Saturday, January 31, 2009


The new living room floor.

One of us is quite tired this evening and the other one is utterly exhausted!
I think you might be able to guess who is aching and weary tonight.
Bill has completed (well almost) the living room floor; he knows of a tiny little addition he wants to make, but you would not know of it by looking at his work.
As I said yesterday evening, I am just so delighted with the room, now finished and looking just as I had hoped and planned.
Poor Bill has had a trip to the dump with the old carpet and a trip to B &Q for more tiles - we hadn't calculated quite enough.
But worse than all of that was a day on his fragile knees and lots of standing up and kneeling down and stretching and bending.
Thank you Bill for the hard work and your skills - it really has been worth it.
This morning I photographed 8 more things for EBay and got them described; interesting things I think. I have an AA map of Northern India. It is a printed map - but from a hand drawn original. It dates from the 1930s.
This evening we had a small pork joint and roast potatoes and all the trimmings. The pork was half price when I bought it in Asda on Thursday because it was at its sell by date.
Now for a few photos.
First we see the kitchen end of the room with the new carpet tiles and the mat which has been down since last November.
The flash has turned the cupboards white - they are actually cream - like the top cupboards look.

And now for the other end - the dining room table and the computer. The computer turns the dining room table into a desk for much of the time.

And the table is also a place for George to recline.
He spends a lot of time there, especially when I am at the computer, which is often.
He loves to roll my pens and pencils onto the floor or to nudge me if I have ignored him for too long.

When I took the pictures it was the cat's tea time and they were prowling around wondering when one of us would feed them.
This is Harry.
Both cats have been most suspicious of all the upheaval and changes in their world.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Good things on Friday.

The living room is beginning to look as I saw it in my mind way back last October.
I think the "living room" should be the name of the kitchen/diningroom/office.
Bill has done about a third of the floor now in the carpet tiles - a straw coloured cord carpet - and so now by the front window, where the dining room table is it is beginning to look really good.
Tomorrow I will take some photographs.

The day began with dealing with a few EBay sales - bundles of postcards that I have had for ages and I am not sure where they came from. Well some of them came from Ashley.
Ashley I think I owe you £1.25 - that's the amount left after charges for the Fylde coast postcards, which have been posted today to Cleveleys.

I just had time to send off the invoices before Ruth arrived for our trip to Horsham.
Felix has been going to a toddlers music club for some time.
It is hard for Ruth to be Felix's companion with the singing and actions etc if Otto is restless. So it was my job to keep Otto amused.
The leader is excellent.
Ruth is not sure that Felix really sees the point of it all and may not continue.
The highlight of Felix's morning is seeing a big lorry, or a bus ... or a train of course. Excitement built as we neared Horsham station.... would there be a train at the platform? Yes! Hooray!
And on the way home we stopped at a level crossing and a train passed either way.

This afternoon I dealt with payments and walked to the post office.
After a winter with an addled brain this seemed like an achievement!
There was no dithering, I put on my coat and went - and I even decided to buy a local paper without any difficulty.
That this was an achievement just shows how bad I have been feeling.
The SAD lamp is helping already.

Later Jane and Geoff came round. They brought a beautiful flowering plant to thank us for the 2 trips to Guildford. We hadn't wanted any petrol money - when somebody is in need you just do something.
The plant is lovely and looks very fine on the dining room table - on the new floor covering.

And right now I am watching a great TV programme on BBC 4. The computer is in the sitting room right now, so I can write and watch at the same time. We are watching a concert by Bruce Springsteen - I didn't realise that I liked him that much before. He is singing songs from an album - We Shall Overcome - The Seeger Days. It is very folk and country (even jazz) - indeed We Shall Overcome is the song right now and its very moving.
Looks like there might be a CD purchase some time. It is just inspiring music. We must have it.

So lots of good things today.
Tomorrow we will stay at home. Bill will continue with the floor. It doesn't matter if he doesn't finish it - I don't want him hurting his body.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Athletics in the tube.

It was cold in the tube tonight.
That's what we call the indoor sprint track.
The sprint evenings in the winter give anybody who chooses the chance of 3 races.
After the first round, athletes are graded so that they run with others of almost the same standard. This makes it more challenging for the officials to sort out the finishing order.
There were 5 timekeepers and Bill took over the job of chief.
We were "blessed" with the presence of Gerry this evening - one silly wise crack after another!
We have been doing these evenings for many years and I have still not seen the 50 metres covered in less than 6 seconds, though it has been done.
I must have been ill when a British international sprinter took part.
Tonight's fastest was 6.2 seconds - just as it was 3 weeks ago.

What else today?
Bill has sorted out the repairs to the kitchen floor. Tomorrow he will take all the old carpet up.. And he wants to get the washing machine out to deal with the floor underneath.

We have shopped in Asda - a few more bargain meals from the sell by date bay.

I relisted all the January EBay unsold items, in hopes that second time around they will catch somebody's eye.

And as it is now nearly 11 o'clock I will pack up and fill a hot water bottle and get to bed. It's cold again this evening as an icy wind blows in from the east.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Nothing much - as I used to reply to What did you do at school today!

I just haven't got on top of things today.
My daily list of "Things to Do" has slipped away and so I haven't done anything much.

This morning we took Jane to Guildford for her radiotherapy. There are just 3 more treatments to go and then an appraisal of what might be needed next.
It was a grey gloomy wet morning and I found the Guildford road tensing me up.
Last week I sat and looked out of the window with my present day eyes. This morning I think the eyes of 1991 -92 had taken over and the familiar landmarks of that journey took me back to my own times at St Lukes.
We stopped for no cups of tea today - we all felt a bit down because of the weather and I was trying to think of the many things that Bill wanted to get done.

He has paid for the bathroom fittings now and they will be delivered tomorrow.
I don't know when Jim will do the work. We'll chat to him tomorrow at an athletics meeting.
Bill bought tiles and glue and bits ready to build up the level of the kitchen floor, ready to lay the carpet tiles.
Tomorrow we (he) will take up the old carpet - so there will be a trip to the dump.
I do offer to help - but either I am not clever enough or I get in the way or maybe Bill is trying to spare me from hard physical work.

Bill has now booked our seats on the flight to Bangkok. We wanted to be sure of being in the best possible place for us. And although we love the window seats, these days aisle seats might be better and we have opted for seats close to the disabled loo, just in case there could be a bag problem.
The woman at the airline said that we would have to collect our baggage at Bangkok and then book in again for the flight to Phuket - and then said that there wouldn't actually be time to do that.
So Bill has been on to Dial a Flight who booked the seats for us and the guy had never heard of such a thing and of course our luggage will be transferred for us.
I hope he is right.
Anyway I shall have a vast amount of medication and stoma equipment in my hand luggage and very little else.

The afternoon and evening rather drifted away from me.
I must do better - write it out 100 times! Did writing lines at school ever actually do any good?

Right I will make a drink, watch some TV and get to bed.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The hole in the kitchen floor

"Stop, Bill" I pleaded "how big is the hole in the kitchen floor going to be?"
Today Bill decided that he should make a start on re-doing our kitchen floor covering. After all, it is over 2 months since the new kitchen was installed.
But it was not just a matter of fitting the carpet tiles.
We have a strip of wood across the base of each door frame - I am sure there is a proper word for it.
Now, we removed the door between the kitchen and the small space by the back door very soon after we moved in - so, almost 40 years ago.
Bill thought it would be best to remove the bit of wood and carpet tile right through.
The wood has got damp in its time. There is a cold water pipe running somewhere underneath it and I guess there has been condensation.
It was not just the wood that was damp, but also the concrete base of the house and it was quite crumbly and Bill started to scrape it out.
That's when I got worried.
I envisaged the concrete having to be renewed over a large area. But, in fact, Bill has now filled the hole he made with quick drying cement and I think all will be well. But we will have to buy some cheap vinyl floor tiles to replace some that had perished with the damp.
And then the carpet tiles can go down.
So at the moment there are hints of chaos in our homely room.

As he got busy I walked to the post office in lovely sunshine. Bright sunshine and my SAD lamp today must be a bonus for my brain.

