Tuesday, September 30, 2008


30th Sept. Bangor Mountain and Tuesday rain.

It was 9 days ago now that we climbed Bangor Mountain and enjoyed the view on a wonderful, sunny autumn morning.

This is a telephoto shot across the Menai Strait, overlooking the jetty in Bangor.
The town seen on Anglesey is Beaumaris. and beyond is the headland and Puffin Island.

This is a similar view, but takes in Lower Bangor - or Hirael as it is known. Orme Road is down there - the long straight road leading down to the water.

This is a shot looking towards Upper Bangor.
There is a tiny church down there on the right hand side - it is Bangor Cathedral. Click on the picture to see more details.

Bill enjoys the view.

From a little further on we could see, through the haze the first mountains of Snowdonia.
Bill made a little film of the view from the top. I will ask Jamie how to get this on the blog.
He can do it - did you see the recent film of John being a pop singer?
Nine days later it is raining again. Here it is grey and drear and wet. I believe Bangor has had a couple of days of heavy rain.
The only trip out today was to the post office.
We have listed 31 items on EBay today. And in 10 days time we look forward to sending them off to new homes - if they get bidders.
Things don't always need bidders. One of the books I posted today was unsold last week and somebody contacted to ask if I still had it.
Oh I must tell you of a feedback I got this week.....
Very personalized transaction, just like old fashioned good service,excellent.
Somebody has really appreciated the way I want to do EBay.
This morning Bill's sister Jane and her husband Geoff came round. They had been to see Mr Swinn - my wonderful surgeon at the East Surrey Hospital.
Jane has a problem which can be sorted by Mr. Swinn under a general anaesthetic.
She told Mr Swinn that she had had very good reports of his work and he asked who had been talking. She replied "Mrs Monk" - and he was quick to remember "Paula" and to know how well I am doing. He said I was a "lovely patient".
If only everybody could get treatment like I had.
Jo's daughter has been in the same hospital and met uncaring nurses.
The worst example of this was when, as a bed ridden patient, she dropped something on the floor. When a nurse came by she told of the thing on the floor and the nurse shrugged and said the cleaner would pick it up in the morning!!!!
I hate to hear of such things.
Anyway Jane is in good hands.
I hope all her other treatments go as well.
She will be in for investigations to her throat in a couple of weeks and later on her knee will be "done".
She is also severely diabetic and has something called Hughes Syndrome.
Right - I am doing this before we eat our evening meal - the third day of the chicken I roasted on Sunday. This time it is in a basil, coriander and coconut sauce which is a favourite.
There may be enough over for tomorrow too.
I must sort out plates and cutlery now.

Monday, September 29, 2008


29th Sept. Orme Road and Brighton Road news.

Orme Road......home to Ashley, Liz and Ekatarina.
It is also home for many students these days. When the houses were first built they were for the workers in the slate mines.
I have just been exploring the interweb and found tales of a fisherman ghost in Orme Road! I wonder if he still is in residence.
There is a Welsh name of course - but I forget it.

The Welsh Monkland home is at the lower end of the road, just a short distance from the shore of the Menai Strait, with Anglesey beyond.

This picture was taken from a great distance - the top of Bangor Mountain (more pictures from there tomorrow). Their house is under the 4th chimney from the right and facing us.

The post box at the top end of the road. There used to be a post office there too. But that has closed. Ashley then had to walk to the central post office - but that has closed too. The main post office is actually now situated in W H Smiths!
But there is a small branch in Upper Bangor fairly close to Ecky's school.

Now for some pictures within the Orme Road house.

On Sunday afternoon we went to a North Wales marvel - Home Bargains. This is a shop with things about half the price of anywhere round here.
Ekatarina saw the pink canopy and at £3.99 it was such a bargain that it was bought for her.

Here is Ekatarina in her school clothes.

And I quickly snatched a picture of Liz with her new hair colour. She had spent much of the weekend with a friend working on the deep blues and greens.
That was a week ago.
Today in Crawley we have been working mostly on EBay describing.
I have calculated that tomorrow would be about the last day for listing - in order to give even the slower payers time to pay up before we go away for our week on the Isle of Wight.
I still have about a dozen more items to describe tomorrow morning.
We have been to see Bill Clinton twice today.
I woke up to see on the calendar that I had a dental appointment today - just routine.
But Bill had broken a tooth yesterday, so he came with me to arrange an appointment. He went back at the end of the afternoon and actually had 2 teeth repaired.
I see that Who Do You Think You Are is on at 9 o'clock. I guess there is a football match being televised on Wednesday instead. Anyway, I will make a cuppa and see who is on this week and see if I can stay awake for the whole programme.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


28th Sept. Sunday sales.

The day has been full.
I haven't had much spare time for sorting photos to share with you today - so our walk on Bangor Mountain can wait until tomorrow.

The first 3 hours of the day were shrouded in fog and its cold clamminess wrapped itself around us.
Shame then, really, that these were the hours we were out and about.
The sun broke through as we drove home.

We stopped first at the sale in the Dorking Station car park. I bought a few books that we hope Ed will be interested in.
"Ed" is our code word for EBay - we can't stand in front of stall holders and discuss if we think an item is worth putting on EBay; so we just wonder if Ed would like it.

Then we went on to the boot sale at Hook - a large sale which we have always thought of as good. But today it was rather disappointing. Bill bought nothing. But perhaps he was just struggling with the cold - the temperature and the cold that is lurking in his body.

I bought a few bits for the shop. I commented to one stall holder, where I bought a good cloud glass vase that it hadn't been very good and she had heard this from her husband too, who had been looking round.

It would have been fine if you wanted clothes and toys for children.

I bought some track suit bottoms and a pair of sandals.

The best buy was a badge - a blazer badge. We think the pocket of the blazer had been taken off and it had been framed .
It is a badge that a British somebody wore at some point during the Winter Olympics of 1956. Perhaps it was worn during the opening ceremony.

I really like having something so personal and individual.
The frame needs cleaning up, so Bill just scanned the badge for me.

I have written up all the weekend's purchases and they are safely stowed in the garage.

I have described and listed 6 more books on EBay and dealt with 3 things which sold today.

Today we had roast chicken and roast butternut squash - but not roast potatoes. I have been much wiser now for the last 36 hours where my eating is concerned and already I feel a lot better.
The bubbling cauldron that was my gut has subsided a lot now.
Goodnight, with thoughts of Dad who would have celebrated his birthday today.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


27th Sept. Last Saturday Menai Bridge; today at the sales.

Last Saturday we walked from Church Island to walk underneath the Menai Bridge, which is the old road bridge which joins the mainland of Wales with Anglesey.
I read that the building of the bridge cut the journey time from London to Holyhead from 36 hours to 27 - that would be actual travelling time for there would have needed to be overnight stops on the way. We can do it now in 6 hours.

Information below is taken from Wikipedia. I doubt that the links work - but then anybody can read Wikipedia or other sites without my help.

Oh yes they do!

The strait is bridged in two places - the main A5 road is carried over the strait by Thomas Telford's elegant iron suspension bridge, the first of its kind, opened in January 1826, and adjacent to this is Robert Stephenson's 1850 Britannia Tubular Bridge. Originally this carried rail traffic in two wrought-iron rectangular box spans, but after a disastrous fire in 1970, which left only the limestone pillars remaining, it was rebuilt as a steel box girder bridge.

First we have 2 pictures of Britannia Bridge, taken from Church island.

Then we got closer to the Menai Bridge.

