Monday, March 31, 2008


31st March. Monday bits and pieces.

To begin at the beginning......
this morning I slept for longer than has been my habit. The longer darker mornings have some blessings for me it seems. I didn't wake until about 7 o'clock.
I spent the morning at the computer catching up with EMails.
Bill was busy with chores - garden rubbish and lots of his old photography work to the dump - no little treasures to be picked up there these days. Deposited items are all carefully controlled.
He sorted out our prescriptions and went to the chemist for medication. They never have enough sachets of Questran and so we will have to return later in the week.
He posted EBay parcels - all 7 sold on Saturday had been paid for and have been posted.
He came home and got busy upstairs, changing the bedding on our bed and other tasks.
Then he took his blood pressure - it seems that work is not good for him! The top reading was 168 which is not good. I was thinking that the higher medication dose was getting things under reasonable control - just a bit higher than it should be. He will see the doctor again next week.
I was in the hands of Bill Clinton (the dentist) at 2 o'clock and he repaired 3 of my teeth. Keeping my teeth in a reasonable state is like painting The Forth Bridge - impossible to ever think you have the job completed.
It was a very easy appointment for me - just a little wincing here and there. At moments I felt relaxed enough to ease away almost to sleep lying back in the comfortable chair.
Then we called in to Asda for bread and milk and some other bits.
I have been foolish and eaten some bread - and of course am suffering (so is Bill!) as a result. But sometimes it feels worth it.
Then I worked on the increased postal charges - which of course are passed on to EBay customers. I used the opportunity to re write my postage and payment instructions.
Then I listed all the items that had failed to sell during March - that's 16 things to face the world again.
This evening I have watched Delia Smith cooking Asian food. It is rare that I decide I must buy a new book, but I need her book because I just spend the entire programme filled with pleasure and realise I have forgotten a lot of what she said. I think I shall know more about Asian sauces than I have learned from Mam with the book - I never really knew what to do with Thai fish sauce, but Mam uses it often. I can feel another trip to the Asian supermarket, Wing Yip, coming on - and then perhaps to Ikea because Bill wants some of their big white cups and saucers.
Ans so, soon to bed I think.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


30th March Buying and Selling.

It has been Sunday and we have bought and we have sold - not a great deal in either of those categories.

The weather yesterday evening and overnight was dreadful and of course this put potential stall holders off from setting up their wares.

The roads today, long after the rain had stopped were hazardous with a lot of surface water - puddles and larger expanses. The road sides were like mini streams as water flowed fast down the hills. But the rain did stop and it looked like a pleasant afternoon, but as were in the shop until half past five we saw very little of it.

But it was good that the sun shone to make us feel joyful and aware of that extra hour of daylight at the end of the day - not dark today until gone quarter to eight.

Our buying was in Dorking and Horley.
I am specially pleased with an old wooden storage box with a paper advertsing strip along the side for Oakey's Wellington Knife Polish.
We have owned a knife polisher for many years. This museum piece was a wonderful find - not at a sale, but found thrown on the council rubbish dump in the days when it was just a patch of waste ground where you could deposit unwanted items from lawn trimmings to ... well, to knife polishers.
People were free in those days to help themselves to anything potentially useful.
So the knife polisher cost us nothing. I actually paid £5 for the polish box - they just seemed to belong together.

We were home again by 9 o'clock and pottered the morning away.
Bill looked through all the large mounted photographic prints he did when he was in the camera club. Some may be used to decorate the house and others just are not needed anymore becasue they no longer have any meaning to us. And then there are others which will find their way back into the cupboard.

The afternoon in the shop was quite pleasant, but Bill and I were not as busy as Rose and Di had been in the morning.
One customer was from South Africa and glad to chat. The conversation eventually got around to families and she told us that her grandfather was William Gunn who had played both cricket and football for England in the late 1800s. And it was he who set up the cricket gear company Gunn and Moore, who still produce the most sought after bats today. Much of the ephemera and sporting equipment that had been his is now housed at Lords cricket ground, because she felt it should remain in England.
Conversation with another customer didn't flow so well. I gather he suffered a brain injury and now has the memory span of a gnat!
He asked what a certain item was and we told him - and a just a few seconds later he would bring it again and ask the same question - until he was bored with that item and moved on to another.
He has a "minder" who brings him to the shop because he loves it so and he is given some money to spend. He didn't seem to be able to hold money or figures in his head, but is obviously a reader -at least he said he loved books and bought 2 about Surrey (where he lives).
He also wants to be loved. He likes to keep checking that we feel he is a good customer - and he knows how to bargain. I told him that a £2 book shouldn't really have anything knocked off but he pleaded that as I liked him so much and he was a very good customer that he could have it 10p cheaper. Of course I relented.
He took his prize purchases and a receipt out to his minder and they drove back to Merstham.

