Monday, June 30, 2008


30th June. Murraymania has set in.

Phew! That was hard work!
Watching tennis matches can feel like it is not just the players involved in an epic titanic struggle.
Of course I am referring to a match with a British tennis player. We have moved on effortlessly from Tim Henman to Andy Murray to create heart stopping moments for us.
The deft Frenchman was playing so well, with finesse and poise and all he had to do was serve for the match in the third set...... and it all went wrong for him.
Our young man (Andy Murray) fought so hard to win that set and then in rapidly fading light (it was almost half past nine) he finally ended victorious after 5 sets.
And I have done a quarter of a jig saw puzzle whilst he did it.
The morning was spent preparing for our entry into the world of Dorking antiques tomorrow.
I think we are pretty well organised now.
I hope we fit in and our things attract customers in this little shop. There are about 13 or 14 people selling there in a much smaller area than was the Rocking Horse shop - but just like there it seems to be a happy bunch of amateurs playing at having some fun and hopefully making a bit of money.
Mam wondered why there was no website for the shop! It just isn't that sort of place. Word gets round quickly on the old grapevine - and at least in Dorking West Street is famed for its antiques shops, both classy and others less so.
After lunch I went to the hospital for my blood test. The woman taking my blood used to go to Southgate West School and I would have had in various classes - many years ago. Lisa is now 41. Hey Lisa - you hurt me! I used to be quite friendly with her mother at one time. Maybe I could meet up with her again for Lisa's parents have recently moved back to Crawley.
And that, then, has been my day.
It was a day of sun and cloud - still with some wind. I guess it was warm - but I still managed to feel quite cold. I think this is something else I ought to discuss with the endocrinologist on Friday.
Jamie has put some family pictures on the jjjj blog - after the filmlet of John dancing yesterday.
Some people reading this may remember that I was most concerned about my friend Mo's grand daughters who were born at 24 weeks. One didn't live for long - but Beth is beginning to thrive and had her first trip out in the pram yesterday. She is 12 weeks old and may soon be able to go home.
I phoned Dee in France this morning to discuss our plans to go over and see them. Poor Dee will be indisposed because she is having surgery on her Achilles tendon later in the month. She has suffered for some years with a disease that affects muscles and tendons and has had a lot of pain.
We shall still go to France. We had planned to hire a car anyway and will be happy to use their home in the converted old school house in a hamlet in the middle of nowhere as our base. This will be at the end of August.
Well, time for Goodnight.
I guess I shall have pictures of our new little venture for you tomorrow evening.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


29th June. Another car boot sale.

There were many differences between the car boot sale we sold at today and the one we did last Sunday - most of all we enjoyed it much more.
But amazingly the takings each week were the same.
I counted up and found we had taken just 3p more than last Sunday - so another total over £120.
I love the county where I was raised, but somehow the boot sales feel different than the ones we have been to in Surrey - especially for selling.
Last week at Poynings we felt pressurised by pushy greedy folk - mostly I guess dealers from Brighton, who can have a bad reputation; although many are lovely I am sure.
This week we arrived at about half past seven to a flat field in the early morning sunshine and felt free to take a little more time to unpack and put our wares on display.
We were next to a friendly family selling plants - so of course some had to come home with us!
We were selling very cheaply. Remember that all the things that had been in Rocking Horse had already been well reduced and we were offering them for half the marked price or better. If something had been £2.50, I wasn't going to fiddle around with £1.25 - the customer could have it for £1.
Books were being sold for 50p or less - and the good people of Reigate were happy to part with lots of 50p's.
I had a box of old toys - not very exciting or collectable, though I guess I had once hoped they might be. These were the remnants of the toy box taken to Poynings last Sunday.
I had just got to the point of thinking that these toys - old games and dolls etc could go to a charity shop. Then a couple started to look at a couple of bits and I offered the lot to them for £3. A bargain for them and £3 more than I had just been planning to get.
It was all very civilised and friendly.
This sale is organised by the local sports association to benefit their funds and I am glad that they do quite well through the summer.
And then came that moment which is not so nice - packing up the unsold goods when one is already feeling very tired.
We have undoubtedly got a lot less now in the garage. There is enough to do another sale, but I think we won't bother.
Let's put an end to it and get on with our lives.
This afternoon I have been through my stock book crossing things off - and thus I know that I have sold about 250 things in the last week. Bill has also sold things, but he doesn't keep the same kind of records as me so I can't be sure how much he sold; I would guess that at least 350 things have now ceased to be part of our stock.
I shall wait a week or so and then I must go through the boxes - rejecting the sort of things that a charity shop would probably dump anyway, cleaning the china things for them, removing all the labels and then crossing them off in the stock file.
Finally then I should just have a book full of "active" items.
We have watched sport this afternoon - of course! The show jumping from Hickstead was on - interesting to see the contrasts in skies between here and there (only 15 miles away). We had some cloud for a while, but they had clear skies.
We now have blue sky - at quarter past 8.
I have experimented with tempura batter this evening. I haven't got it quite right. I don't think the fat was quite hot enough to have the batter go really crisp. But the prawns and cauliflower in the batter were tasty.
Has anybody else tried it?
We watched Neil Diamond from Glastonbury as we ate. Good that the festival has some performers who can sing and play and hold a good melody!
But I was hoping to see one of my dearest favourites - Leonard Cohen.
Bill is now out watering in the plants we bought as I sit here.
Meanwhile the Spanish and the German football teams are battling to win the European Championships. I keep wanting to jump up to see if the excitement is a near miss or a goal - but no score yet.
Jamie has put another video clip on the jjjj blog.
Little John and some class mates were performing a dance in the Big C shopping mall. There were just 2 boys - it seems like our John allowed the other boy to do most of the hand movements whilst he jigged around enjoying himself. The girls, of course, took it very seriously! They were all very good for 3 year olds.
And so another week will begin. I am not sure what we will do tomorrow.
I know that Jo is emptying her space in Pilgrims on Tuesday morning. We haven't decided whether to do ours a little later on Tuesday or wait until Wednesday. Bill would have to get back for a physiotherapy session on Tuesday late afternoon.
Spain have just scored folks! But will they win?

