Wednesday, December 31, 2008


New beginnings and Welsh beauties.

New Year's Eve..... another one already!

It is inevitable that we tend to see this time as an opportunity for fresh beginnings. I echo completely nephew Stephen's hopes for the new year. Thank you for sharing it with us all on your blog, Stephen.

Therefore, as a (kind of) resolution to the future, I pledge the following:

Learn that I don't always have to be the best (second place is cool too);
Realize that there are only so many hours in a day and that you can't do everything;
Spend time to enjoy the company of others and have some "me" time too;
Live a healthy, tolerant and sustainable life;
Identify and limit negative exposure to negative energy sources.

Like me, he was facing life threatening health problems this time last year and is trying to rebuild a good life in the best possible way.

Life is for living and I want to share the New Years Eve plans of another friend with terminal cancer. Norman has already lost an eye and eye socket and his face is somewhat disfigured. He has just finished some radiotherapy and there will be further treatment and maybe some grafts to come.
This might well be his last Festive Season - but who knows?

Looking forward to going to a dinner dance at the Bridge House Hotel on New Years Eve, although I have to wear a DJ which is not my style but will take my pirate hat with me. We are staying the night with our Copthorne friends, George and Margaret and hope we can go for a walk the next day. And then our bit of culture, we have been treated to going up to Covent Garden on the Friday to see Turandot .

All the noble thoughts and noble plans put us to shame a bit - we still feel we have time in our lives and therefore haven't regretted our strong need to stay warm in our nest. It maybe that this quiet time is what we need right now in order to get started again with energy, when we are ready.
Bill still feels very low with this head cold/cough. I think he is a bit better today and is not coughing too much. His Night Nurse is obviously helping.
He has printed some of our Christmas photos today.
I have pottered in the kitchen and cooked a dinner for the middle of the day.
I have got started on the replies to EMails which are owing.
I can add the trivial "I will reply to EMails promptly" to the list of good intentions for 2009.

2009..... the day of the new millennium seems such a short while ago - and soon it will have been 10 years.

We both doubt that we will actually see in the New Year - though fire works will certainly disturb our slumbers.
How strange that the few paltry rockets and Roman candles that we lit at midnight for some years, when nobody else did it (in the 1970's and early 80's) has now become a mega fortune spending fest for so many folks.
Dare I take on the mantle of "trend setter"?

Tomorrow we will travel to Roger and Sue's. I hope we are truly up to it and won't be a bit of a let down to their festivities.
But one by one so many people are going down with bugs and many occasions have been spoiled for lots of families.
We'll do our best.

And now for some Welsh beauties.... you can look elsewhere for Kathryn Jenkins or Duffy or Catherine Zeta Jones (to name but three); for I refer to the situation and vistas from Pete and Jean's little home in the mountains.
Remember to click on the picture to enlarge them and then use the back button to return to the blog. The mountains look superb in a larger picture.

These 2 photos were taken from the front of their house and have caught the lovely blue skies above the mountains. The sea is just visible to the left of the picture.

The view from the back garden seems a little more murky. I think they were taken on 2 different days.

I don't often covet other people's things! But these statues are wonderful. I want them!

The Christmas flowering rose in the garden.

These two pictures were taken a little away from Pete and Jean's house, whilst we were on our way to Ashley's in Bangor.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Relaxing Christmas Day and fraught today.

First I take you back to Christmas Day in Wales.
I took photos throughout the day recording the people and activities.
Bill took some in and from the garden which I shall put on the blog tomorrow.

To begin at the beginning as the Welshman said (Dylan Thomas).
We had breakfast with Pete and Jean - Bill and I somewhat warily because of fragile digestions.

After breakfast I sent texts saying Nadolig Llawen - a Welsh Merry Christmas.

Pete brought in his new long bow to show us. It is beautiful - smooth polished wood and mighty powerful; I couldn't draw the cord back very far.
Before long Pete (qualified archery instructor) had us out in the driveway beside their bungalow to see what we could achieve.
We used little bows and the distance was small.

Bill looking every inch an archer!

My bow was even smaller than Bill's and I shot arrows an even shorter distance - but was pleased to get one near the middle of the target in the first set of six.

Bill's set of arrows did rather well.

Meanwhile, Jean, bless her, was preparing our Christmas dinner.

Bill and Pete tuck into turkey and red wine.

After lunch we opened a few presents. Jean had cleverly remembered that I had been looking for L'Aimant perfume and had found a display in the local chemist window.

Bill's new "do everything" pliers.

I captured Pete and Andrew, their other guest, having a good laugh. What is amusing them........

