A difficult time in Devon

While I was in Majorca I received a telephone call from Tracey House to say that Mary had been in bed for a week and was not eating.  So the morning after I got back I headed off to Devon to go and see her.  I went straight to Tracey House when I got there.  Mary did look very weak but she chatted a bit with me and just seemed to want to stay in bed to be warm and comfortable.  I was concerned enough to suggest that Mike should come down - so he drove down on Sunday afternoon, after playing the organ at the convent. I then went to fill up with petrol and got some milk, and it was dark by the time I actually got to the house.  It was a lovely surprise to see that the handrail had been fitted to the front door steps, and the side of the steps had been painted.  The next day I saw a piece of gutter on the floor in the garden and looked up to find that the guttering had been repaired too.  At last!

In the evening I had a mini second birthday - I had taken all my cards and presents down with me and settled down with a glass of wine to open them.

Maryanne's card was particularly amusing and appropriate - I have a daily step target which I monitor on my phone and regularly check the step count on our walks!

I rang at Bovey and Lustleigh for Remembrance Sunday - finally acquiring a poppy at Lustleigh where there was a tin for donations. As soon as Mike arrived we went to see Mary, and we went every afternoon thereafter.  Conversation was often difficult, but Suki provided plenty of entertainment and Mary liked having us there, even if we were just talking between ourselves.

Peter Richards arrived at 5 pm to stay in the house until he finds a flat to rent.  The three of us went out for a meal at the Dolphin in the evening - once again I had terrible chips that made me feel queasy and I left some of them (unheard of!).  I must remember that next time I am there!

On Monday my lovely little car was written off in a collision from which I was lucky to walk away.  I had taken Suki for a walk round the Ant Trail and was driving back to Bovey when a lady in a Mazda came out of Clay Lane at the Dunley Cross crossroads without seeing me and hit me hard in the side of the car.  The car was sent into a skid sideways along the road and then slid left and off the road into the trees.  I couldn't do anything about it and could see the trees approaching me in slow motion.  The car stopped when it hit the trees and luckily the front stayed intact.  The side air bags deployed and the air was filled with white dust.  I sat there for a few seconds and then got out - amazed that I wasn't in the slightest bit hurt.  Then I realised that the car was automatically calling the police!  I gave them the details and then a local police car turned up and they handed over to him.  The other lady was very nice, and when her friend turned up to collect her it turned out to be Veronica Dell - the wife of bellringer Chris.  Mike came out to get me, and we emptied my car as it was clear it was a write off.

It took forever to get through to the right person to arrange recovery, and I went home for a cup of tea while I tried to sort it all out.  Eventually the wheels of motion swung into action and I went back out to meet the recovery truck some 4 hours after the incident. I realised I had been very lucky to have missed the road sign at the side of the road which might have been more unforgiving than the trees. Amazingly the front had sustained very little damage - just a dent to the bumper.  There were twigs sticking out of it! It was very sad to see my little car in such a state and to wave it goodbye as it was driven off on the trailer to be scrapped.

The courtesy car was delivered in the afternoon - I was rather overawed by it.  It was a brand new Peugot 2008 and looked huge!  I was petrified I was going to scratch it - especially when Suki was getting in and out, although the tailgate went right down to the bumper so it would be easier than the Fiesta for her.

I decided to go for a long walk from the house the next day - to clear my head, check I was fit and to save driving the courtesy car! It was a mild day, although somewhat grey. I did the Furleaze-Shaptor circuit and although it is always a hard climb up I was pleased I could do it reasonably comfortably.  It was a really good walk - I only saw one other person - and the views from the ridge were good.  I was going to try going up to Shaptor summit but decided to leave that for the next time!  When I created the route card on my computer I found I had done over 1000 feet of ascent.  It certainly did me good to get out and do a long walk.   Route Card

On Wednesday I met up with Jackie in the morning for a walk in Parke and a coffee.  We had a really good catch up and I enjoyed the walk and the company.  I got a phone call while we were walking from the hire car company to say that they had sold the car they had given me and needed to take it back.  They were going to bring a Citroen C3 in its place.  I hadn't even got round to sitting in the car - I was still working through the handbook!  I was much happier with the look of the Citroen, it seemed smaller and more suited to me.

