Friday, 30 November 2007

December Guest Bloggers Will Be .....

For December the new visiting bloggers to leave comments have been many. Thank you all for visiting and leaving your footprints. I haven't had chance to visit each blog to read all your works. So this month - as it's the month of 'Christmas and Good Cheer' to all men and all that, here are a few bloggers - not already on my blogroll - who left comment(s) during November: -
  1. Eurodog training

  2. Iota - experience of Brit woman living in Mid West USA

  3. I Am the Diva

  4. Kami's place
  5. Kaylee's blog - a teenager who recently had a heart transplant

  6. Robert - his wife has agoraphobia

  7. Diane - a blogging mother

  8. The Swearing Mother - don't all mothers swear?

I am sure you will find some interesting reading here - do explore them.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

I'm Willing to Support the Labour Party

I'd be willing to support the Labour party with a donation. If any rich donor should read this and wishes to make a donation anonymously then just send a few hundred thousands pounds to me care of my bank at .....

Monday, 26 November 2007

Charity Begins at Home

I see that there are a few newspaper reports that the Royal College of Nursing is about to sell the homes of elderly ex-nurses living in the Brighton area. I thought that all tenants were under some form of protection from eviction. I hope that if the estate is sold the cottages are sold as with 'sitting tenants'. I don't like to think of the RCN as being money grabbing property developers. They obviously don't want to be seen this way either.

It's Elementary that I'm a High Achiever

I recently found a new blogger I like the look of. This time I followed a link from the comments left on St Billy's blog. Almost American (AA) recently talked about how were the Blogs Reading Levels determined. I've also picked up this little widget recently from Mark Wadsworth's site. Like AA I input various favourite blogs in to assess their reading level. I can only assume that it is measured on the number of long complicated, unusual or erudite words used in posts. One of my favourite well written blogs has an Elementary school reading level. I was initially rather ashamed that my blog only scraped in at the High School level but to see a high profile writer at 'Elementary level' I was somewhat soothed. I'm still trying to analyse how some bloggers achieve genius level. I did run their URL through the widget to check some of them aren't cheating but no - they are Genius level. I'm obviously a suspicious cow as well as being paranoid.

One interesting strange anomaly I did find is that on this blog I am High School level yet on Careless Carer I only attain elementary level. What do I have to do to attain a higher level so that I can proudly display a :-

Thursday, 22 November 2007

It's Time for A Special One

The Special One is my choice for the post of manager for the England football team. I couldn't care less that England lost yesterday evening. But if the Special One was to return to English football then I just might take an interest. Sigh...

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

HMRC HM Revenue & Customs

HMRC stands for HM Revenue & Customs. What strange customs they must have at HMRC. HMRC obviously don't have to worry about the Data Protection Act. Firewall protection. Fraudulent use of information. Identity theft. Any kind of protection. No kind of protection. Protection rackets.

Now when I was at work and we had an audit the auditor came to our office to inspect the files on site. They were confidential and we were responsible for them. Therefore they were only taken out by the case worker. If any other person within the organisation needed to see them they came to us and sat in our office while they went through our files. Using our computers with us logging on to the files and system with our password.

Don't Auditors do that any more? What is the point of an audit if you can't check the system on site. Surely anyone could pull the wool over an Auditors eyes by selecting what information to send off to the Auditor. Exactly what were they going to audit? Maybe it was an audit testing out the security in connection with the Data Protection Act. Especially after their previous embarrassing lapse in security in September.

Monday, 19 November 2007

In Black and White

I started to take a few photos in Black and White last year. On the basis that colour can detract the eye and fool the brain into believing 'that's a great photo' when in actual fact it is just very colourful and a beautiful scene. A really good photo will be outstanding in black and white. This one taken at a garden show of dahlia exhibit is not really good enough. It needs cropping for a start. But I do like the way that the eye can see each individual petal on the flower head. Maybe in colour I wouldn't have noticed this much.

I prefer this second image of daffodils.

I started to think about the photos I'd attempted in monochrome after seeing a programme on television the other evening. The work of James Ravilious who lived and worked in north Devon. I was hoping that my favourite images would be on a web page so that I could share it with you. But as it is there are some very good samples on the website here:

Sunday, 18 November 2007

I'm a Thieving ....

I'm a thieving whotstit's ... This was such a fabulous picture of Autumn I looked, I saw, I drew breath (well a gasp) then I pinched it ... and brought it home. Like cat carrying something proudly home through its cat flap. I present it to you to enjoy. I wish I could take the credit for it.

