The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Saturday, August 11, 2007

A House-load of Charlies

My sister Susan, brother-in-law Charlie and Daniel were staying on in Aberdeen for a few extra days after the wedding, and then coming to us on the Thursday night on their way back down south.

My friend Gerry (a scrabble player) and his two children (Charlotte and Charlie) were/are in the UK from Thailand for a holiday and I invited them up to stay for a few days. They had also arranged to come on the Thursday and were staying until Monday.

We had organised for Susan/b-in-l to sleep in the downstairs spare room with Daniel on the sofa in there as they were only stopping for one night, and Gerry and family had the upstairs spare rooms.

I picked Gerry and family up from the coach stop in Berwick at around 6 p.m., and Susan and family had arrived whilst I was out. We all (except brother-in-law) took the dogs out for a walk to Edrom, and then organised getting fish and chips for dinner. Gerry told us they wanted to experience all things Scottish/country living. The Iron Bru certainly went down well with Charlie and Charlotte, although so did the red wine the following evening...

Susan and family departed late morning.

In the afternoon Paul and I took Charlotte, Charlie and the dogs up the road towards Craigswalls to pick wild raspberries and cherries. Later I had a couple of games of scrabble with Gerry - honours even but I have now nicknamed him 'two-blanks Gerry'.

On Saturday it was the Duns Agricultural show. After the foot-and-mouth outbreak in Surrey on Friday this was likely to be severely affected. However, it was also an International Highland Games at North Berwick so we went there instead. Paul had enquired as to whether dogs were allowed, and had been told yes. We decided to take them with us as we would need to take both cars anyway. Gerry and Charlotte came with me, but I think Charlie was a little put out when I put my roof down. Gerry said there were very few convertibles in Thailand as it is just too hot and humid for most of the year.

This was the first time we have tried taking the dogs to anything like this, and they were very well behaved. It was very hot, but we had brought their bowls and water with us. There were a lot of other dogs around, but other than Poncho trying to sniff a small dog and it squealing, they were largely ignored. I think Jen was a little stressed when we were walking around by the number of people and general noise, but when we settled down to watch the 'strong man' events she relaxed and lay down. In fact, for the first time ever she actually sat for quite a while. Poncho, similarly to when he is in the car, insisted on standing the whole time to keep an eye on everything going on around him.

There were only four competitors in the strong man events - apparently there were several other highland games events taking place around the country. Gerry really wanted to see the caber tossing and at least got his wish.

Other events included throwing the 56 pound weight over a height bar...

and throwing the hammer...

There were also various piping competitions and a lot of pipe and drum bands from all over the world.

Two girls came over to say hello to Jen and Poncho, and they were drummers in a band over from Canada.

We left for home in the late afternoon, and this time I had Charlie and Charlotte in my car.

The US Player Tournament (scrabble) started on Saturday so Gerry and I settled down to play through the games that were posted on the web. There were five Thai players competing in it, including Pakorn and Panupol who stood a good chance of doing well. Thailand uses TWL (the American word list) unlike the UK which uses the international word list. It was quite interesting playing through the games with Gerry - many of my suggested moves were not valid in TWL. It was not surprising that the lone Brit (Mike Whiteoak) taking part was struggling, although he later reported that he thoroughly enjoyed his experience.

Paul, Charlie and Charlotte spent the evening playing board games, of which we have a large number. This was continued on Sunday which was a thoroughly lazy day other than the dog walks. Monopoly, Cluedo, Totopoly, The Business Game (Mine a Million) and Sherlock Holmes card game all got at least one outing.

Monday morning and after a few photos being taken it was back to Berwick to get the coach back down to London.

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