Sunday, 22 April 2007

Hit the Road 4 a 2 week Break Away

Well - this is it. I'm off at the crack of dawn tomorrow - well, about 9.00 a.m that is. The car is so loaded down: - almost my entire wardrobe - hot weather clothes and wet weather clothes and jumpers have now been added to the pile as we seem to have returned to chilly Spring mode. And I've so many gifts and presents/bottles of wine and recycled magazines/books/CDs plants etc etc. I have everything packed in there bar the kitchen sink - I think the view from the front windscreen may be skywards rather than of the road ahead. My Man thinks I may be leaving home for good. I reassured him that is not the case. I'd be more subtle. I'd get him a gift of a luxury break away. Wave him off for a couple of days and change the locks while he's gone.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Bees are Buzzing Off

All this news about the death of bees and the collapse of so many beehives. Why are they blaming it all on mobile phone signals - making bees get lost and dying so far from their hives?!? Are this year's bees less intelligent than previous bees? - if this was the case then surely it would have affected them in previous years - after all mobile phones aren't exactly new technology. No I blame it on Genetically Modified crops. I bet all the scientist and huge companies that are so keen on making money out of GM crops didn't actually test out the effects on bees. I would have grown these crops in huge aircraft sized sheds and put in beehives for a few years to test out the effects on bees and other insects. It's also noticeable how everywhere you look now the awful triffid the GM Rape is everywhere taking over the countryside. It's not just killing bees its getting us humans too. Note how many new sufferers experience hayfever nowadays. How many people always have flu like symptoms as soon as the rape is in flower? Save the bees and destroy GM Crops. Pull up road side Rape plants - burn them. Save our planet because Government and Huge Biotech Companies wont.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

I've been Found Out

I had a text last night from my niece. She says she has found me! To prove it she will be leaving a comment one day when this page proves of sufficient interest to do so.I told her she must not post as anon y mouse, she must use her second name, and she's not to call me aunt *** [my real name]. I hope then my local friends wont pick up that it is me, *** . After all I hardly had chance to gossip about them yet, have I? If I'm going to dish the dirt then I have to remain just plain Penny.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

It's All In the Stars

Are Pisceans in particular attracted to writing - especially blogs. I wonder if there is a statistics site somewhere on the various star signs and the number of bloggers for each. It just seems to me that every time I find a new blog that makes me stop to read it I find out they are Pisceans too. I notice that not many of them put a hint as to their age though.

Now I've just come back from book group - this afternoon. What a waste of time. The woman in charge (well she setup the reading group) seemed half asleep and more dozy than usual. I can't work out whether she is highly intelligent and deep or whether she's an ageing airhead. I'm not even sure that she had read the book. She didn't draw me out enough in the group - I found it difficult to articulate what I felt about the book and it's only now on reflection that I can say: I liked the male characters but the main female left me quite detached and uninterested in her or her fate. I loved Sam. I loved how he sorted out his relationship with his father. Everyone else felt it was a good read and we were all surprised that Rosie Thomas turned out to be a better writer than we imagined. I skipped quite a bit of the mountaineering sections as I'm not keen on heights. I'd be very surprised if I read another of Rosie's books.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Local Elections

I've just realised that as I'll still be away from home on 3rd May I'll miss the opportunity to vote in the local elections. What a shame. The last time this happened I requested a postal vote as I hate missing an election. But this time I'm not bothering. I wouldn't know who to vote for - they all as bad as each other. Maybe if we had a candidate standing for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party I might be tempted. But it seems to me that however independent people are when they first go into politics they soon 'conform'. Sidmouth's main claim to fame re elections is that Stuart Hughes was voted in many years ago as a Raving Loony member - but nowadays he's Conservative.

