Sunday, 30 September 2007

A Bolt from the Blue

Two years ago at the Conservative Party Conference David Cameron made one electrifying speech.

Steady calm intelligent David Davis had appeared to be the front runner in the Tory party leadership contest. He was a popular and dependable choice. But he delivered one poor speech. He was damned from that moment. Then like a Bolt from the Blue David Cameron made that one thrilling speech and it propelled him to the top of the leader board for the Tory leadership contest. But as my old Grandma would have said "he's all mouth and no trousers". She would have been right on that point. Dave Cameron has been a really big disappointment.

I'm really still not at all sure what his views and intentions are. He gives me the impression of blowing in the wind and sitting on the fence. William Hague and David Davis have still made a good showing from time to time on radio and TV but Dave boy keeps letting them down. He reminds me too much of a slighter 'posher' version of Tony Blair.

Now, during this conference unless Dave boy can perform some kind of magical trick and produce e.g. Margaret Thatcher dressed in a bunny girl costume from his top hat - then I don't think he has said anything which would make me decide to give my vote for 'his' party.

I rather liked William Hague's barnstorming speech today :-

" And now we know also, according to pension fund experts, that the total amount removed by Gordon Brown from Britain's pension funds in the last ten years stands at one hundred thousand million pounds - all of it spent, and most of it, as recent reports on the health service show, tragically and stupidly squandered. It makes Robert Maxwell look like an amateur. To me it is as simple as this: I do not believe that a politician who does such violence to the lifetime savings of millions of hardworking British people can be the right Prime Minister for our future."

He called Gordon Brown a calculating politician rather than a conviction politician. That could get me fired up but .... it still wouldn't persuade me to vote for 'em. I need some definite promise of re-instating my lost pension, and dignity for the elderly in hospitals and care homes etc.. I know what it is like - I worked for Social Services until I became so disheartened I threw in the towel and quit.

English Country View in Summer

As Autumn takes hold and the evenings are drawing in I thought I'd celebrate our brief summer with this photo. It is a view over some of our glorious east Devon countryside snapped from Burrow Farm Gardens, Near Axminster.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Dear Gordon

Dear Gordon Brown,

I understand, from the gossip that is flying around everywhere, that this weekend you are giving serious thought to whether or not you should call a 'snap' election. I thought you might like to take into consideration the views of Mrs Almost A Pensioner, of East Devon.

I like the fact that you appear a straightforward kind of man. Plain speaking; boringly so. You don't keep flashing your dentistry at us all the time. You don't have charisma. You appear to be a man of conviction. These are good points. These are what make you so popular in comparison to the bumbling naive boy David.

The polls look good. More people would "trust you in a crisis" than they would Dave Cameron. This sounds like the YouGov question I had which asked who I would like to cover my back if I was fighting for my life in a trench. I ticked the box for you Gordon. But as I'm unlikely to be in a trench fighting for my life in the near future - then be assured that this answer doesn't mean I would vote for you come polling day.

I still can't get out of my mind that for such a 'clever' Chancellor you sold off this country's Gold reserves at it's lowest price for years. Have you seen the price of gold this week? It doesn't appear to me to have been at all prudent. In fact it appears to me rather as short-termism. Much has been quoted of your clever management of the economy. But do you think we have all forgotten all the Nation's goods you sold off to finance the public spending? We also remember all the 3G mobile phone airwaves made available and sold for billions - regardless of whether or not mobile phone signals are a health hazard or not. Then there is the fact that you robbed so many thousands of people of their pension savings by lifting £5billion every year for the Treasury. From inheriting a wealthy pension savings culture to ruin within less than 2 years - that is some kind of record, I suppose.

Now you are making everyone turn to digital TV. This despite the fact that LCD and Plasma TV's would add to the global warming effect you all appear to be so worried about. But really what makes you so keen on his new technology is the profit you can gain from selling off the redundant analogue airwaves.

We also don't forget that your 'word is your bond', but only until the next election has been secured. For example giving pensioners an extra £200 assistance towards council tax then removing it in the next budget following election. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the recent grand announcement for help reduce council tax bills for our armed forces serving abroad isn't rescinded once the forthcoming election is over. It looks very much as if you are buying votes from the armed forces this time rather than the pensioners. Probably because you know you have squandered the trust of pensioners.

I also think that just as you no longer think we should be allowed to have the promised referendum on the New European Treaty I also wouldn't be at all surprised if suddenly you announce that your famous 5 economic tests now show that it is right for Britain to join the Euro. It may be that only England are taken into the the Euro. The Scots and the Welsh seem to be developing as entirely different nations now - they just want to continue to be funded by the English.

