Friday, February 29, 2008


29th February. Mixed feelings.

Good news or bad news?
I am of course very much pleased that today I have felt much more pain free.
I have been gluten free for 48 hours or more now and it seems to confirm (yet again) that gluten is almost impossible for me to digest.
Of course I had avoided the obvious culprits - like bread, but had allowed items with only very small amounts of gluten in their ingredients.
I really think I shall have to ask for a full test for coeliac disease - but that will be a painful affair. You have to have been eating amounts of wheat products for the test to be successful.
But it would lead to me being able to have certain gluten free products on prescription - and as an old person that of course means my bread would be free of charge.
There have been things about EBay that have made me feel cross today.
It looks like we will have to register with EBay as a business. Anybody who sells things that they have bought to sell on EBay for a profit must by law be a business. It is felt that buyers have a right to know what sort of person they are buying from.
I don't like it. Our name and address will appear on all listings.
And when we buy things at car boot sales we only buy what we like and what interests us and these things often sit around on the shelves at home for many weeks or months. By this time I think of these things as mine - not stock exactly.
And of course we do sell quite a lot of things that truly have been ours for many years. Lots of our collections are being dismantled.
But we cannot declare ourselves to be personal traders only.
But I guess the law is the law - and I do pride myself on honesty really.
I am not sure if the same can be said of one our winning bidders.
I have been a bit suspicious about him since he first made contact. He has bid for a number of the Corvette models that Bill has been selling. He surprised us yesterday by asking that the first model he had won should be posted that day, even though he had the highest bid on another which finished yesterday. It would have made sense to have them posted together.
Anyway his wish was our command. It was posted and arrived today and he has now told us that it arrived rather damaged. It was fine when it left us and the wrapping was superb - people have been commenting on Bill's wrapping skills when leaving feedback.
Our man is now asking for discount on the second model because of the damage.
Well, we can't of course suggest that he might be a liar. We have said that we would rather he returned the damaged model and that we would pay all his costs to do this. But have had to offer him post free delivery of the second one.
I wonder what he will come back with.
So, I feel a bit off Ebay today. Nevertheless I described 6 items this morning and got them listed.
This afternoon we went to Tescos - for gluten free gravy and lots of other bits.
Then we went over to the shop to collect some things I wanted.
The weather this afternoon was horrid. They do say that it will improve by tomorrow morning, though the wind will still be cold and strong.
Well, we expect winds in March...... March winds and April showers bring forth the May flowers.
We have talked of going to Ford, but may not go. We will go to see birthday boy Felix tomorrow and meet up with Matt and family too. Perhaps for me that will be enough for one day.
Have a good weekend.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


28th February. Happy birthday Ashley John

Today my health has continued to upset me.

It feels better to look back 37 years to a very happy day on the 27th February and into the night of the 28th and on into the next day.
Today is Ashley's birthday.
The 28th that year was a Sunday.
Bill and I spent some of the Saturday afternoon in the town centre. I bought a little cuddly cat for the soon to be born baby. Bill bought a pair of shoes I remember. We met Bill's mother in The High Street and I reported that I was feeling all sorts of twinges. She laughed and reminded me that I had been saying that for 2 to 3 weeks.
We then scurried home to get a buffet tea ready for many visitors. My cousin Malcolm and his wife Chris were about to leave for Canada and the family gathered at our house to bid them farewell. They didn't settle there and now live in Southern England.
I think there were about 9 of us - and still I had twinges.
After they had gone I confessed that these were serious twinges. Dad and Jenny agreed to stay the night with Jamie, and Bill phoned the midwife and we left for the hospital at about 11 o'clock. Not much more than 2 hours later I was delighted by the arrival of our second son - Ashley John; not that these were the first names we had given him. He was Justin for the first few hours, leaving Bill and I to decide just which name would suit him and us the best.
I was kept in the hospital until the Monday morning and it was on that day that the picture at the top of the page was taken.
So, happy birthday to our Ashley John.
There are so many anniversaries during this week within my family.
Tomorrow would have been Mum's 84th birthday - well, as we always joked this would have been her coming of age! She was a leap year baby so this would have been her 21st.
If Mum had lived longer then the next birthday would never have occurred - Felix will be 1 year old on Saturday. A strange concept - that people you very much care about only exist because of a death.
Felix is Dad's grandchild from his second marriage.
Of course I miss my Mum, but what a wonderful compensation are Jenny, Matthew, Ruth, Joel, Anna and Felix - and the baby to be born in September.
Matthew's wife Suzie has a birthday next week.
On 4th March is Jamie's birthday - born on what would have been my parents wedding anniversary and on my brother Robin's birthday. Robin would be 61 next week, having lost him in his 30's it is hard to think of him as a man getting older.
Then on the 6th I am drawn to recall the sad day when Mum's life came to an end. Her body found some peace - and I can understand now that she would have been ready for the end.
Then 2 days later it is Jenny's birthday.
So, it is is a time for looking back just a little. It is a time in the year when I have often succumbed to Winter depression.
But I don't think it is that which is causing the gut spasms. I can only assume I might be diagnosed as having Irritable Bowel Syndrome and I may well see the doctor for some advice. I guess that I have lost a bit too much intestine and other organs for digestion ever to be completely easy. What I have read on the internet tells me that there might be little I can do - I get advice to eat lots of things which do not appear on the permitted foods of a low potassium diet.
It is making me feel very tired and my body aches.
But - quit grumbling, Grandma!
Oh yes - I will allow myself a little extra grumble. There was a 1 o'clock wake up for Bill and me last night. No, not another earthquake - the wee bag, which has been behaving so well lately, had been leaking for an hour or so and the bed was saturated.
We changed the bag, cleared up, got some washing in the machine and then had a cup of tea to try and settle down again.
I have been realising during the last week or so that whilst I can still do things that I want to, I have to accept that I might always have to pace myself and not expect quite so much. Health issues force one to learn patience.
This afternoon we were both busy getting things ready for customers on EBay. Many of the parcels are already making the overnight journey to their new homes.
Right, it is time for a cup of tea and then time for sleep.
I hope you have had a good day, and if you have an anniversary about now that I haven't included then believe me you are not forgotten.
Good night.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


27 February Did the earth move for you?

I woke several times during the night (as ever) but I can't say that I noticed being disturbed by an earthquake at one o'clock.
People south of us claim to have felt the earth move but here in monkland the main news event of the day passed unnoticed.
Ashley felt it way over in west Wales.
After my disturbed night I awoke as tired as normal - and my gut has continued to cramp up during the day.
This morning I did very little. Bill got busy with the vacuum cleaner and I felt I should do something and cleaned the surfaces round the computer. The new thick table cloth (bought at the Horley boot sale for £1) is now covering the dining room table - rarely used for eating at, but more likely covered with parcels and cats gazing out of the window.
After a quick cooked lunch we decided to be sociable. I have arranged a visit to see Marion next week and this afternoon we went to Godstone to see Bill's cousin Ann.
We were both in hospital for cancer surgery at about the same time. We had a lot to share. Ann will be 80 this year and Gordon is older, barely mobile and losing his sight. Ann came home from hospital unable to do anything at all and with very little help in place - and what was available was all for Gordon. She also needed extra care put in place for herself.
Now, 3 months later, bless them, they are both doing their best to keep going. But Ann has had to devise a life style which will allow her to do enough for the pair of them - but not too much.
Illness does that - forces one to change and accept that doing one's best each day is the most one can hope for. And sometimes one's best feels to be not quite good enough.
And that has basically been the day.
The evening sky looked lovely as we drove home - it is staying light for much longer now as Spring approaches.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


26th February. A Fair Day.

