Thursday, 17 December 2009

I'm still here . . .

I'm still here . . . struggling to wave rather than drown. Keeping my head above water . . just.

3 positive things:
  1. I have joined a Bridge Club and have acquired an experienced player as a partner. I'm sure we will be a force to be reckoned with once I understand his bidding. And even more so when he understands I have moments of brilliance. As well as moments when I lose concentration. When I start thinking of all the chores I need to do. A consequence of which is that I find I'm not sure whether I'm playing in a Trump or a no Trump contract.
  2. The new car is wonderful. For such a large car [after my little Honda Jazz] it is very easy, relaxing to drive and manoeuvre around local towns. Unlike when driving the Jazz - drivers of 4x4s no longer attempt to bully me on the road.
  3. MyMan and I are still together.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Help A Poppy Seller

I really cannot believe it. The RBL Poppy sellers have been told that they cannot draw attention to their collecting activities by shaking a collecting tin or requesting a donation! It is said that people might feel intimidated. Well I never - go to the foot of our stairs!! What a load of wimps people are if they feel intimidated by a rattle of a collecting tin as you walk by. Far by worse are the people who try to badger you into giving bank details to make a charitable donation by direct debit.

I'd like to suggest that we all mobilise as willing unofficial volunteers. Go fill old baked bean/soup cans with some loose change. Then go out and find a quiet and silent Poppy Seller. Just stand near them. Shake your coin filled tin as loud as you are able. As far as I'm aware there is no law against this.

If an officer of the law does make an appearance and questions you - start to shout 'penny for the guy' and/or 'trick or treat'.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

An Extra Hour

The clocks go back to Greenwich Mean Time at 2 a.m tonight. I'm trying to decide on whether to turn all my clocks back an hour before I go to bed or attempt a lie in and then claim my extra hour early on Sunday morning. It's not often we get given something for nothing so I do like to consider carefully how to spend this extra time.

It will proably take me 15 minutes to alter all the clocks - only 2 of them are radio controlled. I love clocks so have many in each room. I find thier ticking meditative and calming.

I am aware that some people, for example those on night shift, will have to work from 1 - 2 a.m . Then the clocks will be put back and they'll have to work that hour all over again - probably for no extra pay!?

Sunday, 18 October 2009

One Simple Idea

One simple idea is all we need - I just wish I was clever enough to come up with one . . .

This is one very successful lady - a simple idea - but it shows that if you have an interest and a natural passion for your subject it can be contagious. She now has a book out and had a book signing session at Waterstones.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Daily Diary Planner and all . .

I have a daily diary, a pocket diary, a calendar planner and a weekly planner.

The daily diary - a 'page a day' diary - is where I write my thoughts, the days weather and what I did during the day. It's my life in the past tense, intense, warts thoughts and all. Always written up with my first cuppa early the next morning.

My pocket diary '2 weeks to a view' goes everywhere with me. When I haven't mislaid it that is. I like to see immediately whether or not I can accept an invite to tea, party or play bridge. It has to be co ordinated with the 'month to a view' calendar planner which has an his /her morning/afternoon appointments grid. His full of his health care plan, therapy and hospital appointments and hers (mine that is) hair, dental, opticians, bridge lessons, book group, birthday, anniversary reminders, and where necessary taxi service to take my spouse to his various hospital appointments. The centre column of the grid is set aside for the household projects: gardener, plumber, decorator, recycling, landfill collection etc.

As soon as a date is agreed it has to be entered on the planner and then entered in my pocket diary. If they aren't co-ordinated all hell breaks loose.

At the weekend I then write the full programme out on to a new blank weekly planner sheet. Which I sellotape to my wardrobe door. That way I know where I am going and where I should be going after that. My favourite days are the ones that have a whole half day with a blank space . . .

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Steven Seagull Gang Bang

Steven Seagull is not selfish - he's invited his gang to join him. The raucous calls at 5.30 calling all his friends and lovers to join him in our apple harvest is enough to drive me to drink. But even I don't like the idea of cracking open a bottle at 6 a.m.

I'm wondering whether I could sneakily take a pot shot at him with an air rifle? I'm just worried that Google Earth might at that precise moment be overhead snapping my picture as I - in a tatty bright pink dressing gown - commit a seagull massacre. I'm not sure which would be worse - for all to see me in my tatty gown - like a bright pink sack of potatoes. Or to be caught and prosecuted for murdering gullible gulls.

Perhaps it will be easier if I plod uphill to the orchard and just collect up all the windfalls.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Steven Seagull

Bloody Steven Seagull woke me at 5.30 again today. He's taken to paddling in our birdbath. I couldn't figure out why he's so attracted lately to our garden. Then I saw him making off with a windfallen apple clenched betweens his huge yellow bill. I wonder how far he can fly without dropping it. Have visions of some unfortunate person being hit by a falling apple and having that Newton moment.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

German Shepherd's Rescue

My old school friend came home from the theatre late last Wednesday evening to find a German Shepherd cowering and trembling in her car port. Nearing midnight she couldn't find any dog rescue centre or the local dog warden available to help. So she enticed the frightened animal to leave it's shelter and lead it indoors for the night. Having 2 German Shepherds herself we later marvelled on how this dog seemed to sense that 'this place' was a safe haven. We wondered whether her own bitches gave off a 'Well Come Inn German Shepherd' smell. She left messages for the local dog wardens, and various dog shelters as she assumed that the anxious owners would be frantically searching and desperate for the good news.