Wallace and Grommit of course!

Today been a funny old day - so far. I am doing the blog today at 4 o'clock, so there are some hours before I return to bed.
It has been cold but sunny.

It was a bad night.
I have been getting cramp very frequently in the last week or so - and last night I got it 3 times!
It was just awful!. Both legs! I know that it doesn't really last so very long, give it a quarter of an hour and the worst is over. But, oh how to endure those 15 minutes!
One attack brought me to tears and of course I disturbed Bill ( 3 times) snuggled down with his sneezing and coughing and Night Nurse.
After the 3rd attack had subsided I decided to abandon all hopes of sleep and came down stairs, leaving Bill to snooze for another couple of hours.

I was soon looking up cramps on the internet. Doctors, it seems are loathe to dish out quinine sulphate tablets (I tried once before). Many cramps are ideopathic - only idiots get them perhaps? But mine may well have a recognisable cause - I might be dehydrated after 10 days of "fragile gut" and little to eat and drink.
I put out a plea on Facebook to my family and friends and sportsman Stephen (ace cyclist eh Steve?) suggested an isotonic drink. Bill suggested dioralyte which we have some of. I took one drink of it and found two reasons not to have it - it tastes awful and is not recommended for those on a low potassium diet.
Later I decided to take a trip into town on the bus and buy some Isostar, which Stephen thought would be good.
First I missed the bus! So I walked to a more distant stop and climbed onto a crowded bus and had to stand - despite there being young people in seats!
What is the world coming to when youngsters don't know to give up their seat to an old lady!
And could I find the drink? No of course not. Maybe I was looking for the wrong thing. Maybe my Lucozade Sport which I drink anyway is the right thing.
I tried Sainsbury, Boots, Holland and Barrett, Savers and found nothing. In H &B at least the girl recommended that I go to Boots pharmacy department and get some sachets to make up a drink with all the elctrolytes and salts I might be lacking. But I had some of them at home.
I did pop into a cheapy shop near the bus stop and bought 2 more pairs of imitation Ug boots - I shall have some for next winter as well.
It was horrid in town. I noticed one cheap clothes shop offering their wares at 75% off and clothes were strewn over the floor where people couoldn't be bothered to pick things up.
And then I had to get the bus back which took me to the more distant bus stop from home - but at least I had a seat.
My legs were really aching and I was exhausted.
Now I have rested I should beging some preparation for the evening meal.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Back to being a Pilgrim

I have eaten like a pig! I have eaten too much and now feel bloated like one does after a binge.
I am sure much of the weight lost over Christmas has crept back on today.
But at least eating is normal for me and suggests that a degree of relaxation has crept back into my soul.
Even if my body does still feel fragile.

I felt sure the shop would do that for me - but it also bought a deep cold to my bones. It is pretty cold outdoors, especially out of the sun and of course the deep inside of the shop is not blessed by the sunlight.
We have 4 rather ineffective fan heaters and by the end of the day we were shivering.
Next Monday we might take in one of our own for the day.

But it has been so pleasant to be with Julie and Monika today, just chatting with each other and with customers. Sales were good enough - and a little of the amount was down to me.

I have done the December accounts and we see a small profit in the shop. There has only been one month, thus far, when we failed to make a profit and that was only 75p.
Adding my new area has added interest and not caused any trouble in finding the extra rent. In fact this month I have done rather better than Bill. I think that is normal, because during December the men who like to collect feel they ought not to be spending on themselves.

The journey home was lovely with a tiny orange sliver of crescent moon just rising above the horizon - and we began to warm up a bit in the car.

I am yawning like anything now - body still tense with the cold of the day I guess.
There will be an early night. Bill coughed and snuffled through last night. He has a bottle of Night Nurse to help him through this night.
And I am just so tired.

Christmas Day pictures are being left for another day.


Sunday, December 28, 2008


Sunday I presume.

Sunday.... I can't say I felt very aware of what day it has been.
I am not sure really just how I am.

During the afternoon I realised just what me being ill does to Bill and resolved, therefore, to be better. It's a bit of an illusion really - but I will persevere.

I have re-listed a lot of items that didn't sell on EBay during November and December. I don't expect any miracles, but it would be good to get my money back on some of the items; and of course, EBaying has a touch of normality about it.

This evening we had jacket potatoes to eat with Antiques Roadshow.
Then we watched The Thirty Nine Steps. I have never read the book nor I have seen any film of it all the way through.
Bill was disappointed, I think, that this adaptation had so much about Hannay's relationship with a woman. This was never in the original and he would have preferred a bit of old fashioned "daring do" from a strong male British spy.

