Devon with Mike

Spot the trellis in the alleyway!
I couldn't believe my eyes when I got back from Kent and let Suki out into the back garden.  Our fence had been removed, my climbing plants were hanging down on the ground, and there were large holes where our fence posts had been.  In its place was a huge panel fence.  I texted Nicki (next door neighbour) straight away to see what was going on - and discovered later that she had emailed me about it but with only one day's notice while I had been away.  She had also talked to Mike on the phone but of course he hadn't mentioned it to me.  Neighbours had thought we had agreed to replace both fences with just one and they were having a complete makeover of their garden.  In the morning it looked a lot better - and I spotted my missing trellis in the alleyway and went round to ask them to replace it.  They didn't speak much English but seemed to agree.

I spent a quiet Saturday doing all my washing and putting all my stuff away - luckily the weather was good. I decided it wasn't worth replacing the letterbox cage for one day, so constructed a barrier to stop Suki getting at the post.  However I think it would have been easier to put the cage back!  Still it worked.

Mike got back from Rovers on Saturday evening and the next morning I did the usual service and bellringing circuit while Mike played the organ and then we packed the car again and set off for Devon.

It was nice to see the new house sign up - it had been made for us by Emma's dad.

We had Mike's mum home for lunch one day and also for coffee a couple of other days and I am pleased Mike has seen her again, and she him, as she looks frailer and more distant every time I see her.  Mike and I had a successful week on the handbell front - I rang a QP of Spliced Surprise Royal with the lunchtime band which was a really good one at last - I feel I have done it properly now.  Then Mike and I had a couple of peal attempts of spliced surprise minor with Tim.  The first day we lost the peal in the first part and then rang a QP of the Carlisle and Cambridge lot followed by a QP of Anabel's London and Warkworth.  Tim decided to miss the St Mark's practice the next evening and we had another go and scored a peal of 41 surprise minor.  It was a good one too so we are pleased that we finally seem to be able to do it properly.  We first rang it in 2014 and have been trying to ring it again ever since to prove it wasn't a fluke - except I think we proved that it was as it has taken 3 years for us to succeed again!  Mike also rang a peal of 7 surprise minor on tower bells at Menheniot on Friday with Bob.

Jayne and I went to Sidmouth Folk Festival on Wednesday but it was a complete washout.  First of all it took hours to park because all the usual additional parking on the cricket and rugby grounds had been closed due to waterlogged conditions so we had to queue for ages for the only car park in the town and wait for people to give up and leave in order for a space to become available.  Luckily it was at least attended parking rather than a free for all.  Then the constant rain meant there was no morris or other dancing along the seafront and no buskers.  You could hardly tell there was any music going on at all - just a barn dance in one of the pub gardens where the group could play under cover.  All the stall holders along the seafront were huddled with their produce under plastic and there was absolutely no atmosphere whatsoever.  We were able to get a table in a cafe quite easily and have a light lunch and then we spent a couple of hours mooching round the shops.  A big disappointment and I definitely would not go again if the weather is not good.

We got good weather too during the week.  It was still very much foal time up on the moor - and my walks with Suki up there really lifted my spirits.

At the weekend Jayne's friends, David and Lin came to stay.  Jayne prepared a nice salad lunch and then they, and Jayne and Mike, went off to Manaton fair.  I stayed behind with Suki as I wasn't feeling too good and I had a quiet afternoon cross stitching and then a round the block walk with Suki.  They had a good time at the fair - Mike watched a complete Punch and Judy show surrounded by little children while the others walked round the stalls.  In the evening we went to The Dolphin and had a nice meal and then we went back to the house and Mike then drove up to Haytor to watch the expected meteor shower.  I went straight to bed leaving the others up chatting and drinking wine.  Mike came back a bit disappointed as there had been hundreds of people up on Haytor with torches and car headlights spoiling the darkness.  He had seen some of the meteor shower though.

We went home on Monday morning - leaving Suki in the house to be picked up by Emma later in the morning.  I decided to pack the car and then take Suki for a walk so that she wouldn't think we were abandoning her.  She was fine when we left - happy to have a treat!  It was very odd driving back without her in the car - and getting home to a house without her in it.

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