The tiredness and pains in my gut are beginning to feel very tedious and my days are too influenced by how my body is feeling.
Grandpa began to ask me this evening when the next blood tests are due, so I guess he feels a bit anxious. The next blood tests will be during next week.
I have reminded Grandpa that my ups and downs have been a rhythm of life that I have experienced now since the 1990's and I guess this pattern will continue for always. But blood test results may be reassuring.
I have sat down for most of the day and let others scurry round the shop looking after the customers wants and needs.
I looked after the sales book and the money and chatted with people once they came to the desk.
It has been busy today.
Joy and Peter opened up the shop at 7 o'clock and dealt with a coach party of foreigners who were more or less waiting for them in the rain. Thank goodness the weather cheered up during the day.
J & P then left things to Bill and me and by the time they came back I had stowed away well over £800 of takings. Margaret came in and helped too. Everybody has sold today.
I was glad Joy and Peter were able to get back for I really was wilting.
When we left, the shop was full of customers and so I am sure the amount of takings will have increased before the shop finally closed for the day.
The people who regularly visit us when the antiques fair is on will certainly miss us all when we have gone.
Well, that will be all for today. I shall watch Master Chef (its the final week now) and no doubt will be close to dozing off before the programme has finished.

Monday, February 25, 2008


25 February. The pages of life.

The day has slipped away and the thoughts of a slightly whimsical blog stay in my head for another day.
It has been a routine Monday - and I have rather struggled through it.
We had to get some cat food and bread, so called into Asda - bought a bit more than was on the shopping list of course. There will be a good lamb casserole at some point - with half price meat that today reached its sell by date.
But today there were the sausages from Tunbridge Wells to be enjoyed - and we certainly did.
There has been the routine wrapping , invoicing, payments and postings for EBay.
Bill continues to make a good return from the box of model cars that he bought when I was in hospital.
During my work I paused to chat with Dave Olliffe who was so glad to see me on my feet - not sure what he expected. After all it is almost 4 months now since the surgery.
I know that Mr Swinn told me that I wouldn't feel fully fit for 6 months - and the potassium crisis may have slowed up my progress; I do wish though that I could feel stronger and have the confidence that each day could be filled with activity.
Never mind - take each day as it comes and accept that life is a succession of chapters with differing themes.
As each page of the book of life is turned we have to adjust to whatever influences our way of living and being. At the moment the story for me is to be patient and calm even when frustrations and pains come upon me.
Tomorrow may be busy at the shop with the dealers from the antiques fair hoping for bargains in Rocking Horse.
We locals have a wry smile about the fair - feeling sure that it will be affected by rain, and it looks as though we are right this time.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


24 February One step back.

This has not been a good day, though I did try to be as normal as possible.

I spent much of the night feeling nauseous and not sleeping. This was worrying, but I elected not to tell Grandpa until we were well on our way to Dorking.
I felt quite rough in the car but was determined to make the best of it.
But either the stalls at Dorking were poor today or I just couldn't find the oomph to find anything. I didn't buy a single thing. Bill bought some glass slides telling fairy stories, but when he got them home he realised the condition was not very good and probably he wished he hadn't.
We drove home via Horley and stopped at the car boot sale there - and hooray! I bought 4 books. I also bought a nice blouse. And I am very pleased with a piece of cloth which can either protect the sofa from the cats' muddy paws or maybe can cover the table; this again protects the wood from George and Harry's claws who like to jump up and sit by me as I work. It is quite a leap for their old bones and their claws come out to gain their footing, making scratches on the table.
We also bought a duvet cover, sheet and pillow case in a delicate pink - guess who for? Yes, that's right - we assume that Ekatarina will be pleased with it when she comes to stay.
The cover and the bedding cost £1 each - good bargains I felt.
I also bought some Yorkshire chutney and quince jelly for 50p each - having checked ingredients I rejected the chutneys with tomatoes in.
Once home I crumpled rather and spent a while a sleep.
I am sure that it is not an increase in potassium levels that have caused me to feel rotten - just the long endured gut problems.
This afternoon I started another jigsaw. It would appear that all the pieces are there. But it is a hard one - grey coloured blast furnaces and grey coloured steam locos and a grey sky filled with smoke.
Food has been eaten - just a snack sort of meal this evening. I didn't think it worth cooking lovely nutmeggy sausages from Tunbridge Wells when my gut was feeling so rotten.
I use nutmeg quite a lot - often stirring a little in with some butter to enhance the flavours of vegetables.
The evening will be spent with Sunday evening TV and doing a bit more of the jigsaw.
Hope your weekend has felt interesting.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


23 February Saturday friendly contacts

The day has shown that we were wise not to attempt a trip down to Ford. We have both gradually become more and more tired. And the weather has not been very inviting - murky and a bit drizzly at times.

This morning we went over to the shop at Ardingly to arrange yet more stock on the shelves. I am not sure how we managed to fit any more in for the sales, for us, have been disappointing since last Tuesday. But it seemed worth doing to add more for the hoped for hordes of dealers who may, or may not, call in during the next few days, whilst the big antiques fair at the show ground is on.
Bill has some old Meccano that he hopes might attract their attention. And the clock he was tinkering with the other day is now chiming in the shop.

This afternoon Bill photographed and scanned the next box full of things to be described for EBay.
I caught up with some of the EMail replies.
I did a pile of vegetables for today's roast dinner and hopefully to accompany Tunbridge Wells sausages tomorrow with some mashed potato.

I had a surprise phone call this evening from a very old friend - no, I don't mean that Kay is very old. Kay is the same age as me from the same year at school.
Our conversation was about health and very soon we felt free enough to talk dirty - I mean talk about bodily excretions. We both have problems. Kay has multiple sclerosis - has had it for about 19 years now. One area that has seized up is in the urine department and she has to self catheterise - which feels like a real "ouch" to me. It was bad enough when Catherine, the nurse inserted one with the BCG when I was receiving that sort of treatment. Kay reckons for the last year things have got quite a bit worse with the MS, but sounds like a happy soul.
Bless her she would say to me that it is clear I have been to hell and back with my cancer episodes and I could only recall the thoughts of Mother when she had cancer. She felt she was better off than our Uncle Jack who had MS for she knew there would come a time when she didn't have to endure cancer. Poor Mother of course was eased with morphine through the last days of suffering, whilst I have somehow survived twice. Each time I got to a point where I didn't have to think about cancer anymore.
Though of course with such a short time having passed since the loss of the bladder, and hopefully all the cancer, there are moments when I wonder about it.
Kay and I had been quite close in school when aged about 12 - but slowly drifted apart, no doubt with boyfriends and other activities. She still lives close at hand and we will meet up soon.
So - thank you Stan (another from our school year) who keeps us all in touch.

Well, we hope to get up early tomorrow morning and go to both Dorking and Horley boot sales and hopefully find more for the EBay sales boxes.

I must check the rugby score in a moment - are England still beating France?
The Welsh continue to march on and thoroughly trounced the Italians this afternoon.

Hope you have had a good Saturday.

Friday, February 22, 2008


22nd February Tunbridge Wells and Uncle Billy.

The main purpose of the day was a visit to a hospital - and just for a change there were no doctors waiting to see me today. I was not the patient.

