Showing posts from 2015

Run up to Christmas

And so the pressure builds - cards to write, newsletter to finish off and print out, presents to buy and wrap!  At the end of November I felt quietly confident I had it all under control, but ever since the beginning of December I have just felt a rising sense of panic!

When I got back from Butlins the place was in upheaval - after 28 years we have had to say goodbye to our wonderful, reliable Potterton boiler and have a new one.  We are also being obliged to have a thermostat and new heating controls!  The plumber had already removed the old boiler and installed the new one - which had entailed destroying the cupboard and surround that the people building the extension had put in.  They hadn't really envisaged a time when the boiler would be changed so had made the cupboard an integral part of the wall!  So now we will need a plasterer and possibly a carpenter to make good the damage.  Sounds like a Flanders and Swann song!

The whole process took 3 days - but at least it is all …

Great British Folk Festival 2015

This was held at Butlin's Skegness 4th-6th December.  Lorraine and I were booked in for the 3 nights but as Lorraine was working on Friday until 8.30 pm we decided to drive down to Skegness on the Saturday morning and just have 2 nights there.  The big draw for me was Steeleye Span, but it was also on my bucket list to go to a music festival, and this seemed more civilised than the tents and wellies in rain and mud version.

We set off at 8.30 hoping to arrive about midday - but unfortunately we had a slight navigational error with the Google Map instructions when we came off the M1 and were nearly at Oxford before  realised we were going in the wrong direction.  So we had to retrace our steps some 20 miles back again.  Otherwise it was a hassle-free journey and we arrived about 1.30.  We checked in and found we had been upgraded from a Silver room to a Silver apartment - it was lovely, with a small kitchenette and living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom.  It was on the third flo…

December begins

1 December - went to Forever Fit class, but it wasn't very aerobic and spent a lot of time using stretchy bands which hurt my wrists. In the afternoon prepared my Christmas card labels and they printed out perfectly first time which is very rare. Also prepared a secondary e-card using photos of Suki which came out well. Went swimming in the evening.  Earlier I had bought a pink swimming cap which was very easy to put on and did manage to cover all my hair - and it matched my costume nicely. Decided to swim until I got cramp or needed a wee. Cramp came first after 40 mins - managed 44 lengths including one of crawl (well my version of crawl).  When Mike came in later Suki jumped off his knee and ran after a fox. I could hear Mike whistling her way down the road so I went downstairs to try and help with a squeaker, and Suki was in the hall looking out of the wide open front door with a puzzled look on her face! So it was Mike I had to go and find!

Went over to Keith's on Wednesda…

End of November - Concerts!

The end of November was a challenge for Mike's voice with the Chiswick Choir concert on the Saturday, Messiah Part 1 with St Nicholas Church Choir on Advent Sunday, and Berlioz Grande Messes des Morts at the Royal Albert Hall with Goldsmith's Choral Union on Monday.

On the Saturday Mike was persuaded (pressured) into going and judging the Oxford DG striking competition in the morning - going straight to the rehearsal at St M&AA for 2.30.  He only came in from the rehearsal at 5.50 pm - I'm glad I wasn't in the choir as I would have felt very pressured being that late.  What with the extra long rehearsal, and a number of panicky emails to the choir email list during the week from the chairman about everyone doing more homework, I thought the concert might be rather hit and miss but actually it was very good and the choir made a really good sound and were certainly watching the conductor much more than they used to do.  It was a programme of French music, most of whic…

Back home - Gremlins!

Got back to London about 4 pm - having avoided a 70 minute delay on the M4, which was showing on the gantries and on my satnav, by going round the M25 to the M40.  Unpacked the car and immediately took Suki out for a short walk as it was getting dark.  Lorraine was in and she told me that my computer had packed up when she tried to use it - stuck in a "startup repair was unable to repair this computer" loop.

Mike came in from ringing QPs about 6 pm and told me that the Dice clock had gone haywire and had become extremely temperamental.  Seemed like gremlins had moved in while I had been away!!

Then the next morning the heating failed to come on - tried all the usual things but it sounded like the pump had stopped working.  Weather was freezing  and Cantanti people coming to lunch!  We managed to keep the living room reasonably warm with the gas fire in the front bit and the electric heater in the back bit, and having the oven on from 11 am also helped.  The lunch went well, …

Devon trip - last before Christmas

Realised that this trip I will have to order Christmas turkey etc as next time it will be Christmas.  Can't believe it - where does the time go?