This afternoon Isobel came round with her new camera, which is a combination still photo and video machine. Well, of course Isobel can't understand the manual - stupid manuals are written in some language not familiar to ordinary folks. I can't make head nor tail of them. I hope Bill has helped a bit.

I felt reasonably optimistic about my sinus condition today - I haven't been feeling too bad. But I have heard of a couple of folks who have had better days and then felt really bad again not long after. And by about 5 o'clock I did feel my chest tighten up and I feel weary now.
But I wasn't too tired to cook some lovely sausages and mash.

Well, that's it for today.
We are off to Guildford tomorrow to take Jane for her radiotherapy once again. She has just over a week to go.

Monday, January 26, 2009


A very quiet day in Dorking.

Well, the rock bottom of the antiques trade may have been reached - certainly as far as I am concerned.
I wanted a quiet day today because I have been feeling a bit rough - and a quiet day is what I got.
There were no sales at all!
There were people in and a few promises to buy.
What is worse for me is that nothing of mine sold for a week.
Bill sold a little bit thank goodness.
Of course with the Pilgrims tradition of keeping money matters to oneself - nobody except Bill, me and Monika will know of this dire day; well, except you, Jo when you read this!
And just to let my good family and friends know - it has not been all bad for the week. I am delighted to say that Jo has sold well.
People will buy furniture - but not little bits and pieces maybe.
Jo has reminded me that people are short of money right now - not just because of global financial tales of doom and gloom, but just because it has been a long time since the last payday before Christmas and of course Christmas has to be paid for.
Lets hope business will pick up a bit soon. The January accounts show us to be £6.75 down after the rent is taken from the profits on sales.
Still, £6.75 is not a lot to pay to keep a hobby going.
And we enjoy the social contact anyway.

See, no secrecy from me about money matters.
And I am never coy about bodily functions either.
How about this - the night bag which was new last night couldn't be emptied this morning. There was a fault on the tap. It just had to be cut open.

This evening I spent my first time with the SAD lightbox by my side. I am hoping that it will help me and that maybe next winter the problems might be considerably less. Hey! I might even relish Christmas!
This year it is a bit late to start.
The days are lengthening enough to be remarked upon.

Well, it will be early to bed. I haven't coughed much today and my voice has not yet failed. I have bought some cough and congestion medicine from Boots. They had run out of "night nurses" so I bought Covonia night cough medicine. I want some good sleep and I want to feel better and have some get up and go.
One day.....soon!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Strangeface Theatre Company & The Last Resort

Today is a nothing day for me. It is raining and I am home alone.
Bill is at the sports centre doing a course about timekeeping and modern photofinish techniques. I decided that it really would not be appealing for me. I hope Bill is enjoying his day out.

But I can look back on a fantastically good evening.
The show we saw was called The Last Resort and was staged by a small professional company with 4 actors and a musician and and a small back stage crew.
The musician, Mark Dean, was known to some of the Pilgrims people who had joined the audience. He is an opera singer and an innovative composer.

I suggest you click on to the web site and watch the brief video they made.
See the actors and realise we were sitting in the front row just a few feet from the action - and on the same level. There was no stage.
The 4 actors wore masks for each character and quick changes of costume. It was quite unnerving as they seemed to stare at us in the audience with their big mask eyes.

The story was this - a soldier -thief does a deal with a devil to save his life and enjoy new found riches. He must find a soul to take his place in hell within 3 days - with strings attached.
When he arrives in the nearest community he finds people struggling to survive. It was once a prosperous spa town but war has ravaged its streets.
It is a dark tale with twists and turns - and very funny!

Remember you can click on any picture to see details enlarged - then you use the back click arrow to return to the blog. Will you need this facility for the last picture I wonder!

The first three pictures below show scenes from the performance (web site pictures).

When the show was over, the lights went up and the masks were brought out for us to see and we could chat with the cast.
Here is Bill modelling the mask of the devil

Hey - I look quite fetching in a mask! See below.

This was the landlady of the inn's mask. She was a miserable old cow!

In between the action, the four actors became a chorus to keep the action flowing. They were lovely, simple folk - and here is Bill in one of the masks.
There were also puppets - appearing at the windows in the set to pass comment on things occurring.
Bill got the technique very well.
We all thought this one looked like the Duke of Edinburgh!

Whoops! We didn't notice that my arm is so obvious - it is supposed to look like the puppet's arm.

There was a grotesque puppet of a devil.

If you feel delicate and genteel - then I suggest you miss out this picture of me and the devil!
Now - I know you will look!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Saturday hunting and culture

First of all I regret the lack of blog yesterday. I tried - but there was a temporary fault in blogland.
It hadn't really been much of a day. I had had hardly any sleep during the night and felt quite shattered.
I dealt with some EBay sales.
Then slept for the afternoon and went to bed really early.

Today has been better.
It was just below freezing when we got up and went out to Ford - almost 2 months since we have been out hunting there.
It was light by the time we arrived and Bill was quickly into buying. He bought a Mamod traction engine, which seems never to have been used.
I bought some interesting china and kitchenalia and some more Dorking area postcards.
There is one item for our own collection a little pig with the Crawley crest on it. There are hairline cracks and it was only 50p.
And we bought a knitted jacket for me, a jumper for me and a shirt for Bill - all M&S items for 50p each.
Here is a little salt and pepper pot that I bought with a little dish. They are made by a company called Franz and are really delicate. They are modern - but Stephen in the shop won't realise that. They are too delicate and pretty for my own tastes - but I have found out that they are quite popular.

After we had done enough at Ford, we drove into Littlehampton for some breakfast. We know that the Hungarian family who run the Balaton return to Hungary for a month after Christmas, so today we went to Wetherspoons which does a breakfast much more cheaply - £2.69 each.

By this time the sun was shining weakly and it was not so cold.

This afternoon we have been preparing things for sale, including looking lots of things up on the internet. I had not heard of Franz china before; and there was lots more to learn.

I have also been chatting with Jamie and swapping photos. He sent me a couple of John on the slide at the swimming pool, where they had been today.
He has also put yet more on the jjjj blog - scroll down to find the filmlet of John dancing in the shopping mall.
He has put so much on recently to share with family and friends. It is like a book now with many chapters.

I must get on now because we are out this evening. We are going to Noth Holmwood, just outside Dorking for a show in the village hall. It seems it is quite artistic and also funny, with the actors using masks. It is the first evening out for ages - except the postcard club perhaps.
So, I must get changed and cook a snack before we go.

Bye for now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The pleasures and pains of the Guildford Road.

Is it really permitted to say we enjoyed taking Jane to Guildford for her radiotherapy today?
Cancer and its treatment was for so long something hardly to be mentioned and many other words were used rather than utter the terrible diagnosis.
Jane is pretty upbeat about her situation, though I am sure there are dark days sometimes, in the privacy of her own home.
She has adopted a "What will be, will be" attitude and takes each day at a time.
She has endured other difficult health situations and the strategy for dealing with things was largely in place when this latest diagnosis was made.
She talked a lot, of course, about the grandchildren - Henry and his very recently arrived baby sister, Isobel. Isobel now has a second name - Jane.
The radiotherapy treatment doesn't take very long and today there was nobody else for Jane to see.

As Jane seemed almost as fit as normal and feeling well in control of the situation, I suggested we have a little adventure.
On the way home we pass a place I have long thought we should explore - never did it when I was back and forth to Guildford in 1991 and 1992. Things were a little different. I was having chemo therapy and the anti sickness drug I was given at that hospital gave me the heeby jeebies.
My muscles just wouldn't relax and I would find myself standing up, sitting down, walking around in sheer desperation. By the time we were half way home sitting still in the car was a nightmare.
I know treatment moves on rapidly - but I think the old cancer hospital at Guildford, where I went, were not in tune with all that could be done. When I pushed to be transferred to The Royal Marsden there was much relief because they offered a range of anti sickness drugs and those awful symptoms recede into memory.

