On Thursday 1st October, I went to the funeral of the mother of one of my school Mum friends, Lisa Schiavo. Scott had to use my car as his is still broken, so I got a lift with another friend, Jen Biddle. It was held at March crematorium, and we got a bit lost on the way (turned up at a farm first of all!)
I didn't know Lisa's Mum, but was going more as moral support for Lisa. It was a beautiful day, and a lovely service. Her family are quite musical, and there were some gorgeous musical items from them.
We had all been asked to wear black and white, as that is what Lisa's Mum always wore. After the service we released some helium balloons, then went back to the golf club for lunch.
I had a meeting in Northampton in the evening.
On Friday 2nd, I went to the local gym to have my introduction session, as I joined the gym in preparation for my Physical Assessments for the Fire Service. The lady who showed me round put together a workout that mainly focuses on upper body strength with the weight machines, which I've never really used before.
The morning of Saturday 3rd was a bit hectic! Lucy and I were going to Northampton for the Women's session of General Conference, for which I was supposed to be helping get a breakfast ready, beforehand. With only one car though, I had to take Tom to his friend Eddie's house on the way to Cambridge first, as Eddie's parents were taking them to their maths classes. Lucy and I made it in time for the breakfast, but I didn't do much helping! I got to serve the food though, so it was nice to chat with everyone as they lined up.
We watched General Conference at home as a family the next day.
This is Harry (4th October) with his very swollen black eye (you can't see it too well in this picture, but his expression in this one made me laugh!) He'd got clonked by accident at school.
Lucy's chocolate meringue and chocolate custard creation she made for dessert on the 4th October.
On Wednesday 7th October, I went for my first Hepatitis B immunisation injection (as recommended by the Fire Service.) It cost £40 but I can claim it back.
In the evening, Harry wore me out just by looking at him - he'd set up a runway in the living room and was practising forward flips!
On Friday 9th October, I got my hair cut in the morning (first time since March!) and in the evening I went over to Milton Keynes and met Gill Barstow at a lovely big posh Indian Restaurant. I'd invited her out so that we could just have a good catch-up, and we had a really, really lovely evening.
The next day, Saturday 10th, was a ridiculously crazy day. Jack went gliding, I dropped Scott and Harry off at the train station, before driving to Eddie's house on the way to Cambridge to pick him up, then Lucy, Tom, Eddie and I drove into Cambridge (my first time ever driving there!!) I couldn't park in the first two places I'd thought I could (one was the private car park for the alumni of one of the colleges - as Eddie's Mum happens to be, and the other didn't have a long enough time on it), so I winged it and drove right into the centre, and found a multi-storey car park (only my second ever time parking in one!) This will be nothing for many people, but felt quite an achievement for me!
We then dropped Tom and Eddie off at Queen's College, and Lucy and I had a wander around the place. I love this courtyard (there were wedding photos being taken here when Scott and I came together in September.)
Lucy and I went to McDonalds for breakfast and wandered round the shops before going back to the college for Tom's award ceremony, as this was the last of the classes.
As we were crossing a courtyard Lucy stopped and said hello to a woman who was Lucy's English teacher last year! Not only did I not recognise her as Eddie's Mum (I hadn't realised she was also coming for the award ceremony), but I also hadn't realised that Eddie's Mum was Lucy's English teacher!! She recognised me thankfully, and seemed to assume I already knew all the connections, but I felt a bit of a div!
The award ceremony was short and sweet, and we felt very proud of the boys. The Professor handing out the certificates made the point that these kids were the brightest of the bright, and he hoped they would want to study Maths at Cambridge. Tom doesn't, but he really did enjoy the classes!
In the meantime, Scott and Harry had got the train to London, bought a 5 year old Vauxhall Corsa (with 30-odd thousand miles on the clock) which Scott had arranged to view, then driven it to Birmingham, where they viewed and bought a 9 year old BMW Z4 as well! (With 50-odd thousand miles on the clock.) They left the Corsa at the old BMW owner's house, and drove the BMW home. Scott and I then drove back to Birmingham in the BMW to pick up the Corsa! It was only a few streets away from the first ever house Scott and I owned, on Capern Grove, Harborne, so we drove there first and had a little reminisce! We then picked up the Corsa, which I drove home, while Scott came home in the BMW.
It was slightly traumatic! It was dark, and I had to get used to driving a completely new car, with different position gears, and I didn't have the stand for the satnav, so couldn't really see it! I also ended up driving down Broad Street at about 9pm on a Saturday night - absolutely heaving, and with a load of road works and diversions!! Anyway, we finally all got home safe and sound! And very nice to have more than one car again.