It may be, by now Gordon, that you are beginning to think that, although I am thankful that Tony Blair has disappeared from our sight - for which I do heartily thank you - you may be getting an inkling that there is no way I would trust you and therefore will not be voting for you. You're right. I wont. Regardless of how truthfully I answer any YouGov Poll question.

If I was fighting for my life I would want a mugger like you protecting my back. But rather than a man of conviction I just think you are another con man. You wont get my vote.


Friday, 28 September 2007

Guest Blog Spot October

Now back in August I posted an entry after had I made a grand gesture of promising to award a guest blog spot. Originally I thought of it as a one off event. I enjoyed the power so much I decided it should become a regular feature of my homepage.

So from the people who have left me a comment during September I have taken a peek, or two or three or more.

And have chosen. The October guests blog spot goes to : - (drum roll)

Do pop on over and take a look if you've not met them before.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

How Old Am I?

Well you can tell it's full moon time again - here I am playing around with online quizzes as I can't sleep. At least this night I did sleep for 4 hours then woke at 4 a.m. I gave in and got up at 5 a.m. But as we have visitors calling in on their way from Essex to Cornwall this evening I'm wont be able to get an early night and catch up on lost sleep. I just hope I don't end up stiffling yawns all evening or they'll think they are boring me!

How I wish I was 32 but my body know's that I am not ....

You Are 32 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

I'm Mahogany Orange

I found this over at Teeni's place - this is so me...!

You are Mahogany

Stable and decisive, you lack the hyper energy of most orange colors.
You're still energetic, but you tend to project a peaceful, relaxed vibe.
You love to feel cozy. You often rather wrap up in a blanket than go out for the night.

Autumnal Chores

The days are definitely chilly and damp. The nights even more so - very autumnal. Today I pulled in the pots of pelargoniums (bedding geraniums) in readiness to remove them from their pots - dry them off and place in store in the garage over winter. It's not been a very good year for them - far too wet. But they are so beautiful. Such vivid colours. Such perfection when you look at each individual flower. I have one huge terracotta pot which is in a sheltered position near the house - all the pelargoniums in that may well continue to flower well into November. Unless we have a very severe winter I expect to cut them back hard in March, then start watering and feeding copiously in readiness for another fine show to start again in May next year.

Second Lifers

I see that the virtual reality world of Second Life is about to be sued in the real world. After I mentioned Second Life in a July posting I did join this virtual world. I created an avatar and provided a name. Although I had the chance to be wildly exciting and different to my real self I found that I was choosing something plain and simple (the girl next door look) - just as I've been in real life. So having joined I never got to go any further. Now that I hear this virtual world is becoming dominated by money launderers, politicians, paedophiles, and sex toy salesmen then I begin to ask myself what could it possibly provide that we don't have in real life? If it cannot provide something different then what is the point of it all?

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Friendly Visitor

This is a neighbour's cat that seems to have adopted us. He often wanders in and loudly announces his presence. I like cats that talk with you. Sometimes - like today I just found he had entered the open kitchen door and was fast asleep in the middle of the kitchen. Once he was shut in for a couple of hours as I didn't realise he'd stealthily crept into the bedroom and made himself very comfortable on the bed. It's nice to have a cat around but although he strops around my ankles scent marking me he's not a 'sit on your lap for a cuddle' kind of cat. He's a bit aloof. Maybe that's because he's a posh cat and knows his status.

Autumn Equinox

A lovely sunny late summer day. Today I took a short trip to Exmouth to walk along the Exe estuary. A fine late summer day and the crowds of visitors have left. The beaches once again free to be enjoyed by the residents. The best time of year. When you can go out for a walk and remind yourself why it is so lovely to live in East Devon. Tomorrow is the first day of autumn.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Northern Rock Debacle

I just cannot believe what I am seeing on the news. The queues at Northern Rock Banks of hundreds of people patiently waiting to get access to their money. The whole tribe of leaders, bankers, experts, politicians wheeled out to tell us all that our money is SAFE in Northern Rock. No problems. Don't panic. The website is running as normal - it 'maybe a bit slow' as so many people are trying to get online to transfer their money out. Does anyone know of anyone who has managed to log on to even look at their balance? You can't even get online to open an account - if you should wish to do so - if you wanted to show your faith in the bank.

