2018 started with a family walk and a pub lunch. Lunch first whilst it rained and then lots of mud in places.
In early February we held a party for family and Sarah’s friends to wish her ‘Bon Voyage’ before she left for 10 weeks in Rwanda as part of the International Citizen Service scheme. Chris, Matthew and Alex were given a small insight to student parties. They were allowed to join in with the pinyata but not prosecco pong!
We were expecting some mess the morning after, but not a puddle on the kitchen floor. Further investigation showed the cause to be a leaking seal on the shower pump upstairs. Adrian drilled a hole in the ceiling to drain the water out and prevent further damage and then took Liz off to Great Bedwyn for the Waterside ‘A’ canoe race.
Liz was racing again with Vicky Metcalfe. In the next race -Waterside ‘B’ they came 3rd of 13 in the canoe class and the winning (men’s) crew said it was about time we stopped describing ourselves as ‘just a pair of veteran lady paddlers’. Races ‘C’ and ‘D’ and the Devizes to Westminster race were cancelled due adverse weather but that didn’t stop some snowy paddles anyway.
Sarah’s trip to Rwanda can be described as ‘character building’ and ‘type 2 fun’ but was an adventure and it gave her lots to talk about at subsequent job interviews.
Matthew’s idea of a half term treat is now a country walk, we went to Devils Dyke, followed by a pub lunch. He is growing up.
Liz and Adrian took six hours to battle westwards during the ‘Beast from the East’. 4 wheel drive on the Audi meant we made it up the hill at Chicklade (many were stranded there overnight) and spent an unplanned stop at the Travel Lodge at Podimore. We were going to collect Liz’s Mum as she was being discharged from a rehabilitation centre following a stay in hospital on the Friday.
When we arrived the centre had delayed her discharge due to the weather! Just as well as we found the water pipes frozen and sheet ice (from freezing rain) covering the drive at Brightwell.
Sadly Liz’s Mum was readmitted to hospital at the end of April and passed away on the 5th of May.
Early May also saw a trip to France for the Dordogne Intergrale canoe and kayak race. Liz and Vicky had been in 2016 and promised Tim (Vicky’s husband) and Adrian fine food and warm weather. Driving down and back there were bright sunny days but the race day itself was cold, wet and windy. All the DW training didn’t go to waste as they were the first C2 crew home, winning a bottle of wine and some polo shirts.
July saw Adrian on the scoring team for the Archery GB National Tour stages 3 & 4 held in Kingston and Liz competing in the National Marathon Championships. She came 3rd in the solo ladies class and with Vicky 5th in the open class, although would have been 2nd in a mixed class.
We were pleasantly surprised that all the Children wanted to join us for a family holiday with Bridget and her boys in France. We stayed in a self-catering chalet in Morillon. There were lots of opportunities for trying new adventurous activities. Fat Scoot is whizzing downhill on all terrain scooters with big wheels and front suspension, lets just say Sarah has at least ticked that box.
We chose the coldest day to go canyoning. Snow the previous day on high ground had just about melted. It was fun to explore a river another way – one too tiny to kayak!
As a family we took a scenic walk to Sixt Fer a Cheval. Liz bet Peter an ice cream that there was snow under the cliff and won. When you get to ‘the end of the world’ there is a sign (you can see it in our photo gallery).
Back to work for Peter – still in the tech department at Kobalt Music in London and Sarah at Legoland. Matthew returned to Farnborough College of technology where he is studying for a CTEC in Media this year.
In October half term we stay in Crewkerne and Adrian, Liz and Matthew visited Exeter Cathedral and the model railway at Beer. Matthew hasn’t the patience to model his own railway but enjoys looking at others.
Back at Brightwell in November, with our friends Sally and Paul we enjoy a weekend of walking although Liz’s walking boots finally disintegrate after 35 years of wear.
Sarah visited Australia for 3 1/2 weeks whilst Legoland is shut. In the end she has spent the whole season working her temporary job there whilst waiting for the recruitment formalities for the Civil Service to finish – she starts her career with them in January.
With Christmas just a few days away, we wish everyone the very best for Christmas and in 2019.
Take a look at more of our photos in our 2018 Photo Gallery