24 April 2016


(Picture borrowed from the Internet)
Saturday was always the day Joe and I had a meal out and since he died I have tried to maintain the tradition. It’s not easy, though. I don’t mind eating alone but there are some restaurants/cafes that are so filled with family groups that I feel a bit out of place. Thus, I tend to stick to the places where I know I will feel comfortable.

I listen to others and get ideas from their experiences of eating places so that I can do the rounds, so to speak. A couple of weeks back I went to a garden centre, one I visited many times when Joe was in Australia. It’s quite nice to eat a meal when surrounded by plants and other gardening stuff, particularly if the sun is shining, but this particular place is quite a distance from home so I don’t relish a long drive just to get some food inside me.

Paola, my lovely cleaning lady and friend, told me that another garden centre, a local one, had opened a restaurant. It was her opinion that the food was really good so I was quite interested. It's funny how the thought of food stimulates my interest. Anyway, I checked it out last weekend and was pleasantly surprised.

Halls Garden Centre is a family run business and has been on that site since 1952. It’s very popular with the locals and a pleasure to wander round. Right next door there once was a public house with a huge car park that extended right past the garden centre. The convenient car parking facility probably encouraged customers ... well it would in this age of the car. Eventually the pub closed and the building was used as a wine bar. With bars only opening at lunch time and at night the garden centre did well for customers. Now, though, that building has been taken over by the centre and that’s where the new-to-me restaurant is. Why I haven’t found it before is a mystery. I guess I don't read the right newspapers!

The restaurant interior had been well thought out, with tables on various levels and spiralling steps to reach each one. The decor was comfortable and interesting. Putting it mildly, I was impressed, especially with the service and food. The menu was appealing; it catered for the breakfast crowd, through to dinner and then afternoon tea. There were dishes I felt like trying but to be on the safe side I went for the home cooked ham with two eggs, a bowl of chips and a side salad. It might sound ordinary but it was cooked to perfection and tasted wonderful. The price was better than some eating houses that serve the same fare at twice the cost. 

Afterwards I decided to look round the garden centre. I know it well and have photographed it often, but not yesterday. Pity I can’t find those photographs! There's a picturesque Japanese water garden with a red bridge to enable people to get close to the Japanese Koi and other fish. I wished I had my camera with me but without it I could still appreciate the view. Anyway I have pictures of the bridge somewhere in the house – if I only knew where!

I decided to cross the bridge and take a look at the Aquatic Centre, something I have often done but I was younger then and didn’t realise how much my walking had deteriorated. The foot-way might have been uneven and the steps to the bridge unevenly spaced but really I think the fault was mine for not looking where I was going.. Yes, I fell. Ouch! I had landed on my knees which felt as if one of the flagstones had tried to cut them off.

Nobody was around so I didn’t feel embarrassed. I managed to swivel round so that I was in a sitting position. Then, of course, I couldn’t get up. These days I can’t leap into action from a sitting position on the floor... instead I have to crawl towards something I can grab and then haul myself up. It’s all very unladylike! Well, I couldn’t do that on the uneven steps so I just sat there trying to recover from the shock. Fortunately a young couple spotted my predicament and came to help. Oh the strength that woman had in her arms... she had me on my feet in no time. After checking that I was okay they wished me well and went on their way. As they walked off I heard her saying that the centre should really even out the steps to the bridge. Maybe I was wrong then, maybe it wasn't all my fault.

Feeling surprisingly calm I drove home, thankful that I was still in one piece. It wasn’t until later, when I knelt to turn on the gas fire, that I felt the pain in both knees. Fortunately nothing was broken but they felt badly bruised. They took an awful knock so it’s no wonder they felt sore. The soreness is wearing off now but I can still feel it when bending and walking.

Reflecting back on the scenario I came to the conclusion that maybe I should have another type of alarm, one that connects to ‘helpers’ further afield. It’s that or stay home and vegetate ...  heaven forbid such an idea!


  1. Valerie, your meal at Halls Garden Centre sounded so YUMMY! I have a tendency to enjoy ordinary food here in the States. I'm not one for trying exotic food, I like my food very basic. For someone who loves to eat, I'm pretty boring - ha!

    The Japanese water garden must have been so lovely. As you know, I adore anything Japanese, so I know I would have enjoyed it.

    Glad to hear your knees are on the mend. I've had something similar happen to me while walking down the city streets, in which the sidewalk pavement was uneven and I tripped.

    Hope you're having a delightful Sunday, my friend!


  2. We have had a new cafe open here in Hooterville, and I hope it stays open long enough for Mr BC and I to stop for breakfast after mall walking. I would like to support the local business...what there in town. I have never felt comfortable eating alone and would often have to when I traveled for my job. Go Valerie...but be careful where you step!

  3. I am a big fan of hand rails. I can get up all right, but bruises and aches tale so long to heal these days.

    Isn't funny that when we slip or fall our first thought is "I hope no one saw that."

