Saying Goodbye to a lady who was a one off and will never truly leave!

Published March 19, 2022 by wherethehellisgillian

My friend Lady D has always been on my life and is as close as a sister as my birth sister. Her mum and my mum were close friends and they shared so much in common, not least they were both incredibly strong women. They were not the norm, driven and ahead of their time. So when it comes to saying goodbye to Lady P (Lady D’s mum) it’s a hard one. To me she is the last connection to my mum (who passed in my teens), but to lady Di and her kids, she is a matriarch who has left her stamp of ‘mum’ ‘grandma’ on them and it’s going to stay with them forever. So as I travel to Devon to say goodbye it’s a tough one. I cherish and honour her as a woman I genuinely respect who she was and feel lost that she will not be there in the years to come. Lord N left last year through Covid, a sweet and considerate man who along with Lady P, were quite unique and lovely people. We were blessed to have them.

Two of the loveliest people that I have the privilege to have known.

Trip with Lord S and family ….

Published March 19, 2022 by wherethehellisgillian

Getting the van, had been to spend with friends on new adventures, Lord S had made me promise I would join him and the clan more, which so far hasn’t worked out so well. So this weekend is our first trip together. Hoping the dogs get on as the people are great company. We head for Finchale Abbey, not too far and our plans were a visit to Durham to pub hop and a walk or two.

We did the pub hop!!
And even managed the walks!!
Lucky with the weather again!!

Kelpies…. A true story?….

Published March 19, 2022 by wherethehellisgillian

Everyone likes a fairytale or a myth, strange as mostly they are frightening tales usually. Not less the Kelpies who are horses in the sea which entice children to come to them and end up drowned! Lovely. That said the works of art that have been erected are well worth a visit. There’s even a coffee shop which sells scones that are a Nice treat after the huge bacon sandwiches we had in the van. Lady G announces that the scone “will last her all day”.

There are miniature copies, as real ones are huge!!!

Next visit is to see the Falkirk Wheel, a feat of genuine genius in engineering, Himself would have loved it. It takes basically a elevator for canal boats. I suggest our next trip should be on a canal boat, as Lady G has never been on one and I love it. Who knows maybe next year.

We also stopped for a coffee. Lady G bought a cake to share “as that was going to last her all day”.

Onwards to see the family in Edinburgh. We have plans to meet in one of Lady G nieces coffee shop, where guess what we had our tea and another cake!! The best one of the day I had to admit and this time we returned to the van, with a day full of happy memories and tummy full of trouble!!

Well we had to finish our day in the usual fashion. Got to say sitting outside in Scotland this late in the year is unheard of. We are always lucky with the weather.

Can’t believe dates….

Published March 19, 2022 by wherethehellisgillian

No I am talking drinks and chat dates, I mean on this blog as I noticed the dates are all over the place. That said I haven’t added anything since September 21 (almost 6 months). The reason I had to upgrade as I used all my free space, not bad after almost 10yrs adding so complaining. So I am just adding memories to catch up so don’t believe the dates!!

On this trip The Hound decided he should sit on a throne or the cooker top!

Plans need adjusting

Published November 12, 2021 by wherethehellisgillian

We had planned to walk to other parts of the coast but Lady D had hurt her toe so we decide to drive to Hope Cove and Burgh Island.

Hope Cove sounds lovely and it was, a very small place but nice for a lunch in the fish restaurant with outside pods. Even in Devon you can’t trust the weather so the pods are a great idea.

The views to the bays from these were fab.
The food was pretty fab too.
Inside a pub in Hope Cove. Quite fitting I thought. We all love pizza

Moving on to Burgh Island, we walk across the beach as the tide is out. As the island gets cut off when the tidy comes in. We have been here with New York Boys but it had been winter. Now in the sunshine would we even recognise it.