We travelled to Tunbridge Wells to see my Uncle Billy who has been in The Kent and Sussex hospital for just over 2 weeks. I have felt worried by his health for some time, but for these last few months I have not felt able to give much support. It pleased me really that conditions had got to a situation where hospital was the only option for him. My own experience tells me that hospitals care for their patients and the doctors and nurses do all they can to help people.

The day became much for Bill and me, as we turned it into a trip to help make us feel good.

The first priority when we arrived was to find somewhere for lunch. We decided to try the place we went to with Ashley last March. It is small and run by foreign people - Greek? Spanish? We don't know. Of course the menu was a bit limited as far as I was concerned.

But I happily ordered a smoked haddock risotto with asparagus and peas. I carefully picked out a fair few of the peas and thought that a few that did pass into my system would not affect potassium levels too much. Bill had a beef lasagne.

We chatted a while with a couple of ladies, one of whom used a walking frame to get about - we both seemed to be of the mind that you don't know what will befall you in life, but good or bad, you just have to make the best of it.

We learned later, from cousin Alison that it is a popular little eating place with the BBC Radio Kent people.

After our lunch we went for a walk in Calverley Gardens - my only previous visit there had been on my 7th birthday when I was staying with Granny and Grandad. There are a few photos at the end of this text.

We did a little shopping. Rymans had a very good offer on the albums that Bill uses to display the photos that he prints.

We bought sausages from the excellent sausage shop - the Tunbridge Wells sausage with nutmeg is delicious; we bought some last time we were there in October. We also bought a gluten free length of sausage made from a South African recipe.

Then it was time to go to the hospital. I didn't like the ward as much as Buckland Ward which I got to know well. Uncle Billy, though has a really good situation at the end of a long narrow ward, in a big bay window, and he looked really very well.
He smiled a lot and his eyes were twinkling and he happily talked of his hospital experiences.
His legs are still large and very sore looking, but now have the strength to allow him some mobility whilst using a zimmer frame. Perhaps it is not a good thing that the physiotherapy department feel that there is little more they can offer him and have left him to practice on his own.
I am not sure what lies ahead. There is talk of him going home during next week and he is aware that he will find this hard. Alison has always thought it would be good if he could go to the cottage hospital for more physio and more general rehabilitaion and at last Uncle Billy agrees with her. But maybe this is not about to be offered.
Alison joined us for the last half hour of visiting.
Then the 3 of us went to the hospital restaurant - much better than at the East Surrey. We had eaten a good lunch and Alison was to meet up with some friends for a meal during the evning, so we had a drink and a little snack. I decided that the oaty flapjack might be tolerated by my body - although of course oats have gluten just as much as wheat.
We had a very pleasant hour and a half catching up with details of Alison's life and also her 2 brothers.
We left her to return to her Dad for the evening session of visiting and we drove back to Crawley. It didn't take too long despite the road to Tunbridge Wells being just about the most twisty that is known in these parts.

I guess that on my 7th birthday I must have walked through this archway into Calverley Gardens. The gardens are central to a sort early garden city, designed by Decimus Burton.
I was treated to a late night for my birthday. Granny and Grandad took me to a band concert in the evening, having enjoyed an afternoon playing on the huge rocks on the common.

The gardens are on a hillside forming a sort of natural arena with the bandstand at the heart.
I remember Granny singing her heart out - Land of Hope and Glory.

There was much winter flowering heather. The contrast of the silver pussy willow against the purple heather was quite lovely.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


21st February Busy with our hobbies today.

I suppose it may seem that both Bill and I spend a lot of time on what might look like working for very little financial reward.
But what might appear to be work doesn't feel like that to us - though sometimes there can be a lot to do for EBay.
We regard this hobby as something quite distinct from work. It gives us a chance to dabble in all sorts of things which have passed us by in the past.
The hobby costs us nothing - and should certainly make enough to pay for a trip to Thailand this time next year.
And how I dream of going to Thailand today - it was a year ago (on a Thursday) that I took off and headed eastwards for a very special holiday with the 4 J's.
Life has changed quite a bit since that day. I already knew I had cancer and there were times when I feared that bad times were ahead. But it seems that for now anyway the very worst scenario has passed me by once again.
Anyway, back to today - a cloudy and somewhat gloomy day in England; we have worked on our hobby. I described 10 things to list on Ebay, taking me to any number of places and exploring all sorts of artists. I have a near mint table tennis set sold on behalf of Eagle and Girl comics to encourage Junior players to practice and enter the Eagle Girl table tennis competition in the late 1950s.
This morning's work is now on EBay awaiting the bidders.
We also had a few things finishing. Bill sold 4 more model cars - that box full is selling very well.
I can look at the 3 books sold and with the 2 books on the nasty disease, lupus, I can feel glad that I found them and have passed them on really quite cheaply and maybe to somebody who has lupus or knows somebody closely who has just been diagnosed. My hobby may well have done somebody some good and I like that aspect as much as the profit.
One of the feedbacks this week sums that feeling up. I sold a book on Rocks and Pebbles. The buyer was pleased and commented that he received the book on Tuesday and the kids were on the beach on Wednesday. My hunting trip has led perhaps to the start of a whole new interest for some children.
Bill has been supporting me through dealing with the Ebay sales - wrapping his models very carefully.
He has also spent the day repairing the clock that he bought from somebody who came to the shop on Tuesday.
The pictures below show Bill the clock repairer.
The clock is all back together now, ticking and chiming. One day it will go to a new owner. Bill, meanwhile has had the satisfaction of playing with a clock.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


20th February. The world and mind are befogged!

This was the view from the bedroom when we first woke up this morning.
And it reflects the way my mind has felt for most of the day - hard to focus on anything and thoughts all indistinct.
I guess I was paying for working hard in the shop yesterday.
We went shopping this morning. First to Lidls in Horley and then to call in at Tescos at Hookwood (close to Horley) for the things we can't get in Lidls.
I didn't feel too bad until we got inside Tescos - then I felt a bit overwhelmed by the size of the place and also a bit befuddled that, despite all their advertising, I find it to be more expensive than our local Asda.
I felt so tired walking around - and a bit bad tempered too.
I was glad to get home.
But I haven't really settled to very much this afternoon. I have weighed 10 more things for EBay and calculated the postage - but just couldn't get started on the actual describing.
Bill has looked at a mantel clock that he bought from somebody at the shop yesterday. I am not sure if it needs work or just a good oiling.
I have chatted with Jamie - told him that I had just realised that Jessica's school has a web site. He has included it as a link on one of his blogs.
Jamie told me this afternoon.........
Last Friday was the "school fair" - half a day.
I was interested to look at the science area
Looks like they do a lot of things geology, weather, electricity, basic chemistry.
I didn't ask him how much of this sort of thing Jessica is doing at 6 years old - but it does show a well developed curriculum and the pictures on the web site and the school song playing in the background make for a good impression.
We had a frozen fish ready meal that we had bought in Lidls last time we were there. Unually for the ready meals we had had, including from Lidls - this one was awful and has mostly ended up in the bin.
Now I shall go and rest in front of the TV. Shall I watch The Brits? Awards for modern pop singers and groups, some of which I enjoy for their creativity and exploration of ideas and musical effects - and some of which are really dire.
I think that the programme comperes, Ozzie and Sharon Osborne might be an embarrassment, particularly because they are unscripted.
I could watch one of those wonderful events that I find quite fascinating - a total eclipse of the moon. There are 2 big problems about this. Firstly it lasts from about midnight until 6 o'clock and secondly by that time it could be cloudy and foggy once again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


19th February. Rocking Horse changes.

On the way home from the shop we have the radio on in the car and amongst the music are some curious little touches.