The next morning and the dog warden arrived with a magic wand to find the dog was micro chipped. He promptly left a message for the owners. It was a bitch and her name was Romany from Guildford. She was briefly checked over as she had a limp. Apart from having sore front pads - "as if she had clawed her way out" the dog warden declared her fit if subdued. Once she was able to meet with the 2 resident bitches she gained confidence but remained quiet and reserved. No contact from the owners during Thursday and the family being so enamoured of Romany started pondering on whether they would be able to keep her if she had been a victim of 'dog dumping'. Apparently the law states that if a dog is a victim of dog napping then the finder is not allowed by law to keep the animal - so no 'finders keepers' rule there. By Friday they were in love and beginning to hope that she was indeed an unwanted, unloved victim of the recession.

Eventually, late on Friday, the dog warden phoned to say the owners had made contact. They didn't realise she had been 'lost'. They had boarded her for a week with a dog trainer in their area for obedience training. At the end of the time the trainer said she needed further input and requested she remain a further week. It wasn't until the Thursday, hours after she had been found frightened in Warlingham, that they received a message fthat she had run away in Guildford while on a recall training session.

They immediately drove over to collect her. Romany was a rescued dog and had been with them for nearly a year. It was clear she was much loved and she was a transformed happy dog when they arrived. Her wagging tail proved it to be a happy ending.

Once all the misunderstandings were clearly sorted out re who did what and when; it quickly became apparent that the trainer had hidden the fact Romany was lost. Telephone calls and the dog wardens log etc were proof that Romany was discovered more than 24 hours before she was reported as 'missing'. It is believed that she was hired out as an overnight guard dog close to the area in which she was found. But perhaps not wishing to be a working dog she had made her escape. It's fortunate that she found herself in a safe place in which to hole up when lost and frightened in a strange area.

All's Well That Ends Well' but I hope that trainer is prosecuted . . . I think if I ever thought I'd need to place my dog in such a place I would insist on the frequent, unannounced visiting rights.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Family Fears

When I popped in to visit St Billy yesterday I saw that he'd written of his concerns re his granddaughter being a newly qualified driver. We are all too aware that the young don't seem to have a healthy regard of the dangers. They act as if they feel invincible. It reminded me of my own fears when my nephew just passed his test and was intending to drive to/from university. I could see it made sense instead of hauling all his dirty laundry home by train to have the use of his car. But suddenly for an 18 year old to go from minor pottering around town to driving on major routes and motorways didn't bear thinking about. To get some of my worries off my chest I penned him a letter:

"Dear Nephew

Enclosed are a couple of leaflets I picked up when we had a speaker talk to us recently [at the garden club] about the history of British woodlands. I’m not sure what exactly you are studying at University on 'Geography' but Pat said you would be interested in collecting information – so here they are! Now, in my day [yawn….] geography was all about maps, globes, countries, continents, rivers, hills and mountains and other geographical features that I may have missed out in the aforementioned list. Also about resources such as minerals etc. At least I can have a fair stab at pointing in the correct area of the globe when someone mentions some far and away foreign country. I also know where my hometown, yours and Southampton fit into a map of England – next time I see you I’ll have to test your knowledge and awareness of British towns/cities/rivers etc. – so be warned!

I was very pleased to hear you had passed your driving test – well done – but please [a bit of auntily nagging is now coming up] do take care. Whatever you do don’t drink and drive. Also try to drive carefully at all times. Remember there are some mad buggers out there who do daft things when you least expect them to. Also always leave plenty of s p a c e when pulled up behind another car. Some folk aren’t good at clutch control and at best will roll back and dent your front or at worst someone may hit you from behind and if you're too close to the one in front you end up becoming sandwiched. And finally, when driving allow plenty of space for unexpected idiots braking or turning with no warnings [don’t forget if you ever hit anyone from the rear you're at fault – no dispute allowed: regardless of whatever the daft idiot in front does – if you hit them from behind then you’re the guilty party]. And then your astronomically high insurance premium will soar to even greater heights.

I always quote the 2 second rule – this is where you watch the car in front pass a marker then recite “only a fool ignores the 2 second rule” (normal talking pace - no gabbling it) you should be able to say it all before you pass the same marker point. This means regardless of speed you are doing that the gap between you and car in front is adequate. May you have many, many happy and carefree years of motoring ahead of you – it can be fun – I enjoy driving but am always thinking of the risks. I am also thinking of taking the advanced motoring course – if I qualify it should help to lower the insurance premiums – speaking of which there is a short course called “Pass Plus” [I think it covers motorways etc] which may help you to do the same. Enough nagging!