I shall get up tomorrow and prepare all that we need for a day in the shop. No doubt it will feel chilly.
If I cope well, then I must continue the fight to regain health and strength and get on with life.
I am sure I shall feel more cheerful in the shop.

I finished sorting my Chr. Day photos - but have not got any ready for the blog. Except perhaps these two, which I quickly reduced to send to Jamie on Skype. Pete is an archery instructor and he took on Bill and me as pupils for a while on Chr. morning.

I was shooting with a small child's bow from a point not too far from the target - but I did manage one arrow near the centre in the first batch.
The very first arrow landed on the floor about a metre in front of me!
Bill used a slightly bigger bow and on the whole did rather better than me.


Saturday, December 27, 2008


A Welsh Christmas time - with English bugs! No - not Pete and Jean!

It is proving very difficult to engage in normality.
This short week seems to have been long - was it only a few days ago that we were busy in the Dorking shop?
Those few days have been dominated by how my body was feeling - waves of nausea at times, making life difficult to cope with.
I am physically fragile - I have continued to lose weight, being half stone down in the space of a week.
Of course I had looked at the reading on the scales a while ago and thought that maybe I should try to get back to a weight half a stone lighter than I had become - but I think a gradual increase of discipline would have been a better way of doing it.
Bill has had similar gut problems - but without the nausea.
As a result of all this we came back from Wales a day early, getting back late yesterday evening.
I felt a bit weepy about leaving without a night with Ashley and a bedtime story with Ekatarina.
Why does my body have to take away things I want to do?
The weepiness might be just part of feeling so run down, but I have feared at times that the nausea has been caused by high potassium. I imagined, in the night, a visit to A&E and a demand for a blood test to see what is happening.
But despite all this both Bill and I managed to enjoy Christmas Day with Pete and Jean and their friend, Andrew - who became a widower at the beginning of the year.
We talked and laughed and all was at it should be.
It was calm and relaxing and we are very grateful to P & J for their hospitality.
I will share some pictures with you - maybe tomorrow.
We managed to, at least, see Ashley and Ekatarina on 3 of the days we were away. On Christmas Eve I enjoyed helping Ecky find some presents to give to her parents. It was a pity that time was marching on and we only had the stock in Home Bargains to choose from. But it was not the gifts so much that mattered; it was a chance for Ecky to feel some excitement about giving as well as receiving.
Today has felt empty - we are physically drained and mentally feel quite low.
We watched a film this afternoon on TV.
Bill went to buy bread and milk, but gave up trying to get into Asda for the car park was jam packed with people trying to find spaces. He said trolleys were being wheeled out piled high with food. Why?
I shall go to bed soon and hope against hope that I start to come back to life very soon. I really want to prove my fitness to Bill, because I do want to be in the shop on Monday. I believe that snatching some normality will be a boost to my psyche.
Hope you, reading this, had a Christmas time as you wanted - though many have been down with bugs of all kinds.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Very busy

There ought to be photographs - that had been my intention and the camera was in the car. But I actually forgot.

But I will return to the beginning of the day - a day for which I suddenly felt ready enough.
It was just as well I felt ready - for the customers were ready for shopping.
It has been a very busy day in Pilgrims.
There must be many men off work now for the Christmas holiday and many were out, alone, and determined to sort out their Christmas shopping.
We have scoured the shop today for the right jewellery and trinkets to satisfy the urgent requests of these doting husbands and boyfriends.
One, really should have planned earlier. He wanted to know if we had any Moorcroft Pottery - much in demand and quite pricey.
It is hard to come by for traders in shops, though there are 820 items listed on Ebay at the moment.
Our customer should have been looking on-line some time ago, which he realised - but had not thought ahead.

So it has been a pleasant and busy day in the shop.

We went straight to Ifield, (with Jenny, Mike, Ruth, Felix and Otto) from the shop and joined in a family Christmas party and exchanged some presents.
Half brother Matt with Suzie, Joel and Anna were down for the day.
Poor Felix had gone down with something and he was being put to bed as we arrived.
We had some tea and then shared our presents. Joel sang Silent Night beautifully and Anna banged out the tune of Good King Wenceslas on the piano and we all sang.
But there are no photographs!

This evening the work continues as we sort out what needs to be taken to Wales.
I think we should get up early in the morning to get everything finished off and to see Frieda about cat feeding duties.

So, Happy Christmas to blog readers. I hope wherever you are and whatever you do there is joy and laughter and contentment.

