Dark Forces, A Castle and A Fluffy Duster !!

Thursday 17th September 2015 (Day 189 of 236)

The big day finally arrived, Friday 4th September, time for the eagerly awaited trip to the hospital in Newcastle to get my Cataract sorted. I say eagerly awaited but the truth was, as much as I needed this to be done, I couldn’t get one major thought out of my head, the one that could only visualise a shiny sharp bladed scalpel heading in the direction of my eyeball, I was glad that I had the forethought to wear my brown trousers today !! Once checked in I didn’t have to wait long, first it was to put some eye drops in to dilate my pupil and then, once they had been given time to work, I was taken down to the theatre and prepared for the Operation that would last Forty minutes. I could feel my heart thumping in my chest at a great rate of knots, oh how I wish I had opted to be put to sleep, but that would have meant waiting even longer to have it done, but I was here now and there was no turning back………………..

At least on the way back to the waiting area, where Shazza had been sat, patiently awaiting the return of her patient, I didn’t have to walk, a  hospital porter gently pushed my wheeled carriage up from the Post-Op area to the waiting room. I couldn’t see a damn thing out of my Left eye for they had covered it with a bandage and plastic eye shield. I really don’t know what all the fuss was about for not only had I not been able to see the knife or the surgeon, but the anaesthetic, that he had put into my eye, meant that I couldn’t feel anything either. Had it not been that he was talking throughout the whole procedure I may have been forgiven for thinking that they had just left me in a room by myself for Forty minutes then wheeled me out again. I believe that those ‘Dark Forces‘ had been up to their tricks again, making me worry for weeks that the worst was going to happen, giving me many sleepless nights, but in the end, they had decided to go elsewhere and wreek havoc on some other poor sole. The bandage was removed Twenty-Four hours later and only then did I discover that when I say that “I will keep an eye out for you“, that I really mean it…… !!

I hadn't asked for a 'Zoom' lens !!

I hadn’t asked for a ‘Zoom’ lens !!

It would take a day or two before I know if the new lens implant would be any good and improve my vision, then it could take up to four weeks for it to settle down. Dougie and Avril, our site Wardens, are absolutely brilliant and they had re-jigged the work rosters so that I didn’t need to take any ‘official’ time off work but I had got three full days off before going back, but on strictly ‘Admin’ duties as I couldn’t risk getting an infection in my eye.

As I wasn’t on ‘the sick’, it meant that I could still go out and do things on our days off, although I had to have four lots of eye drops each day and had to wear sunglasses to protect my eye from bright light. We elected to go and do the final two things on our sightseeing list, the visit to ‘Bamburgh Castle‘ and then the ‘Grace Darling‘ Museum.











Once we had explored the outer parts of the Castle it was time to take a peek at the inside………………….


An early bicycle known as the 'bone shaker', note, no saddle and no pedals !!

An early bicycle known as the ‘bone shaker’, note, no saddle, no pedals and no brakes  !!

image imageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Could this be an early 'Dyson' prototype ?

Could this be an early ‘Dyson’ prototype ?


We wandered in and out of lots of rooms at our leisure, up and down stairways, exploring little nooks and crannies. It was easy to imagine how great it must have been to live in such a marvellous building, I could have hidden from Shazza for days !! This had really been well worth the wait, I love Castles like this, ones where you can roam around without the need for a ‘official tour guide’, for as long as you wanted, well until they chucked you out at closing time that is !!

Before we left we had to do a last external walk around the ramparts to admire the views, much to Shazza’s displeasure, she wasn’t a big fan of castles but was happy to humour me, up to a point that is, and we were nearing that point quite rapidly !!

Looking across to the Farne Islands

Looking across to one of the Farne Islands

Looking out upon the Cricket and Croquet field and to the village below the Castle

Looking out upon the Cricket and Croquet field and to the village below the Castle

Marvellous wide sandy beach just below the ramparts

Marvellous wide sandy beach just below the ramparts

Looking across to Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle

Looking across to Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle

The weather had been kind to us with warm sunshine and only a light breeze blowing. Even with only one good eye I had enjoyed our visit to the Castle. Sometimes, when you are looking forward to something, when you actually get around to doing it, it can be disappointing and it doesn’t live up to expectations, not so Bamburgh Castle, it was well worth the wait.

