Monday, 30 July 2007

Interesting Reading

I don't know whether any of this blog's regular readers have popped over to read any of Vichchoobhai's blogs . He is the lucky winner of the July competition for the 2000th reader. I've found some of his entries very interesting. As you know I'm always on the look out for amusing posts - so if you are like me and would like to read something funny and clever do fly over and have a persue of this post - as a taster. The blogs also include some poems. All 3 of his blogs are linked in the roll call of honour at the top of the right hand column.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

A Lazy Summer Day Reading

Summer should be an opportunity to read a book in the shade from the hot, hot sun. But this year that just seems like a forgotten dream.
I see that Jenny has almost finished reading R F Delderfield's "To Serve Them All My Days". A beautiful tale. A really good read in 1972. I revisited it recently for book club. I found it long and slow. It may be due to the fact I knew the story so well. I also assume that as the pace of life has increased it is harder to slow down to that quieter time in the early 1970's and take in a long leisurely descriptive read. I seem to have lost the knack lately of immersing myself completely in a long tome. I remember in the 1970's talking to an older woman who never read a book a second time "life's too short" and I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't understand how if you have enjoyed a book then why not re-read it and savour it a second time. She would also refuse to finish a book if she was not enjoying it. Again I used to read on all the way to THE END - regardless. But now I've turned into an older woman. I understand exactly what she means. I don't think the books have changed but I have.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

A Moving Dreamboat

We are still wondering whether to move. Now we are wondering whether to change area and move out of East Devon. We want a larger property. We still want rural seclusion. Having explored the towns of East Devon we are not really interested in moving into a town. We need to live close to facilities that older age and the need for regular medical appointments requires. We could do with some help to relocate and advice from the Channel 4 couple: Kirsty and Phil. In particular Phil. He could help me choose my next home anytime. Sigh. Extra heavy sigh ...

Having lived in Surrey, Kent, North London, Gloucestershire and then Devon I have no real strong roots. Part of me would like to move back to Sussex/Surrey to be near family. But then said family may up sticks and move, even to another continent. You can't rely on family nowadays. I wouldn't want to return to London. I didn't enjoy living there in the 1970s I should like it even less now. I've always had a pull towards the rural peace, quiet and tranquillity. I think it is my inherited genes coming out. Yesterday evening I found myself reading the road atlas of Great Britain. I found myself beginning to choose where we could move to. I lingered over Northumberland, or Yorkshire, or Derbyshire, even Wales - somewhere near Chester maybe? Choice - there is so much choice - how can I make a decision. Help me, please Phil.

Vital Statistics

I was examining my vital statistics this morning. I see I'm nearing the figure of 2000 readers on my stat counter. I am beginning to think that I should consider awarding a 'prize' for my 2000th visitor. However, some visitors obviously arrive in error. Headline grabbing Post Titles such as 'Vital Statistics' will draw a few people in - but after one fleeting look - they leave without even scoring .05 seconds on the site meter. I don't feel these 'visitors' really count. However, I am considering awarding the prize to the first 'true' reader who makes it to the stat counter as soon as 2000 folls up.

The prize ? Wait for it - this is a goodie - will be a link in my blog roll for a month; regardless of subject matter but it must be legal and not considered too offensive. So if you want to claim a prize and the meter is near 2000 - do leave a comment so I can trackback to your blog for a link. The judges decision is final. No family members may take part.

Gentlemen of the Night

I've just logged on to site meter to see who my recent readers are - as you do - on a wet Thursday morning. I see that I've had a few fleeting visits from a gentleman from the wild 'blue yonder' . I think he hails from the Wigan area. I don't think there is much to do in Wigan apart from visit the pier. He didn't stay long. A few seconds before midnight. A little longer at 12.45 a.m then crept away again till a brief check on me today around mid morning. Maybe he's shy. Maybe he just doesn't like the look of me. Maybe I'm too old for him. Maybe I talk too much. Or it may be that my gentleman of the night from the wild blueyonder is a virgin blogger.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Laugh Out Loud

I love blogs that make me LOL. I really must get on and sort out my bloglinks. I should change the headings into two columns Funny and Impressive. But that's for another wet day. Meanwhile here is the latest blog which made me laugh aloud - I hope it's not a one week wonder. An impressive beginning. Read and giggle. Clever Dick.

