Jet lag 
Took a while to recover this week. I didn't get a lot of sleep on the planes, and did quite a lot in Singapore. It's now Friday, and I'm still tired.

I haven't begun to think through all that's happened in the last month. Many thanks to all those of you who gave me a bed, a car, a hug and plenty besides. I'm going to need a while to think through everything. Probably won't get it this weekend - Rachael has her birthday sleepover, or perhaps stayupstupidlylate might be more accurate.

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Staphylococci 
Wasn't well last week. Had a long discussion at the doctors as to whether I had to pay full rates for the prescription due to being a non-resident, but eventually they decided I was a nice British chap and let me off with the normal rates.

Spent Saturday in Chesterfield and Sunday in Coventry. Thanks to Moray for making it all the way to Dave's house in Chesterfield from Carlisle for the day! Dave's latest gadgets include a reclining tricycle (pity the tarmac is so rough!) and a playstation 3, on which we played the Lego version of Star Wars. Rather cute.

Caught up with a number of friends in Coventry, and had a great evening at the church with the Quiz Night. One round involved recognising country flags. One flag was instantly recognisable, and I hissed out the name madly across the table. NEW ZEALAND!

I put the voice of Yoda on my mother's satnav. Rather fun, but quite good because of the way he puts the verb last. It makes it quicker to get to the important "right" or "left". When I got to one place, he announced proudly "At your destination, you have arrived. Your journey, now begins. May the force be with you." I've put "Jane English" back on now for my mother's sake.

Dropped in on my old brass band last night. They were preparing for several events, but lent me a trombone and let me join in. Enjoyed it, but reminded me that I haven't done a lot of practise lately!

I worked out that I had only taken about 5 holidays so far, so I've spent the day helping out my Mum with The List. Got quite a bit done today. My mother has also bought a netbook, so I've been teaching her how to use it. Meanwhile, she's been buying me shirts and trousers. I hope I've still got room in the suitcase...

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Worn out 
Feeling a bit run down after a busy week and weekend. At least I now have a quiet week to recover.

There is a well known Maori belief that when a fantail visits you it is a warning of death, or a messenger come to say goodbye. Six days after Peggy died, a fantail flew into the house, flew around the room, hovered briefly above the flowers and the candle that Bronwyn had set up on the table, and quietly flew out again. It's never happened before.

Peggy's funeral was on Sunday, and her ashes were to be scattered at sea. In a week or two I'll have the chance to pay my respects on our behalf when I return.

Spent a weekend with my friend in the Isle of Wight, and her hyperactive and rather wild son. Survived a day down at the Portsmouth dockyards, where there was a steam engine special, along with the HMS Victory and Warrior and all the other exhibits. (The Mary Rose is being restored again.) They also had the British Steam Car, which after 100 years has beaten the world record for a steam powered vehicle. Quite something to stand next to it.

Additionally, if you're on the island, male, single and about 30, do give my friend a ring.

Had dinner tonight. Mum asked me what I wanted. Immediately Granddad shouted "Roast Turkey and Christmas Pud!". He's usually quite unresponsive. So Mum managed to find some turkey and some sausage meat stuffing (they don't do sage and onion this time of year so she added it herself) plus Christmas pudding and custard, and that's what we had. Yum.

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Tragedy 
I got woken up yesterday morning with some awful news - one of our friends has just died very suddenly and very tragically. Bronwyn is really upset, and so is Rachael. I've been in touch with them whenever I can, but it feels such a distance right now.

I went to a funeral up in Coventry yesterday, quite by coincidence, and it wasn't easy even though I barely knew the person. It was the father of an old friend, and when I saw my friend crying it set me off too. But it was good to catch up with some of the others there, and I dropped in on my old neighbours afterwards, just on the off-chance. Did some shopping, wandered around the city centre, and had dinner with another friend, then went home rather exhausted.

Had a quiet week last week, caught up with work and did a couple of odd jobs for Mum. She's still living with her dad. Granddad is now 104, and the doctors want to fit him with a pacemaker. They reckon he's got another 10 years! He looks remarkably well for that age, and can shuffle around unaided, although his memory has gone and he spends most of the time asleep.

Had a great time at my brothers too. Nick shaved off his beard for the occasion (he's my twin) so he'd look the same as me, but nobody fell for it. We're not as identical as we used to be. Daniel showed off his computer games that he's been writing (he's only 13) but I fear I don't have the millisecond accuracy required to get much past the first few levels. He's incredibly fast thinking. Esther (who's 11) is more into bird watching and tree climbing. We went for a walk through the woods, and kept on losing her whenever she sprinted for another tree.

Another day of relative peace, then off to the isle of Wight. I've been made to promise to return to Coventry on the Sunday after that, but I'm reserving the Saturday for Mum, since her list of odd jobs is growing...

I've been guided around my travels by my mother's new satnav. It got me lost in Chelmsford twice (Hmm. I've seen that bridge before...) and took me on a couple of rather awkward short cuts, but generally it was fine. It makes me jump when I'm driving along the motorway for miles, and it suddenly says "aHEAD, Take The Exit!". Rather loud. Apparently you can get other language files according to Nick, such as Dalek and Yoda. Might download Yoda just to try it out.

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Singapore 
Here I sit, dining on noodles and tuna sandwiches, trying to work out what time of day it is, which way the airport is and how on earth I'm going to get there. Many thanks to Priscilla and Eng Guan for accomodating me and taking me out for dinner and a long conversation last night. I'm now in their old apartment in Singapore, which is almost empty but Priscilla has stocked it up with a few supplies to keep me going until I reach the airport!

Welcome to Singapore. The apartment has windows on three directions. Two look out at other apartments, and the kitchen looks out on a building site. If I stand in a certain corner, I can almost see down the street. In the distance I see more tower blocks just peeping over the apartments across the street. I don't feel that our house on the farm has as nice a view as Bronwyn's parents', but at least you can see the horizon on all sides!

I did manage to get some sleep, but I think I'll need extra coffee before I feel properly alive!

Rachael survived her first week back at school, and both girls have been eagerly planning their birthdays. I'll be back just in time for Rachael's sleepover, so I'm not sure how much sleep *I'll* get! I've arranged for someone to help out with cleaning while I'm away at least, and she's also been roped into baking the birthday cakes. Thanks in advance, Kirsty.

Bronwyn's been given exercises to do by the physio, which all involve stretching tendons and muscles, and getting the nerves working again. This means that Bronwyn is now hobbling even more than before after pushing her foot to the limit, but at least she's making good progress.

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