Saturday, February 28, 2009


Finding a piece of family history at Ford.

I thought there might be pictures on the blog today - the result of a walk after the car boot sale.
But after the car boot sale we felt tired; after all we had been walking around for over 3 hours!
We jumped in the car and drove to the Balaton cafe by the river estuary at Littlehampton and enjoyed our egg, bacon, sausage, beans and lots of saute potatoes with hot drinks.
It was then time to get back home.

The day began with me wondering if we should go out at all. George, the cat, alarmed me. He suddenly seemed to collapse all down one side and struggled to walk sideways until he slumped to the floor. I had left him on the sofa and half feared I would come home to find him dead. But whatever had happened to him had passed and when we got home he was up on the table as usual, demanding attention.

I bought lots of books at Ford this morning - well over 30.
I hope they will all sell well - apart from one.
Once I began to study my purchases I realised that I knew the author of one of the books. An old family friend (mostly my Dad's friends) had written "Woodcolliers and Charcoal Burning". Lyn Armstrong was the wife (or mistress - we never really knew which!) of Roy Armstrong who was the leading light in the setting up of the Open Air Museum at Singleton.
Lyn was definitely not his wife when we were children - because Sheila was. But Lyn was the main hostess when we went there. She arranged some lovely Christmas days at their lovely house.
I was far too young to know about a "menage a trois".
What makes this small book even more special is that there is an appendix on "Charcoal as a Filter: Why Does it Work?" which was written by my Dad. The book was published in 1978.
Sadly they are both dead now, and I really wish I could tell them of my find.
You never know what you might find at a car boot sale - every one is an adventure - even Horley, where no doubt we will end up once again tomorrow morning.
I bought lots of other interesting bits and pieces.
Bill bought 3 model cars and gave quite a bit for them - but assumes that they will sell for more.

I have written up none of my purchases yet.
I had things to wrap this afternoon (well Bill did the 2 awkward ones) and I dealt with a few EBay sales and listed some things that I described yesterday...... Bill found some more of the beautiful Porsche hard back brochures this morning, like I had described yesterday. And there are watchers already.

The my body suddenly seemed to shout "STOP" to me. My head was pounding and I felt very fragile and needed to lie down.
I do feel better now.
I didn't sleep very well last night - crazy dreams!
For some reason I was at a funeral - a politician's funeral and I was a member of the government. It was a sad occasion but there was more tension than there should be.
Then one of the men in a trilby hat whispered to me knowingly "H Bomb! It will be here by 10 o'clock"
And there was nothing we could do about it.
Then I woke up.
Wonder what all that meant.

So, I am tired - but that won't stop us being out early again tomorrow. It will be for a much shorter time. We will go to Dorking and then on to Horley and then I must write everything up - and also be wrapping and invoicing once again. Though at the moment there are only bids on 2 things for tomorrow.

Time for a cup of tea and then off to bed. Goodnight.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Ode to Bill

I should be waxing lyrical this evening and finding the right words to pen an Ode to Bill.
He has been working so hard and today our bathroom is beginning to look like a room, albeit a very small one.
The wall paper is is up and so also is the new bathroom cabinet - with a huge mirror.
After decades of a tiny mirror that I could hardly crane my neck enough to see in, the new mirror is almost a bit scary!
Bathroom items have already been put into place - in the cabinet as far as is possible.
Just as in the kitchen, I have the philosophy that if it is not particularly ornamental, but is useful - then a place should be found for it where it can't be seen.
We had a good time throwing away near empty tubes of creams and things we have stored, but not used, for many years.
Sadly the room is not finished yet. That will need a few more days (and probably longer) yet.
We want something to go under the wash basin to store cleaning materials and other things.
And we must get some flooring down.
I think a trip to Ikea is on the agenda for next week.

I have worked too - doing the sort of things for which I have skills.
Though I am not sure how well I described books in German today. Bill bought some exceptionally classy and well produced car brochures at a car boot sale in Chichester - for Porsche, Mercedes and Audi. They are hardbacks in a silver or white binding with superb photographs.
These are now ready to be listed on EBay tomorrow afternoon along with 5 other items that were left in my February box.
I also have items finishing on EBay tomorrow afternoon.

I shall now have to put together a March box - get the pictures done and start describing next week.

Today the weather has been wonderful - the first of the really lovely Spring days. I guess it could be just an isolated treat, but it was wonderful.
It is a shame really that we gave ourselves yesterday a day a off to go to Nymans - today it would have been superb.
Never mind, we'll be back in a week or so.
This evening the clear sky had a little gem to please us - a crescent moon sat smiling just under a bright planet.

Tomorrow, they seem to suggest, will be a lot less bright. But we will go to Ford and hopefully find lots - for the shop and the March EBay box. Maybe there will be things we can use too.
I don't know what we will do after the car boot sale - a breakfast somewhere is always good. Maybe we will add some variation and have an hour or so in Arundel once again.

I must just have a grandmotherly brag!
Jamie told us today that Jessica had the results of some tests today and got 10/10 for maths; 10/10 for science; 15/15 for reading and 10/10 for phonics.
How I wish that our children could study phonics!
Now, I don't know if these tests were actually much too easy and if many got maximum marks.
But I do know that Jessica could not have achieved more and that is all we can ask.

Right - I must have a drink. Then maybe I will take a shower in our our slowly evolving lovely little bathroom.


Thursday, February 26, 2009


Great Uncle Reuben and Nymans.

There have been lots of good things today.

I'll begin with the genealogy highlight.
I have often said, that much as I like to keep adding names to the family tree of bygone times, I really would like to know the people who continue the family line now. Bill comes from a big family and luckily we know of many of his cousins and second cousins. But there are many hundreds that we don't know; and it is hard to know where to find them.
Where are all the descendants of his great aunts and uncles? They are probably not very far away. How sad that we might pass them in the street and not know.
Today we seem to have confirmed the existence of the son of Bill's great uncle Reuben.
Roger has helped in taking up the search of the missing Ellis branch of the family and he learned more of some of them in the early 1900s.
And he had contact through Genes Reunited from Len.
Today Len confirmed that his father (Reuben) is the son of Abel Ellis (Bill's great grandfather) and has copies of certificates that he will send us.
The next thing is to meet this man, who we were completely unaware of.
Great Uncle Reuben appears on the 1901 census and Uncle Bill had some vague memories of the man, working as a carter on a farm in Ifield. Len was born in Ifield - but Uncle Bill never recalled his name.
I think Len now lives in the Chichester area.

Bill continues in the bathroom - a bit of paint on the skirting boards, filling in holes where things had been taken down from the walls and some fresh varnish on the wood round the bath.
I am truly grateful - but glad we went out soon after.

Later in the day I began to fear a cold was breaking. My head ached, my throat was sore, my lips and eyes were sore. Then I realised that it was a reaction to the chemicals in the paint and varnish. So good to have been out for a while.

We went out to the nearest National Trust property to our home - Nymans. It is about 3 miles away.
I had been there before and loved it. I was sure Bill must have been too - but he never had and so he viewed it for the first time today. It won't be the last time that's for sure. It is lovely and deserves to be seen regularly throughout the year.

Nymans was bought by the Messel family in 1890 and with the head gardener, the owner set to work to create a garden.
A mock Gothic house was built in the 1920s.
This later was largely ruined in a fire in 1947.
The house and garden has been in the hands of the National Trust for 50 years.

Snowdrops of many types carpeted ground under the trees.

The entrance to the walled garden.

The ruined house. I remember those window spaces being full of wisteria blossoms. We must be back again to see that this year.

The impressive tree catches the eye at every turn.

Cyclamens add bright colours.
Soon there will be carpets of daffodils. The camellias have started to bloom and the rhododendron buds are bulging and will soon burst into flower.

The head gardener might not have planned the fungus - but they are still fascinating.
Nymans has had only 3 head gardeners in the last 120 years.
Each one seems to want to stay and watch their plans grow and reach fruition.

The pathways round the southern and eastern sides give lovely views across the surrounding Sussex landscape.

