"". That was October {2023} | Is This Mutton?

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Friday 3 November 2023

That was October {2023}


Take 3 girls:  Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon with two friends before a reunion with former Mirror Group Newspaper colleagues

Dear friends. A mixed month, October.  At the very start we were on our cycling challenge, the Coast to Coast. The cold and cough I'd already had for two weeks carried on for another fortnight, and I had to cancel two planned activities.

But it wasn't all bad. There were a few walks and a big reunion in Plymouth. I've also talked about our general day-to-day life and what we watched. 

Sun Oct 1

Second day of cycling in the #C2C challenge: Threlkeld to Alston, 41.8 miles.  I wrote a separate post about the experience which you can read here

Mon Oct 2: Alston to Edmundbyers, 37.4 miles. Here I am with a few of the other women, before setting off. 

Tues Oct 3 

Last day of the C2C, Edmundbyers to Tynemouth. . After we completed it, had a celebratory drink and said our goodbyes, we returned to Newcastle.  

J took my bike to pieces to put in the boot, with his on the roof, and we drove to the Holiday Inn at Scotch Corner. Lovely big bed and nice to relax.

Unfortunately there was a power cut in the evening which disrupted the car's charging. It wouldn't reset, even on a different charger. 

Weds Oct 4

Return from Scotch Corner. We first went to Wetherby Services for a charge. Home by 2pm, which was pretty good. Picked up a few groceries from the shop at the second charging stop.  J's shoulders very sore. Had 2 lipsticks waiting for me from Look Fabulous Forever. 

I managed to get my usual Weds post out on the cycling challenge, just a few hours late.  

Won £100 on the Premium Bonds. Have been on a winning streak! 

Thursday Oct 5

Overcast but fairly warm. We walked to a pharmacy 45 minutes away where J was having a Covid booster. I had a coffee in the cafe next door.  Went to Pilates, had to abandon the relaxation portion because I needed to cough. Had beef shin, mash and veg.   J shared his first video of the bike challenge with the Whatsapp group and got a lot of positive comments. They didn't say anything about my blog post, which was a bit disappointing.

Friday Oct 6

J's birthday. He doesn't make a big deal about birthdays and didn't want to go out for dinner.  We drove over to his son + family in the afternoon. They gave him a subscription to a cycling magazine, which was the only thing J asked for. When we got back his daughter and baby Olive were there to greet him.  

Saturday Oct 7

Sunny and warm, 23 degrees, short sleeves again.  Cough no better. We did a short walk around the forest. I then prepared 3 blog tour posts. Big delivery from John Lewis of various Christmas presents which I'll be taking down to Plymouth soon. 

Sunday Oct 8

Very warm and sunny. Went to Loughton M&S for tasty treats. Cooked roast chicken.  Temperature  and cough no better, although slept well. Booked for Skiathos, Greece,  next June.  I always vow we will go somewhere else, but it's the only place that matches all our "criteria"! 

Monday Oct 9

First time on the bike since our cycling break. Went to the Lee Valley Country Park. Our usual route to the  coffee shop was blocked off, and as it was later than usual,  we went straight home. Had flu jab, no-one else there at the GP surgery.

Tues Oct 10

Did walk, saw cows chomping holly.  Went to the local Odeon to see film BlackBerry.  I was only one there!!  Enjoyed it, 7 out of 10.  It's about the Canadian company RIM and how the iPhone destroyed the BlackBerry virtually overnight.  I didn't get a BlackBerry until 2010 and only had it for a year. 

Below: I was surprised it was a private showing just for me!

Weds Oct 11

2 posts in one day, a book tour and a collaboration.  Feeling much better. Hardly coughing at all. Quiet  day. 

Thurs October 12

A lot cooler, 16 degrees,  drizzly.  Walk, saw cows. Then Pilates. Had to step outside during the relaxation as I was stifling coughing.

Worked on blog. Salmon. Started new series of Cobra  (Sky, Now TV).  Cobra is a drama thriller about a fictitious UK government. In this series they're dealing with the fall out of a major tragedy at the site of a new railway line. Environmental protesters, including the prime minister's daughter, were campaigning and over a hundred died in an explosion. 

Fri Oct 13

Very blustery and wet am. Still feel like I have a cold. 3 weeks now. J has a cold too and blames me. No exercise today.  Wrote a blog post and spent ages doing blog housekeeping

Sat Oct 14

Told the virus sternly to leave. Felt a bit better in morning. Did walk,  was surprised to see pipe works going on in Yates Meadow. Saw the 2 ponies and longhorns.  Planted some daffodil bulbs in the front garden. Finished a blog post for tomorrow. 

Sun Oct 15

Blue sky but cold. So much for the virus leaving. My nose is running nonstop, which feels like progress. Dithered and missed window for walk. Had leg of lamb. Blog domain authority has gone up to 40, but who cares? Brands and other bloggers only seem to care about IG followers.  I'm fed up with blog at moment,  committed to too many book tours and haven't had energy to do a clothes shoot.

Mon Oct 16

Blue sky, 11 degrees. Did walk. J's cold is bad. Mine still productive.  Noticed I suddenly have an Amazon Vine badge, but when they originally invited me to join the Vine programme they almost immediately withdrew the invitation. Finished book Murder at Paradise Park - will review it on Nov 6. Have read 3 crime thrillers back to back,  so glad now to read a Cathy Kelly which is not published until next year. 

Tues Oct 17

Calm before another storm. This one is called Babet. Windy, but blue sky. Went to Jodie's, had hair done. Introduced peach tones to give hair more depth as my skin gets paler in winter.

