Sunday, August 31, 2008


31st August The month ends with a bang.

Strange Sunday!
We got up early and decided to pop up to the big local car boot sale at Pease Pottage.
This was a good decision - not because it had lots of things to buy, but because a quick getaway was possible.
The light was eerie as we left - a mist made a shroud over the trees and the sky was grey. The mist had an aura of deep deep indigo and a deep yellow.
But the sun seemed to be about to creep through a crack in the cloud and we were feeling good. After all, yesterday had been so lovely.
The sky just got darker and the air felt more ominous. Soon there were streaks of lightning flashing down with loud roars of thunder to follow.
Very exciting!
People began to scurry for their cars and stall holders frantically began to protect their wares.
We got into the car just before the heavens opened.
Some people sat tight in their cars, assuming the storm would pass. The storm passed, but the rain did not.
We were glad to go home and get the kettle on.
Of course, this was just a moment of extreme weather which affected our day.
It was nothing compared with the weather in the Caribbean and heading for New Orleans.
It has been terrible for millions, but our minds focus on our distant cousin Mark (who we play Boggle with), who must now be somewhere away from his home in New Orleans.
This seems to be such a short while since he had to escape Hurricane Katrina and it took months before life got to something like normal again.
But then today we heard from a woman (on TV) who had received the keys to her new home only yesterday - having been displaced since Katrina; and now today she has to leave her new home and find shelter somewhere.
So many people must face the elements at their worst and others have to face the effects of man at his worst all over the world. It makes a slightly inconvenient life here in the UK seem like heaven.
We only have higher fuel costs to grumble about.
And Boris Johnson!
Though we have all grumbled about the weather during this August - it has been one of the greyest, wettest and windiest on record.

Mind you inconvenience and grumbling were central to one part of our day.
I list things on EBay using TurboLister. It is exceedingly convenient and much quicker than listing one by one.
But on my computer it has seemed very fragile of late - don't know why.
Today I would click on it, see it for a fraction of a second and it was gone again.
I just couldn't bring it up to use.
With many difficulties en route we managed to completely uninstall it. This would lose all the listings I have done over the last couple of years.
Then we managed to get it reinstalled - a blank canvas, so I shall now no longer bother to save listings once they are finished with. It was really only a bonus when I found a second copy of a book that had been listed before.

This afternoon, whilst watching some athletics from Gateshead, we listed another 10 items. I have already been contacted to see if I would sell a Manchester United penknife directly. The answer was "No" - we never finish an auction early.

So, today has been a pottering at home day since about 8 o'clock. Our brief trip out to Pease Pottage being over by then.

I think this is a good evening for an early snuggle down under the duvet.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


30th August Today has been the summer. Lovely!

Bill has been buying again! He is managing to spend more than me when we go out hunting.
But then how we could ignore the old oil lamp, complete with chimney and globe. It looked interesting, but somebody else was looking at it... and then asked how much the seller wanted for it. "Oh bother" we thought, "we have lost that one then". The price was £5 - I wonder why that other browser left it there, muttering about asking somebody else what he thought.
Too late - we bought it straight away.
I wonder what we'll do with it!
It had been in use in the seller's father's house in Scotland - and still has the oil in it.
It has been a lovely day. I think today has been the summer - as far as August is concerned.
We went early to Faygate, where I bought some good books for EBay. We refer to EBay as Ed when we are out and about. I will say to Bill "Do you think Ed would like this?"; after all you can't stand in front of a seller and discuss whether it will make a profit on EBay can you?
Later we went to Edenbridge.
Both boot sales were huge - bigger than normal.
We have had a roast beef dinner tonight, whilst watching the final of the choir competition.
In a few minutes I will be back for the deciding moments between the last 2 choirs and just as it should be, maybe, the final 2 are from Wales.
Will it be the male voice choir with great verve and panache or the amazing school choir from Bangor to win?
I think they have both already received a stunning prize in that they sung at the concert outside Buckingham Palace last Sunday to 50,000 people.
What an experience that must have been!
Tomorrow should begin with good weather in these parts, though rain is expected later.
I guess we might go to Pease Pottage - it is close to home so we don't need time to get there or fuel to power the car for more than a mile. We just could go on to another if it proves less than satisfactory.
Right - kettle on and back to the singing.

Friday, August 29, 2008


29th August Bcal, Thai politics and our lives.