Strange that on the Antiques Roadshow - a sort of look back edition - the experts were saying they had to be much more than an expert knowing values and at times had to act a kind of social service, just as we had done earlier.

Well, time to put the kettle on and then get to bed.
Tomorrow I shall visit the dentist at the 4th time of asking. The first time I just felt too fragile after all the hospital stays. Then I had the awful sinus bug and cancelled twice. I guess the sinus bug has gone - but I still feel claggy and cough and splutter.
I shall, of course, wish that I could miss the dentist again tomorrow. It won't be comfortable, but if I am to save what is left of my horrible teeth then I must put up with the repair work.

So, another weekend over.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


29th March Low tide at Littlehampton

Today gave me a glimpse of what it is like to be normal - it took me back to a time before..........
.........A time before the surgery which changed certain aspects of my life quite dramatically.
Since that time I have not really felt as I once did. I am so very tired.
I find physical activity wears me out very quickly.
I do hope that as the summer warmth begins to filter through that I will feel a greater freedom to live as I please.
And of course the summer begins right now. I have just reminded Bill about the need to put the clocks forward an hour - whoops, it is actually now my bedtime!
I shall enjoy the lighter evenings and for a while maybe the fact that dawn will come later might help me sleep longer.
This morning we were out of the house shortly after quarter to seven and on our way south to Ford (about a 45 minute drive).
And there they all were - the stall holders - as if nothing had changed in life over the last 5 months.
But my favourite house clearance man had changed - a big bushy beard has appeared.
But he still had the boxes strewn all over the ground full of somebody's trivial personal possessions, which they no longer needed.
There is a touch of sadness and not feeling quite comfortable as we browse, gradually feeling we were getting to know quite a lot about the old person who once had her drawers and cupboards full of these things.
I concentrated mostly on books of course - and then added some things for me - 3 tea towels, a jumper, a towel and would you believe it, a pair of knickers.
At night time now I am glad to wear old lady's bloomers with a longer leg to hold the tap and connector to the night bag more in place.
Too much personal information? I'm sorry - its just part of the new life.
We also bought a bag of cox's apples and a huge bag of Bramley cooking apples for £1 each. There will be enough stewed apple for the week.
I got tired walking around - and we only went round once. I was glad to get out of the wind and settle into the car seat. But not for long. We drove into Littlehampton for a walk and a light breakfast snack in The Balaton Cafe.
It was chilly but bright on the beach and the tide was further out than I have seen it before in Littlehampton, exposing a vast flat sandy beach below the sloping pebbles and shingle.
Here are some low tide at Littlehampton pictures..........

The birds are turnstones. They are beautiful in flight and fascinating to watch as they turn over the pebbles to seek out tasty morsels.
On the right we see the estuary of the River Arun and to the left is the beach and the open sea.
When we got home there was work to do.
I have written up my purchases and also dealt with a few EBay sales.
Do you remember how I grumbled about the difficulty of the jigsaw Blast Furnaces?
It was worth making the effort to sort it out - today it sold for just over £16, a good price for a 1950's card puzzle.
Ashley has told me of the church coffee morning which has left him with a bag full of bits and bobs for Katya. The good church ladies used to store the bric a brac behind a screen at the back of the church and now they can no longer do this - Health and Safety have deemed it to be a hazard. Today they were charging 10p an item in the hope of getting rid of it and the dear ladies gave quite a lot to Katya.
Jamie has been in touch with some lovely pictures - they'll be on the jjjj blog before long.
There was also news of a new car - yes, brand new!
Second hand cars can sell for very little less than new ones and this way he gets a better deal with a finance company and also free servicing for 3 years.
Its a big Toyota pick up truck with seats in front and the back - less tax on a pick up truck than a saloon car.
Bill is sitting at the other computer - not sure what he is up to. I think I shall have to remind him again about the changing of the clocks.
Ah - Bill has just given me info about Jamie's car. He is obviously surfing websites. No hope of clocks going forward then for a while!
The weather forecast for tomorrow is not good. It seems we might have yet another Sunday morning lie-in. Though no doubt there will be a peering through curtains just to check.
In the afternoon I am in the shop with Bill, standing in for Jo who is away for a few days.

Friday, March 28, 2008


28th March. Few words.

Few words this evening.

It was a bad night - not enough sleep.
Feeling queasy, feeling tired.
Leaden skies, strong winds and torrential rain later.
Depressing really.