Anyway - back to today's adventure and the journey home from Guildford. I used to hate that road because of what was happening to me.
But today we stopped at the Old brick Kilns near Cranleigh. It turns out that Jane has also talked
of exploring there.
The old brick kilns were converted into a range of little shops, work shops and offices many years ago. (1980's)
There is also a cafe.
We stopped at the cafe for a pot of tea and toasted tea cakes.
It felt very good.

As we walked back to the car I saw in the window of a little shop something that I thought Mam would like and so we entered the shop - which actually was a lovely dress shop - bridal dresses and ball gowns.
Now I don't want a ball gown and I would not feel I needed to buy a new one (cos I don't buy brand new clothes), but judging by things I have seen on TV the prices of the gowns at £60 - £70 pounds seemed quite reasonable for a tasteful little boutique.
Needless to say I haven't bought a ball or bridal gown for Mam!
But the item remains a surprise until we go to Thailand in May.

We dropped Jane off at home and then went to Lidl to get cold meats and vegetables mostly - but of course bought a little more.
Lunch was not taken until half past two.

This afternoon I described 10 postcards - just singles, rather than the bundles that I am also sorting out.
One got a bid very quickly.

This card of the early 1900's showing F G Heist outside his furnishing ironmonger's shop in East Street Horsham would be a £40 postcard I think...... if only it were in good condition.
But it is in poor condition - fit for the rubbish bin, some would say.
I just thought that somebody would like it - and it seems they do.
Maybe - the bidding might bring me a little more money than the 95p I started it off at.

And now I am idling, soon to have a cup of tea.
My gut feels fragile - could it have been the tea cake (wheat) or the butter (milk)? I really should have asked if they had a little jam instead of butter - but I just thought a little couldn't hurt me.
Stupid of me!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Some healthy sunlight.

I would have been watching Master Chef right now - but I didn't want to fall asleep in front of the TV for the 3rd time!
I do feel really tired this evening.
But it has been a good sort of day.
The sun shone for much of it - though it is raining again now.

I had to deal with the wrapping and invoicing of sold EBay items. Today five out of 6 things sold - some very up to date Ordnance Survey maps, a book about the RAF bases in Yorkshire in WW1 and WW2 and a book about sea angling in Scotland.
I walked up to the post office just before noon with the parcels that had been paid for straight away.
It was such a little achievement - but I held my head high, turned my eyes to the good light and felt proud that I was doing something to help myself.
For the last few weeks I have tended to mutter hesitantly about parcels to be posted until Bill has offered to go out and post them. I really didn't want to leave the safety zone of my own "nest".

Bill was out for a while this morning on some errands of his own. But he did pick up my new calcium medication. I haven't taken any yet because I want to query something with the doctor. The leaflet says that it shouldn't be taken with cholistyramine - and that is what my sachets of Questran are, which I have been taking for years now to absorb excess bile in my system. I'll phone as soon as I can to sort this one.

Whilst Bill was out I had a phone call from his sister, Pam.
Our niece Fiona and her partner Stig (real name Stuart) are expecting a baby in August.
So the family of our great nieces and nephews grows.
I gather from Pam that each of Bill's brother's (Ian) daughters are expecting right now. Ian and his family are in Scotland and it is some time since we have seen them or even been in touch.

I now have Fiona on Facebook - and contacted her brother Antony too - so the facebook family grows too.

Jamie continues to put at least 2 new little chapters on the jjjj blog each day. I love the latest pictures of Jessica in the old school museum in Phuket City.

I slept a little better last night - no half past five waking, thank goodness.
I am looking forward to another good night.
Tomorrow morning we shall be out fairly early (for us on a weekday). We are taking Bill's sister Jane to Guildford for her radiotherapy treatment. She is about half way through now.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Good luck Mr President! And good luck me!

This has been a bitty day but maybe I have moved a little bit forward.

For one family in America it has been a momentous day of course. I confess at the start that President Obama is of the same sort of political persuasion as me; but I have become more cynical - he is a politician and his hands will be tied by the considerations of needing to keep people on side - people with the power within the economy and industry and also the people with the power of the vote.
And there are people who we haven't heard of today who are opposed to his vision of how he hopes he could make things be, or start to be.
Have they sat watching their televisions spitting and cursing whilst others have wept with joy?
I feel sorry for them that they can't look forward with some optimism and that they can't see what so many people round the world are seeing.
Good luck to President Obama I say.

But back to my day.
It began on the dot of 5.29, just as it so often does. I wonder why that moment wakes me.
I didn't stay in bed for very long . I came down and described 6 bundles of postcards for EBay. I have had a box of all sorts of odds and ends that I don't want and would not find a place in Pilgrims. I am collecting together only postcards of Dorking, and the immediate towns and villages around, for the shop.
They are now listed - priced at under a pound a bundle. I hope they might sell for more than that, but above all I hope they sell.

Later on Bill had an appointment to see the nurse at the doctor's.
I was planning to go with him and on to look at more bathroom fittings.
As I stepped out of the door I had to rush back in and he went alone - I had a "bag" problem. Just thought I would let you know that there are these difficulties from time to time still - but not too often. Thank goodness I was not already out and about when it happened.
Bill had his blood pressure checked - and all is very well. He was weighed - and yes, he should lose a bit. His blood tests reveal no problems. He has to deliver a "wee" sample tomorrow morning.

Bill came back to collect me and we went to see what the warehouse, where Jim the plumber gets his stock, had on offer. They don't really have a showroom, but they were helpful and as we talked, in walked Jim. Now that was really helpful. We now know what we want. Jim will return to us on Thursday and then will be able to fit about 3 weeks later.

This afternoon I dabbled with this and that.
Finally I did plan the biography of Grandad Monk for the web pages. Poor William - we know very little and I wonder what there was to know.
He was born - moved around a bit - but not far from Charlwood. He married his brother's widow and gave her more children. He worked I guess - but achieved little. He died in a mental institution, maybe as the result of some sort of dementia. He had not been able to cope alone after Louisa died.

Then it was time for me to go to the doctor's. I saw Dr Oliver. He is trying me on yet another different calcium and vitamin D product. Of course I will take it dutifully - but the possible side effects are just the same as the other things that have been prescribed.
I talked with him about SAD.
He was helpful - but his knowledge of the light boxes that are available comes only from reading, but he feels that there is compelling evidence for their effectiveness.
He offered an anti depressant. I have refused at this stage. He suggests I start on one in October next winter and I should perhaps take him up on that. It is best to start before the illness sets in. And I will get a light box. Dr Oliver offered the advice that is important to get the right box. I told him I had read this on the site of the SAD association and he said go back and use their advice.
But the one I want costs £200. Nevertheless my well being is worth that - it would be wonderful to avoid the long months of not feeling right. It is hard to explain depression to one who doesn't suffer - but lets just say it causes a sort of paralysis of your brain. The brain still has its intelligence, but it won't do all that is wisest and best, for it doesn't know how to.
If I didn't make a list of all the things to be done each day - from the very trivial to starting bigger projects I don't think I would do anything.
On the list for tomorrow will be "Order a light box". "Collect calcium medication" and I have EBay things finishing. There are Emails to write and Grandad Monk's life to write up for posterity.

So, we keep moving forward - very slowly.

Monday, January 19, 2009


On duty in Dorking

This has been an OK day.
I worked hard on social skills and did my best to be friendly and pleasant - and it worked.
So I felt happier too.
I don't think winter depression is over - just like that; as with any other illness that we face, you have to try and make the best of it.

But this has been a day when some survey or other that the media picked up on was supposed to be a hazardous day with a tendency for people to feel depressed or on edge or just plain cross with self and the world.
I hope the day has been better than that for you.
Amongst my facebook contacts I have so far seen a wonderful spelling of a scream and the tale of a twisted ankle and falling flat on the face.
So - not a good day for everybody.

