Wednesday, January 31, 2007


31st January Buchan Country Park Part 1

Today we looked at the blue skies and decided to take a walk in Buchan Country Park, hardly more than a mile from home. The park covers 170 acres of varied scenery and habitats.
It really is a delightful amenity for the town.
Of course we took lots of photographs as we enjoyed the lakes and the trees.
I have divided them into sections and will put them onto the blog day by day.
Today we begin with the main focal point - the big lake.

A tranquil view of the lake in Buchan Park.

Reflections on the water were superb.

There will be a selection of reflection pictures on another day.
This view is looking to the far end of the lake towards another, smaller lake, known as Island Pond.

We saw very few signs of Spring today. At other times we have seen many - trees laden with catkins, swathes of cultivated daffodils on town roundabouts and roadsides and so on.

But we did realise that the birds were beginning Spring time rituals and both those in the trees and on the water were singing merrily - or honking in the case of this pair of geese.

The lake is known as Douster Pond. It was constructed during Victorian times by the then owner of the estate Mr Saillard, who made his money from the sale of playing cards and ostrich feathers.

The turrets were built either side of the spillway which takes excess water down to the stream below.

Buchan Park is a very popular with people and their dogs.
It seems that most dog owners have a responsible attitude and bins are provided at frequent intervals for dog poo.

This dog thought the water looked inviting, but bounded off when called.

Could this be a dog who was tempted?
Of course not - but the log in the water appealed to Bill.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


27th January. Bury Hill

Yesterday we went to the car boot sale at Ford.
This entails a drive across Sussex from north to south of about 35 miles.
We normally go the quickest way, down the A24, turning off to travel across a lovely Downland road just north of Worthing.
We continue westward, enjoying a wonderful early morning view of Arundel.
Ford is a pleasant little village just a few miles from the sea - but we saw neither the village or the sea yesterday.
The car boot sale is held on a disused airfield.
The journey back can vary considerably.
Yesterday we went over Bury Hill and I suggested that Bill stop the car so that I could take a photograph of the view.
We looked down into the Arun valley, above Arundel.
I found the old post card on EBay. It shows 1950s cars on the hill that we would be travelling down - leading to the villages of Bury, Wtersfield, Coldwaltham and Hardham until we reach the small town of Pulborough.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


24th January Snow in the front garden

We awoke this morning to a snowy world.
We guessed it might not last very long and so we went out with cameras still wearing our nightclothes and dressing gowns to take some photographs.
These views are in our front garden.
Except the last one which shows some of the crows in the oak trees at the back of the house.
We were right to get out quickly for the snow has now melted, although it still feels cold. We could get some more tonight.


24th January The back garden in snow

The back garden is very small. We have an interesting curved raised bed with plants and there are also all sorts of ornaments and odds and ends scattered around.
You can see that the snow looked quite wet and icy.


24th January A Face in the snow.

Bill took pictures of snow on the flower pots on the shed roof.
He thought the left hand pot looked like a face and so he modified the picture to make it completely like a face!
Spot the difference below!


20th January George and Harry the Cats.

We have 2 cats, George and Harry.
They are now 10 years old. They are twins. Their mother belonged to Karen, a neighbour of Roger and Sue's in Wiltshire.
George is bigger and sturdier. Harry, despite seeming to be nervous and fragile is actually quite tough.
But they are both showing signs of aging.
George has some sort of bladder problem and is frequently out digging in the garden. I understand how he feels!
Harry seems to have arthritis and can walk with a limp. Bill understands how that feels.
The cats were named after both our fathers - George Monk and Harry Frost.
These photographs were taken whilst I was in hospital. Both cats crave my company and I expect they were wondering where I was and were happy to snuggle up together on the sofa.

Monday, January 22, 2007


19th 20th January. The Hospital experience

I always feel the need to put life's experiences into words - and going into hospital is always an experience.
Fortunately this last time it was just a short experience but as ever an intense time and details remain fixed in my brain.