If you want to read the very interesting post that accompanied it then you'll have to nip over to Flowerpots blog. Do so - anyone who can produce an image like this deserves that everyone reads the entry that went with it.

Friday, 16 November 2007

My Thigh Bone's Connected to my ...

My thigh bone is connected to my hip bone which is connected to my back bone which is connected to ...

My' carpal tunnel syndrome' seems to originate from my shoulders and upper back. I think it maybe caused by strained muscles. I recently hauled some heavy furniture around. I know - I shouldn't do it. But I sometimes forget. I think In my mind I'm still young, fit and strong. It appears so easy - well relatively easy - its only that after a few days that the strained muscles start to react by which time I forget what I had been doing a few days previously. Once the pain returned to its original site Ii remembered while moving everything that I felt a slight pull and twist. So basically my problem isn't in my wrists - it's a back problem. I've slightly wrenched and twisted back muscles. I'm now stiff from pelvis to upper back. Which led to shoulder problem with pain which radiated down to my left hand. Once I started on the self massage and found all the sore spots I suddenly remembered what I had been doing! Next time I'll leave it to a strong man. That is If I can find one.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Tale of Woe

My Tale of Woe is that I've had a bout of carpal tunnel syndrome. It crept up on me rather slowly. I've had problems hitting the correct keys when I've been touch typing. It's my left hand that is the problem. It has rather curtailed my blogging posting entries and replies to comments. I've also had to cut back on leaving so many comments around on other blogs. But do be assured that while I am still visiting all my favourite bloggers - I'm just being a little more silent than usual. I am not at all sure what brought this pain on - it isn't as if I've been pruning shrubs recently. But I think I have found the trigger point in a muscle of my forearm which needs regular self massage to try and free up my wrist and thumb. I am relatively free of pain today - so I hope I'm on the road to a cure.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Autumn Glow

I had yet another appointment to attend today. This time over to Axminster. I rarely go there but when I do I normally drive by way of the the Seaton road. It's the shortest route. But I wasn't thinking. Well I was thinking. I was thinking of all manner of things. I mean that I wasn't concentrating. I took the road well travelled. Habit had me travelling towards Sidmouth then turning off to Honiton When I realised I was heading in the wrong direction I considered turning round. But as luck would have it I had plenty of time. There being no hurry I decided to continue with the 'detour', drive through Honiton and up over the Blackdown hills to Axminster along the A35. Beautiful it was too. The sun was shining and the rich burnished colours of the leaves were enough to take my breath away. I wish I'd had my camera with me. Never mind, the vision is indelibly printed on my mind's eye. Which is just as well, it's now very windy and raining. I doubt we'll have any leaves left on the trees by morning.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


I apologise for not posting an entry for a few days. I've had a bit of a s**t week. Nothing major just minor but time consuming irritaions that have disrupted my days this week. And the week isn't over yet. Even though I no longer work for a living - well go out to work - or paid work (I always seem to be working at some chore or other) the week for me still seems to be Monday to Friday. I still love Friday evenings which always feel full of promise with the weekend ahead. I'm just relieved I no longer have that horrible Monday morning feeling anymore. Retirement does have its good points.

Now since Blogger started to misbehave a few days ago; everything else seems to be following suit. The oven ended up producing a few inedible burnt offerings. I know - I agree, I may not have been concentrating - but it's not all my fault. The cooker clock seems to stop/go without warning and it no longs trills at me when the time is up. I've also had post go missing and been chasing around trying to sort out various minor chores made worse due to expected mail not arriving as promised. I was beginning to disbelieve the sender. Then I arrived home one morning to a polite missive from the local NHS to ask exactly why I had failed to attend for an appointment. I have never ever had an appointment marked down as Did Not Attend. I rang to apologise and explain. They were not surprised. It's happened to many. In fact the staff sat around twiddling their thumbs for many an hour over the last fortnight. Why the NHS continued to post out letters with appointment times in the middle of a week long mail strike, I do not know. Surely it would have been far better use of staff time to ring round and advise everyone of the appointments date and time. But no - that is probably too much like using basic common sense.

If you are expecting a letter and it doesn't arrive you can take action. But when you don't even know it should be arriving then you are 'up the swanny'.