The water flows fast as the tide rushes through the Strait from the Irish Sea.
This Saturday started with dense fog and a damp feeling. We went to Faygate, where I got into conflict with Terence Stamp! Well, no - it was not really the British film star; but Barry has always reminded me a bit of the moody, brooding, handsome Terence Stamp.
I bent down and picked up some football year books from the 1930s and before I could pick up the rest - "Terence" had scooped them up into his arms. This put the seller in a quandary because he had intended to sell them all together.
I waited.
Then my rival decided he wouldn't fork out money on the lot he had - for these were all post war books. He wanted the ones I had!
But I didn't really want the later ones either actually. But in fairness to the stall holder I had them.
Now all I have to do is make a profit - and having looked at eBay, I am not sure if I will.
By mid morning the sun had come out and we had a bright autumn day.
We drove over to Edenbridge. But my mind was on my gut! Silly me! I have been told that I don't have coeliac disease (caused by the gluten in wheat), though the endocrinologist agreed that I could have an intolerance which can't be measured.
Anyway I decided that my insistence on a wheat free diet was perhaps silly and unnecessary.
I can get away with small amounts - but in the last 10 days I have eaten wheat products most days (though no bread).
The pain has been getting worse and worse and today has been close to intolerable.
So - back to the strict anti wheat regime, whether it is a measurable problem or not.
I found it hard to concentrate on buying and found very little.
Bill got more things of interest, including an Edwardian decanter.
We are both slanting our buying more towards the Dorking clientele - Dorking customers are just not ready really for the kitsch, but fashionable 1950's designs.
So - I will have more pretty things from the early part of the 20th century.
I look forward to getting our new items in the shop.
Right, I must cook some dinner now.
Rice noodles for me today!
I'll save the roast chicken for tomorrow when maybe I will feel more like it.

Friday, September 26, 2008


26th Sept. Last Saturday on Anglesey and today at home.

Last Saturday we walked across the causeway to Ynys Tysilio - St. Tysilio's Island. St. T was a 6th century Welsh saint who lived as hermit on the island.
The present church was built in the 1400s.

But before we set off, Ekatarina enjoyed some more of a Jacqueline Wilson book in the sunshine just outside the front door.

We drove over Menai Bridge - only about 3 miles from Bangor - and parked on the Anglesey side.

You can see Menai Bridge from the churchyard. Tomorrow there will be some bridge pictures.
Today we have a selection of Bill's and my church photographs. Click on any you might like to see enlarged.

This grave stone is inside the church. How wonderful that this tiny child who lived his short life over 300 years ago should become part of our lives for a moment.

Bill enjoyed creating the illusion of this being an old photograph through the old wooden doorway of the church.

The war memorial on the highest point of the island.

That was last Saturday morning.
Today at home has been a working day.
We went and did the week's shopping before breakfast.
I have ironed and Bill has cut the lawns.
I described 6 more things for Ebay - some souvenir china, including a small teapot depicting Weston super mare pier, which so recently was ravaged by fire.
We have walked to the post office in the sunshine to post parcels.
This evening we will attend a meeting for athletics officials. There are a number of grumbles which need to be aired.
Maybe I will add a few lines later.
It was good to meet up with friends and colleagues at the athetics officials meeting.
It is clear that UK Athletics is aiming to put officials on a more professional status - which is daft since almost all the people we know are quietly doing their bit as a hobby.
Officials are all graded according to their knowledge and experience and skills.
We passed written and practical exams to be near the top of the ladder.
But now there are more things expected of us - more courses and a willingness to be called upon to do more meetings.
And more money from our pockets to pay for all this.
If we don't comply then our grading levels will be "realigned" - down graded in other words.
There seems to be a general feeling amongst many that they can just downgrade all of us.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


25th Sept. Then and now. Last Friday and today.

For the next few days my evening rambling will be divided into two parts.
I shall be sharing some of the photos we took whilst in Wales last week and of course sharing a little of our days here at home.

On our way to Ashley's in Bangor, we stopped at the OK American diner.
This is just outside Chester on the A55.
It is a fast food joint, but it has some novelty value and provides good value eating.
Bill has a wrap filled with scrambled egg, bacon and mushrooms and some chips.
There are posters on the walls showing rock stars of the 1950's and also those connected with 1950's cars.

It is all chrome and glass - typical "modern" look for the 1950's.
In Bangor we were greeted by Ekatarina, feeling very snuffly with a cold. She had not been to school for a couple of days.
She was happy to see us - and very happy to be re-united with the Polly Pocket cruise ship.
You can't see it clearly because of course the ship has been opened up to reveal cabins, eating places and swimming pools.
That was last Friday.
Today we have been in Dorking.
On entering the shop we glanced a bit gloomily at our shelves - where were all the spaces? But in fact we had sold more than we had realised.
On doing the accounts at the end of today I can announce that the September profits more than cover the rent, with almost a week to go. So, we are being successful enough.
We both sold items today.
I went out first thing to post parcels. Later both Bill and I went out for a stroll.
Jill is happy to be left alone.
In fact I think Jill wishes, almost believes, that Pilgrims is her shop. She has been there the longest and has experienced a number of different people running it. She is a lovely lady - just as long as we remember who is "boss".
I did feel a bit bruised once when she inferred that I, as a new girl, wouldn't be able to sort out all the things she would know - and she left her mobile phone number when she went out.
I did remind her that I had been in a number of shops in the business for many years now and knew my way around the trade, though of course there is still much to learn about Pilgrims and Dorking ways.
But apart from that we can have a laugh.
Bill bought in a ship's clock and some early letter weighing scales from somebody who came in.
I shall make a much needed drink soon and try to watch some TV.
Its not difficult to watch TV of course - just hard to stay awake. I think I saw only 10 minutes of Who Do You Think You Are last evening.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


24th Sept. Cold day

Tired! There - that's summed up my day.
Weather was not so good - lots of murky drizzle. But the washing did dry reasonably well out on the line. It has felt cold.
The boss of the kitchen company came this morning to do a complete measuring up before ordering the units we have chosen.
Frieda popped round before lunch - interrupting my Boggle game with Roger and Sue.
I worry a little that she she is not up to cat feeding duties. But we can't take the job away from her because she would be so hurt.
The biggest worry is that she has still not mastered locking our back door. It wasn't locked when we arrived home last night.
Its not difficult - lift the handle and then lock. I think she just lifted the handle.
This afternoon I have been wrapping and invoicing - and almost all buyers from today have paid.
Today's sales were of books that have been listed before - a bonus when those sell.
I am about to watch Who Do You Think You Are - but have a feeling I shall doze off before the end of the programme.
I had hoped to have some Welsh photos on the blog tonight, but they are not quite ready. Bill is dealing with all his and mine.
Bill is beginning to feel the presence of that gift from Ekatarina - a cold! Never mind, she is already feeling much better and so will Bill before long.
The trouble is we all know that a cold is very minor but it doesn't stop you feeling rotten for a couple of days.
So - please stay away from me cold bug. Some hope!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


23rd Sept. The trip to Wales is over.

Back home again.
We drove Ecky up to school again this morning.
Then went back to Ashley's to pack the car up.
We left at about half past ten.
I felt I had been more relaxed than sometimes; maybe Liz's choice to stay away for much of the time was somewhat helpful for both her and us.
But I always leave wondering if we should go and disrupt their routine with a visit. Maybe we should stay with Pete and Jean instead.
I love sharing experiences with Ekatarina and she certainly seems to be happy. The days of childhood are not long and one day she will not want a grandma around so much, so I am happy to give my attention for the few days in the year that we have.
I do think Ashley appreciates having us around - or why would he come to visit whenever he has a free week?
Sorry - just musing and rambling.
I guess I am feeling tired now.
Our journey home was interrupted by a lovely long lunch with John and Sheila, who have a farm in North Wales close to Wrexham. We met over 10 years ago alongside the lake in Slovenia and Sheila and I haven't stopped talking since - though it is hard to get a word in edge ways with Sheila!
Lovely people.
We got home about half past eight. We have unpacked the car and put everything away - much easier to get that done this evening, for it has to be done some time anyway.
We have a kitchen fitter coming in the morning to do a measure up. Though no work will actually be started till the middle of November.