One is the opportunity for a child to come on and tell the nation what he/she has done for the first time that day. Today a boy, aged 10, proudly told us that he had put his contact lenses in for the first time.

There is a strong possibility that I have done something for the last time today.
I decided to re-arrange my area in Rocking Horse.
It was hard work of course.

And an early sale left be wondering about my plans. I had intended to use the blue enamel pitcher, bought at Lewes on Sunday, to be the centre feature of the kitchen section.

It didn't make it to the shelf. A customer picked it up from the box and took it to the counter.

It took me most of the morning, but as usual I am pleased with the result.

With just 13 more Tuesdays it may be the last time I create a completely new display.
Of course with sales there is a constant need to move things around a bit.

I can see all the changes - though maybe you can only really see a happy me.

I have a shelf of Royal memorabilia.
In this small selection you can see items dating from 1897 to 2002 - Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and The Queen's Golden Jubilee.

Here is just a general view.
The 1950's stock now has greater prominence once again.
I shall miss hunting for and displaying all these items.

I also love all the black bowler hats - and a topper that Jo bought at Dorking on Sunday. She has the area next to mine at the moment.

It has been a good day with just about enough customers and a fair few of the shop dealers in for a chat.
Jo came in to start a new window display.

Another pleasure on the journey home was the wonderful sunset.

Monday, February 18, 2008


18th February Busy sending Emails for EBay.

Good evening.
It has been a busy day and one which suggests why I am ready to enjoy my blog rather than send out a lot of EMails.
I have been sending EMails for much of the day - and all the other bits and pieces involved with successful selling on EBay.
Bill had model cars selling too and so he was involved at least in the wrapping of items.
Then it was time to send off EMail invoices to the winning bidders.
In no time at all payments have come and so I have been addressing parcels - that seems to take quite a while.
Then I send an EMail thanking the buyer for the payment and letting them know when the parcel would be posted - in almost every case they are now already on their journeys to new homes.
Then I leave a positive feedback for these prompt payers.
And then make sure our accounts are up to date. Many amateur dealers do not bother with accounts - I just feel more secure knowing that I could show Mr (or Mrs) Taxman/person that we actually earn very little and don't owe any tax.
Yes there are profits - but because it is a hobby I don't think about the need for a car, computer, phone etc which should also be balanced against the profits.
Goodness I suppose a business person would have down a trip to Costa Coffee as part of their expenses!
Anyway - money is boring to me, but I like to do the job properly. A job worth doing is worth doing well, they always did say.
And that basically has been the day.
I feel tired - maybe not just because I have been working, but also because I slept very little.
Tomorrow is a shop day and I will be there all day with Bill. I have a box full of things to be arranged on the shelves.
I just might take the laptop with me and then describe some more books for later in the week.
I hope you have had a good day.
Bye for now. Time for bed soon.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


17th February A treat in Lewes.

Today we got up at half past six and peered through the curtains at a cold world. The thermometer in the lounge told us that the temperature in the sheltered garden was minus 6.2 Degrees C.

But it was a lovely morning to drive through the countyside with the rising sun creating a lovely light on the winter trees and South Downs.
The sun was so low that driving eastwards felt quite hazardous with this huge bright orange ball glaring directly into our eyes.

Today we headed south (and then east from Brighton) and discovered what were the delights of the car boot sale by the river at Lewes. To be honest there was little there for us and too many stalls selling new things, so more like a market than a true car boot sale.

There was a man selling books at 40p each or 5 for a pound and it was quite a struggle to find 5 that might be worth having.
I actually bought a couple of things that will go in the shop - and hopefully sell.
Joy and Peter were there and she had decided against the blue enamel pitcher, but I like it anyway, so will find a home for it if nobody else wants it.

It was still only about half past eight when we went for a short walk. The pictures will appear at the end of the writing. It is hard to imagine that Lewes once seemed to me to be a wondrous town, far from home and the focus of some of our camping holiday expeditions. And yet this morning this seemingly remote town on the SouthDowns was reached in half an hour.

We walked over the bridge taking us over the River Ouse and walked down Cliffe High Street. There were few people about and no Greasy Joe's Cafe.
At that point it is not possible to walk alongside the river, but we enjoyed the views of the buildings and reflections.

Then we wandered back and decided that we would enjoy a hot drink in Costa Coffee - naturally enough nicknamed Costa Lotta by us.
But it was well worth the price. We sat on easy chairs by the window to watch the town start to wake up.
The cafe was quite crowded with folks enjoying something for breakfast and lots of people came in to buy a take away coffee and a bite to eat - mostly from the car boot sale I would guess.

At the table next to us was a lone man. I had spotted him as he appeared from a side street - he stood out from everybody else. People were mostly wrapped up in coats and hats and scarves to protect against the frosty air.
The man was wearing shorts! And flip flops with no socks! He settled down with a large latte coffee and got his book out. I never could catch a glimpse of the title - but he was quite Bohemian and arty I would think. I loved his sort of batik style cotton scarf worn with his linen shirt.
We had not intended to have anything to eat - after all what would I find in a Costa Coffee suitable for me?
But - I did spot something a gluten free rasberry and almond shortcake. It was delicious, a bit like a Bakewell tart in taste. Bill had a chocolate pastry twist.

This little treat has set me up well for the day.
It has been a day of work. Bill went off to the shop for the afternoon.
I described 6 items which will be listed tomorrow.
This morning I was chatting with Jamie, who often contacts during the last half hour before going home from work.
It doesn't sound much - but what with washing up, food preparation, dealing with payments etc I have been busy for most of the day.
I did spend a while browsing at clothes on EBay. Recently I have made the mistake of buying things in what was my size, and I suppose could be again one day.
But for now they are definitely too big. I think during the week I might go to Marks and Spencers and try on some clothes to see what size actually works for me. Have I gone down one size or two? Meanwhile I have some good quality M&S trousers size 18 Long which are of no use to me. I didn't pay too much for them on EBay.
Sunday evening is another TV evening - the ice skating and in a short while Larkrise to Candleford.

Now for a brief Lewes photograph album......

Reflections of riverside buildings and a boat.

I am sure the building on the left might once have been connected with shipbuilding which took place in Lewes - sailing barges and such like.
It stands alongside the river. Opposite is the Harvey's Brewery shop and cottages.

A view looking beyond the lovely well kept cottages to the brewery itself.

Now we are sitting, warm, in Costa Coffee.
Bill liked the heart shaped chocolate on his cappucino.

I just enjoyed 2 large cups of tea.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


16th February. Quiet day and blogs v EMails.

Hello to family and friends blog readers.
Today has looked like a lovely day - bright sunshine again, but it started very chilly, or so I believe.
We didn't get up early and go to the Ford car boot sale.
I had felt really quite rough yesterday evening and the weariness and weakness seems to be a constant at the moment.
So Bill got up and brought me a cup of tea in bed.

I haven't been entirely idle. I have sold 11 books today - all wrapped and invoiced and ready to be posted when the money comes in.

And, at last, I decided to start working through the collectable jigsaw puzzles stored out in the garage - dozens of them.
The one I did today was complete and from a series that interests people, so I am hopeful that bids might roll in.

The puzzle had to be carried upstairs for a while this afternoon. Ruth came round with Felix and he might have thought that over 400 bits of coloured card would be a delight to chew or throw on the floor.

I have cooked the Saturday roast dinner - made some sort of attempt at eating much less than I might once have done. It was lovely anyway and there is a lot to be used tomorrow.