We loved the turreted hedges, forming a sheltered area.
Watch out for more Nymans pictures - it is destined to be a favourite place to drop in to walk and explore. It will become "our" garden.
I yearn to see it in summer under blue skies.
In March the non destroyed part of the house is open to the public and we will learn more of the Messel family.
We had thought of having a cup ot tea and a little something in the cafe. But as we were only 3 miles from home realised we should get back and put the kettle on for ourselves.
Cafe treats can be saved for another day.
Bill is making tea now. Good - this allergic reaction is making me feel really thirsty.
Good night.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


From a couple of AF old folk

I haven't achieved all that I planned today - and yet I feel I made a good effort.
The news that Bill is being tested for more heart problems set me thinking of course. Bill feels able to push it out of his mind - he says that there is no point thinking about it when he doesn't know yet what is actually happening.
We even had a laugh about the doctor's notes on the blood test form; under the words swollen ankles he had added "?AF".
AF is a well known abbreviation in the antiques trade and should be written on some of the price labels. It should be written if there is some fault with the item and stands for "As Found".
So, Dr Oliver thinks Bill is possibly AF!
Though of course it actually refers to Atrial Fibrilation.
Today Bill had a blood test.
And next Thursday he will have an ECG test by the nurse at the doctor's surgery.
He had one a year ago when the high blood pressure became apparent. It is good that the doctor will be able to look back at that tracing to see how much change here has been.
I don't know when Bill will know exactly what is going on - probably not until the week after when he can have an appointment with the doctor again.
So now both of us are in a state of waiting and wondering.
I wait until next Tuesday for the results of the CT scan.

Having checked out the AF web sites we are both fairly well informed now about possibilities. If the problem is deemed to have deteriorated since last year, Bill may well be on warfarin. As life goes on there might be a possibility of having a pacemaker fitted. His father had one fitted.
But, Bill is right, there is no point surmising too much right now, though it feels good to have knowledge.

I am a little concerned as to how much insurance is going to cost for our trip to Thailand. Bill is over 65 and will have to declare the heart problems. I am hoping that I shall only have to declare routine follow up appointments.

This morning we walked to the local shops for our hair cuts. Tony, the rugby player, does the men. He is off to Dublin at the weekend for the Ireland v England match. Rob, the Chelsea supporter, does mine. He is such a philosopher is Rob. I told him that Jamie is almost 40 and that this makes him him too aware of the passing of time. And Rob came out with all sorts of thoughts about the subject - so my appointment took a long time as he stopped cutting to talk.

It was a chilly wind that blew out there - although the thermometer recorded that it was quite mild.

This afternoon we went to the hospital for the blood test and then on to Lidl for a few bits.

By the time we got back we wanted a cup of tea and somehow no further describing for EBay was done today.
I am about to get my 4,000th positive feedback from EBay customers - and, of course, no negatives.
I have sold more than 4,000 things - some people don't bother to leave feedback.
But it feels like a landmark.
It will be almost 2 years I would think before I make it to 5,000.

This evening I have watched TV. This is the final week of Master Chef. It is amazing to think that the three finalists, who were just enthusiastic amateurs have learned so much.
I wonder who the winner will be - decision time tomorrow evening.

Bill has stripped the old wall paper from the bathroom walls and the old bathroom cabinet is down. Tomorrow he will do a little preparation work for the new wall paper, and not much more. If there is a hint of sunshine we think we should go out somewhere.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Pancake Day

Tuesdays seem to feel a bit flat these days and I fail to get myself going.

It was Shrove Tuesday of course - Mardi Gras, Carnival and other wonderful celebrations. And what do we have in the UK - pancake day!
And so, just for a change, we had a dessert after our meal.
Just as tradition demands I had mine with lemon juice and sugar.
Of course the mixture was non dairy and the pancakes were good and crispy at the edges.

Bill went to see the doctor and came home with a form for another blood test and an appointment next week for an ECG. Dr Oliver felt there was some irregularity in his heart beat. Now he has to find the cause of that and the swelling in Bill's ankles as the day wears on. Then, hopefully, something can be done about it.

I described and listed 8 more things on EBay. The last things that have gone on have not yet attracted much attention, but not having found as much as I would like over the last 3 months, I feel I am scarping the bottom of the barrel with my EBay items. The sash for the regalia of a dignitary in The Ancient order of Foresters should sell and there was a watcher quite quickly.

And that's about it for today.

Monday, February 23, 2009


The shop opened late

It was a busy day at the shop - but with a bad start.
We arrived in Dorking and as I left the car I reached into my bag for the shop key...... and then remembered that I had put it in a coat pocket last Monday as we walked back to the car and failed to transfer it to my bag.
So we couldn't get in. We would have to wait for Monika - surely she wouldn't be much after 10 o'clock.
But she was and we were getting cold.
We knew that there is a spare key in a friend's shop across the way - but only the friend's son was there and he wasn't sure where they were.
So out came my mobile phone - I phoned Stephen and he was able to tell us where those spare keys were and Philip came over and unlocked for us. It was by then gone quarter to eleven.
I don't think there had been customers trying to get in - so no harm done.

Monika turned up late because she had been dealing with her daughter - a woman somewhere about 30. We do know that the daughter has had a difficult time (post natal depression I think) and Monika feels that she has to be a rock for the young woman, though there is a husband. It was a complicated story involving doctors and a severe allergic reaction to something.
Monika is deeply into all things weird and wonderful and she felt sure that what her daughter needed was a few days of "detox". Monika is in to a macrobiotic diet and foods being yin and yang. I think a macrobiotic diet is the sort of thing you hang onto - except on the days you don't want to! Then you beat yourself up and aim for a spell of detox.
Still, I guess that these beliefs give her something concrete to hang onto in her stressed world.

In my book, these days, I also divide food into 2 sorts - those that work with my body and those that do battle with it. And I also stick to it until the day comes when I don't want to any more. And yes, then I can suffer and have to ease myself back to what is good sense for me. So i suppose we are not so very different, except that I don't see my food regime as a sort of religion.

Anyway, back to business. The morning was quite slow. This gave us time to put out some fresh stock and then for Bill and me to go to the post office with parcels.
Monika was out for a couple of hours at lunch time and Bill and I got busy in the shop.
I sold a couple of items for myself - interestingly 2 things which I moved this morning. That often happens, you know - handle the item and it gives out positive vibes to people. Now, who do I think I am - Monika?

My takings for the week were good and with a week to go until the next rent day we see that we have enough profit from which to pay the rent. That is how it ought to be. Bill had a quiet week - but he can't be the star turn all the time.

We both nodded off watching TV after dinner this evening. I was watching about the vote for people's favourite supermarket. It was hardly a scientific study because just viewers of one channel were voting and it seemed to reflect mostly on people's aspirations, rather than on their real experiences. The top supermarket was not actually the one that came out best on price or quality. It was Waitrose - the place you go because you like the feeling of actually being a Waitrose person!
I shall watch more TV at 9 o'clock and if I fall asleep during Who Do You Think You Are, I shall have to watch the repeat tomorrow.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


The Sunday hunt.

Today, after a short break, was the first of the Horley car boot sales of the year. This is not really an event to stir the "hunting" breast - for some reason Horley doesn't attract the sort of sellers that interest me. But of course, we called in on our way back from Dorking.

Dorking had been interesting - there is a good variety of stalls, some manned by people who deal regularly and there are others set up by people clearing out their bits and pieces. The stalls were really squeezed in today and the organisers had to turn people away. We found some interesting things - they will all be for sale of course. But I do wonder about keeping the copy of Ripley's Believe it or Not, for it is just the same edition as the one we had at home when I was a child. The weird and wonderful tales of people fascinated me - even alarmed me at times. There are line drawings of people with plates in their tongues and masses of rings to stretch their necks.
Bill bought some glass slides of London scenes, which are lovely and he will give the edges a little attention before selling them.

