The retirement year; by very early in February my working days were over for good; time to put my feet up in front of a warm fire, he says, as another log needs adding.

We had a neat meal, and a stop-over at the New Inn, a place I had seen seriously regenerated as I passed by onto my old place of work. The meal, the accommodation, the people, and the Peroni can all be highly recommended.

2017 saw the start of the Monday Morning Writers’ Café in our old stables. I cook bacon sandwiches, and provide strong black coffee, to encourage writers to develop their projects.

My first project was about discovering silence which involved me visiting Gomde Lindholm Hall, a Bhuddist Meditation centre in the middle of the old peat workings, just outside Doncaster. I was given a tour and will go back in 2018. I completed my book Branch Lines to the Silent and will give them a copy when I do return.

Kate and I visited Eastbourne early in the year, in pretty grim winter weather. It was a family funeral so we met up with friends; we stayed in an hotel on the prom, frequented by upmarket coach tours, I kid you not. We also had cream tea on the pier, Kate has the photographs.

In May we went South West, to Buckfast Abbey, and to friends in Teigmouth which included a trip on a steam train, too much alcohol, and Yvonne’s birthday celebration in Exeter.

The drink continued to flow during our writers retreat to Rosedale Abbey; realising that Rosedale wasn't in fact an abbey I called in at Ampleforth, on the way, to make amends. I do like Ampleforth.

With my daughter thinking I would have too much time on my hands she suggested we all go on a family holiday together, which we did, to a rather plush villa in Portugal, where her two children (my grandchildren). Thomas and Benjamin, spent all week either on the beach, or swimming in the villa’s pool.

We were back just in time to celebrate Pete and Jane Conner's anniversary at The Fat Seagull in Sutton on Sea. The East coast of England is upping its game, perhaps thinking that the foreign holidays are over, thanks to those 'I’m either in or I’m out’ Brexit politicians. I wanted to stay in, I voted to stay in.

I had to stay, at Dhamma Dippa that is; On the first of the ten days of Vipassanā training I agreed to stay the full term. Ten days without talking, ten days without writing, ten days without music, ten days without computer or mobile phone. I finished the course, and got a good understanding of their path to enlightenment.

The midsummer outing to the Pureland Meditation Centre was all but a disaster; thunder, lightning, gallons and gallons of rain, and Buddha Maitreya singing in not the best of voices. Thank heaven for his fruit tea and jam scones.

We had a long summer vacation on the Channel Island of Jersey, courtesy of Kate’s lovely friend Wendy. I lived on Jersey for a short while a long time ago; much has changed, and much hasn’t. We did visit everywhere, but the high point was the hike, between tides, out to Seymour Tower and back.

Early autumn saw us, with our riend Sheri, in Aldebrugh and Southwold. The end of the bike race, the fun arcade on the pier, and Maggi Hamblings shell sculpture, on the warm sunshine beach were all that kept us out of the shops and cafes.

In November it was time for a short retreat at Buckfast Abbey. On the way I called in to see the stained glass in the cloisters at Gloucester. Gloucester is not a good place on a soaking wet Tuesday in November. Thank heavens for Patisserie Valerie’s egg custards.

Fortunately after Buckfast I met up with my son Jop and his girlfriend Marija, we had a really inspirational day among the ruins of Tintagel Castle, and on the wild west coast which is Widemouth Bay, Bude. Good photography places indeed.

We held an art exhibition in our Old Stables at the beginning of December, many came and much alcohol was consumed. Some really good art was produced and displayed by what are now known as the Louth Town Hall Artists.

Hull is this years City of Culture, we paid homage by going to the SUBSTANCE LIVE: THE FUTURE OF THE NORTH concert, the highlight of which was Chambers, much dicussion on the way home regarding the true sexuality of these two doom sisters. Kate’s erudite, if somewhat bitchy summing up, was that the singer was never born a woman.

 ©️Christopher Sanderson 2019