The old debate about the merits of blogs or EMails has surfaced yet again.
I suppose it is a bit pointless me explaining to family and friends who don't bother with blogs my reasons for preferring to communicate the blog way. Those people will not be part of the debate if it is in a blog will they?
And those that tell me that they regularly turn to the blog will realise that what I put on Grandma P's blog is just the same as I might have sent in an EMail.
In the past I used to construct an EMail, often with some pictures and then send it in a combined send to quite a number of people, which made me feel a bit guilty because it was like I was pretending to send a personal mail, when it was obvious that it was just a duplicated mail for any number of people.

I actually enjoy other people's blogs - not strangers, for I don't have time for that, although some quick looks have revealed all sorts of interesting things; but I turn every evening to the people who write fairly regularly and I enjoy their accounts of their lives and things that matter to them.
I confess I do look to see what the Phuket birdwatcher writes sometimes.
I also enjoy the EMails that come in too. Sometimes I make the mistake of opening up EMails at a moment when I don't have much time to read and enjoy them, like just before serving up the dinner. Then when I get back to the computer I sort of feel that I have read it and the moment is over.

Similar debates still continue about the merits of Emails and letters written by hand and posted - do you remember such things? We have a friend in Germany who does work on a computer all day and really doesn't want one at home and thinks that eMails are awful things - OK for a few lines for business purposes, but hardly suitable for family and friends.

So this is a question really for the people who are not reading this! Should I be sending a copy of my blog to you in an EMail?

Of course many people now do receive Emails of a personal nature when I get round to replying to ones they have sent to us. Well, OK - I confess, the core of such an Email can be very similar to that found in other replies.

Let me know what you think - just put a comment on the blog if you like.

Right the evening is slipping away. I shall see the results of the tribute singers competition and then go to bed. Will it be Frank Sinatra, Lionel Ritchie or Dusty Springfield who wins a 3 month contract in Las Vegas? I hope it is the singer who performs as Dusty, but somehow I doubt it.

I am not sure what we will do in the morning.
Of course I have the urge to be out and hunting. We have discussed the possibility of going to Lewes for a change and maybe we would find a friendly cafe for a bite to eat or at least a hot cup of tea.
Bill will be in the shop tomorrow afternoon. I reckon he has about 6 more Sunday afternoons of duties in the shop.

Goodnight all!

Friday, February 15, 2008


15the February My day at home in monkland.

Once again there is little to say about the day.
It was cold - not below feezing, but the easterly wind was bitter.
But how would I know? I haven't been anywhere.

I did a small clearing out job this morning. On top of kitchen cupboards are (or were) dozens of cookery books that I have picked up second hand over nearly a life time. I am not sure when I last used any of them.
I have become adept at experimental cookery over the last few years. For example nobody told me to wrap some wafer thin slices of salami round the baked haddock, but it was delicious and added good flavour for our meal this evening.
Most of the books are now in a Crawley charity shop. I guess I could have put some of them on EBay, but I just felt ready for them to be gone from my life.
I kept the old stand by which I bought over 40 years ago - it has been covered in a piece of wallpaper that we once had in the kitchen.
Also kept are the Thai cookery books - for I assume that if I took the trouble to find the ingredients many of the things might be tolerated by my body. Actually its no trouble to seek out the ingredients - every supermarket has them these days, no need to find specialist shops any more.
I also have 2 books of gluten free cookery - which probably suggest you add tomatoes to everything!
Whilst Bill took the books into town I began to describe more books for EBay and this afternoon we listed 12 more items.
Describing the books has taken me to Grimsby, Penshurst, along canals in a narrow boat and through canal tunnels. I have learned a little about Janacek the Czech composer and seen what might be involved caring for a schizophrenic.
I have got myself up to date with EMail replies.
So I have been a bit more positive - but I feel weary.

Now I will go and watch some TV - my weekly fix of Gareth Malone (what a wonderful name). He is trying to organise a boys' choir and take them to perform at The Royal Albert Hall in London.

Good night.

Now scroll down for a silly joke.


15 th February. Part 1. A joke for you.

I am sure this is an old joke and maybe you have seen it before.
But it made me laugh.

An old school friend, Stan sent it to me today.
He wound me up something real bad - talking about not wishing to offend me and hoping I can be broadminded enough.

A few days ago I was having some work done at my local garage.
A lady came in and asked for a seven-hundred-ten.
We all looked at each other and another customer asked,"What is a seven-hundred-ten?"
She replied, "You know, the little piece in the middle of the engine, I have lost it and need a new one."She replied that she did not know exactly what it was, but thispiece had always been there.
The mechanic gave her a piece of paper and a pen and asked her to draw what the piece looked like.She drew a circle and in the middle of it wrote 710.
He then took her over to another car which had its hood up and asked"is there a 710 on this car?" She pointed and said,"Of course, it's right there."

Maybe I will write a short bit about our day later on.
Dinner is cooking. Haddock baked with some salami and the eternal boiled potatoes and vegetables.
I realise I should cut down the amount I eat at meal times.
I was reading that as almost all food contains potassium that even low potassium foods become high potassium foods if you eat too much of them.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


14th February Valentine's Day.

I have to admit that Grandma P is feeling rather depressed.
This can happen quite often at this time of year and during the last months there has been a lot to come to terms with.
It is all making me feel that I want to stay snug in my nest - and today even the nest felt chilly.
My digestion has settled a bit (I hope). I took Immodium in the night - but it didn't prevent further "action". I am sure it will settle again soon.
But other aspects of my health will never go away - the bag and the diet are my ways to survive. Feeling down I am experiencing some resentment.
I just looked at a Wetherspoon's menu - there are perhaps 2 meals (full dinners) that I could eat. Bother! It's not fair!

I do keep hanging on to the notion that I am lucky to be in the position I am in. The inconvenience and restrictions are a necessary part of life which could have been denied to me without the input of the doctors.
But the fact of being lucky - doesn't actually make me feel happy about it at the moment.

And yes - it felt really chilly today. The sunshine and blue skies have gone and the East wind brings the cold.

Poor birdies - today is their wedding day, as the old country custom is.
But having watched them from the window I am sure that they may have advanced the happy day.

I come from a family - (no, don't blame them) who really feel quite upset by the way St. Valentine's Day has become a focus for spending and profit making.

In my youth I liked to think I was part of the "normal" world and so cards seemed to be important - but in the late 1950's people didn't have the money to spend on more and more extravagent gifts, like seems to be the norm these days.
It makes it feel like a sad day.

I think we have passed on these inherited notion to our own boys.
And this evening, because I feel idle and tired, I am about to copy and paste something Jamie wrote today on his Monk in Thailand blog.

I haven't publicised this blog yet because I wasn't sure how it would develop; but it truly can be quite whimsical at times.

Quite recently it had me laughing out loud as he posted some fantastic translations of instructions and advertising from Thai into English.

Today he has written about Valentine's Day.

As I understand it, Valentines Day is an old festival, dating back nearly 2000 years but was not originally anything to do with romantic love.

It was reborn in the modern age as another great way of making people spend money and making them feel guilty if they don't.

Cards, flowers, gifts, holy cow we just had Christmas and now we have to spend more?

Thailand goes Valentine crazy. Hearts and flowers everywhere. Another good excuse for a party, to eat out, to drink whisky ... oh and to show someone that you care.

Today we closed our shop early to be with loved ones. My wife was shocked to see me home so early! We have been out for dinner at Laem Hin Seafood, had a nice evening.

Jessica made a us heart at school. Lovely. That's what it's about. None of this be my Valentine rubbish, or "I love you and to prove it I have spent lots of money on flowers". Family. Love them. Cherish them.

