October - and Jayne goes back to India

I took Suki to the Pet Service at St Nick's on 1 October - we walked there and back!  She wasn't quite as settled as she has been in previous years - probably more nervous after the attack - and she growled at Fr Simon when he came to bless her, but I had plenty of treats ready as bribes.  There were also plenty of dog biscuits going at the end of the service so I think she enjoyed that bit at least.

The following day I rang a QP of PB Major on handbells before the Chiswick Practice for QP week, and then had to ring all evening as there were only 6 of us.  My wrists were really painful for the rest of the week.

Then it was off to Devon for the last time with Jayne.  We had a busy fortnight finishing off all the bits and pieces on "the list", but also had some quality time together, especially in the evenings. I even got round to taking a nice photo of the kitchen blind and chairs and emailed it to Victoria for her web site.

Lee and Emma came over a couple of times for the day - Lee and Jayne worked hard in the garden while Emma and I went out for a walk with the dogs.  Jayne finished painting the shed, and Lee dug out the pond and filled it with the rubble he had cleared from round the shed - with a view to making it into a rockery eventually.  He also removed the wall from the terrace and uncovered another row of tiles, and he used the earth to fill in the channel, ready for seeding with grass in the spring.  Emma announced she was pregnant - we were all very happy for her.  I started crocheting a baby blanket in baby aran!

I went to the 50th HRGB anniversary handbell rally in Christow on 7th.  I drove and gave Jimpy a lift - I think he was a bit wary of this to begin with but seemed quite happy about it all on the way home.  I really enjoyed the afternoon because it was nearly entirely made up of massed ringing.  There were 3 solo pieces by the ensemble, now calling themselves The Sou'westers, which were not particularly good, and then we spent two and a half hours ringing through the 4 regional tune books with the aim of ringing 50 of them.
The Sou'westers
The music was proper musical notes, although ones bells were circled in different colours for left and right hand and the counting was annotated above (which I found distracting and often made it hard to read the music).

Then it was time for tea - there was masses of cake and I took a couple of pieces of the anniversary cake (made by Gill Jolley) home with me so Jayne could have some.  Then it was massed ringing of the competition winning pieces.  There were a couple of other solos and then it was time to go home.  I wish they could all be a bit more like that.  It was Wincanton the following week but I didn't go - it's too long a day for me - and I rang for a wedding at Bovey instead.

I did one bit of handbell ringing with Tim and scored another QP of Kent Max on 9-10 - much to my amazement.

Suki and I had some lovely walks as usual, sometimes with Jayne and sometimes on our own - the weather was quite good all week for a change.  Even just going up on to the hill by the house was fantastic with an atmospheric sky and a view on to the moor and on to Hay Tor in the distance.

I had a couple of lovely walks in Stover Country Park - where the late evening sunshine on the lake was quite beautiful.

I made a nice walk out of doing the Ant Trail in reverse, which felt quite different - and then adding in the loop which takes in most of the heath. It was two miles and took just under an hour. Route Card
I ended up doing several versions of it while I was there. I tried it again with Emma but we ended up in quite a boggy bit of the heath by mistake - although she didn't seem to mind.

On the final weekend, Jayne had to go to Caroline's 60th birthday party in Taunton.  We had been expecting Jude to come and stay on the Friday and then drive Jayne to the party and I was going to pick Jayne up from Jude's in Glastonbury on the Sunday.  However Jude was taken into hospital with heart problems on Thursday.  So I took Jayne to the station on Saturday and she got the train to Taunton.  Jude's daughter picked her up from the party and took her back to Jude's to stay overnight, and I went to Jude's on the way home on Sunday.  After picking Jayne up we went round to Lin and David's to drop off presents and then we were on our way.  I was worried about staying awake all that time driving, but it was fine with Jayne keeping me company, and the journey was reasonably straightforward despite heavy traffic.  We got back at 5 pm and found Mike pottering in the extension.  He had got some Lebanese food for us which was a lovely surprise.  We had a light bite of humus and bread and then Mike took Suki out for a walk while we unpacked the car and put stuff away.  In the evening we had the rest of the Lebanese meal and opened a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape by way of a treat.

On Monday Mike went off for a 4 pm appointment at Stoke Mandeville - and was seen at 6!  He didn't make it to handbells (just me, Peter and Monica) but made it just in time for the practice.  He's now on the waiting list for surgery on his back.  He is now only 8 st 3 lbs.