As Monika had predicted there were loads of envelopes with money in for us to collect in Pilgrims. My sales were generally for low priced items and it amounted to less than Bill's this week. But the important thing is to keep selling.
I had 8 envelopes, Bill had four and poor old French Julie who got her envelopes at the same time had but one.
Julie loves to talk - and she seems to love to talk to me.
I like that she for she is a dear.
Monika was in and out a lot - as usual.
On Saturday we are going to a theatrical production in North Holmwood village hall and for some reason that we can't fathom, Monika has taken it as her responsibility to make sure all the tickets are sold. She phones and cajoles people to take posters or tickets for much of the day; this takes her out of the shop a lot to see people.
Anyway, we are going - and apparently Monika has arranged that she and her friends should have the front row!
Monika also spent time filling up boxes because she has booked a stall at an antiques fair tomorrow - for she is desperate for some cash back in her purse.
Bill and I popped out for a short while to take the parcels to the post office. At least I had a short walk in the day light - not sunlight, for it was grey and gloomy. "It will rain soon" said Bill - and a couple of minutes later it did just that.
I spent a while cleaning the shop kitchen today. It wasn't too bad really, but I like to see it gleaming.
I am not sure about the mince pies in the microwave though - are they the same 4 that were in there a week ago?
We didn't eat out in Dorking today - we had tasty Thai noodles that I did in that microwave - having removed the mince pies first of course!
I haven't mentioned customers yet - there were some, but not as many as I would have liked. It was disappointing after lots of sales during last week that there were none for either of us today.
But our areas are looking good - with the fresh stock fitted into place.
Right - time to drink (not alcohol, for sadly it doesn't really agree with me anymore - I would love a good beer sometimes; think I'll risk it one day).
Tomorrow there are medical appointments. Bill has been called in to review the blood pressure situation - appointment in the morning. I will see Dr Oliver in the afternoon.

So, goodnight from us in monkland.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Sunday. A boot sale and work.

Well, we have been to a car boot sale after seven weeks.
I doubt that it was worth it, unless you count the fact of getting up early and attempting to be joyful in the hunt for bargains.
It had rained so hard yesterday evening and into the night and the winds were fierce.
But at half past six it was dry enough.
And so we took the familiar road to Dorking.
We greeted Jo and Monika, also out on the prowl.
But the number of stall holders was small and many of the regular traders were missing.
I bought a few things and realised that amongst them were a couple of items that will make very good family Christmas or birthday presents.
We got back home and cooked some eggs and bacon.
And then prepared things that we want to take to the shop tomorrow.
Hopefully there will be spaces - Monika suggested that there were quite a few envelopes in the safe for us this week.
I have wrapped 5 items which sold today on EBay and have dealt with some payments. The money from today's and Friday's sales is coming in slowly. As long as it arrives.
Jim the plumber has been round to see what we are needing in the bathroom and will bring catalogues of fittings tomorrow. He will fit a power shower for us - better than the one we have attached to the taps and put up with for years.
I made sure that I had understood some of Roger's instructions about researching family history.
So many people are at it - Jo went onto the 1911 census yesterday for the first time.
I found nothing new. I checked my strategies looking at known people.
Then I looked for Ellises again.
Where are they all?
Apart from those that would seem to be in the workhouse that is.
The courtmartialled great uncle Edward has not yet been found by us in the 1911 census. No Edward Ellis matches his birth year exactly- although both of them listed have the right named wife!
This evening I have watched The Antiques Roadshow and Lark Rise to Candleford.
I feel a bit screwed up tonight - hope I sleep.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Lewes and, later - the ancestors

Eventually a decision was made about the day - after much dithering.

The alarm went at 6 o'clock and we dragged ourselves from bed.
It had been raining but seemed to have cleared, as the weather forecast suggested.
But then, as we had our cup of tea, it poured with rain again.
I felt so down - the fates had conspired to ruin my best efforts at fighting back against this seasonal depression.
We did a few things and my 8 o'clock it looked much brighter - Bill wondered if we should still go to Ford.
"No - its much too late" I barked. I was cross - not with Bill of course.
Later we decided to go out and Lewes was our destination. There are lots of antiques shops there and is an attractive town.
We made a good search of the place where some of the people we had been with in Rocking Horse ended up. It is a big centre on 4 floors and there are very many sellers.
I bought things from Sue's area and Bill bought something from Kate! So we have helped them pay their rent this week!
We spent a while in a disused chapel, now a flea market; Bill bought a model car.
Then we seemed to walk up and down the steep hill a number of times until I was exhausted.
The places that I wanted to eat in were full and people were queueing for seating.
Other places were outrageously expensive.
We ended up in an unlikely looking side street pub.
It was a wise move.
My bowl of beef stew was quite delicious. Bill opted for a big breakfast.
We looked in at another disused chapel - but by this time we were both too tired and had both over eaten in the pub and we had no interest in much except getting home.

At home I have looked a little at family history because Roger has found information which all hangs together very well about Bill's mother's ancestors.
He knows his way around things much better than I do and this evening has given me some lessons over the phone. Thank you so much for all the information and the know how.
What seems to have come up is that Bill's Nanny Brand has some "interesting" brothers and sisters.
Roger has found her older brother enrolling in the army in 1906 and being sent to Ireland. And then in 1907 being court martialled for absconding with his equipment - though he wasn't present at the hearing because nobody knew where he was.
We know that as a married man he lived in Bedford - Bill was taken to visit the family when he was a boy.
And her younger brothers and sisters and her mother seem to be together in 1911 in an "institution" in Reigate. As they were together we might assume that they were in the workhouse. But where was the father? We have found no record of his death and he doesn't appear on the 1911 census.
But there was small child, Ada Louisa, aged 3. The mother of the family, by this time was 54 and therefore probably too old to have borne Ada Louise.
So who was Ada's mother?
Could it have been Bill's Nannie - who was somewhere in service in 1911?
That is to be found out.
It is all too easy to start making assumptions and I don't want to go down that path.

So, I have had a good sort of day. I have fought back against the SAD just a bit - and I have started on St John's Wort, though one tablet is not going to change anything.
My throat is sore again this evening because of the sinus type infection.

Time for bed soon I think.
It is raining again. Shall we get out to the Dorking boot sale in the morning? It would do me good.
Good night.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Feeling SAD

This evening I shall write little about the activities of the day - I don't feel I have done very much.
I want to release some negative feelings and words often help.
I am feeling sad - not just a particular sadness but I am suffering from Seasonal Affected Depression - SAD.
It happens almost every winter and some years it is worse than others. I am aware that I have got really low this winter.
It helps a little that there is information about this condition these days and I should be able to avoid feeling guilty about it, which I did do many years ago.
I have been looking at the Internet today and yes - it is all there in the list of SAD symptoms.
Poor sleep - tell me about it.... I didn't get to sleep at all until 4 o'clock ish last night. I feel weary most of the time - lethargy, they say in the list of symptoms.
Social problems - not wanting to see people; yes, I am guilty of that, I even find it hard to pick up the phone.
Craving for carbohydrates and sweet food - even when I feel nauseous I just want to eat!
Feelings of not being able to cope. This afternoon I avoided driving to the post office with a parcel because I felt scared to go on my own!
Feelings of gloom and despondency. I can easily feel weepy - but, honest, I am trying to remember all that I have to be thankful for.
Now, can I pull myself together?
It would help if I had invested in a special SAD lamp, when the nurse first advised me to get one a few years ago.
Perhaps that is something I should do - it might help just a little for this year.
Of course I have not lost my intelligence and I am aware of the things I could and should be doing for myself - but the trouble with depression, when it gets deep, is that one loses the ability to move forward into action.
Yes, I should be out walking in the daylight every day. But it is cold and wet and dreary a lot of the time.
I promise that I will try to do it more.
Perhaps we can get up in the darkness tomorrow morning and go out hunting at Ford and then walk on the beach.
But then again, it might be raining!
Next week I will be seeing Dr Oliver about my calcium tablets and the problems they may be causing. Digestive problems make me feel down too - its not easy knowing that there have to be many trips to the loo.
But in a way, that is a fact of life for me after all the interference with my organs. And mostly I don't feel too badly about it.
I think I shall also ask for advice about SAD. I have heard that Dr Oliver has suffered with depression himself and anyway I know he wouldn't judge.
I don't think he can prescribe a lamp on the NHS though.
I will start back on the St John's Wort tablets which in the past have eased depression a bit. I don't think at this stage a doctor would want to give me other medication - though maybe a brief course to get me started back on the right road might help.
Many years ago (in amongst all the horrors that were happening then) I demanded temazepam from Dr. Oliver and got the short course I needed.
If there is a blessing in suffering from this complaint I can accept that having these bad spells gives me a greater insight into Ashley's depression.
I can understand how it feels to feel incapable of making the most of life.

