Monday, 5 February 2018

The Chocolate Quarter

A couple of friends who lived in a small coastal village near to Wadebridge decided to move up country a few weeks ago. He now has quite advanced dementia and they and their family were getting a bit concerned at the impact of living in such a small place (their house was quite substantial and the garden - their pride and joy - even more so!)

She has connections with Bristol and had looked at a St Monica's place a while ago but it was not suitable. However, their family spotted that the same housing charity was developing the former Fry's factory in Keynsham - now called The Chocolate Quarter. After much debate they eventually sold up their Cornish home and have taken up residence in one of the apartments with a great view onto the River Avon and the Lockkeeper's Pub in the distance.

We took the opportunity to visit them - it was just over an hour's drive from Droitwich and we arrived as expected just before 11:30.

This is an amazing development - the site as a whole is still not finished as a swathe of 'affordable' housing is no also under construction. The ground floor of the development is a public space with a range of facilities not just for the residents. We began with coffee in Block B, a pleasant space that serves snacks and light meals - even has its own 'proper' clay pizza oven.

This was a good opportunity to catch up - Christine especially had quite a lot of contact with them in Wadebridge as they were keen members of the Memory Cafe and the Memory Friendly (church) Service. A while back, he had also sang with Mike in Wadebridge Choral Society.

We had expected to go out for lunch but Ian was not up to it today (noisy spaces are not too kind to him - nor to Mike either, but for different hearing reasons) so she had prepared a really tasty chicken casserole followed by apple cake - this was the first time she had really tried out the oven in the new apartment. Both were extremely delicious!

We set off on the return trip around 3:30 and arrived back in Droitwich as darkness fell. Again, it was a smooth journey with no delays although the Ring Road around the north of Bristol needs some concentration as it has what must be the largest collection of roundabouts anywhere in the country, all very close together! Just to make sure drivers pay attention, the layout of each one is different . . .

Before making it to the marina we called at Waitrose for a few items. Unfortunately we had left the newspaper token on the boat this morning so Mike went back again after taking Christine to the boat. At least by the time he returned the second time the stove was well alight and the cabin warming well.

After our good lunch we only needed a snack type meal - we bought some sausages at Waitrose along with some rolls - but we did succumb to a Raspberry Tart from the freezer section!

We have spotted that the fuel level in the boat has dropped quite substantially since the end of the previous trip, no doubt a result of leaving the heating on more than planned. We will probably need to take a trip across the marina tomorrow to fill up. Hopefully, when we return from London on Sunday (just staying overnight before driving back home on Monday) we will work out a better setting for the next month that balances out keeping the boat safe and dry but not using quiet so much diesel!

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