    Hope those knees get better soon, and don't be a shut in, just watch your step.

  4. I'm glad you have found somewhere nice and local to carry on the tradition. I think garden centres can be lifesavers if you're out and about in an unfamiliar bit of countryside and need a meal. I've often gone in on the offchance and found somewhere really nice.

    I have known people with those alarm buttons that hang around the neck. It would probably have been overkill in that situation though, it's for when you really can't attract help, and then a designated neighbour will call by at your house or in a real emergency an ambulance. It's good that people were around to help, but I'm sorry that you are sore. Maybe a letter to the garden centre might be a good idea. Not only do they need to be aware of the problem, but, you never know, they might even send you a voucher for a free meal to make up for your fall ! Well, one can always hope...! :D

  5. Hi Ron. Whenever you've described food it's never come across as boring. These days I don't go in for fancy food so I guess I could describe my food selections as boring.

  6. Hello Katie, I have to say that since the fall I'm choosing my steps very carefully.

  7. Jennie, I might write that letter. First though, I'm going to check out those steps.

  8. I've never heard of eating establishments in garden centers but it wounds wonderful. Maybe you have found a new place to spend your Saturdays. I also have to crawl around on the floor to find something to hoist myself up, ugh. Hope you are on the mend.

  9. Joeh, I'll heed your advice. You're absolutely right about the first thought when things happen... the first thing I did when I hit the ground was look to see if anyone noticed. Silly, isn't it?

  10. kden, it's a relief to know that I'm not the only one who can't get up from a floor position. I always feel such an idiot when I'm down there, knowing how agile I once was.

  11. Dear Valerie, I am so sorry about your fall. Hope those bruised knees heal quickly. I had a bad fall on my knees a while ago and I know how that feels. Am actually recovering from a twisted knee right now, and can honestly say I don't know how the heck I did it. I just had the pain appear almost as if out of nowhere and it always takes me a while to recover. But there you go, these things happen. It does sound like those uneven flagstones were the cause. Glad the couple were kind of enough to help out. What a good idea to open a restaurant at a garden center. I haven't seen one like that over here yet, but I love to walk around them as I love being surrounded by flowers and the koi are a nice addition. The question you asked about on visiting my blog and the baseball quote. The meme's below my post are ones I like to participate in. I seem to be doing that with most of my posts these days. I also have my own, Today's Flowers. Many people find participating a bit too time consuming and I understand that but at the moment I am enjoying them very much. I hope that answers your question. Speedy healing and sending a big hug.

  12. Oh no, don't stay at home and vegetate!! That would never do.

    The garden centre sounds lovely, but the steps do not. I'm getting stiffer and less able as the years pass, as everyone does, but I can still get myself onto my hands and knees, then hands and feet, and up from there without support. I know one day it won't be possible for me, though. And like you, when I fall, I fall hard these days. I tripped over one of my grandchildren on Easter Sunday, twisted my ankle and have done something to my (repaired) shoulder. I'm now awaiting a scan. *Sigh*

    I hope your knees mend without incident. You may have chipped a patella or two, but this should heal okay in time. Like JoeH, I'm a fan of handrails, too. Anything to prevent a fall!

  13. Jay. Oh yes, I love handrails... and canes! You're method of getting up from the floor is similar to mine, but the hurt knees were a problem. Fortunately the pain is easing in the knee area. I'm thankful for that.

  14. I agree with Jay, vegetating is only good for vegetables Val and you certainly aren't one of those!!!

    I am so sorry to hear about your fall, things like that do tend to shake up anyone but I'm glad that help was close at hand and no serious after issues.

    The outing overall sounds like a good one, and I'm glad you are getting out and about on your own. I can imagine what that would seem like after all those years with Joe by your side. But I know he would be so happy that you are carrying on without him.

    Big hugs and wishing you a good week, G

  15. Geraldine, I am told by those in the same situation that it gets better. It's just a case of getting used to being alone - well, me and the cat! I spent many years on my own before I met Joe so I guess I will get used to it again.

  16. I hope you're all right after your fall. It's good that you're thinking of alternatives to staying home.

    Greetings from London.

  17. I'm glad you found a new place to enjoy a meal, but please be careful, Val. You have quite a few fans out here and we don't like stories of you hurting yourself. Take care.

  18. Yes keep on going regardless but watch where you step, he says..... being the man with a neck brace who doesn't listen to his own advice, tripped and tumbled down the basement steps last week. Ok I'm better and took Lily for her morning walk today (carefully)...:)

  19. Oh dear, TB. Perhaps in future you will take more care. Seriously, I hope you don't have any repercussions. Ask Lily to take more care of you when out walking.

  20. Denise, twisted knee must be painful. I hope you are fully recovered now. Keep going, my friend and do try to take care of those knees... smiles.


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