesday, I’d found one at a really low price and decided to dip into my savings to buy it, thinking that I could replace the money if and when the other devices sell. So I took the plunge and bought the 128GB Ipad Mini 4th generation in gold. It was advertised to come with a lightning cable, USB wall charger and case but I asked the seller if they could post it with an Ipad Mini box; we had a conversation and the seller agreed they would post it with an Ipad Mini box, although it probably wouldn’t be the one that had originally belonged to my new device. When I unpacked it on Friday morning, it had indeed come in an Ipad Mini box and I havee no idea whether it is its original box or not; probably not, but at least it has a box. It also came with the promised accessories and, with help from Kieran, I had it set up in a couple of hours. Now that I’ve had it a few days, I can easily say I love it and I’m not feeling so torn anymore about selling the Ipad Mini bought for me by close friends as a going away to college gift. Before I finally decided to sell it, I did check with those people that they were OK with me selling it. I felt very guilty as it had been a very generous gift that I’d adored a lot. But come this winter it will no longer receive software updates and I had only used it for reading Ibooks in recent months. My Ipod will also no longer receive software updates so it seemed the right time to upgrade from both and it seemed silly to get new of both devices when really I didn’t need both. As the Ipad Mini 4 is newer by a few months, so will hopefully last longer, and I enjoyed using the Mini the most, I decided on that over the 6th generation Ipod. I felt that I should upgrade to another Mini, anyway, for the friends who had given me the first.

Before we set up the Ipad, we went downstairs for breakfast, which consisted of large mugs of Yorkshire tea and bowls of Weetabix. As it was already the afternoon by this point, we were both quite hungry. Afterwards, Kieran sorted some things out on my laptop – I’d acquired quite a list by this point – and I set up my Ipad, going through everything it needed to make it just how I’d hoped it’d be. The only thing I was slightly disappointed about was that the newer Ipad Minis don’t have the mute switch like all other Ipads do. I didn’t even know Apple had taken this feature away from the Mini but have adjusted easily because, as Kieran pointed out, it still has Do Not Disturb and also a mute function in the Control Centre. Also, we decided that we’d ask Mum if she could take us to the kebab van and that’s what we’d have for dinner. Newcastle were playing Fulham in their first match of the Championship so we wanted to have something nice to eat while we listened to that. So, around 7:30, Mum took me to the kebab van to get our food. Kieran was still doing things with both our laptops and waiting for the football to start. Our kebabs were nice – just donner meat and chips with cans of vanilla coke – and probably enough to give us both heart attacks – not figment ones, like surprises cause, but actual ones from too much salty greasy food. But kebabs are necessary, whatever the health risk they may threaten.

We listened to the remainder of the football match upstaris where, unfortunately, Newcastle were beaten 1-0. Don’t fret though, people of the North, for you have Rafa the gaffer now and he will solve all your problems. At least that’s what everyone is praying he is still capable of, anyway. Have faith in Rafa. After the football finished, Kieran put Sky Sports news on my TV for a while and then we flicked through a few music channels until it was 9:30 and Friday Night Dinner time, of course the best part of any Friday. As always, the episode didn’t dissappoint; we were both giggling the whole way through. There were several quotes that could have become the title of this post but I couldn’t really pick one that stood out over all the others. Once Friday Night Dinner finished, and we composed ourselves from all the laughing, we watched the Gogglebox special which was all about the EU referendam and featured a tribute to Caroline Aherne, which was quite touching. By the time that finished, though, it was getting quite late so we switched the TV off and snuggled down under the duvet, chatted for a bit and then fell asleep. As usual, I was probably the first one to fall asleep. As soon as I’m comfy, content and warm, I’m straight off to sleep so Kieran probably didn’t stand a chance of saying much.

