Thursday, 31 May 2007

Don't Eat Meat ~ Save the Planet

Can you really believe that there is 'secret email' suggesting that everyone should become vegetarians to save the world from global warming. If the Govt are really so very worried about then why are they not holding their meeting via web cams and video conferencing rather than taking 70+ staff around the world on various 'business' junkets. Ha! Do they think we are all idiots? I bet this point on vegetarian diets being better for the planet was put to some idiotic, naive, Govt official by some clever, persuasive, smooth talker in a large company. Maybe like the giant biochemical seed raising industry like Monsanto. I sometimes think the world is going MAD. No maybe it is just this Govt. After all it was this Govt that believed that there were weapons of Mass Destruction capable of being let off within 45 minutes hidden away in Iraq's bunkers.

I'm a great fan of Jonathan Agnew

I love listening to Aggers. Especially when the cricket isn't on [when rain stopped play]. I love lying in bed and listening to him paint word pictures of the ground and the 'barmy army' and any other antics the spectators get up to. His descriptions and his voice is - oh, so luvverly. Jonathan Agnew has converted me into becoming a Test Match Special listener. I don't listen for the cricket - I still don't understand a word about that - I still get 'our' side muddled up with 'theirs'. No I just enjoy all the little descriptions and other asides. It's far better than 'Book at Bedtime'. I can picture Aggers so very clearly in my mind. So it was a shock to see a photo of him as I'd imagined he looked just like Peter Willey the umpire - dressed all in white overall with his smart hat on.
I listened in the the 50th anniversary of Test Match special the other day on Radio 4 just to listen and laugh over the 'The Johnners Incident'. As the following piece from Wikipeadia says :-
"One commentary that he performed with Brian Johnston for an England vs West Indies Test Match in August 1991 was voted on the BBC Radio 5 Live to be the "greatest piece of sporting commentary ever" [2]. He was commentating on Ian Botham reeling after receiving a ball and trying, but failing, to step over the stumps. Botham was consequently given out hit wicket. Agnew's comment on this action was: "He just couldn't quite get his leg over." This was followed by laughter by both Johnston and Agnew as they realised what Agnew had just said, with Johnston imploring "oh do stop it, Aggers" between convulsions of mirth (listen to mp3). In England, "getting one's leg over" is a euphemism for having sexual intercourse, something Botham had quite a reputation for [3].
Another on-air giggling fit was provoked by
Eleanor Oldroyd's comment "One good bit of news for England is that Ian Botham's groin is back to full strength" [4]

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Counting My Blessings In May

Hmmmmm, thinks .....
  1. I'm still married ... so far ...
  2. Only half of my joints ache
  3. I'm still fat - but if I fell into the North sea I'd survive longer - and it would be easier to float (like cream on top of coffee)
  4. I discovered Westlife (sad - I know)
  5. I have more in my bank account than at the end of last month ...
  6. I can therefore go for some retail therapy
  7. And buy Westlife's 'Let Us Be Frank'
  8. The garden is looking beautiful
  9. I appreciate home again - and My Man, after a break away

Monday, 28 May 2007

Bank Holiday Weather

Well what a night. Gale force winds and heavy rain after a horrible wet and cold Sunday. I'm just glad there are no children staying with us. Otherwise I'd be busy devising indoor paper games to keep them amused. Let's hope the weather cheers up so the families can enjoy the beach and the fresh outdoor life for the rest of half term week.

Support British Farmers - Please

At our supper party the other evening I found out that some people are under the impression that there are no or very little British milk or dairy products on the market. They were under the impression that the milk/dairy produce was brought into the country and then processed, labeled, and sold under the British flag. They weren't aware of how if you want to really support British farmers by buying British produced milk then you should be looking for the little diamond shaped logo on the label with UK mark inside it or the 'red tracor' logo. We also talked about Organic produce and how if it isn't British Organic then it may not be to the same standards which we think of as organic in the UK. So that is another reason to buy British.