I hope you are impressed by this fancy font – I’ve just started to do a course n calligraphy – I’d like to say this all my own work but I wont lie…. At the moment I’m practicing [or is that practising?] with a calligraphy pen - getting the angles right on various curves and zig zags – sheet after sheet – I get writers cramp. I hope to be proficient enough to do hand made Christmas cards this year – we’ll see.

Apart from writer’s cramp I also suffer from computer user’s mouse hand/shoulder (RSI), housemaid’s knee and mobile phone, texter’s thumb! Pat and I regularly pass short messages back and forth – heaven only know’s why – it would be cheaper to phone and use the landline. BT allow me to talk for 5.5p for a whole hour and here I am texting a short sentence and paying 12p for the honour – but it makes me feel young and trendy! It’s good though as had friends in South Africa last month (that’s towards the bottom half of the globe slightly to the right of us – in a geographer’s language almost south east – at least - I think that’s where it is) and they sent me a birthday text greeting. They’re young and trendy too even though 10+ years older than I. Talking of birthdays - thank you very much for the birthday card – I was very pleased to receive it.

With much love from your very proud Aunt. (by that I mean your Aunt who is full of pride of her nephew - even if he is unable to pin point the whereabouts of Southampton on a blank map of the UK)"

Then when I started to relax and get used to the idea of his driving around the country he took up a new hobby - sky diving . . . eek.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Book Group Whethering Heights

We had a rest from reading for the book group. We had been promised a much trumpeted 'BBQ Summer' as forecast by the Met office. Considering the Met Office is only located a few miles away - as the crow flies - just how could they get it so wrong? And considering they are unable to correctly forecast the near future then just how wrong can they be when warning us all of Global Warming??

Anyway - getting back to our Book Group. As it has been wet windy and cold we are going to read Judith O Reilly's book : 'Wife in the North'. At the beginning of September I'll find out what the rest of the group think of it. I still believe it is funny, touching, sad, funny again but nowhere near as good as her blog. If you happen to be new to Judith's blog be sure and read 'Strife in the North'. It's bestto read each of their posts in chronological order: first WITN then SITN as per these examples from May 2007.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Words Fail Me . . .

Words fail me . . . I was so angry and upset to have heard about this on the main news early this morning. I think it is just another sad reflection on the education, qualifications, consideration, thoughtfulness, intelligence and basic common sense of our modern police officers. I hope the RSPCA will bring a prosecution for cruelty. One would have expected them to know better . . .

Needless to say "lessons will be learned" - again !! HUH. And all the Chief Supt Ak Khan can say is 'this has caused immense sadness' - meanwhile the officer who 'lost this valuable member' of his team is probably at home on paid leave 'grieving' while there is an investigation into how 'lessons can be learned' for the future. HUH and HUH again.

If this is an example of Britain's Finest the no wonder the criminal element are ruling UK which is now seen as the most violent and lawless country in Europe.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Haemorrhoids in t' North

Meet Emma Royds here.

Rilly Super of 'Strife in the North' meets Stinking Billy here.

Haemorrhoids in Devon

Haemorrhoids are out in force in Devon. Apparently tourists are no longer called 'Grockles'. They're called haemorrhoids. They are red, an irritating nuisance and hang around in bunches.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Cashless Existence

A Cashless existence sounds great but like all new technology I doubt it will reach the Shires until it is 'old hat' in the capital city. I can just imagine the baker being thrilled if I produce a card to pay 80p for a couple of bread rolls.

Still if you want to read about one young man's experiment then read all about it here.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

I May Be Gone For Sometime . . .

I am worrying about my various email addresses/passwords as I am about to upgrade computer and change ISP. I am migrating. But when I leave this 'tent' I fear I may be gone sometime . . . .

Unfortunately when I started on this PC I was very lazy. Stupidly ticking the box whenever Windows 'offered' to remember a password for me. Lovely. But now I am facing one hell of a mess. The last time I changed ISP it was simple. I left a dial up account for broadband. But was able to retain various email addresses connected with the dial up accounts. Many of them go back years. Apart from one sub account I couldn't access. My husband's. It didn't matter how many times I counted up all the little ********** I still couldn't figure out the magic password. No matter he hardly ever emails. And it was easy to set up another account for him with our new provider. He hasn't used it once in 5 years so I wont bother when I move again.

I used to have some of the more important ones written down in an old ring binder. I can no longer find it. I fear now and must assume it was thrown out in our last declutter exercise. I'll be trying to use the old/new PCs alongside each other while I transfer and swap files around. It's a time consuming exercise. One I could do without right now. But this old machine is a bit slow, temperamental and getting full.

It will take me ages to sort out all my favourite typing shortcuts I set up in MS Office. Word Docs. For example it wont be until I'm in full flow in the middle of a letter - automatically hit one of my shortcut keys - such as 'alt+p+h' and the small telephone symbol fails to hit the page that I'll remember I need to set it up. Keys 'y+f & enter' and 'Yours faithfully,' springs on to the page: 'y+s' for Yours sincerely. All are quick easy time savers. But all will need initial inputting. Sigh.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Multiple Personality Syndrome

I have a problem. I have multiple personality trouble. I blog here. I blog there. And there and there. I Twitter. I am on Facebook. Twice. I am registered with Friends Reunited - twice or is that thrice? I think I have other forums - that's right I have a MySky too.