The morning was spent tapping away at descriptions
Roman archaeology,
Laurel and Hardy and the lost film - The Rogue's Song Book.
Merlin and Manchester,
Nursing in Burma - fact; and a novel based on fact about Mary, daughter of King Stephen.
Wade dishes with cartoons for Ready Mixed Concrete company.
An interesting bundle - and people seem to like them for many have been placed in watching files.

And still the rain swept by.

The clouds dispersed later - some blue skies to lift the spirits.

Bill went to collect prescriptions. His not ready.
Methotrexate - a controlled drug can only be written up by one of the doctors.
Good to know that - what would Bill do if that doctor was away on holiday when he was running out? Not that he would actually know this.

Talked with Ashley and Katya (Ekatarina). She went to look up what my princess name should be according to my date of birth.
Hi then from Princess Melody!
She told me that she liked the fairy name I invented for myself... so greetings again from Fairy Sparkle Web.

Dinner - hake wrapped in prosecuted ham, as Bill called it. Italian bacon that is.

Evening watching cycling - World Championships.
Great Britain doing very well and leads the medal table.
We watch courtesy of the red button on the Sky remote - still BBC production.
Not that this brings perfection - pronunciation of the foreign names I know about are often very wrong so I presume the ones I don't know about are wrong too.

Bed soon. Tired and head achy.

We have plans to get up and go to Ford in the morning. It will be cold and it will feel hard. Staying in bed feels so good.
But perhaps we should not shy away from the challenge - would make us feel more normal perhaps.


Thursday, March 27, 2008


27th March Ashley back to Bangor - I hate Goodbyes.

This has been an empty nest sort of day.
After all these years I still find it a bit of a wrench to have my young ones leave us.
Ashley has been with us for a week. He is a quiet soul and he has not actually been with us in the house every hour of the day, and yet, once he had gone, the house seemed noticeably emptier and quieter.
We will see Ashley again in 5 weeks when we travel up to Bangor for a long weekend.
Of course I have not had our Jamie leave home for many a long year. It has been eight and a half years almost since we saw him off at Heathrow Airport. Jamie didn't know then that his life was about to change very dramatically, but somehow I sensed that this was a very final farewell - apart from our visits there of course. Sadly they just don't have the money to bring a whole family over to England for a holiday.

Thank goodness that we all feel close enough to want to be in touch almost every day. The wonders of computing mean that, in fact, neither of them seem so very far away.

The emptiness has meant that I found it hard to settle down to any activity much. I have started to describe a few items for EBay.
Bill has had another of his routine blood tests to check any damage that the drugs for rheumatoid arthritis might cause.
We seem to be in and out of the bloods department quite often - but that is really good; it is excellent that so much is being done to monitor our health.

Ashley has just rung to say he was at home - but not without problems and delays.
The ticket he had was for a route taking him first to Watford Junction - bypassing London altogether. But when he got to East Croydon it was announced that the train could not continue because somebody had been killed in the path of a train at Harrow and Wealdstone. He had to continue into London - get the tube with a heavy rucksack and 3 bags to Euston Station and then wait until the line had been cleared by police in order to travel on to Wales.

This afternoon the weather was delightful - just a little window of blue skies and sunshine between the heavy hail storm this morning and the prolonged wind and torrential rain we are promised for tomorrow. It will be a day with time at home to describe more for EBay I think.

This is the blossom on our tree in the front garden. We call it Solly blossom because we named the tree Solly's tree. We bought it on the day when a treasured cat (Solly) had been confirmed as dead by the roadside; it was to make us feel more positive.
It has looked quite wonderful today against the blue sky.

Tulips growing under Solly's tree.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


26th March Signs of Spring - home and in Reigate

There are signs of Spring of course - but the weather itself became grey, gloomy and wet as the hours passed.

There were workers outside the front of the house busy before 8 o'clock this morning.

Normally we see just a couple of large grass cutters at work, but this morning we were treated to 5 of them racing round the field, swerving to miss the trees at the last moment.
Surely this is a harbinger of the warm days to come - and a message of the need for Bill to get out there and cut the front lawns before long.

Here the 5 men sit and natter after finishing their duties on our field. Soon they were off elsewhere.

We decided that we should not spend all day idling at home - not that Ashley idled. He went into town this morning to attend Mass, only to find it was a funeral Mass and so he he offered up a few prayers and then went to hunt in the town charity shops.

After lunch we went to Reigate to have a short walk up to the castle mound.

The old market hall in the centre of the town - now a coffee shop.

The main road used to pass through the tunnel under the castle mound. Now it is for pedestrians. On either side of the tunnel are doors leading into vast caverns dug out as store rooms and apparently the sand extracted was of a fine quality and speculators made a lot of money from the sale of sand.
There are open days to see the caves and tunnels - we should try and visit on such a day.