About a quarter of British produced milk is made into cheese. This morning on BBC Radio 4 Farming Today I heard of yet another British farmer selling his dairy herd of 660 Holstein. One animal alone fetched 5000 guineas [i. £5000 and 5000 shillings- which I think converts to about £5,500]. I do love the fact that in this day and age when we are fighting to keep our £ sterling auctioneers still deal in a pre-decimal amount for livestock sales. If we want to protect our British countryside in all its beautiful diversity then we do need to support British farmers. The well maintained almost manicured fields with diverse hedgerows would soon turn to scrub land. And if we don't support British Farmers then it will be no use complaining when we have to import all our dairy and meat products from overseas.

Friday, 25 May 2007

I Don't Think I am Therefore ....

Following on from my previous list; on the basis of every positive having a negative I thought I should compile of list of what I intend not to be in the future.
  • I don't think I am a 'bossy boots' therefore I wont be a 'bossy boots'
  • I don't think I am fat therefore I wont be fat
  • I don't think I am poor therefore I am not poor
  • I don't think I am lazy therefore I will not be lazy
  • I don't think I am boring therefore I will not be boring
  • I don't think I am a control freak therefore I will not be a control freak
  • I don't think I am a nit-picker therefore I will not be a nit-picker, I mean - I will not be one - a nit picker, that is. I wont be one [ a nit-picker - I will cease to be a nit-picker - soon]. Let me re-phrase that last bulleted point :

I don't think I am a nit-picker therefore I wont be one [There, I knew I could do it and I did it]

Missing Children

This blog will not be displaying the bring Maddie home poster or the web site. Not that I don't have sympathy for the child but there are other missing children ssome from several years ago like Ben Needham and while the family wish to keep Maddie's disappearance in the public eye maybe they could also think of adding other children's photos to the web site. (This item updated and link added on 28th May 2007. See also other comments: )

I've just found out while I composed this entry that this is - International Missing Childrens Day - 25th May 2007.

I can't quite understand why or how this family are getting so much publicity over one lost child. Is it because they are middle class i.e. professional people with the right [rich] friends and contacts? There are other families in the same predicament who fade quickly from public view after a few days. They are the ones for who we should be displaying info on our blogs etc.

I know. It is sad. Especially for the Maddie. But I can't quite understand how these parents - intelligent, professional people could leave 3 very young children alone in a strange country [not peculiar strange but unfamiliar] while they went out to dine. Every evening. I know they checked on them every half hour - but for a child to wake and cry out for a parent [maybe 2 minutes after the last check] then that is 28 minutes for them to be alone, frightened and distressed before Mum/Dad turn up again! Or suppose a fire had broken out? How long before someone would be aware and attempt a rescue? Maybe I have too vivid an imagination. As I've said previously - I've never been a person where I would say "I never thought it would happen to me". This is every parents worst nightmare. But most parents don't take the risk. For a few short years you put your social life on hold - only socialising at home or when you have a trusted baby sitter. You think constantly of 'what if ' scenarios - and if there is a doubt you go without - to keep your child safe and secure. There are enough risky times ahead when children want to start to be more independent. But by that time you hope they are old enough to be 'street wise' and savvy on self protection. I know you can't wrap children in cotton wool. But I think you should when they are so very, very young.

If you are looking out for Madeleine then take a few minutes to also look at the other missing children site: -'s+day&hl=en&um=1&sa=X&oi=news&ct=title

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Glam Gal

I bought a new sun hat when I was in Southwold. I was pleased with it. I thought I looked quite fetching in it. I put it on in front of my sister. She giggled. "You look just like Milly Molly Mandy". Pricked and deflated ego. Oh well - it does keep the sun off my face.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

