Monday, 15 July 2013

Muddled thoughts on a bereavement

Sometimes its hard to deal with the past - in the present. I recently lost an old friend to cancer. We had contact via text and social media and letters but not close contact due to family circumstances. When I realised that he was dying I wanted nothing more than to put my arms around him and make him better but obviously this couldnt be.
It is so hard to lose part of your past - their memories are your memories. The people that you both knew are often strangers to you now, so there is no comfort there.
Today was his funeral, I didnt attend. Tonight I drank too much wine and then couldnt take my daughters spare keys to her when she locked herself out.
Every action has a reaction. 
The friend that we had in common has a very jealous wife and would think that I was contacting him for the wrong reasons. I have heard that he has been very upset - and I cant comfort him, or him me.
Sweet dreams my wonderful friend - I will never forget you.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Playing Catch-up/Alde Garden

Well hello!

I have not posted on here much - almost forgot I was a blogger, Facebook seems to take over these days.

Since I last dropped by I have been lucky enough to have 2 holidays. The first, in Mexico, was fab. Lovely weather and hotel and great food. No dehli-belly which is always a plus. The second, in Sal, Cape Verde was unforgettable. My Man and I decided it was about time that we made things legal and so we are getting married in September (I blame the beautiful sunset over Santa Maria beach - made him come over all romantic). We have another holiday booked for after the wedding (or rather we booked the holiday and then booked the wedding for a few days before we go) in Agadir, Morocco.

It may seem that we are constantly in holiday but in fact we both work (and save) very hard to be able to have and enjoy these breaks.

In my previous life (before My Man) I had 20-odd years of not being able to afford a foreign holiday and having to get myself into debt just to take my kids away for a week in Hemsby! And once we are both retired (all too soon) we wont be able to have these holidays so we feel the need to get out there and enjoy ourselves while we can.

The only reason I can take the time out to post on here is that I have just had another exploratory knee op on my left knee (the one with the prosthesis) and am resting in bed. Last weekend we decided that it would be good to have a relaxing treat before I was laid up so we booked a weekend camping at Alde Garden in Sweffling (near Saxmundham) . Being early May we laboured under the false hope that it would be warm and sunny. Needless to say it was mostly cold and wet! But we didnt let that spoil things.

If you are into camping then it is a great place to go. As well as tent pitches there are Yurts, Tipis, a Gypsy Caravan, a Cottage and an olde worlde pub (no bar, just a Tap room where the beer/cider is poured straight from the keg). The couple that run it believe in a sustainable lifestyle so the guests are encouraged to recycle, use a treebog (no flush, just long drop onto straw), a Jungle Shower (too cold for us to take advantage unfortunately), borrow the pushbikes free of charge (tandem also included for those with balance), help themselves to the eggs from the freerange fowl (ducks, chickens and a goose), and herbs from the garden itself. There is a shower block with flushing toilets (for those not inclined to rough it), and a covered area with hobs, sinks, cutlery, crockery etc. Also at your disposal is a microwave, fridge/freezer and washing machine!

We will go again (preferably when it is a bit warmer). My Man is a lover of real ale and I dont object to a nice strong cider - and I certainly didnt say no to it! Apparently I gigled a lot (to the amusement of our nearest neighbours) and was incapable of taking myself to the toilet in the night - I seem to remember that I was taking the circuitous route once I had acquired the services of My Man to get out of the tent!

All in all a good time was had by all. We took the opportunity to visit Sizewell Beach, Saxmundham, Aldeburgh, Southwold and a couple of village pubs along the way. It is such a beautiful place.

Well, I have no idea when I will next post on here - but I am sure I will - eventually!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