I am so sorry for all the staff at Northern Rock. From staff at HQ, to the IT Dept, and all the counter staff. I expect they are getting a lot of flack and aggro from anxious savers. At the same time they will be worried about their own jobs. The standard of staff and paperwork at Northern Rock has been exemplary. Far superior to any other bank I've had dealings with. That's why it is such a sad ending to a fine institution. It's the bosses who are to blame - and the shareholders along with the FSA and Govt.

Now I'm a saver and so is my husband. We can't afford to lose money. But as our accounts are postal and have penalties attached for cashing in early - then there is no easy access to our money however much I would like to panic and take it out. Unless the bank and its obligations are taken over we are likely to lose some of our savings. The FSCS scheme only pays 100% on the first £2k and then drops to 90% for the subsequent amount to a maximum of £33k. This sum was set up with the scheme a few years ago. I don't know whether it will ever be reviewed. Some people have had far more than £35k invested - perhaps they weren't told of the maximum re the FSCScheme as a last resort if a bank fails - perhaps banks should be required to do so in future.

Now - I also have a smallish sum - my ready cash savings in the Silver Saver On-line. There is no way I can access that at the moment. I did try at 3.30 a.m. But I am reluctant to anyway because what would happen if I arranged a BACS transfer and while my money was out there in that mysterious world of the etherbank - that strange place where I get no interest on it - while it has left one bank and takes 3-4 days to arrive at the destination bank - what would happen if the Northen Rock bank suddenly ceased trading? Would I be covered then by the FSCS scheme? Or if the NR Bank sent my money to me as a cheue through the post. My money in a cheque. But before it was paid in and cleared as cash in my current account - would I be then be an unfortuante creditor only or would I still be covered under the FSCS scheme?

Knowing how this Govt. has refused to help out pensioners with collapsed pension schemes and the Equitable Life customers; also the FSA seems very toothless when dealing with this - then are any of these schemes worth the paper they are written on? At our age we can't afford to wait xx years to find out if we will get compensation should a bank collapse and cease trading.

This latest panic on the high street just shows how none of us trust our leaders when they tell us we have nothing to worry about. They have squandered our trust over the last 10 years and are now being hoist by the petards [whatever they are!]. I hope it's painful for them all.

18/09/07 - Well said Libby Purvis :

Saturday, 15 September 2007


It's interesting the facts that can be gleaned from Sitemeter. As Henry found out recently when he noticed that someone working for Swiss govt had dropped in to read his blog.

Now the other side of this coin is that other people can 'snoop in' on your sitemeter statistics. Are you aware of this fact? If you want to test it out get a friend to look up your blog on their PC and click on the meter. They should just get the summary page .... If they don't then you need to configure the privacy settings. Don't forget when installing the meter to go to the Manager Page to change the default settings to a more private level. I've found a surprising number of bloggers with sitemeter up and running who don't keep this information private. It may be they don't care ... but I would hate to think that some bloggers may not be aware that this information is out there for any nosey-parker like me.

If you want to keep your statistics and visitor stats private do Remember to go to Manager and then Privacy settings.....

Friday, 14 September 2007

Panic Attacks in the North

Panic Attacks appear to be catching. The news is full of people queueing to get their money out of Northern Rock bank. They can't see that to demand their money back now will cause even more mayhem. I heard Angela Knight on the Today programme this morning. Now unlike her last appearance on that programme when she really got up my nose, this morning I thought she sounded calm, caring and reassuring. However, no matter who they haul out to speak on the TV/radio about Northern Rock Bank security I can't help thinking 'well, they would say that wouldn't they'.

I must admit to being not entirely calm - I've had few palpitations and extra trips to the loo - as NR bank is my chosen institution for the large majority of my savings. They have been the most efficient bank I've dealt. I hope they are able to turn this situation around and calm my beating heart.

Update: 17/9/07 at 4.15 am.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Panic Attacks

I was reading Flowerpot's posting on panic attacks earlier. It's a strange thing to have to cope with to be sure. I have often wondered whether panic attacks are caused by some kind of hormonal imbalance.

My little sister used to suffer them (so I believe, with hindsight) as a teenager. She could not bear to be in large airless stores and would often rush out after 15 minutes of shopping. I always thought it most strange of her. She grew out of the problem at some point and has not shown any such signs of discomfort after becoming a mother.

