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Saturday, 24 December 2016

CHRISTMAS EVE LUNCH AT TITCHWELL RSPB, GOOSE DIP, ANOTHER PUNCTURE & CHRISTMAS DAY PLANS SQUASHED!!!!

The Christmas festivities have not started well with the Clarke family. The care home where my Father lives, phoned me last night to warn us and then confirmed this morning, that our planned Christmas Day Meal with Father at the care home is now cancelled, due to D&V (diarrhoea and vomiting)!!! Plus, no visiting unless necessary and at your own risk. I was mortified to say the least. My Father has never had Christmas without his family and we didn't want to be without him – its the only reason we were joining him at the care home. I have also spent hours choosing my Mother a lovely outfit for the day, which is now a complete waste of time and energy. I know these things can't be helped, but 24 hours before Christmas Day, such bad luck!!! What really annoys me is, that it probably could have been helped. The general public generally presume that hospitals and residential homes are to blame for D&V, but its usually visitors that selfishly bring it in to hospital etc, which is probably what has probably happened at the care home. Someone has obviously not followed the DO NOT HAVE CONTACT WITH OTHER PEOPLE UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER LAST EPISODE rule and selfishly bought it into the home and has now made lots of vulnerable people very ill and at serious risk to their health and ruined their Christmas with their families!!! There were 12 family members booked in for Christmas day, who are all going to be very upset indeed! I'm very, very sad that I will not be with my dear Father tomorrow. Unfortunately my Father was one of the residents who is ill with the virus – it will sweep through the home, as Norovirus (if that's what it is) is airborne. Because of this, I had to rush out to buy food last night for Christmas Day, as I will now be cooking for Mother, Lucy and I at Holme.

I picked up my sister Lucy this morning and we met up at Holme with Vivien and her partner Ray and all of us took Mother to Titchwell RSPB for lunch. We all had potato skins with cheese & onion with salad and rhubarb crumble & custard to follow – very nice it was too. Eddie also joined us for a while and very kindly gave me a Christmas present. I met several blog readers this morning, thank you for stopping to say hello and Merry Christmas to you all! The Red-breasted Goose had been seen on/off throughout the morning and I was looking forward to seeing this after lunch. The NOA Christmas Sponsored Birdwatch Team were at the visitor centre and NOA Warden Sophie said they had already seen 95 species and were hoping to hit the magic 100 for the day, which would be a record she said. Whilst standing chatting with them, I watched a male and female Siskin and a Redpoll high up in the alder tree next to the shop.

After lunch I managed to persuade everyone else to join me to see the Red-breasted Goose, so off we headed up the Choseley Road towards Docking. Directions for anyone else going: with the Spar Shop in Docking on your left hand side, take the next minor road left which is 'Pound Lane' and then follow this road until you find the thousands of Pink-footed Geese and birders! When you arrive at this point, I wish you better luck than me, as there was NO bleep bleep Red-breasted Geese when we arrived!!! I didn't see the Todd's Canada Goose either! Of course it was a spectacle to see the Pink-footed Geese, but there was only one bird I was hoping to see. It was freezing cold here and my Mother was only able to stand there for a few minutes before she returned to my car. Lucy sensibly didn't get out at all and Vivien and Ray didn't last much longer! I scanned intensely to find that red goose, but I had to face it – I had dipped!

We all returned to Holme to swop presents, eat clementines, watch TV etc – all the usual stuff. Mother then informed me that she hadn't got much gas left in the propane gas bottle and was worried there would not be enough to cook the Christmas dinner – I sighed heavily, as I hear this statement EVERY Christmas. Ray went outside to check the cylinder and walked back in with an alarmed look on his face and said that it was very close to empty!!! Mother then argued that it couldn't be that empty and in any case she hadn't planned on cooking Christmas dinner, which mean't she knew she had enough for a week! You can already tell what is going to happen tomorrow, when I'm half way through cooking the dinner! I did suggest having Christmas dinner at my house, but Mother refused to leave the spoilt cat 'all day'!!!

Ray and Vivien left to return to Ely (they are having Christmas meal out in Ely tomorrow) and Lucy and I left around 7.15pm to go back to King's Lynn. As I cruised along the A149 the car did not feel right – lumpy, lop-sided only means one thing. I pulled into the layby at Old Hunstanton shop and got out to inspect the car. I could have cried – I could push my thumb into the offside rear tyre. This is my third BLOODY puncture in the last couple of months – crazy! I know this is really pathetic, but I have never changed a tyre in my life. Luckily I have RAC Breakdown free with my new car, so rang them up for assistance. I returned slowly to my Mother's house, in case we had to wait for ages. The RAC were brilliant and came out in about 20 minutes from my call. The young man that came out had a massive job trying to get the wheel off – he said you could tell that it had never come off the car from being manufactured – he took longer getting the wheel off than it took for him to come out! Physically, I would never have been able to do what he did. He also removed the culprit from the tyre – an old silver nail which was about 1.5cm long – did I pick that up along Pound Lane at Docking I wonder? Could have been anywhere I suppose. So the spare wheel is now on the car, which is good, but this means I can't drive more than 50mph until I get my puncture mended on Wednesday (at least), which is going to be terribly difficult for Penelope Pitstop! Also looking forward to another £25.00 bill......not!

Lucy and I eventually got back to King's Lynn and I spent the rest of the evening preparing stuff for Christmas Dinner. I hope everyone else's Christmas weekend is going better than mine so far! I will keep my fingers crossed that Christmas Day is more successful and the gas cylinder holds out!


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

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