And so, off to Horley with hope that there might be just one to stall to captivate us. We sauntered round, glancing at the succession of stalls which all looked the same - all piled high with the same things it seemed - and nothing that any of our buyers would want and not that we would want either. In truth it was tat!
We bought nothing.

We were home again by 9 o'clock. Many folks might still be enjoying a long lie in at that time.

Bill did another little job in the bathroom. he decided not to use the plastic strip, that he bought yesterday, round the bath - instead he used a white sealant in a tube and I think it looks much better.

We enjoyed dinner in the middle of the day today - chicken in a red wine sauce and roast potatoes etc.
We felt warm, satisfied and tired afterwards and soon drifted off to sleep.

But I had to rouse myself and get on with some wrapping and dealing with sales. There was one star item today. Many years ago I began to collect various editions of Peter Pan. I had such strong memories of Dad reading it to me when I was a child. But that collection is no more. Today I sold a hard back book which was the souvenir programme for a Peter Pan Pageant in Liverpool when a statue was unveiled in 1928. Today it sold for £27.

Bill meanwhile went out to clean the car.
Then he cleaned up and mended a mantel clock that he bought last week at Ford. I have written up all my purchases and so we have fresh things to take to the shop tomorrow.

This evening we have rested in front of Sunday evening TV.

And we intend to have an early night - but I have just noticed 2 more payments have come in and so I will deal with them first.

So, another new week begins.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


The sun shone down.

Today has been a star as far as the weather is concerned.
The temperature reached double figures, even in the shade. The sun shone brightly. If only it could stay that way now until next Winter - but it may be that winter still has some of its power and will return; I am sure there will be more grey days - but for now let us welcome the bright ones.
People, though, are stupid! An hour of sunshine sees them discarding their jackets along with their senses. I have seen people in shorts and sandals today - it really hasn't be warm enough for that, though maybe they thought so.

I have had another good EBay sale today. I mentioned before the 40 page guide book to Okehampton which was attracting a lot of attention. I thought that the bidding must surely have stopped at £32.01, and I think that bidder thought so too. But in the last minute a third person jumped in and outbid with £33.01. A very good return for 40p.
And for Jamie's benefit who had laughed at the nerd book collector who might want a Youth Hostels Association Guide to the hostels of the Peak District 1950/51 - the nerd had bid and will get his little book. This one sold for just £2.00.
I listed 6 more items today.
I am hopeful that a 1937 programme for a pageant at The Albert Hall might do well. This was the music of Mendelssohn's Elijah with costumes and dancing. The front cover is by a known artist. I have had this item for many years.

Bill has been grouting today. I think all the tiles are now in place and grouted in.
He is exhausted.
Now there needs to be wall paper put up in the bathroom and a lick of paint in the loo.
Then we must sort out the flooring, put up the bathroom cabinet and any other shelves we want and maybe look for some accessories. We have always kept toothbrushes and toothpastes in a pair of old mugs. I suddenly envisaged a pair of frosted glass beakers instead.

This morning we had a short walk to the post office. The records of motor races which sold yesterday are all on their way - one to the USA.
This afternoon we went to Asda for rice cakes - careful, Paula..... it was one of those that broke a tooth yesterday! Asda have the cheapest in town.
Then Bill needed some edging to go round the edge of the bath, below the tile line to cover the grouting. So, another trip to B &Q.

I am tired now. My digestion will not settle. Having promised to eat better I start to look for other causes of problems and come back to the daily dose of calcium powder. I see the endocrinologist again at the beginning of April. Can I really hang on until then? I did promise that I would take the proper dose every day.

Tomorrow morning we will go to Dorking for the car boot sale - and the one at Horley starts up again tomorrow, so we will see if anything interesting turns up there.


Friday, February 20, 2009


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

A mixed day - to be sure there have been things that have pleased me; but there have also been reminders of my own fragility.
Let's get the bad out of the way.
Have I been bad? No, I refuse to take on the mantle of guilt, for that is very negative. But I guess I have been foolish. Not only have I been eating too much, but also eating things which I know are not right for me.
There are things I just cannot digest and other things that have too much potassium and I have been tucking in, greedily, as if I had the body of a normal fit person.
And so I suffer.
And yet again I resolve to look after myself better. And I will do it - for a while, until the next time!
So the day began with unfortunate digestive problems.
This was quickly followed by a broken tooth.
Tooth problems are also part of my normal existence. I hate my teeth. I know I shouldn't hate any part of my body - after all if I still have the part or a replacement then I can count myself lucky.
But they are awful teeth and most at the top are replacements - a plastic denture and plastic teeth. I have sort of given up on my top teeth. But Bill Clinton still cares about them! No - not that Bill Clinton, but my lovely dentist.
I have had a broken top tooth for some weeks and ignored it. This morning I broke a bottom one, near the front. Hell, I do not want a denture at the bottom! I have too few teeth at the bottom on the sides - my front ones are precious.
There was no free appointment today - but I was allowed to go and sit in the waiting room (with my Daily Telegraph crossword book) and wait and hope for a time when he could see me.
And so both my teeth were mended - and I wonder how long they will last this time.

The good part of the day takes me to EBay once again. A short while ago I bought 4 EPs - records of 1950s motor races. I paid 50p each for them. I knew they were worth more than that. I never thought that the 4 would sell for £57.15!!
Well, after expenses, the records have paid for my mended teeth!

Bill has been tiling. He has been bending and stretching and crawling around on the floor. No wonder he needs an anti inflammatory this evening. He tends to forget that he actually has rheumatoid arthritis - well, its good that he got such good treatment that he is able to forget. Tomorrow the tiles in the bathroom will need grouting and more put in place in the loo.

Isobel has been round. After the adrenalin driven hyper state of a couple of days ago, I am not surprised to find her down and fearful. Tomorrow she flies to Canada for her mother's funeral. There is so much to do and for an occasion that will bring goodness knows what. Funerals can sometimes bring out the worst in people. We helped her sort out her luggage labels - her hands were feeling particularly clumsy today. Isobel has some spasticity which affects her movements. People are not known as spastic these days for some reason - but I forget what term we are supposed to use instead.

This evening I feel rough. My head aches - a reflection of the turmoil in my gut.

Tomorrow can be a restful day for me. Bill asked if I wanted to go to Ford - but really he would feel more satisfied with getting on in the bathroom.

Today I have enjoyed Lana's blog - a contact on Phuket. She is interviewing a number of people with some influence on the island and today it is Jamie's turn.
You might like to see it too.
Jamie put lots more photos on his private family blog yesterday.

And so goodnight - hopefully to sleep well, with no loo visits!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Sprints evening

By the end of the evening we all felt tired.
We have been timekeeping at the last of the indoor sprints meetings of this winter.
Being the last opportunity for club sprinters to race until the summer season, the evening attracted a lot of runners.
There were about 65 races altogether.
By the end the timekeepers bodies and brains felt stiff.
But we are glad to contribute to the sport and to feel we are doing something for other people.
There was one girl this evening who is in training for the 2012 paralympics. It was important to her to have a form filled in to record her progress.
I hope she does well and makes it into the UK team - and we will look back and know that we played a very small part.

It is late now - Bill has made a cup of tea; so I will not bother with activities of the day.
More bathroom work, more Ebay describing, shopping in Lidl - that sums it up.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


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

Have I worked today? I don't seem to have got very much done.

I described half a dozen more things for EBay and they have been listed. I also put 2 of yesterday's failed items on again. I don't normally put things back on straight away - but 2 people contacted me about things which they missed the time limit for bidding. People! They had 10 days in which to place a bid - I only hope they will bid this time round.

Mid morning Bill and I went out - we posted parcels, got diesel for the car, took rubbish to the dump and then went to B & Q.
B & Q is not too bad. Like all of these places they have music playing - but at least in that store the music is much as I might find acceptable on the radio.
Bill had a list - but in truth he wasn't completely sure of what was needed.
I was in charge of the trolley whilst he looked for things.

He was back there for a second time in the afternoon because screws, he thought he had, were not found.