So, lets go back to Friday morning.
We woke early and I showered and washed my hair.
I then phoned the hospital, as requested to check the availability of a bed. Actually, for this operation that was planned to entail just a day at the hospital, it had not occurred to me that there wouldn't be a bed.
But there wasn't.
I was asked to phone again at 9 o'clock.
So, I had to sit around idly for over 2 hours, not knowing what would happen - and of course there was no chance of any breakfast.
At 9 o'clock there was still no bed.
The ward sister asked me to wait and she would try and sort something.
So, more sitting around - and still no breakfast.
By 10 o'clock I was assuming that I wouldn't be going. I even began thinking about describing some books for EBay.
Then the phone rang - what was my fate?
The sister had cobbled together a plan. If I was agreeable I could have no bed, but be admitted to the recovery ward and be taken to the theatre from there and the plan was that I would be discharged from there.
So, we grabbed our coats and my bag (which I wouldn't need) and presumed that I would be home that evening.
Bill carried my bag to the ward and gave me a hug and then left me there, sitting in the Day Room - which also had a couple of beds in it.
There was an elderly couple waiting there too - somebody came to look at his wound and said it needed re dressing so he sat with trousers open, waiting.
The ward sister came and said that I could have a bed if I would accept one in the men's bay. I guessed it might be best to have a base on the ward so said I didn't mind.
Then a fairly fragile man was brought to the day room and given his dinner - I was hungry! I think this man might have been going home and perhaps it was his bed I was taking.
Anyway I went along to my bed and sat and did a crossword puzzle for a while. I chatted with the wife of the man in the next bed. I was right that I recognised her - she had been a secretary at Gossops Green School where I had done a lot of supply teaching. It was nice to see a familiar face from the real world.
I then pulled the curtains round and donned my robe and dressing gown and sat on the comfortable bed and listened to the radio - well I had the TV sound on for a while and I listened to the day's episode of Neighbours.
The porters came for me at about quarter past 2.
The bed was wheeled along the long network of corridors and into the theatre complex.
Various bits were done - pulse and blood pressure monitors were set up. People chatted idly with me, asking me what I would normally be doing on a Friday afternoon. Somebody told me I had nice fingers and nails. Its not the first time I have been told that - but I do very little to look after them. Then the anaesthetist came and a canula was put in the back of my hand - drugs started filtering through.
Then I was in the recovery room, feeling drowsy but OK. There were quite a few people there and people being wheeled about on beds.
When I was told I had a catheter I knew I would not be going home.
When you first come round you are on pain killers and drugs which make you feel a bit high.
Soon I was being taken back to my men's ward.
Then suddenly they said they had a space in the women's bay and so off I went again.
I still felt fine.
They brought me some food. Although I normally avoid bread I tucked greedily into to some good tuna sandwiches.
It seems such a short time that is needed for a group of women in hospital to get to know each other. I had 5 companions. The lady to my left didn't really count because she had no speech and I gathered not too much brain. Her name was Margaret and she tried to get up sometimes so somebody had to call a nurse. Opposite was a glamorous Granny who had kidney stones - she had also thought she might be out after one day. She talked for England! There was Edith, an elderly lady who I guess had been bed ridden for some time and had the most painful bed sores. She was a genteel lady and I felt very sorry for her. I felt sorry for a young woman in the corner. She was in pain and things were not being put right and she didn't know how to handle the situation at all. She got angry with doctors, telling them that she knew best about what was happening in her body and that she had to be home by Monday. She was waiting for an ultrasound scan - and of course the doctors couldn't magically get that for her, especially at the weekend. Next to me was a friend, Marissa. We talked all of Saturday morning and we made each other feel better, sharing hospital and life experiences. She had been rushed in last Monday with a very sudden gall bladder problem.
I gradually started to feel more uncomfortable. That ulcerated area had been interfered with, cut about and now had a catheter irritating it. Moving and weeing was hell. I could control the moving, but not the weeing.
I didn't sleep too well at night. I had the head phones on and listened a lot to the BBC World Service. I did drift in and out of sleep, but also listened to ward activities.
We had a male nurse on with the sister and the staff nurse - I think he was a bank nurse. I had little to do with him actually. He wore big clompy shoes and so each time he came in the ward you were aware of him. He seemed a bit unsure of himself and slow. He had to deal with old Edith a lot and I really felt bad for her that he didn't know how to handle an elderly woman with bed sores.
He was with me at quarter to six doing blood pressure etc. After that I seemed to sleep for a while.
I realised that I hurt a lot when I woke up so had pain killers with my breakfast - my own rice cakes, banana and of course my own tea bags. I have to say cups of tea were brought round often and they soon got to know that I just wanted a cup of hot water.
I knew one of the day nurses - Chris was in charge of the ward and I remembered her from Vanguard Ward in Crawley. She is lively and seems to have a her finger well on the pulse of things. The young Korean nurse was efficient - but she forgot to smile.
I tried not to move too much during the morning. I wanted that catheter out.
The doctor came round and said it should have been out first thing!
He had very little else to say to me - certainly no clues about what he had seen. Only the biopsy results will tell that. I now have to wait for the results to come back and they will work out the next course of action - and then tell me! I don't know how long I will be waiting.
He did say that I could go home.
The catheter came out and I then had to prove three times that I could wee independently and not store urine in the bladder. Well I could not stop weeing independently - my body thought it could carry on behaving as if a catheter was dealing with it. That situation carried on long after I got home, but is more controllable this morning.
I had some lunch - cod in a sauce with olive oil mashed potato and mixed veg; it was tasty.
I had spoken with Bill during the morning and he was going to come in the early afternoon and be ready to take me home when I was ready.
The nurse had to run a scan over my body and was able to tell that I had 49mls of fluid in the bladder, which she thought was excellent - no retention at all. Quite the reverse!
She also gave me a supply of an antibiotic. Silly girl she seemed to pat me on the head and tell me that the tablets will clear up my condition. If they had thought that was possible then they would have thought of it earlier!
Though there still is a chance that my only treatment will be a long term use of a low dose antibiotic.
So I quickly said goodbye to my friends on the ward and we drove home in the sunshine.
I had only been away for just over 24 hours so home coming was not too strange - and yet coming out of hospital is always strange. The security cords have been cut and nobody ever tells you just how things will be on your own.
I was happy that people were phoning up - but after a while I was too tired to deal with the calls.
I spent a while writing messages to Jamie and Ashley who came onto Skype together. What a marvellous thing that I could have the whole family with me in that first hour out of hospital.
Bill went to the local chip shop and I tucked into a few chips and a cup of tea.
I was exhausted - too many attempts at running upstairs to the loo in time I guess. I felt a lot of pain too. I went to bed for a while and slept for a couple of hours.
I had another cup of tea downstairs and then went back to bed. I was up every 2 hours to go to the loo - but at least I got there!
This morning has been leisurely. The sun is shining - hey I should have been out there hunting for bargains!
I realise that my muscles ache round my hips and groin - I guess I was man handled under anaesthetic. Bladder control is returning - but I still feel very sore.
So that little episode in life is now in the past. I don't what the next instalment will be. I might have to do it all over again.
I will potter about for the day and very soon I will be back to normal - whatever normal actually is. Bill is in the shop this afternoon, so I will give myself a quiet few hours.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


