Two Bridges

Here is a picture of one of the comfortable lounges at the Two Bridges Hotel.

We have a full house but a comfortably sized group: set up for a gourmet event.

So far we have had great food and great weather and some interesting bridge. Below are two North hands that they would prefer to forget.

Playing 2-board rounds you fail to muster a point between the two boards.

Board 18 was a spectacular hand for East-West with 39 points between them. The auction should be relatively straightforward:

1H-2C-2NT-7NT!

However, many players leapt straight to Blackwood and others bid the right way but could not believe they had 38-39 points so gave up in 6NT.

This afternoon we went for a lovely walk along the River Dart (a group of about 20 came along) before settling down to another game of bridge ahead of our tasting menu gourmet dinner this evening.

Mr Bridge event with Bernard Magee at Two Bridges Hotel, Dartmoor, UKMr Bridge event with Bernard Magee at Two Bridges Hotel, Dartmoor, UK

DVD Production

So far there has been very little bridge content but at the moment I am spending time creating the new seminars for the DVD recording sessions at Denham in January 2018.

This one is about defending slams.

You can see the auction to 6S and you have to decide what to lead.

Perhaps an easier question is what not to lead.

I will give the answer when I get back to work on the DVD after the Two Bridges event.

NCT, IKEA, etc.

Our first NCT meeting brings the baby’s arrival very much in to focus.

For me it was nice to meet prospective fathers who had the same worries as me.

Just over 5 weeks to go.

Then a trip to IKEA for furniture for the new arrival.

The picture is off the paint I was going to use to start painting the nursery but it had gone off so more needs to be bought.

I am finding it rather daunting at the moment.

I was joined by my sister at Ikea and her two young children: stories of parenthood and pregnancy.

Yesterday there were more nephews and nieces and more stories.

Big families are full of tales.

Soon Helen and I will have our own family. However plenty more bridge before that – articles, events and the six videos for 2018.

An update on those pallets from the river cruise: they were left there for 4 days but we are hopeful that they have been collected and sometime before the end of the year we might get them back!

Dealing with freight abroad is a learning curve.

Back to Reality

Recovering over the weekend with gardening, rest and then list making.

Preparing for the baby!

Wow that sounds weird.

Helen and I are trying to prepare our lives for our new lives…

The picture above is of overdue proofreading – it happens to be my article, but could have been 1 of many. 48 pages to read and that excludes any adverts.

On Sunday we went to a party at my cousin’s and caught up with some of the family.

Plenty of sleep is aiding the recovery.

All is well except that we are still waiting for the equipment off the ship – we are a little worried about its whereabouts?

River cruise over

This is what the end of the two river cruises looked like for me: four pallets ready for collecting with tables chairs and equipment.

Next the train to Munich and then a flight home. A long day after two successful cruises. Will be glad of my bed tonight.

Sun breaks through

I am in Bratislava and the sun has warmed the air after a chilly morning. I sense my illness passing and am energised. At the same time, Mr Bridge is also feeling positive as he is through his treatment and ready for challenges anew.

Helen and I are having coffee in the sedate old town of Bratislava – quite a contrast to Budapest.

Here is a picture from yesterday morning in the Hungarian parliament building. We did a tour inside. This shows the cigar holders from earlier times. The rungs are numbered so that politicians could locate their cigars later on after long (or short) meetings.

Finding ways to spend our morning money

Helen and I took a tram in to Vienna, but having missed breakfast we searched out a cafe in the sun.

We found a rather posh one!

Landtmann: plenty of history and plenty of atmosphere with the cameras arriving as we left for the election results.

Helen had avocado and I had salmon: thoroughly spoilt.

We then walked around the city in glorious sunshine.

However with me below par and Helen’s tummy swelling we had plenty of pauses…

Got back to the ship to rest before dinner and then a busy session of bridge.

Next morning I gave an early seminar and then more sunshine as we cruised in to Budapest.

Then I was able to share this glorious city with a Helen:

A long walk before dinner and then with one section Sandy and co looked after the bridge as we took in the lights and then settled down for a nightcap at Kollazs the bar of the Gresham Hotel:

The bill was impressive but the atmosphere was amazing. My tipple was an interesting whiskey aged in Tokay casks

Then to bed expecting to wake up cold-free.

Two days in

Back to back events are always difficult: going from a high at the end of the last cruise to start again but I did have the joy of Helen joining me.

Another 100 clients and beautiful weather. Melk abbey yesterday morning was wonderful and then cruising the afternoon with half on the sun deck and half playing bridge.

Here are two who were concentrating very hard as we entered a lock:

We are in Nussdorf again now on the outskirts of Vienna. Note that I have the right spelling of the town this time.

I am taking a lemsip this morning, hoping that I have just a passing sore throat.

Helen slept well for a change, but ‘squid’ is getting bigger and bigger.

One down next one to start

After our last bridge session we had a party with prize-giving and these two cakes on display.

Then we had our food and finally a lot of dancing.

Energy draining, but everybody seemed happy so that makes me happy too.

Today there is a little gap between the leavers and comers so Sandy and I managed to get some strudel and coffee in town!

Helen is on her way from the airport, so that is sure to energise me. First of all though, I need to grab some sleep zzzzzzzz

Budapest from my window

The picture shows the view from my cabin. The weather is fine if a little cold.

We are here for 36 hours so lots of time to explore.

A seminar this morning, then a commentary as we cruised in to Budapest, then a hot chocolate to warm up.

What a city it is!

I made good my escape from the ship and charged around the city, over bridges around palaces and churches.

I stopped for a coffee with pancake: edes palacsinta, nagyi rudi = cottage cheese and peanut cream.

Perhaps more pics of the city might be more appropriate?

I then walked back over another bridge and towards the hill behind the ship. There I found the fisherman’s bastion and great views over the city.

Time to head back to the ship and then I discovered this strange statue:

It turns out (with the help of Google) that it is to Mansfeld Peter. He was a student who was executed in 1956.

Back to the ship for dinner and then evening bridge.

Everybody exhilarated by a wonderful city.