But our day was not done as also located in the village was the ‘Grace Darling Museum‘. Now I have to say that very many years ago when I was a young boy at school, I didn’t really absorb things as well as perhaps I should, but I always enjoyed a good story. It was back in this distant past when I was told about the heroic exploits of a young girl who lived with her family in a lighthouse, her father being the lighthouse keeper and the girl was called ‘Grace Darling‘. one stormy night she looked out from one of the windows of the lighthouse and saw a paddle steamer, the ‘SS Forfarshire‘ being wrecked upon the rocks. This ten-year old girl, and her father, rowed out into the stormy maelstrom and managed to rescue nine survivors who had managed to climb up onto the storm battered rocks, the rest of the crew and passengers were drowned. So, here was I, very many years after initially hearing that story, in ‘Bamburgh’, the birthplace of that young girl, so a visit to the museum was a must.


Across the road from the museum, in the church graveyard, is the place where Grace Darling was buried.

Across the road from the museum, in the church graveyard, is the place where Grace Darling was buried.


The museum was well worth the visit, there is obviously the history of Grace Darling and her family which was very interesting, a short, but informative video of the tragic events of that fateful night and there, restored in all its glory, the actual boat that she and her father rowed to make the rescue.

Being just that little bit older now, I found myself wondering why Grace’s father didn’t get the same accolade that his daughter had. Although Grace had rowed out with her father initially and collected four of the survivors, he had risked his life a second time, returning to collect the remaining survivors. A question that I guess will forever remain unanswered !!

The early evening sunshine was still warm as we left the churchyard, so having viewed the shrine to Grace, we sauntered through the small village. We looked at the rather tantalising menu’s displayed outside some of the ‘eateries’, perhaps worth an evening re-visit at some point. We settled for coffee and a wee morsel to go with it, Shazza was tempted by the clotted Cream and Jam Scone whilst I settled for a quite delicious toasted tea take, well we had already walked most of the calories off that we were just about to put back on !!

The days off just seem to fly by and soon it was back to our ‘Elf and Elfette’ duties, but with a slight change. Whilst Shazza was now having to don all the High Vis and Health & Safety attire to do the ‘external’ stuff, I was in charge of the Office and Admin related stuff. This is the great thing about the Club training regime, it doesn’t matter whether you are Male or Female, you both get trained in all aspects so that we can do the ‘role reversal’ stuff when required, and for the next three or four weeks, it was required.

Almost two years ago, and literally just before we boarded the ferry to Spain on our first ever Adventure in ‘Big Momma’, we were invited to a weekend meet with three other couples at a small Campsite near Wisbech. For regular readers of this blog you may recall that I did write a ‘Blog Post’ about it. We had never met any of the other couples before but since that time two of the others have commenced their own Adventures, Steve & Lyssa (Adventures of Big Bird) and Nic & Cath (Tales from Aurora) and we have met up with both of them since that original meet in Portugal on our travels. However, the third couple, Mike & Sue, were not quite at the stage where they could commence a fultiming lifestyle, however, over the last two years we have kept in touch with them via the Blog, Telephone and Email.

Last Saturday (12th September) the ‘Fluffy Duster’, that’s what Mike & Sue call their very nice Motorhome, entered through our site gates, they had booked on for five nights. Although they are still working they have left Bricks ‘n’ Mortar and live fulltime in the ‘Fluffy Duster’. They were on holiday and had come up to see us, as well as sightseeing in the local area. We were unfortunately working during most of their stay but we had two great nights out with them and spent ages just catching up and getting to know each other much better. They are both really nice people, so down to earth and ‘normal’, well as normal as people who choose to live in a plastic box on wheels can be !! But don’t knock it until you have tried it that’s what I say !!

The 'Fluffy Duster' with a marvellous Sea View !!

The ‘Fluffy Duster’ with a marvellous Sea View !!

Mike & Sue do 'Berwick-upon-Tweed' !!