Jim popped round this afternoon for his money - but of course there was time for a chat.
Later there was more chatting when Isobel came round.
She is off to Canada on Saturday for the funeral of her mother - so a difficult time.

And I have pottered about getting nowhere much.
I am yawning well.
Time to go and watch Masterchef - trying to stay awake until bedtime.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This was not Monday, but Tuesday.

I wrote on facebook today "Tuesday is the new Monday."
I don't suppose anybody understood what I meant.

For many years now - ever since I recovered from the long spell of health problems in the 1990s, I have needed a day of rest after a spell of activity.
I have aimed to make sure that my weekends have been full - hunting at car boot sales, maybe selling at a fair (though not these days) or officiating at athletics; these things have filled my Saturdays and Sundays.
This was fine - I could always chill out on Monday.

When I first began being in antiques centres (at Turners Hill) I did Thursdays. Then, since about 1997 I did Tuesdays - both in Horsham and after that in Ardingly.
But since the beginning of December I have had Monday as a duty day in a shop. So I get 3 days of activity - followed by a day when I feel fit for nothing.
Tuesdays seem to be a dead loss.

And it is made harder when I have had a poor night's sleep, like last night.
Maybe it is because I have got lazy and not bothered with taking a supply of decaffeinated tea bags to the shop and I drink cups of caffeine all day.
Next week I will make sure I have my own tea bags with me.

I haven't done absolutely nothing. I had 5 things selling on EBay this afternoon - farewell to some old friends. Thank goodness!
I sold an ashtray - a souvenir of Carnlough in Northern Ireland - it has a transfer print on and a china pipe stuck on it. I think this has been part of my stock for 6 or 7 years!
So praise be for Ebay because now I can send it on to its rightful home in Carnlough, Northern Ireland; and I have made some money on it too.

Isn't it awful really!

Another item that I have had for nearly 3 years is an infant's feeding bowl with a Mabel Lucie Attwell print in the base, made by the china company Shelley. These things are very collectable, but I knew when I bought this (and another) from an acquaintance that the transfer had faded, and it has failed to attract the collectors in the shops.
Well, today I have been able to sell the first one. Unfortunately I sold it for less than I paid for it - but something is better than nothing. And it was only a small loss.
Now I shall try the other one and see if I can part with that too.

I have already mentioned the silly milk bottle top - and showed you a picture a few days ago.
It sold for £4.20.
Now picture this - a serious occasion in the Bristol Register Office - a wedding or the registering of a death maybe. A quiet an unassuming woman named Deborah might be dealing with people in a manner befitting the occasion. Little do the people know that our Deborah is in the habit of buying quirky milk bottle tops!
Yes, the address I have to send it to is the Register office.

I also concocted a chicken meal.
I think I have become quite adept at making things up and getting them right - most of the time. This dish started with sauteed onion, leek, celery and courgette. The chicken was marinaded in soy sauce, ginger, paprika and.... at the last minute I changed my mind. I didn't use the honey I had planned - but emptied the last of a jar of lingonberry jam. Then I made a mustard white sauce - using up the soya milk I had in for the smoked haddock last week.
It was good - and we will finish it tomorrow.

Bill has been busy in the bathroom - not much appears to have been done, but plans are in place and tomorrow will see us in B & Q for the 10% discount day for the old folk.
Bill walked down to the doctors today for his appointment. He was back much sooner than I expected. That was because he was greeted with "Your appointment is not until next Tuesday!". He wants to see a doctor about swollen ankles. This might be connected with his high blood pressure problems - which of course medication has now eased a lot.

Time for a cuppa. Goodnight.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Busy Pilgrims.

It has been the sort of day that I really enjoy - yes, you may have guessed..... we have been busy in the shop.
And the most enjoyable part was that over one third of the takings were for Bill or me!
Not that it amounts to anything resembling a fortune of course.
We all like to feel successful in our projects and today reminded me that I know what I am doing. I don't think Bill needed reminding because he has been doing well in the shop anyway.

As is fitting, Bill and I did most of the work.
I am not sure what Julie got up to - dear, sweet 80 year old Julie. She comes in for about 4 hours and I know she popped out to meet friends twice. After one trip she confessed she had been trying on shoes and really quite wanted a pair which cost £50. She probably has loads of shoes already so perhaps this would have been extravagant - but maybe she could have indulged herself.
Monika has been busy too. She did an antiques fair yesterday and this morning all her stock was in boxes and she needed to get it all displayed back in her area.
Monika lives in Dorking and therefore knows quite a lot of people so there are often visitors and chat. She also popped out a couple of times.
I went out once - to the post office. I also had a look in charity shops. I had a purchase in mind - a thick cardigan. It is much milder outdoors now - but it was still so cold in the shop and my thin jacket didn't seem to be enough. I found just what I needed for £2 on the bargain rail in the Help the Aged shop - the cardigan certainly would help this approaching aged person! They also had a table with trousers - buy one pair and get another pair free. I don't know yet if they are really suitable - but I couldn't resist a bargain and even if they have to go back to a charity shop then at least I know my money was going to a good cause.
The afternoon was real fun with lots of customers crowding into the shop and Bill and I busy wrapping and making sure the money was right.
It is so pleasant to share, really quite intimate, conversations with people who come in - they seem to open up and become your bosom friend. There was the lady waiting to have a new knee in March and an eccentric family who chatted a lot, well young Edmund the son did. The mother and father and Edmund wore a motley assortment of ill fitting and grubby clothes and were exceedingly well spoke and educated.
We were still selling at 5 o'clock - a clock of Bill's. He actually made no money on this clock. He felt it might have been a mistake to buy it and was happy to see it go and to get the money back in his wallet.

Well, sales have been written up and items crossed off in the stock file. We have eaten and I have had a shower - the first using the electric shower. It was really good - but I made a mistake of having the shower curtain outside the bath as I used to do - lots of water every where! We might get a shower screen instead.

The TV beckons - Who Do You Think You Are is on shortly. I don't remember whose family history will be delved into this week, but the programme never fails to fascinate.
I must get back to the fascinating ancestors in Bill's family.


Sunday, February 15, 2009


A bootsale and then "nothing much".

The day began with a busy time, but not for long - followed by a long day of chilling out.
I do seem to feel tired too quickly these days - and so, of course, a little doubt creeps into my mind about the reason. Am I run down because something is wrong?
The answer surely is that, apart from the wrongness in my body that I now accept and live with, there cannot be anything further.
But life will at least feel more settled when I have the results of the latest CT scan.

We went out early to Dorking for the car boot sale in the railway station car park.
Today was a book buying day.
Hooray! I needed more books for EBay.
I also bought 5 LP records of Goon Show episodes - which will be sold eventually, I hope.

Talking of EBay - I have an item that has spiralled out of control! It is a 40 page booklet - a guide to Okehampton in Devon. It was published in about 1945 or 46. I started the bidding at £1.25 and it is now on £31.50. Our first thought was that somebody had made a mistake with their bid. Surely the bids cannot go higher than that. Two people seem to want it very much.

We met Jo and Monika at the boot sale. We have some of Monika's purchases in the car. She was already loaded up to have a stall at an antiques fair - so Bill offered to put today's buys in our car and we can hand them over at the shop tomorrow.

I have written all the books up in my stock file - some will come to the shop with me tomorrow.
And what else have I done - well, not much really.
Bill has continued to sort out things that need to be done in the bathroom - a new shelf to go beside the wash basin is almost sorted.

This evening I have sat, struggling to keep awake, in front of The Antiques Road show and Larkrise to Candleford.

I look forward to a day in the shop tomorrow. Jim, the plumber, will be here before we go and we will have to leave him to finish off his work without us.
Tomorrow evening I should be able to have a shower. I did use it today to wash my hair.

Oh body - stop yawning. I will make a cup of tea and maybe we can drink it in bed and then snuggle down under the duvet and hopefully sleep the night away.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Sunshine on the beach

Today has been a good day.

