Dash back to London

Mike found out from Tracey House that they would deal with all the arrangements once Mary has passed away, so we felt a bit more comfortable about going back to London on the Monday - we both had a full week of commitments which would have been difficult to cancel.  In particular I had to collect my printing and £500 of Amazon gift cards from the pick up locations on The Vale by Wednesday and only I could do it as I needed to produce photo ID.  Mike went to see Mary first on Monday morning while I took Suki for a walk.  I finally got the dog cage set up in the courtesy car.  Suki and I dropped in to see Mary later but I didn't stay long.  She seemed to mouth "hello" but she was very weak and dried up.  It was very sad to see her like that.  I kissed her on her forehead and told her I would miss her.  It was the last time I saw her alive.

I got back to London in the afternoon - just after Mike who had driven faster!  I wasn't needed for handbells in the evening, and there was a QP, so I only needed to turn up at 8 pm which was nice.  I walked up for the exercise.

On Tuesday I picked up my parcels and took Suki for her annual booster vaccination and check up on the Tuesday - and in the evening Amanda and the children came to stay for the night.  Lorraine dropped them off but had to rush off to a presentation evening in Uxbridge - she came back later for a glass of wine with us.  In the morning Mike took the call from Tracey House that Mary had died in the night.  She had a member of staff with her and also someone from Marie Curie when she died.  I was just about to set off for Stanstead airport with Amanda and the children, so I didn't get much time to feel sad and thoughtful which is what I would have like to do.

We got to Stanstead on time (11 am) - it was bitterly cold and the car park still had piles of snow all over the place from the recent bad weather. I helped Amanda check in and waited for Don and Jolene to turn up before setting off home. In the evening we went to the Bell and Crown for dinner and to participate in the "flash mob" carols with members of the Chiswick Choir.  It was an enjoyable evening, although I was rather off the end of the table in a corner.  But I didn't mind too much - the conversation was good around me and the carol singing was good.  When it came to settling the bill we did our usual wave of the hand to indicate we were happy to have it split evenly - but possibly we should have been counted as one person.  We bought our own drinks, we both had a starter but we shared a main course and I had a pudding. We ended up paying £64!  But we had a nice evening and it's only money!

We were able to make initial arrangements for the funeral from London - Tracey House got in touch with the vicar and the funeral directors and the date was set for the following Thursday, 21st Dec.  We decided to stay in London for the rest of the week to fulfil our commitments and then go down to Devon.  I found some nice photos for the order of service and we provided the funeral directors with the words for the hymns and readings.  They produced the order of service for us to approve by email.

On Thursday I rang a handbell peal of Yorkshire Major at Steve's. On Friday I sat through the QP of Superlative at Barnes before the practice, and had a nice chick pea curry in the Red Lion afterwards.  On Saturday it was the Cantanti Christmas concert - Monica picked me up and gave me a lift home.  We were a bit early - the QP of Pudsey being rung sounded really good from outside.  The concert was ok but seemed to lack the sparkle of earlier years. Sunday was "manic Sunday" - took Suki to Linda's at lunchtime.  We had handbell rehearsal at 2 pm, choir practice at 3.30 pm, handbells prior to the carol service at 5.40 pm, carol service at 6 pm and then handbells at the convent at 7.30 pm.  The carol service was good and I enjoyed it - I was the only alto for a while but was later joined by a professional (male) which made a lot of difference.  I noticed my voice is not as good - as a result of not singing regularly these days.  The handbells were ok - not brilliant but not hopeless.  Sophie was late to the convent so Lorraine rang 3-4 to the first one with us.  She did very well.  We went straight from there to pick up Suki.  I had packed the bags and things ready for an early start to Devon the next day.

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