Well - a day of two halves, with many parts.
This morning was relaxed and fun really, though caused by a sad event.
Jo has been involved with the disposal of goods belonging to a brilliant eccentric - Eric was one of the founders of British Caledonian.
He lived close to our house.
Jo reported that there were some model cars and today we arranged to meet with the executor of the estate - and very close friend, to look at everything that has been cleared into the double garage.
In fact Bill didn't want the cars - but our eyes soon settled on other things. We came home with mantel clocks, small barometers, old cameras, fountain pens and things like that. Also a lot of history of the RAF videos. We offered a very good price because you just have to when you are face to face with a seller.
I am sure there was more to be seen and we might go back.
There will be a garage sale in a week or so.
We chatted a lot with Doug who was glad to impart tales of his elderly friend.
I realised that I had probably met Eric when he lived in a different house in the same road.
I recalled that Lindsay, who taught with me for a short while in about 1980, had lived in that house and I know I had visited her there. I was introduced to Eric and his dogs.
Certainly Doug seemed to know of her.
Later I Emailed Lindsay - so from the death of Eric I have picked up again with Lindsay.
Finally we had to hurry off for my last B12 injection. We met Bill's sister Sheila's husband in the waiting room and learned that Sheila had been hospital for back surgery. Did anybody in the family know about this?
After lunch we were about to hurry out, when Jamie came on to chat about the situation in Thailand.
Obviously today things have been quite dramatic there. The airport at Phuket has had to be closed because it was over run with protesters and police.
Politics in Thailand is quite complicated - it is a democracy, but there have been spells when the military have taken over unstable situations.
The educated better off people were very suspicious (bordering on hatred) of the previous Prime Minister. He deserved their wrath actually and is wanted (and his wife) on corruption charges and faces jail.
But of course they are now safely in the UK. Does he still own one of our top football clubs? I think not.
The new Prime Minister is leader of a new party - the old one with a new name and probably Thaksin still holds much of the money and power.
But along with his corruption Thaksin and the new Prime Minister curry favour of the poor and less well educated rural folk with promises and some hope of a better life.
That can't be a bad thing - but the opposition (the ones orchestrating the massive demonstrations) just see it as further corruption and buying votes.
There has been chaos and tear gas at the airport today. In Bangkok the situation is no doubt even more volatile.
It could get nasty - or it could settle down. The military refuse to take over right now. The current prime Minister refuses to resign and the demonstrators won't back down until he does.
After that we felt we had better get to the hospital for my blood test - ably done again by Lisa, who I once taught.
I have listed more onto EBay and Bill has photographed a box full of things that can be described next week.
More parcels have been posted.
Life in monkland goes on as usual.
Lovely how at the end of a day I can write about all sorts of things that I didn't know would have been in the day when it started.
I shall soon watch TV. Ashley has let me know that a favourite folk singer is on BBC4 at half past nine. I recommend to you Seth Lakeman.
See Jamie's Phuket blog perhaps - with links to the BBC which explains things and also to the Phuket Gazette. I can tell that Jamie is worried again about tourism being hit again. One German tourist at the airport said that Thais don't need tsunamis to shatter stability - the Thai people can do it for themselves!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


28th August Dorking

It has been busy in Pilgrims today.
There have been lots of people in to browse and to spend money.
Before it got busy I took a stroll along the High Street with parcels to post, with my camera at the ready.
When I got back there was a Canadian dealer picking up blue and white and Japanese Imari china.
There was masses of wrapping to do, keeping Bill and me occupied, whilst Jill sorted out the money.
Jo was also in today, having a grand re-arrangement of her area.
That is something that a small area like ours needs little of - and especially this week which has been poor for us. Though both Bill and I took a little today.
We got home for me to continue with sales - dealing with things sold on EBay whilst we were out.

Now for a few Dorking pictures.

This water pump and signpost combined stands at a junction in the road very close to Pilgrims.

This is a general view of the High Street.

The White Horse in the High Street is an 18th century coaching inn.

The church lies a little north of the High Street on a lane which runs parallel to the main street. There are many little cottages in this area.

West Street - with many antiques shops and other privately owned businesses selling fashion, furniture, household goods etc.
Pilgrims is a cream building on the right hand side of the road just before a square brick building.
You can see it rather better in the next picture.

Just like Rocking Horse, the shop has a small frontage - but goes back a long way from the front.

The building used to be a butcher's shop and there are still the heavy metal rings and hooks in the ceiling.
The window display is changed every fortnight, using items from every area.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


27th August Wednesday business and pleasure.

I must be brief I guess, for the evening has slipped away.
This morning I was busy with sorting out another 13 sales on EBay - always gratifying when things that were listed for the second time actually sell. Mostly I am just pleased that these things are off on their way, despite paltry profits. But some relists spark a mini bidding war and I am pleased with the results.
I also received a couple of Ebay buys today - a little cup and sauce with A Present from Crawley on the cup and 2 Crawley postcards.
And the postman also bought me 4 more birthday cards - maybe we ought to update the me and my cards birthday photo.
There was a long phone call this morning from Bill's cousin Ann - the one who lives in France, not Godstone Ann.
Then I did a fairly rapid walk up to the post office with parcels.
This afternoon I made a red curry with vegetables (all safely boiled first!).
Then thought I might have a rice cake with a cup of tea - whoops! There were no rice cakes in the cupboard.
So a trip to Asda was needed, where we bought more than rice cakes of course.
I bought 4 packs of Lucozade sport - the raspberry ones. They were £2.89 a pack or 2 for for £4. And this drink (known by us as "red" drink) is one of my treats, so the bargain could not be resisted. in fact I might go and buy more packs.
I have continued dealing with payments during the day.
And have persevered with Cradle of Persia. I am on level 90 - only 10 more to go; except that I am bound to slip back loads of times before I master it. I wonder where I will slip back to.
This evening I have watched Who Do You Think You Are. I knew nothing about Jerry Springer, except that he is American and did have (may still have) a lurid and controversial chat show. His father and mother were German/Polish and had fled Germany in the nick of time. The programme took us back to Nazi death camps and ghettos and back further to persecution in the 1880s.
It always surprises me to hear about persecution of individuals for how do people know if others are Jews? OK - if they are rabbis it might be obvious, but I could never tell you that a person is a Jew just by looking at them.
Perhaps I have never been brought up to notice differences that much.
Anyway, the programme was interesting.
At the end Jerry Springer met a descendant of his Great Aunt and he commented that whatever happened in the past, the line of a family continues from the links of the previous generations. We should relish that fact.
Right - must get some sleep.
Tomorrow we are in Dorking for the day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Life has returned to normal (whatever normal is) in the Monk House.
And I have got on with quite a bit today.
My first port of call was the doctor's for my Vitamin B12 injection. Bill came with me because I chose to walk, knowing that I (indeed both of us) badly need some exercise.
I got back for a chat with Jamie, who gave me an idea for an alteration for my version of When I'm 64 - the stoma just had to be in there somewhere!
Then I got busy wrapping - I have things finishing on EBay 3 days running this week, which had not been my intention but I didn't notice an error in the original listings and then found it was too late to change things.
Today there was just one map sold - for a good price I thought.
I now have everything with bids wrapped in readiness for their final sale.
This afternoon I attacked the wardrobe. We are lucky to have a large (ish) built in cupboard for a wardrobe - but it is big enough to dump all manner of things.
Today I have been ruthless - out with the old unworn and unwanted items into black plastic dustbin liners. I have filled 4 bags. These are now in the car and will be off to a charity shop tomorrow.
And the wardrobe is just great. I took out a small shelf unit which I had used for all those shoes I never wear, so now I can walk in and see and reach the things I have that I do feel pleased to own and wear.
I felt a bit bad about getting rid of 2 pairs of proper shoes - but they haven't been worn for years. I have tried them and by the time I get to the door to leave the house my feet are hurting so much that I have had to resort yet again to sandals. These were quite expensive wide fitting shoes - but they are no use to me as ornaments and certainly of no use as shoes.
I have cooked a roast dinner - which we haven't had for some time. And now I have some meat left over to do something with tomorrow.
I also took some photos of the back garden, which - even without the benefit of sunshine - has been looking very pleasing.
It is a very small "patio" garden, but full of colour and interest.