This roundabout sits in the middle of the main road and always looks lovely.
It is a treat after a long journey to leave the M25 and descend into Reigate and see the familiar site. There are 2 lovely spreading cedar trees close by.

Here on the castle mound were definite signs of Spring - the bright green new horse chestnut leaves.
We have long noticed that the horsechestnuts come first - and the nearer to London you get the earlier the leaves and flowers appear. Reigate is only about 10 miles north of Crawley - but Spring arrives there a little earlier.

Some pretty shy blue flowers nestling amongst the rocks.

We have visited the castle mound before - indeed it was blogged before in 2006.
So forgive the repetition of pictures of this mock castle - today with a host of golden daffodils in the foreground.

I guess there was a picture like this in 2006 - Bill posing behind one of the mock gun slits.

There is no mystical significance to this pyramid at the centre of the castle mound. It covers a ventilation shaft from the caves and tunnels below.

You might just be able to make out a windmill on the rise before the horizon.
It is on Reigate Heath. A little research tells us that this restored mill (exterior only) ceased to grind grain in 1880 and was taken over as a Chapel of Ease - an outpost of the main Reigate church. Services are still held in the mill, which claims to be the smallest church in England - but then we all know that the smallest is in Sussex; apart from all the others which claim that honour.
Bill and I now look forward to exploring Reigate Heath and the mill/church, which we had not realised the existence of.

More mock castle and daffodils - coming to the end of flowering now.

It was raining by this time and we scurried just a few yards really and into Reigate High Street to explore the charity shops.
We have to accept that people in Reigate are generally more affluent than in Crawley and the charity shops can charge more for things - but good things can be found.
Bill bought some shirts and I bought a dress (maybe for the wedding we are going to in June), and a couple of blouses.

The journey home was in heavy rain.
We were glad to get in and put the kettle on and Bill and Ashley had toasted hot cross buns.

We really have done very little but I feel so tired. In fact I think Bill and Ashley feel tired too.

We will all be in bed early once again.

Tomorrow Ashley leaves us.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


25th March Quietly rocking.

Today has been a quiet day in Rocking Horse.

Despite the weather, there seem to have been lots of buyers in the shop yesterday (Easter Monday). But today there were few.

The first was a regular - a man who has asked others in the shop if Bill would split the box of Meccano he has for sale. Bill had been thinking that he ought not to do that. The man bought an instruction manual and then turned the thumb screws (not literally of course) on Bill who then agreed to sell the bits that the man wanted. He felt it was better to get back the money he had spent out now and hope for a bit more on the wooden box and other bits later.
So Bill had 2 lines on the sales sheet today - and there were only 3 more.

One item left me in a quandary rather like Bill had faced over the Meccano.
Joy was selling a pine stand with a drawer. She had already reduced it from £110 to £85, but the couple who were looking at it were offering £70.
I explained that I couldn't possibly make that decision without contacting the sellers first; but both their home phone and their mobile phone were providing me with only answerphone facilities.
The couple were disappointed and felt sure I should be able to use my own intelligence - and so I did.
I suggested that I would take a risk and let them have it for £75. I felt sure that at this stage in the shop's history Joy would rather have it sold than unsold.
And so then the couple had the task of fitting it in the boot of a low two seater sports car, which already had a huge dog as a passenger.
Fortunately when Joy and Peter popped in later they seemed content at what I had done - though we would all like to get the top price for things where possible.
Stella called in at the shop towards the end of the day - good to have some friendly company for a while and hear about folks from the athletics world.
Bill and Ashley were not far behind. Ashley had thought of going to London today but felt he would be better off saving money and energy.
We left at half a minute to five - that's the last time I will leave that early. After the clocks are put forward at the weekend to summer time we stay open until half past five.
We will have another quiet day tomorrow at home.

Monday, March 24, 2008


24th March Easter monday.

Easter Monday - and still we have no springtime weather to enjoy.

We got up early and drove to Burgess Hill where the annual Easter Monday boot sale organised by the local Rotary Club was on at a school near the centre of town.
The skies were reasonably bright and if we were out of the wind it could almost feel pleasant. But there is no doubt that the weather conditions kept potential stall holders at home. I don't blame them - after all we have a garage full of stuff that must be sold, but we have opted to wait for better weather.

We hunted round the things on the tables, in boxes under the tables and realised we were competing with other dealers - some from Rocking Horse.
I don't think anybody felt very satisfied today.
I bought one book to sell, an Angelina Ballerina book that we haven't seen for Ekatarina, 2 T shirts for Ashley (just 25p each), originally from Marks and Spencers and a strange and fascinating toy for Felix (for 70p).
Bill bought an OS map to sell and a book to read.