So I started with low spirits and grew to remember as I wrote what the real meaning of life is all about. Bless you Thailand Monks!


PS I did like the Google addition to their page today - a real old Derby and Joan couple celebrating Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


13th Febrauary. Grandma P feels a bit rough.

Sorry - this will be short tonight.
I thought I was feeling OK for much of the day, but I feel rough this evening.
Digestion is still fragile.

This morning we went into town on the bus - more "firsts for me.
We went to the library to check on their computer what books on hyperkalemia or low potassium diets might be in their catalogue. There were none.
I still have to make things up and I am sure I am making some mistakes.

When we got back there was a letter from the GP's surgery with a blood test form.
I guess communication can be slow between hospital and local doctor; I think that maybe the GP didn't know that I had had a blood test last Tuesday.
Never mind, I was happy to take advantage of being checked up on yet again.
We went to Crawley hospital this afternoon.
I was also happy to find that the blood was being taken by the young girl who did it last week at The East Surrey. She is the very best blood taker I have met. I just don't feel the needle going in at all and she gets blood first time.

Since then I have found it hard to get on with much.

Now, my gut hurts and I feel queasy.
I shall watch MasterChef and then go to bed.

I wish I knew what I could do to make the pain go away and not return - maybe it will disappear soon anyway.

Good night.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


12 February. My mistake and the consequences.

I shall be writing very little this evening as a result of a mistake I have made today.

It was not being at the shop for a long day that threw me. That went rather well I suppose, though we could have seen a few more customers I suppose.

Both Bill and I pottered in our areas and tidied things and moved a few things.

As happens quite often it seems the items we sold today were all things we had put in a new position.

I sold just the one item - an old Black magic chocolate tin.

Bill sold 3 things.

No, my mistake concerns my diet. I bought some rice crackers - simple little items to snack on through the day.

The first mistake was to not notice that there was quite a high percentage of peanuts included - so more potassium than I am used to. If there are to be ill effects that could be tomorrow.

The rice crackers were not made entirely from rice flour - flour was also used.

This evening I am doubled up with pain, feel very bloated and of course I am suffering from wind. Though maybe Bill feels he is the greater sufferer of that symptom!

I have to be so careful.


Monday, February 11, 2008


11 February Horley and the Monks.

This morning we went to Horley.

One day we should make a study of Horley - but today there wasn't time.

Monks have lived there for 200 years or so - although those in our direct line moved just a few miles further along the road to Charlwood, which was deemed to be a part of Horley for administrative purposes.
George and Rebecca Monk lived at Fullbrooks Farm at Charlwood - and Monks continued to live there until the 1950's.
George was Bill's great grandfather's (Abraham) elder brother. Abraham later took over Fullbrooks Farm.
When we began to study family history I discovered George and Rebecca first of all. They seemed like they might be important people - almost landed gentry - and respectable. Rebecca's maiden name was Bennett - and Rebecca Bennett seemed like a character straight out of Jane Austen.
Well, not so!
Poor Rebecca had a hard life with much to endure and one of the crosses she had to bear was, seemingly George.

Below is a copy of a stern warning to George Monk from we know not who, but somebody who obviously had it in for the young husband, George.

“To the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Parish of Horley
Surrey. Gentlemen it is time thare was a stop Put to the goeing on
att George Monk's all day long of a Sunday and severall Night in
a week the house is full of Men drinking of Sider while thare wifes
and Children is starven at home and it is a harbour for lazy girls
which brings trouble to the Parish and the ruing and destructsion
of many a family which Monks dont do it for want now he as got
money houses and land and a house furnished as well as any farmer in the Parish and is as well of, it is you Churchwardens and Over-seers duty to put a Stop to it and you should have done it Long
agoe if you had done your duty. April 25, 1835."

Perhaps this was penned by an aggrieved husband!

So when we visit Horley I tend to think of the family who lived out their lives in the small town and its surroundings.

But today we were there for the benfits that they would have known nothing of like soft toilet tissue and washing liquid for an automatic washing machine. These are items we buy in Lidls - so much cheaper than elsewhere.
The trouble is - many things are cheap and we tend to buy extras and stock up with things for the next month or so; and spend more than we intended.

This afternoon I worked on describing items and listed 6 more books on EBay - Bill had 4 more cars to list too.
I also sold a couple of books.

The skies continue blue and there has been bright sunshine.
It was really cold first thing - minus 2.5 degrees.
Huh! I can almost hear the Canadians commenting about how we don't understand cold. Today I heard that the temperature has been minus 20 degrees and feeling even colder with the wind chill.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


10 Feb A trip to Crawley for Grandpa B.

Sunday again..... and I realise that I have been quite idle.
Never mind, "tomorrow is another day."

We began early, leaving home at quarter past seven for Dorking. The ice on the car had to be dealt with first. I felt really cold at the car boot sale and items we picked up made our fingers feel numb - I expect some of the stalls had been set up since before dawn.

It really hadn't been worthwhile going to Dorking - except that maybe it is good for my soul to get out and do normal things. We bought very little. I found just 6 books and Bill bought 2 model vehicles and a book to read for himself.

After we had warmed up again Bill went out again - he had run out of bread and
decided to walk to Asdas in the town. He took his camera with him.

Crawley has changed so much in our own life time and through the years before.

The most famous old building is probably The George Hotel, an old coaching inn in what used to be the town centre before The New Town was built.

In recent years The Square as we used to call the space opposite The George has been pedestrianised. It used to be busy with traffic and buses, but now there is just a cobbled one way system on the far side of The Square. The renovations have been done reasonably sympathetically.

You can see that the changes to the buildings of The George and surroundings have changed little, except that the old building has been made to look more medieval by exposing the timber beams, which would have been there when it was first built. In Georgian and Victorian times it was fashionable to give your property a make over and to get rid of old fashioned things like beams and have tile clad walls instead.

There are some sculptures now within the newly furnished Square. This is part of one that reflects the old meaning of the place name, Crawley.

Crawley's name is derived from the Anglo Saxon crawe leah - a 'crow infested clearing'. The spelling changed during the Middle Ages - Crauleia (c1203), Crawele (c1250) and Croule (1279) - with the more familiar spelling Crawley appearing around 1316.

I think the crows have moved South a little - and the grassy area in front of our house is now the "crow infested" place.

There have been many changes in The High Street. Bill and I remember all the shops here that supplied a family's basic needs. Now most have been transformed into estate agents or eating places.

The building set between the roads heading North and South was demolished in 1956. I went to a dentist in that central block.

The signal box is no longer used. The windows are boarded up. It is opened sometimes for history open days.

I once went up to the signal box and had a cup of tea with the signal man.

The gates have changed of course and the pedestrian subway by the signal box has been filled in. As children we loved to stand under the railway when a train passed over head.

The old post card shows the level crossing and the view southwards along Brighton Road. Our house is about a quarter of an hour's walk from this spot.

And it was in our house that I spent the rest of the day - watching too much sport on TV - athletics trials, rugby etc.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


09 Feb Land of My Fathers - or Mothers!

Noswaith dda!
Today I am Welsh! So I greet you with a Good Evening in Welsh.

Wales has always been important to us - many holidays have spent camping or in a cottage within the wondrous scenery.

We didn't know then that we would have one of our offspring so drawn to Wales that they would spend their life there. And there are friends who have settled there too.

