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The Folly Revived

We are halfway through March already and I spent the greater part of this week on a short break in Seville. I went with Worth’s cousin Lorraine and another friend of hers, driving down to Surrey on Saturday, then the three of us made an early start Sunday morning.

After a little delay at Gatwick caused by the freezing weather and our plane needing de-icing we set of for our short trip to Seville. We arrived in glorious sunshine and made our way to our hotel and unpacked quickly, then grabbed a late lunch. We took a walk around the city to get our bearings then returned to our hotel, got cleaned up and set off for dinner. This was a wonderful collection of tapas washed down with a bottle of Rioja and afterwards we tumbled home and slept off our early start and journey.

Monday morning there was a vast array of tempting morsels was waiting for us at breakfast, then we set off for a tour of the Alcazar, which was a completely beautiful surprise for me, the gardens were spectacular and by all accounts lovelier than the Alhambra. We had another walk and some lunch, then in the afternoon explored the Plaza De España. At this point it started to rain, drizzle at first but then getting harder until we decided to return to our hotel and dry out. We had an hour of Flamenco before our evening meal which was again tapas, this time with a bottle of white.

Tuesday saw us up early, this time so that we could catch the train to Córdoba. It took less than an hour in a train travelling at about 130mph. Our first stop was the Cathedral Mosque, not something I was aware of but it was an amazing place. Having started life as a Christian church built by the Visigoths, it was the remodelled to become a mosque, then later adapted to become a Catholic cathedral. It seems that at no point did anyone think to knock it down but just carried on with what they had and extended it. The result is this incredible church. I am not into churches but this one deserves a use in a Bond film. After a spot of lunch we explored the Alcazar and got inside just as the wind got up and the heavens opened. This bad weather didn’t last long and we could soon explore the garden. Then we made our way back to the station and had a late tapas meal on the way back to our hotel.

Wednesday was our last day so we had planned a more relaxing day with a leisurely stroll to the Metropole Parador, an odd modern structure in the middle of a large Plaza. There seems to be no reason for its construction but I think that someone eating churros and chocolate at the cafe was inspired by the shape and swirliness of his churros and thought a raised viewing area based on a churro would make a talking point. It does. It’s not ghastly but I imagine it had a hard ride through it’s planning stages. Bit more walking, bit more lunch then the idea was to go to the Cathedral but I opted out of that and strolled about in the warm sun, as I knew it would be cold when I got home, then ended my day with a wine spritz on the roof garden. Now it was time to catch the bus to the airport and head home. The flight was longer than expected as the French air traffic controllers were on strike and so we had to go round France. (I think they have they been on strike on and off my whole life – I have never known why). Seville is a lovely place for a short break, I would suggest always staying in the old town as we did, as there are plenty of small hotels hidden in the alleys, and comfy shoes as there are lots of cobbles and suchlike and they make walking feet a bit sore.

Thursday I braved the M25 at 9.30am to get home foolishly thinking the rush hour might have dispersed. I don’t think it does – there is nothing more to say – it’s awful. How anyone can do that everyday of their working life is beyond me. I do love coming home.

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The Folly Revived

This week I spent mostly being a steward at Cheltenham Festival. This was the view from the poshest boxes in the Princess Royal stand which I took on Saturday, a training day. In the end I only worked three days not the full four, but six and a half hours standing on a cold stairway took its toll and my back was aching off by Thursday night. It was a long day although only 10 until 6, in fact I left home at 8.15 and got home at 7.15 because of traffic and getting off the site. And then it turned icy cold again. And this is young Bertie’s idea of hiding.😊

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The Folly Revived

I’ve had quite a hectic week. Sunday was a day from Hell. My niggling tooth which has been super sensitive on and off for well… years has been slowly getting more and more hard to cope with. Nothing wrong with it, but it’s close friend, my wisdom tooth next to it, has been pushing it for years and has decided that this would be a good time to appear. So off he went with a vengeance this week and by squeezing my back molar sideways turned what was just a sensitive tooth into a screaming banshee. A trip to the dentist then and an X-ray, the poor chap was pondering what to do and in the end decided taking the molar out was a whole lot easier than fighting with a wisdom tooth. A bit of invigilating, two lovely lunches with friends, (partial) new stripes for SilverBeast – expensive, but put in the shade by the cost of new bathroom taps 😳. ( it’s not worth replacing the cartridge thingies on these fancy taps- “might as well get new taps love”. Who would have guessed that?)Then a few WOW moments…

Wow 1. Tooth out with absolutely no pain whatsoever at any point. Dentistry has clearly moved on.

Saturday was my training day for my Stewards job at Cheltenham Festival.

Wow 2. I had no idea how utterly huge and extravagant event it was. There’s a Boodles in the tented village for goodness sake. (Like Tiffany’s – they don’t price stuff just leave you to guess)

Wow 3. There are 8,500 staff to 70,000 visitors- that’s about the same ratio as some cruise ships.

Wow 3. I have never seen so many tables laid up so beautifully in one place, half the worlds wine glasses must be there, and most of the current barrelled Guinness.

Wow 4. Still very naive about this but the work involved in getting this kind of massive event up and running is mind boggling. They are working hard today.

Wow 5. I will be in the Princess Royal Stand, the very poshest of the posh, that’s where the picture is from. The Royal Box is on the far left. No-one is quite sure how as a newbie I got that but hey, I might have to learn to curtesy. This is my jacket, I get a scarf and blazer on Tuesday.


The Folly Revived

At last today it looks like the big freeze is over. The snow might get washed away by the rain soon and the temperature is civilised again. I’ve done some invigilating this week for ‘A’ levels but by Thursday the school was closed. Not an exciting week, mainly trying to keep warm and staying indoors although I did venture out to Malvern on Saturday morning to keep a hair appointment. It was a lovely walk setting out at 8, walking 2 and a half miles, having a haircut, then walking home, with a brief pause at the jewellers to look in. The chap in there was clearly going to have a quiet day, and suggested I buy some earrings to make it worth him turning up. I nearly did, actually very nearly did. It was probably only me not having my glasses with me that stopped me. I couldn’t quite make out the price 😮. The cats were on top form despite the weather, Ola caught a lady blackcap much to my dismay. Bertie brought home a mouse, lost it in the fireplace and pulled all the coals out of the gas fire to find it. These pics I took in the garden today

He’s not such a skinny lad any more

These poor things were completely bent over in the snow and I thought they were goners, but they have perked up ready to greet the Spring again.

You can still see some soot on his face from his fun with the coals, his feet are still grey.