Monday, September 22, 2008


22nd Sept. Flickering Flames

Time has passed and we have had a good day, but I fear there is little energy to write much now for it is getting late.
This evening we have sat in the Chamber of the Flickering Flames.
This is the name Ecky and I gave to the living room bathed in candlelight for nearly 3 hours during a power cut.
There have been word games and amusing poems and songs from Ashley.
Ecky and I went off on a few adventures with our torches as the young girl and the old crone - only in the house of course. It has become quite chilly outdoors this evening.

The day though gave us enough warmth to sit outdoors for our lunch.
We went to a cafe - styled as a bistro (so therefore more expensive!) in a beautiful setting over looking the wide sandy bay under the cliffs at Llanbedrog.
We enjoyed a very pleasant time with Pete and Jean.
We even went mad and ordered 2 huge sundaes to share between the 4 of us. I kept clear of the whipped cream, but did use my long spoon to delve into the ice cream and apricots.

Right, I must drink the cup of tea that Bill has already made for me - so frustrating not to be able to put the kettle on and make a cuppa during the power cut.
It was obvious that many of the students who rent houses in these parts, abandoned home and went into town for the warmth and cheer of one of the pubs.

Tomorrow we head for home again - calling in on friends John and Sheila for lunch.


Sunday, September 21, 2008


21st Sept. Bangor Mountain.

21st Sept. Bangor Mountain.

What a beautiful morning! Sunshine and crisp air.

First thing this morning we went back to the boot sale on the outskirts of town. Ecky now has more Beanie Babies and I have a few more things to sell.It was pleasant to browse and chat to people.

Despite Ashley feeling a bit wretched with his cold and Ecky still feeling run down after hers, we decided that we would like a walk.We climbed up Bangor Mountain, which is not truly a mountain in fact.The town of Bangor is spread along a valley. The old university building and Roman Camp are on the west side and Bangor Mountain is the high ground on the east side.The road from the bottom of the town to to the top is quite a hill. Ashley and Ekatarina walk up and down to school each day.It was a steep climb up from the High Street through the wooded slopes. At the top there are open spaces with commanding views from rocky outcrops over the town.We could look down upon Orme Road and Ashley's house and across the Menai Strait to Anglesey and Puffin island.We could see the university and the cathedral, looking small down there tucked amongst the shops.From another point we could look across to the mountains of Snowdonia.We came down to a point much nearer the top of the High Street, which we strolled down and back to home.

After lunch Liz came back from her couple of days with her work friend, who has been colouring her hair.We must get a photo.Her curly hair is now deep blue, almost indigo - with a lighter streak at the front.

One of the bargain shops which are springing up in these parts has opened up at the old Kwik-Save at the top of the town.How do they do it? And if it is feasible to be so cheap, then why don't all stores do it?Bill and I walked round, gasping at all the things that were about half the price we can get things at home. Our trolley was filled quite rapidly with basic essentials and a few impulse buys. Basics like toothpaste, denture fixative, kitchen cleaning things, rice cakes etc etc. As these things were obviously due to be used we packed in enough perhaps to keep us going until our next visit..
Well, not rice cakes because I get through a lot of those.

One of the things Ashley bought was a pink net canopy for a young girl's bed. It has butterflies scattered over it. Ecky had always wanted one and it was just £3.99.Since then Bill has fitted it up and she has snuggled down into bed, cocooned in her pink butterfly world.I think Ashley and Liz both need early nights - so I am sure we will be in bed early too.Goodnight.

Friday, September 19, 2008


20th Sept. Menai Bridge and church on the island

It was a crisp autumn morning.
Ecky pleaded to stay at home. She really wanted to play more with the Polly Pocket cruise ship. So, Bill stayed at home whilst Ashley and I went to see what the new car boot sale had to offer.
This is its second week and had attracted a fair number of stalls and I came home with books and a couple of 1950s items.
It is on again tomorrow morning.

Later we had to exert a lot of pressure on Ecky to get her out for a while. She has , of course, been feeling run down with a cold..... and there are toys which we brought with us yesterday.

But finally she agreed to a walk in the fresh air. Immediately we were in a world of where the fairies might be living and she was very happy.

Our destination was close to Bangor - the little old church on the island close to the Menai Bridge. This land becomes an island with a causeway across to it at high tide.
We had all been there once before several years ago - Ekatarina was not walking then and was pushed around in the push chair.

The bridge is impressive from any angle you might see it. It was constructed in 1826.

Our walk around the "island" took us to the war memorial and past many gravestones.
I found myself in deep conversation with Ecky about re-incarnation.
She told me that she felt sure we had many lives.

Later we left the church and walked until we passed underneath the sweeping high arches of the bridge.
Very impressive and as full of history and spiritually uplifting thoughts as the church.

On the way home we called in at Morrisons for some food.
Lunch was, of course, Chinese. We finished the tasty selections we had picked yesterday evening.

I was determined to try and be helpful and so during the afternoon I "attacked" Ecky's bedroom.
I guess bargain hunters like our family would realise how easy it is to fill the house with things for almost no money. Ecky's room is no exception. She has masses of toys and books - with shelves of books all along the landing as well as in her bedroom.
I went through her clothes and managed to reject some which must be too small by now. But still I ought to go through her socks - she has more than one pair of feet need and many are probably too small.
Ecky is very loathe to part with things - even toys she hasn't played with all year.
But somehow I did manage to get to a point where most of her bed was clear and also the floor.
The bed is covered with at least 30 cuddly toys, many of which have featured in our games in Crawley and been bought at the Sussex car boot sales.

We took a lot upstairs that was cluttering up the living room too.
The dining table is half cleared now!

Bill went out and fixed up the new washing line and after washing up the lunch things did a certain amount of general cleaning.

We are now exhausted. Ashley has a sore throat.
We might be taking home a souvenir of this trip that we definitely don't want!

Ashley, Bill and Ekatarina are now watching the first part of the new series on BBC about the boyhood of Merlin.

Soon it will be bedtime for a young girl - can't call her a "little" girl any more. She is tall and full of opinions and ideas. But she will still crave being read to once in bed.



19th Sept. Friday in Bangor.

Friday evening in Bangor.