Saturday, June 28, 2008


28th June. Saturday

After a bad night, I have no doubt done too much today.
I had been restless for sometime and eventually was downstairs for an hour. I realised then that I had forgotten to take the antihistamine so I felt uncomfortable and sleepless.
We didn't get up too early.
There was an advert in the paper for a Saturday car boot sale at Shoreham at the aerodrome which started at half past eleven, so we went there.
But it was a very poor do with only about 20 stalls.
I bought some glass from just one stall.
It was exceedingly windy and we opted not to go for a walk along the beach.
We had been disappointed with the sale so we drove back northwards for the boot sale at Edenbridge, which was big enough. And it felt much warmer for there was not the chilly wind.
I found very few books and these days it is hard to know what else to buy for I am not sure what, if anything, will do well in Dorking.
I bought more glass!
I am beginning to have a few doubts about the Dorking venture. It might not last long for us - in fact I am wondering if the shop itself is close to ending. The lease is up for renewal in November and I wonder if Stephen wants to continue.
We shall see. Next week we will take stuff there and fill the cabinets and shelves, but I am not sure which day yet.
On our way out of Edenbridge we called in at the co-op; better loos than on the boot sale field and I wanted to buy some fizzy water to try making something I have not tried before - tempura batter.
We bumped into Bill's cousin Rosemary in there - the one who was recently widowed.
I didn't feel sociable enough really for I had begun to feel rough - exhausted and fragile in the gut department (glad of those better quality loos!).
I have since dosed up with immodium.
We got home to make a cup of tea and watch the tennis.
I fell fast asleep; Andy Murray had been winning the second set, but when I awoke we were well though the third set and Murray had lost the second set.
He did win in the end - a Brit though to the last 16 of Wimbledon. Andy Murray now belongs to all of us!
As I slept, Bill loaded the car ready for us to do a boot sale in the morning. We have opted for Reigate.
I don't care how much money we get for things - I just would like to clear the decks.
The task after tomorrow might be to remove all the labels and take things to a charity shop, for I might not want to be bothered with doing another one this year.
It has gone 9 o'clock and they are still playing tennis at Wimbledon. Nadal is about to beat Kiefer; Spain v Germany - just like the football final tomorrow.
I must prepare drink and nibbles to take out with us tomorrow to sustain us through the boot sale and then it will be bed time.

Friday, June 27, 2008


27th June This can't be what they call summertime.

Please..... could we have some proper summer!
The clematis in the front garden is loaded with blooms and we should be sitting out there with the flowers. Tennis is being played - with some interruptions today. It should be summer!
But June is almost over and we are still waiting for warmth and sunshine.
Today has been fairish - not too much rain in these parts, but quite windy and it felt chilly and grey.

This morning we went to Asda for a bit of shopping and came home stocked up with bargains for the week.

Then we were at home to receive Emil, the book dealer. The only positive thing about his visit really was that it confirmed that I know what I am doing (more or less). It seems I was right to make the decision to dump all the books for a car boot sale, for they were of no interest to Emil.
He bought just 3 of them.

This afternoon we have been Spring cleaning. Many people might call it the weekly thorough clean - but in this house, clearing shelves and dusting them -along with all the bits and pieces on them happens but rarely, when the mood takes me.
Bill did more physical work - things done more regularly than the dusting of shelves. He had the vacuum cleaner out.

More tennis has been enjoyed - though not by the losers of course. Ana Avanovic (darling of our Jamie!), who was ranked number 1, was knocked out.

Today Ashley's Liz appeared on TV - on the Welsh news. The company she works for is expanding and creating 300 new jobs and today a Welsh Assembly minister visited Bangor..... and Liz was in shot on TV.
Sorry - there is no picture of Liz on this news site, but it does explain what the company does for the health service.

I have been browsing a few web sites looking to buy some perfumes that I used to use a lot.
In recent years I had gone off aromas in my life, but this year I have been feeling more comfortable with a little perfume. Perhaps I am so afraid of smelling like rotting fish! That was what I noticed first when I had the bad leak whilst at the shop a while back.
I don't want to spend a fortune on perfumes - though I might if I could ever find the one I chose to wear as a bride all those years ago.
I have bought L'Aimant by Coty and Apple Blossom, which used to be by Helena Rubenstein, but is now produced by Kent Cosmetics (very apt for apples).

And now I shall dip in and out of the concert for Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday. I am so glad he has had so many years of life since release from his prison for it might have been release into freedom, old age and nothing. Instead he has packed a lifetime of achievements into his final chapters.

But I shall not stay up too late. If the weather is any good we will go off to a car boot sale tomorrow to buy - maybe Shoreham. It would be good to have some lunch and explore there after we have finished at the sale.

Time to put the kettle on - and persuade Bill that he doesn't need the dreadful Top Gear programme; he thinks it is a tawdry imitation of the motoring programme that used to be.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


26th June. Knocked out, like Maria Sharapova!

I have been sleeping...... dozing through a tennis match which was proving to be of much excitement to British girls.
A young British player, ranked 661 in the world had won the right to play at Wimbledon and amazingly had won his first round match. Today, Chris Eaton was against a formidable opponent but played really well.
He is the new heart throb - always discounting the Spaniard of course. Nadal with his muscles, his fashion and flowing tresses.
In fact the way Wimbledon is going this year it is difficult to see much difference between lowly ranked players and the stars. Indeed stars are tumbling out each day.
The lovely, leggy Maria Sharapova was lost to the eyes of drooling men today.
Sorry - not all the world has its mind focused on sport.
The football continues - the tanned Spaniards (yes, more of them!) with the flowing locks are playing the balanced Russian team tonight.
There is cricket too - but Sussex are not doing very well. I guess there will be more international matches soon. Sadly for cricket there is little coverage on everyday TV channels at the moment - but the radio is good to keep you up to date.

I think my drowsiness has been caused by antihistamine tablets. They claim not to cause drowsiness of course, but for some years they have served an additional purpose in helping me get some sleep.
Today I took a tablet much too early, because last night I was late and found it hard to wake up and be alert this morning.
It seems that a quarter to 5 might be the right time for me.

Bill has had his high blood pressure tablets changed today. He saw the GP who was well aware that the ramipril can create the persistent irritating cough that Bill has had for some weeks. Now he has amlopidene.

My appointment this morning was with Rob the hair dresser. I coloured my hair before going to see him; daft really to colour hair which is about to be cut off and dumped on the floor. But if I had done it afterwards I would have mucked up what Rob had done. I am now just a bit darker again - but certainly not too dark.

This afternoon I described a few more things for EBay - to be listed tomorrow afternoon.
Bill has been working hard at jobs in and around the house.
Oh, I just can't stop yawning.
I will make a drink and make plans for an early night.
Oh and those exciting Spaniards are going to win the football tonight.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


25 June. Ikea and athletics.

Another busy day!
We have been to London - well, it felt like London. In fact it was Croydon just a small part of the great metropolis. It is a different world than our own - so many people and so much traffic.
And Ikea, too, is a different world.
It is big and has its own way for people to shop.
The household goods are stylish, in the Scandinavian way, and very good value. It is all too easy as you walk around the huge store to be lured by all sorts of things.
But today we were pretty good and bought only what we went for - mostly.
The first task was to buy some shelving to go into the narrow space in the Dorking shop. Bill had already made a selection on line, and after checking out other options, we returned to the original shelves. They were cheap and that is what we want for who knows how long the Dorking venture might last.
There are certainly some thoughts that Stephen may not renew the lease later in the year and we don't even get the 6 months I had planned as a trial, which would be a shame.
Then we bought a little drawer unit, metal, to fit under Bill's desk for storing all the bits and pieces he uses for model making.
Those were the 2 larger items we wanted.
The warehouse of smaller bits and pieces has so many temptations. Now, do I need another wok? And yet, how could I not buy the huge one for £2.99? I am sure the surface of my present one will wear thin one day and actually a bigger wok can be be an advantage. So that was an impulse buy.
People who know us well will be surprised that cups and saucers were planned.
One of the cafes we have used this year - one close to the hospital, serves tea and coffee in large plain white cups with saucers. We had looked on the bases and found they had come from Ikea. We always said that next time we went to Ikea we would buy some.
And yes, maybe the old folks who say that tea tastes better in a cup are right! Though perhaps they were thinking of bone china.
There were a few more odds and ends.
Then we bought some bits from the food shop - cloudberry jam, Swedish cheese, delectable boxes of biscuits, etc.
We loaded it all into the car and then went back in to eat. Just for a change I didn't have the Swedish meat balls with a lingenberry sauce. We both had the special offer meal - a vegetable and fruit curry with rice. Bill bought a large apple cake and there was unlimited drink.
The bill was just £6.75.
We then drove home.
We watched some tennis - the women's number 1 seed was stretched to the limit by a French older player ranked considerably lower.
I then had to deal with a few EBay sales - some old cookery booklets.
Then Stella was round and we were all off to the track. There were 6 timekeepers and somehow Bill had persuaded me that I could be chief timekeeper again.
I think it all went very well.
When we left the long jump competitions were still underway.
I look forward to hearing about how Ekatarina got on in her school play today.
Was she a mouse or was she a bear?
Right - time for bed. Let's hope it is better than last night. It was a night with a leak. I guess that by lifting and carrying heavy books and the boxes yesterday had pulled too much on the bag and caused the seal to weaken.
Such is life! Well - my life.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


