I shall stop writing my diary transcripts blog for the moment, but cannot go until I tell you how it all worked out. Well Alexa went off to study Architecture, following in her father’s footsteps. She first studied at the University of Central England in Birmingham and then Lincoln School of Architecture and her first job was in Lincoln where she met Matthew who was also studying the same subject. They were married in June 2013 and expect their first baby in October 2017. Alexa is now a church architect working for a company in York. She never really left the Brownies and is now Brown Owl for Tickton Brownies and I help as Sally Owl. James studied at the University of Lancaster Management School after being devastated at just missing a place at Aston Business School, being an Aston Villa supporter. Every cloud has a silver lining, it would seem, as he had the opportunity to study his second year at the University of Colorado in Boulder and we flew out to visit him on his 20th birthday. After graduating he worked at Siemen’s in Lincoln for 4 years before leaving to travel the world (the grand tour), only coming home half way round to attend Alexa’s wedding and earn some more money. Whilst in India he found the George ancestral home in Calcutta of his great grandfathers’ at 41 Ripon Street and the house and street had clearly lost its former grandeur. The first James George left from North Yorkshire in 1815 and the next 3 generations used the name, James, for their sons. Our James George IV now lives in London and works for a company helping businesses to recycle. Steve and I retired from our respective jobs in 2015 and I love retirement but Steve has not taken to it after having a structure to his life from the age of 4. He is now the Beverley Minster Treasurer, a volunteer post, which keeps him busy and he has a subscription for the ‘Church Times’. When I left bell ringing, they say that when one door closes another opens, well I helped at rehearsals and concerts with the East Riding Youth Orchestra as Alexa played the trumpet in the Wind Band and James played drums in the orchestra. After that Steve and I discovered salsa dancing and modern jive, sometimes spending 4 nights a week at lessons plus weekend courses. Our parents sadly passed away but we now have our new grandson to look forward to and plenty of trips away when we can find a cat sitter for Shadow. This lovely black cat was brought to the house by Alexa who then moved out to live in Lincoln. He replaced Misty found abandoned in fields on the site of Meaux Abbey. At least it is not a completely empty nest!
“We set off on our travels to see parents, and first mine at Deeping St. James. The house was warm and Mum made us sausage sandwiches. We had a turkey Christmas dinner and then walked to the Waterton Arms for one drink. When we arrived back in Beverley we noticed the toilet had been leaking so a visit to Great Mills for a new ball cock and it was fixed. James had his last teeth extraction and six out this time. He was very brave, and relieved, when it was over. My in-laws arrived for the Millennium as Alexa and I would be ringing out the year 1999, and the new year 2000 in. We had champagne in the tower and it was a real party atmosphere. I think the sound of the bells was drowned out by the fireworks on the Westwood. Still, I have my certificate and now as far as bell ringing is concerned I think I’ll call it a day!”
“James walked into town with me so that I would buy the correct ‘Championship Manager’ game for the computer. We went to Nine Lessons and Carols at the Minster and on the way home there were strong winds and thunderstorms. There was a power cut for ringing at Midnight Mass in St. Mary’s which had to be done by torchlight. Bed at 1.30 a.m. and up again for 7 a.m., opened presents, stuffed the turkey, went ringing, then to the Minster service, sherry, a brandy coffee, cooked lunch had wine and fell asleep. Phoned parents and had a dreadful headache. Boxing Day was also a Sunday so up early for ringing but Alexa stayed at home as she’d had nightmares about big spiders after watching ‘Jumangi’ on TV and didn’t sleep too well. More ringing in the evening and a ringer came in with her newborn baby which I held, but it cried. Off to parents tomorrow and Dad has acquired a motorbike!”
I think it is a Mountain Ash or a Rowan and is looking good. The children who collected money from door to door are all grown up and have left home. I hope they will bring their children and grandchildren to see the tree in future years.