I first experienced a panic attack standing in a queue at a supermarket checkout. I thought I was about to faint. My heart started to race, a hot flush overwhelmed me and I felt I couldn't get enough air. I contemplated rushing out for fresh cool air. But part of my sensible pragmatic brain wondered whether this could be a 'panic attack'. I knew that if it was I shouldn't react or the next occasion I would feel the need to take the same action. I stood there and rode the storm. Deep breathing exercises and thinking coolly about how I felt and wondering why? I'm glad I didn't take the strong urge to flee. These attacks occurred frequently in queues. Rarely while I was hauling a supermarket trolley around but always while I had to stand in a queue. I remember once being so distracted by how I was feeling that I almost became a blatant shoplifter. My groceries were on the belt but before the checkout girl could scan the goods I started to collect it together again and pack it away. Oooh - we did Laff. I'm just relieved she didn't call the store detective. I've never fancied the idea of a body search.

Now it was only reading Flower's post that I remembered these attacks. They must have started for me just as I entered the pre-menopause stage. I'm not quite sure that I can think of the last one ... but I'm not aware of any for a 2-3years. Obviously from Flower's observations my natural inclination to take deep slow breaths helped. So next time, if I have them again, I'll try singing. It sounds much more fun.

Early Rising

I was awake very early this morning - 5.30. I'd just had a dream of our cat - Lacey. She was fussing and purring around me as she often did when she thought it was time I should wake and feed her. It was a very comforting dream I thought how fine she appeared even though I knew she was now dead. I suppose this was my brain's way of letting me know I've come to terms with being in a pet free zone. The trouble is that as we have no children our pets over the years were child substitutes. I did invest a great deal of emotional energy into them - especially the 2 cats. Cagney and Lacey were with us for almost 20 years - a lot of love builds in that time.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Name Game MeMe

Teeni who likes to keep us all on our toes tagged me for the Name Game meme.

These are the “official” rules ( cut and pasted)
  • Players must list one fact, word, or tidbit that is somehow relevant to their life for each letter of your first or middle name.
  • When you are tagged you need to write your own post containing your first or middle name game facts, word, or tidbit.
  • At the end of your post choose one person for each letter of your name to tag.
  • Don’t forget to leave a comment telling them that they have been tagged, and to read your blog.
  • If I’ve tagged YOU (see below), please join in on the fun!

P represents Pink - my favourite colour for blogs [in fact all shades of red]. I frequently turn pink when I blush. When in a crowd I have a quick, bawdy, sarcastic wit. I make people laugh. Sometimes words will escape before I've thought through the consequences - then I start to blush - especailly when someone comes back with a bawdier rejoinder.

E stands for Escapism - a chance to dream, reminisce and write about whatever comes into my head. I love the chance to take time to just sit and dream while looking at the garden.

N for Name - Penny is my 'pen name' - I still have this horror of imagining all friends and acquaintances in East Devon leaping from behind the trees to confront me for some entry I posted on my blog.

N for Not being brave enough to write under my real name ... but then I'm only trying to protect the innocent - my man, my friends, my family.

Y is for You - all of you out there who read this - this blog of what sometimes only amounts to vague mementos of life, the occasional rage, whinge, irritable whisper of waspish humour. I know I do have some really improtant message to impart - it's just that at the moment I'm so tired I've forgotten what it is....

Now to pass the baton to some bloggers who I feel have a more honest approach to blogging and/or a definite style of blog.

  1. Merryw
  2. Mopsa
  3. Flowerpot
  4. Rilly Super
  5. Glamourpuss or Glamourpuss the clairvoyant

All I have to do now - is get some tea and then run round to deliver the invites. meanwhile if any of you do happen to drop in please collect and carry forward

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Sunday Stroll

Well, we managed to get out a bit earlier this morning. Now that I've no dog to take on walks with me I take my husband instead. The only trouble is he's nowhere near as much fun as a dog. So I walk along watching other people exercise their dogs instead. Seeing these 2 black labs swimming off Sidmouth beach this morning reminded me of how much Velvet used to love a swim. Sometimes she would just leap in and paddle away, on and on, as if she was planning to emigrate to Spain. Once she leapt off an embankment wall into a river; she then couldn't get out again. We had to walk about a mile downriver till we could reach her and haul her back onto dry land. I've bought myself a step counter for the days I go out walking alone. Or I may have to set up a small business as a dog walker . Twenty years ago we had an Irish Setter. He was a bit of a rogue dog. A fine looking dog and most people wanted to fuss him. But he was always on the verge of 'biting'. I could never trust him. We used to have to go out at the first crack of dawn to give him a good run. At a time when hardly any other poeple around. He didn't like people, children, cats or other dogs. He was a real handful. And yet in other asspects he was beautifully trained - if I say so myself - well , he was, I did a good job. It was a heartbreaking decision but at the age of 8 we had to put him down - I wasn't sure I even trusted him not to go for me in the end.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Cruising the Blogosphere

Over the last couple of weeks I've spent some time cruising around the blogosphere. I've seen numerous interesting blogs recently. Some of them I bookmarked for a return visit and a closer examination. Some of them I just drop in on an occasional basis. But today when I popped in to see Blossom Cottage I was much struck by this entry. I enjoyed it and hope you will too.