We left home at quarter past seven for what proved to be a very easy journey. We arrived in Orme Road just six and a quarter hours after leaving Crawley and that included a stop for some lunch - and a couple of loo stops.
The approach to Birmingham always gives us a subject to debate - whether to use the toll road or not.
Of course we would rather not, but there were just too many dire warnings from traffic reports about the state of the M5 as it joined the M6, with people stuck for well over half an hour, that we decided to treat ourselves to swooping round to the north of Birmingham in a completely hassle free zone.
We stopped for lunch at the OK Diner on the A55. It is based on an American type of 1950s diner, with posters relating to 1950s rock and roll and with such music playing gently in the background.
We had breakfast wraps, crammed full with scrambled egg, bacon and mushrooms and also treated ourselves to a plate of chips and some onion rings in beer batter.
Tasty and good value and a welcome relaxing break.
We arrived at Ashley's in plenty of time to drive to Ecky's school to pick her up - except that she didn't go to school today. She has snuffles and coughed all week and yesterday felt pretty wretched and it was probably sensible to have 2 days away from school.
We unloaded the car - full completely with boxes of things bought in the summer at the car boot sales.
Ecky was eager to get the Polly Pocket cruise ship out and soon it was on the floor, opened and ready for play.
I had a couple of the little dolls to dress and create characters for.
We invented a name for one of them after Ecky garbled the question "Who would you be?". My doll became Juby!
Later Ecky wanted to show me a computer game she is keen on called Escape from Paradise. At first I thought I would never understand - simple games for me! But once I got going I could move my characters around this island where they had been washed up. I was looking after each one's welfare and instructing them to build various items. Once the game has been completed you can decide for the characters if they stay on the Paradise Island or use their powers to escape back to the real world.
Food was simple this evening.
I was tired and didn't really fancy shopping.
So we had a huge Chinese take away which will last us 2 days at least.
Liz is not here at the moment. She is spending one night - or maybe 2 with a friend.
After food we had fun looking at a few You Tube bits - the scenes on the rooftops in Mary Poppins is a great favourite. Somebody has, for your enjoyment, got this backwards and it was very funny.
I took Ecky to bed, rather later than normal. I read the first chapter of a Jacqueline Wilson book that had been bought in the summer. It makes me realise that our Ecky is growing up fast. These books I would have said are aimed at children at least 4 years older than she is. They have very perceptive insights into family life - at least this first chapter did.
Right - same old ending whether at home or 300 miles from home - time for a cuppa and then get to bed.
We will be up early. A car boot sale has started on the outskirts of Bangor and we will be off to see if it has attracted many stalls thus far. At least the weather will be good enough.

There will be a few photos of this trip on the blog once we get home.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


18th Sept. Ready for new kitchen and ready for journey.

I have been quite deeply asleep.I saw the beginning of the news on TV - and 45 minutes later realised I had seen almost nothing.
Never mind I normally pick up the news and comment from the radio and Radio 5, which I listen to in bed.
This morning, Andrew, the kitchen man came.
He got his computer out and showed us pictures of our kitchen from many angles with a couple of different ideas.
Generally I would have been happy with the cheaper option.
I felt no pressure from Andrew - it was Bill who clearly thought that we might as well have new cupboards throughout.
There will be a couple of months before it can be done - time for us to go through cupboards and drawers to work out what we can live without.

And now we look ahead to the next few days.
Bags are packed and we aim to be on the road to Bangor bright and early.
I shall write a little blog each evening as usual from Ashley's computer.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


17th Sept. Doctor, baby, running.

Happily I have had some energy today and felt reasonably on top of things.
It has been busy.

First we attended the doctor's surgery. We both saw Dr Oliver, who has been through a really bad health time of his own. We compared notes and he and I were both grateful for superb care which has saved our lives - and of course it was he who started me onto the full diagnosis and solving of my problems.
My appointment was simple - just putting me on some different calcium and Vitamin D. Hopefully this brand will ease my digestive problems; and they certainly taste better - a bit like a lemon refresher, for those of you who know of these fizzy sherbety sweets.
Bill's appointment was more complicated and involved a personal examination.
The upshot of this is that he has an enlarged prostate - the old man's complaint! This afternoon he yet another blood test. It is most likely that the only treatment will be yet more tablets to take - finasteride. If the blood test shows any abnormalities there would be further tests.
I felt happy actually, that Bill had boldly gone to talk about the problem and that he was taken seriously and is being looked after.

Later we went to see Ruth and the new baby.
I don't know if he has a name yet. She and Dede were planning to register him this afternoon...... but did I detect some doubt about his name? Certainly they were still debating 2 choices.
When we arrived he had been fed and changed and for a short while had his eyes open and I enjoyed a cuddle and we had a time staring into each other's eyes. He is very beautiful.
But soon he nodded off in my arms and so we lay him down more comfortably.

This is not the best picture of me - but baby and I were sharing communication.

Baby looks a bit bewildered that I had looked away to pose for the camera.
This evening we had an easy meal. We have a cupboard full of various tins of things and I have a mission to get a lot of the stuff eaten before we need to empty things out when the new kitchen is fitted.
Andrew, the kitchen man, comes again tomorrow. I hope that he has a reasonable estimate to offer us.
We were just finishing our dinner when I gasped.
"Hey! We promised to be at the track this evening to time a 5,000 metres!"
We were not too late, but had to scurry round to get our bits ready.
It was very pleasant and we were happy to have helped at the club.
There were awards for this event presented by the father of a club lad who was killed in a car crash.
Time now to think about a cup of tea.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


16th Sept. Brief comment on the day.

It has been a normal enough sort of day, but this evening I feel not so well.
Its nothing disastrous of course, but I just want to curl up in my bed.
Please let this rotten feeling be gone in the morning.
There have been EBay doings and a little shopping in Asda.
I have recoloured my hair - it said mid brown, but I fear it looks too dark. Maybe I will get some more and do it again with something lighter.
OK - I will make a cup of tea and then go to bed.
I hope I am fit for all that is planned tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008


15th Sept. Monday and The Frosts.

So, what have we been up to today?
There has been wrapping, invoicing, accounting and posting - but not too much of anything.
This morning we caught the bus into town to change my Sloggis.
I confess to a bit of naughtiness.
I wore one pair on Saturday, although they felt a bit tight. Indeed, I wondered if the tightness might have contributed to the bleaking ladder! Work it out!
That pair have been washed and fitted back into the pack with the other 3 unworn pairs and with the other, unopened box, all were returned to TJ Hughes and I now have larger sized Sloggis.

This afternoon Frieda came round and told us of her wonderful few days holiday in a converted mansion near Hereford.
She told us that the hotel and grounds were so big it took 40 minutes to walk from one end to the other.

Bill has had another of his regular blood tests.

This evening we got our first glimpse of the new baby - in photographic form only.
We are going to meet him on Wednesday.

Matt sent this one, taken last Saturday.
For those that don't know there are Joel, Matt, Jenny, Suzie and Anna in the back row.
And of course Ruth Dede, Felix and baby at the front.
Do click on the photo to see them all much more clearly.
I have felt tired and gutty today. I look forward to sleep.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


14th September. Shoes - and boots.

It has been Sunday and it hasn't rained.
So of course we have been out hunting.
The ground was still very sticky after all that rain on Friday so I wore my wellington boots that I had bought in Lidls.
This morning at Pease Pottage I found a good supply of interesting books to sell.
I shall be particularly pleased to see what interest there is in 10 well produced year booklets for Mitcham Cricket Club from 1962 to 1972. They only cost me 10p for the lot.
Later we went to Edenbridge, which we much prefer - though today found a lot less there for selling.
But I had other things in mind - shoes.
I have bought for next to nothing 2 pairs of shoes. I think they might serve me very well.
I was looking for more trousers, but instead bought a deep purple blouse and long skirt which were brand new for £3.
Bill bought a blue check shirt and 2 M&S polo shirts (T shirts with collars).
We also came home with free range eggs, runner beans from the seller's allotment and some ridge cucumbers.
When I got back I finally undid a parcel that had arrived for me yesterday - another pair of shoes. These are red Nike trainers that I bought from an eBay seller.
It was a risk for me buying shoes without trying them on, but these are a complete success.
Bill dozed over the latest Grand Prix race.
I contacted the buyer of the 2 Carn Pottery vases that sold today.
Then I listed a whole bundle of things that had failed to sell during August. Better luck next time books!
It is now evening - I fell asleep as usual over The Antiques Roadshow.
Bill is about to check out the model locomotive that he bought this morning. Its a Southern 040 T. He has a length of track that he can put out along the length of the kitchen work tops....... ah here comes the engine along the rails. It works.
I am really tired.
I want to watch the first part of Tess of the D'Urbevilles - but feel sure I would nod off to sleep again, so I'll give it a miss. I was great Thomas Hardy fan in my youth and Tess is one of the best.
That will do for now - I'll get my nightdress on and have a cup of tea and then snuggle down for the night.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


13th Sept. Old friends together.