Weds Oct 18

Had been looking forward to meeting a lot of Kettlewell friends for an exhibition at Kensington Palace, Crown to Couture,  but didn't feel up to it. Rained a lot. 

Thurs Oct 19

Still bad weather. Finally got round to two fashion "shoots" for the blog.  Pilates. Managed to get through the class without coughing. Started the first series of Wild Winds, Alibi / Now TV.  

Fri Oct 20

Still v congested and generally tired. J got some bags down from loft: my winter clothes and our duvets.  Dismayed at how much stuff there was. Sorted a bag for charity shop and listed some KW items. 

Mystifyingly am no longer a Vine Voice. The badge has gone. 

Sat Oct 21

Bright day. Did forest walk. Took bag to charity shop and 3 parcels to post office.  Hopped on bus to S Woodford to get some bits of shopping at M&S. 

Sun Oct 22

Felt different today. Better! Did 2 outfit shoots as the sky was blue. Roast chicken. 

Mon Oct 23

Blue sky, first frost though.  10 degrees.  Went in town to look for a red coat . Sadly couldn't find suitable style or colour. Watched last episode Cobra.  I would describe the series as hokey but fun. 

Tues Oct 24

Rainy. J still not well. Had Asos delivery,  2 coats. Both terrible.  Finished and scheduled 2 blog posts. Mac cheese

Weds Oct 25

Did walk with J, Yates Meadow.  Works still going on. Then did chores, post office, getting £1 coins (for window cleaner),  Xmas cards, bread. Got post ready for next Weds.  

I'm off to Plymouth tomorrow for just under a week. Wrapped Mum's presents. Started packing but suitcase too small.  Need the big 1. Had salmon,  mash, swede. Watched last episode Dark Winds . We really enjoyed this drama about the Navajo police dealing with murders. Set in 1971, they handled very sensitively the customs and beliefs of the Navajo.

Then watched penultimate episode of Race Across the World  (BBC iPlayer). Got bored with it, it's a  "celebrity" version and not very good. 

Thurs Oct 26 

Caught train to Plymouth at 12.03 after a busy morning prepping J's meal schedule, a salad for him for tonight and a sandwich for my lunch. Regretted taking the huge case. The train was very busy and I was almost wedged in by the wretched case. Arriving in Plymouth, got soaked in a deluge waiting for a taxi. Off to Mum's. 

Fri Oct 27

Did walk around Plympton St Maurice. Saw the ruins of Plympton Castle, built by the Normans in the early 12th century. Here's the lane leading to it. 

Then went into Plymouth.  Finally got to visit The Box, the "new" museum. Very taken with a few of the interactive displays, and also the Sir Joshua Reynolds exhibition.  He was the first President of the Royal Academy, and went to my school.  (Not when I was there). Below: Reynolds' painting of his father, Rev Samuel Reynolds.

Sat Oct 28 

Today I'm off to a reunion, our first since 2019, with a group of former colleagues. We were on a newspaper course together in 1979. I wrote here about our last reunion.  First I did a hilly walk. Then my brother came over. 

After lunch washed my hair, then Julie picked me up. I haven't seen her since 2009. We had coffee at Sainsburys to kill time as Margery's train was late. We then found our accommodation on The Barbican - we're staying here for 2 nights.  

I'd taken some champagne so we had a quick glass as we got ready. We then met the others at Crowne Plaza for a drink, followed by dinner at the Barbican Kitchen, part of the Plymouth Gin distillery. There were 15 altogether and our former training manager was the guest of honour as we have never seen him at a reunion before.  After dinner we went back to the Crowne Plaza for another drink. Or two.  Finally in bed by 1.20am. A very late night for me! Such a fun time. 

Sun Oct 29

Julie left early as she has an exotic and temperamental tortoise to feed.  Margery and I went for breakfast on The Barbican. We then walked to the Cremyll ferry, which took us into Cornwall and Mount Edgcumbe. The house dates from 1547 with extensive grounds, resplendent with follies, cannons and so on.  The weather had started off grey and dreary but the sun came out for our walk. 

After a pot of tea we caught a bus to Plymouth which took us on a long scenic route around via Cawsand, Whitsand Bay and so on, and then the Torpoint Ferry. Walked 8 miles in all. We rounded off a lovely day with dinner in a Nepalese restaurant, Himalayan Spice. 

Mon Oct 30

We left the hotel around 9.15. I missed the bus to Mum's (one an hour) so killed time by going to M&S to get her some potatoes and tomatoes. 

Bit tired after being "full on" for two days, a challenge for an introvert. 

Tues 31 Oct

Rainy day. Slept well for first time in days. Went out for brother's birthday. He'd chosen to go to Endsleigh garden centre. Had lunch there. 

Watched episode 1 of series two of Time (BBC). Absolute cracker. 

That's my October. How was yours? Do tell in the comments.  

Where I Link 

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  1. Lovely to get a glimpse of your life Fail! I'm intrigued to learn your holiday criteria....also the Amazon Vine thing is a bit of a mystery that has affected me too.... though I am not as conscientious as I should be with my reviews. Thanks for sharing 🤗

    1. Ah, the holiday criteria! 1. Prefer one of the local London airports. 2. Hotel needs to be walking distance of town. 3. Hotel needs to have private beach. 4. Ideally close to water taxi or bus stop.

  2. That is a great way to close out October. I hope your November season is being kicked off with a great start.


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