On Tuesday it was up at 4.30 am and off at 5 to take Jayne to Heathrow for her flight.  I helped her weigh her bags etc and check in and then she was off with us both red-eyed and tearful!  I got back reasonably quickly - at just after 7 am - and took Suki for a walk.  I then had quite a productive morning as there was plenty of time left to do all the washing and ironing, and mow the lawn!  I even made a card up for Jean's 80th birthday - using a cross stitch I had previously done for Mary and adding some embellishments.

However in the afternoon I began to feel very tired and achy.  I put it down to the early start and had a snooze but it didn't get any better.  I ached all over and couldn't lift my head off the pillow.  I struggled out with Suki but spent the rest of the day and evening in bed and still managed to sleep all night.  The next day I was no better and cancelled a hygienist appointment - it is very unlike me to be ill enough to do this.  I again spent most of the day lying on the bed.

I had recovered a bit by Thursday and drove to PC World to pick up my computer which they had repaired.  I was very pleased with it - just had to pay the £60 standard repair charge plus £19 for a new memory.  I hope it keeps going now as I really like it - it boots up really quickly and is nice and light with its SSD and i7 processor.  Mike went to work so I took the opportunity to hog our pathetic broadband and update my satnav.  It took literally all day.  I set it up at 9 am and when I went to bed in the evening it still hadn't finished and I had to leave it until morning, when thankfully it had completed.

I was feeling a bit better again on Friday, although not 100%, and went over to Steve's  where I (eventually) rang a peal of Lincolnshire S Major on 5-6 with Steve, Hamish and Peter B.  It fired out a couple of times and I was getting very annoyed with myself for the bouts of brain failure.  When we started again we didn't really think we were going to get it so it was with some surprise that we got to the end.  I was very pleased to have rubbed off some of the rust as I hadn't rung a peal inside for some time.  In the evening I rang in the QP at Barnes - Ashbourne College Bob Major - which I had had to learn at short notice.

At the weekend I recorded all the singles of Andrew's friend - the new stylus worked a treat and the resulting recordings were rather good.  There were 58 tracks in the end. I went to the Cantanti Concert at Hampton Hill with Monica - quite a good one but there weren't very many lively tunes!  We enjoyed a full English breakfast at Fit Boys after the 8 am service on Sunday because Hammersmith Bridge was closed so we didn't go to Barnes.  We had our first Christmas handbells practice, with Peter standing in for Malcolm.  It was quite a good practice and we got through all the pieces although the accidentals proved tricky as there are only 5 of us this year.  I found it difficult to hold more than one bell in each hand because of my wrists so wasn't much help with them.

On the Monday Suki and I went walking with Maryanne - we had another go at the Maidensgrove walk on which we had got so badly lost (and drenched) the previous time.  We had much better weather this time and were able to consult both the instructions and the map at all times.  We took particular care in the wood where we had first got lost previously, and easily followed white arrows on the trees all the way through on the correct path.  It was hard to know how we couldn't find it last time.  We had one small route error where we went on a diagonal instead of straight, but apart from that we had no problems with the route. We went to The Fox and Hounds at Christmas Common for lunch as all the nearer pubs were shut because it was a Monday.  In the evening I rang a QP of PB Minor on handbells with Peter and Richard before the practice at Chiswick.

Distance:  6.34 miles.  Elapsed time:  3 hrs 6 min.  Time moving:  2 hrs 26 mins.  Route Card

Spent the rest of the month getting up to date with all my paperwork and admin, including printing the tower forms and posting them to the two Janets - having first identified several people who now have 40 years membership. I also created a new database for my Christmas card list and transferred everyone's details, reviewing them and bringing them up to date at the same time. I used a contacts template available in Access and then played with it to mould it to my needs - very enjoyable!  Then I went through the 2016 cards - which had been hanging around all year - and recorded them in the database and scanned in the letters.  There are some new features in Access and I am now able to link the record with the Christmas newsletter where one is received, which is brilliant.  We had another Christmas handbell practice and then went to Lara for a meal to say goodbye to Peter (who paid for the meal).  It was a really lovely meal - we had the Light Menu and the dishes just kept coming.  We were all stuffed full by the end - and there was still a large doggie bag to take home.  I finally made it to  Forever Fit - but cancelled the cycling class as I had had rather too much wine at Lara followed by several nightcaps of Cointreau afterwards with Peter when we got home and I (rightly) anticipated that I would be feeling a bit fragile the next day.

I went for supper with Caroline and Pru - both of whom had tales of ill health.  We went to Azzurro for a change, and I had a really lovely penne amatriciana followed by a fabulous Tiramasu.

Suki kept me amused with her various ways of sleeping - in various comfy places!!

On 31 October I went for lunch with Susie.  It was good to see her again and we had a good catch up.  I was impressed by all the improvements to the house and garden she had done - it all looked brilliant. 

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