My first visit to RHS Tatton Park Flower Show – is this a must for a retiree?

Considering I am a proud Mancunian and have never lived anywhere else I am surprised that I have never visited the Tatton Park Flower show before.  Every year I say that I must go but until this year it hasn’t happened. This is it’s 17th year, having been first held in 1999. Maybe because it’s held around the time of my birthday, July 23rd, I’ve usually had a few days away or other plans, or more likely not enough time. The full time worker’s biggest hate – not enough time!

Well this year I have been in retirement a whole year – GOSH where did that time go?? And believe it or not I still feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day, as you may know I still work 60 hours a month until colleagues are trained up to take my place in the team, but even with so much free time I keep myself so busy loving life.

So this year was to be my year for a visit to the show. My decision was also greatly helped by free tickets won in a competition sponsored by Croft Original sherry.

My husband was unwell in the week of the show and was hopeful of going with me but on the day decided he still wasn’t well enough, it was too late to mobilise a friend so I went alone. I am used to visiting places alone, it is something I actually like to do!

I travelled to the show using public transport, even though I can drive I am getting used to using Public transport more as we do not wish to run 2 cars. I think I could write a post just about this topic alone.

Anyway, I must stop rambling and get to the point. After a longish journey by bus and train I finally arrived at the show ground. It was a scorching hot day (at last sun in Manchester!) and as I had been travelling nearly 2 hours my first stop was at the very temptingly parked Ice cream van – just inside the show gates. I decided as it was my birthday weekend I would enjoy a Mr Whippy with a flake, as I enjoyed a leisurely stroll round.

I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon at the show and didn’t feel the slightest bit lonely. There was so much to see from immaculately grown vegetables to the creatively erected show gardens. It wasn’t my first ever visit to a Flower show as I went to Hampton Court with friends over 20 years ago. From my very poor memory I seem to remember that it was more crowded than Tatton.
Tatton was very well organised and I was struck by how spacious it was. There was plenty of seating from benches, to deckchairs and tables and chairs for visitors to rest and  enjoy refreshments. 

I’m proud to say that I’m trying to be more thrifty, which is a big ask for me as I am a spendaholic! I bought a sandwich and a bottle of water at Little Waitrose at Manchester Piccadilly station and claimed my free cup of tea as a cardholder. All for £2.50. So as I had won my ticket my whole day cost me under £20 – that’s what I call a result. As stated earlier it was a scorching day and I was pleased to see that there was also plenty of shade and toilets without queues.

Oh and the flowers weren’t bad too! In fact they were incredible so beautiful and lovingly grown and diplayed. I enjoy my garden, especially my new one, which has been landscaped and planted so well by the previous owner of our house. It is so easy to maintain with well planted borders. But it’s fair to say John and I are only fair weather gardeners who keep it neat and tidy so that we can sit in it and admire it whilst drinking beer and wine. it must be lovely to be so enthralled with growing and cultivating. I have so much admiration for green fingered people.

All in all I had a wonderful afternoon I enjoyed a leisurely stroll around in the sunshine and was enthralled by what I saw. The majority of visitors appeared to be 50+, some may question whether it is that we become boring and lacking adventure in our third age. On a personal level  I like to think that I am content and enjoying the simpler things in life now I’m retired. I gain pleasure in looking at life from a new perspective. I have time to smell the roses!

As an added bonus my pedometer showed that I had walked 15,266 steps and covered 4.7 miles! My efforts to improve my fitness levels continue.

Have you been to a Flower show? Or have you visited somewhere for a lovely afternoon that you want to share? Please comment and let me know, I love hearing from you.











My first visit to Manchester Fringe Festival – The Minge on the Fringe


Well as a proud Mancunian I’m ashamed to say that I did not know that my fabulous City held a fringe festival – redfaced!

I was invited to accompany a friend to a production at this years festival. My friend has been interested recently to try new entertainment experiences.

I think I am a regular theatre goer but I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t sure what to expect with this unusually titled play! Although as I think I have a playful sense of humour I was expecting the same from it. I wasn’t wrong. The play was held in the lower ground floor of a Manchester Bar – Bandit, Mugger and Thief. It was a full house and the audience was probably around 30. An intimate gathering.

We were the last to arrive, got in by the skin of our teeth and the play started straight away.

It was a play about holding a play at The Manchester Fringe, the theatre  company was The Lipstick Thespians, and contained a cast of 4.

The story follows these four fabulous females on a journey of friendship, self discovery and a little bit of Acting! – cheesy and a send up of themselves. It was an hour long and past quickly in laughter and delightful enjoyment. Without a Minge in sight!

