Sunday, 30 November 2008

More Moving Tales

MyMan has started to realise that I could be right. There are not many places around in east Devon where he is willing to move to. All the places we would enjoy living are hilly. We have lived on one hill or another for 35 years. He's not the only one to experience problems hill climbing. I'm OK walking up hill but have to go at a much slower pace than i used to. But my poor feet and ankles object to walking down steep hills. There is no way I would, or could, carry shopping uphill. We'd both love to move to a rural house again. But the recent health scares here with MyMan, and of friends problems, leads me to value the convenience of semi rural life.

We could explore other counties. But it takes a good 2 years to settle in a new environment. I don't think I could take the added stress of settling into a strange county, town or village. If we are to leave the area where we now live, then I still want to return to looking for a place to live in this district , near my family.

MyMan still is not keen. The video I'd made of a possible location with a small but convenient house on the market he thought looked 'too quiet'. He didn't think there would be much going on there! He wasn't keen on having a children's play area in the grounds as it 'would be too noisy'. It was green, full of trees, on the level, a short walk to the nearest village and close to transport links.

My sister thought if we lived there I would turn into a Stepford Wife. A nephew liked it and likened it to Legoland. I thought it neat, tidy and liked the idea of friendly community neighbourliness.


I can see why sleep deprivation is used as an instrument of torture. After a few sleepless nights my mind is woolly and I ache from head to toe. I have enjoyed 3 blissful nights of gentle deep sleep. So this morning I thought I'd have the energy to go out bird watching along the river Otter.

I had the energy I just didn't realise how freezing cold it would be. I had put on enough layers to make me waddle like a Michelin woman. But the cold wind attacked my head [I know, I forgot a woolly hat], my gloved hands and my feet. Over the last 9 years winters have been so mild I'd forgotten just how cold it can get. I didn't see any birds other than gulls and mallard. I could well have missed some interesting sights but my eyes were watering so much I gave up. I went instead for coffee in Otterton Mill; re-opened following the recent floods.

While leaving I saw a very fat ginger cat which welcomed having a big fuss from me - I am still feeling very cat deprived. This picture is from an artist's website. Why not pop over and take a look. There are some impressive originals.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Sad Days Again

Am having a sad time at the moment. Sad for my friends. My bridge partner suddenly lost her husband last week. And a friend from my book group - her husband died yesterday. Both very unexpected deaths. So a shock to me. Heaven only knows how they are feeling. At the moment I think each is numb with disbelief.

Pauline Prescott

Much has been written in various articles on Pauline Prescott since the nation heard her speak on her husband's TV special on the class system. I'm not a fan of John Prescott. It's only since I read so much about Pauline in the media I decided to watch the repeat of the programme to decide for myself. The press articles are absolutely spot on. She's wonderful. I'd love to pop in and have cup of tea and chat with her.

I consider myself working class. Well, my father thought of himself as working class and I am my father's daughter. Both my father and uncle were stewards in the merchant service. They joined at the age of 16 . To 'do their bit for the war'. They met during training on the training ship in Sharpness Docks, Gloucestershire. They always enjoyed reminiscing and regaling the younger generation with their tales of life at sea.

My father eventually met and married my uncle's sister. And my uncle married my father's sister. At a double wedding in 1948. A close knit family this marriage halved the number of aunts and uncles available to their offspring.

Unlike John Prescott the two of them were proud of their days at sea. I think Prescott gives working class people 'bad press'. Whatever his origins he's just full of envy, twisted bitterness and is lacking in self esteem. How he managed to win the hand of his 'fair lady' I'll never know.

Monday, 24 November 2008

General Election

It looks as if there's going to be a General Election early in 2009. Darling Alistair has announced that pensioners and families will receive their bribes from January. The planned increases in vehicle excise duty are now to be delayed until 2010. VAt to be reduced by2.5% till the end of 2009. It all sounds to me as if they are keen to have an election before the recession really takes hold.

I'm still trying to understand how 'growth' of the economy can be forecast as a negative figure. Wouldn't that make it the opposite to 'growth' - death of the economy?

George Osborne could do with some voice coaching. I thought he sounded very shrill this afternoon.

Alistair was sporting a new recession proof haircut. That is, to cut it really short to make the hairdo last longer. Or maybe his hair is falling out with all his financial worries?

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Strictly Come Dancing Sergeant

Strictly Come Dancing is not the sort of programme I would normally watch. If I want to see dancing then I'd much rather watch an old film of Astair and Rogers [Fred and Ginge] or Gene Kelly 'Singing in the Rain'.

But once John Sergeant started to make an impact on the show I couldn't miss all the talk about it - so 2 weeks ago I tuned in to see for myself. Apart from not knowing most of the 'celebrities' - other than Austin Healey - I just watched John Sergeant perform. I can see why so many people have enjoyed his dancing. I liked the twinkle in his eyes. It made me smile. So I tuned in again a week later. Most of the 'dancers look pretty stiff and wooden with large false grins plastered on their faces. John when he danced had a gentle smile and a twinkle in his eyes. I was very nearly tempted to vote for him. Anyone who can make me laugh without being vulgar or insensitive will always get my vote.