24th June. The world and my life keep spinning.

I think I shall be really glad when life settles down to something like normal......I wonder when that will be.
When there is less to do, then maybe I shall start to know how much of my tiredness and nausea is a natural reaction to stress and hard work and how much is due to my poor health.
Actually, the endocrinologist might have words on the subject in 10 days time. I shall have a blood test before I see him.

But I am hoping that within about the next 10 days life will feel on a more even keel.
By then we shall have our things in place in the Dorking shop and our commitment then will be just 2 days a month, though I guess we might pop over most weeks just to see if we need to put more things in the cabinets and hopefully to collect some money.
It will be good to get to know Dorking for it is attractive and full of history.
This web site gives a flavour of the town.
I am sure there will be lots of photographs during the next few months.

Probably after doing a boot sale next Sunday we might be close to just dumping all the unsold items - maybe do just one more later on, in August.
This afternoon I sorted out the boxes of books - about 8 of them. Then I phoned somebody who had asked to be able to see them - a customer at last Sunday's boot sale; so Emil is coming on Friday.
Books are heavy and the bending and sorting made me feel very tired.
Let us hope that Emil takes lots away with him.

This morning we went to Dorking to meet Stephen, the man who runs Pilgrims.
We didn't stay very long - had a cup of tea with him and chatted.

We were home just after 1 o'clock and I cooked some fish and potatoes.

I have listed more things on EBay today - an interesting selection of mostly books I think.

I am half way through another jigsaw which I can get on with whilst keeping up to date with the tennis at Wimbledon.

Tomorrow is another busy day.
We will go to IKEA at CRoydon for a set of shelves for the shop - and anything else that takes our fancy, no doubt.
We shall have our lunch there, for it is really good quality and value.
Anyway I wouldn't have much time for cooking once we were home because we have an athletics meeting in the evening. One of us will be the chief timekeeper, so we must arrive earlier than normal.

I promise that I will try and rest a bit on Thursday!
And I must rest soon tonight. I feel really exhausted again and a bit nauseous too.
I want my bed!

Monday, June 23, 2008


23rd June. Gentle Monday.

A gentle day today - and how I needed it!
After I had written yesterday evening I began to feel really dreadful. My gut hurt, I felt very sick and my head was pounding. We did my blood pressure and it was way above what it normally is.
I wondered if I would sleep - but all was well; I stirred a few times but that is all.
I have continued to feel nauseous for much of today.
I think potassium has gone out of balance - it feels like that.
But I guess the hard work of yesterday in the sun and with such strong winds blowing was also too much for me.
After waking late, showering and washing my hair it was about half past nine before we had any breakfast today.
I then described again the 6 items that I lost from the computer on Friday, and then described 7 more things. These will be listed tomorrow.
This includes the jigsaw that I finished during today.
We took parcels to the post - too big and cumbersome to take a walk there.
I spent £19 on postage today - the Post Office cannot complain about EBay sellers, for all over the land business is brisk. And of course I didn't actually spend it because the customers pay for the postage - well, except for Craig! He is the one who implied I was a liar, a fraudster and ignorant! He should get his parcel tomorrow. I doubt that I will get an apology from him though.
I have kept an eye on the tennis at Wimbledon - gosh another year has passed by already.
My first Wimbledon was over 50 years ago, listening to the commentary on the radio whilst ill with chicken pox one June.
I have been to see the doctor today. She asked what she could do for me and I replied that I could tell her there was nothing wrong with me! But we all know that is not true. But today I just wanted to go through all the things on my repeat order form for prescriptions.
We now will both sort out being able to order our repeat prescriptions on line and even have the things ready for us as the pharmacy just over the road from the doctor's.
I made a beef and vegetable dish with a plum and ginger sauce, using some meat that had been in the freezer for far too long really. It was actually 2 pieces of rump steak that I got for just 99p from the bargain bay.
But does that beat Ashley? He bought a loaf of bread today reduced from 82p to 1p.
Tomorrow we are going to Dorking once again, to finalise details with Stephen, who runs Pilgrims. I guess it will be in a week's time that we move our stuff in.
And we will do the first duty on the Thursday of that first week.
And what of Bill. Well he spent most of the day in the garden tidying and weeding and watering.
Then cleaned and checked over Sammy the Silver, what a busy bee he is.
Well, that's all for today.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


22nd June. Selling at a car boot sale.

Today we sold at a car boot sale.
It is really hard work.
The car was well loaded with boxes. We had just grabbed the first boxes in the garage, without much thought as to what was in them. We had 2 pasting tables, 2 camping tables and a set of folding shelves.
Once parked on the field as directed by the organisers we began to unload. It is a struggle to get things displayed because as soon as some things are on the table, people start buying them; so you are dealing with haggling and money.
It was also difficult today because of the mighty strong winds. All my china and glass was wrapped in newspaper and If I dared to let it slip to the ground it would then be blown across the field in double quick time. And I abhor litter!
Eventually we had everything out of the car and able to be viewed by the people strolling up and down the aisles of stalls.
After about 4 hours it was beginning to fizzle out and I began wrapping up the unsold items.
We found we had empty boxes - for we had sold quite a lot.
The prices we charged were ridiculously low - maybe dealers who bought from us will have better luck with these things than we did.
There had been lots of chatting of course.
When we got home we unloaded the car and counted the takings - considering the low prices, I think £121.30 was very good.
I spent much of the afternoon crossing things off in my file.
I was enjoying Day 2 of the European Cup (athletics) - a real pleasure because the GB men won and the women came 3rd, which was better than expected.
I then had to get to the computer to deal with EBay sales.
I was actually quite pleased that some of the things didn't sell, for they will make useful additions to displays in Pilgrims in Dorking.
But the selling was quite good and everybody has paid already.

And right now, in a word, I am exhausted! My legs are stiff and achy from all the hard work this morning.
And next Sunday we will probably do it all over again at a different venue.

And talking of the strong winds we had suffered, I should mention how much worse it has been along the North wales coast. Accidents, damage etc were the effects. I hope that Ashley was able to go on the trip to Holywell with the church today.