Cooking and Pondering ..

I was baking cakes this afternoon. One for the cake tin and 3 for the freezer. I stopped baking a few months ago. I thought it would help me and my man lose weight. It didn't. Rather the opposite in fact. Extra fruit and/or choc biscuits have been eaten instead. So back to the baking - a slice of homemade wholewheat fruit cake will do us far more good. As it is I must cut back on the fruit. I have over indulged on fruit to the point last week I felt as if I had a bad case of fruit poisoning.
Today I have made the easy boiled cake - for recipe click here (trawl down to page8). I have few old, favourite, well tested recipes that I can make with my eyes shut. While the fruit was simmering away on the hob I nipped online to catch up on recent blog postings. I found Mopsa's on food glorious food . And from there to Flowerpot's article on eating out while people watching. Then I had to leave to go back to the kitchen to finish the cakes and get them into the oven. While I was stirring in the flour I remembered my school days. Domestic Science classes. We only did 2 years before we had to turn our young minds to study for the GCE O level's instead of practical lessons. We had 2 Domestic Science teachers; Mrs Russell and Mrs Nicholls. The first a homely, gentle warm cook - pink cheeked and plump. The second small, thin, sharp tongued and a bit peevish. We had the demonstration and explanation first and then we'd get on and make our own. I remember during 'How to Bake a Victoria Sandwich' us 30 girls being told that when stirring flour into our creamed egg, sugar and butter mixture ALWAYS to stir in a clockwise direction - then the flour will slowly fall from the side of the bowl and be incorporated into the mixture. To stir the wrong way and the flour would fail to fall gently into the mixture. I remember being much struck by this gem of information. I pondered why not anti-clockwise; could it be the way the spoon was shaped? what if you were left handed? and held the spoon in a different way? I must have opened my mouth to frame a question - took a deep breath and was told "Don't ask Penelope - I don't know why it is it just is!" So even at the age of 12 years I must have been wondering on the Why's and How's of Life. I do it still and some people join in and chew things over with me - some people just say "I never think of things that way". Just think, if my old school had been different I might have grown up with the answer to the question on Life, the Universe and Everything.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

And Who Care's..

And Who Care's if Dave Cameron is in Rwanda? And that he has time to continue to blog from there. I care. And I'd care even more if I was a constituent of his. I'd be a great deal 'miffed' on his continuing to take a trip to Africa while I'm fighting to keep the floods from my door. He's far too much like Tony Blair. Concentrating on Press image. No substance. Why can't the shadow Foreign Sec go and do all the business overseas? What's a Foreign Sec for if not to see to all the overseas stuff? I feel quite sorry for Gordon Brown. He's certainly had a great deal to contend with during his first few weeks as PM. I'm glad that - so far - he continues to be 'natural' - no press gimmicks. If an election was called tomorrow I might just vote Labour. But then again I might just scrawl 'none of them' over my ballot paper. As for the 'Cash of Honours' case - Well Perleaze! All they said is no charges would be made as they 'could not prove' conclusively and are unable to guarantee a conviction. They didn't say not guilty. Didn't Lord Levy look just like that cat? No not the Cheshire cat with the wall to wall grin - but Macavity?

It's a Wonderful Life Virtually

So - to create the wonderful life along with the wonderful 'me' all I have to do is join Second Life. Where I can buy 'things' online from land to ? anything I need. What would I need 'virtual' land for? Why would I need more hassle in my virtual life - I already have enough hassle in the real life. I suppose I could try and create the 'perfect' life. But how will I feel if the virtual perfect life ends up a mess and I end up a loser? Wouldn't I then feel a real double tosser loser? Second Life has its own economy system and deals in Linden dollars! You can read the economic stats here.
Do you think Gordon Brown was a member when he was chancellor? I don't think he has time now he's Prime Minister. I bet Second Life is making real money for a real people somewhere.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Like a Queen

Well - as it looks as if we are not going to get any sun for a while yet and it continues to rain, rain and rain I've gone and gotten myself a new umbrella. I bought a Fulton Lady's Birdcage. It seems to be a practical design - keeps the head and shoulders dry, very wind resistant and you can see where you are going. What's good enough for the Queen is good enough for me.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

