A long spell in London

I spent the next two months in London!  It seemed a long time to be away from Bovey and I missed being there, but it was also good to get things done back at home.  I got completely up to date with admin and paperwork and also made progress on some of my "projects", in particular in putting all the Barnes Quarter Peals on to Bell Board.  I even finally got round to putting up the picture of the mosquito I had brought back from Devon, and straightening out the Spitfire picture (that's been waiting 9 years!).

I rather ditzily left my handbag in Bovey - at least I could confirm it was there with Peter.  So I had to manage without it for a couple of months.  The only thing I really missed was my Freedom Pass - I had to buy and Oyster card and pay for public transport!  Good for me because it made me walk more instead of jumping on the bus. It became quite liberating not having to carry a bag around - luckily my coat has big pockets!  I paid by credit card whenever possible (I had the one I keep in the dog bag) and hung on to cash whenever it came my way (membership subscriptions, dinner payments etc).

I made quite a list of new year resolutions and so far have kept on track - the list helping me to keep focussed.  I decided to do a fitness class every day during January and February so as to make good use of my gym membership and justify the cost (which is only £270 a year).  For the first couple of weeks I did Group Cycling on Mondays and Tuesdays, Barre on Wednesdays, Aerobics on Thursdays and Forever Fit on Tuesdays (after cycling) and Fridays.  However I felt that Barre was not really for me - too much leg lifting!  I also found two lots of cycling a bit hard.  So I gave up Barre and the Tuesday cycling, but added in an extra Forever Fit on Tuesdays (one at 10.30 followed by another at 11.20 am) and gave myself Wednesdays off.  All this activity didn't seem to have much effect on my weight but hopefully I am a bit fitter.  It is very time consuming though and takes up most of the morning every day.

It was the South & West District ADM the day after I got back.  Mike went over for the ringing and service, but I just went for the tea and meeting.   I was "got at" by one of the Staines ringers who wanted to order some clothing and when I told her I was not going to be doing it in the future started ranting at me. The more I tried to explain the louder and more obnoxious she became. Life really is too short to put up with stuff like this.

On 24th January we had a TARTS night out - friends from Aces Hockey club.  We went to Pizza Express on London Bridge - I'm getting to be quite a regular there!  It was a lovely evening and so good to see everyone again and have a good catch up (it's been a couple of years since the last one).

At the end of January there was a very sad event when Charles took his own life by jumping from the top of the tower on Sunday evening. Trisha phoned me the next day and was very upset - she had been called to the church by the police and had accompanied the police to his house to tell his wife.  I can't imagine how bad things must be to do this - especially knowing the effect it will have on those left behind, especially the wife and children.  No-one had any idea things were that bad for Charles.  It preyed on my mind all week.  We met early the following Sunday morning to have special prayers and to lay flowers at the spot, and there were several quarter peals rung in his memory.  I rang in the one of Grandsire Triples on AGM day.

I went walking with Maryanne a couple of times in February.  On 5th Feb we did a walk from Great Kingshill which ended up being just over 7 miles.  It was very muddy and we both managed to fall over at different times.  It threatened to snow at times, but was mainly bright and sunny.

Interestingly when I tracked it as we walked it showed that we had walked 7.16 miles but when I converted the track to a route in my software it showed the distance as 6.16 miles (after I had taken out the little detour where we went off route at the beginning).  Route Card.

It was the Barnes AGM and Annual Dinner on 10th February.  The QP at 3 pm was followed by tea at 4 - with an enormous cake which had been made for us by one of the handbell group - then the meeting at 4.15, ringing and drinks at 6.15 before heading to the Alma Cafe for the dinner at 7.30.  I took my cross stitch to do after the meeting as I was driving and didn't want to ring or drink!

The QP band

The AGM attendees
With the loss of Charles, I decided to offer some admin assistance to Trisha - anything I could do remotely so that I could do it in Devon as well as London.  As a start I took over the attendance list for the dinner, chasing up payment and menu choices.  I took the opportunity to suggest a collection for flowers to be presented to Trisha at the dinner and collected £100.  She was near to tears when they were presented to her.

I have had an enjoyable time looking at ways of helping with the tower admin, particularly the sharing of information and improving communication - so have probably caused Trisha more hassle than when I wasn't helping, as she has to try everything out and approve it, but hopefully it will be worth it in the long run.

I had supper with Caroline and Pru at the beginning of February - once again going to the Pizza Express on London Bridge!

I rang 3 handbell peals within 5 days!  The first one was at Guy's with Ian, James and Caroline.  This was our first attempt as a regular team and we did not have much expectation of scoring, just of rubbing some rust off.  Caroline hadn't rung a peal since June - and had not tried sitting for so long since her back surgery.  However we surprised ourselves by ringing a nice peal of Yorkshire.  Two days later I rang a peal of Kent Royal with Steve and the Friday morning band, and then I went back to Steve's two days after that and rang a peal of Plain Bob Major.  Not a bad week's work!

Mike made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday - they were particularly good this year and we had 5 good thick ones each.  He tossed every one successfully.  It seemed a lot of batter for 2 people but we didn't have any problem finishing it off.

I made a couple of extra resolutions for Lent - agreeing with Svetla that we would both give up playing games on the computer and phone and that we would check with each other each week as to whether we had given in to temptation.

Suki had more PRP treatment on her hips on Ash Wednesday - she came back with bald patches on her hips, neck and leg and was not at her prettiest.  She was very stiff  when I got her home - I had to collect her in the car as she was too woozy to walk home.  She wasn't allowed to eat until 8 pm - and wasn't interested in food before then anyway, although wolfed it down when I finally fed her.  Once she has recovered from the op she should have a new lease of life for a year or so.  She suffers from very bad arthritis and joint disease in her hips.  I certainly hope it works - it costs over £1000 a time!

Monica hosted the Chiswick ringers lunch on 18th Feb - I made a prosecco jelly and took two bottles of prosecco to drink (obviously not all by myself!  I had 3 glasses). I got another nice supply of little sponge cakes with icing to take home - mmmm. Mike went off to a committee meeting afterwards in the car and I walked home with Suki.  I logged it just out of interest.

Lorraine was there when I got in putting all her stuff in the loft - so I gave her a hand.  I wasn't up to much in the evening and just watched the TV.  I finished off the box set of series 1 of Marcella.  I probably won't bother with the second series - there were too many times when I was screaming at the telly "oh for goodness sake that is ridiculous!".

I went walking with Maryanne again on 20th - from Hurley.  We had thought it was going to be raining all day but actually it was dry and pleasant, and there was even some sunshine at times.  It was a nice walk with plenty of variety including some of the Thames Path.  It was very muddy underfoot but I managed to stay on my feet this time.   We went off route near the start and at the end inadvertently came through private property -hence the difference between the route (in blue) and where we actually walked (in red). There was a nice dog friendly pub in Hurley (The Rising Sun) where we had an excellent lunch - sharing a fish platter (I let Maryanne have all the anchovies!!).

Route card

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