12th - Saw Mike off to work, took suki for a short walk, had a shower and set off just after 9.30 - arriving at 1 pm.  I had fruit medley, banana and sandwiches with me which kept me going and off the sweets.  Spent a couple of hours doing the post whilst having a cup of tea.  Opened my birthday present from Jayne and promptly burst into tears.  Another beautiful horse,

a brilliant picture which looked just like suki,

and another fleece. Such thoughtful presents - and I was already feeling a bit sad that she was not here.  Had to put all the clocks back.  Then went up to the moor for a shortish walk from the small car park, and called in to see Mary afterwards - so felt I had achieved a lot! Expected Bill King in the evening to do the cupboards but he didn't turn up.  After text communications we rescheduled for the next morning.  Not…

November - 1st to 12th

I was so enthused with the handbell successes last month that I decided to be uber keen and told Tim I was available any lunchtime, any evening except Mondays and Thursdays and all day Saturday and Sunday.  In response I was put down for Fri evening and Sunday evening, neither of which were to attempt a peal!  It felt a bit like a slap in the face, but at least it left me free to fix up the other stuff I wanted to do such as visit Lee and Emma, go to Exeter, meet up with Jackie, get Bill King in to do cupboards etc etc.

1st - Mike walked Suki in the afternoon which allowed me to get right up to date with this blog.  I decided not to go and sing in the choir at the All Souls Service in the evening as I had a cold but I went along to the service and lit a candle when Dad's name was read out.  The sermon by Andrew was very moving.  We had a handbell practice afterwards in the hall.  Then home and to bed for a nice early night.

2nd - tried out the Zumba today.  Certainly a whole lot m…

October catch up part 2

21st - had another go at minor on handbells with Caroline.  Not terribly successful but a good practice for another attempt the following week.  Went for a meal at Azzuro and I actually enjoyed it - had Penne Arrabiata.  I don't think they have done that before.

22nd - Mike and I rang in QP of Yorkshire Major at St Giles in the Fields to mark Dennis' 25th Anniversary of his first QP.  Many of the band had been in both!  Had a pint in the Angel afterwards and shared some nachos.  In the evening went to Kristen's for dinner with other Barnes ringers to say farewell.  Food was excellent and all recipes came from the Tonight at 7.30 cook book.

23rd - was down to ring in QP at Barnes but luckily Hugo dropped out at the last minute and there was no replacement so it went down to Doubles with Michael and I was let off!

Have continued with fitness classes on Tuesdays and Fridays wherever I can, and swimming on Tuesday evenings.  I try to do at least 40 lengths and something to get…

Family weekend in Manchester

25-26th October 2015.  We stayed at the Victoria Hotel again.  Leanne was a late addition - she only came to the station to have breakfast with us but ended up coming with us.  She had no luggage and had to go and buy a toothbrush and a T-shirt.  Amanda & Sam met us at Manchester station, having been to his sister's wedding the previous day in Stoke. There was a hiccup in the booking (only one room instead of 4 but they sorted out more rooms for us) and the food in the restaurant was disappointing (only Sunday lunch menu available with limited choice, meat was tough, yorkshire pudding rock hard, all served at tepid temperature) but despite this we had a wonderful time and a good laugh.

John took the day off on the Monday and treated us to breakfast at TGI Fridays at the station. He had given us all goodie bags, which included the Butlins DVD.  Mike and I watched the DVD in the evening before going ringing.
Mike had been to Rita's funeral that day and had come back with one…

October in Devon - Jayne goes back to India

6th - 18th October.  Had a lovely time with Jayne again, although tinged somewhat with sadness that this would be the last time for a while.  There was only last minute bits and bobs to be done - including the dreaded visa.  As before we did lots of walking - again the weather was really good for the time of year and the moor was wonderful.  On the day before I arrived Mike and I had received a phone call from Tracey House saying they had called an ambulance for Mary as she was vomiting but she had refused to go to hospital.  I went to see her on the Wednesday and she had recovered and was collecting the cups etc even though Jeanette had suggested she should take things easy.  She had also been preparing apples in the kitchen.  However a couple of days later she had spent all day in her room as she had not felt well - but again was ok when I went to visit her on the Friday.

Jayne and I went on the bus to Exeter - my Freedom Pass worked so it was free for me.  We sat on the top deck an…

October Catch Up - part 1

2nd - Handbells with Steve in the morning.  Peter joined us and we worked on Cambridge Royal - with me on 3-4!  It went quite well and this is now the project - to eventually ring a peal!  In the afternoon took Suki to the vets - got more tablets, this time for the arthritis.  However have now received two cheques from the insurance, one for £1500 and one for £650 so the expense has been nullified a little which is a help.  I have discovered that giving the tablets to her in peanut butter is the best way - and she looked really interested when the vet was counting out the tablets as she associated them with a nice treat.  He was somewhat amused.

Mike got his new car - very swish.  It has several features which will take time to get used to, especially the navigation system which has a mind of its own and has been driving Mike to distraction ever since he got the car.

3rd - Leanne and Ollie came over for the day and we had a lovely time.  I met them at Shepherd's Bush and we went …

An extra week in Devon

I managed to sneak an extra week in Devon, unplanned, at the end of September and it was great to have that extra time with Jayne.   Lee and Emma stayed on until the Tuesday - which was the day I was travelling down - so we decided that the best thing was for them to take Suki to Bovey and leave her with Jayne on their way home.  I went walking with Maryanne on Tuesday morning and then drove down to Bovey in the afternoon.  It was weird walking without Suki and also driving down without her in the car.  Lee and Emma's car broke down and they spent all afternoon in the garage after dropping Suki off.  I got a plaintive call from them as I was driving to say that the garage were charging more than they were expecting so I helped out with my credit card details!  They later did the garden for me in return - so mutually beneficial.