This is the last blog until after we get back from Wales - no doubt I shall begin writing again on Sunday.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


On the up hopefully

Maybe it is passing.
I detect that I might feel a little stronger this evening.
It hasn't felt like that all day though.
I woke up determined that any shopping we needed for our stay in Wales, and maybe to have some stores in for when we got home, should be done today.
So we went first to Asda and then on to Lidl.
Neither shop was too crowded and we found no queues at the check out.

I was shattered when we got back and my digestion was still misbehaving badly.
I fell asleep on the sofa during the afternoon and enjoyed a deep sleep.
I felt confused when I woke up - the weather seemed to have turned very grey indeed.
It was, of course, actually almost dark on this shortest day of the year.
This has been the second year running when I felt cheated of doing anything much special for the Winter Solstice.
I was beginning to feel that the only difference between last year and this has been that I have been occupying a different bed. Though last year there was still much confusion about why I felt so ill, whilst this year it has seemed obvious that I have gone down with one of the bugs that have been rampaging through society.

Still, it reinforces the notion that my world will not implode if I don't do things that I think should be done because they have always been done.
Doing things because they have always been done is not reason enough to continue with an activity.
And my health on more than one occasion has shown that Christmas comes and goes and time continues with or without my input.

This evening I cooked - not quite the correct term - I heated 2 ready meals which were tasty.
You might wonder why I bother with meals when feeling so fragile. It is my way of trying to convince Bill that all is normal. He tends to fret and feel lost and lonely when I am ill - having so many memories of the very bad times.
But this time I have eaten and not had to rush to the loo within the hour.

We watched The Antiques Roadshow. Oh my! There can be good finds at car boot sales! A couple bought a plant, which they wanted, in a glass pot that they didn't like very much. The pot got slung up into their loft and they had planned to throw it away.
Was it really in ignorance that they decided to take it to the Roadshow?
It was a unique piece by Rene Lalique and valued at £25,000.

This was followed by Larkrise to Candleford - so gentle and slow and philosophical. I love it and I am glad a new series will begin.

On the assumption that I am going to be strong enough I shall be making my way to the shop tomorrow. It will feel good to be within my own real world.
I gather things have been quiet in the shop during the last week - but that is normal for the week before Christmas when people are in and out of the chain stores with a vengeance.

I will now copy some information that came my way today - learn something new each day they say and this was my new knowledge. You might have known already.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exh ortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


The bug has forced me to admit defeat.

Today I have had to admit defeat and allow the bug to have its wicked way with me.
Oh my poor gut and oh my poor head!

Bill bought the Daily Mail today - for the TV schedules you understand!
There was an article about the 2 rotten bugs doing the rounds and I had to admit that of the 2 mine is the better one to have. It even suggests that after 3 days one should be on the road to recovery.
The flu that Ashley has had takes ages to go away and can leave you feeling listless and depressed for weeks.

Another interesting survey in The Mail was a taste test done by 4 chefs of Christmas food from supermarkets - turkey, smoked salmon, mince pies etc.
I am happy to report that Lidl was only narrowly pipped by M &S - and outshone the major supermarkets quite easily, especially Sainsbury.
But I haven't shopped today - far too weak and risky to be away from home.

If necessary we can get the things we want to have with us and offer to others whilst away in Bangor on Wednesday. But hopefully I will be fit before then - though days will be full; Monday in the shop and Tuesday packing and travelling.
We'll see how I feel tomorrow.
If I had a good night - and it doesn't feel that way yet - then I could shop tomorrow. Indeed I could get to the Dorking bootsale, having missed out on a day out to Ford and Littlehampton today.
But I will listen to my body.

Right now, like a large part of the population I am between the Strictly Come Dancing programmes. The first part of dancing is over and soon we will have the second part and the results.
Lisa and Brendan are the best dancing couple. I think so and so do the dance judges.
But the hot money is on Tom Chambers dancing off with the prize.
This time last year I felt the same - please don't let the soap star actor win the final instead of the best dancer.
And the other ladies in the ward felt the same.
We let up whoops of joy together when the result was announced.
I wonder what they are all doing tonight - are they thinking back to last year too? I expect so.