On the bus

Yesterday I walked to work. It takes about 20 minutes to defrost my car and only 25 to walk. The first activity makes me cold, the second warms me up. So, no-brainer, I walked.
However .
When it came to coming home I had acquired several bags and a huge bunch of flowers and there was no way I could carry them all home so I thought 'I will get the bus'.
The next time I think this I would like the heavens to open and a hand to come down and twat me on the head.
What was I thinking?
Firstly, I had to wait 45 minutes - and then 2 came at once - of course, that is a given.
Then I didnt have the right change and you would think this was a crime punishable by locking me up and throwing away the key.
I found a seat and sank gratefully into it cautiously watching the smelly man (why is there always a smelly man on the bus) heading towards me, and YES he did indeed sit right in front of me so that I could see the grease on his collar from his long lank greasy hair.
Whilst waiting in the queue we were all regaled by a very loud 'special' person about the gloves she had bought from Poundland, how she couldnt text with them on, what songs she sang at Karaoke and how many cards she needed to write and to whom she was going to send them. And all accompanied by a loud pig-like snort at the end of every sentence.
I thought she might be all snorted out - how wrong I was!
Then there was the young girl and her mother who knew everything and everyone and made sure we knew it too.
The driver was foreign and spent the entire journey shouting out the names of the passengers and asking intimate questios which unforunately they were happy to answer.
My Smelly-Man had spent all day in the bookies but was going to give himself a day off the next day - perhaps he was going to wash his hair!
It was the bus you dream about - the one that never arrives at its destination and you begin to wonder if you will ever see your loved ones again.
When it arrived at my stop I nearly cried with happiness.
Am I the only person that wants to get on the bus, sit quietly and then leave after the bus has stopped - without the driver 'playfully' opening and shutting the doors while you try to dismount?
I looked up the bus company and found its slogan - 'Breeze Bus - A better service for Bury St Edmunds'
I dont think so.......

Friday, 21 September 2012


Me: Have you had your hearing tested Mum?
Mum: Pardon?
Me: (louder) Have you had your hearing tested Mum?
Mum: Yes, a few years ago
Me: And what did they say?
Mum: Pardon?
Me: (louder) And what did they say?
Mum: It was fine
Me: Do you not think you might need to have it tested again?
Mum: Pardon
Me: Sigh - never mind.
Mum: Pardon?

Monday, 17 September 2012

NHS (National Hopeless Service)

I need to have a SHOUT!
Its about the good old NHS.
Or not so good.
My father is currently languishing in our local dedicated cardiac specialist hospital.
He was a high-priority transfer from our local general hospital for an angiogram/angioplasty.
He has a leaking replacement valve in his aorta, complicated by furred-up arteries.
His original op was 30years ago and now he is 82 and needs care.
The care he has received at this specialist hospital so far includes: preparing him for the procedure 2 days running and then cancelling it at the 11th hour - twice.
We have not visited because each day we have been led to believe that he will be in theatre.
He did not want us to visit until his procedure was done, which means that he has spent a lonely distressing weekend being Nil By Mouth for hours, followed by being given a cold stale meal after he has been let down.
His mobile has no signal in the ward and his inpatient phone is out of order.
Basically he feels unloved and uncared for.
And we feel just terrible. For him. For us. For all patients being mistreated in this way.
He is of a generation that believes that doctors are Gods.
I am not.
I spent a few hours this morning chasing around from one department to another trying to get the assurance that his procedure would take place today.
If it doesnt he will discharge himself (and I dont blame him) and come home without vital medication and place himself at risk of sudden death.
He has watched as other patients (younger patients I might add) have come in, had their procedures, and then left.
When I finally managed to speak to him this morning he was inconsolable and thoroughly miserable and it broke my heart to hear a proud brave man reduced to this sad state.
I understand that the doctors have to prioritise, but I also realise that this hospital caters for the private sector as well and I would be interested to know if his 'turn' was taken by a paying customer.
I am now counting the hours until I can reasonably ring the ward again to find out if my father has had any 'service' from the health service that he paid into all his working life.
He may need a new replacement valve and I am hoping that he goes to a different hospital to have this done as I have lost faith in the one he is currently stuck at.
I wish I could say I feel better for getting this out of my system but I wont feel better until my Dad is back in his own bed with his arteries opened up and some love around him.
Off for a bit of a weep now - please forgive me.

UPDATE: Cancelled again - this time he waited 12 hours only to be let down again - wasnt going to name and shame but.... it is Papworth Hospital... I think they need to be named, and should be ashamed.

Monday, 13 August 2012


Hi all - or nearly all, some of you I have deleted as you are no longer blogging (sigh) and some of you have denied me permission to read your blogs - no idea why (sigh).
Such are the ways of the world.

Wouldnt life be easier if we all had a delete button - and harder?
We write texts and messages on facebook and we tweet (well, I dont but I know a lot of you do), and if we change our minds we just press delete.
If a 'friend' on social networking sites is annoying us we just delete them.

We delete the browsing history on our computers.
If a memory is horrible we delete it.
If the computer gets stuck we press ctrl alt delete and all is well.

Life unfortuantely cant be controlled, altered or deleted at will when the mood takes us.
Sometimes that would be nice.
If we appear happy then people think we have a charmed life.
If we appear miserable then people avoid us in case it rubs off.