All is well until I have a senior moment. Then my memory fails me. I can't recall which email address/password combination gives me access to which account. I have a Facebook account which I've not been able to access for weeks. People may wonder what happened to me/her.

I wonder if that is what happened to Rilly Super. Perhaps she forgot her email and log in password. And now is happily blogging away on a fresh site. Who knows? I don't. Neither does any one of my other personalities . . . .

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Budget Day

Dear Darling Alistair
I'm so sorry you had such a horrible budget on which to make a speech. There isn't much you can say when the UK has gone BUST. Up to it's collective ears in Debt. In spite of the previous Chancellor boasting many times that he'd abolished the cycle of Boom and BUST. Gordon looked so happy at the end of your speech. Even the skin around his eyes crinkled when he grinned. I assume he looked happy that he was no longer in that post when the BUST hit the fan. Relieved in fact that he wasn't the one who had to deliver the figures himself.

But you looked so sad. You almost looked on the verge of tears. I think you should have squeezed in a few words to say that we are now BUST as the previous incumbent of your post failed to save for these rainy days. He enjoyed the BOOM but frittered it away. As he did with with the nation's gold reserves.

A Floating Voter

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Whistleblower by Penny Whistle Blower

I'm a Whistle blower. Although I signed the Official Secrets Act I am going to blow a whistle. It's only a Penny Whistle but here goes . . .

In the 1970's I worked for the Department of Health & Social Security when Sir Keith Joseph was the Minister in charge of the DHSS. I used to check the facts and figures as cases were prepared to prosecute Employers for the non payment of NI contributions deducted from employees wages. Once all the papers were checked the file was then passed on to an Executive Officer. Files then passed on to an Inspector who would take the case to the court.

Now, I have a work ethic. If my in box is full I like to clear it before I sit and have a chat. But my superviser complained that I worked too quickly. Would I slow down as he was unable to keep up with my output. He didn't like a teetering pile in his In-tray. Neither did I - that's why I worked quickly.

Also I was rather taken aback during my first year at the DHSS Regional Office in North London when in late January I was told that I'd not taken my quota of sick days. I was to be sure and get them all in before the end of March. I only survived there a couple of years. Even though I was only in my 20s it felt wrong to be paid so well for so little. I'm not a thumb twiddler. I like to keep occupied.

I doubt there has been much change in the Civil Service. I do regret now I'm a pensioner not staying on and 'playing the system'. I would have enjoyed the pension now.

Friday, 17 April 2009

3 Good Things

[1] My Stars on Wednesday say things are starting to look up for me and I'll get what I deserve. Lovely !

[2] I had half an hour to explore my favourite bloggers and their links. I came across this post- which made me laugh. A laugh a day keeps the doctor away. The blog itself looks interesting so I will return.

[3] I was pleased to find my 3 orchids are sending up new shoots, also that I've masses of new plants that have self seeded all over the garden and means I will have enough to fill in gaps created by losses due to the extreme cold over this winter and still have enough left over to pot on to pass on to friends or sell for charity.

Is that the longest sentence ever on this blog ? I believe so.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Easter Greetings

Such a beautiful sunny spring day again today. I've spent much of my time in the garden admiring hundreds of self seeded hellebores and masses of primroses in every conceivable nook and cranny.

Happy Easter Greetings to you all . . . . .

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Easter Holidays

The weather has changed for the worse. Just as the second homers, the holiday makers and caravanners are beginning once again to clog up our small towns. Taking over the country lanes. Dominating resident drivers with their Chelsea Tractors which they have no idea how to drive now they're outside the confines of the big city.

People who feel the need to shout when talking with friends. Shrieking with laughter. 'Hooray Henrys' and their WAGs. destroying the 'peace and quiet' they say they appreciate so much. They look rather ridiculous and give us locals much entertainment. Especially the young women, teetering around the sea shore on their Jimmy shoes.

On a very cold, wet, misty Monday afternoon I remarked to a friend how busy it had suddenly become. She gleefully told me she is informing all the visitors she meets how awful the weather is now and how we'd been enjoying hot, sunny days for the last 3 weeks. But how pleased we are to see the rain as our gardens desperately need refreshing.

April Blessings

1st] The sun shining highlighting deep red of a hellebore:

2nd] The perfume from a Pieris in full flower:

3rd BT] The sound of bees busily exploring the spring flowers.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Spring has Sprung

Another beautiful sunny warm day.
Spring has Sprung.
Hellebores galore.
Nodding daffodils.
Birds flitting and flirting everywhere.
A quiet half hour sat outside enjoying the warmth from the rays of the sun.
Life feels good.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

It Feels Good to Share

It feels good to share with others ...

