M. Jasmine Hymas

141 St. Johns Road
Somerset, BA21 5QD
Note: Address changed to above, 2002-12-29
December 27, 2001

In January, 2001, I moved from my house at 40 Runnymede Road into a warden assisted flat. Sadly, I was not allowed to take my two cats, so they had to be found a new home. I still miss them. It has taken me a while to settle down, mainly because the other residents are much older than myself.

For my holiday this year I went to North Yorkshire and stayed a few days with my sister Rosemary and Atholl in Norton Conyers. Then I moved on to York to visit friends, ending my holiday with a visit to Whitby with Mary, my brother Michael's wife. Despite the foot and mouth problems the moors were simply beautiful, a carpet of mauve, and we had a lovely couple of days exploring the dales.

My week is fairly busy, spending three days at a day centre. I enjoy the company. Other days I meet up with friends or do some cleaning up at the flat. Wednesday afternoons are reserved for the internet cafe where I am learning to use the computer and see if I have any email messages. Unfortunately following a bad attack of shingles two years ago my sight is poor, but the RNIB have been extremely helpful. I have arranged an appointment with the computer advisor at their head office in Harley Street, London. Hopefully they will be able to advise me on the best contrasting colours for the screen and the special stickers that go on the keyboard, so that I can see what I am doing - hopefully! At the moment I am trying to memorize the keyboard, but I get muddled on which finger to use for which letter!

Most Friday mornings I usually go into town with my sister Erica who lives in Yeovil. We go shopping and catching up with family news over a coffee.

I have made some good friends in Yeovil, especially three who live in Frampton village, which is five miles from Dorchester. It is a beautiful place and we go for walks with the dogs through the woods each day I am there. It is not unusual to see a deer or rabbits scuttling around. Also, there are badger sets on the edge of the wood. I have not seen any, but when the dogs get a scent they are off! My nephew Robert and Janice his wife (David's family) came down to see me and brought their two dogs. So we had four retriever puppies having the time of their lives! We had to do a bit of hosing down as they all found their way to a stream which runs through my friends (Maureen, Peggy and Robert) garden.

I always feel very calm and at peace after being down there for a couple of days so I go quite often. I get the Dorchester bus from Yeovil. It is a wonderful journey wandering through all the villages and it is a delight in itself. I am getting to know quite a few of the other residents and now get invitations out. The next one is a New Year's party which I am really looking forward to. I will tell you all about it in my next installment!

I still enjoy doing some embroidery and patchwork, but not so much as I did due to my eyesight. Maureen, my friend in Frampton, is a great help and does the cutting out and tracing of designs etc. I go with her to workshops at Longleat (the Marquis of Bath's home and wildlife park). They have a wonderful embroidery shop in the stables. It is advisable to leave your cheque book at home though!! They were affected too by the foot and mouth epidemic, but fortunately did not lose any animals. The workshops were held in nearby Warminster until the ban was lifted.

This year I have enjoyed many family visits. Kenneth, my brother from Canada, and his wife Pat came and we enjoyed a lovely visit to Lyme Regis and to Montecute (a National Trust property and gardens). David, my brother from Brixworth near Northampton and his wife Margaret visited a number of times and in July brought Stephanie, my niece from Canada, and her son, Silas, for a few days. We enjoyed visits to Dorchester market, Weymouth and a mini family reunion at the top of Ham Hill where the Sandham cousins could meet up with their West Country Giles cousins.

I am spending Christmas with David and Margaret at Brixworth. We visited Phyllis Turner who lives close by in Bugbrooke. She is my mother's first cousin, being the daughter of Walter Strickland who was the younger brother of George Strickland, my grandfather on my mother's side. Work that out!