Maybe we should stop deleting and start thinking about improving or changing or taking positive action.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Positive Mental Attitude

Who needs PMT when you can have PMA?
I always try to have a half-full cup (though I prefer a VERY full glass).
If there is a bright side or a silver lining I will do my best to find it.
Our garden is growing nicely - the strawberries and blackcurrants are fruiting; my broad beans are about 3" long already and my runner beans are flowering. The beetroot and radishes will be starting to swell under the soil; my potatoes are nearly ready. In the greenhouse the tomatoes are appearing and the potted lettuces are coming along nicely. I wont think about the carrots being too close together or that the birds have eaten several of my sweetcorn plants. So far our first year is a resounding success!

We have had a few trips away this year, starting with a few days in Hatfield for my birthday when we visited some lovely places and just enjoyed some time away from our worries.
Then in May we went on our annual jollies to Mexico which was absolutely lovely. A great place and a really relaxing holiday with so many highlights.
We have just come back from Kent, visiting Broadstairs to surprise MMs sister on her 60th birthday and then also looking around Ramsgate, Margate and Whitstable. We also celebrated 4 years together while we were there although we didnt manage to drink the champagne we took with us until we got back!
In September we will be travelling around the 'bottom' of the English coast staying a few days at a time wherever takes our fancy. And we have booked a fortnight in Sal, Cape Verde for next March.

In order to do this we both work really hard. We dont go out much in the evenings and dont drive (or own) expensive cars. We take pack-ups to work and haunt the bargain aisle in the supermarket. MM jogs and I use the exercise bike rather than joining an expensive gym.
For some people it is important to have the best of everything - we try to MAKE the best of everything.

I think it is important sometimes just to stop and think about what we HAVE and not what we dont have. I do know people who put great store on possessions and money but I think that if you can honestly say that you would be just as happy with the people in your life if you were living under a bridge (like the people I sadly saw in Ramsgate) then you are truly blessed.

If I had to list the things that I desire then they would have no monetary value at all. (Except those diamond ear-studs that I lust after - I have to confess to that).

So while I am feeling so magnamimous (sp) and full of love for the world I will declare that I dont care if at the bottom of this post the words 'No comments' appear, and remain.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Posting from my bed

I am propped up in bed with fabulous bed hair, hairy legs, smudged glasses, morning breath and a growling stomach. How splendid!  Finally I have a good enough signal to use the laptop upstairs. Of such things is happiness made.

We have recently had a (for us) major fire in our town in which a beautiful old building has been virtually destroyed. It seems to have united the townsfolk in praise for the emergency services (which is only right) and a wish to apportion blame (which is soooo wrong). I would love to know how the rumours get about. When a building has been reduced to walls and piles of charred wood how do you begin to find the cause of the fire? And what good will that ultimately do? Surely the focus should be on the effects it has had on the people who rely on the business? This building housed a Strada restaurant. What of all the staff? How terrible must it be to lose your job overnight through no fault of your own?

It makes you think about how impermanent life can be. One minute enjoying a nice meal in good company, the next stood outside watching in horror as the building ignites. But enough of this deep and meaningful stuff!  When MM (who is a firefighter) entered the building he found it to be like the Marie Celeste with half-eaten meals, tea-lights still burning in the window recesses and opened bottles of wine. What were the diners thinking? How could they evacuate the building and leave behind a decent bottle of plonk?

So, come the 'man the lifeboats' command, what would you grab on your way to the raft? I would certainly grab any opened bottles of wine left laying around (both mine and anyone elses) and of course my nearest and dearest (obviously not in that order). I suspect most people would make sure they had their mobile phone and money.Ah, priorities!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


Eh oop - whats happened here. As someone who struggles with change this is quite scary, but I will persevere.

Perseverance is probably my middle name. I decided this year to have a go at gardening again. Its a while since I was the proud owner of an allotment and grew my own veg. So I thought I might be a bit rusty. However, it would appear that my fingers are still fairly green.

MM built a lean-to greenhouse on the end of the workshop and we have filled it with crops. We have strawberries in hanging baskets, tomato plants in troughs and 3 sorts of bean plants - runner, broad and dwarf. We have radishes, lettuce and beetroot; cucmbers are growing nicely and tray after tray of tagetes for the summer borders.  In fact we have so many that we have started to give them away!

I also appear to be growing something else that I would rather not grow. It seems to be a ganglion cyst on the top of my foot. It is not very attractive and hurts horribly in my work shoes. I would really love to give THAT away!