It's Allright for Some

This rather dreary wet summer with all the flooding- from north south east and west - is welcomed by some. The hydrangeas in our garden are blooming marvellous this year. They love it. Until we moved to Devon I didn't realise there are so many different varieties of hydrangea. Previously I thought they only came in pink, white or blue flowers according to the acidity/alkalinity of the soil. But now here in East Devon we have over 24 in our garden. Not one of them the same colour and numerous variations on the flowers. I have learnt a great deal. I'm a perverse kind of gardener. In dry Gloucestershire gardening on an alkaline soil we enjoyed aubretia, Iris and poppys that grew like weeds. I was always nurturing plants along with acid soil improver. Just so I could have a rhododendron or azaleas. Here in damp Devon with a rich acid soil I am overwhelmed with rhododendrons, azaleas, pieris, photonias growing like weeds. But what do I do? I buy lime and grit by the bucket full to splash around the aubretia and Irises. I'm obviously no good as a weather forecaster either. Last year I planted all my pots up with Impatiens and we had a long hot dry summer. I was forever trundling around watering pots every evening. This year I planted up pelargoniums and the poor devils are drowning and look a very sorry sight.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Careless Driving in Floods

I'm thankful that we've not been affected by flooding in this part of the country. But watching all the news I was amazed at the number of abandoned cars. I also couldn't believe my eyes when I saw some residents having to appeal to drivers to drive S L O W L Y down their flooded street. Many drivers in large 4x4 just drove through at a normal pace and created bow waves which increased the amount of flooding in the houses. So Selfish of them. Why do drivers of 4x4 give the impression that 90% of them are pig ignorant, lack manners and are bad drivers. For a start many of them couldn't reverse into a parking space to save their lives. They also appear to be unable to turn left without sweeping across the middle of the road first. I assume it's to increase the angle of attack. Is it they can't judge where the kerb is? Or Can't they afford power steering? Does it come as an optional extra on 4x4's?

Any way for those of you unfamiliar with driving down minor roads that are like streams or rivers here are a few tips:
  1. Do not follow the vehicle in front closely - you want to avoid any bow wave s/he makes.
  2. Drive as closely to the middle of the road as is possible
  3. Drive as slowly as possible - avoid the bow wave from anyone driving in the opposite direction - most country folk will take alternate turns to drive through a flooded area
  4. Most importantly Engage the lowest gear possible - keep the revs high and steady - advance slowly - if necessary slip the clutch a little
  5. Remember to brake when clear of the water to help dry the brakes out
  6. For more comprehensive advice click this link
  7. Finally when I lived in Goucestershire if a motorist soaked a pedestrian they were often charged or cautioned about driving without due care and attention or consideration to other road users. [see item 12].

New Official European Language

This was a letter sent to theSidmouth local newspaper a week ago. I thought it amusing, clever and deserves a wider audience.

"The European Union Commissioners have announced that agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications, rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Govt conceded that English spelling has some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year plan for what will be known as Euro English (EE for short).

In the first year - 's' will be used instead of the soft 'c'. Sertainly Sivil Servants will reseive this news with joy. Also the hard 'c' will be replaced with 'k'. Not only will this klear up konfusion but keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome 'ph' will be replased with 'f'. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the third year - publik akseptance of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent 'e' in the languag is disgrasful, and they would go. By the fourth year, people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing 'the' by 'z' and the 'w' by 'v'.

During the fifz year, ze unnecessary 'o' kan be dropd from vords containing 'ou' and similar changes vud of kors be aplied to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz yer ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Ze vil be no mor trubls or difkultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understan ech ozer.

Ze dream vil finali kum tru."

Red Sky at Night

"Quick - look out of the window - the most glorious sunset". I didn't like to say 'I know'. I'd already seen it and was rushing for my camera. Marion rang 4 people that evening just to make sure none of us missed the brilliant spectacle. We don't often have 'sunset' skies in this part of Devon. It seems that the atmosphere and lack of dust particles mean no colourful sunsets - or rarely. It rained the next morning so it wasn't a harbinger of good weather, whatever any shepherd might think. Perhaps it was good for the sailors. It certainly adds to the feeling that life can be wonderful, magical and we must all count our blessings.