"Stuart Hughes's electoral successes
The first Raving Loony to win as a result of a straight vote (as opposed to being elected unopposed) was Stuart Hughes, taking the "safe" Conservative seat of Sidmouth Woolbrook on East Devon District Council in May 1991. He then took a seat on Sidmouth Town Council from the Conservatives the following day. His success was met with fury and quite disproportionate hostility from the local Tories. Hughes' reaction was to attempt to make their lives a misery for the next three years: eg. refusing to pay his Community Charge (also known as the Poll Tax), then dumping scrap metal in the middle of the council chambers to the value of his unpaid tax when threatened with legal action. He also formed an alliance known as "The Coastals" (because of the seats they held) of Independents and the sole Green Party councillor, giving East Devon's ruling Conservatives the first true opposition they had faced for decades (the local Liberal Democrat and Labour Parties being negligible).
Hughes retained his seats with increased majorities in subsequent elections, and the final humiliation for the Conservatives came when he took the Devon County Council seat from the local party's Chief Whip in the council. Hughes remains a member of all three councils to this day although he now does his politicking - ironically - as a Conservative."

For more info on the party see: from which the above segment was copied.

The party doesn't seem to have had quite the same impact on elections since the death of its founder.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Route March Preparations

I'm putting off doing the ironing. The ironing basket is full. But this time I can't just recycle it through the wash machine again as I need some of the shirts in there to go away with at the weekend. I've made a list and a list of the lists of' things to do' in preparation for being away for a couple of weeks. I have had the car serviced, MOTed and taxed. I need to launder the car too - it's far to rural to go up to smart town places. Besides I can't see out of the windows properly. I've just been online to AA Route finder - I've just printed off my routes :
  1. from here to there,
  2. and from there to there there
  3. and from there there to there there there and back again
  4. then finally the last route - from there there to here.

GoldFingers or Butterfingers Gordon Brown

This entry from my earlier blog site on Yahoo 360 on 4th March : -

"While I'm on the subject of Gordon Brown - How on earth can anyone say he has managed the economy 'well' ? Besides ruining a very good pension and savings culture in the UK; he also sold our gold reserves: at a point when gold prices were at the lowest - and he announced in advance when he would be selling - thus letting the price drift ever lower while his minions hauled it out of the vault in deepest Wales - or wherever the Royal Mint is/was. Where was the gold stashed anyway? Fort Knox maybe? "

I read in the Sunday Times yesterday [15th April ] that it was Gordon Brown's decision to sell OUR GOLD. A decision taken despite expert advice to the contrary. I'm not surprised - it made no sense to me at all at the time and I'm just surprised that people seem to forget about all his duff decisions.

A Welcome Break Away

As my man is feeling a bit better and more able to cope at home alone, I've arranged to go and visit friends (Suffolk coastal region) and family in London and on the south coast. To get ready for a visit to the big city - the first for over 2 years - I need to shop. First for some clothes. Second, to stock the larder with easy cook meals to keep my man going for 1-2 weeks. Now it could mean that I'll have other chores to do besides shopping and packing. I have to sort my route out to fit in all my visits (the AA route finder): update the SatNav as I don't want to be caught speeding in a strange area: re-schedule various appointments and diaried events. In other words I may be rather busy fitting everything in. Therefore may be blogging less for the next 3 weeks. Then again - they do have Internet cafes in the big smoke, so I may be able to log in and post an update. But I hope to be too busy - sharing bottles of wine and giggling with my sister/ friends. Too busy to even think of blogging. When I'm not busy wining, dining and giggling I'll be tramping parts of the London Loop with the dogs.

So if I go missing for a while you'll know why. I'll be back at base camp again the 2nd week in May with tales of adventure in the big scary world of the South east where:

  • they stab you as soon as look at you
  • where my sister will tell me off for speaking to strangers
  • where she'll feel compelled to take me by the hand just to get across the road
  • but where the driving is easier because no-one is able get above 15 mph
  • where the drivers have better eyesight [unlike the drivers of Sidmouth - half of whom are driving around half blinded by cataracts.]
  • but where I may be forced to forego the twice daily shower for one every other day due to the water shortage.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Inheritance Issues