And now that I've received my elderly person's concessionary bus pass I've just seen this . I now have the desire to travel by rail. All these travellers look far happier than everyone I see standing out in the wind and rain waiting for a bus. Although this was planned and rehearsed for an ad for a mobile phone network I think the rail network should request a share in the ad too. It's a wonderful spectacle.

How I wish I was there - I would have loved to join in. I just love to dance.

If you would like to see this in High Quality be sure to click on the HQ button at the bottom of the screen next to the speaker symbol.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Thank Heavens for Football

Thank heavens for football. MyMan is watching Man Utd and some Italian team kick a ball to and fro on some pitch somewhere. As he is happily absorbed in the game I have chance to come onto the blogosphere and cast around to see who has written what and when. I thought this rather charming new blogger - seems to be very youthful techie wise for an 'oldie'.

We've hauled some furniture around and made a wee slot for myself and my computer in the entrance hall under the stairs. I can be seen from the front door but if anyone calls unannounced I going to pretend I'm deaf. When I have a few spare minutes I'm going to make a sign that will tell callers I'm not the 'lady of the house' but the secretary.

I'm looking at all manner of ways of saving time. I now tell the charity shops that I'm a non tax payer just to save the few minutes from completing the tax reclaim form when I drop off donated items. I'm considering showering at night fully dressed so my clothes can be laundered at the same time. I read my book for the reading group while I stir the dinner on the stove. I read the daily paper while I'm on the toilet - after all it's crap news nowadays.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


At the beginning of the year in 2008 I liberally smeared mistletoe berries all over the bark and branches of several apple trees. I don't know how long it will take before I find out if any of the seeds have taken. There was no sign of anything throughout last year. Fingers crossed for this.

You may ponder on what brought this thought to mind today. I was flitting from one blog to another and came across this with the beautiful photo of a rose. And in an earlier post with the snow/ice scenes were some of mistletoe . . .

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


"Boo" to that reader inSsussex (Brighton) who has been peering at this poor offering for over 14 minutes.

University Challenges

University Challenge 2009 final was a cliff hanger. Now while everyone has been casting aspersions on Ms Trimble for [a] being very knowledgeable, intelligent and extremely fast on the buzzer and [b] her looks. I would just like to boast that over the last couple of weeks I have actually beaten her several times to the answer. It's harder playing at home as your answer can only be accepted if you have shouted it out loud enough well before it is answered by one of the team members.

Many of us have loads of facts and information stored in our brains. it's the retrieval system that can be faulty. Ms Trimble displays a phenomenal retrieval of her archive system. Mines not bad either. For a pensioner.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Pensioners Party

I am now officially a state pensioner. I never thought I'd live to see the day. I feel very grown up.
I have several 'thank you notes' to write. In particular one to an old school friend who sent me a watercolour of 3 fancy goldfish. It was a real surprise. I have admired many of her works since I discovered her website.

We first met age 7 years in infant school. We had just moved into the area. She thought I looked 'strange' or 'interesting' (I'm not sure which) and followed me home from school. Apparently I took the long way round. She lived towards the bottom of my road and I at the top end. We were inseparable until we had to leave school and join the world of work. Marriage and various moves around the country mean we see each other rarely. But this year to celebrate our becoming pensioners we hope to meet up in Worthing to party together.

Thank you Marion. It was a lovely surprise gift.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Say No to ID Cards

Say No to ID Cards and sign up for microchipping instead. It's simple and painless. It will never get lost or stolen. And it will be impossible for fraudsters to clone it.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Rant Free Zone

As you can see - or you may have noticed - I've been on a bit of a rant over the last few days. I've been in a full on rant mode. Full moon, sleep disturbed nights, an irritable angry spouse and domestic problems leave me feeling impatient and ready to take a bop at anything and anyone.

But today I just feel tired. Too tired to rant or quarrel with anyone. Today I feel a bit ashamed of my argumentative mode. No wonder my astrological sign is of 2 fish pulling in different directions, swimming in opposite directions, going around in circles. That's me to a 'T'

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Brown Fiddles While Britain Freezes

While Gordon Brown and Darling Alistair are tinkering around the edges of this depressive recession they appear to be equally worried about the obesity epidemic, MP's expenses on "second homes" and climate change or global warming (during the coldest winter for decades) .

We are being nagged to turning our heating down. Fit long life energy saving lightbulbs. Well bugger that. I fitted 4 energy saving lightbulbs. They take so long to warm up I've left the room before I can see where I'm going. They also fail to emit any warmth so I have to have the heating on 3 degrees higher. The 'long life' bulbs are less than 2 years old and show signs of being less efficient and slower than when first fitted.

I am now tracking down stockpiles of the old fashioned incadescent bulbs and have boxes of them stored in the loft. I don't see why these are not considered long life bulbs. In our previous house we had many of the old fashioned original bulbs that we'd fitted when we moved in 1982 still burning brightly in 1999 when we left.