Thursday, 19 July 2007


I'm still here ..... but have had rather a lot going on in my life 'at the moment'. More about that phrase on another day. I just wanted to let you know that I've had things to do, people to see and places to go this week. Therefore have been short on blogging time. Will be back to put up some post and to tell you what has been going on in my week - on the Careless Carer blog first - in the next couple of days. Hope the week is going well with you.

Sunday, 15 July 2007


I am covered in embarrassment.I went over to visit Lizzie, as I was very excited and wanted to tell her about my award. I didn't realise that she's had a death in the family and that they are still grieving. I made my apologies, and then explained why I had called unexpectedly.

It reminded me of the time I'd called at a lovely old cottage near Malmesbury to offer some help to a gentleman. The district nurse had referred him to social services a few weeks previously. I arrived at the appointed time in order to assess his needs for help from the Home Care Service. I was greeted at the door by a very homely lady, gave my name and then invited in. She insisted on giving me a cup of tea and proffered a sandwich. This was pretty unusual. But when she asked whether I was friend or family I explained to her why was there. She thought that I was one of the mourners arrived to attend the old gentleman's funeral. She was a kindly neighbour; there to prepare the tea in advance as his family didn't live in the locality. I'm glad that I was able to take my leave before the family did return. I was rather embarrassed. And annoyed the district nurse had not contacted me again to tell me that her referral of a three weeks ago was now no longer necessary.

Is It an Oscar? Is It an Emmy? No It's a ...

Well, what an exciting surprise to hear that I had been granted an award for services to blogging. It was almost like Christmas. I rushed over to Canada to have a look and found I'd been given not an Oscar or an Emmy but a 'Blogging Community Involvement Award'. Thanks to Merri - I have a new word to add to my vocabulary. I Schmooze. I picked up my award, carried it home and now proudly display it on this blog entry.

Mike who devised the award states that " Schmoozing as defined by is the ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.” When it comes to blogging, schmoozing is your ticket to making new friends, getting yourself noticed and building a reputation. Some bloggers are gifted with the ability to effectively schmooze and others not so much." I think it means I have the gift of the gab. And that I'm not backward in coming forward. If so, that sounds like me. But I don't think I am quite in Mike's league. Well not yet. Who knows what the future holds. I'm still a bit of a blogging virgin.

My 5 nominations are:

  1. Rilly Super the poor Strife in the North - she overcomes all manner of setbacks with grace, charm and wit. Yet she still manages to network, shamelessly, with the high and mighty of the land along with us more humble folk. Rilly helps me to keep smiling when the going gets tough and the tough have given up and gone home [to weep].

  2. Lizzie - who is over 60. She is trying to re-dress the balance - so many bloggers appear to be in their young to mid years. Lizzie is quite new to blogging - well she is one of this year's models - off the bloggers production line in February 2007.

  3. Witty Woman - another blogging woman who makes me laugh. She tries to ensure we are all spelling and using our English words correctly. Wide range of topics covered. I've only recently discovered her so have not yet read her earlier postings.

  4. Mr Angry - grumpy man with a satirical sense of humour. Never talked to him before so to tell him I've given him an award will be a schmooser's first for me. How do you go up to a stranger and say 'Hi - you don't know me but I know you and you make me LOL so I've awarded you the .......'

  5. Mopsa - nature meets art - interesting reading and lovely photos.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

UFO's Over East Devon

As the sky started to darken I noticed the light, heading straight towards me. I assumed it was an airplane circling, waiting to land at Exeter airport. But as the light slowly came closer, I realised I couldn't hear any engine. I opened the window and listened to see if it could be a hovering helicopter. There was still no sound. As I was trying to figure out what the strange light could be it suddenly changed direction, and moved away at lightning speed. I rushed to grab the binoculars. As I careered out of the front door trying to focus on the distant light I wondered whether I had actually seen an unidentified flying object. The light had disappeared, and it seemed very strange and eerie. Is this the kind of happening that people report to 'those in authority'? As I was about to go back indoors I saw it again. There, the light again, high in the sky - on the same slow flight path.

