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Pat and Paul's Diary 2005

It all started with a bit of a busman's holiday.

Bored after a couple of days in Blockley we went to Spain to do a Chaplaincy for Thomsons Holidays. Nearly seven weeks.All meals were taken in one or other of five hotels. Regardless of waistbands we were obliged to turn up for every single feeding session. It's a little hard having more than a dozen king prawns for a starter but needs must. On the other side of the surplice it was a new experience doing 23 hospital visits in one afternoon but our righteousness must have shown through (see James on prayer for the sick) as the previous year's 22 holiday maker's deaths in the same period were cut to only 2. Spare time allowed us to visit Valencia and Alicante. Unfortunately we had to return Alicante, in particular to the Consulate which issued us with papers in lieu of the passports we contrived to lose or get stolen, together with camera, keys to the chaplaincy flat and, most important and totally irreplaceable, Pat's drawing book.

(for more pics of Spain click here)

In May we were at Westminster Abbey again. The Dean provides a flat in the cloisters in exchange for a week's duty in the Abbey.We do this once a year. Duties are over by 4.30 and if there is nothing happening later the evening is free. Of course the theatres aren't free but being pensioners we get so many perks that there are always bargains to be had. As you now that always increases the pleasure for me!


In June second son, Simon and his old man took to the hills. We did the coast to coast walk from St Bees Head to Robin Hood Bay. Pat provided the back up by meeting us at a prearranged venue every day and dumping us at the same spot the next day. I had made arrangements for us to stay a couple of nights with a friend from my Church Tourism days. I thought I had better give her a ring when we were within two days of arriving and then realised that I'd booked with someone in the southern part of Lancashire when we were trudging across Yorkshire right past the door of the person I had intended should receive the pleasure of our company. Embarrassing. And so those nights and the rest of the time we lodged at various B&Bs. Months before someone had bequeathed us an old mobile phone about the size of a house brick. Amazon provided us with another for under £10 when the value of the sim card was taken into account. With one in each camp we could keep in touch with Pat in case the weather or the map reading dictated a change of plans. A good idea except that there was reception for only about 15 of the 190 miles.

In August off to welsh Wales for our Anglican Renewal (Wales) family conference at the Builth Wells show ground. Roughly 1000 people. Lovely time. For the past eight years Paul had run their finances. At the conference Pat has helped in the Treasury and supplied cartoons for the daily paper. The conference has now been given to New Wine Cymru and so that phase of our service has come to an end.

Many of you know that we go to Tenerife every year and wonder why. We used to think that people who returned for ever and a day to the same haunts were lacking in something or other and yet we have now been to Tenerife every year since 1984 when we tripped over siesta snoozing workmen kipping in the dark corridors of an incomplete resort complex. We went for the first two weeks in August, which we had not done since the children were at school. We then spent the next two weeks in La Gomera, the island next door, returning to Tenerife for a further four weeks.

for more pics of La Gomera and the lovely gardens of the HPB click here

We wondered whether we could we manage a whole eight weeks away but we rose to the challenge. We regained our little house at Blockley in October.

It was in October that Paul took his first church services that year - 10 months after retiring. He casually remarked that he hadn't officiated since the previous year and then added, with absolute innocence, 'Oh, other than the services I took at Westminster Abbey'.

It was sometime in 2005 that Paul had his third cataract operation, which is one more than most. For those who always thought there was something very special about Paul (all right, all right, keep your comments to yourself) we can confirm it's nothing to do with the number of eyes, simply that one of the ones at the front had gone a bit wrong. Now he can actually see without glasses both long distance and reading for the first time since he was ten other than 20 years of contact lenses. Specs still fine tune things.

Christmas and the coming family was a bit of a challenge with Pat complaining about hitting her elbows on the walls even when there are only two of us in this small house.

The answer was to borrow a close by flat for a few days. It worked very well.

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