Have I Been Here Before? Do you believe in re-incarnation? I think I may do. Apart from the usual feelings of Deja vu we are all inclined to experience at some times; when I was younger I used to have extremely strong feelings that are not so easily dismissed. As a young gal of 15 we had a family holiday in Somerset. At that age I was an eager reader of Georgette Heyer's books. So, of course, a trip to Bath was organised so that I could see the city, view the Royal Crescent, the Pump Rooms and the Roman Baths. And also to visit Bath Abbey. It was at this point I changed from the usual dreamy teenager following the adults. When it came to finding the Abbey and the Assembly Rooms I knew exactly where to go - I felt I had been here before. I unerringly led the family down the side streets until we were facing the main facade of the Abbey - and it looked just as I knew it would. Now I've either lived in the area in a 'previous life' or it is some form of 'inherited memory' from my genes. I started to research my family history a few years ago and found that my maternal great grandmother came from Timsbury which is only a few miles from Bath. My ancestors have strong links in the Somerset and Gloucestershire area. When we first moved to Gloucestershire I had a very strong sense of 'coming home'.

Apart from that experience I was also terrified when I was younger by aeroplanes flying overhead. When we were first married our home was a under a Heathrow flight path. If the wind was in the right direction I was often woken as I desperately tried to hide under the bed while a plane flew over. It made me wonder whether I had died previoulsy as a result of a bomb during the War. Or was it because my mother had experienced some frightening moments in London during the war that again this 'memory' was passed down to me via her genes, along with her grey-blue eyes?

Thank My Lucky Stars

"You should notice a boost of energy today, dear Pisces, and that your self-confidence is revitalized. It should be! In matters of love and romance, everything is running smoothly. Your emotions are stable and grounded; love and harmony are in the air. Take this opportunity to move toward the object of your desire with certainty and affection. Romance is in the cards for you tonight"

Well that sounds O.K - but as I don't play cards and don't have a pack in the house - it's obviously a no goer.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Counting My Blessings in April

  1. My man is one degree better - helped by all the recent sunshine
  2. I'm planning a trip to visit friends in Suffolk
  3. Followed by a visit to my sister in London
  4. I still have a bookshelf full of books waiting to be read
  5. I now receive a pension - so have some income to spend - riches
  6. I'm 6lbs lighter than last month
  7. I've found some very funny blogs and laugh a lot
  8. We have no plans to get the builders back - yet
  9. The dust has finally cleared from the last building project which ended in December
  10. My man and I will have a break from each other
  11. The garden looks beautiful, azaleas, amelanchia, lenten roses, tulips, perennial candytuft, forget- me- not and primroses all over the place in full bloom.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Laughing Out Loud

I've been banned from reading blogs in the evening. The trouble is I find them so funny I've been yelping out loud and drowning out the football commentary. I can't read them at night either as I wake the house. Rilly Super's visit from a Swedish Angel really set me off yesterday. I'm finding that Blogging is a really good slimming aid . I daren't eat while reading - or I may choke. If I'm writing then my hands are full - so between the two forms of blogging I've lost 4lbs over the last 2 weeks.
Returning to Rilly's experiences with her Swedish visitor; I think I met the man of whom she spoke. He called on me very briefly - but left once he had ascertained I drive a Japanese car. I did tell him that the Honda Jazz is great fun to drive. In other parts of the world it's considered to be really hip-hop rather than hip-op as it is here.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

A Moving Story - Latest

We've decided to stay put. Although the Estate Agents enthused about our house; about how perfect it is I know I wouldn't move in without having to decorate throughout. It's looking very tired. The garden is moving in from outside, well the wild life is. I now have a resident mouse. When it scooted out from all the pot plants yesterday evening it stopped me concentrating on Sam Tyler and the end of Life on Mars. Set me thinking that it was time to have that spring clean and to buy some sonic mouse repellants . But perhaps it would be more green to get 2 cats instead. Even following the spring clean I'm too tired too to worry about keeping it neat and tidy for possible viewings. Besides, there is nothing of interest in East Devon that would make it worth the effort of moving. Well, not that we can afford. If i were to become a £1 million winner on the premium bonds if could be a different story.The agents tell me that no-one is moving as it is too expensive. If the estate agents call the state of this place 'immaculate and perfect' then why should I go and buy another 'immaculate' place just to spend months doing it up to an acceptable standard. I may as well spruce this one up.