Time for some fluid into my body - and I think some paracetamol to control the head ache for a while.
Hope my family and friends are feeling strong tonight and are happily sorting out their Christmas plans.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Fighting at Wakehurst Place

I am fighting today - not fighting fit unfortunately, but fighting something; a bug maybe.
It is possible that the calcium tablets, just like the calcium drink that I had before are setting off gut problems. I shall have to see the doctor after Christmas.
Meanwhile I think I shall go back to half the prescribed dose.
I had a bad night - restless and then awake from half past three.I got up eventually, turned on the computer and had a cup of tea with a little something. Immediately the nausea was so strong I felt I might pass out - so up to bed again.
And then there were dramatic trips to the loo!
I cancelled any arrangement I may or may not have made with Ruth to entertain them to a meal. Now we can look forward to that in January.
I have felt weak all day.I had to get myself to the hairdresser's so that Rob could do my hair.This made me believe, like I do, that I can anything really
So this afternoon we took a walk at Wakehurst Place, timing it to be there when the lights came on which decorate the giant redwood tree - the largest live, growing Christmas tree in the country.
I enjoyed being there - doing something normal and pleasurable. we love to walk and talk with our cameras - coming home with about 60 pictures between us.
This evening the ability to fight whatever it is that is happening to me is fading. I feel pretty bad and will be off to bed very soon. I feel like I could keel over.
And now for some Wakehurst Place images.

I know - the rose is out of focus. But I liked the idea of the picture and the beauty of a rose in December.

This last picture was from a web site.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Quiet day in monkland

Another quiet day in monkland!

I am wondering where the manic pre Christmas days of yore have gone. Gone with the passing of time and children becoming adults in their own world and no classrooms full of children needing to have lots of Christmas activities.
"Have they eaten all those mince pies already?" I would be saying about now.
And now I don't make mince pies at all.
I bought some on a 2 packs for price of one offer in Sainsbury's on Monday. They were puff pastry which is as I made them. But of course I haven't eaten any - and Bill has eaten too many.
I bought some gluten free mince pies for me. They are not bad at all - most of the gluten free replacement foods are very dry and tasteless and makes me just think that I would rather do without.
I have been trying to sort out a little entertaining at home and times to see other people too.
We may or may not be sharing dinner with Ruth and/or Jenny and the little ones here tomorrow. I don't think Otto will be sharing in the roast dinner! If I don't hear from Ruth then maybe this event can be left until January.
Anyway tomorrow could be busy with shopping, cooking and eating - and I have a hair appointment.
I still have some phone calls to make.
But generally I feel like hibernating and look forward to waking up in January and getting on with life again.
Time for another cup of tea - watch the 10 o'clock news and then off to bed.
If you want more interesting reading and pictures then I suggest you have a look at Jamie's last few weather blogs.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


You Can Have it All

I have mesmerised my brain this evening by watching the Royal Variety Performance on TV.
In truth quite a lot of the acts were good enough - but there were just too many.
But I had to wait for Take That.
And how glad I was to have waited because they sang, Mark Owen sang, Shine.

Stop being so hard on yourself
It's not good for your health
I know that you can change
So clear your head and come round
You only have to open your eyes
You might just get a big surprise
And it may feel good and you might want to smile, smile, smile.
Don't you let your demons pull you down
'Cause you can have it all, you can have it all.

This song filled a gap in my soul as I struggled to get better at beginning of this year - if I felt down I would sing those last two lines of the quote to myself.
And now, I feel stronger and just a bit disgruntled when I realise I can't quite have it all.

Lovely word -"disgruntled".... is it the opposite of "gruntled"?

Anyway there was no need to be disgruntled about today's weather. The sun shone and the walk to the post office with parcels was very pleasant. Sunshine days in Winter are very special.

I have talked with people on the phone - and neighbours too.

Christmas cards have arrived - some with news from friends about their year's events.
I doubt that I will receive another one ever which tells of a good day at Windsor castle for Andrew's Investiture; the husband of a college friend received a much deserved knighthood this year.

Well, time for bed - but maybe just another bit of Roman Empire building. Oh, how I would love to finish that game before the end of the year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


A shopping trip

We have been Christmas shopping!
Well, sort of.
We wanted a few small items for people we felt should have something and we had planned to go to Horsham anyway and so popped into a few shops there.
We wanted a large clip frame to mount a couple of things and Wilkinson's is the cheapest place for frames.
Bill found a pair of trousers in a charity shop.
We stopped for a light lunch at the Christian Bookshop cafe.
It was chilly and foggy but quite relaxed.
We then did the week's shopping (well much of it) in Lidl in Crawley.
As I have opted to return to my non wheat diet, along with non dairy and low potassium, I shall have to call in to one of the more regular supermarkets who have gluten free goodies.
After all it is a week for a few goodies.
But mostly, once I have the discipline, I find it just fine to consume lots of rice cakes with a few tasty bits.
I have dealt with my last EBay sales for the year. One lovely book published by the Central London Railway in 1911 for the coronation sold well, as I rather thought it might.
I wonder why Jose from Spain wants a brass paperweight presented by London's Lord Mayor of 1989, which depicts the Mansion House.
Well, I feel muzzy headed - not yet to the extent that I could call it a bug, which so many others have. I think I shall turn in early tonight.