What more could I ask of St Valentine's Day?
I don't ask for red roses or cards, nor jewellery or champagne. I would not feel pleased that our money was paid out to swell the coffers of those cashing in on the Valentine's Industry.
But I have felt pleased to have been out with Bill, doing things that we like - and we did go out for a meal too!

We left home this morning at 7 o'clock - the thermometer in the car told us that the temperature outside was down to minus 5 Celsius; white frost was thick on the hedgerows. As we drove south, a big orange sun crept up the horizon and the temperature crept up too.
The car boot sale at Ford was full of the usual collection of sellers - ranging from those dealers who think they have things of value to non trade families, selling the things from their homes that they no longer want.
I found it quite difficult to buy today. I cannot forget that business is slow at the moment and I resolved not to buy china or glass, just because it was there.
I have bought 1950s china - and hope that maybe, in time, the buyers in Pilgrims might include the 1950s addicts.
It was only last Monday that a woman told me her daughter collects Homemaker china. I told her it was hard to get hold - and today I bought 3 items.

I bought 2 tea plates - just like this one and also a bowl.

Bill spent more than I did. He bought a clock - very art deco, some lead figures and 2 long measuring tapes in a leather case - like would have been used at the athletics track in the old days.

By 10 o'clock we were in Littlehampton, walking along the beach.
It was low tide - and the flat sandy beach is delightful.
I think I like it best in the winter.

Bill's eye was drawn to the beach huts and we both vied with each other to take good beach hut photos.

The next photo has little detail - it just shows the wide beach as we looked westwards towards the estuary of the River Arun.
To show how quickly the tide comes in, I point out a pebbly patch and a black blob not too far away.
Before we had gone much further those pebbles and the black blob were under water.

I love the way the fast flowing tide makes deep ripples in the sand as it ebbs and flows,

Littlehampton beach it quite shelly. Up where the pebbles have all been tossed by the sea, it is thick with shells.

Having walked along the beach we continued by the river - heading towards the Balaton cafe for breakfast.
We have been there many times now.
Today we learned that we had jumped to conclusions about the owners. They are obviously of foreign origin and we assumed they were Hungarian - because the cafe is named after Lake Balaton.
They are in fact a Greek family who have been there 11 years and it was the previous owners who were Hungarian.

This was a final look back along the sands before our breakfast - good and tasty. It must be the only cafe where you have to walk through the kitchen and out to the back garden to find the loo! I love their garden - interesting plants and artefacts abound.

As we walked back to the car, we spied a Valentine's Day picture.
I wonder if that couple went in for cards and sparkly jewels and things. Or maybe for them, too, it was enough to be together enjoying the sunshine and the ocean.
This afternoon I wrote up all my purchases and they are stowed in a box ready to go to the shop on Monday - if only there might be space on the shelves!
Bill has spent time thinking of the work that needs doing once Jim has finished in the bathroom. Do you know you can't get 4" white tiles any more? That's what he wanted to match what has been used before.
I am glad I was with Bill when he looked at floor covering. He had seen carpet tiles which were the same as the landing carpet - and had been in the bathroom. I definitely didn't think they were the same! We just might have enough in the loft of the old carpet - but if not, then I would rather have a complete contrast flooring, rather than a near miss.
We will get cork tiles for the separate loo.
We dined on yesterday's fish pie this evening. The plan was to watch the Devil Wore Prada; but I was struggling to keep my eyes open - the second episode will have to be another time.
Tomorrow morning we will go out early to the Dorking car boot sale and then have a day "chilling out" as they say.

Friday, February 13, 2009


It's Friday again

"Round like a circle in a spiral like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel......."

Life is a spiral as we constantly revolve round the key events in our lives.
Each time around we approach things differently as we gain knowledge and maturity. Sometimes we may not even recognise that we have travelled the pathway before, because we have changed.
I could be referring to deeply philosophical things or big events here, but really I am not.
Yes, the seasons constantly circle round and gradually we are heading towards the Spring again.

But today feels like I am turning in a small circle - the day is so like what has gone before.
The house is full of the presence of Jim and the lad.
The work goes on.
Last year it was kitchens, the year before it was windows and now it is the bathroom.
The work is not yet finished - Jim estimated he would be with us for 4 days. So, we have an incomplete bathroom for the weekend.
The wash basin is now installed. The shower is almost finished and Jim has left things so that I can use it to wash my hair.
Even after Monday the bathroom will be incomplete because of all the finishing off that will be for Bill to do.
The pile of dead tea bags by the kettle in the kitchen grows high during the day and the atmosphere is generally very good.

Last Friday we had no Jim with us - but we did have Sylvie.
Today we went and did a bit of shopping in Tesco - cat food mainly.
Last week we had used Asda - no store loyalty for us!
And not for Sylvie either. We bumped into her once again.
She was having some difficulties.
She had had chemotherapy on Monday and Tuesday and this time the effects have been worse. She could hardly move her hands - I remember that so well.
It is a strange sensation - how can hands and feet that feel so numb also feel so tingly and painful?
My toes still have that feeling. It will never go away now.

At the check out we were the recipients of a lovely random act of kindness. It cost no money, but put money into our coffers.
At the moment Tesco are giving vouchers for 5p off a litre of petrol - if you spend enough. You have to spend £50 and we were a bit short of that. Yes, OK - it was a bit more than just cat food!
The stranger behind us - offered us some of her shopping to put through with ours and then Bill and the woman sorted out the finances.
So, next time we get petrol (I mean fuel, since we are diesel powered) we can save quite a bit.

We met up with Sylvie - and once again she came back with us for a cup of tea - and of course Jim and the lad were more than ready for another cup!
We have made sure that Sylvie now has our phone number.
She was telling of a little problem during the week, that we could have solved quickly.
She has ulcers on the back of her throat - I recall those too. She had a bottle of mouthwash to help with the ulcer problem, but couldn't get it open. It was covered with a shrink wrapped plastic. It took her ages, with her bad hands, to cut through the plastic with a small tool.

This afternoon I have been cooking.
Now, as I said yesterday, I am no masterchef and sometimes allow others to prepare the food for me - providing I have checked the ingredients on the packet.
But I am drawn as if by a magnet to the bargain bay in the supermarket - where things are at their sell by date.
Today I bought a large amount of good smoked haddock (non dyed) for £2.
This afternoon I prepared a fish pie, topped with mash potatoes.
It took quite a while with lots of stages - and lots of washing up!
But it was triumph!
And the best thing is that we have used just half of it and so tomorrow's meal is already prepared and made a bargain an even better bargain.

So, I feel my life and my brain have been circling round old things, like chemotherapy, house improvements, Sylvie and cooking like the dutiful housewife.

The weather has been reasonable - no rain, some sunny spells, but still quite cold.
It should be the same tomorrow, so we will get up early and go out hunting at Ford for more interesting things to sell in the shop and on EBay.
I expect we will have breakfast in Littlehampton again.

I shall now go and watch QI - Quite Interesting and very amusing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Musing on potential evils. What do you think? Comments please.

As predicted today was rather like yesterday.
Jim has been working hard - and drinking lots of tea. We now have a fully functioning bath - it has handles on either side; so, maybe I would find it a possibility to lower myself down and haul myself out with a bit more ease. But this evening I will wait for the shower, I think. HOpefully that will be installed tomorrow. We still have no wash basin.

I have worked hard on EBay items - I described and listed another 18 things today.
There will be another busy 3 days when all the auctions finish.

The sun shone brightly for much of the day and indoors I felt really warm - though outdoors there was a real chill in the air; and later there was a little snow.