Trouble and Strife - the North South Divide

I'm the husbnd of 1 of Wife in t North. Now I know that U all no that there 2 sides 2 every story. I have no time to set up my own blog so frend in SW allow me 2 use her to say, I far too busy wrking hard - slgging away all hrs Mondays 2 Fridays- earning big money to pay for the wife, children, and several builders + architect and all their family/ offspring and all building materails. then at end of week i long trip up north to see famly and nagging wife. She shld no that petrol stations not as frequent as down in Lndn - not surprisng it run out lot - I only think2 fill up when c filling station. Then i have to rush back for work again at begin of week - keys not my fault. I more tired n stressed than she is. I have to look after slf all wk as well as work. when house build ends and i more time i will put my side of story. Apols 4 typos but more usd 2 txting - n not easy to do while driving M1 . Apart from wkends i only have text relations.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Elegant Cat less

Lady Tara hasn't been anywhere near us for several weeks. I can't remember the last time she was in our garden. I thought she had died. But I saw here strolling across the road as I returned from town. It was only later when throwing out bird food that I remembered. The last time she was in our garden she had bird food thrown over her. The wet pre-soaked sticky sultanas I threw under an azalea for the black birds and she was covered in them. I expect by the time she returned home they were well and truly stuck fast. The indignity of having them combed out is probably something she doesn't want to risk again.

It's a Crying Game

Well I'm more modern than I expected to be at my age. I'm very emotional and weepy. I usually blame it on lack of hormones. Now I can say I'm into the new trend. Apparently, there is a new craze from Japan - Crying Clubs. Where everyone goes just to have a good cry. Maybe I could set one up? Just not sure that East Devon is ready for such a groovy happening. To go along with 'Crying Clubs' the latest craze in USA is the website

And How Do I Feel?

I'm always expecting the worse. If a tragedy ever strikes me or my neighbourhood I wouldn't be saying I never expected this to happen to me/us. I would be good for contingency planning. Well, my larder is always full. My petrol tank never runs dry. The Government should pay to use my imagination and expertise. In the event of emergency or tragedy I am prepared. If a journalist ever asks me how I feel I have my answer ready. "I feel with my hands. How do you feel?"

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Waste to Hip Ratio

My man was very keen to empty the wash machine in to the tumble dryer. Strange, he's not usually into domestic tasks as 'they are demeaning'. Mmmm - I know the feeling. But he wanted his pyjamas for tonight. When I asked about the other 3 sets he said they didn't fit and were not comfortable enough. He needed a larger size. Would I buy some more when next I shopped at M&S. They don't do any larger - I bought the XXL size last time - he's not put on that much weight - the XXL should be fine. (Even if I had washed them at 75 degrees a few times in error. When I'm in a rush my laundry sorting can be a bit slap dash). He couldn't believe that there aren't larger sizes to be had and I didn't believe that he needed larger. I made him put on the new pyjamas bought last autumn. He told me that the 'legs are too long I trip up in them'. We had an modelling session. No wonder he needs a larger size. I'm not surprised the legs are too long. He hates being constricted - he wants to be comfortable. So he wears the waist down on his hips. Therefore he needs a waist size that will fit around his hips. All I need to do now is find somewhere that sell pyjamas that fit a 48" waist but with very short legs. I wonder where the Hippo in the Silentnight bed gets his pyjamas.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Manuka Honey and Health

A few weeks ago I removed a rather large old heather from the garden outside my bedroom window. It used to be my cats favourite sunbathing site. They would lie there baking in the sun until they became too hot. Then roll over and nestle under the shade of the heather. But with no cats to use it as a snug sun lounger it has gone. The neighbours' cats were just using it as cover from which to ambush the passing birds. Another good reason for it to go. Today I replanted the area with 2 low growing Leptospermum and some Veronica for ground cover. Now I've been taking Manuka honey over the last week as I keep having a recurring irritating sore throat. My glands are a little uncomfortable so I assume I'm fighting some bug. The next time I go visiting a friend in hospital I'll take along a pot of the Active Manuka honey with me. It'll make a change from grapes and magazines and it may save their skin - in more ways than one. Manuka honey is made by the bees that collect pollen from the Manuka bush (Manuka Leptospermum scoparium) which grows wild in New Zealand. As a gardener I always thought of it as the 'NZ Tea Tree'. They do make a Tea Tree Oil from it which is considered 'richer and warmer' but the more common Tea Tree Oil bought for medicinal uses comes from a different Australian shrub.