Monday, December 15, 2008


On duty with the Monday crew and Dorking Drama.

It has been a pleasant day in Dorking.
I like Mondays now.
The Monday crew work well together.
Bill and I have sold enough this week - in fact it looks like my new section has been discovered and I sold another item today.
I spent some of this morning sitting at a cafe table (the cafe is not open on Mondays - only Tuesdays and Saturdays) writing up more books to put on my shelves.

There has been drama in Dorking today because a fire burned in an old building where there are offices and a Ceylon restaurant on the ground floor. The fire is presumed to have started in the restaurant.
Ha! It will soon be round Dorking that it started in a chip pan! Bill had been out to see what was going and reported roads closed and smoke billowing out of the building and mused that perhaps it started in a chip pan. Monika, bless her - sweet and gullible has been telling people when she went out that she knew the cause!
There were 10 fire appliances in attendance and masses of police and a police helicopter from above. The local radio says that the fire service will need to be there most of the night checking out all the nooks and crannies.
Traffic for miles around has been in chaos - but shopping in the High Street was a pleasure with no traffic.
But we got away this evening and out of the town very easily.
On my trip out from Pilgrims to post parcels I called into Woolworths - maybe for the last time. I bought one of our diary/calendars for the kitchen wall down in price to £1.39.
Woolworths has been a High Street landmark for all of my life and much longer - but times change. On the radio this evening we were advised that other high Street fixtures will go the same way in the new year.

We are both yawning like mad and will have an early night. At least, so far, we are bug free. Many of the contacts on Facebook are not so lucky.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Winter work and hibernation.

Hibernation mode set in today.
Plans to get up and go to the boot sales were abandoned as we lolled in bed and breakfasted late.

I have been busy writing lots of Emails - as perhaps you realise, having received one.
Of course my basic message was the same, but every message had personal individual bits added.
There were about 50 of them today and another 30 or so in the last couple of days.
And I have been blessed with one or two replies already and a long phone call.

We have put up our Christmas decorations. The extent becomes more "minimalist" every year. Though a true minimalist would just freeze in horror at our shelf crowded with plastic Christmas "tat".
We have a wooden tree, hung with many of the old familiar little toys - even the gnome that was on a potted plant given to me by a pupil after my first term of teaching.
We have a plastic tree - 1950s in style which has to be plugged in to create a faint light.
I will take a photo another day.

This afternoon I have worked - EBaying.
In September I had a battle of wills with another dealer at the boot sale at Faygate.
I bent and picked up some football annuals and so did he at the same moment.
We both waited to see what would happen.
He knew I had got the best ones.... and in the end he released the ones he had.
I bought 21 of them for £20.
Ten days ago I listed the oldest 7. Most were pre war and I had high hopes.
My hopes were exceeded - today the 7 sold for £140; one of them reaching almost £50 on its own.

I felt very tired as I worked. Surely I am just tired and not succumbing to the nasty bug that so many have.
Ashley describes the head ache from hell!
Jamie felt like he was going down with the bug that Jessica has.
I would grumble about winter - but of course for Jamie it is not.

Yesterday I felt I should refrain from grumbling about the weather - rain and floods. But I will mention that floods have hit the part of town where I grew up and it has been on TV today - a nursing home had to be evacuated.
I remember walking along the road to the edge of the floods where the Mole had burst its banks as a child - creeping carefully forward in wellington boots.
So the Crawley Councillor claiming it to be a modern problem should think again.

Right - bedtime soon. I have to get up and be organised for a duty day in Pilgrims tomorrow.
Lets hope we have sold enough - and if not, be thankful for the football annuals which have paid the rent.


Saturday, December 13, 2008


The Rocking Horse Family.

I would like to complain about the weather - but feel I should show restraint having read Roger's email.
At least our roads were passable, though some care was needed in places.
It has rained and rained - hard all day.
And yes - it does make me feel like complaining and escaping!