I was immensely disappointed when he felt obliged to resign. I see the BBC received an unprecedented number of messages about his resignation from the show. I'll tune in just once more this week to see his 'swan song' but after that I'll definitely cross this programme off my viewing list .. I think everyone should refrain from voting this week in protest at the outcome ..

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

PC Separation

I have PC separation issues. No, I'm not talking about politically correct form of divorce but that I am having trouble accessing my PC. For those of you who read my other blog you'll know that I've recently changed bedrooms. My husband is now in my fomer bedroom. With my computer. I am having trouble accessing it when I have 'spare time' for blogging.

In between my household chores, bridge lessons, bridge homework, getting fresh air and exercise I used to grab spare moments to blog. I'd blog late into the night, early morning or, during my periodic luntatic spells when insomnia strikes, in the middle of the night.

It is not quite so easy now. Any spare time for blogging often coincides with my man's rest or sleep times. I have been puzzling over finding another nook or cranny into which I can move my PC desk. I've now identified a spot where, with a few moves of other items of furniture, I can make a new corner my PC's hot desk slot. It has the disadvantage that anyone calling at the front door will see me typing away. I will no longer be able to pretend I am up the back of the garden, far away from the sound of the doorbell. Never mind. At least I'll be able to sneak out during sleepless nights and type away to my hearts content.

All that I'm waiting for now is a strong pair of hands, some muscle and someone willing to carry that from here to there; then move that from there to here and then my PC desk can be wheeled into that gap there ... EASY. I let you know when it's done..

Monday, 10 November 2008

Financial Crisis

The Bolt from the Blue must have been just a short flash of lightening. Gordon Brown appears to be revelling in the economic crisis. The boy David doesn't appear to be saying very much at all.

Surely the opposition should be flaying the Govt about their mismanagement, ftheir lack of forward planning, failing to save for a rainy day etc. etc. And reminding everyone of Gordon's bargain basement sale of the nation's Gold.

I keep trying to do 'my bit' for the economy. I've taken savings out to go on a shopping spree but haven't seen anything to really tempt me. Not even at 50 % discount. I'd buy a gold necklace but have you seen the price of gold lately?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Up Shit Creek . . . . ?

This rate of interest's not been seen since 1955 according to the news. Anyone with a mortgage will be pleased - unless they have recently signed up to a fixed rate deal. I'm pleased that most of my money is tied up in fixed rate deals for savers. Providing the insitutions I've chosen remain 'safe'.

I'm just wondering why the words 'headless and chickens' keep popping into mind when I think of Gordon, Darling and Mervyn. Not to mention the toothless FSA and the FSCS. Where will it all end??

Going Down the Swanee . . .

Well I've never known the BofE be so decisive before. Darling/Gordon must have leant heavily on dear Mervyn for this decision. MyMan and I had bets on what the new interest rate would be. He thought the cautious Bank of England could opt for 'half way house' and fix on 0.75% rate reduction. I said that as the news seems so bad perhaps they'd go for 2% - I was very nearly right. I wished I'd placed a bet on it.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


During my trip I made time to call in to see Gloucester Cathedral. I had planned on my retirement to visit all the English cathedral towns. Over the years I have seen many cathedrals but by no means all of them. I should do a count one day and see how many notches I'm missing from my bed post ...

Gloucester Cathedral remains my favourite. That may be because I came to know it so well. It is very close to Shire Hall and a short walk from the shopping centre. I was often passing it so it was quick and easy to while away a half hour to inspect an odd corner. Or to light a candle and spend a moment in quiet reflection.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

A Trip Down Memory Lane . . .

I took a short trip down Memory Lane a few weeks ago. A weekend away on a return to Gloucestershire for a Social Services reunion.

I took some time out to explore the area where we lived for 25 years. Not much had changed. The countryside around the 5 valleys is still very beautiful. With large expanses of sky. Steep hills. Narrow lanes. Deep valleys. Acres of common land.

Very few speed cameras. Very few signs warning 'Beware Bend'. If you do see such a sign in Glos County then you know you need to slow down - it's just as likely to be a sharp right/left hand turn rather than a slow gentle curve in the road. It seems to me that Highways in Glos County expect drivers to take care and use their own discretion rather than exhorting them to do this/that every few yards. Driving became a pleasure again with less of the distracting driver commands so often seen in Devon.

The standard of driving in Gloucestershire is still very high. With so many extremely narrow and awkward roads to traverse drivers have to constantly think ahead. And remain aware that cattle or horses can roam many of the highways.

It was also very apparant how very friendly and helpful the local people are. The number of people who wandered over to offer help if we appeared to be looking for something. As I paused to compare the present day scene with my memory I was often asked if I was looking for somewhere. Unlike in east Devon where the locals do nothing but grumble about the number of 'grockles' .