If you look at the 'Blogs I Read' section to the right, you will notice that there is a new one, 'Alec's year in Guyana'. Yup, he's gone. My eldest son is now, and will be for the next year, about 4,500 miles away, having flown out last Friday. This will not only be the furthest apart that we've been (Iraq was only about 2800) since he was born, but also the longest time. However, I'm sure it will go very quickly. The last three weeks has.
The house now seems very empty as both Drew and Maggie have returned to their mother's after spending three weeks here. However, they did have to earn their keep, as, although I was on annual leave, I did have to go into work on two of the days due to August being the month that all of the new doctors start, and they all needed to be trained. This was where Drew and Maggie came in, as they were able to demonstrate cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using the defibrillators in AED mode, and are probably far better at it than most of the new doctors!
The remainder of the holidays was a fairly relaxed affair, with just some day trips here and there, including Walmer and Dover and a day in Eastbourne at Eastbourne Airborne, which is not only the world's biggest seafront airshow, but is also free. Much to m'Julie's amazement, it is also the first time that I'd seen the Red Arrows 'live'.
Going back to before the kids arrived, the Garden Party went well. I was relieved that I did manage to fit into my service dress, and the weather wasn't too warm, so I wasn't too uncomfortable. m'Julie and I were on the Deputy Mayor's table, the lady who will be the Mayor next year. Maidstone does things slightly differently in that, rather that have an election for the Mayor every year or two, the most senior councillor is the Mayor for a year and the next most senior takes over from them, having been the Deputy Mayor for a year.
Having said all that, following the cakes, scones and strawberries and cream, the Sam Browne that I was wearing not only started to get tighter, but also became very uncomfortable.
Caroline's visit was not as long as I'd hoped, as her son-in-law was concerned about her travelling on her own due to the problems that she has with her legs, so he told her that he would drive her down and take her back on the same day. Unfortunately, that meant that we only had limited time with Caroline, and we met her at the Wings Museum in Surrey. The museum is not officially open yet, and although we were able to walk around and take pictures, we were requested not to put any of the pictures on the net, even the ones of me in the cockpit of the C-47 that was used in Band of Brothers.
The reason that we met here was that not far from where Caroline lives in Texas is the site of the WW2 British Flight Training School, which was where many RAF pilots trained at the outset of the Second World War. Caroline is very active in preserving this site and is keen to be affiliated to similar sites in the UK.
Lastly, the weekend prior to the children arriving was a range weekend. Due to the qualifications of one of the Sqn officers, we were all able to enjoy not only the usual fixed firing point shoots, but also the close quarter battle shoots, including the street, where there is one person on each side of a 'street', firing at targets that pop-up at the end. Judging by the comments, a great time was had by all. Unfortunately, the OC has left, and he was the only one in the Sqn who was qualified to conduct that range.
Now it’s just myself, m'Julie and Hannah in the house, although I'm away on camp for two weeks soon, so need to make sure that I have everything ready for that.