We took the toy straight round to Felix and enjoyed a cup of tea with Ruth.
The toy is a plastic sort of ball which plays music, does animal sounds, asks questions etc and it can roll around the floor all on its own.
Yes - after an initial wariness when it started to move, Felix thought it was good fun.
He was pleased to see me. Yesterday I had offered him the last of my weak black tea in my cup and he was happy. As soon as I got my cup today he was round me and impatient for his drink. We got another cup and cooled it down a bit for him.

Then we went to Asda for a few bits - which, with 3 of us, ended up being quite a few bits. Each of us allowing and encouraging the others to have what they wanted.
We got home and put the oven on so that Bill and Ashley could have pizza, while I had fried egg, salami and chutney with a gluten free muffin.
Then we wanted to snooze and the snow or sleet fell harder and outdoors looked quite unpleasant.

It is now late afternoon. vegetables have been boiled to make a beef and vegetable stir fry in the sweet chilli and garlic sauce that we love. The skies have cleared again and the world outside looks quiet and pleasant.

I shall put all the dinner things together quite soon and no doubt we will have a quiet evening and an early night again.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


23rd March Easter day.

Easter Sunday - cold and far from Springlike.
We awoke at about half past six and a peep through the curtains suggested it might be alright to go out. There was a white covering of frost and maybe some snow had fallen overnight.
Ashley and I dressed up warmly and went to Horley. As we might have suspected there were few stall holders - much too cold and some will have had Easter Day commitments. We bought almost nothing. Bill stayed at home and watched the Malaysian Grand Prix.

One who had commitments today was, obviously the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the Christian leaders in the land.
I have copied one or two pictured from BBC web sites.
Here is Archbishop Rowan Williams walking to the cathedral in a snow shower.

We had snow in Crawley too. We should have snapped the falling flakes as we ate breakfast - but delayed, assuming we would have plenty of time.
By the time breakfast was over the snow was also all over.

This could be a Christmas card. It was taken today in the north of England.
Statistics tell us that we are more likely in the UK to have a white Easter, rather than a white Christmas.

Ashley went to Mass at The Friary this morning.
When he got back it was time for dinner - roast beef, roast potatoes and lots of vegetables.
I even made a hot pudding - a sort of bread and butter pudding using hot cross buns and blackcurrant jam; and there was custard.

In the first of the pictures you can just see a photo of Ekatarina.
But Ashley should really have been with Liz on this day - their 12th wedding anniversary.
But Liz was at home - so here is a picture of the 2 of them on a cold afternoon 12 years ago.
There was snow across Wales that weekend too I recall, though not in Aberystwyth.

Daffodils in the snow - in the north of England.
After dinner we went to see Ruth and Felix. Jenny was away - skiing for the 3rd time in the last month; this time with matt, Suzie, Joel and Anna.

Felix got the giggles playing with his Uncle Bill and the wooden beads on the frame.
Bill also found it was a lot of fun.

Ruth wondered if Felix might be getting tired. He probably was - but was determined to make the most of company to play with.

Felix was not very interested in his food - but enjoyed a "science" lesson from his mother about shadows.
Just for a short while the sun streamed through the window.
For those that know Ruth, but may not be up to date with her news I will add that she is expecting a second child in September. Dede will arrive in England on Thursday - goodness he will be surprised at how much his little boy has grown up in the last 2 months.
Ruth has an interesting and challenging job with Virgin Holidays and plans to continue the job after the new baby is born, assuming that all works out well.
Felix loves the atmosphere and toys and friends he is making at a childminders.
He is a happy little toddler.
I hope Easter day has been good for you and has included a little of something that you might think to be an important part of it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


22nd March. Horsham.

Today we went to Horsham - about 8 miles from Crawley.

It felt so cold today with fierce winds and frequent showers of sleet and hail.

But Horsham put on quite a show for our visit.

It was the weekend of the Italian Market. How those Italian stall holders must have wished they were home, warm in some Italian piazza rather than in The Carfax, wrapped in coats and hats and gloves.

The items on sale - breads, cheeses, olive oils, nougat etc looked very appealing, but were extremely expensive we thought.

As we browsed a tenor sang in the band stand and Italian flags flapped wildly in the wind.

We needed to be somewhere warmer and so went to Horsham Museum, one of the best museums I know - and it costs nothing to get in.

The Museum is housed in a lovely building at one end of The Causeway. There are old barns at the back, housing more exhibits and also a walled herb garden.
They say we should learn something new every day and today I learned about the Cokelers of Warnham (village just outside Horsham - where Bill's Uncle Fred lived). The cokelers were a religious group who ran much of Warnham, and other Sussex villages, including village shops. They brought in a particular ceramic and this became know as Cokeler China, which they sold in the shops.
Some say the name comes from the serving of cocoa after their meetings.