So, time for a cup of tea and soon to bed.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


21st June Saturday at home.

Circumstances have led to a gentle day.
It was raining when we awoke, so the trip to Ford was off.
Soon we realised that a trip to Faygate would also not be suitable and by 9 o'clock we could see that the car boot sale at Maidenbower School would be a dead loss too.
Ah well - "we can always go to Blindley Heath at lunchtime " we said, as the weather improved; but we got held up and so we didn't go.
The hold up was caused by a government survey.
We had had a letter saying that we had been picked at random by The Home Office to answer questions about crime and punishment.
The man who came was very pleasant and it was all too easy to get into conversation with him as well as answering the questions.
So we stayed at home.
I got out jigsaw puzzles and sat with them and the European Cup - athletics, that is, not football.
I enjoy this competition because the athletes are part of a team and every point gained is worthwhile.
I have seen some of the football on other days - I felt aggrieved with the Croatians last night. It is just possible they "was robbed". Turkey scored with the last kick of the match which might have been 4 seconds after the final whistle should have been blown.
One of my jig saws had a piece missing. Fortunately with the Good Companions puzzles I know how many pieces there should be and careful counting tells whether it is worthwhile proceeding. But I am working on one now which shows people in Tudor times watching a Punch and Judy Show.
We watched Dr Who. For those that don't appreciate this science fiction I should point out that it is not all monsters, but rather a surreal interlacing of time and space - a bit weird in other words, but clever.
After that we loaded up the car in hope that tomorrow will be dry and we can take the load to a car boot sale to sell.
And that basically has been my day.
We will get up quite early in the morning to see what is happening outdoors. We have not fully decided our destination yet.

Friday, June 20, 2008


20th June It has been a long day.

20th June - the longest day. Or is it?
I always believed that 21st June was the longest day, but now realise that there are variations. But I think that this year we can assume that tomorrow will be the longest day.
Today has actually felt several hours too long already!

I suppose that after the activities of yesterday, then today was bound to feel a bit flat. And the weather hasn't helped - not very summery at all, with a chilly wind.
But today things have gone wrong.
Today when I returned to the computer after lunch to continue to describe books I realised that something had happened.
The computer had switched itself off and then re-started.
Just one thing had suffered - Turbo Lister, where I store my described items for EBay.
I save and back up very regularly - but had not done so half way through my task.
So, when I finally got Turbo Lister back running again there was none of my morning's work.
I didn't really feel like getting it all done again and then Frieda came and I welcomed her in and put the kettle on and forgot about EBay for the time being.

But I couldn't forget EBay problems for long. The obnoxious weasly customer who had suggested I was ripping people off with postage charges was back again.
He knows that he is right and I am wrong!
He tells me the book weighs just over 400 grams when I I know it actually weighs 709 grams.
He knows that even if I charged as much as £1.58 and posted 1st class that I would still have enough money for a padded envelope.
I don't what book he is thinking of - he tells us that he sold a copy of it himself earlier this year. I am sure it was not the same as the book he has won in auction.
I have told him that booksellers (professional full time dealers with shops) who sell on are offering the book with postage ranging from £3.35 to £4.25.
But the "customer is always right" and I want to be rid of him.
So I have sent an invoice again for the book plus the amount that he instructs me to put in as the postage cost.

It happens to be the book I commented on earlier this week on this blog. The one I had re listed about Liverpool during WW2. The winning bid had been quite high I thought and I only paid 10p for the book. So, in the end I won't lose financially on it.

But it makes my blood boil!

Fortunately EBay problems are very rare - and normally are very solvable.

I am hoping that the true longest day will feel a lot more stimulating and positive.
If the weather is fine we will go the boot sale at Ford and then maybe into Littlehampton for a stroll.

Wherever you are I hope you have a good weekend.


Thursday, June 19, 2008


19th June. Pilgrims, shopping and timing.

The first thing to say about today is that it was preceded by a much better night's sleep - thank goodness. I awoke a couple of times but was able to sleep again quite quickly.
And the day itself has been pleasant mostly - but busy.

At first we were dealing with paperwork at home. I was busy with EBay and Bill sorting out house insurance.
Then he had to deal with a letter from Flintshire County Council (where the car accident occurred) to advise us that we might be liable to pay for the services of the fire brigade who attended to clean up the road at the site.
Oh no we won't!

Then we we had to post some parcels.
And finally we were off through the lanes to Dorking - passing so many landmarks in Bill's family history on both sides of the family.
The sun was shining and the world felt good.

I took Bill into Pilgrims and showed him the little space that was available to us. There were 2 Pilgrim ladies in the shop today and we all introduced ourselves to each other.
And we talked - Hilary, who does lovely jewellery is a champion talker!
Bill and I looked at all sorts of possibilities for the little area between the 2 cabinets. We had a good look round and realised that some things are from our standpoint and even from a Rocking Horse standpoint rather overpriced.
But the shop was quite busy with customers - though I am not sure that much was actually sold whilst we were there.
The items that Bill and I sell will be a completely new venture for this shop and it make a take a while for word to get around that our sort of stuff is available, but I think we can do well enough.

We finally got away, feeling hungry. It was lunch time.
As we had the week's shopping to do sometime we went to Morrison's in Reigate.
We first had some dinner and then toured the aisles - spending a bit more than normal, but I think we have enough major items to last a week or so.

When we got home there was little time really for more than a cup of tea.
I had a few more EBay items finishing.
And I had to deal with an irate customer. This man had not read my item description properly and was not aware of the size of the book he had successfully bid for. He thought my postage charge was outrageous and wanted to retract his bid. He could have done this before the auction finished - but not after he had become the winning bidder. I have written to him explaining just why the postage charge was so high. Bill and I also worked out that if we just wrapped the book in brown paper and didn't use any padded envelope it could go at a very cheap rate. It is all so complicated now that both weight and size contribute to the postage charge. I have yet to hear from him again.
But he did make me feel upset. Botheration to the man!

Then we rushed off up the road to the track. I was chief time keeper and it has been very pleasant - apart from the first race! I acknowledged the starter and looked down at my watch and saw nothing. The figures had all disappeared - the batteries were dead. I felt completely flustered and sounded like I didn't know what I was doing as I recorded the times for all the runners - which the other timekeepers could give me. Fortunately Marilyn was working with me and had the time of the winner for me. After that it just became a fun evening with lots of friendly banter amongst the concentration of getting the times correct.

Now we are home again - I should hope so too, for it is a quarter to eleven! We must get up to bed very soon. I didn't take an antihistamine earlier today and I am sure it was that the contributed to my good night's sleep. let's hope I can sleep well without the tablet tonight.

I will end with a picture of our area in the shop. At the moment it is Jo's area of course.
After much debating we have come to the conclusion that buying a shelf unit would be as cheap (and very much more hassle free) as buying wood and having Bill construct something.
Bill has been on line and see that IKEA have just what we want, so we will go towards the end of next week.
Now all we have to do is remember what it was some time ago that we thought we wanted from IKEA.

You can see the 2 cabinets that we can use with a little space in between. On the right is the shop window with a busy pavement outside. Our stuff will be seen well by window shoppers. In front you can see the back of a chair which is at the desk that that the people on duty use.
Jo has done well from this little space and would have kept it if she hadn't got the interest in small furniture and she is happy to get a bigger space.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


18th June. Shop work.