And it is a blessing that I can write things down and to stop pretending that all is well.
I feel a little bit weepy right now.
But I feel sure that sharing the problem is the beginning of me being able to sort something out - and anyway in a few weeks Spring will arrive and I feel such a new beginning when that happens.

Today I have felt rather paralysed and unable to do much on my list of things to do.
Some things I have to do - having put things onto to EBay I must deal with them when they sell - 4 out of 5 books today.
I have dabbled with the 1911 census and felt defeated by Bill's mother's side of the family.
Where were they all in 1911?
Thank you Roger and Barry for your input.
The bits I have taken in make some sense. I shall have to share with you each other's input.
And Roger seems to have sorted out what became of the missing younger brothers of Bill's Grandmother. They were there on the 1901 census and then nobody ever seemed to have heard of them.
Roger has found one or both in an institution in Reigate. I wonder if they were in some way handicapped because even if the parents had suddenly died, you would think that there might be somebody in the family to care for them.
Bill's grandmother was old enough perhaps to have taken them on.

Ah well.... tomorrow is another day as was once said.
I hope it will feel like a good one for all of us.
Thank you for listening - if you got this far!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Today's achievements.

Some things have been achieved today.

Perhaps the most useful potentially is my decision to see the doctor.
I had trouble with the calcium drinks I had to drink last year and I was then put on chewable calcium and vitamin D tablets.
I was wary of them because of the digestive disturbances that the previous concoction had caused.
I didn't take the tablets anything like as much as the prescribed dose - and my calcium levels were down.
So, I promised I would take them - and the digestive disturbances are back...... big time!
It has been getting increasingly bad for some weeks.
The consultant did say he might have to think of offering a different way of taking it and I think I want that now. I am not sure if the GP can arrange that for me.
I will stop taking the tablets and make an appointment tomorrow. It is not urgent, so I am not sure when I shall be seen.

At lunchtime I had an achievement which put a smile on my face I can tell you!
I was playing Boggle - the normal midday fight between brother and sister and sister in law - and all the other people who happen to be playing at the same time around the world,
I am happy to be able to be ahead of Roger, in his noisy and often disturbing lunchtime school room. See - Roger I am allowing you your excuses!
But he also is able to trounce me on occasions too.
But just once today - I beat everybody playing.
My name - monkland119 - was at the top of the leaderboard.

I have described and listed 7 more items for EBay today. Bill also described a large model lorry.
I love the hope of a good sale - wonder what will happen to our treasures this time.

This afternoon I wrote a biography.
As you may recall I have pushed myself to continue working on the family history web pages.
There are so many of these biographies still to be written, including some of our own generation and many about those in the later generations.
But I decided I would use records, certificates, photographs etc to record the life of Louisa, Bill's Monk grandmother.

This is a picture taken at a family wedding in February 1941 . Louisa is on the right with Bill's grandfather.
She is aged about 62. She looks much older - she had a very hard life I think.
I look at her and realise that in that picture she is younger than I am now.

The other people - for those who might have an interest are from left to right......
Rosa Brand - Bill's Nannie
Sam Brand - Bill's Grandad
Doris Monk (nee Brand) - Bill's mother.
Pat, daughter of Rose Monk (sister of bride) and Bill's cousin.
The other girl bridesmaid was a family friend.
The groom is Bill Brand - Bill's mother's brother. (Uncle Bill)
Behind him is the groom's brother Edward (Ned).
The bride is Lily Monk - sister of Bill's father. (Aunty Pink).
Then William and Louisa Monk - parents of the bride.

I still have her 2 Monk husbands to do. That's William (in the photo above) and Abraham his brother who died in 1906. They will come next.

I am quite pleased with what I have done - and the feeling of satisfaction should spur me on to do more.
I am pleased that I have managed to hyperlink too. So now when you come to a person's name you can click on that and find their story too.

It seems like Jim the plumber has forgotten his promise to call in this evening.
My instincts are to buy from B &Q and use plumbers that they have on their books. I would imagine that B&Q are quite choosy about people they are agents for; they would not want to risk their repuation.
I'll have to see what Bill thinks.
B &Q not only have half price items just now, but also half price fitting.

So that's it for today. I forgot to watch Masterchef - yet again!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Brief news

It's getting late - so I will be brief (ish).

This evening has been lovely with Julie and Roger here for chat and drinks.

The day was busy.
I ironed.
I sorted out a box of postcards, which Bill has now photographed so that I can get them onto EBay in the next week.
I wrapped for EBay and invoiced the buyers and dealt with the payments. Seven items sold out of nine and all have been paid for.
This afternoon we went to B & Q to look at wash basins and baths.
Don't know if plumber Jim can come up with any better deals - everything is half price in B &Q; and if we wait until next Wednesday to buy then we get an extra 10% off as old people!
We have selected 3 possibilities.

I'll have a quick drink and head off to bed soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Tuesday mysteries and gifts.

Energy is running out.
I feel really drained.
Today I have described and listed 7 books for EBay.
Then we went into town. Thank goodness for the bus passes!
We bought cards for celebrations people are enjoying.
I bought trousers and a top in a charity shop.
Bill bought socks in M &S. He realised that the tight band at the top of his socks was not doing him any good. And he itches a lot round his ankles.
Bill picked up the forms we need for renewing our passports.

Earlier in the morning Bill called me to see something upstairs.
I must begin this episode by explaining something from yesterday. I had just finished in the bathroom, when there was a loud crack. Bill heard it too and came in to see me gazing around to see what had fallen down. Well, nothing had moved and the noise was unexplained until this morning. Bill thought a long hair trailed round the top of the wash basin - and then realised it was a crack. Why did it suddenly do this when nothing had happened to damage it?
The wash basin has not fallen apart - yet. But it will need replacing.

So I can see we might have a new bathroom because Bill thinks we need a new bath and I would like a more efficient shower.
And we do have a lovely bathroom cabinet waiting to be put up - that we bought in Ikea ages ago.
Our friend Jim - a starter in the athletics world - will don his working hat as a plumber and come round on Thursday evening.
Ah well - money in the bank is gaining us virtually nothing at the moment.

This afternoon Stella (another from the athletics world) came round. She had some items that I might be able to sell in Pilgrims.
And she gave me a jacket. She said it had been in her house for at least 2 years and nobody has claimed it. She wore it for a while but it was a bit too big for her. She realised I was a bit bigger and it fits perfectly.
So, many thanks to whoever mislaid their jacket some time ago at Stella's.

I have also prepared thoughts, documents and photographs that will be put together as a biography of Bill's grandmother, Louisa, on my web pages.
I might have time to get that done on Thursday.
I still have not completely sorted out the art of hyperlinking - but it won't beat me!

What else? Not much. Tomorrow I shall be wrapping and invoicing again as there are things on EBay which finish.
So, time to get some rest I think.
Good night.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Something to be joyful about.

I feel like I have had enough of today.
I know I shouldn't think like that, for every day is a gift to be treasured.
But today I have felt increasingly weary and now, this evening, my throat is sore again and my head aches.
We had both had restless nights with various aspects of this chesty bug.
Still, I know that others out there have been feeling much the same.
Monika, in the shop, was feeling it too.
We can't tell really how the customers were feeling because there were so few of them!
I didn't expect there to be many out and about on such a dreary, rainy day.
The comments last week about the cold were mostly uttered (or written) with a somewhat excited tone and we all gloried in the beauties that the frost and ice created.
But today, though obviously warmer, did nothing to excite or cheer the soul.
And with sales so poor for the week - our worst in Pilgrims - it all felt a bit depressing.
Bill and I cheered ourselves up with a lunch out - nothing at all special. Next week I think I might try a slightly more superior establishment.