Mike & Sue do ‘Berwick-upon-Tweed’ !!

It was Mike’s Birthday on the day they were leaving so on the evening before the big day we all went into town and had something to eat, and of course, celebrate his Special day with one or five liquid refreshments. Well it would have been rude not to and especially as the establishment we frequented had gone to the trouble of putting on a Special ‘Malt of the Month’ deal. All I can say is that it was one of the best nights sleep I have had in a long, long time and it was probably a good job that we were on a day off the following day !! It had been really good to see them both again and we really appreciated them taking the time to come all the way to see us, so a big thank you to both and we are already looking forward to our next re-Union, we may even have completed our rehabilitation sessions at ‘Alcoholics Anonymous‘ by then !! By way of Coincidence, this week we also had a phone call from Steve & Lyssa who are currently taking a break from their travels in France to spend time renovating their newly acquired property. This for us has been, and continues to be, a great adventure, you meet so many lovely people and although you may not see each other regularly, you keep in touch until the opportunity arises when you can get together again and have a good catch up !!

Just as a bit of a footnote, it’s always good to know that when your children grow up and leave home that you have managed to influence their lives in some way. My daughter Stacey and her Partner Dean, who now live in Australia, have just sent me a photograph of their latest acquisition to their household……………………


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21 Responses to Dark Forces, A Castle and A Fluffy Duster !!

  1. tomhope2421 says:

    Very pleased your op went well, great pictures and read as normal. We are en route to Scotland via a CCC site in Milton Keynes for our shadowing shift so will see you in a few weeks 👍🏻

  2. debsk31 says:

    Hi Eric, great to hear your news and good to hear you are on the road to recovery. Hopefully we’ll be seeing you both soon and really looking forward to the catch-up. Don’t work too hard in the office!! Xx

    • Thanks Debs, looking forward to seeing you both in a couple of weeks or so, I am sure we will all have a lot to chat about, especially looking to next year 😉 I am not sure that it is Shazza that ended up with the rough end of the role reversal 😕 it’s busy in the office especially as the site has been full every single day, that doesn’t just mean lots of departures and arrivals but lots of ordering of bread, milk, papers and all the rest of the associated Admin. Can’t wait to get back onto my Bin Runs 😂😂

  3. Glad the op went well, hopefully you’ll be fully fit ready to head off south again soon.

  4. Paul Jackson says:

    Just when you need some cloud and dark skies, you get blue skies and bright sunshine! Hope you’re on the mend and not going too stir-crazy paper-shuffling.


  5. Debs says:

    Glad your eye op went well Eric and your on the road to Recovery…..My Mums partner had his done thursday….The next 7 weeks will fly by and you will soon be back in a Warmer climate 🙂

  6. shawnandemma says:

    Glad all went to plan with your op. You may find that Shazza will want to stay doing the other duties, and you’ll end your time confined to the four walls of the reception block. Was my least favourite place to be.
    looks like the weathers been a little kinder to you recently.

    Not long now and the season will be a thing of the past.

    Shawn & Emma

  7. Peter and Chris De Houwer says:

    So good to hear your cataract op went well. Crossing our fingers for full recovery now. And counting down together with you: less than two months to go. And you know: time travels fast!!! Soon you’ll be on the road again and in your nice new home, enjoying all the sunshine you can get. As for sunshine … seems you had quite a lot of it too in your neck of the woods! Al the best. Read you soon.Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2015 16:03:15 +0000 To: nldehouwer@outlook.com

  8. nicaf says:

    Hi – great to here the op went well and that you are well. Great to hear you met up with Sue and Mike. We have been very lax with our blog! We are currently in Marseillan Plage enjoying some time on the Med before we head south through Spain and into Portugal for Christmas.

    Love to you both.

    Nick and Cathy (and Aurora) xx

    • Hi you two, we knew you had finished your brief French summer site jobs as we had spoken with Steve & Lyssa, but we were not sure where you were now. Bet your glad to be back on the open road 👍 We are very nearly there now ourselves, just seven weeks tomorrow and we will be on the ferry to Bilbao 😎 Enjoy your freedom 😄

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