High Maintenance Woman

Yesterday, when I wasn't faffing round on the PC, blogging, I was busy around the house with various chores. I also was busy in the garden potting up lavish displays of pelargonimums. Today was supposed to be more leisurely. I was due for a hair cut and blow dry. I had missed my regular 6 weekly haircut as I was away . Then feeling unwell on my return, I postponed an appointment. On a 'good mirror day' I felt I looked like a bit like aPre-Raphaelite (plumper) vision with a luxurious head of hair. On a 'bad mirror day' - which are the more frequent - I was beginning to look more like a ' Wild Woman of Borneo". Therefore, an urdo was a rather pressing need. Now, I like to look neat and presentable. I only have my hair done every 6 + weeks - at £24 a time plus a tip - it's not something I feel able to justify more than every 6 - 8 weeks. . Besides, I don't much like being 'fiddled' with. I'm usually too busy to sit back for 1/2 hour's primping and preening. I'm usually a wash and go kind of gal. But today, being tired I was rather looking forward, for once, to a bit of pampering - I blame this unusual happening on the Molton Brown products. Unfortunately, my hair dresser (or at £24 a visit should that be hair stylist?) has a great deal of change going on in her life. By the time I had heard all about her latest holiday in the sun with a girlfriend, her new business exploits, the disappointments over her spouse and then all about her house renovations I was pleased to come away for a few minutes quiet in the supermarket before I had to rush home to get lunch. I'm thinking of getting a notice to wear around my neck. 'Be Quiet. I don't want to hear any more about your problems - I have enough of my own!' That's one of my problems - I think. I've always been a 'good listener'. That's what people have used me for. They like the fact I make them laugh. But at the moment I am dried up and fully out of compassion. And I am having difficulty in seeing the funny side sometimes. Maybe I should think about a few days break - rest, relaxation, peace and quiet - in a spa.

Monday, 21 May 2007

I Blog, Therefore .......

I am a Blogger. Following the philosophy of becoming what I think I am I've decide to compile a list of what I think I am from this day forward:
  • I think, therefore I am a thinker
  • I think I am a writer, therefore I am a writer
  • I think I am love, therefore I am a love
  • I think I am beautiful, therefore I am a real beauty
  • I think I am healthy, therefore I am healthy
  • I think I am slender, therefore I am
  • I think I am wise, ....
  • I think I am clever,.....
  • I think I am creative, .....
  • I think I am Rich, ......
  • I think I am artistic, ......
  • I think I am kind,
  • I think I am content, ...
  • I think I am about to win a BIG Premium Bond prize, therefore I win a ...
  • I think I am, therefore I am, - I think - or am I?

Sunday, 20 May 2007

What's In a Name?

When I was away I met up with an old school friend. She married well and lives on a beautiful wooded estate in Surrey. With the country-lady life style she reminds me of the Queen. Headscarf on head, walking the grounds with her dogs. Although, Lady Dagnall she hasn't forgotten her old childhood friends. She is very good company. We enjoyed a good chat and a laugh over a shared bottle of wine. A bottle she brought up from the cellar herself. But a wine I had seen on special offer in Sainsbury's a few weeks previously. We talked over 'old times', school days, school chums and pored over the photo albums. She tells me that our old school has been sold off to make way for a new housing estate. I mentioned that I had seen an advert in the Saturday Telegraph for a new 'posh' development being built in Croydon. Along Pawsons Road. The road that my grandfather's generation used to call 'Death and Poverty Street'. One side had the old workhouse and the other side the cemetery. I wondered whether these 'smart new homes' have been built on the site of the old cemetery. I had visions of the 'smart new' residents being disturbed by 'The Poltergeist'. But I see now in fact it is on the old 'Queen's Hospital' site. Queen's Hospital which used to be the geriatric hospital with a permanent smell of boiled cabbage and urine. It was where our old folk were farmed out to live out their last days. Before society progressed to become 'more inclusive' and less ageist. A time unlike the 'modern way'. Of leaving elderly folk unattended in their own home. With just a few minutes of community care and Meals on Wheels each day. Lacey Dagnall tells me that one developer built some retirement flats in Croydon and couldn't understand why no-one would buy any of them. They had called it Purley Gates. They didn't sell one of them until they were re-named.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Desperate Measures

"Hello. The Samaritans, can I help you?"

" Um, yes. Is it right you um promise umm er uh complete confidentiality?"

" Yes that's right, we .. "

"Well, it's Tony here - you know Tony Bliar and I just don't know who else to talk to ... I ....... I ,, um .... "

"That's all right Tony, take your time. I'm here for you ... to help by listening "