But there has been one bit of good news to brighten the spirits.
We have yet another to add to our tally of great nephews and nieces. We now have twenty - could be one or two more in Scotland.
Welcome to the world baby Isobel.
Isobel is the daughter of Liz and Ben - and Liz is the daughter of Bill's sister, Jane.
I am really glad that Isobel chose to be born whilst Jane and Geoff were in Warwickshire with Liz, Ben and Henry.
Jane can now go to her first radiotherapy appointment tomorrow with the image of her grand daughter safe in her memories to carry her through the difficult times.

Right, kettle on and soon to bed. Maybe its my turn for the Night Nurse - except there is none left.

Good night.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Sunday in the Stables.

It was still quite chilly first thing - a tiny amount of snow had fallen overnight.
It was very dark at six o'clock and my throat was sore.
No - I didn't want to get up.
I made some tea and we listened to Good Morning Sunday - hooray, Aled Jones played the Jeff Buckley version of Hallelujah!

Once up, we realised that the frost, ice and snow were vanishing before our eyes.
I hatched a plan to go hunting after all.
Sometimes we go to Stable Antiques in Storrington.

It is a tumble down old building full of higgledy piggledy areas which sellers rent.
We have noticed before that during January some of the sellers have a half price sale and nobody is outrageously expensive.
We set off in the sunshine and behind the windows of the car it felt almost like Spring was on its way.
It was a good move going to Stable because we could be sure of seeing things that we might find interesting. The boot sale might have had very little for us.
It was very cold in there - there is no heating except in the one room where the owner of the shop sits and takes the money.
I popped in and out to him to create a pile of things I wanted to buy.
Soon our browsing round the 2 floors had produced quite a few interesting things to take to Dorking and hopefully to make a bit of profit on.
I have some jelly moulds, a 1937 coronation mug by a stylish pottery, a doll, some blue glass items, an Edwardian leather bag, 2 lovely framed prints (must look up the artist), Bill has an old brass blow lamp and some keys for clockwork toys.
I enjoyed the trip and the chat with the owner, but we were glad to get back in the car to drive home and get warm.

The first job, once home, was to make a phone call to wish little John a Happy Birthday.
Both he and Jessica chat away on the phone as if we were really familiar to them.
They have had a good weekend with a lovely party yesterday evening. A friend had arranged a bouncy castle for the children to play on, whilst the adults ate and drank.
I do hope there will be some pictures coming through this week - Jamie.

I have spent the afternoon cleaning and preparing all the things bought this morning for sale in Pilgrims. We have a box full to take with us tomorrow.

The temperature has reached the dizzy heights of 8 degrees today. The rain will be with us soon I guess.
My sore throat has got no worse - maybe I am successfully fighting off a cold again.

Have a good week.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Feels cold and got cold. Bother.


I have a few reasons for muttering "Bother".
First "they" had said earlier in the week, that today would feel warmer and there would be sunshine. I planned to be at a boot sale.
But it was quite clear that the warmer weather had been delayed - and that when it does arrive it will bring rain with it.
On our way to the post card club yesterday evening it was so cold - took an age to de - ice the car - and we knew that going to a car boot sale before dawn would not be fun.
The talk at the post card club was interesting - though Bill missed most of it because he had a nasty coughing fit.
I knew Newhaven well when I was young. I have collected a few Newhaven postcards of my own to illustrate our childhood holidays, when we would cycle often from our camp on the South Down to the beach at Newhaven. I used to feel quite grumbly sometimes on those long bike rides. The terrain was hilly and I always had to ride alone with my parents riding along to shield the two little brothers from any passing traffic. It was at least 6 miles and I developed the habit, which I still have of memorising all the familiar landmarks on the route and built my own relationships with them.
And then 2 years running I fell off my bike as we hit Newhaven, having got the wheel stuck in the railway lines which were along the road going over the swing bridge.
The route is much the same still - but oh how Newhaven has changed.
The port is run down and very little uses it. There is now an expensive yachting marina and the route round to the sea has gone.
It saddened me to see somewhere special to me in a state of some decay.

This morning we woke and saw how right we were to have stayed in the warmth of home and bed.
It looked so cold.
Bill took more pictures, which are below.
Lots of people have been taking pictures and I have enjoyed seeing everybody's delight at the beauty of the extreme weather on blogs, facebook and emails.

It is not so cold tonight in Thailand of course - 30 degrees warmer perhaps. There is a party there for our John's 4th birthday. I am sure there will be pictures very soon.
I have been writing about John today.
And Ekatarina too.
My web pages for our grandchildren are now up to date.
Nobody will see them, except Bill of course, until the end of the year when new updated discs will be available.
Now begins a bigger challenge - sorting out what I need to tell the story of Bill's grandmother, Louisa.

I am not sure when I shall be up to it.
Another "Bother" is being uttered at this point. I have a sore throat, headache and the beginnings of a runny nose.
It was inevitable - but double bother!
I shall do my best to fight it off.

I think I shall feel glad tomorrow that, this morning, I made a huge hotpot to last 2 days - so no cooking tomorrow.

Right time for a fruit and lemon tea and then perhaps bed. It is below zero again tonight - warmer tomorrow perhaps? With rain by evening.
Of course as pensioners we may well be given an extra £25 to go towards out heating bills because of the long spell of extreme cold.

This was the view from the bedroom window as we drank our first cup of tea of the day.

After breakfast Bill went into the garden to explore websites - the frost making webs visible.

These 2 leaf pictures show just how much the frost had built up in 24 hours.
The second one you saw yesterday - and the first one is the same leaf this morning.
I hope they appear side by side on your screen.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Family love on a freezing day

I am doing the blog entry early today because we shall be out this evening.
In truth it will be hard to heave ourselves out of the comfortable chairs at home to go and sit in a draughty church hall - but the speaker at tonight's meeting of the postcard club could be interesting. He will tell of the history of the port of Newhaven. So we will be there.

Today there has been some routine - ironing and the like.
Bill has been for one of his regular blood tests - looked after well by Lisa, who I used to teach over 30 years ago and who befriended me on facebook.

I have begun the task of sorting out web pages. Today I began with a small challenge - to update the page for our young Jessica with some photos. There are so many to choose from
Over the weekend I will update John and then Ekatarina.

Next week I must begin on one of the more major challenges. I don't have anything down about Bill's grandmother Louisa for a start.
Bill will continue updating the family tree.
I keep being asked questions about the offspring of our nephews and nieces - he can't remember who they are. It is the sort of thing that has nestled into my brain and I know their names on the whole.

Talking of a nephew - I hope you like the wedding picture of our nephew Barrie at the end of today's entry.

We awoke this morning to a heavy frost and Bill popped out into the front garden to take some pictures. For people new to my blog I will add that pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them and then using the back arrow to get back to the blog.
I think it will be chilly first thing in the morning, but I am determined that we rise early, dress up warm and go to Ford to see what we can find to sell.

And now for a total contrast.........
Barrie and Lynsey were married at the beginning of December whilst in New Zealand.
They opted for a wedding for just the two of them.
And this picture is the most romantic and joyful wedding picture I have seen.
We send them all our love.
For others (far away) interested in family history I will remind them that Barrie is the son of Bill's sister, Jane.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Keeping good time

I am tired - non concentration mode has set in.
We have been timekeeping this evening - good to greet that group of friends once again and catch up with news.
I was the chief timekeeper for the evening.
It sounds grander perhaps than it is.
The chief must record all the times for all the athletes and an ability to "read the race" is quite important. This mean is it is good to be able to jot down roughly what you think the gaps are between the runners as they cross the line.
I am quite good at this - I find that often once I have the time of the winner I know what the rest of the times should be.
But as the evening drew on I found I couldn't read the race well and timekeep well.
I was pressing the button late. So when I had estimated that the gap between first and second might be 3 tenths of a second I could be sure that Marilyn's time (she was working with me) was right and mine was wrong.
But I did find it a good evening to be out.
When we left the Horsham sports centre there was fog and as the temperature was one below zero, I guess this was freezing fog.