This is the view as we come through the gate.
Do you see the old pressure cooker used for a plant?

Neither of us remember planting poppy seeds.

We have a few cheap stone statues, which our friend Mogs was rejecting many years ago.

And the grass hair man which Ekatarina made at Godstone Farm almost a month ago badly needs a hair cut. I'll do it in the morning.

Monday, August 25, 2008


25th August. When I'm 64.

Many thanks to those that know that today is momentous day - almost an iconic day really.
Many years ago The Beatles had a song about my today - 40 or so years ago I looked ahead to this day with a wonderment about how it would feel to reach this age - yes, I have made it to be 64.
So with my apologies for changing the words slightly, here is my song - altered since the first draft with lines by Jamie!

When I get older losing my body parts
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?
If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?
You'll be older too,
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.
You could be handy mending a fuse
When the lights have gone.
I can write a blog from the office chair
Sunday mornings to the boot fair.
Plugging the stoma, empty the wee
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me,
will you still feed me,When I'm sixty-four?
This summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight,
if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on my knee
Ecky, Jess and John.
Send me a postcard,
drop me a line,
Stating point of view.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely,
Wasting Away.
Give me your answer,
fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,When I'm sixty-four?Whoo!

I sang it in my 20s to Bill as a love song - knowing that we would stay together. But wow, we have hit some hurdles on the way.
But here we are - still sharing and caring.

And here I am with the birthday cards - the senders of which join with the others in my heart who have sent greetings, E cards and general good wishes.

There has been no major celebration.
We have been busy.
This morning, hopeful that the greyness would pass we went to Horsham for a boot sale as Collyers School. These occasional sales have been good in the past, but not today. There were many stalls - and almost nothing worth buying.
We met Jo and there she said she had only spent 50p.
But it was good to be in our very familiar environment, Jo and me, to share a few minutes contemplating our birthdays and exchanging cards.
I bought some more lovely clothes for me. I really will have to sort out the wardrobe - there is not another inch of space in there.
I have more long skirts now than I ever thought I would own - but at £1 a time, then how can I resist?

Later we went off to the track for an athletics meeting.
It was a good meeting and far better attended than in some past years.
The highlight was somewhat poignant as the British record holder for pole vault made his last ever competitive jump.
Nick Buckfield has been a member of Crawley Athletics Club for 25 years and despite the lures and attractions of the bigger clubs has stayed with us for all that time.
He competed at the previous 2 Olympics and many other major competitions - but my memories are of the small boy, aged about 13 competing in my team at the sports hall athletics meetings.
An invitation pole vault competition had been arranged and Nick bowed out with a gold medal from his club - though the height he reached was very low. He is less than fit and ready to get on with the rest of his life, which will include coaching young pole vaulters.
We didn't know this event was happening - or we would have taken cameras. Normally I take mine everywhere - but not today. So I must be content with a powerful looking shot of Nick in his heyday from the web site.

And so the first day as a 64 year old draws to a close.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


24th August. The show is over - until 2012.

The holiday month of August is closing - in much the same way it began - grey and damp.
I have been so absorbed in first Ashley and Ekatarina, and then into The Olympics that I haven't really noticed the passing of summer.
When was it - that brief interlude of hot sunshine?
This time of year always makes me feel a bit sad - even without losing the uplift of fine sport presented from a fine city.
Summer passes, I am a year older and in times past I was forced into thinking again about the return to the classroom. I wonder why I continued in schools for so long.

Today we awoke to rain - heavy at times. We had an early cup of tea in bed, hopeful that later we might get out to a car boot sale.
The rain stopped eventually at about 1 o'clock - too late even to go to Edenbridge again today.

I have written up all the things that I bought yesterday. I have described 10 more items for EBay - that box is now empty, so much from yesterday is now in it ready for photographs to be made of the items.