Well, just as I was getting used to the idea of not having the commitment to a shop, it seems like I shall only be out of one for a month.
The work to get ready for the move into Pilgrims at Dorking is already well under way.
I think I have just about completed the task of re labelling everything I have in readiness for the Dorking customers.
Tomorrow Bill and I will go to Dorking so that he can see what we have got ourselves involved in. He will have his tape measure so that he can jot down dimensions for some open shelves between the two cabinets. Then we will have to get wood and Bill will build this very small shelf unit.

This morning I our only trip out was to East Grinstead to throw out much of the old shelving bits that we had cobbled together in the garage for storing things on.
They (East Grinstead) have a very old fashioned amenity tip - but at least it has not burned down like ours.
Then we went to the farm for eggs.
There were also kittens for sale - adorable little creatures. But George and Harry would not think them at all appealing, so the Solly look alike must wait for another kindly soul to take him home.

This afternoon I sold some more things that had been listed for the second time on EBay.
Sometimes I think the world is crazy - no, rephrase that for I tend to think it is crazy most of the time.
I had an interesting book about the Port of Liverpool during WW2 - one of a bundle of Liverpool books I bought for 10p each.
Last time on EBay I opened the bidding at £1.50 - and it got no bids.
This time I thought I would tempt them by starting the bidding at 95p and the bids mounted and it sold today for £9.21.
I haven't wrapped the books yet - let's hope my estimates of postage charges were more or less right.
I must sort that out before we go to Dorking in the morning.

I am very tired tonight. What did I expect when I took on another shop?
But I have been sleeping very badly lately and last night was the worst. I got up and made a cup of tea, switched on the computer and before long I was chatting with Jamie.

I hope I can get advice over the next few weeks about the tiredness.
Maybe I need more of something or less of something else - or something completely different to keep my strength up. I shall be seeing 3 different doctors in the next 6 weeks and will be having a CT scan.
That should put my mind at rest a bit - hopefully.

I know that I shall need to creep up the stairs to bed early tonight.

It will be another busy day tomorrow and I am chief timekeeper at a Sussex Under 13s athletics meeting in the evening.

So - time for Goodnight.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


17th June To be a Pilgrim

Regular readers of my blog will not be surprised to learn that a pleasant morning out has turned into a new project.
Jo wanted to go to the Dorking shop she is selling in to sort out the details of moving from her cabinets that she started with into a space that has come available. As she likes to sell small items of furniture it seemed like a good idea.
And suddenly it really did seem like a good idea to tell them in the shop that I would like to take over the cabinets that Jo had.
This really will be a cutting down the amount of space we are used to - yes, Bill is already involved in this project. But there is enough space to make something quite interesting. I am afraid it will involve Bill in constructing an open shelf to fit between the 2 cabinets.
One thing I really like is that these cabinets are clearly visible from the pavement and the shop is in a street renowned for antiques shops - some quite up market.
There is a wide window sill and each week a new window display is done, using items from every person's stock.
The people seemed friendly and agreed with my comment on the Rocking Horse traders - that they seemed to create an extended family.
Our commitment to the shop for one or both of us is just 2 days per calendar month. It will be Thursdays.
By the way the shop is called Pilgrims - because Dorking lies on The Pilgrims Way.
So now the work begins all over again.
The boxes out in the garage full of Rocking Horse stock must be sorted through and the best quality items transferred to other boxes and new labels made because of course I had reduced everything drastically in Rocking Horse to reduce the amount that would have to be packed up.
The prices must now return to what they were - indeed the feeling is that prices can be a bit higher in Dorking because it is such a mecca for collectors and dealers in West Street.
I have already made a start.
We have 2 weeks to get everything organised.
Then life will settle once again.
I am always optimistic about new projects, but I am also realistic. Just like when I have moved into shops in the past I have mentally given myself 6 months to see how things work out.
Nevertheless I feel uplifted at having this new chapter in life unfolding. Maybe it is all happening a bit sooner than I had planned for - but you have to grab opportunities when they come along.
Jo and I enjoyed a long chat whilst in the shop over pots of tea and some cake (mine was gluten free). Yes, there is a small tea room doing light lunches within the shop. I hope it stays, but the person running it just now is moving on, but I gather somebody else has shown interest in taking it over. If it has to close then more spaces for trading would be available.
We also wandered amongst the charity shops of Dorking. I phoned Bill from one of them to ask his opinion of 2 old cameras - and I bought them. That's good, because he had no interesting collectable cameras left and he needs to show the whole range of what he does when we move into those cabinets.
Bill also spent some time sorting things out this afternoon for the shop. I think I detected the same feeling of uplift that I have - as well as horror at having to construct yet more shelving and just fitting into a new routine and a new way of doing things.
This evening we had enforced rest because Bill's brother, Michael came round with a disc of his wedding photos, so we spent a while sharing pictures and then had a cup of tea.
I must get on again with everything tomorrow because I would like to have a car load ready to do a car boot sale on Sunday.
So, today has been fun and I am glad to have set a new challenge into place.

Monday, June 16, 2008


16th June. Working hard in Monkland

Today we have pushed ourselves to get some work done.
There was no cup of tea in bed this morning - up, washed, dressed and breakfasted and ready for a number of tasks.
First there were yet more forms to be filled in as a result of the accident.
How many times do they need to know that I give permission for my medical records to be looked at?
I got busy with wrapping.
I had 12 items finishing today - all were re-lists and 8 of them are now sold. Hooray! That's less for me to sort out in the days and weeks ahead.
Bill has been in the garage putting up the shelves that came home from the shop. Before long it will be the neatest stock room you can imagine.
But for now there are old shelves and things that have been used in the garage out in the garden.
They are now a bit of a problem for we have no local amenity rubbish centre to take it to.
We had one - quite new and in a strange way I felt proud of this facility in my town for it was a well run, efficient and had a 21st century air about it.
But it burnt down last week and we will be without it for about a year.
We may have to take the larger items of rubbish to Horsham - the very limited facilities in Crawley (just some skips) are now only available for use at weekends for small items only.
I made a start today on going through boxes brought home from the shop - making a pile of things that could be sold on EBay and perhaps readjusting some prices for things which will go to a car boot sale.
But I wonder if some of my immediate plans might change.
Jo rang this morning and suggested we went out tomorrow morning. We will go to Dorking and I will see Pilgrims, the shop she is in. She has been renting a couple of cabinets, but it seems certain that she she will take over a space that has been offered to her and I am wondering about taking over the 2 cabinets for Bill and me - if they will have us.
I don't want my stuff locked away because it isn't that special really - but neither do I want a larger space just now. We would have all the problems of sorting out shelving once again.
Who knows? I just feel if the chance came our way, then we ought to take it.
So, perhaps I won't take my better stuff to a car boot sale just yet.
Soon I was busy with invoices and payments and later off up the road to the post office once again.
Do you know they have a new rule? Parcels for overseas must not have combined dimensions above 60cms for printed paper or 90cms for small packets. But Brenda (post office lady) didn't really know what to do with my large sized, lightweight book for Australia and the computer seemed to suggest that the amount I had estimated for by weight alone was the correct one.
The scales for postage are just crazy these days and catch people unawares.
If you send an elaborate pop up greetings card or maybe a padded one it should be sent as a Large Letter and not just a Letter, because it is just a bit thicker.
But on with the work. I topped and tailed some gooseberries that Stella brought for us. I poured some jelly over slices of stale honey cake (gluten free) to make a sort of trifle.
We will have some with a cuppa in a minute.
Bill is walking round like he has been on a horse for the day - legs bowed and stiff. I feel weary too. But at least we can feel satisfied that we have achieved something.
Time for some relaxation.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


15 June Bike versus car

Life feels flat.
Neither of us have energy for very much at the moment - though having said that the last 3 weeks have been very busy.