"Well the thing is I'm going to be outta work at the end of June. I live in a tied cottage in London. I hinted years ago that I'd soon be looking out for a new position - I thought they would beg me to stay on but they didn't - ... they didn't understand -I didn't really mean it.. I thought it would all get better and I'd be in the job for simply ages and ages. But they thought I really meant what I said! They should've known me better than that!! I still can't believe it. It's not as bad as everyone thinks - I know I've done all the right things - but no-one believes me anymore. I'm not the only one who knows that everything I've done was the right thing and that it was all for the best, the best for everyone. The man upstairs, well he'll be the final judge - and no - I don't think my little heart problem was a hint from him that maybe I was wrong. I know that all that lying and manipulation - I mean by others - was in the interests of us all against them - the OTHERS. Have you seen LOST? Well, anyway, they believed me yet again - just when I really didn't mean what I said. But I get confused sometimes about what I do or don't mean. I thought they wouldn't believe me any more and then they agreed with me and told me I would be leaving soon. I've had notice for months now that the job was going to be taken away from me - they say I'm no good at it anymore and need to make way for a better man. Dew'no I still can't believe that I'm gonna be outta me job at the end of June ........ "

"So, you're going to be made redundant and you're finding it hard to come to terms with?"

"Yes - and the thing is Cherry - my wife - hasn't got our new home ready yet so when I'm outta work the whole family have to move outta the tied cottage and we don't have the new place ready for us to move into. The builders have only just started on rebuilding it - it's a bit of a hovel at the moment - and we gotta knock two into one - I know from reading the blogs of theWife/Strife in the North that it is a horrendous road we have to travel "

"So, besides coming to terms with losing your job - you'll also have to live on a building site for a while?"

"No - Oh no! - we do have another home we can use but it's an even worse hovel - it's small and cramped and mean like the homes that ordinary people have to live in - but worse than that ..... gulp .... worse than that ..... we'll have to live off what little money Cherry can make and my pension which is only around £200,000 per year (index linked) but then even worse than that ..... GULP ... it's worse than that ....."

"You can tell me Tony, what's worse than that?"

"Well --the hovel - it's in the North -- and as everyone knows it's really grim up North"

Friday, 18 May 2007

Knowing My Worth

A small brown box was delivered Tuesday morning. It held two bottles of Molton Brown hand wash and one of hand cream. Now as soon as My Man saw the products he said he thought they looked 'expensive'. I told him they did in fact cost more than the usual plain antibiotic, anti dirt scrub the mud from under my nails hand wash that usually occupies the bathroom. He wondered 'how much?'. I invited him to guess. He fondled the bottles, musing and then said 'over £30'. I agreed. 'What? more than that?' 'Yes' - we went up in increments until he reached £45. He didn't even blink. He blanched. I told him 'That's right but they will be economical in the long run as you need so little'. I didn't mention the extra for postage and packing. A bottle now stands on the bathroom basin next to a bar of carbolic soap for his use. I scrub the mud from my hands with the carbolic then take two shots of the 'thai vert' hand wash and slather on a couple of squirts of the soothing hand lotion. Bliss. My Man knows that if I'd not gone away I would never have discovered these expensive items which are, from now on, one of life's essentials.

The Whiteoaks of Jalna

Right - now how many of you remember these books? Did you ever read them? I used to love them as a teen. I think I'll have to get one to read for a trip down memory lane. The author was Mazo de la Roche. I loved books where you had a whole raft of characters that you could meet again and again with each subsequent saga. Just like a soap opera. The whole idea of a family living on an estate in a family house with that whole clan thing going on was the kind of life I always saw as 'perfect'.

I see that her real name was Mazo Roche but that she added the 'de la' . This set me wondering as to what name I would like to be known as an author. Penelope de la Southwell doesn't have quite the right ring to it. How about:

  • Canola de la Colyford

  • Olive de la Oyl [it does flow off the tongue]

  • Corinne de la Beer

  • Theresa che Green

  • Tabitha de la Ware

  • Penelope Deadly

I can see I'll have to give this subject some deep consideration. Until I have a name how can I write a book?

Holidays - Are They Worth It?

Although I do not for a moment regret seeing family and friends, the fact I collected a cold followed by sinus infection does make me wonder whether the break away was really conducive to re-charging my batteries. I've done very little since my return to base. When I was away I had so many fresh ideas I was full of projects I wanted to start upon my return home. But over the last 2 weeks I've been full of anti-histamine, decongestants and pain killers I've done nothing more than droop around doing the basic daily chores. I've now reached the stage that I'm beginning to forget what the projects are that I was once so keen to get on with. My get up and go that was so fired up, during my first week away, has once again got up and gone.