Healthy Cake

This is an old favourite of mine which I have adapted over the years. It makes a really impressive cake that improves for leaving a day before consuming. It also freezes very well. I'm inclined to batch bake and cut the cakes in half before freezing. I usually keep them in the fridge asIthink the texture improves when it is kept cold. I find the non-stick cake tin liners from Lakeland plastic the easiest to use.

Use empty yoghurt carton (125g) as a measure for the ingredients.
List of ingredients
1 carton of low fat natural yoghurt
1 carton sunflower oil
2 cartons caster sugar
3 cartons of SR four
2 teaspoons Almond extract
2 large eggs

large tub of natural colour glace cherries (chopped or at least halved - a sticky task - don't need to wash them)

Put all ingredients (bar the cherries) into a large bowl and beat until smooth. Then stir in the cherries. pour into a lined 2lb (1 kg) loaf tin. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon caster sugar on top.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 160C/325F/Gas mark 2-3 or Fan oven 150C. Cook for approx 1.5 hours. The cake should be well risen, golden and firm to the touch. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 -30 mins. Then turn out and allow to cool on wire rack.

Variations to basic mix.
You can add 2 teaspoons of a quality lemon oil then drizzle fresh lemon juice over the top while it is cooling. You can make a good coffee and walnut cake by mixing in some really strong coffee and 4 oz or more chopped walnuts. Good quality chocolate and some cocoa for a chocolate cake.

I have even made huge versions for the local fete by exchanging a 3/4 or 1 cup measure for the 125 g pot. If you do scale up then 2 eggs are still enough - if it looks too dry I usually add another splodge of yoghurt.. .. It is very flexible mixture. Experiment. It is a very forgiving mixture. But whatever you do - don't taste it until it is COLD otherwise you may be disappointed.

Friday, 6 April 2007

Lost and all confused

When the show started I watched the first series of LOST . In fact I was hooked on the first series. But half way through the second series the video recordings started to mount until I was snowed under with unseen episodes. I even read the book that was supposed to have some bearing on where the series was heading. The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien. It wasn't my kind of book. But I have to say I do remember it quite clearly. I'll try and catch up with Lost one day and see how it ended. I was very fond of Sawyer who was my favourite character. Jack the Lad used to get on my nerves.

Now I was thinking of Lost recently as the BBC drama 'Life on Mars' will soon be coming to an end. I haven't watched it every week but will watch next Tuesday - just to see how it's concluded. I hope it's a proper conclusion. I want something definitely black and white, no messing - a definite ending - Sam to end up in the here and now or in the there and then,1973.

Sleepless in Sidmouth

I should have blogged a bit longer last night. I went to bed at Cinderella hour and was still awake at 1 a.m., my mind teeming - putting the world to rights. I was tempted to start another blog post. What I was puzzling over is how truthful to be. When starting out I found it intimidating. The thought that all my friends and neighbours in this parish would read it and be judgemental. Then when Marion told me how her mind is going round in circles with worry and stress. I suggested she start to blog. When she said "what's that?" and everyone else in the group was none the wiser I realised that there isn't likely to be anyone I know locally reading my postings. Any readers in East Devon who happen across this site are likely to be quite a few years younger and most of my friends are 10 years older than I.

Now Martin and Marion moved into their home just over 18 months ago. In that time they have built a loft conversion and re-arranged all their living space downstairs. New kitchen and bathrooms. Nothing is as it was this time last year. It has been very traumatic for them. They lived on site as the builders worked around them. The builders only left a few short weeks ago. I reckon Marion is suffering from PBSS [Post Builders Stress Syndrome].

