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Apologies for the absence from blogging but I’ve been taking some time off now the UK is slowly opening up. I’ve been getting out and about more which has led to a hectic social whirl and a backlog of pictures and admin’ but it’s a lovely position to be in after so long. The pair of us have been busy as Dawn’s got two weeks holiday which started on Friday so we’ve been clearing the decks for that. Plus – I’ve spent two evenings in…pubs! Yep, remember those things? The valley’s been busy with different friends passing through – not all of which I managed to catch up with, but on Thursday I had the chance to meet a chap called Martin Ward. Martin and I cycled ‘Ride India’ together in 2018 and her was here in the valley with his family enjoying a break on a canal narrowboat, so it would have been rude not to. Plus, on Friday a group of us from the ‘Big 6’ pub (which is undergoing a change of management so hasn’t re-opened) who’ve been doing a weekly quiz via Zoom finally had the chance to meet up in the flesh again using a surrogate pub – the ‘Shepherds Rest’ in SA few other refugees from ‘the 6’ drifted in so it turned into a really nice night.

On Saturday Dawn and I drove over to my old home town of Southport to meet up with some of my family. First up was my niece, Charlotte whom we spent a very pleasant couple of hours with outside a cafe in Birkdale. The village has gone rather upmarket over the past 20 years as it’s a conservation area. Many of the cafes and shops near the station have old Victorian iron and glass canopies outside, so it’s an ideal place to sit and pass the time – even if it was a bit windy. Afterwards, Dawn and I met up with my sister Anne and her daughter Brier for a celebratory early birthday meal – something we’ve not been able to do since the first lockdown. I’d booked a table at Bistro Bar Med in the centre of town. one of us had visited before but we all really enjoyed the food, which is a mixture of Spanish Tapas and Turkish mezes.

It was wonderful be able to visit a restaurant again and Bar Med was ideal. The Owner and his staff were great hosts and the food was delicious! The place isn’t huge, which added to the atmosphere as it was more intimate and personal. I really liked the way the food was served – as you can see here. It saved a lot of space on the table and the wheel arrangement meant it was easy to share dishes. We’d certainly visit again as I love this communal way of eating, the quality of the food and the atmosphere. So, today’s picture is of something I’ve not posted for a very very long time – food!

We’re big fish eaters so our selection of five Tapas dishes was Green-lipped mussels, king prawns and Sardines, accompanied by meatballs and Patatas Bravas. The bread rolls meant none of the delicious sauces went to waste!

Eating ‘early doors’ allowed us to drive back to West Yorkshire without getting back too late, leading to an easy night. Today we’ve had a quiet day. The weather’s been pretty crappy again as it’s cold, wet and windy – distinctly unseasonal so we’ve not really done much apart from getting out for a short walk. That said, we’ve got plenty of plans, especially after a surprise. I’ve got my second Covid jab booked for Thursday but Dawn (being younger than me) hadn’t heard about hers – until this morning. Now Dee will get her second the day after me on Friday, so we’re both covered for the future, this is timely as we’re currently looking at our first foreign adventure for the future which will be somewhere I’ve been many times but Dawn’s never visited. Bali. Let’s just hope this happens as we’d be out there for a special occasion…

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