We went early to the car boot sale at Pease Pottage. It is not our favourite and we didn't really buy very much; but it is just a mile from home and in these days of high fuel costs that is something to be considered.
We had planned to go to another sale at lunch time in Blindley Heath, but we didn't get there.
One or two bicycles blocked the roads. Well, actually 27,000 bicycles blocked the road, for today was the day for the annual bike ride from London to Brighton in aid of The National Heart Foundation.
It is almost impossible to cross the flow of cyclists and many roads are actually closed.
We gave up.
I was feeling really tired anyway, so perhaps that was a good thing.
I spent the afternoon doing a jigsaw (complete) and watching 2 fantastic specimens of athletic manhood playing a really good tennis final. Nadal beat Djokavic, but both players were superb and each point was hard fought and so powerfully played and with such skill.
I think I feel bad because I have dared to risk eating some things on my "Foods to Avoid" list and my potassium levels have no doubt gone up. I feel nauseous and breathless - and just hoping that getting the diet right will bring things back to normal without medical intervention.
I shall see my GP next week and in a couple of weeks will see the endocrinologist once again. I want to ask him if I shouldn't have had more B12 to start me off with, as he originally told me.
Anyway, tomorrow we shall try to make a start on sorting the garage. All the boxes need to be moved somewhere, and Bill was hoping that "somewhere" could be the back garden; but it might rain.
I shall go through the boxes we brought home from the shop to determine the destination of each item.
But for now, all I want is to lie down. And hopefully I can sleep through the night. The last few nights I have been waking very often.
Oh - do look at the jjjj blog. Jamie has put another little video clip on, using his still camera. This time we have John singing along with a song and playing his toy sword as an imaginary guitar.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


14th June Sussex Schools Championships.

Today has been a long day in the fresh air with friends, together working for the young athletes whose prowess and poise we can but admire.
Today was The Sussex Schools Championships, a busy programme of athletics with hundreds of people present.
I enjoyed the day and enjoyed some thoughts of this event over the many years we have been involved in the sport.
Bill and I have attended most of these championships, since our first involvement with the sport in 1980.
The first one I missed was the day Jamie won his gold medal in the 400 metres hurdles. I missed it to allow him to have the chance of winning the title. He had a Saturday job in a small second hand bookshop and the owner was loathe to allow him a day off - and so I offered to work in his place.
Others I have missed for health reasons - but I got there if at all possible.
The 1980s were a golden age in track and field at all levels and many of the championships records still standing came from that time and some from even earlier. One record that surely will not be beaten was set by Steve Ovett (1970)in the 800 metres - world record holder later and Olympic Gold Medallist.
I wonder where all these people from that long ago time are now and what they are doing with their lives.
But records are set to be broken; Steve Ovett no longer holds the world record and today a championship record set 29 years ago was beaten by a girl (aged 13 to 15) in the 1500 metres. Johanna will be off to the All England Schools Championships for sure.
But not everybody can be a winner and all levels of performance were appreciated - better to have shown spirit and competed for your area, to have done one's best, than to have stayed home.
The sun was mostly shining - in fact I may have slightly caught the sun on my face.
The company was good.
The meeting ran to time - exactly, which is a real tribute to all the officials involved.
So, a good day's activity in yet another of our chosen pursuits in life.

Friday, June 13, 2008


13th June. Tired out.

Friday 13th - and you might feel really lucky!
I am just too tired to write much and indeed there is little to write about.

I described cookery books from the 1930s and 40s - the sort to promote a particular product or gadget.
These will get listed on Sunday afternoon.

This evening we went briefly to Tescos to ensure I had some suitable food to take out tomorrow when we have a long day at the athletics track.
I drove the car there - hooray!
The first time I have driven for about 2 months I reckon.

I didn't sleep at all well last night - waking each time about half an hour after I had nodded off and the tossing and turning for a while.
So I want a good night tonight.
I wish you a goodnight too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


12th June Sammy arrives with a sting in the tail.

Today we collected our new car - well, almost new. It was registered in March and has done 1300 miles thus far in its life.
The sales manager stopped using it as soon as we were able to put down a deposit.
The sales manager, Andrew, is a very pleasant man and we warmed to him as we shared tales of this and that.
This all felt very good and the new car feels good.
And for a while we felt very good indeed because it looked like there may be more money due to us.

We had not exactly forgotten an extra insurance policy that Bill thought was a good idea when we bought Ruby the Red; but we had dismissed it.
I had never wanted the policy because we were told it was valid for 1 year only - and Bill and I are both sure that we had been given that information.
The policy was for just such an incident as we had. It would top up the amount we would be paid for the written off car up to the original invoice amount that we had paid for it.
I guess Bill was anxious to protect his brand new baby and I let him do what he felt he needed.
In my view most insurance companies are little more than parasites, preying on our fears of untold disasters that might come our way; and they know that some insurance is unavoidable.
Anyway Andrew was surprised that we thought the policy was now null and void and brought up details of the previous transaction on the computer - no, it was definitely for the first 3 years of the life of the car.
So, when we got home Bill immediately phoned that company to see about making a claim.
But no - we can't do that!
Because we didn't do it at the start of proceedings we have not followed their small print procedures and therefore there can be no pay out.
I was so cross!
It wasn't just the money because we had known of the possibility of that for such a short time (but hey! It would have helped a lot!). I was cross because an insurance company had found a way of wriggling out of their commitment.
If nothing else, I suppose, I had the satisfaction of being right!
Andrew got told of this and advised a letter be written to that company and to send a copy to him also.
We also asked the solicitors who have been negotiating on our behalf what their opinion was. The reply was to send a copy of the letter to The Financial Omudsman.
So I concentrated my emotion into something positive and wrote a fair and well written letter explaining everything. It is so good to write things down to alleviate stress!
I wrote on Bill's behalf and in the letter he explains about the problems after an accident 300 miles from home, the trauma and the paperwork which one is not trained for and above all his poor wife's pain and his worry about the wife so soon after major surgery for bladder cancer.
I will sprawl myself prone on the ground and bare my soul to get Bill's just deserts! So, a bit of emotional blackmail to them won't come amiss.
These letters have now been sent.
Of course I doubt whether anything will come of it, but one has to try.
The reader will have a heart and express regret for our difficult situation - but no, we can't have the money!
Who knows?