I also had this disease. I had PBSS after we did a DIY extension to make a kitchen diner. It was competed in October 1979 after a 6 month project. My man did most things including drilling through the huge cable that supplied the electric cooker with its juice. I've never heard a bang like it since. I just counted my blessings.. I thought "lucky I wasn't widowed". As it was I just said "Now look what you've done - that'll take another week before you've finished it." It took several weekends and a few Bank holidays to complete the project. The mess muck muddle and confusion were unbelievable. Never again. So our next move was to a new build. Beautiful. The best years of our life. We didn't have to lift a finger for 10 years. Not indoors. Outdoors though it took us 3 years to get the garden going and a few more before it was well established. That was plenty enough hard work. You know what builders are like for burying half bricks, concrete blocks and other bits of rubble. Once the ground was cleared we had the pleasure of stocking with plants. Lovely till my back finally protested. Never been the same again. Probably because we had to garden on the side of a steep Gloucestershire hill. If one leg wasn't shorter than the other it meant your back had to bend to accommodate. That was the initial cause of my scoliosis.

Then we moved to Devon to a 1970's house that needed updating throughout. Initially we planned to do it all while my man worked for the spondulicks to pay for the renovations. So we have spent several years with builders in every 18 months or so doing a room here and a room there. Never given us chance to really settle in and get used to calling it home. I'm just recovering from my last nasty bout of PBSS and wondering whether I really do need to get that old 1960's granite fireplace out of here or whether I can live with it a bit longer. I'm not sure I know which is the lesser of the two evils: the fireplace or having the builders back.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

My first comment

Well thanks to MOPSA who very kindly sent me a comment. I've now progressed a bit further into the murky by ways of blogland. I'm beginning to feel less and less like a blogging virgin. And as a reward to Mopsa for being so kind to a novice I've managed to locate her blog and finding it extremely interesting I've awarded her top slot on my 'Some Impressive Sites' section. In actual fact with her writings on books and food in particular I feel as if it could have been my writing. I can write almost as well if allowed full concentration. In fact as well as paranoia could I be schizo as well and written as Mopsa? No - that's not me - there's no way I could eat anything that I had personally known or reared. Thinking along this line I almost became a vegetarian 25 years ago. But after reading an article which claimed 'plants screamed' when pulled or cut I realised I'd probably starve if I let my sensibilities overwhelm me. At that stage I was all skin and bone. As it is now I am several stone overweight. I bake to relax. I taste test the results. I comfort eat. I eat when stressed. I eat when bored [which is rarely]. I eat when reading. I don't eat when blogging. Therefore to lose weight I need to blog more often. And jog, I wonder if I could jog. I wonder if I could jog and blog - at the same time. It's the only way I'd fit it in.

How Do They Do That?

All that blogging I mean. The more blog sites I get into I'm wondering just how do people manage to fit it in to their lives? I've made [ruined] a cake this afternoon. All because Iwas trying to get my blog sorted and a bit more interesting. What happened to the cake? Well, first of all I almost overcooked it. Then when I turned it out of the tin, being impatient to get back to this compulsive new habit - I mean hobby - I dislodged it far to quickly and almost dropped it on the floor. After juggling it like a hot potato I saved it from the dog's slavering mouth but it is a broken wreck of a thing. A poor specimen. My easiest recipe - 85% ruined. It's not good enough to put out as centre piece of the tea table for visitors so will have to provide a Waitrose version instead. As I was clearing up the mess of hot broken fruit cake crumbs I started to ponder on how other people manage to write their pages uninterrupted. I forever have dogs, people who need seeing to in one way or another. Or even when the dog and the master of the house are having an afternoon rest I get unexpected phone calls or visitors [salesmen] at the door. I'll have to think of devoting a couple of hours nearer to midnight to blogging and see how I get on then.

Am I getting through to anyone?