3BT's today:
  1. the warmth of the sunshine while sitting outside with[very late] breakfast and closing my eyes to listen more intently to the sound of the birdsong.
  2. the deep clear blue of the sky overhead
  3. 3 trees full of apples ripe for the picking

Friday, 7 September 2007

Life Goes On ...

Well there have been a few gloomy, introverted posts recently. I'm blaming it on the lack of sleep and August through to October being full of sad memories. Added to which I experience SAD which has not been helped this summer which has been more dreary than usual. Although I am now revelling in this indian summer I may have to invest in a light box to get me through the winter. I've started to take St John's Wort again which I usually only take during the darkest winter months.

However, I saw this in a newspaper today and thought it was bizarre beyond belief. I feel this is carrying grief beyond what is reasonable. I don't know what your thoughts are.

Now I'm picking up a bottle and am off to visit teeni to see what mad idea she has for another party. What would we do without friends to keep us on the right track? ....

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Mothers - How We Miss Them

When I wrote recently about Fear and Grief and Fearing the Worst - it set my mind to wondering about some of our friends. Everyone I know has experienced loss and sadness in their life. (Well, you'll see by the very next sentence that's a bit of a contradiction). I have 2 friends who have suffered nothing. Neither one of them has had to cope with loss, fear, major illness, grief. Even though they are well over 60 years old they still have parents. Their children have grown up happy, confident, secure and found partners; married and are now raising the next generation. Both families have been incredibly blessed.

Good Friends for Good Times. Not people I choose to be around when I feel cocooned and trapped in a glass bubble of grief. They neither of them understand what it is like. I sometimes wonder how hard an experience it will be when they do, eventually have it thrust upon them.

It's the natural order of life to lose parents first. I lost my mother when I was 16. I still miss her. I'm still taken by surprise when I talk to women older than I and discover they still have their mother. I remember an old lady of 80 telling me she was "now an orphan" when her mother had just died. She was not quite as I imagine an orphan - but I know how she felt.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Welcome 2 New Guest Blog Spot

Two bloggers have been leaving me comments recently on my other blog. And as they have no links here previoulsy or on my blogroll I have made them my 'Guests Blog Spot for September'. If you don't know them - do click on the links which can be found at the top on the right and go over for a visit.

Help Support British Pig Farmers

Please read this page and if you agree then do sign their online petition. You'll need to trawl down the page to find the petition as there seems to be acres of white space.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Man's Best Friend

I am trying to re-dress the balance re dogs. I do seem to have a rather cat heavy blog here. I have just been to visit some of my pen pals and I see that Clever Dick claims not to be a dog fancier. But as he only appears to have come across waltzing or tap dancing dogs then it's not surprising. I would have thought he'd enjoy the slavish devotion from a dog. After all they do say a dog is a man's best friend.

I thought I'd trawl the net and look for a site to add to my blog roll to balance the Cool Cat's Blog: George online. Then I found this Give a Dog a Home Blog. I'm wondering whether we could take on another house pet. I believe the perfect home includes, an Aga , a pantry, a cat and dog. I don't have an Aga or a pantry, but ....... I started to trawl through the site looking at all the dogs that need a home. And then I found this beautiful lady - Sky - and I'm in love. I'll go to sleep on it .... I want to let my heart rule my head but ..... tomorrow I may revel in a clean and tidy house and decide to let my head rule my heart.

I'll just have to ask myself do I want a perfectly clean and tidy house or do I want a home?

Afternoon Tea

Our Afternoon Tea today includes a few dainty savouries, sandwiches, strawberry flan with Devon clotted cream, fruit cake and an almond cherry cake. We are entertaining local friends. For two of them it is their 41st wedding anniversary tomorrow and we are making a bit of a celebratory tea. Any excuse for a bit of jollification. While I am dressed up in my smarter clothes I'll pop over to the virtual party on Teeni's Vaguetarian blog site. Then, once I've cleared away the dishes, tidied up and kicked off my shoes, I hope to be back here. So with luck, no traffic hold ups on the cyber highway and some spare energy - maybe I will see you again later.