One morning I came back in to the bedroom from having a shower to discover that Suki, having been out in the garden, had jumped on to the bed and had cleaned her feet! So I had to change all the bedding!

On Thursday I went to Stoke Gabriel to pick up June, Mary's friend since school days and who was her bridesmaid when she married Jack, and took her to see Mary.  She was very pleased to be able to see Mary again, and Mary seemed delighted to see June.  June talked non-stop for over two and a half hours.  She just reminisced and reminded Mary of various events etc, she held Mary's hand, and she made Mary chuckle.  It was a real success.  She also talked all the way there and back in the car!  Mind you what she has to say is very interesting, and often gives me an insight into Mary's younger days.

While Mike and I were visiting on Friday I noticed a card from Annie and Will announcing the arrival of their second child - Own.  I sent an email to congratulate them.

On Saturday we went for a walk in Parke in the morning and then to visit Mary.  She seemed very sleepy this time and hardly woke up at all to talk to us.  In the afternoon Mike and Peter went ringing at Heavitree and at the Cathedral, followed by a curry, and I had a nice quiet afternoon and evening to myself.

We all three went ringing on Sunday morning at Bovey - no ringing at Lustleigh as it was the third Sunday.  In the afternoon Mike and I went for a walk in Stover and then on to see Mary.  Peter went for a long bike ride (about 50 miles I think with lots of ascent!).

On Monday I was hit by another blow of bad luck when my phone turned itself off and wouldn't turn on again.  Nothing I could find on the internet fixed it so I rang Samsung.  They told me to take it in to my nearest support centre - which turned out to be in Plymouth.  I then decided to go to Carphone Warehouse in Newton Abbot in case they could do something.  They also suggested the Samsung support centre - but they did lend me a phone.  It was small and horrid and very difficult to use but at least it meant that I could make and receive phone calls and texts, and the insurance and car people could contact me!  So on Wednesday I summoned up the courage to drive the courtesy car and went to Plymouth.  I worked my way into the centre and parked in the Drake's Circus multi storey car park.  I had to go round and round but eventually found a space.  I found the Samsung centre who were very helpful.  I left it with them for 20 mins and went for a coffee, and when I got back they told me that I needed a new motherboard and I would have to leave it with them for a day or two and that all my data would be wiped.  Sod really was working overtime!!  I was too shell shocked with all that had happened lately to be upset - just one more thing to cope with.  So I drove all the way back to Bovey without it.  Certainly gave me a good opportunity to get used to the courtesy car - which wasn't a patch on mine.

In the evening we rang a peal of Yorkshire S Major with Tim - Peter's first in method.  I surprised myself by being able to concentrate sufficiently as I didn't think I had enough headspace - and I was on 3-4.

Back to Plymouth the next day to pick up the phone, I decided to use the park and ride this time.  It was much less stressful than driving in to the centre, and quite efficient but took quite a long time as I seemed to have just missed a bus each time I wanted one and they were 20 mins apart.  I got back just in time to collect Mike and Suki and go off to see Mary, who was finding it difficult to hear us and seemed more frail.  Mike then dropped me off by the entrance to Parke and drove back to London, via the Shefford practice! Suki and I walked back to the house which gave her a nice hour's walk.  Peter cooked supper and then he and I went to the St David's practice.  I coped although I found them a little hard going and I was pleased that I appeared to be an asset so it was worth it.  We went to the pub afterwards - the biggest Wetherspoons in the country!  Apparently the founder came from Exeter.  It was very impressive.  The food and the beer were good too - and very cheap compared to London.

I decided to go back to London on Thursday - so I took Suki for a good walk and then we went to see Mary.  She didn't wake up much - just opened her eyes and said hello and then slept for the rest of the time.  I had a cup of tea and then decided to leave - but it made me a little tearful and upset to see her like this and I had to take a moment in the car park before setting off.  However I got a phone call from the GP later and he said she had been quite bright and alert.

I had a good trip back and felt comfortable driving the courtesy car by this time.  I paired my phone successfully so I was able to listen to my book on the way. I got back in time to catch up with Mike - who had that morning rung a 99th birthday QP with Dennis Brock followed by lunch.  He had brought back some sandwiches and a sponge cake with icing and we had these for tea.  The QP was top of the featured performances for several days - pushing peals at Westminster Abbey and Liverpool Cathedral further down.

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