I'm beginning to feel paranoid. I feel people are talking about me, not to me. I don't have much conversation at home nowadays. And I don't seem to be getting much on this blog either. Well - none at all. I know one friend who does read it and she's kind enough to tell me I'm clever to master all the links etc. But it's not quite the same. I still don't know whether people read this. Or what they think of it. Maybe because I lead such a restrictive life what I have to say is of no interest. I went into a few estate agents in Sidmouth but there not many properties on the market. In fact one agent told me that he has nothing to sell as no-one wants to move in town as it costs too much. He's mainly picking up properties through natural wastage i.e. someone dies or goes into residential care. Looks as if we may still be living the rural life a bit longer. Good in summer but I found this winter rather dreary and depressing. And isolating that's why I'd like to move to town. I'm drowning not waving.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007


The Wife in the North had an entry about Friesian cattle. From some of the comments on her blog I realised how little I knew about where Friesianland is. I assumed Germany. I also had some vague memory of Anne of Cleeves. I'm sure there was an unkind bullying remark by Henry VIII - "the Mare of Cleeves" and wondered whether that was linked to Friesian horses. Well, I know now that Friesland was part of Holland/Germany/Denmark - that it can also be spelled as Frisian and that the cattle are actually Holstein Friesian. Isn't curiosity a wonderful thing. You never quite know where you'll end up when you go looking for information. At least I'll remember that the black and white cows I see are Holstein Friesians. It also set me awondering what were the cows i liked but just called Brown - such as in "How Now Brown Cow?" well my favourite ones are the Jersey. I just think they are the most beautiful. and from now on I'm going to try and source organic Jersey milk.

Now for anyone who is interested and not stopped reading thinking this is all very boring the Guernsey breed isn't quite as attractive in my eyes - so no picture.

We must all celebrate the fact that Tesco is to raise the price paid for milk to the British farmers. For too long they have struggled to keep their herds going for a pittance. Milk is good for you if you don't want to end up with osteoporosis. And if you want to enjoy the look of the British countryside then it wouldn't look like does for long without dairy herds grazing. There are parts of common land now where they have to torch the ground each spring to keep the undergrowth in check. I'd rather see cattle grazing than spring time bonfires. So buy milk/butter/cheese and buy British milk. It's the one with the little UK logo in an oval lozenge on the label. Look for it and check it is British - not foreign milk just bottled here.

I'm just going on to find out where Anne of Cleeves came from now.

Buy One Get One Free

I see that England have already lost a wicket at the World Cup Cricket match. Score is 2 for 1. Sounds like a BOGOF offer to me - but my man is not pleased. So it obviously isn't a bargain.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007


Now when I was a young gal in the 60's - I felt quite safe. it was a gentler world where males treated girls with respect. My father was always full of dire warnings about what went on in a young man's mind. Well, not just his mind. But I think my innocence and trusting nature brought out the best in the males I met. Apart from being 'sensible' when travelling around London after dark and avoiding dark alleys etc I felt quite safe. But I see there is now advice that women should 'not to go out alone' in case their drink is spiked with a drug and they end up semi-comatose and being raped. Well, that's progress for you. I would have thought that, if women take sensible precautions - buy their own drinks, never accept drinks from strangers, and try to be safety aware then I don't see why they should not be free to go out alone. The Suzy Lamplugh Trust has a wealth of excellent information for personal safety. All women should read it and consider taking on board some of the suggestions. A good way to keep fit and safe for young and old alike could be to learn a self defense sport.

Who Am I?

Have you ever woken from a deep sleep and wondered 'Who am I?'. Well I used to do that- a lot. Very disconcerting it is too. Sometimes I'd wake and my first thought was 'Who am I?' then 'Where am I?' closely followed by 'Who's that sleeping next to me?'.

Now I've led a very sheltered life. Old fashioned. I missed all the loose living of the 60's. If anyone offered me any drugs I didn't notice. Maybe due to my short sightedness and the vanity that prevented me wearing specs. I remember the phrase 'men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses'. Well if you don't wear them you don't see the passes being made. Maybe that was a saying sent about by fathers, trying to keep their little girls 'pure'. So apart from my sister when we were very young I have only shared a bed with my husband. So it is rather strange to wake and have to lie there gathering all my thoughts together as to 'who I am'. Must be awful [or liberating!] to have long term amnesia. Do you think we have lived before? Is it possible we could forget which life we are in now? I believe in re-incarnation. I'll come back to that later!