This evening I muse a little on the potential dangers of the internet.
I am thinking of this as I begin to offer my blog to other people to read if they choose.
Today I contacted the writer of a blog that I enjoy - the "host" is Lana, a Canadian young woman who lives on Phuket. She and Jamie have been in contact, but have not met.
I enjoy what she writes - a mixtures of news and comments and philosophising and I feel tuned into the views she shares with her readers.
Today I told her of my blog and this maybe could open the door to free access to all that I write.
I don't mind for myself, but I have to respect the privacy of people I might write about - the people we meet and do things with, including children.
Is it really such a dangerous world that we feel we shouldn't allow images of our children to be seen outside of a narrow circle of family and friends?
The tabloid press would have us believe that the world is full of evil folk, waiting to pounce.
Children are not allowed to play outdoors very much these days, which is very sad. In my youth we would roam the fields all day, build camps and play all sorts of imaginary games.
Are things so much worse now - or are communications so much better that we hear of every tragedy in such detail, that it becomes our own tragedy. We start to feel the emotion of strangers - the parents of a murdered child for example. Once, we would hardly have known about it, if it had occurred some distance away.
When I was young evil thing did happen. The worst that happened to me was that a man exposed himself - I didn't actually know what was going on and therefore felt no hint of potential trauma.
I know of people who have suffered far worse, and tales of child sexual abuse are emerging now amongst people of my own generation.
Now, I really would not belittle any tragedy or bad thing that has happened, but I must hold on to the belief that these things are still quite rare. Newspapers do not fill their pages with the common place.
And in the same way, surely abuse, in some form or other, of names or images found on the internet is also rare?
Every bad case is to be deplored and I do feel a real horror and bewilderment at the evil I hear of.
Having mulled all this over I have decided therefore to ask Lana not to pass on the details of my blog at the moment.
And if you are reading this, Lana - then welcome to my world and my ramblings about it.

Right, I am missing Masterchef on TV - I am not a masterchef, but love learning some new ways of thinking about the food I prepare.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


A good day's work by all.

Everybody has been working.
The house has been a hive of activity.
The paid workers were Jim the plumber and his lad, Liam.
They have removed our bathroom and loo - 2 rooms.
Fortunately by the time they left today, a new loo was installed and we have somewhere for our necessary business.
It (the new loo) seems very small. It covers less of the floor space (just) and the cistern doesn't come so high up the wall. Bill will need to put down new flooring - or fill in the missing bits. I guess it will be new flooring, for such a small room won't need much.
There will be some new tiles on the wall and Bill plans a shelf as well.
Tomorrow Jim will return - Liam has a day in college. I doubt whether all will be finished in one day. There is nothing in the bathroom now - except lots of tools.
Jim likes to talk and drink tea!
We have enjoyed his company. Of course we have a lot in common, having both been attached to the athletics club for very many years. Jim is still very busy in the club, coaching two evenings a week and is on the committee. And he is the starter for 30 or 40 meetings during the year.
I have worked too - not such hard physical work of course.
I sorted out more postcards to take to the shop next week. I have gathered together a fair selection of cards now showing Dorking and district. I have been buying on EBay - bidding for those where the price and the postage charge would leave a chance for me to make a little profit.
I have walked to the post office in lovely sunshine - still chilly, but very bright.
The birds were singing and twittering joyfully, reminding me that Saturday will be the bird's wedding day - well, that is a thing I think I learned as a child.
I have just tried to find such a notion on the internet and find that it is certainly thought so in Slovenia, that country where we have felt so strong and happy.
I had a good chat with Jamie. He wants some writing from me for his blog about taking an elephant ride - which Bill and I did in 2004. It was an amazing experience. When he does the blog I will let you know - he already has all our pictures.
Mind you I don't have to tell you that Jamie is writing blogs - the weather blog or the Phuket blog or the jjjj blog have things on almost everyday. Jamie is getting well up to date with pictures of the family (and little filmlets too) on the jjjj blog. The latest show pictures from John's birthday party.
I have described more things for EBay. Got a bid on one of them within minutes.
I have caught up with EMails - a little bit. Apologies for the delay if you think you might be due a personal email sometime very soon.
Just after Jim and Liam left, Ruth popped round with Otto. She felt a little early to pick Felix up from the childminder's so called in and had a cup of tea with us.
Bill has been to B & Q and bought and fitted another strip to hold the edge of the carpet in the sitting room, a bit more secure and attractive.
He has been chief tea maker and washer up man during the day. And he has enjoyed chatting and getting a bit involved with the plumbing.
Tomorrow will be much the same I guess.
Good night.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


EBay routine.

Basically today has been an EBay day.
I follow the same old routine. I get the sold items wrapped and well protected for the post before doing anything else. Today was good - there were 8 items finishing the auction and all 8 sold; sadly they only reached the opening bids I had set, so profits are small.
I have items going to Spain, Australia and the USA - as well as the UK of course.
The auction finished this afternoon, so during the morning I described some more.
I wonder if anybody will want the 4 EPs telling the story of 1950's motor races - surely somebody will want sound and words about The British Grand Prix at Silverstone for 1958.
That one hasn't got a watcher yet - but the 2 Oulton Park events are being watched.
Time will tell.
After lunch I sent invoices to the winning bidders and before I had done it, the first payments were in. Indeed one buyer didn't wait for the invoice - he just assumed that my estimate of postage and packaging charges was correct.
At 4 o'clock we took 5 parcels to the post office - so my things are off on their journeys.
Then we popped to Lidl. I wanted cheap potatoes to make mash to accompany the sausages.
And I wanted tonic water. Their small bottles (with quinine) are just as good as Schweppes and of course, cheaper. The quinine helps keep the cramps at bay.
We didn't want much - but filled a few bags. I don't think we need shop again until next week - except for the things I forgot, of course.
Tomorrow chaos returns, when Jim and his young lad arrive at half past eight to rip out the bathroom.
We had better fill lots of containers with water and make sure Frieda might be able to let us use her loo.
Goodnight Folks!

Monday, February 09, 2009


A tour of our shelves in the antiques centre.

Murky Monday - no, a lot worse than murky!
It has rained hard all day long.
Expectations amongst those of us manning the antiques centre were low - and the final total justified our pessimism.
But we were not surprised. I walked along the High Street to the post office and it was far from pleasant. People were far better off staying at home.
Bill was pleasantly surprised by the amount he had sold in the last 2 weeks, especially as the shop had been shut for 4 days, due to the weather. My sales were not so good.
His area is seen by everybody as soon as they come through the door, whereas mine is at the back of the shop. I watch the customers and see that a fair proportion do not actually reach my area, before turning back to the door. This is a real shame, because those who do browse there, tell me they think it looks good and they enjoy it.
I must find a way of getting people up those last 3 steps into the back room, which I share with Jo. Stephen has a dining table and chairs in there and would like to let out the other half of the room to a furniture dealer.
Well, I like to be occupied and I woke up deciding that I would rearrange my stock today.
I had a notion in my head of having my small area sort of divided into rooms of a house - the nursery, the kitchen, the den or study and the living room.
Bill was also busy - but then he had spaces to fill.
Here are a few pictures.
Those new to my blog may like to know that pictures can be enlarged so that you can see in greater details what we have to sell. Just click on the image and then return to the blog by using the back arrow on the task bar at the top.
Of course if you are ever in Dorking, West Street (home of many antiques shops) then call in - especially on a Monday.

This is most of my area. The nursery is on the right (on the red shelves). There is china and glass on the left with the kitchen between. My shelves extend a little further to the right - and that is the study.
I love that bentwood coat hook in the middle.

The nursery. I have long dabbled in post war (mostly) collectable toys. I have not sold at the toy collectors fairs for some time. In fact I think the fairs may be dying.

Reds and blues.

Greens, glass and ornaments.

The top shelf of the study with postcards and books about the locality, crested ware and other commemorative items. Under this shelf are mostly royal souvenirs and the bottom shelf is all books and maps.

I like attractive kitchen ware - I am much better suited to sell things that were of real use, rather than simply decorative.

This is Bill's area - just those 3 sections. It is hard to believe that 3 months ago we had all our stuff in that area.
Of course we are paying more rent now - but would find it hard to return to that space for both of us.

This is a shelf in Bill's lockable cabinet.
I have already had to steal space in there. The blue tit is mine and the Hummel (German boy) ornament behind. The white necklace was bought yesterday. It is in the original box from Macy's New York. Indeed, the original price tag is still there - it cost 55 dollars once. Monika looked at it today and swore it was ivory. She considers she is an expert and so I could not doubt her. If it is ivory - then somebody will get a bargain.
If I continue to feel the need to pinch space from Bill, then maybe I will have to get something lockable at my end.