How long is this ferry to Garda?? Not as long as the ferry back will feel…

Published November 12, 2021 by wherethehellisgillian

We haven’t been incredibly decisive on this holiday. Usually we are on tour driving and we need to know our destination each day. This holiday in public transport means all those rules are gone. Instead we get up late, after lying in bed lamenting over Britain leaving the EU in the Referendum. Followed by a Facebook tirade of disappointment. It didn’t help our mood as we felt as if we had lost something. In realty it’s because we are feeling the fear of the Unknown. So deciding we are stuffed anyway (the £ plummeted) we get up and feel grateful for life with hope whichever side of the Med you live. 
We went to catch a water ferry and luckily the guy behind us, who we met on the bus to Sirmione give us his advice (we are in that kind of holiday take any advice as we have no plans). He was off to Garda one of the furthest stops so we opted for that too. 
Garda turned out to be a nice little place but not as nice as Sirmione in our opinion. Although LL said later that day that everywhere seems a little’ samey’ yes we say that every holiday we love mountains till we are mountained out, we love lakes, till we are laked out. Why would we feel things were the same especially when we stay in the same place because they are. 

After lunching at the side of the lake (a very nice salad again!) and mooching around Garda BB worked out the ferry timetable, by this time we were whacked out with the heat, how people stand the summer heat we couldn’t believe it. As we stepped on the ferry it felt we had a ocean to sail as we couldn’t wait to get home drenched in sweat and depleted of energy. We really needed a rest till evening so books out and a lie down, holidays are tiring they say. 

After a shower, rest and change we sat and watched the sunset at Barracuda bar looking over the lake again. This is a really pretty place and would suit a honeymoon couple. We on the other hand are Blondes on tour and just enjoying it anyway. 

Our evening was enhanced by a dinner at Ai Cigni in the company of a Italian rugby team who sang rugby songs and opera after their meal, what more could we want, might not be everybodies idea of romantic evening but it was ours tonight….

Fr Michael Conaty MBE a faithful man……

Published November 12, 2021 by wherethehellisgillian

29Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. 30And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’g 31The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’h No other commandment is greater than these.

Mark 12 v29:31

In life we meet people who love us, care for us, lead us, encourage us and if we listen inspire us to be more than we thought we could be. Father Conaty was a man who did all this for so many people and without the aid of social media, tv or press coverage or anything resembling celebrity lifestyle. No, Father touched so many people by simply being a man who always made you feel you mattered, you were important, you were someone of value and he did this for everyone not just the ‘important ones’. He used to smile broadly when he saw me, hug and kiss me then say you are “a powerful woman Gillian”. A statement I never asked for explanation as he said it with such affection and encouragement I certainly felt he I must have being doing something right in the world. He was a rebel himself, standing up to the inequalities for people, working for nearly 60 yrs in service to the people of Walker. 

As we attended his funeral yesterday, where we had to stand because it was standing room only (outside too) of St Mary’s Cathedral, we looked around and saw the work of a man that had lived his life in pure service of Gods Joy to His people, especially those people who lived in most need (poverty us all too real in Walker). 

A few years ago Father was kind enough to let me spend time with him over a cup of tea for a few months, allowing me to ask questions such as “what do you fear?”his answer “nothing,  I know Who protects me, I gave seen evil in the face and I have been safe, as safe as being cupped in Gods hand Himself” he says cupping his own hand to show me. 

I asked was it hard to be a priest? He admitted he hated seminary where he trained to become a priest back in the early 1950s. In fact he lost his faith. I asked how could he be a priest?  He said he just ‘functioned’ as a priest until an encounter with a monk at a retreat helped him get his faith back. Father was an honest man.  

I asked what give him Joy? He told me a story of a parishioners family who when she died had had a ‘humanist’ service after being angry with God about how she died. Then 2 weeks later they came back to Father to ask him to have a service over her grave and to ask God to care for her now in heaven. It wasn’t that the experience itself brought joy to him it was that he saw people see God and acknowledge Him. Father was a faithful man.  

