Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Tag Archives: Riverside

Some things never change

When I was first married, we lived in Cardiff and our best friends were a couple, Richard and Glynis, who have remained our friends for over thirty years. I am godmother to their daughter (hence the wedding reading – she is getting married in October) and Richard is the godfather to my #1 son. In 1983, my husband, our 4 month old son and I, went to live in Kuwait for three years and during this time, we kept in touch with our friends back in the UK, sending birthday cards etc. One year, on my birthday in early November, I received the following card from them.


Inside, it said ‘I’ve looked absolutely everywhere for a used birthday card that has flowers on the outside and money on the inside. Maybe next year. OK?

I sent it back to Glynis whose birthday is at the end of November, with the message ‘Found the card but still no money’ and thus a tradition was born. The card came back for Gavin’s birthday in April and we sent it back for Richard’s in May and so it has gone on for 26 years, sometimes getting lost, but always turning up again. We lost Gavin and Glynis from the rotation when both couples split up and so Richard and I continue to send the card back and forth. It has had extra sheets attached but remains intact and has just winged it’s way back to Cardiff for Richard’s birthday. Long may it continue!


My #2 son arrived back from his travels safely last week. He arrived in Dorset on Thursday accompanied by his girlfriend. It was so wonderful to see him in one piece I can’t tell you! One of his travelling companions caught dengue fever while in Kuala Lumpur. Luckily, she has recovered but it was very worrying. He was thinner but otherwise healthy and he arrived bearing gifts – a gorgeous leather handbag. I am so thrilled with it that I shan’t object if he wants to go travelling again. As my friend Claire said the other day ‘I think I might have had more children if I’d realized they could one day provide so generously for me’. Quite. We went to my favourite restaurant in these here parts (in fact it’s my favourite restaurant in any parts) The Riverside at West Bay and he insisted on paying for lunch for us all. Love it.

On Saturday, I was invited to go and see an outdoor production of ‘The Barber of Seville’ in Abbotsbury. The plan was to meet up with friends, have a picnic then watch the opera. We managed the picnic but as we sat watching the opera, the heavens opened and we were all good and soaked. It was the first rain we have had for weeks and I felt so sorry for the singer playing Rosina because she was wearing a very flimsy costume and must have been frozen to death, the wind was really cold. They carried on gamely and even incorporated the man who came on at intervals to mop the rain off the stage, into the action. I must confess that during the interval, we took shelter, broke out the picnic again and listened from afar.


I’m amazed that you can’t see the driving rain in this photograph but you can tell by the number of umbrellas belonging to the hardy souls who sat it out, just how wet it was.

The book

The book

Today, I have had news from Jemima. You might remember the wonderful illustrations she did for the book ‘Roverandom’ by J.R.R.Tolkien, (which I helped her bind for her university final project). She has just had a meeting with the Publishing Director of Harper Collins who publish all Tolkien’s work. He loves her illustrations and wants to re-publish Roverandom using her illustrations! She has left the book with them and they are going to show it to Christopher Tolkien who is J.R.R’s son, as they have to have his permission to use them in the book. Even if he doesn’t approve, they want to use her illustrations in future projects. Brilliant news, Jemima!

I’m off again next Sunday. I fly to Corfu for 10 days of sailing with my lovely sister and her husband. The day after I return, it is Glastonbury so I will be there for a weekend of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash, Blur, Madness, Status Quo, Lily Allen, Spinal Tap……. (see full line up here)

I love my life.

Mothers’ Day advice

I don’t have a new book to show you today as I was out all day yesterday. I had a very self indulgent day and went shopping in Exeter. It was really nice because I didn’t want anything in particular, so I could just browse and I ended buying a few nice things. Usually when I go shopping, I have one thing in mind that I need and I get increasingly frustrated at not being able to find it and end up coming home without whatever it is. I have chronicled here many sorry tales of hunting for shoes, boots, dresses – all of which I’m certain were in the shops until I started looking for them…..

The shops were full of Mothers’ Day gifts, cards and flowers (we celebrate it in March in the UK) and I was very smug as for once, I actually remembered to post my card to my mum in plenty of time – usually I carry it around in my handbag for days on end and only get round to posting it at the last minute.


I started writing this at 5.30am. I went out to dinner last night to one of my favourite restaurants, the Riverside which is in West Bay (shown in the photographs above) and had a fantastic meal. The Riverside is (mainly) a fish restaurant. Here’s what I ate. Clams in garlic, ginger and chilli followed by fillets of brill in a sorrel sauce with crispy spinach and then warm pancakes with passionfruit ice cream. I then made the BIG mistake of having not one, but two cups of strong coffee. As I don’t usually drink much coffee, it has kept me awake all night – and when I say all night I mean it, I haven’t been to sleep yet!! So I have been finding things to write about which are suitable for the day before Mothers’ Day. I have some suggestions for my sons (and anyone else in need of MD advice)

1 If you are thinking of sending a Mothers’ Day photograph, here’s how not to do it ….

2 These are good gifts for mothers everywhere….

3 This is a very BAD gift….


So, now you know.

And as it’s Mothers’ Day, here are some pics of my little angels….



Doesn’t time fly?

Talking of which, it is now 7.30am so I going back to bed to see if I can catch up on a couple of hours sleep…