I had been expecting to hear from the Northern Rock Bank. I had Fixed Term Bond reaching maturity. I was keenly anxious to liberate it as soon as possible. I contacted them to ask when I could expect to hear from them. Once again I was impressed with the response. Because of the postal strike and backlog of letters in Royal Mail's system they had extended the deadline for instructions to reach them on maturity. impressed or not I took my money out as soon as possible and am relieved to have done so. But I still feel like a rat deserting a sinking ship. I'm now trying to play safe by forgoing the high interest rates and splitting my savings into a smaller piles and depositing in building societies or National Savings. I'll wait for the troubles to shake down and see which banks are safe. I'd feel far happier with a gold bar under my bed though. Has anyone told Gordon Brown what the price of gold is lately? Just compare this to the price at which he sold off our gold reserves.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Be Prepared

Right, On Your Marks, Get Set and Go !

Blogger Brain Goes AWOL

I really do get quite tired of Blogger sometimes. It usually behaves so well and is quite intuitive then suddenly it goes berserk and changes all the rules. I have been able on previous posts to add an updated comment to an entry - and all is OK. But over the last few days the entry has suddenly been altered to today's date. I fiddled a bit yesterday - 4 times - and it wouldn't let me put the date back to where it belongs; end of October. I tried again this afternoon. Again Blogger updated the entry as if just published post today ! I'm sorry - it must be very confusing to all of you who've read the post on Personal Experience earlier this week. But believe me - I am not wallowing in self pity and have posted a couple of other entries since!

All I was trying to add to that post is:

The light box therapy appears to be having a great beneficial effect. I am less affected by the gloom of early winter. I feel more alert, sleeping better, waking earlier than I've ever managed before in November and feel more positive.

Right now I've said it:

If you care to trawl down the page you'll see a couple of entries that I've posted since writing Personal Experience.

Confused? So am I. Fret not - normal service will be returned next week. (I hope)

A Personal Experience

I started blogging for many reasons. Initially it was a way of finding out how the technical side of blogging worked. I experimented with Yahoo 360 but quickly migrated to Blogger. In the early days I was alarmed at the thought of being identified or 'found out'. So I invented a Pen Name for myself. I had the idea of writing outrageously about the the good people who live in East Devon, my husband, the health services, social services and many other things that I found increasingly irritating in daily life. In short I wanted to Blog as a Grumpy Old Woman.

But once my anonymous blog was set up, the bland postings started and I quickly found that I couldn't quite stick the knife in where I wanted or as I imagined. What I did find, however, was that while I was at a particularly low ebb [with the Winter Blues and general frustration caused by our sudden enforced retirement] I had inadvertently discovered that I could post about some of my feelings. I could let off some steam. Blow my top. Whinge. Luckily, my husband was quite content for me to sound off about how his illness has affected me. After all with a pen name and vague address there is no way of identifying us. Close friends and family recognise my blog when, and if, they find it. But there's no problem with that as we have been quite open with everyone who matters to us.

Some people write because they are born writers. They take the opportunity to write fiction and receive feedback from readers. Others just want to have fun and socialise. Others want to voice political opinions. Some for a way to spread around their sense of humour. And some of us as a means of distraction. To divert our minds from our worries .

Now from my blogroll I usually call in on everyone on a regular basis. Some people once a fortnight, some once a week and others on a daily basis. The bloggers who make me laugh are the ones I call in on daily. My favourites are linked to my home page by the RSS feed so i can quickly see if they've posted very recently - well that's how it's supposed to work but it seems a little unreliable. I've sometimes found a new post is up there when I call in on their blog yet my homepage says 'last posted 3 days ago'.

Besides the writers who make me laugh are one or two who start to feel like 'friends' - rather like old fashioned pen pals. Now one of these cyber friends is Teeni of the Vauguetarian Tearooms. Her place is a general have a cup of coffee and hang out for a while to see what'll happen next kind of place. It's all lighthearted and fun. Imagine my surprise when I found a rather sombre posting from her a few days ago. I admit I read it very quickly and then quietly left. I was low spirited at the time and didn't feel able to comment. But once I was in a better mood I called back to see her. I wanted to explain that I was somewhat aware of how her feelings must be when she was diagnosed and had to undergo treatment for cancer.

I too had cancer diagnosed at a young age. I was lucky in that it was found early and surgery was the only treatment I needed. I was thirty when on a visit to the optician to be assessed for contact lens he quickly identified that I had a malignant tumour in my left eye. He didn't tell me this - he just referred me to see my doctor who had very quickly made an appointment for me to see the local ophthalmic surgeon. My feet barely touched the ground. From seeing the optician I had seen the local specialist, been referred to Moorfields' Eye Hospital for a second opinion and was back in Gloucester Royal Hospital to have my left eye removed - all within less than 3 weeks.

I was 30 years of age and it was a bit of a shock to find that I had malignant melanoma. Luckily the surrounding tissue of the eye was healthy. It had been found and removed in a timely manner. The adjustment to monocular vision took a while. But adjust I did. Although I still find it difficult to walk over rough ground; with no depth of vision it does pose a challenge.