“James has been round the streets with a group from Tardrew Close carol singing to raise funds to buy a millennium tree to be planted in our close with a plaque. Before leaving for work I was hanging out washing and then was 5 minutes late which was commented on. The lunchtime carol service in the Council chamber is always enjoyable but after a mince pie, crisps and a glass of wine I felt lethargic all afternoon. Yesterday it started snowing at 7 a.m. for the rush hour and consequently the town was ghostly quiet as the roads around were gridlocked. The only activity was the children and parents arriving at St. Mary’s church for the school Christmas service. Tonight was Alexa’s High School Christmas concert in the freezing cold St. Mary’s church. She rang the bells, played the trumpet and sang in the choir dressed in just a blouse and trousers. Needless to say she was absolutely frozen.”
“Our roads are like ice rinks on the estate. James fell off his bike twice but seemed to enjoy the experience! He passed his piano exam with merit and then had to have 2 more teeth extracted. We had a new experience yesterday at work as ‘Ask A Librarian’ was launched and we had email enquiries from all over the world. Just as well we were not busy as it took nearly 2 hours to operate the computer efficiently. I did most of the typing and quite speedily by the end. We had 10 enquiries in all. At home I finished writing all my Christmas cards and letters. My hands were so cold for ringing today that they were slippery and I couldn’t grip the rope. I volunteered to read the lesson in the ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ service as a ‘bell ringer’ at St. Mary’s church and even with hundreds of people there I shall find it less scary than ringing the bells. I rushed over to the morning service at the Minster where I was reading the lesson to find a large box on the lectern placed for the small children and their play. I had to climb onto it in my short skirt and then towered above my reading in the bible. I tried to act normal!”
“I left the house at 8 a.m. to go to the bindery in Hull and found the art of bookbinding very interesting. In the evening I went out to the last internet class and we were taught ‘shopping on line’. I heard that actress Emma Thompson has called her baby ‘jane.com’! Today when Alexa arrived back from the police station where she had been to learn about car security I persuaded her to do the monthly shop with her Dad. She loved being in charge and I had a rest. I sorted out Christmas tree decorations and arranged, into a vase, the bouquet of flowers which was complimentary with our new BMW lease car. I had the luxury of not going ringing as there was a ‘date touch’ organised. That is a piece of ringing that is the same number of changes as the number of the year. It is snowing now and I am sitting in front of a roaring fire, stress free, bliss.”
“The wind and rain woke us up at 5 a.m. Walking to work was horrendous and I worried about James on his bike. I went reluctantly to bellringing in a sleet storm and the ringing chamber was freezing and uninviting. I am going to have my ringing style sorted out next week which is something else to dread but they are all trying so hard to help me! Yesterday morning I nearly overslept. I shouldn’t keep reading until the early hours but then that is the only time when I’m not disturbed and the house is peaceful. Today I was at work from 9 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. but my boss forgot to allocate me a lunch hour! I managed a 15 minute break to eat sandwiches. In the evening I should have gone to the family history social but I had a glorious night in by a roaring fire and read a family history magazine. Steve was at a property services committee meeting and came back upset!”
“Alexa’s 16th birthday and we all had to wake up at 6.45 a.m. before Steve left for work for Alexa to open her cards and presents. In the evening we all went out for a birthday meal to Lee Garden Chinese Restaurant and some of the BBC crew and actors from the TV series ‘Heartbeat’ were in there including ‘Greengrass’. This made Alexa’s evening and also, when she popped across the road to the newsagents to buy her first lottery ticket because she is now old enough. My bellringing consists of fear and trepidation still and everyone is trying to help. Extra lessons have been suggested to correct faults! I took James to the Dentist where he had 3 teeth extracted to encourage his adult ones to make an appearance. He also did well at his piano exam on Mrs. Stephenson’s baby grand in Cartwright Lane despite cold hands. Tonight I was on my internet course and we covered email and attachments. The Advent Service at the Minster on Sunday was wonderful and it now feels very Christmassy.”