16th January New displays in Rocking Horse.

Today I created new displays in Rocking Horse.

It feels good to be concentrating again on the 1950s in my main area.

I moved the toys to the area I have nearer the door - it is an area I created in the middle of the shop.

I must add that the picture of me pleases me - this is not vanity on my part, but just look at me, I really don't like a person with a serious illness do I?

We shall see!

I hope you have enjoyed a quick look at Rocking Horse. It makes me happy to be able to display the things that interest me. I love hunting for more things and I am glad that customers come and find things they want from my 2 areas.

Saturday, January 06, 2007



Today we went out hunting - not to a car boot sale, but to a shop in Storrington.
It has been a grey and very wet day and not at all suitable for a car boot sale.
Stable Antiques is situated opposite the Village Hall in Storrington with easy access to street parking - just as well we could park close for we didn't want to walk far in the rain.
There are 34 stallholders on two floors of the Grade II listed building, which is 200 years old and full of character.The building lends itself well to antiques and items from yesteryear, as the name suggests, it was once a stable and still has the original cobbled floor, stalls and mangers. In the central courtyard is a covered well which would have supplied water to the stables and premises.

Just look at that blue sky!
These two pictures (below) came from the Stable Antiques web site.
They show quite well that it is a good place to rummage.
We found most of our stock from an area on the first floor, where the dealer had a half price sale - and her items were very cheap anyway.
We spent a total of £27 and that included a couple of items for us to keep.
My pictures below show the things I bought to sell in Rocking Horse.
The first picture has some novelty items. The toast rack was a promotional item for Lurpak butter some years ago and I know that they are collected. I like the enamel ladle.
The next picture has some 1960s china - we actually collected a little of the brown Denby Arabesque ourselves. The brown bear is an ornament from the USSR and there seems to be quite lot of interest in this make of ornaments. I sold a large tiger once for about £60. I hope the bear will sell for about £14.
The leaf dish in the third picture is made by Carlton and the type of china is known as Rouge Royale. I don't think it is very special and maybe it has now gone out of fashion. Ten years ago I could have sold it easily for about £30; I shall be happy to double my money on this piece - I bought it for £5. The little vase is Caithness glass.
The saucer in the 4th picture is for me. It will join my pile of saucers in the cupboard which are used for all sorts of things, from snacks to cat food.
It is really pretty I think.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Christmas is past - here is how it was for us!

Christmas is over.
We decided not to wait until January 6th to stow our Christmas bits back into their boxes.
This afternoon I took some photographs and now the things are in the loft for another year.

This year we created a display in one corner by the front window.
The top shelf is always devoted to nativity scenes. We now have quite a lot of 1950s plastic scenes, some of which play music.
The tree is made of twigs, painted silver.
We also have a collection of plastic Father Christmasses, sleighs and reindeers, along with snow globes, clockwork toys and other bits and pieces.
Above are some of this year's Christmas cards. Many are really attractive and have been home made and are too good to throw away. There were many other cards which I stuck on the two doors close by. Bill will cut labels for presents from some of them to be used next year.
The 2 pop up cards are ones that Bill gave me in the early 1990s when I was very poorly. These now become part of the Christmas display every year.
The decorations we have had the longest are the white man and lady. Bill bought them for our first Christmas in 1965. These were the only decorations we had on our little Christmas tree that year, apart from cotton wool balls.
Above I have a picture of some toys - not specially for Christmas, they belong with us throughout the year.
There is a little white dog and cat - they remind me of Jamie and Ashley. Jamie carried the cat, which I had given him, on one of his major travels. The cat has a little bell. Ashley found some sweet little dogs in a local hardware store. He bought one - and then I went and bought another. I think they cost about 80p.
The teddy in a dress came from a shop in York on our first trip there in 1987 when Jamie first began at university.
The dog in the front was bought to sell at least 25 years ago. Every time I went to pick him up to take him to a fair, his soulful eyes looked up at me and pleaded to stay at home!

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