There really is so much to look at. Here is an old chemist's shop from 19th century Horsham.

I liked the old optician's sign hanging from a beam in the barn.

A Horsham clock.

The poet, Shelley, was born between Horsham and Warnham. He produced some fine poetry in his short complicated life.

A block of fine buildings opposite the museum.

The old Town Hall. A number of kinsfolk from different generations were married here. Bill's grandmother was not free to marry in church because the marriage was illegal. At that time one was not permitted to marry one's dead husband's brother and so she lied and married Bill's grandfather using her maiden name and declared herself to be a spinster.
It seems that this building is destined to join the many many eating places in Horsham before long.
My memories of it are of a short time between my first cancer treatments in 1992 when I attempted to prove I was strong by setting up a stall at the Friday market with mostly second hand books.
A stained glass representation of the town hall.

As the tenors sang for us in the bandstand a large contingent of Italian cars drove into the area in front of the town hall to be admired by the townsfolk - and Bill of course.

We were soon feeling cold again and so scurried down West Street until we reached The Lynd Cross, a pub taken over by the Wetherspoons chain.
It is alongside the Shelley Fountain, which was not working today - maybe they feared a freeze.
The fountain is modern, but if you look carefully you are able to find connections with Shelley's work.

One of his most famour poems is Ode to a Skylark. Well, I didn't manage a skylark (wrong time, wrong place and wrong weather) but the pigeon in flight deserves an ode all to itself maybe.

Another view of the Shelley Fountain, with The Lynd Cross in the background. I normally rave about Wetherspoon's buildings - but this one was fairly basic and crowded on a Saturday lunchtime.
Nevertheless they were efficient and we didn't have to wait long for our meals which for us were real bargains.
Ashley had vouchers.
We chose meals that cost £5.99 each and a drink each of course and the bill came to just over £11.
I had tasty chicken tikka marsala with rice, naan bread and poppadums. Ashley had the vegetable curry and Bill had a lasagne and salad. I can always have at least 2 cups of tea with a meal because I have it weak and black and then ask for lots more hot water.
The couple hovering in the distance are Ashley and me, eager to get out of the cold.
On the way back to the car we called in at Wilkinson's and bought some lovely photo frames. We also bought a new dish drainer.
Soon we were driving home and looking forward to a cup of tea. We were cold and all very tired.
Ashley slept for a while up on his bed.
He decided that he didn't have the energy for late night vigils in church. He will go to Mass tomorrow instead. It will still be very cold tomorrow and there could well be some light snow.
It will be an early night for all of us - and lets hope I don't get another major coughing attack during this night.

Friday, March 21, 2008


21st March It might be Spring but.....

This evening I will be brief.
Many people will realise by now that I used a quiet afternoon to get up to date with EMail replies - so news is up to date.
The weather today has been good in parts - but my, there was a dark and wild hail storm late this afternoon. Ashley was really pleased that he had got back from church before it began.
Like many, we had fish today - salmon in lime and coriander dressing with a whole heap of vegetables, which our Ashley doesn't eat. He had the boiled potatoes and we opened a tin of sweetcorn.
Ashley said there has never been a rule about fish on Fridays for Catholics. Once there was an unwritten rule that a Catholic should not eat meat - but the replacement doesn't have to be fish. But it is good to have fish quite often - whatever day of the week.
We all felt too tired to get up early this morning, choosing cups of tea in bed. I don't think there were any car boot sales for us anyway.
Tomorrow the plan is to go to Horsham for a while and we will eat again in Wetherspoons - Ashley has money off vouchers so it will be even cheaper than normal.
It will save cooking later and that is good because Ashley wants to be at a vigil in the church. I think he will be out long after our bedtime.
Right, Ashley wants to get back to this computer - he has paused a TV programme or film so that I can do an EMail and blog.
Have a good Saturday.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


20th March. Health, rain - and happy Easter.