We drove south to join the Rocking Horse family at Joy and Peter's house and it was lovely for us all to be together again - though sadly Christine couldn't be there for she was having to deal with a flood at her house under the South Downs at Ditchling.
I was really grateful for the lovely food that Joy had prepared, a lot of which I felt I could safely eat.
I am back to some discipline with my diet.
Lately things have gone haywire.
I think wheat and bread in particular are to me rather like alcohol to an alcoholic.
One taste and I am addicted again.
One taste doesn't hurt - but when I succumb to a daily intake of wheat I end up suffering.
And today was our 4th social gathering in 4 days. A buffet normally comprises bread and wheat based items - and I tucked in with gusto.
Stupidly I have also partaken of the bread that Bill had in the bread bin.
After the talk at the post card club last night I needed to make a quick exit and hope that I would soon feel more comfortable. I just couldn't eat any of the food people had supplied - all wheat based.
The talk was amazing - a 59 year old Horsham woman set off on her bicycle alone round the world in 2000. She entertained and inspired - though I have to accept limitations and I am not off on a journey of such proportions.
Today at Joy's I enjoyed some cooked delicate salmon, prawns and rice salad and left the bread and pies to the others. And I declined all puddings, although they looked fantastic.
Talking to the others who moved from Rocking Horse to a shop in Lewes made me feel glad that we are in Pilgrims. The Lewes shop doesn't have a sense of family and friendship and people who rent sections don't have to contribute time - though they all seem to be doing well financially.
I am glad that we have moved to a new antiques shop family.
The evening has been spent with the TV - Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor. I shall have a cup of tea with X Factor results in a moment. Will the great British public choose well? Alexandra is a super star who can create a tingle up the spine and I hope she wins, though the boy group are also good. The Irish lad is cute and sweet and will appeal to teenage girls and the motherly types no doubt - and especially the Irish.
And hey! I am actually motherly too!
Sorry - others haven't a clue of the appeal of this show.
I am not sure what we will do tomorrow. If the rain has stopped I would like a boot sale - I feel withdrawal symptoms without regular hunting trips. We would go to Dorking and Horly.
But for now - goodnight and back to the singing.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Thoughts of happy days.

Christmas comes at the wrong time of year really - bah humbug to a white Christmas and the cold!
The reality is cold, dark and dreary and the instinct is to stay at home and hibernate.
And yet out we go again this evening to socialise and have fun.
The fun will be gentle and far from riotous - the post card club meeting in the Methodist church hall is hardly likely to be a wild affair.
In fact the first part of the evening will be as normal - with a speaker. This time we will be hearing of the exploits of a woman who cycled alone around the world.
And then there will be food as laid on by the members (must switch the oven on and cook mine soon) and soft drinks or tea and coffee.
Tomorrow there will be more fun and laughter as we join the Rocking Horse people at Joy and Peter's for food and drink and a chance to catch up with each other's news.
Today's activities have been mostly at home - Bill is, right now, watching a video that he bought in a charity shop yesterday for 25p about the events of the year of his birth.
One of my activities was to buy a pig! No - we are not going into agricultural pursuits. This pig will be cared for by an African family and hopefully will provide the means for them to achieve a little more from their lives. The gift includes a year's supply of feed for the pig.
I will explain later individually that this pig is from all of you good people who might have expected a card from us. There will be no cards - so if you feel a big gap on your Christmas card display, please think of the lovely little pig.
And now some pictures of some earlier happier celebration times.
Pete sent some pictures today that he took on our day out. Thank you Pete.
I love what you have done to the Paula in her hat picture.

This picture shows 3 of us in Wetherspoon's at Brighton Marina.
The reflection of Pete and Jean can be seen in the mirror.

Jean and I stroll and chat. You can see by our coats that, despite the blue skies, it was quite chilly.
My white hat was soon shoved into my bag in favour of the fun red one. Poor white hat, bought at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.
Now we have a couple of pictures taken at Pilgrims on Wednesday evening.
You can see that there were the "dreaded" crackers!
The only people I might have mentioned in the first picture are of course Bill, Jo and our new friend Monika between the 2 of them. The others were fun, but I doubt that I will meet them very often.

Jo again in this picture with me. Stephen, our "boss" has posed badly for the picture and Judy sorts things out behind the cafe counter.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Goodbye to Gordon.