But maybe my long held dream of writing a book and (big day dream this) of actually getting into print should be got under way. As, according to Yahoo my stars for today: -

Something is coming to an end concerning the lack of confidence you have in yourself, dear Pisces. You have been hesitating to stand in the spotlight for quite a while now, feeling you are not quite ready. Well, no more excuses! Ready or not, you are going to have to push forward. The only thing you risk losing is your pride, and that is most resilient.

After all, Mary Wesley had her first adult book published when she was 70. So it's not too late!

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

It's All in the Stars

I log on to my BT Yahoo home page and see my horoscope:

"Today is a good day for devoting time and thought to spiritual pursuits, dear Pisces. Do something that inspires you and that instills a sense of wonder deep in your soul. Walk into a church and light a candle, sit outside and watch the changing sky, or spend time in front of a painting in your local museum. Meditate on your concept of God and the interconnection of man and Earth, of past and present. Savor the sense of connection you feel."

I know just what it means. By the time I have devoured the latest blog from the "Wife in the North" and then "Strife in the North" I really feel a sense of connection. Bathroom showrooms - never, ever have real water sploshing around. So you can't test out out how practical these impressive modern bathrooms are when in use. I had 2 attempts until I got it just about almost right. But in the next house we 'makeover' I intend to keep the old flush system and hide it in a box - they are far more efficient that any modern version.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Old Young or Young Old

The peculiar thing about living in a retirement area is that as I get older I still feel very young. I am living in an area where I am surrounded by so many folk who are so much older than I. At least 20 or 30 years older. It's amazing how many 90+ yrs old are still driving and having a good time. East Devon is certainly full of 'old fashioned manners'. Yet when I was in London I suddenly felt my years. Because so many younger folk were holding doors open for me and generally treating me with respect - like an older person. Reading newspapers would lead you to think that it is unsafe to venture out on the streets of cities. Older people are more likely to be mugged and have their purse snatched. And although people certainly appear to talk less to 'strangers' in the street and avoid making eye contact I felt that it was all quite friendly in a contained kind of way. Everyone I met was well mannered. The staff in the shops were cheerful and helpful too. Once I reached home again I was pleased to feel I belonged to the younger generation once more. It therefore came as a kind of shock to realise that today is the 38th anniversary of my first 'date' with My Man. 38 years - when I was 38 I remember being amazed that I'd soon be 40 - it all still feels like yesterday..

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Emergency Planning

A couple of years ago - post 11/9 [or if you are a non-European 9/11] the Government issued a booklet as to what to do in an emergency. From what I remember it was to get or remain indoors, tune in to the local radio, stock pile food/water etc.
Well I'm still stock-piling food [ I'm sure that is helping Sainsbury's and Waitrose on their profit levels] but I am beginning to run out of space. I was wondering recently about getting the builders back in to advise whether we have space for them to dig under the foundations and build a huge cellar. I could store a lot of groceries and water in there. It would rejuvenate my jaded palate for shopping. I already have cupboards stuffed full with maxi soups, baked beans, sweetcorn and tuna by the ton. But experience has already shown that I'm not too keen on making a meal out of these ingredients. They would have to be for emergency use only. Therefore to keep my spirits up, in the event of an emergency, I need to stock a few more items of quality gourmet foods with a long shelf life. The freezers are full but in a real emergency then the electricity supply may fail - so I can't rely on frozen goodies. Also frozen foods invariably need cooking and camping stoves are not the most reliable means of cooking. Now supposing when this emergency happens there is a party of ramblers passing by who need to get indoors? Then there is no way my hoard of stock would be sufficient.
I remember being told by a friend of 'someone' who worked in Kuwait when Saddam Hussein invaded. He popped over to the British Embassy looking for shelter and support and was refused entry as "we only have enough food for ourselves". Well, I can tell you this shattered a few illusions for me. However, much you berate the USofA I just cannot imagine them saying such a thing. After all, I've seen "The Killing Fields". Half of the American population and journos visiting Vietnam were rescued from the US Embassy roof via a fleet of helicopters. However, much I am proud of being British there is no way I feel able to emulate the attitude of the British Embassy in Kuwait. I couldn't refuse refuge to a few ramblers in distress - out in the open just as an emergency happens. Therefore I need to re-think my contingency planning scheme. Any suggestions as to what I could store, that doesn't need much cooking and with a long shelf life, gratefully received. Meanwhile I'll contact the builders on Monday.

