Howard and Annie

Howard and Annie, Le Manoir 2018

Howard and Annie, Le Manoir 2018

This album is dedicated to the times when Annie and I went away on our own. It’s been such a privilege to raise our children and enjoy them to the full, but there’s no denying it was hard work, and our times together as a couple helped us recharge. Now that we’re getting on a bit, its always just the two of us, and I really miss the days with our children.

Paignton, Devon August 1999
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After our honeymoon, this was the first holiday we had as a couple.

Radcot, Oxford August 2000
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A few days in our caravan, just down the road by The Thames.

Bruce and Anne Wealleans March 2005
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Annie and I spent a lovely afternoon walking the Thames Path with Bruce (RIP) and Anne Wealleans.

Estonia July 2005
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We were invited to Estonia by our dear friends Alec and Pauline Watts, who had moved there to live. What an amazing country. It seems to have jumped straight from primitive communist Russia style straight to very high tech, missing out the in-between development.

Forest of Dean August 2010
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Annie’s family on her Dad’s side, came from the Forest of Dean. We stayed in a massive house just a short stroll from the most amazing public house “The Ostrich” and explored the area, looking out places where her relatives lived.

Kingsand and Cawsand May 2015
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A delightful holiday in the quaint adjoining villages of Kingsand and Cawsand.

France October 2016
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Annie and I took the ferry to France and spent a most delightful time driving round northern France, staying in various AirBnB houses.

Jigworks at the White Horse Wokingham March 2017
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Clive McNelly had just bought a pub and so I went with Jigworks to play there one evening. Irish music and beer seemed to go very well together. Who knew?

Fritillary Sunday April 2017
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There’s a huge field of Fritillary (flowers) in Ducklington, not too far away from Wantage. The local folkies use it as an excuse to play music and dance outside the village church. Silly sods. I went with my local dance side Cornucopia.

Castle Lachlan November 2017
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I was invited to stay in a castle in Scotland for a week, to play ukulele with a ukulele music group. How could I refuse? I even took Annie with me to carry my music stand and help control the adoring fans.

Le Manoir February 2018
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Le Manoir is a luxury hotel-restaurant in the village of Great Milton. It is one of the finest restaurants in the world and run by top chef Raymond Blanc. That’s Ray White to you, mate. Dead posh and dead expensive. Joe and Charlotte bought us lunch for two for Annie’s birthday. When the great day arrived, there was a lot of snow in Oxfordshire (December) and we couldn’t get there. The restaurant graciously allowed us to move the date to our wedding anniversary in February. Well… it was a definitely a highlight in our married life. The setting, the service, the food, the wine was all exquisite. And I don’t use that word lightly. We were immersed in luxury and loved every minute.

DUBROVNIK / MONTENEGRO
We had a wonderful holiday in these countries. It was very beautiful, warm and sunny. Rather like Italy, but without the dangerous driving and noisy Italians.

Dubrovnik September 2018
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Montenegro September 2018
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Vale Islanders at The Fox, Denchworth January 2018
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To avoid the rush, our annual Christmas meal is held in January. Suppler hospitality, food, drink followed by music and dancing afterwards. Always a wonderful evening with Steve at The Fox.

Shipton Moyne 20th Wedding Annie Versary February 2019
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We had such a lovely week in Shipton Moyne. One of the highlights for me was a trip round Westonbirt Arboretum. Annie said they had go karts, I mean quad bikes, I mean mobility scooters. And they did. That was fun!

Ukuleles du Soleil February 2019
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Howard was given a most generous invitation to attend (and help with) a ukulele course set in a beautiful chalet way up high in the French Alps. Well, being a properly brought up chap he accepted the invitation. Annie too. And what a week that was. It was a musical holiday that dreams are made of.

Sam Brown’s concert July 2019
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I was asked if I would play bass in a concert put on by Sam Brown (yes, her). I jumped at the chance. She sent me the music and I turned up, played (no rehearsal) and had a wonderful time. She said I was really excellent. Well she would, wouldn’t she?

CORNWALL
Our 2019 annual holiday was spent in Cornwall. We took our electric bikes and had a wonderful time.

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall October 2019
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Porthleven, Cornwall October 2019
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Lizard Point, Cornwall October 2019
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Mousehole Cornwall October 2019
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St Ives Cornwall October 2019
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Snelsmore Common November 2019
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The first of Howard’s solo excursions into the Berkshire wilderness to take photos with his new Olympus camera. It was raining and that made it even more fun.

Ardington November 2019
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Howard’s photographic expedition into the wilds of Ardington. No mean feat, it’s at least 2 miles away.

Letcombe Valley February 2020
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Annie and Howard cycled to Letcombe Regis and then walked around the country park. The main feature is probably the Letcombe Brook chalk stream with its unique ecology. Clear, shallow and alkaline. Letcombe Bassett, the source of the Letcombe Brook, used to be well known for watercress production. The village was the inspiration for Cresscombe in Thomas Hardy’s book ‘Jude the Obscure’.

Riedstadt, Germany February 2020
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A visit to see Eric and Cathy Fulton in their home in Germany. Howard went to school with Eric a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away). Whitley Bay actually.

Speyer, Germany February 2020
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We took the train from Eric and Cathy’s house to visit our dear friend Silke and celebrate her 30th birthday. Good to see Andre again (now Silke’s husband). Speyer is a very beautiful town.

Isle of Wight September 2020
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We left our car at Lymington, cycled to the ferry and spend a wonderful weekend cycling, walking and travelling by bus. It was rather nice to be able to use my bus pass for the very first time.