Earlier in the day we posted parcels round the world for EBay and then did a major shop, using both Lidl and Tesco.
This afternoon I described and listed 6 more EBay things.

The kettle has boiled - I will have a drink and get to bed soon.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Busy day

My words won't convey very much, but today has been very full.
It was the first day with some EBay sales for almost a month.
I had put 23 items up for sale which had been listed once before. I am very pleased that 12 of them sold this time and some for reasonable amounts of money.
So I have been wrapping and invoicing and dealing with payments - the usual routine.
Half the things have now been paid for and so there will be a trip to the post office with parcels - its seems ages since I was there chatting with the 2 women who keep our local post office open.

I have been working through my list of things to do. I bought a diary with a page for each day before Christmas - only 99p.
I have for these first days of the year jotted down tasks, big and small, to be done during the day.
This includes a reminder to reply to emails and to make outstanding phone calls.
I don't achieve everything and some things get transferred to the next day.
But it seems to work to have a bit of a structure like this set out for myself.

One phone call was to the hospital to check about my CT scan. I had handed over the form last August and I needed to be sure that it hadn't got mislaid or ignored.
The first person I rang obviously was not too sure and said she would ring me back.
I'll not know if there had been a problem, but at least I have now been reassured that the scan will be in February and I should get a letter mid January.
I am glad I rang.
I am now confident that this check is in place.

And happily there has been more correspondence with Bill's cousin's son, Barry.
And Bill has been working at information and pictures and getting them onto a DVD to send tomorrow.
But I haven't had time to add anything to the web pages today.
After all I still need time for playing!
I still haven't got to the end of the Roman Empire - oh so nearly there again today and then knocked back to the beginning of the final level!
I think the Roman Empire will be with me for ever!

The weather is warmer - we have had a positive reading on the thermometer for most of the day - up to the dizzy heights of 2 degrees.

I will go to bed early - a bit disturbed last night by bad dreams. Maybe I was affected by all the news in Gaza.
In my dream I was involved in sort of hostage situation with a group of others.
I woke desperately pleading with my captors for assistance to get necessary supplies for my medical condition.
I lay awake after that feeling a bit afraid of how things could go wrong and how grateful I am too that within a normal life I have everything I need.
As for the Gaza situation, words fail me.
I try to be even handed I guess - unlike Jamie who commented on his blog (for all the world to see) that Israel has gone over the top once again and he got comments back.
At least it is only family and friends who see this blog.
Of course Israel has been provoked by terrorist activity - but somehow we are all supposed to bow down and accept that Israel can do as it pleases (including banning foreign journalists from seeking out the truth). One word of criticism towards Israel brands us all as nasty anti Semitic fascists.
Even if I could find words I would change nothing.
I will just continue to try and create a little world of truth and peace in my own environment.
And on that pompous note, I bid you a goodnight.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Hyperlinking to the last day of Christmas

A hyper sort of day - and yet calm too.
I have needed only my bedroom slippers on my feet and have been no further than the garage -to get an onion for tonight's dinner.

In the past I have had hyperkalaemia and at times might suffer hyperventilation.
Today I have hyperlinked - no, not another medical condition!

I promised myself and others who had shown an interest that I would get back to the family history.
And last week there was an extra enquiry from a second cousin of Bill's who we have not met - yet.
Today I looked again at the web pages I produced - I can hardly bear to think that over 6 years have passed since I put that lot together.
I did a good job back then - but never a complete job; indeed there is lots more to be done and lots more statistics to feed in for there have been births marriages and deaths in those years.
Actually, what I produced then is good, well good enough. It will not be difficult to continue with things and update things.
The hyperlinking involves being able to click from one name to another or to a place - and after a bit of work I seem to have that sorted out now.
I would still have to sort out how to create new sections. But at the moment most relations already have a section just waiting to be crammed with information and photos.
This will be a long job, but, bit by bit, I will work at it and hopefully by this time next year I might have a good up to date history ready for people..
I have asked Bill to take control of the family tree programme - sorting out all the dates for everybody whose name appears.

In addition to this work I have described and listed a few more bits for EBay.
Tomorrow I will have the first EBay auctions to finish for some time - and these were a bunch of things that had been listed before. Happily a fair few have bids.

Now today was always the traditional last day of Christmas - woe betide you if you haven't got your decorations down by midnight!
And so, before we let it go completely I will share with you pictures taken last Sunday when we were able to add more to the Christmas of Felix and Otto (and Ruth and Jenny) with the presents from Wiltshire.

If you haven't got all the pictures up, rest assured that I am trying to put things right. Though I think it might just be a temporary blip on the blog site.

I guess Felix now believes that life is just one succession of people with presents for him!
Thomas is a great favourite.
He was very excited with a Thomas the Tank Engine Annual that he opened a little later.

He spent a little while on his new jigsaw.

He posed with his lovely new "car" - the Cadbury's biscuit tin, which proved doubly exciting when he realised there were chocolate finger biscuits inside.

Simon and Nicki had been so looking forward to seeing Felix opening this big present. I took a series of pictures to try and capture Felix's joy.

Yes - Felix loved it all.
When he saw the set of books from Megan he excitedly said "Lola"..... don't think he managed both the names, Charlie and Lola. But, for sure, he knew the characters.
I must comment on something I have spotted on Felix in these photos. Perhaps others have seen it already. He is showing a slight "bald" spot amongst his curls at exactly the same spot that his Grandad's hair first turned white and then fell out to create a small bald spot.
Or am I imagining it?

Otto, at not quite 4 months, really has not twigged what all the fuss is about.

His eyes investigate the bright colours of some new bibs.

And there was an aunty to dribble on and smile at.
He might soon have a couple of teeth to show for all the dribbling.

But for now he can feed easily, whilst the modern mother reads poetry to the assembled company!

Monday, January 05, 2009


Snow on the Surrey Hills - and our garden.

Cold is tiring.
Perhaps that is why animals in the wild - well, some of them - instinctively hibernate and sleep through the cold weeks.
It was not actually as cold this morning as on others, but there was the thin covering of snow and the leaden skies to create the feeling of continued winter.
And "not actually as cold" shouldn't deceive us into thinking it was warm. It was not.
Bill and I waddled to the car to go to Dorking like a pair of Michelin men, wrapped up in so many layers!
We wanted no repeat of the chilled to the bones feeling of last Monday.
Bill actually wore pyjama trousers under his proper trousers!

Monika had been into the shop early and turned on all the heaters - just enough to take the worst of it away.
Monika lives close by and she had walked back and forth 3 times this morning with stuff she wanted at the shop - rather than take her car out onto a steep snowy road.
Julie, the elderly French lady who normally is with us felt too worried by her steep driveway and would not venture out at all.
We couldn't expect to see very many people braving the elements and the 3 of us set to and worked on our own areas.
I have rearranged everything - not nearly as daunting a prospect as it was at Rocking Horse, because the space means I have much less.
Bill had made a shelf to fit within his display to give just a little more room and he needed to move things to fit it in.
Monika has been all day sorting out some new stock and repricing old stock. She has no patience or confidence and if something hasn't sold within a couple of months she fears she got it all wrong and wants the item to be gone. Actually she has some lovely things - higher quality and priced than mine.
I sold a few things during the week and, take note Monika, 2 of them I had had for more than 2 years!
And I sold today too.
There have been some good sales - just less than usual. We took over £200, which is far above what a quiet day would have been in Rocking Horse.

We came home and tucked into our Marks and Spencers ready prepared meals - lasagne for Bill and chilli con carne for me. They had been at sell by date and were really cheap and good quality.
I might have cooked a stir fry with fresh rice noodles - but we had eaten noodles at lunch time.

We are warm in the house this evening - our cheeks are glowing.
The snow has cleared and we are back to sub zero temperatures.
Bill is coughing lots. He went to the pharmacy for decongestant tablets, only to be told that they shouldn't be taken at the same time as blood pressure pills.