And I watched most of the closing ceremony of the extravaganza of The Olympics.
The Chinese know how to put on a show!
This ceremony had an 8 minute section to portray the mood of London 2012 - supposedly full of humour, relaxation and very laid back.
I am not sure that the stars reflected what is best about my country - a winner of a TV talent show (alright - she is actually a very good pop singer), an aging rock star and a footballer approaching the end of his career - but David Beckham is respected the world over - and the Chinese love him.
The sound quality was poor and the segment seemed to say nothing about the things I care about.
And then there was Boris Johnson!!!
The people of London voted in a buffoon as their mayor. Maybe that says a lot about who we are - he was preferred to Ken Livingstone, a man with some pretensions of having a thoughts and a philosophy of life; though of course not everybody would agree with his political philosophy.
I have just had a good laugh watching Boris speaking to our athletes about the London Olympics. Oh, if you get the chance have a look at Sebastian Coe behind him - giggling in a sort of incredulous way at Boris's manner and words.
I am sure he shouldn't have claimed that The British invented or laid down the rules of all the sports!
The Chinese seemed to have had more humility in their triumph.
I am sure this country can make something good out of The Olympic experience, at least I hope so.
I have long loved The Games and have a good collection of memorabilia from all the post war games and quite a lot from 1948 when The Games were last in London. I shall certainly want to experience it in 2012 - I am not sure if we will be considered too old to contribute very much.
I must seek out souvenirs of this games now to add to my collection.

Tomorrow we will be contributing to sport - there is a Youth Games at Crawley and we are timekeeping. I suspect that one of us will have to be the chief timekeeper. Maybe Bill can do it - and I will do the one in a couple of weeks.

So - sport is over for a while - I won't be rambling on about that aspect of life that you feel detached from no doubt. But the ramblings will continue of course.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


23rd August. Ford and Edenbridge

What a busy day!
And - for us here in south east England it has been mostly sunny and reasonably warm. Hooray.
We arrived at Ford at about quarter to eight - the queue of sellers waiting to go in was long, but the first ones were in and had got their wares on display.
It is hard to find things that we want to buy which are affordable and might leave a little room for some profit for us.
We had to decline the lovely art deco framed mirror for £70 - mainly because we just didn't know how much such a thing would sell for in the Dorking shop; and because we didn't have a spare £70 to invest just now.
I bought two Carn Pottery vases because I like them (that was £25 gone) - though they don't yet seem to be snapped up by buyers in the shops. I think its time will come. It has similarities to Troika Pottery, which has become so fashionable that prices have hit the big time.
We bought a little snack before we left (not the 2 huge very bent cucumbers at 30p each!) and we drove off to sit somewhere pleasant for a few minutes before heading for home.

Here I am sitting on the old stone wall of Greatham Bridge where the Arun winds it way through the water meadows.

We had a short time at home for a cup of tea and to catch up with latest Olympics news and then we went to Edenbridge.
We followed Jo into the car boot sale field.
It was a huge boot sale there today and it took a couple of hours to walk round. Bill bought 2 costly model cars (£50) that should bring a reasonable return.
I bought mostly books.
In fact when I look at the amount we have found today it doesn't seem so very much but we did spend almost £150.

I got back home and realised that my digestion had fallen into a bit of a collapse today. I am not sure why - but I have dosed myself up and hope to carry on as normal.

The Olympics are virtually over now - just the marathon to be completed. There will not be medals for GB in that. I have really enjoyed the whole episode.

This evening we turned to another competition - the one for the modern choirs on BBC. The last 4 choirs were exceptional - but now are down to the final three.
It is really hard to pick a winner from them - they each have so many positive qualities. Of course my heart suggests that the senior school choir from Bangor deserve success.

I have fitted in very little Cradle of Persia today.
Oh dear - I have sent a disc with this game on for Mo and she has started now.
I warned her about all the things that would remain undone in her household now the Persian lands are relying on her!
I thought I might finish this weekend - but I hit trouble.
I was onto the levels 80+ - and then fell back about 20 levels.

Tomorrow we shall of course head off out on more buying adventures.
Perhaps in the afternoon I shall get some of my stuff written up whilst Bill watches the Grand Prix.


Friday, August 22, 2008


22nd August. Short news

Good evening.
It's getting late and there is little to say about the day - so this will be brief.
I have been busy describing once again and I listed 16 more things and Bill put on a couple of things too.
About half have watchers already - lets hope they convert into buyers.
I spent a while trying to sort an error on yesterday's listings.
I inadvertently set the auction to run for 7 days and not 10. This is not what I wanted because bidding will finish whilst I am at the shop next Thursday - so people will have to wait for their invoices.
But it seems that almost everything in a listing can be edited - but you cannot extend the auction.
They say we should learn something new each day.
I also learned today that Bahrain is a large island with smaller ones scattered around. I suppose I just hadn't thought about the lands of the middle east very much.
I have offered a book today about the wildlife of Bahrain - that one has 2 watchers already.
Bill has cut the lawns today - we have the best in the row again!
The Olympics is slowly nearing its end - but still lots of medals to be one. The day began again with a gold for Team GB.
The weather forecast is optimistic and we really will go to Ford in the morning. Not sure about the rest of the day.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


21st August Beware the media lot my son!

Beware becoming a media star - that's what I advise.
Not that most of us are facing that danger, but Phillips Oduwo has met that fate.
I am not surprised that the lines of the script fell apart.
For weeks we have been told that this triple jumper not only has the ability to win a gold medal at the Olympics - but seemed destined to do so.
Unfortunately other athletes have read different scripts! Ones that we had not been told about.
Only as the competition unfolded did the commentator reveal that the handsome, athletic Portuguese guy was equally capable of winning and that the new kid on the block from The Bahamas was ready to produce a huge jump.
If we had not been promised so much then there would have been joy at his silver medal.
Well,I will feel that joy for him - and also for the handsome athlete from Portugal who has the gold medal.

Don't worry non sports lovers - it will all be over soon enough. Though I will equally enjoy the Paraolympics ( how does that word go?)