Global warming? not according to all scientists. These are the experts who obviously do not have any vested interests in companies making wind turbines, energy saving lightbulbs, solar panels etc. If you believe that Maggie Thatcher was often right then in her time the view was earth is heading towards a new ice age. In which case the local councils and highways dept. had better buy in the snow ploughs and plenty of gritty rock salt before the prices rocket.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Jeremy Clarkson We Love You

Jeremy Clarkson - We love you - I do hope the BBC and all the other folk who are leaping on the 'Whingers Band Wagon' realise that there are far more worrying things in our world today than taking any notice of your non-PC comments.

I cannot believe it . . . Jeremy Clarkson is in trouble for reference he made to the 'Goblin King' in a press conference in Austalia. So many people appear to have taken offence in some way. I find Jonathan Woss very offensive. So I stop watching or listening: problem solved.
But even the RNIB spokeswoman has issued a statement. What has happened to everyones sense of humour? If we all want to call the PM Gordon Brown Cyclops - why not?? I also lost an eye. But 'in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king'. If we can't laugh at the things in life that scare or annoy us then I'm sure we'll become depressive psychos and turn to violence. I'm practically taking to the streets with a meat cleaver as I type... gggrrrh

Jeremy Clarkson is one of the few people to make me laugh out loud. He's Outrageous. But funny. Whatever he says I don't go believing his every word on lorry drivers, the Welsh, the Scottish, James May(Cpt Slow) and calling Richard Hammond 'the hamster' . Mind you I could object to that. Richard is far more attractive than any hamster . . .

God knows there is so little fun in the world today. No wonder everyone feels glum. What with the Credit Crunch, low interest rates (particularly gruelling for savers where we almost have to pay the banks for taking care of our hard earned savings). And now anyone who tries to crack a joke there is some individual or organisation that leaps on the 'Offensive Band Wagon' . . ye gods If you feel as I do then email the RNIB here: and tell them what you think.

I thought it was bad enough in the early 1990's when a work colleague was 'disciplined' for making a reference to a MANhole cover . . . ye gods. I thought that was bad but I just cannot believe it . . . the world is galloping towards a deep depression financially and mentally and all people in 'authority' can do is complain and/or discipline some poor victim for having a sense of humour. HUH!

Here endeth my rant . .

Friday, 6 February 2009

Race and Words Matters

I've been thinking more about the 'Golliwog' and Carol Thatcher BBC affair. I've also been interested to read Robert's comment on my previous post.

On reflection my grandfather would make me feel uncomfortable when he talked about 'niggers' (after Jamaicans moved into England mid 1950's) and the eyeties (Italians). I think it wasn't so much the terms he used but the impression he gave me of his dislike Being young at the time I can't remember what he said but I do remember his unkind tone of voice. So it wasn't the 'words' more the implication from his tone. I remember my mother telling me that 'nigger' is a rude word to use. A " very old fashioned term" she said for a 'coloured person' . Which being old fashioned myself still feels the most polite way to talk of someone with a different coloured skin. Black to me sounds too close to 'nigger'. When I first heard the word 'wog' I asked my father what it meant. He told me it meant a Western Oriental Gentleman. It wasn't the words themselves but more the implications I gathered when they were used that I noticed. If some youngsters today hear the word 'black' used in a derogatory manner theymay feel it's an unacceptable word.

In the same way that if someone uses a crude word when swearing venomously I'll blush. If it is a youngster liberally using such a word due to a poor grasp of the richness of the English language I don't take any notice. But I feel a blush sweep over me when someone swears with deep feeling using innocuous words like 'fudge' or 'sugar'.

It's the feelings behind the words that are important rather than the words used.

I also remember when I was about 7 yrs old confiding once in an Uncle that other school kids called me names. He told me that names can't hurt. And just to remember "that sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me". Such a simple message but it made me feel strong enough to not care.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Golliwog and The BBC

Fields in Sidmouth were selling golliwogs before Christmas. I hope they have one left. I intend to buy one when I go shopping next. I'm going to call it The BBC and hang it by it's neck from my rear view mirror.

I'm also going to complain to the BBC. I'm almost certain I heard Jonathan Woss make an improper comment about Gollywog a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Gollywog and Racial Awareness

Golly what a fuss over Carol Thatcher using the term Gollywog. She has apologised and said she meant nothing offensive by it. If from what I have been able to read is true, then she was saying a tennis player reminded her of a Gollywog.

Well I have a friend who being tall slender, large busted with long blonde hair reminds me of a Barbie doll. She is not offended and I mean no offense when I call her Barbie doll. She is secure in her intelligence; is comfortably appreciative with her appearance. "No side to her" would have been one of the comments my mother would have used. I am envious that someone can be so attractive with no artificial enhancements. Will anyone report me for making 'offensive remarks' if they over hear me saying that Angela's a 'Barbie Doll'?

I well remember the picture of the Robertson's Gollies on jars of jams and marmalade. We collected the badges. There is no way that either my sister or I saw them as being linked in any way with the black children we went to school with and who were often invited home for tea after school. They were our friends. But Golliwogs, Robertson's Golly, Teddy, Rupert Bear and Barbie etc were much loved 'toys'.