When I was a child I used to proudly announce to my friends that I was Welsh - on the strength of having a Grandmother named Jessie Jones.
All I actually knew was her name and that she had grown up in Kent.
She was actually born in Cheshire and there is a tenuous link with her ancestors (and therefore mine) who may have crossed the border from North Wales into England to find work.
My mother knew none of this.
But it is good enough for me to continue with the notion that I have Welsh blood in me.

Jessie and Reg, my Grandfather in 1920. Jessie died of cancer in 1931, when my mother was 7 years old.

And why may you ask has this Welsh fervour materialised today? Well, the rugby season is upon us and Wales are doing rather well; last week they beat The English and this week it was The Scots who crumpled under their might.

Just to hear the Welsh anthem is enough to make one feel the need to be Welsh.

This is a translation of the chorus - it doesn't really scan of course, but the Welsh language would mean nothing to almost all my dear readers - and most would find it unpronounceable. Mind you it is lovely to hear the Welsh language and Ekatarina can pronounce it beautifully, though is not fluent - despite many of her lessons being in Welsh.

Land! Land!
I am true to my land!
As long as the sea serves as a wall
for this pure, dear land
May the language endure for ever.
Old land of the mountains,
paradise of the poets,
Every valley, every cliff a beauty guards;
Through love of my country,
enchanting voices will be
Her streams and rivers to me.

And now for a couple of pictures of the beautiful land itself.

Here is a view from near the summit of Snowdon in a most ethereal light, silhouetting me and one of the boys.

And here is a more recent picture sent to me by Pete of a hillside close to their home.

What wonderful colours!
From all of this you may gather that I have not, in fact, been out of the house today - but my heart has taken me "home".

Friday, February 08, 2008


08 February. Sunshine, flowers and lake at Tilgate.

The weather has been really good today - sunshine, blue skies and for a change the chilly wind had dropped and it felt almost warm.

So, this afternoon we went for a walk at Tilgate to capture some images of signs of Spring - flowers, trees, the lake and the brilliant sky.

It was hard work - the terrain at Tilgate is a bit undulating and the car is parked a little distance from the lake. We no longer use the official car park since charges were introduced.

Here are a selection of our pictures - 4 from each of us.
I doubt that you would be able to tell who had taken which picture - except that I feature in the last one. Silly Grandpa didn't wait for me to put the camera down, and I didn't know exactly what he was doing because he was standing in direct line with the lowering sun.

I reduced the size of the pictures quite a lot to enable me to use eight.
But still they will enlarge quite well with a right click of the mouse.
This morning I heard a bit on the radio about favourite one liners from films. It seems that "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." was the most popular. Mine comes from the same film - "Tomorrow is another day",
I think after another cold and frosty start we will be able to enjoy another bright clear day.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


07 February. Medical matters - successes - and failures for some.

Whoops! I have just woken up from dozing in front of the TV.
So I still feel sleepy!

It hasn't been a busy sort of day - but there was another disturbed night.
I woke at quarter to two and noticed that once again there was little to be seen in my night bag. Oh no! Surely I had got it right and switched the tap off. Indeed I knew I had done it. This time "it" was not flowing onto the floor - but all over the bed.
At such moments I feel sort of angry that my body has led me to such indignity.

This morning I saw Bill Clinton and I easily persuaded him to allow me some more time without any input from him. I explained about all the intrusions and problems of the last few months and asked that whatever treatment he deemed necessary for me could be left for a month. There will be 3 fillings - all repair jobs to teeth at the top which just continue to lose whatever fillings he puts in. He still thinks we should persevere to keep propping up the remaining teeth.
Anyway - today was a very short appointment.

This afternoon we had other medical appointments. Bill has been put on a higher dose of the blood pressure tablets. I have sorted out blood test forms - and this will include a screening for coeliac tendencies. I checked that the surgery have the right dosage for the sodium bicarbonate that the hospital doctors put me on.

Then we took the prescriptions to the pharmacy in Brighton Road. A pharmacy can be a gathering place for the sick and poorly and the people who work there know all our troubles. The woman behind the counter is an old childhood friend of Bill's - Pauline (nee Curiton), for those of his brothers and sisters who might read this.

Sadly we discussed the dead and the dying with Pauline. Celia died not so long ago. Bill and I knew Celia and her husband Mick from the cancer self help group in the early 1990's. I knew that cancer had returned to Celia's life and more recently Bill met Mick a number of times at the pharmacy and we discovered that Celia would not make it.
Pauline then passed on news of another that we know, now in the hospice. Another childhood friend of Bill's (Sylvie) has been a neighbour of ours since the 1960's. For many years she has lived with her friend Pat. Sylvie has been very ill over the years with Crohns disease, but it is Pat who is dying at St Catherine's.

I returned home, feeling aware that the indignities of the bag and difficult diets were not such a heavy load to bear. It really does seem, that unlike Celia and Pat, I can look to the future and if there has been a battle against the disease then I might have won again.

Right, lets hope that this night brings some undisturbed sleep - with no cleaning up and bed linen changes.

Good night.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


06 February. A Happy Chinese New Year to You.

A happy Chinese New Year to you!

I wasn't really up to sending off the normal New Year greetings on January 1st, so I will take this opportunity to hope that my friends and family find lots of good things to enjoy during this new year - and the strength and patience to deal with the inevitable difficulties that we all have to face from time to time.

By the way - does anybody know which animal is the symbol for this Chinese year?

Today has been quiet - the night rather less so.

Sorry to people who have already heard this tale of woe.

As you know, each night when I go to bed I attach a night collecting bag to the urostomy bag on my body. It is routine now.

Normally I routinely check that the tap at the bottom of the night bag is turned off.

Yes - you guessed it. Last night I forgot. At 4 o'clock in the morning I was awake and wondered why the night bag was empty and then swore!

A night time's wee had drained down the pipe and straight through the bag and onto the mat beside the bed.

Of course Bill insisted on getting up and sorting things out. Bless Grandpa B!

This morning we popped to Asda for a few bits - and a few bits more of course.
Next week will have to be a much more restrained shopping trip I think.
I was really pleased to meet up with Norma - who had been a childhood playmate of mine. She lived in the house next door.
Obviously she had heard from Jenny about what had been happening in my life, so it was nice that she could see me out and about and beginning to cope with life once again.

We also met Bill's sister, Julie and we were able to give her a lift home.

This afternoon we worked a bit on EBay things. I had a few things finishing - (2 out of 6 things sold). I started describing things to be listed on Friday, but Bill has done a great deal more than me.

I guess I needed a day of rest after the exertions of yesterday. Tomorrow I must go and see Bill Clinton - no nothing to do with Hillary and the Super Tuesday elections. I have a dental appointment. My teeth are just awful, but those that remain in my mouth are surviving without pain; so I shall ask that whatever he thinks needs doing can be left for another month, time for me to feel stronger and more ready for more medical intrusions.

In the afternoon both Bill and I have an appointment with the GP. I must jot down what I need to talk with her about.

I will end with a picture - of somebody I have never met and not part of the family. It relates to our walk last Saturday, which I recorded on the blog.

Our neighbour Isobel grew up close to Milton Mount when it was still a girls' boarding school. Her father was good friends with the head gardener and the family had freedom to use the grounds.

You will recall our pictures of the fountain pond, with its thin layer of ice. Isobel sent me a picture of her mother on the water.

Those rounded evergreen bushes have grown enormous since those days - but it would have been over 40 years ago.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


05 February. Hospital, cafe and shop.

There have been a number of different activities today.