The day of a funeral - sad, of course.
Gordon married Bill's cousin Ann 61 years ago. Their long marriage was full of hard work and contentment.
Gordon endeared himself to family and friends alike and a large gathering of them met at the Godstone village church.
It was a cold morning, with a thin covering of snow on the ground.
But there was warmth in the hearts of those within the church to hear tributes and music and poetry to celebrate Gordon's varied life.
You can tell that I had a soft spot for Gordon, though we were not directly related at all.
I hadn't realised how closely our tastes would match.
Bless him - one of the pieces of music rocking through the lovely Victorian church, was a piece that I have had in mind to be played at my own funeral; though hopefully that is far in the future and I might change my mind.
The song is Walk of Life by Dire Straits and the instant the introduction begins I feel I want to dance and a feeling of joy fills my being. I think the theme - of life and the joyfulness would be so good for my family and friends to leave me with as they file out into reality.
I smiled happily as the music played.
Later tears sprung to my eyes. Ann had chosen not to have curtains drawn round the coffin at the crematorium and all those that wanted to walked forward as they left to say a final farewell - so sad for Ann.
And sad to too for Ann's sister, Rosemary, who only 6 months ago had lost her husband. She admitted she had cried more today than she had in May; today the reality of death hit her hard, whilst then she had been in some sort of trance.
And then we gathered at the Horley cricket club. Apparently Gordon had once said that one of his proudest moments had been when he was umpiring a match and his 2 sons opened the batting for Horley.
There was much talking and sharing of memories.
And promises too - to meet up; and from me promises that I would polish up as much of the family history that I have done and pass it on to those interested - and to do some more.

Godstone Church on a snowy December morning.

And 2 pictures of Gordon from 5 years ago, when he still had good health.

Gordon and Ann.

Gordon with great niece Josie. He was always a big hit with children.
He was a regular Father Christmas, well into his 80s, every year for the local garden centre where he had an all year round part time job.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Dorking party in Ug boots.

I am writing somewhat later than usual - having enjoyed a good evening with Dorking friends in the shop.
The numbers were less than there might have been - some live too far away or don't like being out at night.
But ten of us, which is a good number, sat down to all sorts of good foods which we all contributed, wine flowed, and talk and laughter made Bill and I feel very much a happy part of the Dorking crowd.
I took some photos - but haven't had time to deal with them yet.

I wore my nice new warm boots this evening - Ug style boots, which I bought this morning in one of the cheapy shops in town for £6.99.

Tomorrow we will be at another gathering - in fact it is all gatherings this week! Tomorrow's will begin with some sadness and solemnity because it is Gordon's funeral. But I guess having the family together afterwards will feel warm and comforting and there will be talk and laughter too.

And so to bed now, feeling mellow; though this is not wine induced mellowness on my part - I really do have to keep clear of alcohol for the sake of my body.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Medical matters and a birth

Today has been a medical day.
This morning I was with the nurse for the latest B12 injection - over quickly, but that one hurts as the medication goes in. Well, not too much I guess.
Bill went over to collect our various drugs and chemicals from the chemist which we had ordered at the end of last week.

This afternoon we were at Crawley hospital for me to see one of the endocrinology team.
Despite the quietness of the atmosphere at Crawley, without all the hurley burley at East Surrey, we had to wait an hour to be seen.
I met a new doctor - Dr Zacharias, who was friendly and helpful.
All my chemicals are in balance except one.
And that might be my fault!
I had to own up that I haven't taken all my Calcium and Vitamin D tablets as prescribed. Stupid of me! I rarely miss anything else.
The doctor was about to start prescribing something with a much higher dose, but has decided to wait 4 months to see if taking the right dose of the tablets will make the necessary difference. There is just a chance that I am not absorbing enough anyway - so that might mean more injections. I don't know.
I felt like a naughty girl being found out!
I promise I will chew my calcium tablets twice a day - after all I don't want osteoporosis or any other related problems. I have awkward splits on my finger nails which might be caused by my foolishness.
The one I had worried about a little was potassium. And that level was just right. With a little thought and care I think I have that one dealt with now.

I shall have a quiet evening. I had a disturbed night and read for an hour or so.
I am reading the latest Maeve Binchy, which is a collection of short stories all set at the Christmas tide.

For many the Christmas tide is well under way. Trees can be see through half drawn curtains and outdoor decorations are appearing.
I appreciate the efforts of people who light up their houses with great and glorious images - I guess the decorations become like a sort of hobby.
And as Frieda once said "It must be nice to have a hobby!"
Bill and I take delight in travelling around to see what people have done.

Our first house was close to where Pete and Jean were staying last week.
We took pictures and chatted with the man whose passion was his lights.
He actually was distraught because yobs had cut the wires on one of his displays.
This is especially horrible because he is collecting money for the NSPCC.

I must add that it is quite hard to catch the full splendour of the lights - but I am sure we will try more on an another evening.

This was the view as we approached the house.
The space between the lights and the pavement should have been a sea of blue - but it was these lights that had been damaged.

The garage of the house had been converted into a stable, complete with Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, shepherds, kings, angel and many animals - including an owl at the head of the manger.

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