This has been a day of chat and laughter.
We went to Libby's for lunch.
There were 4 of us "girls" together again almost exactly 46 years to the day since we met.
The other 6 either had other commitments or spread all around the world.
We reminisced, put the world of education to rights, knew for sure that we we could manage the country better than those that do and generally had a good time over a very fine Indian meal and for a lovely afternoon.
Libby was married to Shyamal, an Indian for far too short a time before becoming a widow - but she certainly learned good authentic Indian food.
The other three of us had our husbands with us.
It never ceases to amaze me how different were each of the members of our crowd and yet how well we gelled together with a strong feeling of loyalty to each other.
The latest news from one of our number, Kate - who was not able to be with us today is that her husband was knighted in the most recent birthday honours list. So now I can include Sir Andrew and Lady McMichael amongst my friends.

Professor Andrew McMichael, Professor of Molecular Medicine has been knighted. The Director of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine and Fellow of Corpus Christi College has been honoured for services to medical science.

Andrew has worked on T cell responses to HIV and influenza, and I know has advanced knowledge quite considerably.

Sandra and Barry were there - Barry has always been a big shot in the world of big business. I guess he might be one of the "fat cats". He was once chairman of the Welsh Development Agency and was the director of the Millennium Dome plans - until he got out, realising that the politicians would be unable to let things go ahead as he would have wanted.

Mavis and Richard now live most of the time in rural France. Richard was a chemical biologist (probably wrong title) but he understood well about too much potassium.

All of us girls had been teachers. Libby had been head of a small school in the West London suburbs.

And here we are - left to right, Mavis, Libby, Sandra and me.

We might have taken more pictures but we left it until late and people were ready to leave. And when I stood up I realised I had a problem.
Why, oh why did it have to be today that I get a leaking bag?
It has taught us something anyway. I have spare bags with me at all times, but because the leaks away from home are exceedingly rare (this was only the second time), the spare bags stay folded inside another bag for too long.
We knew that the sticky flange was damaged.
It failed immediately. The next attempt proved a little more long lasting and it got me home again, wrapped in towels and wondering all the time what was going on.
But as soon as I stood up to come indoors from the car I knew we had another failure.
So - bother bother bother!
These things make me feel so vulnerable and just a little less willing to make plans to be away from my nest.
But bags and problems have to be part of my life and - and "life" is the important word.
So, feeling a bit fragile, I think it is time to bid you a goodnight.

Friday, September 12, 2008


12th Sept. A full and varied day.

It has been a busy day.
But I will recount it briefly (ish).
This morning Andrew, the kitchen man came round and stayed an age. Of course conversation strayed far and beyond kitchens.
He will prepare 2 estimates - one for completely new cupboards throughout and the other just for new cupboards to be hung on the walls and new doors for elsewhere.
Assuming that Andrew produces what is needed at a price we think is reasonable enough, then he is our man.
Once he had finished his cup of coffee and left us, we hurried up to the bus stop to catch the bus into town. We did wonder if we might have missed it and so decided to walk.
It was as well we walked because there was a notice at the bus station saying that there would be no buses on our route - I wonder why.
There was good and bad about the trip to town.
The bad was my foolish idea to look at shoes. I checked out all the charity shops just to see if they might have something a bit more feminine that would feel comfortable. Better luck next time maybe.
We had to go into T J Hughes and so I decided to look at shoes in there. They had some called "Comfort Fit" - and comfortable they might have been if I could have got my foot into them!
I soon felt frustrated.
Yet I am glad we went in because I have seen just the curtains I would like in the kitchen.
I bought Sloggis whilst in there - posh knickers! Good price.
As we walked past the newly refurbished Sri Lankan restaurant we were greeted by a man with 2 plates of food to sample.
We had quite a long chat with the man and enjoyed the free samples.
We had eaten in this restaurant once before, with Ashley, when it was under the previous management.
They do cheap lunchtime menus and we will be back.
That was the best bit of being in town this morning.
We also bought a small travelling hair dryer in Argos for £4.95. It is not needed just for hair - I like to use a hair dryer to ensure that my skin is completely dry at bag changing time.
Then we caught a bus home - different route.
We had a quick lunch and then I was dealing with really good sales on Ebay.
I had 6 things finishing and all sold. These 6 books had cost me £5. They sold for £46.
The amazing one was a small booklet produced by Romary, the Tunbridge Wells biscuit company. It sold for £23. The buyer is "so pleased to have this elusive little book".
Then we were out again to get some food supplies in.
This evening we have been out again to the post card club. The speaker tonight was Tony Killick, one of our oldest friends, who gave us a miscellany of Charlwood childhood memories. His memory for details is good and he has hoarded a lot of ephemera and artefacts.
I think he got up to a great deal more than any of the Monks who were still there at that time. He was born in 1933, so Bill's Dad (and others) would still have been a Charlwood resident at the time.
It was great fun.
And yes we came home with a raffle prize! It is a box of fudge with a message "Thank you for looking after our cat". Maybe we can save it up until next weekend and give it to Frieda, who will be feeding George and Harry whilst we are in Wales.
Well, it is getting late.
I wish Roger and Sue well with all their entries at the Market Lavington flower show - there will be prizes a plenty I am sure.
Best wishes again to our new family member - nameless, as yet.
Goodnight - must get some sleep. We have a full day planned for tomorrow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


11th Sept. Welcome to the world.

Welcome to the world baby!
Ruth and Dede's second son was born in the wee small hours, early this morning.
All is well.
We have not yet heard what this child will be named - I have heard some musings, but nothing definite as yet.
Hopefully we will go and visit over the weekend.

Like many I have thought today of what happened on what the Americans call 9/11.
The events were very awful and yet sort of seemed unreal to us as we watched in our Slovenian hotel room.
We were in paradise - and yet the events in the USA did affect us of course. We were affected not just in our thoughts and emotions but because one of our plans had to be changed.
We had been going to visit a palace used by the Slovenian Prime Minister as a summer retreat.
Suddenly he decided to retreat there that day - along with the Italian Prime Minister who was visiting.

Today we have been in Dorking. We thought the heavy rain would put customers off - but thankfully the rain stopped and we saw quite a lot of people in the shop.
I rearranged my things - more in optimistic hope than any real constructive purpose. Bill is still selling much better than I am.
I think I must change my stock a little to include many more collectable interesting bits, rather than all the china and glass.
Jo has also had been there planning rearrangements - made more interesting because she sold a chest of drawers today.

I popped out to the post office with a collection of parcels and to do a bit of shopping. It feels good to be in a bustling, interesting old town.