So, it has been another lazy day really. Lots of sport watching of course.
We didn't go to Ford - the weather looked too gloomy.
We sorted out cards and gifts for folk that we were due to send.
I did actually manage to get 12 things described for EBay and they have been listed now - lets hope for some sales.
Bill was much more busy. He got the ironing board out and dealt with the latest batch of ironing. Later he cleaned the windows.

And we both battle on with Cradle of Persia. I think I have got close to completing the kingdom. There were some difficult stages in the middle, but life feels a lot smoother in Persia.
I wonder how it feels for the modern day Persians in a very much misunderstood country, Iran. There are many differences between out 2 worlds and I can have no idea if the leaders are trying to make the best of their world or only have evil on their minds. But I am quite sure that the ordinary Iranian has many of the same hopes and fears of the rest of us. They want a secure home for their families and hopes of healthcare when they fall sick - there are people there with cancer and heart problems too.
Anyway - talk of a silly computer game has suddenly turned into an assessment of the state of Iran!
I do know how to ramble!

I really must grasp life again soon - I have succumbed to Olympics and computer games for too long.
Perhaps it is a sign of Winter depression setting in already - though I don't actually feel mentally too bad.

There are things to do - Jo has just rung with all sorts of schemes that she has got involved with connected with house clearances and other items of things that people want to sell. This includes things that Bill and I might be interested in.

But for now - time to unwind and get to bed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


20th August Dorking Bolt B12 and Book.

I haven't achieved much but seem to have been busy.

This morning we went to Dorking and spent a couple of hours there arranging the shelves again and chatting to yet more people that we hadn't met before.
Bill has been selling pretty well, while I have had a quiet time in the last 10 days.
It is reported how men collectors are pleased to see Bill's cabinet and are down on their on their knees to peer at the lower shelves.
The ladies who are on duty on Wednesdays - Ann and Jean, told us of a long and tedious sale of a pair of binoculars last Wednesday. The buyer obviously liked the model cars and proceeded to give details about all those in Bill's cabinet - droning on and on for a long time.
We walked briefly into the High Street to buy some cards and a gift - but failed on the gift.
We drove home, planning to pass the windmill that is now a consecrated church; but as we had failed to take a map we failed to find it. Another time.
We watched some more Olympics as we ate our lunch and then Frieda came round for a cup of tea and a chat.
I turned the sound back up on the TV so that we could see the men's 200 metres - I think the non sportsman Frieda must at least be able to make some sense of a short fast race.
And it was fast - world record fast. This time Usain Bolt was determined to win in style and actually ran through the line instead of jogging through.
He was most impressive.
Then it was time for another appointment for a B12 injection. It hurt this time more than the last two - and continues to ache this evening. I think I will change arms next week.
We called in at the garden centre to look for a gift for cousin Ann - 80 on Saturday. I had planned a one of those books with soothing and uplifting sayings which we could put in an envelope and post.
And the garden centre had quite a few - which will save us a rushed trip to Godstone with an orchid which had been the other possibility. But she is sure to get flowers and plants from people and I think she will treasure the lovely book we found.
We have heard that the Thursday car boot sale at Ford is worth going to - and we have hopes of travelling there tomorrow morning.
Since making the plans it has, of course, rained.
The weather forecast for tomorrow is not too bad - we'll have to see at 6 o'clock when the alarm rings.
Goodnight for now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


19th August. More golden wonders

Another lazy day for us armchair sports enthusiasts.
We have admired and enjoyed the efforts of folk out in China - lots of British performances to be pleased about.
But honestly I do care about the exploits of sports people from all lands - the Russian pole vaulting woman is a joy to watch.
And Bill, of course, finds the female beach volley ball competitors a real treat!
Having connections with track and field I have enjoyed all sorts of competitions and was delighted today that "our" athlete won a gold medal in the women's 400metres.
And I loved the silver medal for the men's high jump for the guy nobody seems to have heard of - I have forgotten his name already! Somebody who scraped through under the media network without being noticed - congratulations to him on both successes!
I like high jump competitions. The competitors (as in pole vault) have to accept that every time they compete they will end on a failure; so they have to learn that failures can be very much a part of life.

And through the wonders of worldwide computing, I almost feel like I have been watching the athletics WITH Jamie today, just as in the old days. We have been commenting back and forth on what we have been watching.

I have had my hair cut today - it is a bit shorter than in the past. Now that I don't have a round chubby face I think I can cope better with with shorter hair.
Perhaps Bill can take a photo tomorrow.

Tomorrow we will go to Dorking to check out the shelves at the shop - and to collect our money. I have heard from Jo today that Stephen who runs the shop has now negotiated a new 3 year contract for the lease of the shop; so we don't have to worry about an abrupt closure in November. It will be our choice if and when we decide it is not working for us - but it rather looks like we will be happy to stay for a lot longer yet.

That's all for this evening.

Monday, August 18, 2008


18th August Monday routines and bothers.

Firstly back to yesterday - well, actually back to 24th July.
This was the day cousin Celia and Ian slipped up to Gretna Green for a night to be married.
Their wedding was everything they hoped for.
Apart, that is, from the planned fish and chip supper at Carnforth Station had to be abandoned. This station was where the film Brief Encounter was filmed - but by the time Celia and Ian got there the Brief Encounter cafe was closed.
The third picture of Celia and Ian was taken yesterday.