In the evening of Monday 12th October, I went along to the local Fire Station where I'd be based, and had a chat with the Watch Commander. He hadn't known I was as far along with the recruitment process as I was, and when he realised I wanted to know about the Physical Assessments, he got Lisa, the female Fire Fighter already working there to come and chat to me. It was quite useful, but got me a bit worried about upper body strength, because she'd failed first time round on one of the weight lifting assessments, and had to try again three months later.
The next Saturday, 17th October, was another crazy Saturday!
I went with Lucy to Northampton, for a day of meetings and a fireside with Bonnie Oscarson, General (ie. for the entire world!) Young Women President! Following that we had organised a Multi-Stake Dance. Elder Dryden and his wife, and the new Mission President and his wife were also there.
When I arrived they were all in meetings with missionaries, so I waited in the foyer with President Hirst, who was getting anxious that the meetings were running over time, and was wondering whether he should interrupt them! We had a bit of a laugh anyway, then a lunch was served for a few of us. I know the Drydens a bit (John was on the Stake Presidency with Elder Dryden) so chatted with them, and met the new Mission President and his wife, who is lovely, then Sister Oscarson asked to sit down with me, and while we ate, she asked me questions about how Young Womens is in this Stake. I felt pretty relaxed, and we had a good chat.
We then had a meeting with the Stake Young Women Presidencies (which I had to conduct) and then a meeting with all the Young Women in the Stake (again which I had to conduct, and which I managed to make a mess of...again), then people from other Stakes came for a devotional. In the Young Women meeting, three of the Young Women got called on to share their testimonies, including Lucy, who did a lovely job! I didn't feel like anything new was said in the meetings, but I did feel a renewed sense of priority and clarity.
While I was in the toilets before the devotional, Sister Oscarson was in there too, and she asked if I had any concealer because she was getting a spot! I'd got a make-up bag with some foundation in another room, so I ran and got it, and she used it while we had a little moan about spots!
Several people spoke at the devotional (for which Scott had bought all the boys... Harry was not impressed at being there, which his facial expressions clearly showed, and which Sister Oscarson commiserated with when we saw her!) Afterwards, I went and thanked Brother Oscarson for his good talk, and Tom was with me. Brother Oscarson is Bishop in the Ward where some of the Apostles live, including Elder Holland, and Brother Oscarson asked Tom if he had a message for Elder Holland!! (Which Tom disappointingly didn't!)
The Oscarsons left, then we had a mad rush to get everything ready for the dance which was starting straight away! The dance ended at about 10.30pm with a fire alarm going off. There certainly didn't appear to be any fire, and President Clayton was reluctant to evacuate everyone, but we eventually did, then after ages everyone went back in from the car park to get their bags and went home, while some of us stayed and cleared up. (Some of the lads had been in a storage cupboard where they shouldn't have been, and set it off, I found out the next day.)
It was a long but good day!!
Photos from the day:
Elder Dryden, Sister Dryden, President Hirst, Sister Oscarson, me, Gill (my 1st Counsellor) and Emma (my 2nd Counsellor).
Lots of the Young Women Presidencies from the Stake
Lots of my Young Women! (I think Lucy was in the toilet and missed this!)
On Sunday 18th, I went along at 5pm to the Harvest Festival at Richard and Jo's farm. Richard gave a short talk, and we sang some Harvest songs to live music, then had a hog roast. I knew a few people there, including Harry's teacher, Mrs Wilkinson, though I didn't know anyone on my table. I got chatting to a couple at the end of the table though - a woman who had gone to school with Richard, and her partner from the Middle East. We got on really well - they have done loads of interesting stuff, and we were still talking long after most people had gone home! A nice evening!
On 21st October I went to Harry's Parent's Evening. Mrs Wilkinson said he is getting on fine - his maths is extremely good, though he is a bit stubborn about doing things his own way. His English is about average (reading age is a year above), but he doesn't really enjoy it, and rushes to get it over and done with. I thought that sounded about right!
On Thursday 22nd, I went to Northampton for a Stake Council meeting, and took Lucy with me so she could go to the Institute class. We decided to travel in the Z4 with the roof down - great fun!
Part of Stake Council was fire alarm training (which I had requested following the dance!) and we also discussed the possibility of a YSA branch in our Stake. We were asked to go away and email our thoughts on the subject to President Hirst. I had a strangely wakeful night thinking about it all, and emailed him the next morning. It was on my mind a lot.