My first appointment was at the hospital, where we were seen within minutes of the appointment time. I was a little disappointed not to be seen by Mr Swinn - if nothing else I think he would have ben pleased to see how well I look now.
But Dr Mohammed seemed really delighted anyway - his smile when he saw me in the waiting room said it all.
Of course from a urology standpoint I have become a routine patient and all is well.
I had been a bit concerned that I would need to remove the wee bag to be examined - which would require urgent instant attention with a new bag. Without a bag in place wee trickles or flows constantly down legs to the floor. But Dr M could see the stoma through the bag and was sure that all is well, which I could confirm.
They will advise a CT scan at some point, but it doesn't seem to be necessary yet. The team will want to be sure that no cancer cells escaped to invade some other part of me.
We looked at the figures on the computer screen. Potassium levels were just a bit lower than 10 days ago. Even one of the other levels which is up - and I still forget which it is - has come down a bit.
I had to go and have another blood test. The blood taken to check Alderostone levels has to be stored carefully and quickly and then transferred to the laboratory in London. It seems that last week's blood was too old by the time it reached its destination. I guess it was a mistake to have had it done at Crawley because the blood has to be taken to East Surrey anyway. It only took 2 hours to get to the ESH lab - but that was too long. Today it was taken by hand straight to the lab.
I have another appointment with the urology team in 4 months.

And then we went for an early lunch in the cafe run by the Portugese lady. It is the sort of place that does a lot of quick snack meals - lots of sandwiches, baguettes, paninis etc with a whole range of interesting fillings. There are also jacket potatoes (oh how I would like one!).
I asked if she could do me the sausage, bacon and egg that can be had in a baguette, on a plate with a knife and fork and not have the bread. This she was happy to do.
It was very good - 2 sausages, 2 rashers of bacon and fried egg for £2. Bill paid 50p more and had his in the baguette.

We were home for a short time - just a few minutes to join the lunchtime boggling and then we were off to the shop - picking up some eggs at the farm on the way.

This was my first time in the shop since October and I looked forward to a quiet afternoon - but, despite the foul weather, customers chose to keep me busy.
I wonder just what vibes I have sent out into the world because this afternoon there were people in that I knew who I had not seen for a long time.
Thelma came in - she lives a way up the road past Wakehurst Place. I am not sure how it happened that we became bosom friends or indeed if we really are. But she is very kind and caring and I appreciate being cared about.
I also had a man in who had arranged to sell me things. If I had just known who he was I would have told him over the phone last week that I was not interested.
He somehow manages to get his claws into you - pushing and pushing about the quality of his items. In the end I paid him too much for just 3 things.
But still we couldn't get rid of him - he wanted to browse in the shop and to keep on talking and he is so boring!

I took parcels to the post office and of course young Graham was pleased to see me again. Young Graham is now about 50 years old - but I have memories of him in my class as a 10 year old.

Joy and Peter came in about an hour before closing time. Both Bill and I have been grateful that they have mostly been able to do this.
I know that last summer when I arranged to give up one of my areas I offered to continue doing the whole day on Tuesdays, although in theory I am now actually committed to only half a day. I didn't know then how life would turn out for me and that doing a whole day might prove to be difficult for one or both of us at times.
But never mind it won't be a problem for too much longer.

So we got away early and drove home whilst it was still light. The rain had stopped and a huge watery yellow sun was sinking down behind the winter trees with the South Downs in the distance. It is raining hard again now though.

I am tired tonight - of course. Dee rang earlier and thought my voice sounded weak. My explanation is that I had spent the afternoon talking!

Right - I have written enough now and I shall go and watch Masterchef. Goodnight.

Monday, February 04, 2008


04th February. The new Grandma P.

Today there is a new me!

I last went to see Rob at the hairdressers at the end of October - the Monday before the operation I think.
Since then my hair has been washed when I had the energy or felt desperate.
But that is all.
It has grown of course - quite long and straggly.

I have to accept that I am now in my 60s and no young beauty, but today I felt quite thrilled at what Rob achieved and I could tell that he was delighted too.

Enlarge the picture, Grandma suggests arrogantly!

Bill drove me to Southgate shops. We had such a load of big parcels to be posted that it seemed a good idea to use the car.
Bill then walked home.
And I drove myself home - the first time I drove the car since last October.
It felt quite easy and very familiar.

I remember how it was when I drove the car after a really long lay off of about 18 months, when I had been ill before. Bill took me to a straight and quiet country lane and I felt really strange behind the wheel - and yet I couldn't stop grinning too.
But my arms then were not really strong and I found some of the gear changes a problem.
But then, just as now, there had to be a fight back to normality.

Bill was busy this afternoon scanning and photographing the next box of items which will be described for EBay over the next month.

I prepared some of the things which have been listed a couple of times and failed to sell ready to take to the shop. I also sorted some more stuff out to take tomorrow. I have promised Bill that I will not start a grand re-arrangement of my area - though I am sure I shall think it needs it.

We shall be at the shop for the afternoon only.

In the morning we will be at the hospital for an appointment with Mr Swinn - or one of the urology team. This the normal 3 month check up. I expect the levels of chemicals in my blood will be mentioned of course.

We plan to go and have some breakfast after the appointment.
Unfortunately eating out gets increasingly difficult since I have chosen to avoid bread as well as everything else.
A cooked breakfast is all very well - but with no toast, no tomatoes, no mushrooms, no beans it becomes a bit basic. Maybe the Portugese lady in the cafe we went to last time will do me egg, bacon and sausage. Or maybe we will go to Morrison's.

Once again we have enjoyed the sunshine through the windows. The wind keeps it quite chilly outdoors.
The sunny days certainly help us to realise that the days are getting longer - Spring is on its way.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


03 Feb A day of rest - for some.

Sunday - a day of rest, so they say.

But for us it has been a day of work.
I wouldn't normally choose to have EBay items finishing on a Sunday, but when half price listing days occur on a Thursday then Sunday is the day the bidding ceases - we could of course elect to leave the listings for just 7 days, but I like them to be there for 2 weekends.
So this morning we were busy wrapping all the things with bids.
This afternoon Bill went off to the shop and I dealt with the invoices and payments.

We could have devoted even more time to this hobby/business; but when the alarm went off at half past six I confessed that I didn't really want to drag myself out into the cold wind to go to a boot sale that might or might not be worth while.
I also had in mind that I didn't want Bill exerting himself out in the cold. Last night his blood pressure reading was horrendously high again - 177 over 103.

We have rested this evening - we watched the ice skating and Lark Rise to Candleford

Rain has threatened but by quite late evening we have still seen none.

Right - time for a cup of tea and maybe I will deal with 2 more payments before I go to bed.

Goodnight from Grandma P.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


02 Feb Part 1 Milton Mount Gardens

PART 1 The gardens and the ornamental fountain.

Today we walked in a part of Crawley that we had never visited before and we have lived in this constantly changing town for over 60 years.

On the Pound Hill side of Crawley there was once a Victorian mansion with gardens designed by James Pulham.

It became a girl's boarding school.

Later the mansion was demolished and a large block of council flats was built.The gardens remained, though became somewhat shabby.
The council now care for the gardens and they are splendid, even in the depths of Winter. It was cold today, but the skies were blue and we enjoyed the walk.
As we entered the gardens we enjoyed strolling round the outside along the lovely tiled path.

Beautiful and strong conifers seen through a window of ivy.

Looking down the stone stairway to the ornamental pond.

The central part is a fountain, but was not working today.

There was a thin layer of ice covering the water.

The residents of these flats have wonderful surroundings - a huge and lovely extended garden.


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