It has taken the edge off our new acquisition just a bit. But I am pleased with Sammy the Silver - a Berlingo is just right for us.
I am not sure if I ever felt completely at home in Ruby - but then I hadn't yearned for a brand new car like Bill.
Bill has been pottering about putting things into the car that we would normally carry and checking one or two different switches and gadgets.
I had the job of sorting out a bouquet of flowers that I was given by Tates.
I think they have changed their staff and approach just a bit - there were no flowers when we bought Ruby and I just know that Andrew would not have allowed us to leave without fully knowing what all the paperwork was all about.

We will actually use the car very little over the next few days because of things we have to do, and the annual mileage will drop without the two or three journeys to and from Ardingly each week.
And of course, with the price of fuel - we use diesel - cutting mileage is a worthwhile aim, where possible.

So, now - a couple of pictures of the silver Berlingo and the proud owner.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


11th June. A Day of Gains.

Today has been a day of profits - profits hoped for and gains actually made.

I have worked hard today on describing 15 items for EBay; tomorrow is a 5p listing day. These are all items I have had in Rocking Horse and some I paid too much for and I would just like to see the money back in my purse.

This is a vase from Carn Pottery, Cornwall.
Some people may have heard of Troika Pottery (also from Cornwall). Well, Carn is a poor man's Troika - which now achieves sky high prices.

The dominoes for the blind come in a tin which is in very good condition. The dominoes have a lovely tactile feel and I think all people would enjoy playing with them.

This is Larry the Lamb and although the manufacturer doesn't appear to be very well known, there seems to be a connection with a firm called Plichta, and that stuff is quite popular.

An old wide necked pint milk bottle from Balcombe. I know I would love to have any like it from places connected with our own family histories.

A tiger cub from the USSR. These ornaments at one time attracted a lot of attention. I also have a seated horse - but that is Russian and therefore later, after the break up of the Soviet Union.
There are more china objects to be listed and 5 books. Bill has described 2 large plastic model kits - one produced of The Victory for the 200th anniversary of The Battle of Trafalgar. He also has a book about Concorde signed by the pilot who is featured in the book.
But the EBay items are just dreams at the moment.
This afternoon we spent an hour in Asda and earned some good rewards. We had been accosted on Monday and asked if would be able to join a group doing a survey about the supermarket.
We wondered later if we could be bothered.
We arrived to be given a drink of lovely refreshing cloudy lemonade.
Then we were asked to say what was good or bad about the store and to comment on various aspects of supermarket selling.
I know they were listening and making notes - good!
There were only 8 of us - the first of regular "Listening Groups" that they would hold.
Then it was time to go and each one of us received a £5 Asda gift voucher and a bag full of household and bathroom items - washing up liquid, toothpaste, soap, bin liners, travel wash, shower gel etc.
There were 2 of us - and so we received quite a lot. We got £10 and a good store of things that we use in the home.
Glad we went!
We do other surveys for profit too. We do Yougov surveys on line and get 50p a time (sometimes £1 for a long one). It takes time to build up but between us Bill and I will soon be able to claim £100.
So if you hear or read of the results of a Yougov poll - then you are reading our views; well, I don't think so! I am sure we are not very typical in our thinking or shopping habits. What shopping habits? If it isn't reduced or second hand, then we don't buy it!
Tomorrow we are off to spend a great deal of money - we collect the new silver Berlingo in the morning.
Hope your day has been full of good things - maybe even something you feel you have profited by.
Just a suggestion - have a look at Monk in Thailand for a look at our boys in the dim and distant past - must be 30 years and more.
Jamie's Monk in Thailand:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


10 June The Monks at a wedding.

I now present to you The Monk family gathered together on 7th June 2008 for Michelle and Rob's wedding.

Bill is the eldest of 10 and all were there, except the baby - Ian; he lives in Scotland. Ian is of course no longer a baby - he is 48.

I have put the pictures of the family with the oldest first.

There are pictures of the people they married too; I cheated with one of them, for there was no picture of Geoff. So, I found a good picture from a 2006. Sorry Geoff!

There are some of our nephews and nieces included because they were at the wedding too.

On the morning of the wedding I thought back to our generation's weddings and thought fondly of the old Aunties who would gather for a natter and the old Uncles who liked to remember their youth and have a beer or two!

We are those old Aunties and Uncles now!

Aplogies to the non Monks who might look regularly at my blog - very boring for you today.

Bill, the elder statesman of the family!

Paula - who probably knows more than many others about the family as a result of probing for the family tree.

Julie and her husband Roger. They have always been involved in the local cycle club - as was Bill in the old days.

Julie talks to Jane - the next one down in age.
Jane has all manner of health problems these days.

Jane with our nephew "young" Michael. Michael is the son of brother Michael (Mick) - and of course the brother of the bride.

Jane's husband Geoff. I was at school with Geoff in 1955! This picture was taken at our house.

Sheila - plagued with back problems and awaiting surgery.

Sheila's husband Dave.

Pam, who is sadly a widow.

Pam's 2 children - Antony and Fiona.

Two pictures of Fiona - artistic and tattoed. She works in graphic design. We don't see enough of her.

Ros and her husband Harry. They now live on the Isle of Wight.

Ros, Julie and Sheila showing that the "old" aunties still know how to have a good time!

Andrew - looking rather like his Father.
Andrew is divorced. He has worked in building in Germany. He lives in Crawley once again, but tends to keep himself to himself.
Michael - "I will relax and enjoy the wedding!"

Michael and Beverley with their daughter Michelle and their grandchildren, Callum and Kayleigh.
Bev is a nurse at the East Surrey Hospital - not in the ward I was in, but she often came to see me during her breaks and was so helpful and kind.

Lesley. She was a bridesmaid at our wedding in 1965, when she looked like Alice in Wonderland!

Lesley's husband Peter and their son David.

Michelle and her sister Katie.

Monday, June 09, 2008


9th June Death in the evening.

Today we have given ourselves a moderately gentle day - though it has drawn to a close with a ringside seat of a fight to the death.

It had been a difficult night for Bill - downstairs for a while.
He has had a nasty claggy cough and claggy nose and sinuses for a couple of weeks. He has often been feeling very much less than well - but has battled on to do all the things we had to do and had planned to do.

He has felt more comfortable during the night making an exit and using the spare room bed.
This morning I woke late and he stirred even later; it must have been 9 0'clock.
He will ring tomorrow and see if he can talk to a GP and see if they might advise an antibiotic, especially as he has a condition affecting the immune system - the rheumatoid arthritis.

We did pop into town, for we had almost no vegetables left. And, being us, came out with more than planned because somebody had been round with yellow stickers for things at their sell by date. Many good reductions!
We met Gay and Norman there - Gay was at school with me.
I remember dawdling at the back of a cross country run with Gay, which our Latin teacher took us on because she wanted to run and lose weight to get into her wedding dress.
Gay and Norman are also friends with Pete and Jean, though have rarely embarked on that long drive to North West Wales.
We advised that they might like to consider the train - if you know the ropes and book early enough you can get exceedingly cheap train fares.
I think our Ashley should set himself up as a train ticket buyer consultant.
On Saturday he said that he hadn't been able to get a ticket for the holiday he has in August with us, bringing Ekatarina.
Ah - he shouldn't have said he wanted to travel to Crawley!
Today he has it all organised for 29th July. By travelling to Three Bridges Station ( about the same distance from us as Crawley Station) and being flexible he now has return tickets for the 2 of them for £31.50 - and that includes a charge for paying with a debit card and the charge for sending him the tickets.
It would have been over £100 to Crawley!
It is crazy! When Bill and I considered returning home by train recently - the single fare for each of us would have been £78.
But of course in that situation we couldn't book in advance or be very flexible.