Even if you don't know this couple I am sure you will agree that a joyful relaxed contentment shines through.
Today began for us in the wee small ours - with the emphasis, regretfully on "wee"!
It happens so rarely - but the middle of the night required an urgent bag change, shower and a complete change of all bed linen and duvet! Not fun.
We made a cup of tea and listened to the radio for a while as the Chinese athletic drama began to unfold. Was he going to run?
Liu Xiang is bigger in China than perhaps even our own top footballers - David Beckham for example.
He was the reigning Olympic champion in the 110metre hurdles and it seems the Chinese people were banking on him achieving the same again.
Poor guy!
Assuming the injury was genuine (and I think it was) then it came at the right time for him - just in time to save him from being beaten, which I rather suspect he would have been. Though a medal was on the cards.
The stunned silence and emotions of the Chinese people was spectacular as we listened in the middle of our night.
Apparently one of their reporters broke down in tears.
At 9 o'clock I was with Lesley the practice nurse for my second B12 jab. I have known her for years. How nice to receive her admiration - "I don't know how you carry on" she commented.
I was back home to deal with EBay sales - the first for about 3 weeks. It took me a few minutes to pick up my normal routine. A map that we had got in a box of maps sold for almost £8, which was a good surprise.
This afternoon parcels were posted.
I arranged for a hair cut tomorrow. I think I want the layers put back in, having told Rob that I wanted to grow them out.
Then we went to Lidls for a bulk buy of the sorts of things we get there.
The evening feels kind of sad. It is so obvious now that the evenings are drawing in - darker just that little bit earlier each evening now. And of course it looks so gloomy anyway.
I am not sure that I have really noticed the summer very much - and now I notice that it is over!
Time for a drink and early night - if I can drag myself away from Cradle of Persia. I have got to a round that is impossible!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


17th August Family occasion.

First of all let me confess to an urge to be a Yngling Girl!
It sounds like a lightweight novel from the 1920s about a fun group of flappers.
In fact the Yngling girls are yachtswomen who today won an Olympic gold medal. The 3 British lasses have names - but collectively they are the Yngling Girls, for that is the class of yacht which they successfully sailed.
And there were more golds and other medals for GB today. This is our best Olympics for nigh on a century.
It seems we excell at the sports you can sit down to compete in!

The morning took us to Pease Pottage - which was not greatly enthralling. I have come home with odds and ends and some older style Royal Doulton Bunnykins pieces.
And later I listed a whole load of relists onto EBay.

This afternoon saw us in a house, the like of which I have often wondered about.
The village of Lindfield is really very attractive and I would muse on the folks
who might live along the lovely High Street.
We spent the afternoon at the present home of Bill's cousin Celia's daughter, Tracey, on Lindfield High Street.
Tracey organised a party for Celia and Ian, recently married.
We knew very few of the people - who ranged from Ian's fellow railway enthusiasts at The Bluebell Railway to the beautiful teenage offspring and their friends.
Friendly men discussed the purchase of a 3 wheeled Scammell and long legged beauties in short skirts stirred their souls - and memories!
Above all Celia and Ian were loving to all and each other.
It was a delight to drop in on a corner of the family we know little about and form some impressions and feel that bond of kinship shared between us.
I will put some pictures of Celia and Ian on here tomorrow.
But tonight I feel tired.
Tomorrow I am back at 9 o'clock to see the nurse for my next B12 injection.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


16th August Fastest man on earth

Well - 10.69!
Sorry - most people won't know what I am talking about or why I am excited by it.
It has been a good day for Olympics watching.
There have been gold medals for Great Britain - in the water, on the water and on those bikes.
And there have been world records for a couple of them, which I hope are not forgotten as these less media exploited sports fade back into some sort of obscurity.
And there has been the event considered to be the premier one amongst track and field athletes, to discover the fastest man on earth.
I look back down the years to a time when no man could run 100 metres in under 10 seconds.
There was such excitement when, with electric timing a runner could be credited with 9.99.
I think maybe the first time I saw a sub 10 second 100 metres would have been at Crystal palace and would have been Calvin Smith of Carl Lewis. That would have been early 1970's.
There are still actually very few who can achieve it - but numbers are growing and the times are coming down.
We actually heard the commentary of today's race on the radio in the car.
Over in a flash of course - Usain Bolt of Jamaica was the winner. I gasped in disbelief when I heard 9.69.
Later I saw the recording of the race and gasped again at the ease and margin of his win.
Twenty years ago I remember watching the Olympic 100 metres in a house in York with Jamie. We turned to each other and asked ourselves "What's he on?" It didn't take long for the news to come through about just what Ben Johnson was on. There have been others since then of course - seemingly nice people led astray by the lure of success and money.
But we are led to believe that Usain Bolt runs purely on talent and training. He says he has had so many blood tests recently that he feared he would be short of blood in his veins.

Today these athletes have reached important pinnacles in their lives as we have plodded on with our normal routines.
Two car boot sales today and not very much to show for it.
We have bought clothes again. I must eject unworn items from my wardrobe which is too full of things right now.
Bill has some more model soldiers.
I have, amongst other things a Diamond Jubilee plate for Queen Victoria.

Thankfully it hasn't rained at all today.
I wonder how it will be in the morning.
We won't go far for we have to be back to change into glad rags for a family party to celebrate Bill's cousin Celia's recent wedding.

Right time for a drink and to watch the results of the choir competition. It is getting hard to choose a favourite now - but sorry men of Bath - I think your time is up.

Friday, August 15, 2008


15th August Looking to future treats.