Growing up in Croydon in the 1950's I was never aware of any racial issues or prejudices in my family. "Do as you would be done by" was another of my mothers beliefs. People were people as far as our family were concerned. Some good, some bad. Some were friends, some bullied you, some had awful manners and some you would like as friends but felt in awe of them. For me one of the girls I would have like to have known better was called Anna Blake. She was tall black slender, quiet and gentle manners and always dressed much more smartly than I. She looked like a remote Princess but I was too shy to try talking to her. As I was with another school girl. White (well, pale pink) Joyce Roberts was sporty and, I thought, more intelligent than I. As I was particularly non sporty I felt we'd have nothing in common. Again shyness held me back.

But all this political correctness is beginning to make me very racially aware. When i was young it was considered polite to call people coloured. Black was considered rude, racist and reminiscent of the slave trade. I resent the fact that I can no longer look at non whites as just 'people'. I can't stare in wonder if they are dressed in an exotically foreign costume. I no longer feel comfortable meeting non white British people. I am so afraid of saying something that will be taken the wrong way. I invariably smile when I catch a stranger's eye as we pass in the street. But if it should be a black or Asian person I stifle any smile as I am afraid it will be misconstrued or seen as patronising.

I remember a black staff nurse I used to work with in Mayday hospital c 1960s. As we were walking back to work one lunchtime she said that she forgets she's black until she sees someone staring at her. I told her I assumed they were 'staring at us because we're 2 pretty girls'. I'm not sure what I would say today.

I also know what it is like to be in the minority. A few years ago I became lost in Thornton Heath trying to find the house where I was born. As I waited near Thornton Heath pond for traffic lights to change I realised that everyone was looking at me. I was the only white (well, very very pale pink actually) person for as far as my eye could see. I felt uncomfortable. I'm sure I would have been more confident in this situation in the 1960/70's.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Help Please Information Wanted

Help Please - Information Wanted on the wherabouts of St Billy aka Stinking Billy.

I came on this afternoon and wanted to read some of my favourite bloggers butI've been unable to access St Billy's pages. All I can get is a page which says Invited readers only. St Billy - please invite me to be a reader.

update half an hour later: I emailed St Billy to ask if he was having technical problems. Then I had a brainwave. I Googled Stinking Billy "Goodbye" an this is what I found in the 'cached pages' rather than create a link I will cut and paste the cached page here so that anyone coming late to this post will know what has happened. I'm sad . . . I've also retained the blogs that St Billy linked to - there may be other bloggers like me who want to keep up with some of his 'harem'.

Stinking Billy
A 74 year-old retired Fire Officer from Northumberland who enjoys writing with a splash of irony. Main interests these days are blogging, e-mailing and Bridge, in that order.
Sunday, 1 February 2009

All good things must come to an end, and this is the final post of Stinking Billy. There, now, don’t any of you go upsetting yourselves because it’s not such a big deal. Not even any scandal or story attached to my decision, just par for the course for Billy.I have said here more than once that I am by nature mercurial, a ‘hit and run’ and ‘keep moving’ merchant, and I guess I have just come to the end of this particular tether. I feel sad, sure, but I will find something else to take the place of this amazing hobby of blogging, and off I will go again, you’ll see, or rather you won’t, I guess.You have all been wonderful to know and my life is all the richer for having met you, if you know what I mean, not least the treasured members of my harem (every woman who is either a ‘follower’ or a link on my blog-list). Was there ever a luckier sultan than me?I can’t deny that I have had my favourites, but to mention names would only be invidious and I have no intention of going there. I will miss every one of you, but then I do have a penchant for wearing hair-shirts. Yep, I am expecting to feel a little pain, and that will prove something, right? I’m not sure what, but I am always confident that providence will somehow compensate me for being so brave. ;-) Let it a big chunk of money this time

Finally, you are welcome to call in on Mrs Billy and me here in Seahouses for a coffee and a chat anytime you are up this way. Don’t leave it too late, though. We may be gone from here by mid-summer but, then, there are still no signs of the housing market picking-up. If you do fancy dropping in you can contact me via e-mail at btippins@supanet.comNow, I will have to surprise my wife with the news and find a way of closing this site down. Lingering deaths (no, I do not have some incurable disease) are never pleasant. Good luck to you all! To my faithful harem, a special thanks. You have made a very happy man old, or something like that. ;-) Luv, Billy. xP.S. The fact that this happens to be the 400th post of a confessed target-driven airhead, is just sheer coincidence. ;-)

Posted by Stinking Billy at 11:27
Labels: ,

softinthehead said...
Oh Billy why - wont you miss it. I know I don't post everyday but i like to know I can if something occurs to me, Will you still be reading? It's not February fool is it? You will be much missed :(
01 February 2009 11:42
Grumpy Old Ken said...
I am both saddened and shocked. You will be missed by many. Thanks for help so willingly given. Hope everything goes well for you in the future.
01 February 2009 11:49

About Me
Stinking Billy
Overage, Over 6ft (just), Overweight, Overdosed (whisky), Overrated, Undersexed. >

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Careers for Carers?

