The Garden Room

Interior Garden Room

Interior – Garden Room

Since Warwick’s death  his room had lain abandoned – looking sad and neglected. At the end of February the builders arrived to transform the bedroom extension into a garden/sun room.

It wasn’t without its drama. The plan was to rearrange windows, add new doors and replace the flat roof. The alterations soon showed up the shoddy workmanship of the original shell. We agreed that most of the walls should be demolished and rebuilt from the ground up.


The builder we had engaged was brilliant. Despite the change of plans he kept us updated on costs throughout and brought the whole project to conclusion only a little over budget. He co-ordinated the team of general builders, electricians, plumbers, joiners and decorators almost seamlessly. When it was finished it was so much better than we had first imagined. Now it is our favourite room in the house with its huge picture window, arched doorway opening onto the patio. We added furniture and rug to make it a really comfortable sitting room in winter and garden room in summer. We could rent out the rest of the house; we spend so much time in this room.

On the wall is a framed Ordnance Survey map centred on Studley Park near Ripon, where Warwick’s ashes are scattered. We’ll always call it Warwick’s room and had he still been alive he would have loved it; but he has a heavenly home now and we are at peace about that. Next month marks the third anniversary of his death.



Meals for the family

Stephensons 2017

Barrie, Ruth, Jan, Mark Stephenson


The first family meal of the year with the Stephenson family met up in Kenilworth.  It was a good evening although Jan and Bill were a little under the weather with a dose of flu.

In October Joan took on the mammoth task of offering to provide the Ashmore Family meal. She wanted to keep costs down and make the event as cheap as possible for the younger families with children. We hired the Burntwood Institute Memorial Hall so that the venue was with easy reach for families that wanted to travel home afterwards.

So with many hands making lighter work Joan set about providing a three course meal with three menu choices for over forty people. The event also marked what would have been Mum Ashmore’s 100th birthday so it was good to have a celebration that so many could attend. Sadly we were so busy not a single photo was taken.



Running his socks off

Barrie in Shelter tShirt

After a year of running Barrie stood at the start on the Great North Run, the half marathon from Newcastle to South Shields, along with 56000 other runners. His time to the end 2 hours 19 minutes.

Preceding this challenge he had contributed 10km to Chase the Sun and run the York 10k, both in aid of Restore. This race as the shirt shows was for Shelter. In total he raised over five and half thousand pounds to help homeless people.

Running has remained a firm commitment in 2017, usually with three runs a week including the York Parkrun on Saturday morning with a steadily improving personal best times. Some of the most memorable runs have been with family members; son Matthew and brother Mark.

Will there be a marathon in 2018? He’s already booked into the Coventry Half Marathon, York 10k and the Great North Run – the Yorkshire Marathon is in October – will he have recovered enough for 26 miles? Possibly.



Other news

Joan continues to deliver workshops for children at museums in York. She seems to be busier than ever. She also bakes for the world – providing delicious cakes for just about anyone she decides would like one! As usual three Christmas Cakes are under construction – one for us – one for each of the boys.

Barrie is busy in church, being a churchwarden, the parish safeguarding representative and the leader of a small group.

Honda Civic Car

New car in Studley Park

We said goodbye our old Honda CRV in March, replacing it with a new Honda Civic, which is much more fuel efficient and a more sensible size for us.

The Claremont Terrace Resident’s Association is healthy. We have won a few battles this year to make the area a better place to live – not that it was ever bad. We even hosted a wedding in the street in the summer when the couple asked if the association could put up it’s large gazebo for the event. It was a great day with live music from bands hosted in our gazebo ’till late in the evening.

We are now looking forwards to three family weddings next year. The most important for us being Matthew and Laura’s in August at Laura’s college in Cambridge University. The others are for Jake (great nephew) and Rhianna in April, followed a couple of weeks later by Robyn (niece) and Marcus in May.

Ditching the landline

We are disconnecting our landline phone at the end of the year. So please use our mobile numbers if you want to contact us. Barrie: 07885 297669 Joan: 07810 225831

Back to the front page

Claremont News from last year



Sapphire Year

Apparently it was our Sapphire Wedding anniversary this year. That’s 45 years in old money. Despite the large number we don’t feel old and whether we look it is down to your judgement.

The event coincided with the end of Alex and Emily’s summer visit to York. Wesley and Deborah had just arrived to collect them to take them home. So we all went out for a meal at Jamie’s Italian. Our waiter gave us the menus and announced that there was no garlic bread! It was met with derision. No garlic bread in an Italian restaurant? What was the world coming to? Was it some kind of punishment for Brexit? Depriving the Brits of an Italian staple food?

Well, we tweeted the shortcoming to @jamiesitalian – after all what does it take? Bread, butter and garlic – none of which should be in short supply at anytime let alone in an Italian eating place.

More worrying was the accumulation of dust in the air conditioning vent above our table. So when the PR dept replied to my tweet we sent them a picture of the vent. Hey presto we were offered a free meal on our next visit! Nice. When we went back (just the two of us this time) the dusty vent was clean. Result.