More Laughter

I went to bed exhausted last night and thought to fall asleep instantly. But Pam Ayres was on the radio. She made me laugh so much I pulled a muscle under my rib cage. It must have been a belly laugh. I couldn't get to sleep then. I had to massage my trigger points. It certainly helps with old muscles that are overworked, overstretched and over abused - as are mine. This time last year I could barely walk up/down stairs. Then I discovered this amazing book and was able to cure myself within a couple of weeks.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Laughter the best medicine

I have been dipping into other blogs recently and found the Wife In the North. As I was feeling particularly stressed this evening - after visitations from 3 Estate Agents to value our home and inform us why they are all best suited to sell our property - I had a quick peek at the Wife up North and laughed out loud. Felt better. Was then able to view the days trials with a glimpse of humour. Don't know which agent to believe. They varied in valuations by sizeable sums. One agent tells me that people aren't rushing to register their homes for sale before the HIP come into force on 1st June and the other agent is inundated with people anxious to get their property on the sales list before that date. They are very keen to get our home to sell it. They tell me that it is bright. modern, clean and immaculate. Well, it would be. I've spent the last 2 days clearing the decks, hoovering and polishing till I'm bone weary. Every drawer and cupboard is stuffed - I'll be searching all over for everything for days to come. In fact I'm thinking of taking up 'Fallout Insurance' before I open any cupboard. One thing they all agree upon. It looks very nice. In fact it looks so nice I'm tempted to stay here a while longer.

April Fool update

Maybe . . . . I see in another paper today that there is an article on bacterium found to lift depression. So maybe the Sunday Times doesn't go on for April Fool jokes after all. Not unless it is seeing if other papers then lift their foolish article and report it themselves. now that would be funny. But in this case I think I may have been mistaken. Maybe that would explain why so many gardeners are such contented happy people.

Brown's Raid on the UK Pensions

I cannot understand why it has taken the Opposition party nearly 10 years to raise the problem of Gordon Brown's £5 bn year raid on pension funds. Yes I know they have been battling to have the information released for 2 years. Well why not shout louder about it before now? Many of us oldies have worried about this almost from the moment it was announced. I know that pensions were also affected by the fall in world markets but that's the point it was made worse. With so many pension funds failing/closing I kept expecting GB to make a statement that he would reverse the decision. I have never understood why the opposition parties didn't fight for pensioners over this issue. I've not heard them say very much about it at all. So why has it hit the headlines now?? I assume it's part of upsetting Brown's leadership chances and his potential early dash to the polls. Gordon Brown has ruined the UK's personal pensions. It is only now that the Tories are kicking up a bit of a stink. I just cannot believe in any party that only raises the issue when it is politic to do so - not in outrage at the time it starts to show in the effect it had on pensions. I think Peter Kitchen is right - they are no different - each is as bad as the other. Like poor blinkered foot soldiers in WW1 everyone is just talking about the 2p reduction in tax they don't seem to realise that in fact this is outweighed by another stealth tax. People also forget that previous to the last election G Brown promised pensioners a few hundred pounds towards their Council Tax, but after the election it was realised that it was a one off payment for that year only. GOTCHA!! Have you ever been had?

Sunday, 1 April 2007

April Fool? nearly

I was reading the Sunday papers and wondered whether the Sunday Times article on people rolling around in the dirt would really lift depression?! it certainly sounds fun. and i like the idea of less cleaning but a bacterium that lifts depression? I remember several years ago reading the paper on 1st April and thinking that the 'widget' in a can of beer was the ad made up as an April fool. It sounded preposterous. Then in the same paper I found an advert for a car which boasted being able to hold in its memory various settings of seat/mirror combinations for 3 drivers. I thought this pretty far fetched too. But we are now familiar with these 2 gadgets so i was wrong that year. However, the Mail on Sunday article that claims there is to be a new environmental tax on O2 emissions and in future everyone will have to pay £5 for every BBQ - is wonderful. No guessing wrongly there - not unless there really is a Journo with the name of April Baddely-Burned.