I'm not quite sure how this procedure will help careers? There is much that I would have undertaken to further my career. But I feel this procedure would have been a step too far for me.
Another example of the over reliance on the all powerful computer and spell check rather than employing a proof reader?

Save the Planet - or not . .

I've just completed my carbon footprint calculator. If you want to view my 'below average' results then click on WWF Footprint Calculator. Even though I am termed as a 'below average' polluter I can't help but notice a hectoring tone of 'you can do better'! I have no intention of changing my behaviour.

In fact to cheer Mr Gordon 'Boom n Bust' Brown up I have every intention of taking my car and going out on a spending spree as soon as my domestic circumstances allow. In fact a new car is one of the items on my list of 'to buy' soon.

If you are interested in seeing how green or not you are then the calculator can be found here. You don't have to register or log-in to complete the quiz.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Jenny a friend in Surrey has recently had an operation for a bladder problem. I haven't seen her for a long while and rang to check how she is after surgery. It's not a procedure I've heard of before and had to look up details on the Internet. Later when talking with a mutual friend we were wondering just how painful the recovery period will be. I was trying to say that sitting on her fanny could be pretty tricky for a while. But I found myself self censoring my words as I was talking with an older more ladylike friend.

Afterwards I had a vague memory that Fannies were women in one of the armed services. So I tried to do a google search. Eventually I found what I was looking for but not without many strange unrelated results.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Pensions Service

I spoke with a very nice young man in Swansea Pensions Service a couple of days ago. No wonder I'd had no reply. Gareth said they had received no letter from me. He was very helpful though and has forwarded a request to the NI Contributions section so that I can be sent details on how I can improve my pension.

I was hoping to organise a small party by arranging for friends to join me at one of the local pubs for a 'pensioner's lunch'. But as my spouse has been unwell I am reluctant to commit to festivities. Failing that I will take a short trip on the local bus - for free.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Pensioner's Perks

I'm gearing up towards becoming an official OAP. I've applied for my pension to start immediately after my 60th birthday. I've had my forecast (not bad but I wont be rich enough to buy you all a drink). Needless to say there are a few errors in my NI contributions and credits. But I've been far too busy at home over the last couple of weeks to get it sorted out. Well I asked them to re assess it a few weeks before Christmas and I've yet to receive a reply.

I'm about to complete a form and get photo ID for my bus pass. Whee . . . free bus travel. I'll be able to stand in the cold wind and rain while I wait half an hour for a bus that may have come and gone already( the hourly bus has an irregular idea of keeping to a schedule).

warning: For readers of this blog outside the UK I looked up OAP on Google and foundthe link at the end which is only for readers who want to broaden their minds, are already broad minded and definitely is not for animal lovers ... well it depends ... animal lovers

Friday, 9 January 2009

Laundry Woes

That'll teach me. I should have had more sense. Sense to consider that my husband has no sense. Recently discharged from a short stay in hospital he gave me a bundle of all his laundry. I didn't check it. All dark blue pyjamas and dressing gown were quickly bundled into the washing machine. At the end of the cycle I went to transfer them to the tumble drier and found everything covered in shredded paper, cotton wool and bits of tape and plastic. It took me ages to clean out the washing machine of all the debris. Even after tumble drying I've had to sit and pick of numerous bits from every item.

I said I was a fool not to have checked. Unlike trousers pockets I've never known anything to be in the pocket of pyjamas. He said that when the hospital ID tag, the I.V cannula and the dressings were removed he tucked them into his pockets! I'm always telling him his idea of tidiness is not the same as mine.

He was away from home 3 days. My 3 BT's for the time I spent alone are:
  1. long relaxed deep sleep undisturbed by sleepless spouse
  2. eating my favourite meals - being surprised that I choose vegetarian when alone
  3. reducing the room thermostat from 20c to 15c, putting on winter clothes and feeling much clearer in the head for the cooler temperature.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Gloom, Doom or Silly Verses

I met friends for coffee yesterday. One of our party was full of Gloom and Doom. He kept singing 'folkie songs', songs from the first World War and quoting gloomy poetry.The rest of us were trying to start the new year with a lighthearted atmosphere. To make everyone laugh I quoted:

"I went to the pictures tomorrow
And sat in the front row at the back
I fell from the pit to the gallery
And broke a front bone in my back"
I wanted to know whether anyone knew where it came from. The older members in our group looked blankly at me and said they'd never heard it before. One other, Jenny who is the same age as I, knew it. Neither of us know it's origins. I had wondered over the years whether it was something my father and uncle had made up to amuse us as children. But obviously not.

I also remember a bit more of nonsense verse and am not sure if it is connected to the first verse or a separate rhyme

"I went round a straight crooked corner
To see a dead donkey die
I pulled out my knife to shoot him
And he kicked me right in the eye "
I'm also groping around in my memory for another verse along the lines of "sixpence and a crooked house"? Does anyone remember them and any other similar rhymes.