This has been a lazy day - Olympics watching and game playing, and some ironing done.
I am finding myself drawn to our cyclists. They seem to turn their hand to a variety of types of bike racing and get on with it without a moan or complaint.
But then they keep doing well.
Our track and field athletes have more than self belief - its a sort of arrogance. They seem to feel that by being amongst the top 3 in the country and benefit from a good life from lottery funding that they have made it. I am not suggesting that don't train hard, but maybe it is mis directed. And then when they don't quite reach the dizzy heights they feel is their right they are full of excuses.
I don't feel really proud to be associated with them like I used to when it was not all about money.
Still for poor attitude - how about one of our judo competitors who was relieved to be knocked out in the first round because he had had enough of the training.
Nevertheless I am still hooked on all the competition.

The main things achieved today have been to sort out some weeks in the future.
We will go to Ashley's mid September.
We have booked a cottage on the Isle of Wight, which was not too dear!
It is Honeysuckle Cottage in Niton, which is at the south of the island.
That will be the week 18th to 25th October.
And we have booked our flights to go to Thailand next May. This is the time when Jamie can take time off work to entertain us.
We are flying Eva Airways this time - no, I had not heard of them either!
But the guy at Dial a Flight uses them regularly.
We fly off on May 6th.

I am yawning away. I will go to bed soon and try to spring back into my normal world tomorrow
Buying for me at car boot sales (rather than Ekatarina) and getting some more things listed on EBay.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


14th August Celebration meal

Today I feel lucky.

First of all I have had the best husband in the world for 43 years now - well, no doubt all the women reading this might claim they also have known the best husband of course. But truly Bill is a wonder.
We claimed today that we are fortunate to have been able to experience 3 miracles - we are still together and the two of us are still alive!
We glanced at the watch at about 3 o'clock to recall that we were greeting each other at the altar of Ifield church 43 years ago.
Today at that moment we were just walking away from a Thai restaurant in Haywards Heath.
We had shared a meal with a group of the Rocking Horse Old Contemptibles, as Bill referred to us all.
It was always hoped that we would regularly meet up - and today was the first time since the shop closed.
It was good to have an occasion to celebrate our special day with friends.
The River Thai does a good basic Thai lunch time menu - 2 courses for £6.50 (hardly more than it would cost in Thailand really).
As soon as I lifted the first spoonful of Tom Yung to my lips I was transported to warmth and sunshine. It was a wonderful starter - heavenly.
And for a while there was sunshine this afternoon in England.
I should think so - this summer has been far from summery apart from just a few days of heat.
I followed it with green Thai curry and rice.
Bill had Thai fishcakes for a starter with lovely sauce and carved carrot followed by Pad Thai - noodles with prawns and things.
And just now Bill is looking at websites to sort out the best and cheapest route for our trip there next year. I think we may well contact Dial a Flight who have sorted out good deals for us in the past.
And I have been lucky in other ways today.
This morning I started the course of B12 injections. I shall have 2 more next week.
The doctor has also prescribed soluble calcium with Vitamin D which I will start tomorrow - yet another nasty drink to be swallowed down twice a day.
But how fortunate I am that all these things are being done for me.
This afternoon I had an appointment with yet another doctor - who just wanted to know the details of the car accident and what had happened to me.
Who knows - this might bring some financial benefits.
It could be enough for flights to Thailand - or enough for another Thai meal in Haywards Heath.

Tomorrow I must get some work done - I am totally addicted to Cradle of Persia! That's the computer game we were all playing whilst Ashley and Ekatarina were with us.
I am now a magician!
But I must leave it alone and make a drink before bedtime.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


13th August. Gatwick memories and holidays

I feel weary tonight and a bit shivery - I do hope Ashley has not left me with the cold he collected here and took back to Bangor.

This afternoon we went to The Hawth (theatre) to see an exhibition marking the 80th anniversary of Gatwick Airport. It has come a long way since the stylish terminal building of that date (the beehive) was the centre of activities. Now there are 2 terminals and thousands of passengers everyday.

And I guess the quality of service was better 80 years ago - not that we have had problems there - but poor Boris Johnson did at the weekend.
The Mayor of London criticised staff shortages in the arrival hall, claiming airport authorities had a "chimpanzee-like" control over luggage handlers and that the service was worse than that of many Third World countries.

We spent quite a while at the exhibition, chatting. I discovered just why Dad obviously felt he couldn't get involved with the Museum Society.
At the helm had been a woman who would not allow anybody to be anything but one of her minions, who also according to Janet Roskilly was also nasty and vicious and secretive.
She has now moved back to Essex.
We have stuff in the loft for the museum and maybe at last we will get it handed over.
Who knows what might come from this stroll through Gatwick memories.
The museum, without this woman, now has the local council on side and a new building is envisaged at Tilgate and a full time professional curator employed.
We have also been looking at self catering holidays on the Isle of Wight in October. I have a whole bundle of possibilities in Favourites to be sorted later.
This evening we shopped for food - not too much is needed actually.
Perhaps I should give up eating! I often feel rough after it!
The almost full moon was peeping over the clouds as we drove home.
The light evenings are shortening daily.
I shall now watch the first of the new series of Who Do You Think You Are - the programmes that looks at a celebrity family history.
I shall more than likely fall asleep.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


12th August The house feels empty tonight

So quiet tonight!
Life returns to its old normality too quickly - though Harry the cat is feeling much relieved.
It has been hard work of course, but I love that opportunity to be a mother once again, putting my needs on hold and making sure that the family runs happily for everybody.
I have felt at a bit of loss all day, not having a little girl's needs to think about.
I could say I have wasted the day, but I prefer to think that I have given my body a chance for rest and relaxation. I do feel much more ready now for action.

Before Ekatarina got ready for the journey there was the decision to make about what to wear for the day.
She tried on both the dresses that I bought on Sunday at a car boot sale - that had originally come from up-market Monsoon.
They are both so lovely.