Yesterday I managed to include a brief description of some things in my life unconnected with health.
I really felt quite rotten yesterday evening. That was a shame because I had thought I was beginning to climb out of the deep pit of infection.
I was not much better this morning and neither was Bill.
It had been suggested yesterday, when he saw the nurse, that he ring this morning and leave a message for a doctor who would ring back when free. I suggested he include me on the need for answers.
Dr Donelly rang back later and happily agreed that we both might benefit from course of antibiotics and a little later we collected prescriptions.
I presume all GPs will do this nowadays - patients can consult with the doctor over the phone and be offered the right medication. We would have had to wait a week to see a doctor in person.
Then we posted parcels - only a few people have delayed their payment. One I shall have to write to in the morning because 5 days will have passed and she has made no contact at all. I am always very gentle at first and point out that I know that other things crop up with a greater priority than EBay. Inside I feel crosser than I sound because it is not good manners to be forgetful or lazy and that is what has ususally happened. But if the money arrives eventually then all is well and I don't have to go to the bother of reporting a non payer.
I didn't write much about the EBay hobby yesterday, mostly because I wasn't up to much and also because I wouldn't want to leave an impression that I am just money grabbing. EBay is a game to me and I am amused by some aspects and I enjoy putting in quite a lot of effort to be the best sort of seller that I can be. The feedbacks we get show that we are appreciated. It is good to be able to feel proud of an aspect of life - I rarely felt proud of any of my time in education, mainly because I didn't want to be there.
I should keep in mind that any past pupils I meet remember me with affection and I should have been feeling proud of that.
There are few people (except those in tabloid newsapapers) who can claim to have been greeted warmly with kisses in their bed by a past pupil! This happened when the son of the lady in the next bed in Buckland ward came to see her.
Anyway, enough of wandering doen that path; after our trip to see Brenda and Sandra - the ladies who run the local branch post office we went on to Tescos at Hookwood. I am not sure why I thought this shop might be preferable to the Three Bridges store.
I don't think anywhere would have been really pleasant today - the world has been preparing for a siege it seems. Trolleys were laden for the Easter break and aisles were crammed with shoppers.
We were tired after shopping and decided to eat out, using the Tescos cafe.
This was actually a mistake. Don't get me wrong, the food was fine, but we had foolishly believed that it might cost less than in Wetherspoons. We were wrong and of course Wetherspoons provide a much more relaxed and attractive atmosphere - and the one in Horley ( in an art deco building where the racing driver Jack Fairman worked in the 1930s) is only about 5 minutes drive away.
So next time we will keep that in mind.
Now we are looking forward to Easter. Ashley will arrive this evening to spend the week with us. None of us have committed ourselves to any particular activities because we don't know what the weather will be or how we will feel.
I have just checked the weather forecast and there is predicted to be heavy snow in these parts on Easter Sunday morning - even if they exaggerated it doesn't sound very promising for outdoor activities like car boot sales.
Ashley will be in church every day I would imagine - so probably we will just be chauffeurs, cooks and cleaners for him. I know he will enjoy a break, free of responsibilities.
The bad weather has already begun. I hung washing out this morning, but the heavy rain began whilst we were in Tescos and the clothes had to be brought in, all cold and wet.
Perhaps we can all attack the pile of jigsaws! The one called Blast Furnaces which I grumbled about, already has 6 watchers on EBay, so I assume that it will be sold in 10 days time.
Have a good Easter weekend, despite rotten weather in the UK. Maybe elsewhere things are more pleasant - though Thailand has not yet got caught up in the commercialism of Easter. They are not chocolate eaters in Thailand - it would melt; and of course Christianity is not the main religion.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


19th March Health hobbies and grandchildren

What can I say about today?
The first thing is that Bill has been seen by the nurse at the GP's surgery. She scurried off and spent time talking to one of the doctors and Bill is now to increase the dose of his blood presure pills yet again. He was also given a form for a blood test which has duly been done at the hospital. He will see the doctor in 4 weeks.
And it won't be very long before he is seen at the hospital about the rheumatoid arthritis.
I have an appointment the same week to see the endocrinologist and must have another blood test the week before.
Health issues have become an important part of our lives.
But I have been busy today with other things. I have described and listed for EBay and also dealt with items that have sold and been paid for.
Some books have sold rather well.
But this is my hobby and maybe I don't need to outline lots of details about how things are going every time. I will just say that 4 books that came from a big box of 170 books that I paid £17 for sold today for over £17 - hey, I still have 166 left to sell!
It was an important day for young John - his first day at kindergarten.
In Thailand there is an opportunity to spend two and a half weeks with the teacher they will have in the proper school class to get used to being away from Mother and playing with other children. Mam said he was told that he was talking too much!
He starts full time kindergarten school at the beginning of May.
Take a look at the jjjjblog for a few pictures and details.

Jamie's Blog

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


18th March. A big thank you to Delia Smith.