This shot of part of Bill's top shelves show the range of things he sells - including model soldiers bought yesterday.
In the last two weeks he has sold a steam traction engine, model trains, model cars, a brass blow lamp.
We are now hoping for a pick up in trade - and above all for people to take the trouble to at least look at my things.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


A good Sunday down on the Sussex coast.

Today has been a Sunday like it ought to be.
Sundays of long ago, in our younger days, took some to church and maybe out for tea later in the day. There would be tinned salmon, maybe for tea; and there might be tinned fruit with blancmange and of course a Victoria sponge. It would most certainly not have been a day for shopping.
And neither has it been shopping day for us - though of course things have been purchased.
Sunday is the main car boot sale day and we are blessed, even in Winter, by having a number of different venues to choose.
We were up and out early - about 7 o'clock. It is very noticeable that although 7 o'clock is still before sunrise, it is already beginning to get light at that hour. The days are gradually lengthening. We dressed up warmly, because the forecast had suggested that the day could start very cold - in fact it was just minus one degree as we left home and it warmed up quite a lot.
The snow has almost disappeared in Sussex - except on the north facing slopes and villages of the South Downs. There was no snow once over the Downs and towards the sea.

Our first stop was the car park of Fontwell racecourse. The boot sale there was much smaller than we remember from the past - but maybe that just reflects the time of year and the weather.
We didn't buy very much - some 1950s kitchen glassware and a few books.

We then drove into Bognor - by the sea.
We have been in several cafes for breakfast at Bognor. But today, remembering the good cheap breakfasts in Wetherspoons, I wondered if there was one of these establishments in Bognor and we passed it almost as soon as I had suggested it.
So we enjoyed a pleasant time with a good breakfast - including some of the high potassium things that I should be careful with.......... mmmm - baked beans!
I get 2 big mugs of tea for my money in Wetherspoons and I enjoyed that.

Then we went for a short walk down to the beach, admiring the boats, the gulls, the waves and also the buildings in the streets. I have never seen so many houses with balconies! How lovely to be able to sit outside in the sunshine and enjoy feeling part of the seaside world.
And there was sunshine. I was beginning to feel rather over dressed.
There are some pictures below.

We then drove to Chichester for the lunch time boot sale. Oh it was crowded! The sun brought out so many people to jostle round the stalls.
I was disappointed because the last 2 times we have been there I saw a stall selling good quality things that I would like to have in Pilgrims. The first time I bought; last Sunday I declined - just feeling too cold to think. I was ready to buy today - but the couple were not there.
I didn't buy very much really - but Bill made up for it, with model soldiers, model cars, 2 aircraft pictures etc.
I got so warm, struggling with all my extra clothes, that I had to return to the car and leave my thick coat there. The temperature had reached the dizzy heights of 8 degrees!

The journey home was a delight. The sunshine really brought out the colours of the countryside. We drove over Duncton Hill and down the steep side of the Downs and on to Billingshurst.
The trees looked magnificent - with many patches of snowdrops along the roadside banks.

We got home to deal with our purchases - now all washed and written up and ready for the next stage in their journey onwards.
I also had a few EBay sales to deal with - these were the re-lists - some were on their 3rd attempt at selling.
The failures are due to continue their onward journeys in a charity shop.
But there are parcels to post tomorrow.

We had a good meal of left overs - lots of veg to make a sort of bubble and squeak and cold turkey with some cold bacon and stuffing. We have watched The Antiques Road show and Lark Rise to Candleford. A film is being recorded - and I hope we get round to watching The Devil Wore Prada at some point. It was much praised and Meryl Streep is a fine actress.

Tomorrow is our day in the shop - 2 weeks already since we were last there. I hope there are some envelopes for both us.

Now for some Bognor pictures - and let me not hear of anybody muttering as George V is reputed to have done on his death bed..... "Bu**er Bognor"!
We quite like some of its faded charms.

There is very little fishing done nowadays from Bognor beach. But the few boats made a good splash of colour.

The side streets are the most interesting - three storey houses, and most with balconies.

This is a close up of the pub sign seen in the previous picture. Bognor is not a place for ocean going liners!

There are some smart looking hotels. The Royal faces the sea. I don't know how many guests there would be in February.

There were cars outside The Royal Norfolk Hotel, very big and grand in front of one of the many green areas. I guess The Royal Norfolk had guests.

We walked through a small park, which separated the 2 sides of the street - a street lined with attractive terraces of houses, most with balconies.

The tide was high - with the gentle waves rolling onto the steeply banked pebbles.

Looking westwards.

And me - with warm hat, thick coat - and still with gloves on.
How I look forward to putting those things away and getting shorts and sandals out.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Watch out there's a Humphrey about.

This will be brief - but then there is little to say about the day.

We both dithered about the wisdom of going to Ford on such a cold morning. The sun shone and we regretted not being down there.

But we didn't waste our time at home.
I photographed over 30 items ready for EBay descriptions and later listed 9 things - not books or postcards, like I normally have. There is a mixed bunch of objects.
The army cap with its badge already has watchers as does the Unigate Dairy milk bottle top with a dial to order the number of pints you want from the milkman. The message that was a bit of a catch phrase is written on the top.

There are 3 watchers on this already!

Bill has been round the house with the vacuum cleaner. But the machine failed. It needs a new cable and switch - which were located on a website and so should arrive during next week for Bill to fit.

As I described the items for Ebay, I chatted with Jamie and Mam on line.
Saturday is Jamie's day off and they had been to the beach bar again for lunch.
I look forward to taking Bill there in May.
Jamie sent some photographs and I have included one with him - just to show that he is not looking bad - despite the extra weight which I have commented on to a few folks. In fact you look good Jamie - just buy a bike and do a few circuits of the reservoir!

We had a roast dinner this evening. I couldn't think of second helpings of roast potatoes - my digestion is just too fragile. Bother it!

We shall have an early night and hope that we can enjoy some clear skies tomorrow, though the forecast is for a very cold night - well below freezing.
If it is truly too cold we shall pop to the Dorking boot sale. If it looks like it could feel OK and the roads might be safe enough we will go to Fontwell and Chichester and have breakfast in Bognor.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Meeting up with Sylvie.

Today we met Sylvie in Asda - a chance meeting, although she lives very close to us. She has lived close to at least one of us for most of the last 65+ years.
Let me tell you a little about Sylvie.
She lived close to Bill's family when he was a lad. You could say that Sylvie was Bill's first girlfriend!
But they grew up and went their separate ways and Sylvie's family moved a little further away.
In 1966, Bill and I, not long married, moved into a flat at the end of Wakehurst Drive. And across the balcony lived Sylvie with her husband, who I had vaguely known from my own school days.
Again our lives came together but no bond of bosom friendship was formed and when we moved hardly further than across the road our lives ran on separate lines.
Sylvie and husband divorced.
We would always chat when we met in the street - walking up to the local shops together on a number of occasions.
Sylvie was diagnosed with Crohns Disease and had a bad time.
But she had her circle of friends and work and activities. The closest friend was Pat - another divorcee and they lived together and shared their lives for many years.
She entered back into our lives a little when Dee and Andrew were in Crawley and had got involved with an animal sanctuary. Sylvie and Pat also worked to fund the sanctuary and to care for animals.
And so our lives collided and then went apart again and again.
Recently we found that another ex neighbour of Bill's worked in the pharmacy we use and she also was in touch with Sylvie. It was from there that we learned how ill Sylvie's Pat had become, of how she had been taken into the hospice and died.
It was from the same source that we learned that Sylvie herself now has cancer and is being treated at Guildford.
I really meant to call on her - but you know how I have been this winter. If I had to make a decision I would dither - and think, well maybe tomorrow.
So it was good that we bumped into her in Asda.
She came home with us and we spent a long while chatting. She is a lovely woman with a bright, inquiring mind and good company.
She is up beat about her cancer. "Today I woke up, and that is a bonus" - and she will make the most of each day. I was quoting just that sort of attitude about how I tried to view things, only the other day.
Who knows at this stage if she will make it - who knows if I will? I know my outlook certainly seems much better than hers at the moment.

