The dinner on Monday evening was again about as much as I’d normally eat in a day or more, followed by choir practice about which we’d been worried as it wasn’t on the programme. I kept in touch with last year’s leaderine, Claire Kehoe, by Facebook messages all week. She was in the country but not in the area but hoped to pop in and see us later in the week.
I hobbled with Molly, also on crutches, along the corridors to the Chapel as the grass on the lawn was wet. We were relieved to find the door unlocked as it isn’t always. Then came the difficult bit. The quire gallery is reached by a spiral staircase, the steps of which are only about 2 feet wide: not easy on crutches! We managed, slowly and carefully.
Mary Berry was on the organ as she had been last year, standing in for Sean Barrett. Claire’s role was taken by Lorraine Priestley and she did it very well, but not with the exuberance of Claire. She did, at one stage, say “I’m being Claire now.” when she asked us to smile while singing to improve the tone. Strangely enough our choir mistress at home, Jen Muggleton, also requires us to smile.
There were fewer of us in the choir this year than last, under a score. Possibly this was because, not being on the programme, not as many were aware of it, or else they had given priority to the event with which the practice clashed: Billy o’Rourke taking the Senior Lectureship exam by speaking on the subject of Swarm Prevention and Control in Kerry.
After hobbling down the staircase again, I made my way to the lecture hall for the Dave Cushman Memorial Lecture: Beekeeping in Africa by Dr Grace Asiko from Kenya, with whom I’d been chatting at the reception the previous evening. Unfortunately I didn’t have my notebook with me and cannot now recall what she told us.
Afterwards, people mingled in the Refectory where there was a bar with no beer but plenty of wine. During the first week or so after I broke my leg the whole foot swelled up and became very tender: like gout but ten times worse! For the past week it had been going down and I was able to wriggle my toes again and they weren’t as cherry-red as they had been. The stretching and swelling must have killed off the outer layer of skin which was peeling off in large flakes and tendrils.
This was noticed by a Wise Woman (white witch) whom I recognised but couldn’t place at the time. She kindly presented me with her small pot of potion she had made from beeswax and comfrey (the herbal healer). The pot was almost empty as she had been using it to reduce her age spots but there was enough for me to apply some morning and night and I am still using it over a week later.
After a pleasant evening nattering, supping wine and catching up with the world via my tablet computer, I had an early night to catch up on sleep.