Thank goodness for Delia Smth!
The TV cook who has instructed us and advised for 30 years has now come clean and admitted that the use of good quality pre-prepared items in cooking is sensible and beneficial on many occasions.
I watched her new series yesterday evening and it brought a huge grin to my face as I realised that, at last, we could all admit to "cheating". At least the majority who do cheat could relax and feel re assured that they were not failures or ruining the planet or being second best.
I had her first How to Cheat at Cooking recipe book ages ago and now I think I might add the new addition - it will save me the bother of searching for some of the high quality ingredients, for she has named items and where to buy them.
I can't wait to do her fishcakes with tinned crab.
Oh wow! The mayonnaise she used looked superb. It came in a plastic tub and I am sure was infinitely better than the much promoted Hellman's Mayonnaise (which I have been using for some time).
Some of it comes too late for me - the spaghetti bolognese is now off limits for me, (with its rich tomato sauce - to which she added 2 spoons of cognac) but I am sure I can use the Marks and Spencers tinned minced lamb in many other ways for there are so many cook-in sauces to choose from.
One we used last week - a sweet chilli and garlic, will be used in many meals in the future.
Because I am not in full time work I maybe will not bother with the frozen mashed potato that Delia has used. I make a good mashed potato, by adding butter and maybe horseradish or garlic, or mustard. Anyway I must be sure about the boiling of the vegetables first.
I do like to create interesting meals and rarely use a recipe book these days. I like to experiment with flavours and will on the spur of the moment put together something from the fridge or store cupboard with spices.
And on other days we will eat whole meals that have been cooked for us by somebody else.
So, Delia lifted my spirits.
And they needed lifting.
I really didn't feel good for most of yesterday.
Bill is feeling worse again today.
We just don't seem to be able to get to the point where we have climbed away from the bug - progress is followed by a rapid decline.
Bill will see the nurse tomorrow at the doctor's to discuss his blood pressure. Perhaps all he needs (and me) is reassurance that it is normal for blood pressure to go up when the body is fighting infection. The trouble is, when his BP goes up it goes up to potentially dangerous levels. Mine on occasions has almost reached a normal level!
Today I have been in the shop.
It hasn't been a busy day. Not a word has been said about the shop closing but perhaps we are already sending out vibes that the end is nigh. I feel so guilty about encouraging people to keep coming back to the shop - today there were a couple in who had not been before and were talking about how they would certainly be back. "Don't leave it too long" I wanted to say - but of course just thanked them for their praise and smiled.
So that was Tuesday.
I shall have another early night and hope that I don't cough too much.
Tomorrow is another day!

Monday, March 17, 2008


15th March. Down on the farm.

Saturday dawned grey.
I felt that as we were away from home and with family we ought to go out and do something interesting.
I knew I wasn't up to much walking so suggested we went into Devizes, although I wasn't sure what I wanted to do there.

But plans changed.
First Roger had a visitor and they needed to go together down to the museum, which Roger and Sue seem to have taken over the running of. Bill went into the village with them.

Here is Market Lavington church.

By the time they got back and we had had another cup of tea the rain had begun and anyway lunch would be ready at 1 0'clock.

We decided to take a stroll in the garden to see the animals. It wasn't so long ago that Roger and Sue kept livestock, but now the land is used by Adrian, a neighbour and old friend. Roger used to teach Adrian many years ago.
There were sheep and lambs in the barn and cows in the fields and flowers a plenty in the garden - a rural idyll you may think.
It was raining and I felt cold and to spoil the country atmosphere further we were strolling with the sounds of warfare up on the plain.
Salisbury Plain is used for army training. The roads travel across a terrain which advises of tank crossings ahead. Mostly Bill and I have seen little evidence or army manoevres, but on Saturday the soldiers were up on the plain all day in the rain, firing off enormous shells which exploded and landed with huge bangs, which shook the chairs we were relaxing in.

The sheep and lambs are a regular Spring treat at Locksands Farm.

It seems a short while since Adrian's son acquired calves, now sturdy cows out in the field.

This cow is called Daisy.
I was glad to get indoors to relax out of the rain.
In the afternoon we played an old favourite - Racing Demon.
It is a sort of patience game, but played in competition with others. The amount of players depends on who is there, how many packs of cards you have and how big the table is.
I think we have played with 8 packs of cards, but 3 required most of the concentration I had on Saturday.
It is fun of course.
But requires concentration and determination to win. I look determined to get my card on the pile before one of the others.
It does all make sense - honest!
After tea, Bill and I drove home in the rain - not too pleasant.
Today is Monday and my sinus infection continues to bother - as does Bill's. We both coughed and spluttered the night away.
I decided that yet again I should postpone my dental appointment.
I have had plans to get some more books described to list on EBay on Wednesday - but haven't got very far with that.
I spent time instead chatting with Jamie about Jessica's graduation from the kindergarten classes.
He has photos now on the jjjj blog - do have a look.

◄  Older Posts      Top of the Page  ▲