I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be sure to visit the Manchester Fringe Festival again.

As afootnote I must add that the only negative was that I encountered a member of the current Coronation Street cast in the loo’s afterwards – before I could stop myself I commented how different she looked out of character – she was not impressed and scowled – apologies, I know how irritating these types of comments can be – after 36 years as a nurse I wish I had a pound for every time one of my patients family members made the comment “oh I didn’t recognise you with your clothes on!” when meeting me out of uniform .


Croatia – the delight of the Adriatic


As usual there has been a large gap between posts – I can totally agree with all retirees who claim they are busier than ever! My OH has commented recently that he does not know how I found time to work full time!

Every day is filled with activities – even if they are cleaning, catching up on TV, hobbies  meeting friends etc. The once mundane activities of cleaning are actually enjoyable now I have time to do them, especially in my new house they have become a pleasure – well almost.

One thing I have been busy with is a fabulous holiday to Croatia. We absolutely love this country and have only seen a small part of it. My interest in the country stems from my love of football (well that’s a surprise!). During Euro 1996 the Croatian National Team entered a team for the first time following the Baltic crisis. I thought they were a great team, some great players including Davor Suker and Slaven Bilic, now manager of West Ham.

At the time I said to John – I want to visit there some day and watch that team play!

It took a while but in 2010 we finally got to visit. We stayed in Dubrovnik in a fabulous hotel called The Grand Villa Argentina, just outside the iconic City walls. A beautiful hotel in a stunning location. Like most hotels in Croatia, they are not located on beaches but have naturally formed bathing platforms on rocky outcrops next to the sea. This hotel has a fabulous pool on the edge of the Adriatic and breakfast is served on an outdoor terrace. We loved it

. On that trip we visited the small town of Cavtat 14km away by boat trip. This trip was recommended by friends. Well on arrival it was love at first site. A small resort built around 2 horseshoe bays, which are visited by spectacular yachts and the quay sides are edged with fabulous restaurants and cafe bars serving great local beer, wine, cocktails and produce.

We have stayed in this resort 4 times now, we find it perfect. Dubrovnik itself can be very busy and crowded within the walls during the day from the visiting cruise ship tourists. Cavtat is laid back, picturesque and not too busy. There is a great crowd there, a mixture of the locals and tourists. Maybe I’ve become a tad boring but I dislike karaoke and so called traditional English bars. I love the European laid back Cafe culture. I would say that many of the tourists who stay here are 40 plus but that does not mean it is dull. In the bars at night a lot of the locals come out to drink and eat, many young in their 20’s. It has a real ‘trendy’ vibe and the locals are so friendly. Visitors are enthralled by their fabulous manners and chat.

Even though I am addicted to football, I really dislike the loud, brash English football shirt wearing tourist, I don’t mind seeing football shirts being worn, after all football is a great conversation opener, but I dislike the loud, drunken behaviour that sometimes goes with it.
On 3 of our visits now there has been a football tournament on. 2 Euro’s and a World Cup. In Cavtat, all the bars and restaurants put up outdoor TV screens when games are scheduled. The sound is unobtrusive but visitors and locals alike can watch games. I have watched the Croatian National Team play whilst visiting there. The locals appear in their team colours with  their flags. They are quite vocal but not too rowdy, although it is handy that you cannot tell what they are saying, but it all looks friendly enough!

Unfortunately they have lost and left 2 tournaments when we have been there, here is the difference that makes me warm to these fabulous people even more. There are no histrionics, tears or acts of frustration, they just shrug their shoulders and carry on their normal business, continuing to enjoy their evening and chat as if nothing had happened. I commented to one of our waiters how well they took defeat. His reply was “tomorrow is another day, the sun will still shine!” A great response and attitude.
It is a lovely place, with wonderful people. Don’t be put off by their dour faced exteriors – engage in conversation and they come alive – great wit and humour. They appreciate you visiting their wonderful country – after all tourism is their biggest earner! The views and scenery are delightful, a lovely mixture of the clear Adriatic , framed by Mountains, beautiful flowers and Pine trees. All my friends always comment  how beautiful it looks when they see my photographs on my social media pages.

It is an ideal destination for the over 50’s who wish to experience a chilled, relaxing holiday with beautiful scenery and a friendly welcome.

And finally I cannot end without mentioning the beer and wine! I think two of their local beers Karlovacko and Osujszco are 2 of the best I’ve ever tasted, plus their red wines aren’t bad either, Plavac and Dingac. Such a pity they don’t export, although I know M&S stocked a Plavac for a while.

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