As I focused the binoculars on it I could see that it was some kind of flying lantern that had been released from one of the nearby fields. It obviously followed a wind current and slowly drifted towards me. But coming across a cross wind caused it to suddenly shoot away at right angles like a speeding bullet. Every two minutes, another lantern was released. I watched 7 in total. They were rather beautiful to watch. I wondered what their release celebrated. Whether it was a joyous or a sad occasion. Someone on a nearby hill released the windblown lanterns one by one and the two of us watching as they disappeared from sight into the darkening night sky. I didn't hear that anyone else had seen them. and there was certainly no mention of a strange happening in the evening sky in the local news. I wonder how far they flew before their magical light was extinguished. I don't know if I was relieved or disappointed that it was no longer an UFO.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Pearly Whites

I went to the dentist today. It was a new private dentist. My old NHS dentist has retired. I had the pleasure of paying £55 just to have my mouth inspected and mapped. I'm relieved to say I didn't need any treatment. But I was sent over to see the hygienist. For which I had to pay £35. Modern private dentists obviously don't de-scale and polish. After the hygienist had prodded and probed and scraped she sent me off with a set of little teeny weenie itsy-bitsy interdental toothbrushes: cost £2. She told me that the wee brushes would ensure that I had dislodged any 'day brie' left between my teeth. I think she meant food particles. I always imagine debris as being bricks and concrete. I am to return to see the hygienist again in six months time. Thankfully I don't have to see the dentist again 12 months. I will be grinning widely over the next few weeks just to make sure everybody can admire my nice clean white teeth. I do like to get my money's worth.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Reading Group Homework

I'm still here. I've just been rather busy of late. And now I have to get on and read "A Short History of the Tractors of the Ukrainian" for discussion at the book group meeting on Friday afternoon. I want to appear an intellectual. I don't want to have to bluff. I don't want to appear like a menopausal air head. So I'd better read it. I've just collected our next book this afternoon. "Bookseller of Kabul" and almost started on that instead. I am very undisciplined sometimes.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Security Measures

I see from the press reports today that Elton John threw a bit of a hissy fit when Police security stopped his car after the Princess Diana Memorial Concert on Sunday. He had to walk to the post concert party. He wasn't at all happy about it. I can see why. I'd hate having to walk the streets dressed in an outfit like that. It must have been very embarrassing for him. I'm pleased to see the police are taking their duties seriously and protecting the innocent public from a celebrity dressed in such unsavoury outfit. It quite makes my eyeballs swivel. Thank goodness I'm too poor to dress in such a way. But - if I were forced to wear this outfit I would at least make sure my tinted specs were brown rather than purple. Or was it Elton's way of dressing for the Princes' party - a hint of Royal Purple.
NB I'm sorry I just cannot get the link for 'reports' to connect properly. If you want to read the article click on Home and look down left column for Showbiz - click on this and scroll down a way until the Elton item link can be found lower on the showbiz page under news section. I'll try and correct it later. Updated: 5th July 2007 I see now that the article from the Daily Mail Group and This is London are no longer available.However, I did find this blog on the incident

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Taking the Piss Outta Spell Checkers

If you rely two heavily on computerised spell chequers then their is every chance that yaw righting may be perfectly spelt but make know sense whatsoever. Eye am beginning to receive letters from banns that I find hard to interpret. It isn't always a case of a wrong word in the wrong contempt, it is sometimes a mistyped word where they're fingers have whipped on the keyboard. Or missed out letter, here and there.
I went into the bang the other day as they said they heeded my signature to enable me to cash the check for the £100 in £5 notes that I wanted. Banks are not two seen on hashing cheques for cash. Thy wood much rather ewe queued at the aromatic cash dispenser [or ATM] and then cued again to exchange your cash for the £5 notes. I do knot have thyme for this. So I took my piss pot into the bank as the letter requested to enable me to prove who I am. I assumed they where going to do a DNA sample as proof. I know they have too be vary careful. I no all about the laws on being carefree and a money launderer. The bank clack didn't find it amusing. I dint have the letter with me as proff. So I add to return home to collect the letter and my new passport . On my way home I dropped off the pisspot and sample at the doctor's sugary four a cheque up as I do sew hate waist.