Right, I think I might curl up in front of the TV - except Bill has beaten me to it and might have chosen something I don't want to watch.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


10 Sept. Get back to the kitchen, woman!

Back to the kitchen!
Today we might have moved a little closer to sorting out our kitchen wants and needs in a more practical and economical way.
Bill went back to looking at replacing just the cupboard doors.
A site he once looked at have a branch which supplies these doors in Horsham, so we went to have a look.
The young man in the shop was most agreeable and helpful.
Turns out he was not as young as I thought - even kitchen salesman are now looking young to me!
You might wonder how we found out his age; well, we talked a lot and he obviously had lived near us in his youth and went to the same school as Jamie and Ashley. I wondered if he might be about their age and know of one of them.
Turns out Andrew is 46.
We also discovered that he is into diving and has been a member of the Ifield Diving Club. One wonders how an inland neighbourhood of Crawley needed a diving club - but of course they arranged groups to go down to the south coast and beyond for diving experience. Our Matthew (half brother) was a member for a short while in his teens.
In amongst all the chatter we also talked of kitchens of course. Andrew understood about budgets! In fact we could just tell him what we want to spend and would work out the best solutions for us.
He is coming to look at the kitchen on Friday morning.
I have already picked cupboard doors and a work top. I think we may well have some new cupboards too - but maybe not all of them.
I think Bill was thinking that doors would not be available for old cupboards which are old sizings - but Andrew assured us they can be made as we want them.
We might have to remove the tiles that we have - but in fact tiles are not really very expensive.
He is sure that the present sink would probably buckle when it is removed to fit other things and so we will have a new stainless steel sink and probably some new taps. I have even seen a tap that I really like - probably one of the more expensive ones.
This afternoon Bill went back onto the web site and has totted up what a good part of what we want would cost - without any labour for fitting it. He has reached just over £1,000.
So it looks as though we could go really quite mad and not get anywhere near Mrs Charlwood Kitchen's provisional quote.
I even start to look forward to it.
I think Bill is looking forward to doing some of the work - though he will need help with some of it.
The flooring part of this renovation will be looked at soon - but the cupboards need to be done before flooring is put down; I still like the idea of this classy vinyl sisal look alike matting.
I have been busy selling some things on Ebay this afternoon - I am doing just a few each day.
The sun eventually put in a token appearance today - rather weakly, but better than nothing. Tonight the sky is clear and there is a lovely bright half moon.
I phoned Ruth this afternoon - still patiently waiting for the baby. He's only 5 days late. She had been to the hospital this morning and had a sweep. I am sure we didn't have "sweeps" in my day! It is an internal probing which just might get things things started.
We have a box of things ready for Dorking tomorrow. It should be a good day - Jo will be on duty with us, having swapped with Jill.
It will soon be time for Who Do You Think You Are? I don't yet know whose family history they are delving into this week.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


9th Sept. No way Charlwood Kitchens!

It has been raining since about 2 o'clock.
Enough said about that!

This evening Bill is busy at the computer screen and back and forth into the kitchen with a steel ruler.
There just has to be another way of sprucing up the kitchen than the services of Mrs Charlwood Kitchens.
Bill had heard my doubts last week, but I was prepared to move forward and dealt with the kitchen lady with politeness and as if I was wholeheartedly looking forward to what was on offer.
Her optimism might have dropped as I kept mentioning things that might as well stay - to save money.
Before she went I asked her for some sort of general figure, so that we knew roughly what to expect.
I offered her "£5,000" to which she replied that it would be a bit more than that; "Ah then I guess it will reach £6,000"
But know she reckoned nearer £10,000!!!!!!
There is no way I would consider such a figure - for that does not include floor covering or curtains, which will be changed.
Nor does it include a new cooker, which doesn't need to be changed.
We await her written estimate before confirming that we can't go ahead with it.
In my opinion what we need is new flooring, new curtains and a new work surface.
I don't need to change the kitchen sink - it has been good enough for the last 25 years.
If Bill wants to buy and fix some fancy taps then it would be his choice.
And equally if he wants to pursue cupboard doors - or complete carcasses and doors then he can sort it out.
I am sure we could hire a handyman to help with the fitting.
I guess we would need somebody to help with fitting the new work surface. The material would be heavy.
So, that's it for now.
We might go and look at the flooring we found on the internet. There is a place at Nutfield which stocks it. This is a village near Redhill and Bletchingly (where the first Monks that we know of settled in the 1600s). The weather for tomorrow might be better so it would make an interesting trip out.
Or we might go to Horsham and look at another supplier of kitchen cupboards - some which Bill is checking out now.

What else today?
Not much really.

The interesting long socks that I ordered online arrived in the post this morning. Now, that's good service.

Parcels have been posted.

Fleetwood Pier burned down. We don't know Fleetwood well, but we have visited a few times when Ashley and Liz lived there. The pier was never a thing of beauty - but sad that it had to go like that.

The Prime Minister of Thailand has resigned/was pushed, after all.
The Constitution Court ruled in a unanimous verdict on Tuesday that the two TV cooking shows of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej violated the charter ban on outside employment and ordered him to leave office immediately.
This was in the Bangkok Post today.
So the protesters didn't get him but the letter of the law did.
But he could be back.

In Beijing attention to detail caused a mighty rumpus. A medal ceremony for the women's wheelchair 5,000 metres was due at a certain time and thus took place then, despite the fact that all sorts of protests were underway after a mighty crash on the penultimate lap.
So our girl got a medal and then afterwards was told to hand it back and to do the race again on Friday.
Lots of cycling golds though.

In Haitii and Cuba, Hurricane Ike has created havoc - they say it is now heading for Louisiana.

One thing that has not happened yet is the birth of the new baby. I am disappointed - but not as much as Ruth I guess. I woke this morning from a dream in which Dad (the baby's grandfather) was seen holding a new born baby. I was sure that was an omen.

My gut has needed some input from Immodium today. So, still headachy.

Time for more to drink and some rest.

Monday, September 08, 2008


8th Sept. Monday - quiet or energetic; depends who you are.

Monday - a day to gather strength after the exertions of the weekend.

That's how it has seemed for me now for many a long year, and very much so today.
Except that I don't recall the weekend being all that full of activity.

I woke in the night feeling nauseous and with a headache. It might have been better not to have blamed myself for some real or imagined indiscretion and perhaps should have recognised that this was a migraine. If I had taken pain relief at that point maybe it wouldn't have lingered for much of the day.
Fortunately it wasn't the completely debilitating sort and I have plodded through a number of tasks, but nothing too energetic.
I am afraid I left the hard work to Bill.
As I wrapped parcels, he was busy withe vacuum cleaner and changing the bed etc.
Later as I dealt with the successful bidders, he was out taking advantage of a rain free day and cutting the lawns.
I have finally looked through the brochures about new kitchen fitments and feel at least that it all might be possible.
I was able to look and know what I did and did not like.
And Bill has found a really great floor covering - an alternative to sisal matting, which I have always loved.
It would take us back to the beginning of our lives when we had squares of sisal matting sown together on many of our floors.
I am not exactly sure what this new floor covering is made of, but it can be washed with a mop and bucket and hoovered too to get out any crumbs and bits - and cat hairs!
Tomorrow we will discuss it all with the lady from Charlwood Kitchens.

Well, feeling weak and run down still, I shall call a halt today and make a cup of tea and think about sleep.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


7th Sept. Athletics for youngsters.

One peep through the curtains at just gone 6 o'clock told us that it would not be worth going to Dorking for the car boot sale - yes, it was raining once again.
But it didn't rain all the day, thank goodness. It stayed dry for the athletics meeting this afternoon.

This morning we watched a little sport on TV from Beijing - cycling, with UK riders doing well.
I know that it might seem a bit patronising to feel especially moved as disabled athletes reach the pinnacle of success - but I did feel close to tears as we watched one cyclist collect his gold medal.
Whilst he was on his bike it was hard to see exactly what was wrong with him - man and bike seemed as one. On the rostrum his artificial limb and his stick were much more apparent and he walked with some difficulty and with fragile balance.

Later we were at the track for the highlight of more athletes' lives. This was the final of the Sussex Under 13s League. There were teams from 11 clubs across Sussex competing. At this level the support for each other is obvious and even the "superstars" are aware that each person's effort is of value. It was a lively meeting, with lots of happy children and parents.

I was the chief timekeeper. Having worked out the duties of the other timekeepers in advance I felt relaxed and worked hard to keep the meeting flowing and everybody happy.