At some points I told him how I loved my life and how I loved making my own way in it as a single woman, telling him about a episode on holiday in Canada. In a way in which I felt he wanted the best for me he told me I was living a selfish way. God doesn’t want us to do life on our own he said. I should seek companionship someone to be by my side. Father was a wise man. 

Father is going to be missed by so many of us it’s hard to imagine he will not be there to ask questions or show us the way without crying. The one question he did answer which will sustain me, is when I asked “what is the meaning of life?” He didn’t say love, or to please God or anything I had assumed, his answer “to live in the moment”. He elaborated “living in the past is a sin, living in the future is a sin, it’s only today that God gives us so we should live it fully”. He did just that Father was a man who lived to his word. 

This is a prayer Father wrote and prayed everyday, I only hope I can try to say and live by it….

God is my help in every need.

God is with me now.

Wherever I go His peace goes with me. 

Gods love sustains me in everything I do. 

I have a mission from God to fulfil. 

I face today confident and I afraid because Jesus is with me.

I picture only good for myself and others. 

I will only do good for myself and others. 

God will help me heal my mistakes. 

He will not punish me, so I will not punish myself. 

I forgive by a power not my own, but which is within me. 

I am an essential part of Gods plan. 

I am free of tension, stress and strain.

I relax completely in God.

I give this day to God to guide. 

Father was and is a free man….

From Devon to Scotland…

Published October 30, 2021 by wherethehellisgillian

The four part of my summer road trip after stopping back at Evesham for the night and sleeping in my own bed for one night was to pick up Lady G and head up to Scotland for some G time!

This is Lady G first time in the van and we opt not to take the awning. Which as it turn out makes a big difference to space in there!!

We stayed at Linwater Caravan Park Having stayed before I knew what to expect. It’s a great place to stay if you are picking up anyone from the airport. It is also near a great country park.

On Friday we walked through to go to the local pub for a drink before making our tea.

Our first night with a nice glass of wine to help.
Or Vodka!

What we didn’t show was the making of our tea. After suggesting to Lady G she should bring chicken breast for tea (as they are easy cook on grill) she brought stir fry ingredients. Something told me she doesn’t use a camp stove often. After I suggested that she might think twice about lightning the cooker by stretching her arm over the open flame, she did what we would have chastised kids for, and ignored me. Only to find herself having to patting down the flames on her jumpers arms!! Yes it always pays to come away with your own nurse even if she sets fire to herself for a stir fry.

Shaldon on my next move???

Published October 30, 2021 by wherethehellisgillian

Devon has some lovely places that I visit each time I come down, lucky Lady D doesn’t mind as these are here locals. They are beautiful and this year they all seems to have had a face lift.

Shaldon is one of these little places and once a year of you visit everyone dresses up in period dress and you feel like you are back centuries. This week isn’t one of those so instead we just have a walk around and I can dream of buying a house here one day when I have lots of money to spare as it’s not cheap!!

We also managed to get a walk in the country park before getting ready to leave. Saying goodbye this time seems harder, the Pandemic may have been devastating but there are some ways in which we look at things differently, I know that time spent with those we love was always precious only now we know to never take it for granted. It’s a gift.

Morning walk on Seven Sisters before I saw goodbye.

Diddly Squat…..

Published October 16, 2021 by wherethehellisgillian

After I booked the site I was advised to watch Jeremy Clarksons Farm, which I loved as it turned out. So I introduced Lady D to it before we left and we both agreed we need to visit his farm shop. Well it was only 15 mins from our Site.

Arriving we were surprised to see how busy it was, with queues to get into the shop if 1 and half hours!!! So after we took the photos that all the other visitors were taking we opted for a drink at the bar he had installed behind the shop. We even got a treat, Lisa his partner turned up, she was as delightful as she was in the programme. Yes we are definitely fans, although not enough to queue to get in or pay the incredible prices in the farm shop. I had already bought wellies and wasn’t over that purchase yet.


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