The pinky one was chosen - not because it was pink, but because it is slightly less long.
The skirt is really full - fit for a princess!

Then we checked out the grass head person that was made at Godstone farm almost 2 weeks ago.
It was in need of a bit of a hair cut and Ecky trimmed the grass with a pair of scissors.
It is sitting outside on the kitchen window sill.
Instead of a grandaughter I have it to remind me of all the good memories.
Ekatarina was floating about in the dress and then asked if she could dance for me before she left.
Quickly - find some ballet music from The Nutcracker.
So our last moments together this holiday were of The Dance of the Flowers and a beautiful dance.
Bill grabbed the camera and snapped away.

Life is like a book - one chapter follows another and takes us to new places.
Today we all have to move on.
I really think our lovely Ecky will enjoy the pictures today. It is good to know that she reads the blog.
But I have also sent an Email.
And I really miss Ashley too. I have sensed maybe some more contentment within him - though no doubt he would deny it!
Goodnight Ecky! Goodnight Ashley! Goodnight everybody!

Monday, August 11, 2008


11th August Holmbush Farm

Today I took Ekatarina to Holmbush Farm, which Ecky had good memories of from a trip there 2 years ago.
It is an ideal day out for children up to about the age of 7 or 8.
There are animals and lots of areas for playing.
There are opportunities to handle some of the smaller animals and most of them tolerated being petted.

We began the day looking at the animals.

This creature was so soft. Is it a goat? Or is it a sheep?
I guess it is a goat.
Afterwards both Ecky and I agreed that the labelling of things could be better.

Ekatarina loves horses.

We were impressed by the peacock.

And of course rabbits are so cute.
But playing is far more important to a 7 year old.

This huge piece of wood has been carved and polished and is just right for fantasy adventures.

The bales of straw are good for climbing and then jumping down again.

You can't have a farm without a tractor!

Amongst the play features was an area with huts depicting places one might see in the wild west.

This criminal had robbed the bank.
There was much creative play in this area and a lot of playing in the sand too.

This area was just exciting to climb round.
Ekatarina called this "Leaving the Attic".

And so another Ekatarina summer holiday is drawing to a close. Tomorrow Ashley and Ecky return to Bangor. I have read chapters of the Stardust Spirits book for the last time.
Tomorrow it will feel strange not to be thinking of a little girl's wants and needs the whole day through.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


10th August. Bargains of the day.

The sun was shining at half past six this morning.
We decided that the car boot sale at Pease Pottage would most certainly be cancelled and so we went to Dorking and Horley.
We were actually mistaken - but one of our number definitely did not regret our decision.
Ekatarina has had another good car boot day.

In Dorking Ashley and Ecky found the very item that she had asked for last Christmas. It cost a lot from a shop and she had to go without - this morning it was found for £3.
It is a Polly Pocket ship with masses of accessories.
Later I added a magnetic Polly Pocket set - where the clothes are fixed with little magnets.
There were more books of course and other odds and ends, including a vast pile of Tracy Beaker magazines. Tracy Beaker is one of Ecky's favourite book characters at the moment and it is also now a TV series.

Sorting out the ship and the girls on board.

Lunch - with no time to turn away from Tracy Beaker magazines.
Ekatarina was fully absorbed and didn't really want another car boot sale, so Grandad stayed home with her and Ashley and I went alone to Blindley Heath.
We came back fully laden.
And I bought Ashley a coat - a brand new (with tags) leather coat with fleecy lining. The bargain of the day said that stall holder when he lowered the price to £10. I guess he was justified in the opinion.
But we knew better!
I bought very little for me. But Bill is pleased with a book about a little wartime airfield at Horne, which I had never heard of.
When we got back, Ekatarina had explored every item of accessory that came with the Polly Pocket ship.
The room was filled with memories of 2 small boys who managed to strew the floor from wall to wall with their playthings.
Though pink plastic Polly Pocket items had not been thought of then - and pink was never their choice of colour.

Bed time and Ekatarina proudly displays her feathery dream catcher.
I was yawning as I read another couple of chapters of the Stardust Spirits book - I am ready for bed too.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


9th August. Rain rain go away.

Rain, rain go away!

Well actually it wasn't raining first thing and we went to the boot sale at Faygate.
Ekatarina is learning - don't buy the first things you see that you might want because the same things could be cheaper on another stall. So, we turned down 50p paperbacks and later bought loads more for her at 25p or less.
The plan was to go to the boot sale later at Edenbridge, and I really didn't quite believe people I heard saying that there would be rain by midday.
But they were right.
Since then it has been one of those oh so miserable days with lots of rain and dark atmosphere.

We had already arranged to go and see Jenny, Ruth, Dede and Felix for a while. And that we could do - but the trip to the playground had to be cancelled.
I think Ekatarina learned why Harry the cat has been so very wary of her. She had the same feelings about Felix - a child is so unpredictable!
In fact Harry must have been so fed up with the weather that he has actually been in the same room as Ecky this evening - on the same sofa even!

The pictures below are all snapshots taken whilst introducing Ekatarina to her second cousin - Felix.

Here Felix was wanting to be gentle and enjoyed stroking Ekatarina's skirt.

Now she is not sure what he might be up to.

Felix might have been fascinated by Ekatarina's glasses. He was soon strutting in a pair of Dede's sunglasses.

Cuddle time!

Dede is actually showing Felix pages in a book about a new baby - it won't be long before Felix experiences a new brother in the family; less than a month to go now.
And that was Saturday - along with reading and TV viewing and watching a video of Harry Potter 2.
It might not be raining in the morning, but boot sales in the fields will be off that's for sure. We plan to go to Dorking and Horley - maybe.

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