Now having been lucky enough to survive that episode I am rather paranoid about how much time I spend in the sun. I slap on sun protection so thick I look like a greased up channel swimmer. I'm never out in the sun between 11 - 3. But as I don't want rickets or osteoporosis either I do allow 30 minutes a day of sun to get to my skin as often as I can during spring and autumn.

It's for this reason that I believe I need a light box. Ever since I lost my eye 28 years ago today I've experienced a feeling of gloom which descends from October onwards. Initially I used to blame the 'anniversary' for reminding me of my mortality and lack of binocular vision. It was my least short sighted eye - almost normal vision' -too which was the real **** law of life. When I had to rely on my right eye only I was so shortsighted I had to become a permanent specs wearer. I was also told it would help to disguise my artifical eye. So I never did get fitted for that contact lens.

Now if we do indeed rely on needing bright light to keep us cheerful then with my desire to keep a low profile during hot, sunny summers and with only one eye to take in the light it could be why I experience the winter blues. I also read that Gordon Brown may be a depressive s**t too. Maybe that's because he also is blind in one eye. Perhaps I should write and suggest he buys himself a lightbox to go along with his red boxes.

Now some of you'll know why one of my most often used emoticon is a ;-) - it doesn't always represent a wink!

Finally, I would like to suggest that if you haven't had your eyesight checked out for more than a couple of years then do so. You never know what signal of ill health may be lurking there. A quick visit to the optician may save your life.

Sorry - technical hitch - I was trying to write an updated note. However, Blogger suddenly changed the date of the post from original - I wrote this on 29/10 - there is no way it will let me put it back in its rightful place. I'm hoping its back there now - ?

Friday, 2 November 2007

A Sign of the Times

A sign seen in a shop in Sidmouth:

"Yes - the cost of LIVING is rising

but it remains very popular"

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Builders' Mate

On consideration I think I'd like to be a Builder's Mate.

This is the most wonderful time. When the builders have packed up their tools and leave you in the peace and quiet of your home. After a day of banging, drilling, scraping and whistling. To be able to poke and nose around; to explore and see exactly what has been done.

A local builder has been in to supply and fit a new fridge and a freezer, adjust the kitchen units so the doors fit, refurbish and do a 101 small DIY chores. DIY chores that my husband is no longer able to do himself. I'm so thrilled to have a new integrated larder fridge and a freezer. I'm so pleased that I'll no longer have to kick the door on the fridge to get it to close properly. It is quieter and taller than the old one. It is taller than I. It is huge. It is beautiful. It also has a wine rack. It feels very decadent. The freezer is the same size as the old one but the door now fits snugly. It runs so quietly I have to keep checking it is actually freezing down. The builder will return tomorrow for some more carpentry work to be completed and he's going to re-seal a leaking shower. Bliss. This is the next best thing to moving house. I feel as if I have a new kitchen. And tomorrow once it's water tight and I've scrubbed it out I'll feel as if I have a new shower room.

I think next time round I might choose to marry a builder and become his mate.

Cherie Blair Pussy Trainer.

I thought this looked rather like Cherie Blair. It makes me wonder whether she has taken on a new role as a cat trainer.

Guest Blog Spot for November

It's Guest Blog Spot announcement time again:

It's really amazing how quickly it's time to wipe St Billy and Mark Wadsworth off their position at the top of my Blog side bar. But I've enjoyed having them around so have promoted them to my regularly read links list. I really should get on and sort this list into some kind of order soon.

My choice of Bloggers to take on the now vacant Guest Spot are:-

  1. Toby - he has 2 blogs available [a] and [b] which is a work of fiction. I know that [a] may also be entirely fictional account as well but I preferred [a] to [b] ! Please go on over and check them out for yourselves.

  2. Winchester Whisperer's blog which is called Winchester Whisperer.

I hope you'll find them interesting and enjoy reading their work.

For readers who are unaware of how to join in the lottery of guest blog spot then all you need to do is leave a comment on a 'And - Who Cares' posting during November. Following a visit for me to inspect your blog - on the proviso it is not too vulgar or blush making I'll choose to link you the Top Slot for the month. After that if I become a regular reader you'll be added to my links list otherwise it will be 'farewell and nice meeting you' kind of thing. Do join in it can be quite fun and interesting for other bloggers to get to meet you.

Meanwhile thanks to everyone for thier comments on entry Personal Experience. I will be replying and posting later but may not be today - as we have the builders in again.