Well, where did that ten lovely memory-filled days go? There we were on the ferry going to Portsmouth and, suddenly, there we were sailing back to Caen almost, it seems, in the blink of an eye.
It was a whirlwind tour taking in wonderful laughter-filled hours with our very very good friends who so kindly take us in on our trips back home and spoil us rotten with their company and fantastic hospitality (especially the wonderful cooking!), and share their beautiful family with us - a lovely new baby to cuddle, and a lively new border collie to play with!
We celebrated my dear mum's 80th birthday with her - and believe me, this was a real celebration for a wonderul lady who has beaten all the odds to reach such a grand age. We are already planning her 85th and 90th!
We celebrated a few more important birthdays in the year in the family, too - a sister's 50th, a granddaughter's 1st, and a nephew's 21st, and my lovely youngest son and his gorgeous wife announced that they were expecting their second child next March! There was much to raise a glass - or three - to!
The party was held at The Commodore Hotel in Kewstoke, Sand Bay, Weston-super-Mare. My mum spent some of her childhood there when it was just a little cafe run by her grandmother. The building itself has seen changes but the wild and windswept beach hasn't - it took me straight back to my own childhood when many an hour was spent playing on the sands.
Here we all are in the garden of the hotel - how we managed to get all the children to stand still for a minute or two was amazing!
The Commodore Hotel from the beach - it stands right at the end of the beach at Sand Bay against a backdrop that has hardly changed over the years. It's fantastic to know that, in a fast-changing world, some things stay almost exactly the same!
The end of the pier, which was destroyed in the fire, has been rebuilt to a much more modern design but it looks exactly right. As you can tell, the weather was quite typical, with the sea almost invisible as usual!
They are working very hard on the whole seafront area surrounding the pier. By next year, when all the work is complete, it should look fantastic. I can't wait to return. I'm so pleased that the pier has been rebuilt - it's another part of my childhood that holds fond memories for me.
Another favourite spot between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare is Chew Valley Lake, now a haven for wild birds. The last time we were here in February, it was teeming with all sorts of birds. This time it seemed was just for ducks and seagulls!
At its busiest, it has thousands of birds and the noise is almost deafening.
Thanks for reading!
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