Friday, 6 April 2012

The perils of early morning TV

Hmmm - says GOW - George Clarke - Restoration Man - hop up in here with me (lifts duvet)
Hmmm - says MM - Linda Barker - Interior Decorator - hop up in here with me (lifts duvet)
A moments silence....
Glance at each other and realise that if they did deign to join us they would probably shove us out of the way and dive on each other.
Reality sucks.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Up on my Hobby Horse

I need to find some new hobbies. The ones I have already are terribly tame. I read, do puzzles (ie crosswords and sudoku), play scrabble, do pub quizzes, eat out, eat in, bake, go for walks, surf the net, listen to music, watch films and TV (no soaps), go on holiday and lay on beaches etc.

These are perfect for me but dont sound so good when I have to list them. And I seem to have to list them a lot. Try applying for a bank account or credit card - it is vital that they know if you have pets and what your hobbies are. Answer any survey - they need to know too.

So, I am compiling a list and would welcome any suggestions. So far I have:
Bungee jumping
Sky diving
White water rafting
Scuba diving
Whale fishing
Marathon running
Stunt motorcycling

Sadly I dont do any of those things (although I do snorkel on holiday)

My real list would include:
Couch potatoing
Wall staring
People watching
French manicuring (Sundays only)
I also quite like having a moan - but you knew that already!

Monday, 27 February 2012

One of those days

Do you ever have one of those days?
A day when you are constantly interrupted and everyone that interrupts thinks they are more important than what they interrupted.
A day when you phone to book some cinema tickets and your card is refused although there is no reason whatsoever for it to be.
A day when you stand in sh*t while putting a naughty bantam to bed (no, its not OK to sleep on the garden table where Mr Fox can get you).
A day when the laptop refuses to connect to a perfectly fine signal.
A day when you get 4 calls as soon as you are not in hearing distance of your phone.
A day when every programme you want to watch is a repeat.
A day when you really need a cuddle and your other half is working nights to your days.
I do - I had one today.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Sore finger - poor me

Things you cant do when you have dislocated your right finger and chipped the bone:

Undo/do up your bra.
Open a bottle of wine.
Tie your shoelaces.
Squeeze out the toothpaste onto the brush.
Ditto the shampoo onto your hand.
Ditto the shower gel onto the sponge.
Wash your armpit.
Wrap a fajita.
Open an envelope.
Do up a seatbelt.
Pull up your socks.
Dry yourself.
Write - anything.

Luckily you also cant:
Do the washing up.
Hang out the laundry.
Do housework.
Do the shopping.
Get money out of your purse.

But.............. you can still pick your nose :-)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

From trivial to controversial

Is anyone else bothered by the starving baby adverts on at dinner time?
Usually they are aired just as I wipe my last piece of garlic bread in my carbonara sauce.
I then dont know whether to turn away, switch channels or feel sick.
Oxfam has (of late) been quite a controversial charity. Many wealthy celebs have moved away from it as it no longer uses as much of its funding to provide contraceptive choices to the poor families who cant afford (monetarily or physically) to have more babies.
Obviously when I see a starving baby I want to reach out and rescue it - but is that really an option?
Should the parents have considered that they cannot provide for another child and until they can they should look after themselves and the family they already have rather than bring another child into the world?
I have 4 children and when I discovered I was expecting Honey I was joyful and devastated all in the same moment. We hadnt budgetted for another child, our home wasnt big enough, or our car. We both worked full-time (I worked nights as we couldnt afford childcare) and we felt our family was complete.
After a very stressful couple of weeks we came to terms with being a four-child family and knuckled down and got on with it. We couldnt afford foreign holidays or trips to the zoo but we had a week at the coast most years and kept an eye out for special offers so that our children did not feel they were missing out. We welcomed Honey into our lives and felt blessed to have her.
As my parents would say: We cut our clothes to suit our cloth.
We were lucky to be able to manage. We lived in a country that supported families with child benefit and working child credit. We had a choice.
The parents in the third world have a choice, but they are not educated to think like we do, they believe that their children are their wealth - what a mis-conception (no pun intended) that is!
If I truly felt that we as a nation could wave a magic wand and irradicate child poverty and starvation then I would dig deep and send all I could to this worthy cause.
I dont actually believe that sending money to Oxfam will achieve that aim.
So, until a 'cure' is found could they please stop airing these distressing adverts at meal times?
I work hard and when I get home I want to enjoy a meal with MM without feeling like I dont deserve it.
I dont object when Children In Need asks for support - I can see what the money is going to and the good it does. I know when the programme will be aired and I can choose when to watch it.
I have a friend who goes to the Third World with a group and they use their skills, building, plumbing etc to help individual villages to help themselves. I would rather support them - and all without being made to feel guilty of a crime I didnt commit.