This afternoon Bill began printing photos for our albums - he still has The South of England Show and the wedding to do.
Of course I had intended to do a blog tonight with portraits of Bill's family at the wedding - but I found I had a couple of people missing (apart from me!). So, Julie is coming round in the morning with her chip/card out of her camera and we will see if there are any there.
I described 6 books and listed them before dinner this evening.
That's my plan - list a few most evenings. This will leave empty days to do other things.

Now, I will explain about the fight.....
We heard the most terrible racket outdoors - birds were screeching and squawking in a frenzied manner.
The crows were attacking something.
I know crows are part of Mother Nature's totality - but I don't like them at all.
We went over to investigate and to drive the crows away.
At the foot of a tree was a baby jay, flat on its back - winded and almost certainly wounded quite badly.
We turned the little fluffy bird over on to its front and he seemed like he might have a chance of survival. And at least he could die more peacefully in a natural position.
The parents were soon back - and so were a couple of crows.
The parents must have exhausted themselves trying to get the crows away - dive bombing them in flight, trying to land on them whilst on the ground.
On and on it went.
The baby didn't move.
The jays would swoop across the sky showing their beautiful colours, shrieking loudly.
They did everything they could - but it wasn't enough.
One crow got close enough to grab the baby - still the parents tried to frighten the crows away.
Two magpies then flew into the little tree and waited hopefully for any pickings.
At this point I couldn't watch anymore.
I know - it is only nature's way.
But somehow one couldn't help but take sides in the contest between these 2 birds - the elegant jay and the bully boy crow.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


08 June Michelle's wedding day.

Today we look back to Michelle and Rob's wedding.
And I have chosen photos which tell the story of a wedding.
I have concentrated on images which portray the people that we know - Michelle's family.
We don't know Rob at all. He has never spoken a word to us.
Michelle and Rob have been together for about 4 years and have 2 children - Callum and Kayleigh.
We wish the family peace and love for the future.

I must remind Monk relations that by clicking on the picture you will bring up a larger image and these can be copied into your own photo files.
We look forward to seeing your photos too.

Michelle and her father Michael (Bill's brother) arrive at Worth Church.
This church is very old, built between 950AD and 1050AD. It is one of the oldest churches in England.
Members of the Monk family have been married there before, in the 18th century - descendants of George Monk, the earliest Monk we know of; but the Worth Monks were not part of our direct line.

Proud Michael takes his daughter Michelle on his arm for the walk down the aisle.

Exchanging of vows at the altar.

Signing the register.

Michelle and Rob stand outside the church for a photograph with their children and Michelle's parents, Michael and Beverley.


Michelle ready for a cuddle with Kayleigh.

Michelle moves off towards the waiting car with Beverley helping with the train.

Michelle and Rob pose for a photograph by the car in front of the beautiful old Worth cottages.

The final photo of the wedding shows Michelle and Rob cutting the cake.
Tomorrow I will put together a blog of snapshots of Bill's family who attended the wedding.
All his brothers and sisters were there, except Ian - who lives in Scotland.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


7th June Brief news of the day - Michelle's wedding.

Today we have been to a wedding - our niece Michelle married her partner, Rob.
The sun shone and we took lots of photos.
We will sort the photos out tomorrow and will share some with you on tomorrow's blog posting.

This morning we went to the boot sale at Faygate and I bought a few books. I wonder why I bought the large oval meat plate? Where can I sell it now?
But it was a good price for a Crown Devon 1950's piece.

Bill had an appointment with the physiotherapist again this morning - so that has temorarily affected his muscles.
Poor Bill has a hacking cough and definitely feels one degree under.

We will get up in the morning and go to a boot sale - maybe Pease Pottage, maybe Reigate.


Friday, June 06, 2008


06 June The South of England Show

The South of England Show is a huge affair, which takes place each June at the Ardingly showground.
The sun shone down and we enjoyed ourselves.
If only our stamina had been up to seeing and doing everything.
We have almost 100 pictures now in our files from yesterday - it proved hard to narrow it down to share with you a flavour of the day.

We began at the cattle judging, because we knew that Bill's cousin David would be there with his Ayrshires.

The cows, bulls and calves were impressive in all manner of colours and shapes.

The owner of this mighty bull won first prize in his section.

It is hard to believe that this Charolais bull was sucking milk from his mother a year ago.
We chatted briefly with the owner as he waited to take his turn before the judge.

Another fine specimen. It is only at an agricultural show that one would get so close to massive and beautiful bulls.

Not every cow was on her best behaviour for the judge! This skittish young Highland mother was probably fretting for her calf, who would have run amok in the cattle pen if the handler hadn't had a very tight hold.
The winning cow and calf strutted so calmly - but it was these 2 who captured the hearts of the onlookers.

Ayrshires are dairy cows and therefore their bodies are a lot leaner.
Here, cousin David takes 3 cows round the ring with Sally, his daughter and Magenta, his grand daughter.

The three generations and the three cows await their turn in front of the judge.

I love sheep and wish we had had more time to watch the judging.
We chatted with a lady from Ardingly as we watched the Lleyn breed (originally from North Wales) being judged.
Above the judge in the Suffolk sheep class hands a red rosette to the winner. I so admired her stylish outfit!

We saw many things as we crossed the show ground, including birds of prey. The eagle owl is a fine bird.

We were heading for the flower tent. Flower growers had put on magnificent displays and there were a few tiny courtyard gardens created too.
And then there were the flower arrangement competitions.

The display of pitcher plants was fascinating and wonderful. We were almost tempted to buy.

There was a mgnificent display of flowering cacti.

The orchids were so beautiful.
They are flowers to specially cherish in this country because they are so fragile and don't like the cold. Jamie has orchids growing in his garden in Thailand.

The flower arrangers are very imaginative. I didn't seem to agree with the judges very often.
Neither of these arrangements were singled out for special prizes.
The second one was titled nouvelle cuisine.

After our lunch in the sunshine we still felt weary and so we made our way to the main arena and watched some show jumping.
One could sit all day by the arena and see interesting things - but we wanted to get back to the cattle.

After all the judging the cattle take their ease in the cattle shed and the public are free to walk through and admire them and pat them.

We spent quite a while chatting with David and Jeanne.
David posed for us with one of his Ayrshires.
As ever we said that we would get in touch with them at the farm at Sheffield Park..... and we must.
David is becoming increasingly interested in his roots and we started to tell him a few things about his grandmother for example that he didn't know.
I think we might go to the show again next year. We could have seen so much more.
Today has been mundane - but busy.
I spent the morning on Ebay business. Bill cut the lawns out the front and did some odd jobs indoors.
The cheque for the car arrived today and so this afternoon we went into town to bank it, in readiness for buying the replacement next week.
We are still tired, Bill is still coughing.
Time for a cuppa and bed.

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