Christmas 2017

Christmas Newsletter 2017

On Friday I finally felt a bit Christmassy.  Mike went off to ring a peal with Bob in the morning and I put up a few Christmas decorations and picked up the meat I had ordered for Christmas lunch.

We had a quiet Christmas together.  Peter went off to stay with his parents for a few days and we spent our time going for walks with Suki - mainly Stover or Parke - and relaxing at home. The weather was quite nice - positively spring like and warm on some days. Mike finished the 1500 piece jigsaw of Westminster Abbey (the inside) - with occasional help from Peter - and then did a 1000 piece one of Westminster Abbey from the air.  This appeared to be a brand new jigsaw but annoyingly had two pieces missing (we hunted high and low but were pretty sure eventually that they hadn't just been dropped somewhere).

There were insufficient ringers to ring on Christmas Eve and if felt very odd being back home by 9 am on a Sunday morning.  We went to Midnight Mass in the evening.  It was a most uninspiring service.  No choir.  Hymns with the word "man" replaced by something else (I just sang the correct words very loudly at the back - if anyone objected they would just have to sing louder than me!).  No real atmosphere.  Mike was reduced to having communion brought to him even though he said he would like to go up for it.  Graham played the organ and the gave the sermon while the service was taken by someone I didn't know.  I had my arm twisted and rang at Bickington on Christmas Day as well as at Bovey.  Peter and Mike also rang at Lustleigh.

Suki had been showing a lot of interest in the presents, and had already torn the paper of two of hers when I wasn't looking - so I kept them out of sight until Christmas Day when I put them under the tree in the morning.  We seemed to have done rather well and there were a lot to open.

We had a lovely Christmas lunch - roast chicken with roasted veg and stuffing followed by Christmas pudding with Mike's home made brandy butter.  We raised a glass to absent friends (Gwen, Jack, Dad and Mary).  After lunch I put everything in the dishwasher and we opened our presents before watching The Queen.  We had been given some brilliant presents this year and were really pleased with all of them - particularly as most of them were consumable (chocolates, alcohol, candles etc).

This was my pile!
My chocolate drawer was looking pretty good!
Peter gave us some red wine and port, and a large cheese selection from Wild Moor - he had bought it before he realised that Mike had bought a large cheese selection from there a couple of days previously.  So we had a wonderful cheese fest in the evening for supper!  And almost every evening for the rest of the week.

The rest of the week went by in much the same quiet way - walking and jigsaws.  I sorted through the rest of Mary's stuff and got the paperwork ready to take back to London, but we decided to leave the probate stuff until the New Year.  Bob came round for some handbells - plain bob minor with us and then Peter joined us for plain bob major.  Mike, Peter and I rang through the whole of the Mayola Christmas Collection ringing 4 in hand.  It was quite tricky but had potential to be worked up into an entertainment for Tracey House next year.

As is now becoming traditional, Jay had organised some QPs for Mike on the way back, and a pub lunch.  So we set off early on Saturday morning and arrived in good time for the first tower at Whitestaunton.  I took Suki for a walk while they were ringing - using my MemoryMap app to find a circuit which was just the right length (just under 2 miles) as I got back just as they were coming out of the tower.  It was horribly muddy in places - I had brought my wellies but it was still unpleasant and very slippery.

They lost the QP at Whitestaunton, but scored the other two at Dowlish Wake and Chaffcombe.  The pub at Dowlish was very good - the food was excellent and they wrapped up the garlic bread  (which Jim Shepherd didn't eat) for me to take home with the salad in a plastic pot.  I grilled the garlic bread with some grated cheese on top for supper when we got in.

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