Time for bed soon.
So, pictures of Felix and Otto can wait one more day to share with you.

Good night.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Was this finally the last day of Christmas?

Even as we snuggled down into bed last night I knew that there would be no boot saling today.
It was just going to be too darn cold and would have not been good for Bill's chest.
It was 7 below this morning. I guess there were people out there selling and there might have been bargains to be found, but we stayed in bed.

When I am at home there is another early Sunday morning pleasure for me - Good Morning Sunday, a programme of music and thoughts and comments of a more spiritual nature, presented by Aled Jones.
Today's guests were truly inspirational - one from a Christian standpoint and the other not.
We enjoyed a cup of tea in bed and shared the music.
We finished with a skiffle version of This Little Light of Mine by The Sadies - never heard of them! But then there is a lot of good stuff that we have never heard of.

This morning I described and listed 8 more football annuals. You may recall that the first batch I put on EBay made a lot of money. These are a bit later - 1950s, 60s and 70s; I wonder where they will end up.
I have some bids on things on EBay now. I am trying to acquire more to interest the Dorking public - postcards and other items connected with the area.
The trouble is my bids cannot go high or I would never be able to sell them in the shop except by making a loss. But I might get a few bits.

This afternoon we went to see Ruth, Felix and Otto. We had with us the bags of presents that had been gathered at Roger and Sue's for them, but were not able to be given on the day because the bugs kept Ruth and co at home for Chr. Day.
Felix now has the idea that Christmas is an almost everyday affair with presents appearing frequently.
He was very much taken with a tin in a shape of a van - and later loved it even more when he realised it contained Cadbury's chocolate finger biscuits!
I tried to snap away as each present was unwrapped - and photos will be blogged tomorrow or Tuesday when I have time and energy.
The biggest parcel was left until last. Each toy had suddenly become Felix's favourite and so it was with the big parcel at the end.
It is hard in a still photo in a crowded room to catch the best of Felix's enthusiasm.... but below is a picture, Simon and Nicki, of Felix with your fire engine.
I will send you more later on.
It was a problem to catch much response as the parcel was first opened because it was in a box and firmly attached to the box in 4 places which an adult had to undo for him.
But he waited patiently and then it became his best toy.

Well, they promise us ice and maybe snow tomorrow.
We shall need very warm clothes for the shop.
I am glad that I am female because layering becomes easier than for a man.
I can wear long socks, trousers, leg warmers and a skirt over the top of all of it.
Poor Bill - he can't wear a skirt over his trousers!
I think we might negotiate a half hour or so out of the shop together and have some lunch in a warm cafe somewhere.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Farewell to Christmas and soon back to normality.

Christmas seems to have been an age ago, but we have not yet been able really to get out of hibernation mode.
Today it was back to the sub zero temperatures and we thought it best that Bill did not attempt the trip to Ford.
He still feels really run down.
I am not sure yet if we will go to the boot sale at Dorking tomorrow morning - we do really need to get back into routine and find some good things to sell.
Bill has just told me that he thinks we should go! Hooray!

The day has brought us sunshine and I think we should have gone for a walk. But instead we got busy, preparing another batch of things for EBay.
There are now 40 books photographed and details recorded in readiness for me to do the describing.
I would like to get a few listed tomorrow.

It looks like other people's new year intentions will keep us busy too.
We had an email from the son of Bill's cousin Daphne. She is from the older generation of cousins and Barry her son is closer to us in age. We have never met him.
He has seen the pages I prepared for Daphne and this he says has spurred him on to do some family history. He has not seen any disc that we have produced or any of the photos.
We must send him copies.
I must also tidy up the work I have done and make sure it is up to date and gaps filled.
Barry now lives in south Wales.

Well, I think I will just relax now until bedtime and leave you with our little Christmas display.
The pictures will enlarge to be quite big, if you want.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Today and yesterday.

Well, I will mention today before sharing with you the joy of yesterday.
Actually most of today has felt quite joyful for me.
It was a little warmer - a few degrees above zero, the sun shone for a while, we put our limited Christmas decoration display back in the boxes (some pictures tomorrow) and it felt like Spring is now on the way.
We had to do a little shopping and opted for Asda because it is the nearest place. It was crowded.
Bill bought some slippers for £2.45.
It was good too to see Bill's sister, Julie in the shop and we could catch up on her Christmas time.
This afternoon we sorted out photos. Bill has printed all that we want and is now up to date in our albums. And I of course have pictures on the computer for the blog.
Then I made a mistake. I had some chocolate - I don't mean the sugary stuff that you get round Cadbury's Roses which I have had a few of, but real chocolate.
Instantly I felt horrible nausea and a blinding headache - a sort of migraine I guess.
I just had to lie down.
Happily I found Mary Poppins on the TV.
It is a strange musical and can be viewed on many levels and is certainly not just for children - they probably don't hear the excruciatingly awful Cockney accent from Dick Van Dyke! There is stuff about the suffragettes and about banks and banking.
Quote from the film - If the banks of England fall then England itself falls. I suppose Gordon Brown must have seen this film and followed the advice.
There was a run on the bank when a voice was heard (the voice of the small boy) screaming out "I want my money" - a mere matter of tuppence (2 old pence, I translate for you young people!).
Anyway I did feel a bit stronger and cooked the pork cranberry and apple sausages with various veg and maybe some solid food might neutralise the effects of the chocolate.
Crumbs, I hope I haven't set off a nauseous spell like the last one.
And so back to yesterday.
I took very few pictures of things as they happened - especially not at the table with people chewing and swallowing!
So I had a few posed shots with received gifts.

For many years both Bill and Roger have produced photographic calendars. Ours this time mostly features the Isle of Wight and Roger has concentrated on Scotland.
The book shows the 1950s - that post war time of poverty, yet much hope.

I am not clutching a jar of Marmite. The jar contains Sue's home made pumpkin chutney.
And there was one of those serendipity moments concerning the garden tool.
I was explaining what Ecky and I had bought to wrap up for her mother and I wondered if they had seen these attractively decorated tools with flowers and at the same moment I was actually unwrapping one.

Roger's first present of the day was like many a train these days - late.
It is a birthday present, but we forgot to take it with us to his party.
Actually they tell us that trains are much better at running to time now.

So it was trains for his birthday and trains for Christmas. This map of the Isle of Wight shows the railway lines on the island as they used to be. We commented that we would happily pay the asking price of 8 shillings for a 7 day rover ticket.
Some lines now have gone - in fact almost all of them.

Sue likes to cook.
I do to a certain extent of course.
And just to show you that we do not go to vast expenses to find presents to wrap for our loved ones, I will point out that the baking tin was in my cupboard until October, when I cleared everything out for the new kitchen. I decided to only put back what I really thought I would use.
Some pans were in a dreadful state, but I felt Sue might be glad of the better ones.

Roger received a kit for creating a bonsai potato.
I assure you it was genuine - but also genuinely funny.
The booklet explains that following the instructions is guaranteed to lead to inner peace and harmony.
I think Matt, the donor, had better watch out - for I feel sure there are ways of retaliating on this one!

Christmas Past in Sussex. Actually Sue has only a short part of her life as a Sussex resident. But having got closely involved with Frost Sussex family history she certainly knows the county well.

There are always second hand books. These two match a couple of Roger's interests - local history and bell ringing.

Simon and Nicki enjoying the gift of love! It is delightful to have Nicki as part of the family.

Nicki in serious and frustrated mood - trying hard to solve a sudoku puzzle.

Simon had the fez out in response to something I told about something Dad (his Grandad) had once said.
Little did Simon realise that his position in front of the plant and balloon would so wonderfully make an adornment to the fez.
No pictures of Megan or Tom - back in London. It was a shame not to have seen Megan at all during the festive season.
But then there are lots of loved ones who we have not seen.
There are 364 other days in the year.
Time for bed soon.
Bill is coughing well - not in such good health as yesterday.
The temperature is dropping again and so I feel it is not wise to whizz down to Ford in the morning. Hunting will have to wait another week.

◄  Older Posts      Top of the Page  ▲