On Saturday, we didn’t stay in bed quite as late as Friday, mainly because I thought my Mum would explode if we got up so late again but partially because I wasn’t sure what they were doing for the day and didn’t know if they expected us to join in. After all, I hadn’t been involved in any of the planning for this weekend so how was I to know if anyone had anything in store for us. As it turned out, they didn’t really want us to do anything. By the time we got up, they’d long ago gone out to take Tamsin to karate. After speaking to Mum, once we’d showered, I discovered that they were going into town to the Virgin Media store to discuss our terrible wifi situation with someone. I don’t think Mum was convinced by the people on the phone and their website wasn’t very helpful to her either. By the time they came home, we’d had breakfast – more large mugs of tea and Weetabix – and were back upstairs, Kieran doing more things with our laptops and me installing more stuff onto my Ipad. While I’d been on the phone to Mum, I’d discussed the option of Kieran and I going out for date night that evening, saying I wasn’t sure where we could go that had table service. Dad was going out for the evening so they couldn’t even come with us somewhere and sit out of earshot to make sure we were OK. I mean, we could have gone to one of the places I had in mind anyway and chanced that they’d help us by explaining when we arrived that there was no way we’d be able to get to the bar to order by ourselves but I didn’t really want the hassle of them saying they couldn’t help us, especially as Dad had somewhere else to be so couldn’t taxi us around all over the city trying to find someone who would serve us. During the conversation, Dad suggested that we go back to Nick’s Restaurant, where we had our first date night back in February – which, wow, seems so long ago now! In a good way of course – and when I asked Kieran he agreed. Later in the afternoon, while we were lounging around listening to music on Spotify, Kieran had a look at the menu, so we could be sure of what we wanted to order before we got there, and discovered that actually Nick’s was closed for a period over the summer holidays. So we couldn’t go there. I went downstairs to tell Dad his taxi services were no longer required and then he suggested that Kieran and I go to Pizza Hut for our date, which seemed like a really good idea because they serve you at your table and we’re both big fans of pizza. Kieran agreed. So at 5:15, we set off for Pizza Hut. There are several branches in Southampton but we went to the Hedge End one becaus it has the biggest seating area. Plus, the West Quay one would be closing soon and the small Bitterne branch doesn’t have restaurant facilities. We were served by a lovely waitress who took all of our needs into account whilst serving us to make the experience very VI friendly. She even refilled my Pepsi and brought us wipes and napkins. We shared a platter which had chicken bites, sticky ribs and garlic bread. This suited Kieran and I perfectly because I don’t eat anything off the bone and there were so many chicken bites that I couldn’t eat them all anyway. After that, we had a deep pan BBQ pizza which was topped with chicken, bacon and sweet corn. Both of these were delicious and as I’ve sit our waitress was amazing. When we’d finished our food, Kieran ordered a second pint and I ordered a cookie dough pudding, because I always feel strange if I go to Pizza Hut and don’t have it. By the time Mum came to pick us up at around 7:30, I’d finished my pudding and Kieran his pint and I was slightly doubting whether I should have had the pudding; not regretting, though, because I can never regret salted caramel cookie dough!

Back at home, neither of us really wanted to move so we led down on my bed, commenting over and over again about how nice the food had been, and watched some comedy. Jimmy Carr’s exclusive to Netflix was our first pick because we hadn’t been able to watch it last time I visited Kieran in Hereford. After that, I chose Jack Whitehall to follow because it was also on my Netflix list of things to watch. Both shows were incredibly funny, maybe Jack’s slightly more because neither of us had seen that one before. When that finished, we decided to curl up and go to sleep.

On Sunday morning, we showered and dressed and had our breakfast of large mugs of tea and Weetabix. Dad was working and Mum had taken Tamsin swimming so we had no rush to do anything. Amazingly, Kieran still had more things to do on the computers – I did say, my list really was endless. The poor guy comes down to surprise me for the weekend and I throw him an arm’s length of computer stuff to do. Well, to be fair, that was where all this started, with me not having a clue what to do with a computer. Anyway, he got plenty of food, a couple of pints and cuddles; what more does a man want!? While he did bits and pieces on the laptops, we watched the latest episode of 8 out of 10 cats does count down, which had recorded on Friday. It’s a new series so we’d been hoping it’d be good, which it certainly was. After that, we watched a couple of Judge Judy episodes, although not ones that were recorded on my box. I don’t have such a ridiculous amount now and anyway, I have an OU exam to complete so they’ll be required then.

When Mum came back from swimming, we decided that we’d go out for a meal to a new pub near Dad’s works that we’d tried and loved midweek. Dad had said we needed to take Kieran there and I suppose, as it was Wednesday when we went, they’d had it planned all along to take him this weekend. So we drove out to get Dad and then went to The Walnut Tree Farm. I had macaroni chees and a pint of coke and Kieran had beef and ale pie with a pint of beer. As we’d expected, the food was lovely and Kieran seemed to like it because it got a better rating than Wetherspoons, which must suggest good things. Although the puddings did sound and smell delightful,, we decided we were far too full to indulge in one. I was still feeling the blame for having the cookie dough the previous night so another pudding certainly wasn’t a good idea. When Tamsin finished her chocolate brownie, which smelt very tempting from across the table, we headed out to the car, all agreeing on the tastiness of the food.