Rape of the Countryside

I see from an article in today's Independent newspaper that it isn't the pollen of oilseed rape which causes us all to suffer from so much coughing and spluttering but that the "oilseed rape does give off volatile organic compounds such as terpenes and aldehydes which could account for its irritant effect on the mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth and throat." So, it may not be hay fever but an irritable response from the mucous membranes! Whatever, I just know that my symptoms appear as if from nowhere. I then find a field of rape within minutes of the onset of streaming eyes, nose and choking fits where I and my companions believe I'm breathing my last. And that is why I will never again visit East Anglia during the rape growing season.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Holiday - Experiences to Remember

So - what did I get up to while away for 2 weeks in the big, scary south east of England?
  1. I took [or rather,was taken by] a shopping trolley up to the 2nd floor on a travelator in a Tesco superstore - scary . I was so sure I was going to topple backwards I rode the mountainous travelling belt behind my trolley with my legs braced - one foot several yards behind the other - as if scaling Everest. I thought that one should try and walk up like climbing stairs on an escalator - not realising the trolley was firmly held in place till the end of the ride. My sister was openly amused but she may not have found it so funny if she'd read about the accidents that can happen. Going down had a different challenge - I felt obliged to canter as I exited the belt. Who needs a fair ground ride?
  2. I had a chance to play bowls on a Wii where I scored 9 out of 10 strikes and also tried my hand at boxing which was a bit more of a vigorous work out.
  3. Saw all my family and friends
  4. Walked in woods full of bluebells
  5. Explored Southwold Pier and the amusements
  6. Found 2 clematis - which I have to add to our collection - in a lovely nursery in Suffolk
  7. Caught a cold in Suffolk , took it back to Surrey and am currently spreading it around Devon.
  8. And finally, something very important which I almost forgot, I discovered Molton Brown liquid hand wash and hand lotion. I just have to source a supplier in the West country now.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Household Pests

Well, when I went away I had a regular visiting mouse. It wouldn't leave when politely requested to do so. Eventually I set traps. One was caught on the morning of my departure and two more while I was away. So far, this week, it has been all quiet on the Mouse Front. I'm also glad to say that I've not been invaded by ants. In 2006 a whole colony tried to move in and I had to get out weapons of mass destruction. Now I am on a slug hunt. I've seen it's slimy trail over the kitchen floor and hope to surprise it in the early hours when I make an unannounced visit of inspection. I don't know what it is about this house but the wildlife will persist in trying to move in with us.

The English Language in Essex

There are several areas on the A12 through Essex where the signs proclaim that this "Road is Liable For Flooding". I wonder how many people feel tempted to claim against the road when it's in flood?

Carpet of Bluebells

No finer sight than this in spring: a Bluebell wood in Surrey. During a perfect walk on a spring day. Sometimes living in the country in rural East Devon one imagines the whole of the London area as being full of houses, car parks and Tesco supermarkets. Here's proof that there is still green belt land available for any one to enjoy a walk in the peace and quiet. Only the deafening noise of bird song disrupted the silence.

Its Good to Be Back ...

..... in the balmy south west again. I was almost 'north' - in fact I was in East Anglia for 4 days. During which time, although the sun shone, I was bl***y freezing from the strong biting NE winds. So much so I caught a cold which then graduated to sinusitis. As the Wife/Strife Up North say 'it's grim' - and I was only half way up t'north. I blame my cold virus on a weakened immune system due to bad hay fever. As soon as I hit Suffolk my hay fever went into overdrive. The fields were covered in a bright garish yellow as far as the eye could see. From here to there and back again. Horizon to horizon full of rape fields. I definitely will not holiday in Suffolk again. If you want to steer clear of rape seed allergy then I suggest you also avoid Suffolk April/May. Officially - 'they' say that rapeseed does not cause hay fever. 'They' blame it on birch or other grasses and tree pollens. In which case why was I perfectly free of hay fever in mixed woodlands /gardens in Surrey but had bad reaction in parts of Sussex, a great deal of Essex and most of Suffolk?