We ticked lots of things off the to do list prior to Jayne's return to India.  We also did lots of walking - including the River Teign walk from the To…

SRCY Dinner weekend

This was held in Norwich on the weekend of 19th/20th September.  We were not involved in any peals, and had only a half-hearted intention to go to the general ringing in the afternoon so we decided to leave around 10 am.  Lee and Emma had picked up Suki the day before and taken her to Devon for the weekend - they were signing the papers for their house swap to Dartmouth, so we were able to just get up and go in a leisurely fashion.  We made good time until we were held up by an accident on the A1 - on the other carriageway but it seemed as if the queues on our side were caused by people slowing down to look!  We decided to stop just short of Norwich for some lunch - picked an excellent cafe/garden centre/farm shop (posh) at Elvedon.  It was very busy and we had to sit outside, rather than in the restaurant, but service was very quick and we had excellent soup and a cup of tea.  We arrived in Norwich at the time the general ringing was finishing, so we went straight to the hotel (Trave…

September bits and pieces

We came back on Sunday – I was intending to leave in the middle of the day but when I got up in the morning I found the carpet in the bathroom cupboard soaking wet – plus all the toilet rolls stacked in there were sodden having soaked up lots of water – and discovered the stop cock was leaking.  We had had the plumber twice that week already – to change the ball cock in the back loo and to service the boiler.  Anyway we went off to the 8 am service, and to ring, and then when we got back Mike had a go at fixing it – luckily I had seen where the plumber had turned the water off at the road so I was able to do that.  The shed holds a wonderland of screws and other bits and pieces so I found the jar of washers and eventually it seemed to do the trick except for a minor drip from the tap itself.  The plumber came out anyway and tightened things up and all seems well now.  He only charged £32 for coming out on a Sunday! All that messing about with the plumbing meant that we only got out wi…

Devon - Aug bank holiday week 2

Mike went off to ring a peal on the morning of Bank Holiday Monday - but didn't get it.  We went for another walk in Stover in the afternoon.
In the evening we went to The Bell for a pint and a pasty with the ringers - Lisa's new boyfriend, Adrian, was there.  I got a phone call from Lorraine to say Rita next door had died - the police were there and wanted her date of birth and thought I might know it.  I didn't!

Jayne and I had a lovely day mooching around Totnes on the Tuesday.  We did lots of window shopping, indulged in a little retail therapy and had an extremely nice lunch in a cafe at the top of the town.  Then we popped in to Dartington on the way back and indulged ourselves a little more.  I bought two huge wine glasses which I had always wanted.  I shall probably not dare to use them now! I also purchased a nice crochet book with several things I thought I might crochet - and made a start on a filigree blanket with the purple variegated thread later in the even…

Devon - August bank holiday

I set off for Devon on Tuesday 23rd Aug about 10.15 and arrived at The Old Inn, Halton at 12.45 to meet up with Jay for lunch.  It has been done out since I was last there and is very nice and comfortable now - and the toilets are inside and no spiders!  We had lovely baguettes for lunch and had a good catch up.  I got to Bovey about 3.30 and Jayne was already home from work which was lovely.  We had a good chin wag and then both took suki out for a short walk round the hilll/bridleway loop.  We had a nice evening in watching tv with a bottle of wine and ham, salad and jacket potato for supper.  The next day we went for a walk together round Parke in the morning with Suki - it was incredibly muddy (regretted wearing sandals) and the river was very full as a result of all the rain they had had lately.  The weir was completely full - which is most unusual in summer.  We dropped Suki off at home and went to Trago Mills to get a few bits and pieces.  I got another pink shopping trolley to…

August Bits and Pieces

Rang a nice peal of Superlative on 3-4 with Steve, Hamish and Margaret on 14th.  Very pleased with it. Failed yet again to ring a peal of minor with Caroline and Mike, although we rang about 3 extents quite confidently before it fell apart.  Had a nice supper at Cafe Rouge to make up for it.  Mike got away with going up the escalator at London Bridge and we played safe and went home via Monument.

Supper with the Bell and Crown group on 13th - at The Duke of Somerset in Acton as Bell and Crown closed for refurbishment.  Had a lovely meal - Mike and I shared the rib steak (#50) and I probably drank a bit too much wine!

Reunion of youth club group at The Duke of Kent in Ealing on 22nd.  Met up with Diane and Moira at Ealing Broadway station and shared a taxi.  Mike not allowed on the 607 because of pushchairs.  I was furious.  Good evening - really weird seeing so many people from the dim and distant past now old!  Chris Still was nice and chatty - he was expecting to become a grandad a…