At the end the young athletes paraded along the track and assembled at the finish line for the presentations.

The trophy was won this year by the Brighton club. Crawley came 3rd.
And yes, Sue is wearing a jacket from Beijing.
Sue and Keith (Mr and Mrs Sussex athletics almost) have made the trip to all of the recent Olympic Games.
Remember you can click on the photos to see more detail on a bigger image.

There is never time to take photos of the races or of all the timekeepers at work, but Bill took one of me, posing after the meeting was over.

I watched the first of the new series of The Antiques Roadshow this evening. The last interview was with a mother and daughter. Mother had only stood in the queue for so long with their little trinket to please the daughter - turned out it was worth £20,000!!!!!

Now perhaps I can return to The Cradle of Rome. I got bored with failing on Cradle of Persia and am now hooked on a similar game based on ancient Rome. Trouble is I can't get past being a peasant!


Saturday, September 06, 2008


6th Sept. Lots more rain, but not in Beijing.

Is it raining all over the world?
Floods in the UK and lots and lots of rain. Floods in Thailand. And the tennis in the US open had to be called to a halt as torrential rain fell, just as our Andy Murray seemed to be in with a good chance of beating Nadal and making his first Grand Slam final.

But there was no rain in Beijing for the opening of the Paralympics.
What a joyous, beautiful and happy show that was.
Disability was embraced - as it should have been for such an event.
Countries of the communist world have come a long way in dealing with the disabled. In 1980 Russia refused to stage the paralympics - "What disabled? We don't have disabled people here!"
The ballet to the music of Ravel's Bolero would always have been sublime. It was so different - the performers wore ballet shoes on their hands and their arms clothed in white tights were used as legs.
But the 12 year old ballet dancer in pink at the centre was so beautiful. Her upper body was that of a trained ballet dancer, which is what she was/is. Her lower body was in a wheel chair, having lost a leg in the earthquake in May. She left the wheel chair only to be lifted by the male ballet dancer.
And it was a wheel chair athlete who lit the Olympic flame. He sat strapped to his chair and hoisted himself inch by inch up to the point where the torch could reach the cauldron at the roof of the stadium.
Oh and did you see that amazing performance of white arms sticking up through a sort of stylised sea - all being used to represent beautiful birds? Stunning!
We all have some form of disability - less than those competing in China, but no disability removes one's human spirit; or it needn't do.
When I say we all have a form of disability I mean simple things like no matter how hard I try I really cannot draw well.
Some people just cannot sing - as contestants in X Factor have just been demonstrating to us.
Old age brings all sorts of disabilities.
We have to accept our strengths and our weaknesses and get on with life as best we can, trying to achieve at least some of our goals.

The only time we ventured out today was to the post office with a parcel. I am waiting for just one payment at the moment and I have been waiting too long. The customer has had a reminder about his cheque that he promised.
I described another 9 items today and listed them.
I must now wait a week before I list any more. When one goes away we have to make sure that people are not going to need anything when we are not at home.
And we are off to Wales for a long weekend in a couple of weeks.

This evening I have sorted out the timekeepers' duties for a meeting tomorrow.
I am the chief timekeeper. I have 12 people to form into a team and to make sure all the duties are covered.
The one thing I wish was covered is the seating for the timekeepers. We could all be wet and working with soggy bits of paper.
This will be our last track meeting of the season.

If it happened to be dry then we would go to Dorking in the morning for the car boot sale. I am cautiously optimistic as Gordon Brown said of the UK economy!


Friday, September 05, 2008


5th September. Off on our holiday today!

Friday - its raining again!
What can we do to bring a bit of sparkle to life?
Well, we went out to lunch at Gatwick Airport. We can get there on the bus in no time - costing nothing of course, using our old peoples' bus pass.

We walked through the doors of North Terminal and suddenly were surrounded by the bustle of a different world.
I could only look back and remember turning up there on the bus from Heathrow (after my long trip from Thailand). I was very late, it was cold and of course very dark and the place was deserted.
Today there were people with suitcases everywhere.

We took the train link to the South Terminal and walked about just soaking up the atmosphere, eyeing up peoples' luggage. We have to buy new luggage before our Thailand trip next May. One case got smashed on my outward journey last time and the other got damaged in the car accident.
If I had intended to buy anything though it was socks - interesting long ones to wear with skirts in the wintertime.
But Sock Shop was nowhere to be seen; a quick look on the internet suggests that they now sell on-line only.
Our lunch was not grand actually. We bought something to eat and drink from Marks and Spencers and sat watching people and talking.
We had a long talk about the new kitchen plans.
I had to voice my doubts. People who know me will be aware that I would worry about spending a lot of money needlessly - but the doubts are not just about money.
I feel comfortable in my nest - looking a bit dated maybe and in need of some re decoration and renovation at some point in the future perhaps. But it is my "safe" place.
I had to express my views about the need for change and what Bill thought he might get out of it.
I guess I might just feel that by admitting the need for change I am stating that the way we have had things for the last 25 years is not good enough and what we did then was second rate in some way.
I think Bill was surprised and he didn't quite know what to make of me (well, whats new about that?).
I pointed out that our own parents would look at our kitchen with a feeling of wonder when they compare it to what they had. But we can't live our lives based on their opinions.
And neither should I cling on to who I was 25 years ago. I am different now and the home has been through a number of evolutions in our long lives.
The lady from Charlwood Kitchens will come on Tuesday and we will listen and learn and then decide on things.
If anybody helps us it will be them rather than cobbling together a mish mash of bits and pieces for us to sort ourselves.
Then we took ourselves off for a nice hot drink at Cafe Nero, slumped in comfortable easy chairs, watching the world go by. There was gentle music playing and watching the varied people parading back and forth in front of us reminded me of a choreographed dance. We were joined by a couple of women off to Turkey for 2 weeks. Its good to chat.
Earlier we had looked at luggage on sale. The lady in the shop did point out that we have the same store in Crawley Mall - also with the good deals.
But a look round left us with thoughts. I particularly liked the strong hold-alls which you can now get with wheels and a handle.
But first we spent a while doing more people watching. There is a vantage point on the first floor where you can watch the passengers who have recently landed come through from baggage reclaim and customs to be greeted by waiting friends and family.
I picked on a few waiting people to watch. There was the attractive woman and her man - waiting maybe for an offspring. And there was the handsome young man with a bouquet of flowers - surely waiting for a woman.
Lots of people came through with lots of hugs and kisses.
How come I picked on the people waiting the longest?
I knew the mother would rush forward when she saw.... her daughter it must have been. I wonder how long she had been away.
Still the young man stood with his flowers, looking at his watch from time to time, using his phone too. We made up stories about his love..... she wasn't coming after all, she had been stopped by customs with evil contraband and so on.
Eventually she arrived, with her blonde hair and smiles. At last our young man could relax and hold her in his arms. I missed the main moment with the camera - but here they are and the flowers.
Then we went back and bought the new luggage! A few hours at the airport had put me into holiday mood - more relaxed and ready to have what I wanted.
Now the bags are home, Bill wonders if we should have bought the slightly smaller size - but with a soft bag it doesn't actually matter if it is full or not. Anyway, I am sure it might be full when we go to Thailand.
As we got money from the insurance company for the case damaged in the car accident we don't feel we have spent very much. We got more than one of the luggage bags cost.
Then it was time to to go out into the real world again and catch the bus home.
It is good to see how many air passengers now use the Fastway bus rather than wait for expensive taxis. When the bus service started, we thought we were the only ones. Today we chatted with a happy couple, about our age, who had enjoyed a lovely time in Sorrento. What a wonderful part of Italy is that coastline.
So that was our day. It has felt like a holiday. It was a spontaneous decision to go there and it has made us feel good.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