Back at home, Kieran and I debated on what to watch. He suggested a movie but I wasn’t really in movie mood so we settled for a Top Gear special for a little while and then more comedy when I refused The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory. This time, we watched John Richardson and Sean Lock. Both shows, again, were very entertaining and we were laughing the whole way through. After they were finished, we didn’t fancy any more TV so just led and talked for quite a while, about all sorts.

This morning, we’d planned to be up relatively early so we could shower and also have sausage sandwiches for breakfast. The George Foreman doesn’t really get much use and I wanted Kieran to have something a bit more filling than Weetabix for his train journey back to Hereford. When we eventually dragged ourselves out of bed around 10, we showered, dressed and Kieran packed up his stuff before heading downstairs for breakfast. As anything to do with the kitchen really isn’t my forte anymore, breakfast was mainly down to Kieran. I buttered the bread and got him anything he needed but the George Foreman and tea making was his job, mainly because it would probably have been some kind of disaster if I’d tackled it. Plus, we only had a few hours before Kieran’s train and as much as I didn’t want him to go I don’t think keeping him here helping me clean the ruin of my kitchen was the ideal way to point this out. Half an hour later, the sausages were cooked, we put our sandwiches together and sat down at the bereakfast bar with the radio on to enjoy them. As always, Kieran’s cooking judgement was spot on and the sandwiches were lovely, the mugs of tea also.

Once we’d finished our breakfast and I’d waashed up the plates, cutlery and mugs, leaving the rest to do when I got back from the train station, we headed back upstairs so Kieran could pack the remainder of his stuff and we could have a cuddle before my grandparents arrived to take us to the station. We continued to listen to the radio while we did this because background music is always good and Capital South Coast is all right really.

Of course, my grandparents did arrive and right on time at 1:15 like I’d arranged. Kieran was getting the 2:10 train, changing at Newport and then onto Hereford just like I normally did when I go to visit him so I figured a quarter past one was a decent time for them to pick us up, just in case there were a lot of traffic lights.

At the train station, everyone decided to come in so we made quite a gathering. We’d parked on the right side of the station for a change so didn’t have to walk over the bridge, which was a shame because extra Fitbit steps and floors are always a bonus. assistance found Kieran a bench to sit on on the platform and we just had to wait for his train. Tamsin decided to comment on every little aspect of train stations and it was quite difficult to restrain ourselves from correcting her. I mean, I don’t know much about trains, but I know she doesn’t know anything at all about them. A few minutes early, Kieran’s train pulled into the station and, after a lot of panicking on everyone else’s part that they wouldn’t come, assistance arrived to help Kieran board the train. We hugged tight and I thanked him for coming to visit. Apparently me explicitly saying I hate surprises of course inevitably means I love them. Not all of them, though, because I don’t think my brain could cope if they were too regular. However, I couldn’t have hoped more for this weekend than what we had. After thinking it was impossible to Kieran arriving to lovely meals and time spent together, we couldn’t have planned it better if we’d wanted to. And for that I’m very very grateful.

Kieran: Thank you for coming. Thank you for telling me this weekend we wanted was impossible and then making it possible. Even if it was possible in the first place, it became impossible to me so you made the impossible possible reality for me. Thank you for our date night, for the meal. It was so lovely and I’m so glad we can do things like that. Thank you for the countless things you did tech-wise this weekend. I’m sure I’m very unfair for the amount of things I find for you to fix; but you did make a promise and I try to repay you in cuddles and vanilla coke. Also, if there’s things I’ve forgotten or misplaced or got wrong in this post, I’m sorry, but it is 10:08 on Monday evening and my brain is only just now getting over the fact that actually you were this weekend, we did have all this fun. Plus, I’m supposed to be on FaceTime to you as we speak. Patience, grasshopper, as I have to comb through this, proofreading it to within an inch of my life. Thank you for being you because I love that person, even if you can’t see why. And if you think that’s too soppy for your folks, well, I’m sorry! See you very very soon.