The day has been grey and gloomy - damp at times. Later this afternoon wet snow fell and is covering the ground.
We know that the shop opened today and that Bill sold the Mamod traction engine he bought at Ford 2 weeks ago.
We would like to go to Ford in the morning - it rather depends on how snowy or icy the world looks.

I have suspicions that the 3rd sort of calcium supplement I have been given is causing the same sort of gut problems as the previous two. I must keep on going with it for a while longer.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Another day - another scan - another hospital.

There was an achievement this morning - I completed the hundredth, and final, round of Cradle of Rome.
Now I shall have to find another game on Ashley's disc.

There was another achievement when the postman called - a payment I have been waiting 3 weeks for had arrived.

But of course the main activity of my day has been to visit hospital - two different hospitals as it turned out.
It would be easy to have blamed this on hospital administrators - but it was my fault.
I arrived at Crawley hospital and was seen at the reception desk - now, I could blame the receptionist for failing to spot a problem.
Bill and I sat down and waited - and waited.
Where was my litre of foul drink?
Sensibly I didn't wait too long to ask if there were problems.
And yes - there were problems because the CT scanner had broken down..... "Didn't you pick up the message?" I was asked.
They had phoned on Tuesday and left a message on the answer phone, which we had obviously failed to check.
I was asked if I could get to the East Surrey straight away and Bill and I set off for the 10 mile journey.
I had a pleasant surprise when I sat in the waiting room. A litre of drink was brought to me and it was ...... plain water!
The first scan, out of at least 12, when I haven't felt sick.
But then came the needle problem.
The radiographer tried on the left arm, then another came and took the right arm - they both seemed to be trying to gain an entrance.
But the right arm came out on top.
The scan itself is no bother.
But I hate the time when dye is inserted into the veins through the needle in the arm. It feels so unlike anything else. I burn and squirm from mouth to the base of my torso.
But it was soon over and we were driving back home on a miserable murky evening.
Yes, the snow caused problems earlier in the week - and is still causing lots of problems in other parts of the country. But I enjoyed it. It sparkles and is bright. People tend to work and play together, helping each other if there are difficulties. It feels sad to be back to the grey.

I had made a huge casserole this morning, using German rissoles from Lidl. I was really hungry, because I had been fasting since breakfast.

And that was our day. I am glad the CT scan is out of the way now and I shall be exceedingly glad when I see the doctor on March 3rd to discuss what can be seen.
I don't feel like there is anything new wrong with me.
So, for the next 4 weeks I must assume that all will be well - with just a few lapses into worry I guess.

Hope some of you have enjoyed a good day playing in the snow - I have seen pictures from Derbyshire. Mind you, they promise us a little more tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Flat Wednesday.

Not much to say about today.
I haven't really got going at all.
I have sold some more postcards, and a very pleasant buyer, who has bought from me before, called in this afternoon to collect his purchase.
Bill has been to B&Q to buy a few bits to do little jobs - finishing off sorts of jobs round the kitchen; they would be hardly noticeable, but important.

I have been on the phone a while. Jo phoned because she has heard that the shop won't even be opening tomorrow! Neither of us knew if it had opened today - I doubt it.
There is a different philosophy amongst some of the people who are connected with the shop than we have ever been used to.
Some of the people who do duties don't actually have things to sell. They do it for other people - some even getting paid for it. Another couple do have a space within Jonathan's area and take any money from items sold there, which are Jonathan's cast offs. This does mean that they lose nothing really if the shop doesn't open because they are not paying rent.
It makes me nostalgic for Rocking Horse - Joy and Peter would never have allowed the shop to be closed - they would cover the duty if somebody couldn't make it.

I spent a while chatting with Mam. We talked about Jamie! Yes, Jamie you really should do something about your increasing weight - its not good for your health or your prospects for a fit old age. But mothers have to back off a bit - the decision is yours!

Tomorrow I have a CT scan. This should not alarm me; its a bit of a bother drinking down the contrast fluid and then having a needle stuck in for the contrast dye. But it is over in an afternoon and tomorrow will change nothing.
There are almost 4 weeks before I am due to return to the urology clinic.
From somewhere in my brain some "What ifs" have crept into my thoughts. I believe that I am as fit as I can be and there will be no changes showing up - but what do I really know? I shall be glad to get this period out of my life.
News came through today to remind me of how cancer can so often recur.
Bill's second cousin in Canada, who has shared so much family history with us, has learned that her cancer has spread to her liver and is growing fast. She has months to live.
Joyce is now over 80, but what she is facing reminds me again of things I have faced and might have to again.
Sorry - too much for some people to want to think about.

I must keep my spirits up somehow. I have enjoyed lots of Facebook banter today and welcomed another niece, who contacted, into the facebook family. That's now 8 Monk cousins united and in contact through this medium.

I shall go and watch Masterchef in a minute.
And so, Goodnight.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Another day of snow fun.

It has been a good day - but we are tired now.
I woke early - which often happens, but this time I was roused by a horrendous cramp. Nothing worked to ease it, except time.
Bill helped with hot flannels and massage. I rubbed the cold spoon on it, which MGoo had recommended.
It lasted for about half an hour and I felt shattered.
As it eased a bit I rubbed on Counterpain, bought in Thailand.
I did sleep after that - not sure how much more Bill slept.
Poor Bill - he wants to help and starts to wonder about the causes. Honestly Bill, as far as I know there is no known cause really and seemingly no known cure either.
Anyway when we did get up the sun was trying to shine - and it was bright all morning, making the snow glow and sparkle.
We should have walked in the forest or at Tilgate Lake maybe, but there were things to do.
I had parcels to post and some food shopping to do.
I have been waiting almost 3 weeks for one payment. He claims to have sent 2 cheques already! Said he would post another today. Somehow I don't believe him - he is one of the very few EBay buyers who play games.
I shall issue a non paying bidder alert tomorrow.
Shopping was most pleasant. There were things I wanted in Lidl. And we got all we needed for the week there this time. It was quiet and unrushed and I am happy with the quality and the prices.
Perhaps I should go online and do the BBC Watchdog questionnaire about one's favourite supermarkets. Vote for Lidl, say I...... and once again the BBC insist that it should be pronounced Leedle. OK, that's how it is pronounced in the German headquarters no doubt, but it would be as pretentious calling it that as people insisting on calling Paris, Paree.
If I were in Germany, no doubt I would use the German pronunciation.
This afternoon, Bill continued to work in the bathroom. The floor covering is up - leaving us to debate what will go back down. I think cork tiles are now at the top of the list.
I prepared some postcards (non sellers on EBay) ready for the shop.
People (dealers) might be glad of very cheap bundles of cards.
The shop was not open again today.
Profits will be slumping badly - I shall be part of the 3 billion pound cost of the snow disruption!
This evening we ate yellow fin sole bought in Lidl. It was delicious.
Now for some snow fun.
Snowmen and huge snowballs have appeared.

This snowman was in the next door front garden - the house is occupied by 4 women in their 30's. They obviously wanted to have some fun.
You can see how the snow has melted in the morning sunshine.

There was a whole family of snowmen out the back - made by children this time, though I wouldn't mind betting their parents were happy to be involved too.

Can you see the baby snowman sitting on the snow wall in front of the one with arms outstretched?
Click on it to make it bigger.

As explained yesterday, our back garden is a place to expand our collection of junk. If we no longer really want something or a pretty plate has a chip, then it finds a home decorating the garden.
I love this big basket - but we have no need of it indoors.

Bill has a small collection of cuckoo clocks and other similar Swiss style clocks. This one no longer works - so it got nailed to the fence.
It hasn't got much snow because it is in the shelter of the house.

Pots beneath the raised garden along the path.

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