4th September. Nothing Much

"Nothing much"...... that was the answer our parents usually got when they asked what we had done at school that day.
I suppose life can be a bit like that - lots of "nothing much", punctuated by some out of the ordinary. Though actually I do feel blessed that our lives don't have a routine and all sorts of things crop up to enliven life.
But today, I regret, I haven't taken much trouble to to make this an interesting day.
The best news of the day came with the discovery that, at last, Lidls will soon open a branch in Crawley.
So, maybe this has been the last day that we have to go there to do the shopping.
We had lots of specific items to buy today in Lidls, but you never know what you might find on a shopping trip there. I suppose it reminds me a bit of a car boot sale!
The basic foodstuffs stay much the same.
But each week they get in different non foodstuffs and very often we find something that we feel we could make use of.
Today I bought some fleecy lined wellington boots for £9.99. Of course, with my feet being what they are I was much more comfortable in the men's pair. Indeed I couldn't get my high arches into a women's pair.
I am not exactly sure when I shall wear them - and in the past I haven't stayed comfortable in welly boots for very long. But these seemed to be good. I can wear them under trousers just to keep my feet warm perhaps.
How I wish I could wear something a bit more glamorous sometimes. I like to see high heeled shoes and once upon a time I could wear something a bit more elegant. Maybe I'll try once again to see if I just might find something that I could wear for a few hours. I have taken to wearing more skirts and dresses through the summer, which is fine when you don't need socks - because sandals (even my wide sensible ones) look OK.
Right then - tomorrow will be another day.
I shall soon make a cuppa and maybe find some interesting documentary type programme on TV.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


3rd Sept. Gut, parcels, kitchens and Felix.

I failed to make a list of Things to Do today. I had a bad night with my gut and needed rest.
During the day I felt a bit stronger thankfully.
I have resolved to nibble less - and that is hard! As I sit here my hand desperately wants to be plunging into a bag of jelly babies or rice crackers.
I have put on a few pounds in the last 2 or 3 months and this must be halted and I would like to get back to about 10 and a half stone, instead of nearly 11 stone.
I have stopped taking the Calcium/Vitamin D medication, because it could be that which is making digestion worse.
Bill saw a doctor this morning to be assessed as to the impact of the car accident. It was a more thorough investigation than I had.
There is nothing more now that we have to do relating to the accident, except perhaps to receive compensation cheques at some point in the future.
I dealt with a few payments and we found a gap between the showers to walk to the post office with the parcels.
This afternoon we seem to have started a project that is going to cost us. It has been on the cards for some time.
Bill and I talked ages ago about the desirability of replacing some aspects of things in the kitchen. I agreed that the work top could be changed, although I am quite happy with what we have really. But the surface has gone a permanent slightly sticky. Books tend to stick to it if left for too long.
Then Bill wondered about new cupboard doors. He spent a while investigating this.
But kitchen cupboards have changed dimensions in the many years since the cupboards were installed. We could have doors specially made for the present cupboards - but that could cost as much as completely new cupboards.
It all seemed a problem and with our own health problems, the idea got shelved.
Today I suddenly felt that just with buying an expensive item like a car it ought to be done quickly.
So we went to Charlwood to see the people who fitted the kitchen we have now. It is a small company who we liked dealing with.
The lady owner is coming next Tuesday to discuss what we need. Meanwhile we have thick brochures to browse through.
We must also think about the floor. Maybe we will have a new carpet. We have a carpet and a huge rug now and it works very well for us. And in fact a carpet is a cheaper option than ceramic tiles.
Bill wants new kitchen taps - that's something we didn't replace last time. And I have wondered about a large white butler's sink.
And so it goes on - the bill will large. But we have the money to pay other people to do it and I would much rather do it without too much hassle and without Bill bending and stretching and worrying.
On the way back we called in at Ifield to see how Ruth is. Surely today was the last time that we will see her pregnant. She is enormous and ready for the new little baby boy.
When I wished them a good time with the new baby, Dede said firmly "Tonight!" I guess that might be wishful thinking - but the wait won't be very long.
Dede had a great few minutes throwing Felix up into the air.
Here are a couple of pictures.
Felix is rather blurred in the second one because he was in flight!

Right, I shall put the kettle on and watch Who Do You Think You Are - this week about Esther Rantzen.
And hope for a better sleep.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


2nd Sept. Memories and Communication.

Everything on my list of things to do has been crossed off today.
I have described and listed things on EBay.
But above all it has been a day for communicating and for memories.

I have had it on my conscience for weeks....nay months, that I had not been in contact with Bill Dack. Bill is from Northumberland and is somebody we got to know well whilst on our many holidays in Slovenia.
We had lost touch a bit after his wife, Nancy died and he remarried.
But the last we had heard from Bill and Cathy, wife number 2, was that Bill had inoperable lung cancer.
You can see why I was a bit wary about contacting after all this time.
So it was with some relief that I had a long chat with him today.
At first there seemed to be nothing he could do, but his previous working years have stood him in good stead. He worked for the drug company Glaxo. It seems they were promoting a drugs trial on a new combination of chemo drugs. Bill is now on that trial and his last scans have shown that whilst the tumour remains it has grown no larger.
He felt good about this, but he did sound weak and breathless.
We must keep in touch.

Another who has been waiting for some contact was Tony Bolter - in Australia. I don't know this man and Bill can hardly remember him. I really don't recall how Tony found us - but he Emailed about the Cycle Club, Southern Wheelers. Bill was a member of this club.
At last Bill has put together a reply with some photos and copies of pages from Tony Killick's book about the club which mention Tony's prowess. At the time he held the club record for 25 miles in under an hour.
Bill phoned Tony Killick earlier to see if there might be more copies of this book around. But all 480 were sold.
Bill also mentioned to Tony K the name of man who would be visiting us later in the day.
Yes - of course they know each other!

John came to call to collect a book he had bought from me on EBay. When he phoned he asked if by chance Bill had had anything to do with the cycle club.
John was (is) a member of Worthing Excelsior - and yet knew Bill's name.
So when he arrived we put the kettle on and dragged out many more familiar names and memories.

John could also recall Tony Bolter - the one in Australia.

Its suddenly seemed a small world, both in space and time as it all came together in our house for a short while.

Now I will share with you a couple of pictures of Bill in his early cycling days.

This shows Bill on his new Dawes bike. It was taken outside his house in Ginhams Road.
Bill's bikes tended to be touring bikes rather than designed for racing and he reached some distant places by pedal power.

Here he is enjoying a snack above Chesil Beach.

The weather this morning was exceedingly wild wet and windy. By early afternoon the rain had stopped and there were patches of blue sky. I think we might have more of the same tomorrow.


Monday, September 01, 2008


01 Sept. Working Monday.

Monday morning at the beginning of September - it must be time to get back to work!
My work is now so relaxed that of course it is no more than a hobby - but it keeps me occupied.
Today I have sold a number of things on EBay - wrapping, invoicing, thanking for the payments, envelope writing and recording the accounts.
It doesn't sound much - but it fills some time.
I have prepared a large amount of stewed apple from a big bag of cookers that we bought at Edenbridge on Saturday.
I have caught up with a few Emails - many more to do though.
I am still not sure if there is a problem with btinternet. On Friday none of my Emails were accepted by this service provider. I assume that those I sent today have now got through.
Bill has also been busy - giving the house a good once over with the cleaning cloth and the vacuum cleaner.
Thats about all for today. I feel tired - gut is still fragile. Bed soon.
Good night.

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