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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Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible 
Iceland is getting their own back for being diddled out of the IceSave loan. Now they're spreading noxious fumes and powdered glass all over Europe. Not sure whether I'll make it to Heathrow next week or not. At least I have the offer of a couch in Singapore. I've upgraded from a hedge.

Our spam server at work fell over. The antivirus program was out of date, and it stopped working when it got a new style virus signature file. I spent several hours yesterday trying to update it, and eventually managed to open the floodgates and send out all the accumulated spam. My own inbox got 240, from just 36 hours worth. Unfortunately I also stopped it receiving any new emails. So today I've worked out how to disable the antivirus, but leave the spam filter running. Normality has returned, but don't blame me if you get a virus.

I tidied the lounge. This involved getting a couple of cardboard boxes, filling them with all the junk that Rachael and Sarah had brought in, and putting them in the spare room. The lounge looks so empty...

Bronwyn's foot is going to take a while to heal because of all the nerve damage. She's going in for physio next week. Still in crutches, but trying to walk unaided as much as she can manage.

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Two weeks 
Only two weeks until I flee the country! Please get in touch if you want me to visit at some point; currently the only fixed date is 30th April to 3rd May with my brother in Maldon. I'll stop in Singapore on the 25th April overnight (I'm still looking for a nice warm hedge to sleep under, anyone?) and 23rd April during the day. I'm also planning a trip down to the Isle of Wight, and if I don't visit Coventry I'm in trouble...

We had 12mm of rain. Half an inch! The ground is so dry you wouldn't notice, but at least the grass is growing a little. I finally mowed the lawn last week after putting the new battery in the mower. I've also sowed a load of tree seeds ready for the next planting.

Had my ears unblocked and my hair cut. I feel ten years younger.

Bronwyn is still hobbling, but hopes to be rid of the crutches in the next week or so. She says her foot has 'forgotten how to walk'.

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