Tuesday, June 30, 2009


666 - the number of the beast

Yes - it has been hot.
Yesterday we were the hottest place in the country - well, strictly that is Charlwood, where the weather recording station is for this area.
I think it has been hotter today.
So we behaved as people in hot countries do - activity morning and evening.
Um - should rephrase that because we are feeling too idle for more than necessary activity this evening; I must get the washing in off the line.

We got up at half past six and had some breakfast.
I got the ironing board out and dealt with a reasonable sized pile.
Bill did some trimming in the garden first, because we felt he shouldn't be mowing grass before 8 o'clock.
By quarter past nine we were having a mid morning cup of tea.

And then we travelled on the road (by free bus) to meet "the beast", though we had not heard of this term before.
We actually went to have our eyes tested. We were there quite a long time.
My eyes have deteriorated, which I had guessed. It has been 4 years since the last eye test.
Bill's eyes have changed very little - but he did need new glasses because of the big chip on the lens of his vari focals.
We were in Spec Savers - who offer 2 pairs for the price of one.
So then we had to debate which two types we needed.
And then we had to choose frames. Fortunately I had pretty well done that last week.
We played around with their camera - at least I could then put my specs on and see what I looked like in various frames.
It all seemed so easy.
The glasses we were choosing were marked up at £89.
I was lulled into thinking that the bill would not be too bad then.
But silly me - that price is just for frames!
The lenses cost more - much more.
I wanted vari focals again - these come in 3 qualities and I opted for the middle one - Bill then chose the top quality one.
The optometrist suggested that ones that react to light might be useful - and on a day like today I could agree with him. I used to wear sun glasses a lot before I needed prescription specs.
My new reading glasses are being prepared more specifically for computer use.
I must tell you that the frames I chose are called Emery and Elliot. My new men friends!
Yes, I chose frames designed for men - I really didn't want the narrow little frames that are fashionable just now for women.
Bill will have some Emery frames too - his new vari focals.
And he is having distance glasses.
And then there were the finishes to lenses to discuss - anti scratch, anti glare etc.
And then there was the totting up of figures - and that apparently is where "the beast" enters the tale.
I'll have a quick gulp and tell you that our 4 pairs of specs came to the total of £666.
The number is the number of "the beast" as described in Revelations and other biblical and Greek texts etc. I have looked it up and it all seems quite deep and complicated.
But our salesman laughed that our total was the mark of "the beast".
I would not have known.
We collect the specs in a couple of weeks.

This afternoon I finished describing books I had in my June box - just in time, for it is July tomorrow. They are listed and I have a bid already.
The July box sits waiting to be done now.

Tennis was boring today - one sided matches in the women's singles.

And there was sad news today. I mentioned that our nephew Stephen's father in law was close to death and would not see his two grandsons due to be born in a very few weeks. Today was the day of his passing. We send love and much sympathy to all the family.

But, to end on happier times, scroll down for a few pictures of us at a special restaurant in Thailand.


May 21st A trip to Lakeside - Thai style.

On Thursday 21st May we had a fairly lazy day with Jamie and Mam. There would have been the normal taking the children to school and picking them up again later.
There would have been homework to do.
I should get a few pictures of homework time on the blog - maybe tomorrow.

The 4 adults went to Lakeside..... now millions of people do that in South East England, it being a huge shopping mall, which has become a place of pilgrimage for the shop worshippers.
As you will see the Lakeside Restaurant we visited is as far removed from a huge shopping mall as is possible.

This cafe, a little off the beaten track, is owned by Jamie and Mam's friend Nueng (Noong).
She is a very sweet woman and cooks really well!

Jamie has already done a short piece on his blog about this cafe - so look there for further information and pictures.

Nueng's husband is British - Charlie.
He received some degree of notoriety when the mining company he was working for in The Gambia were accused of cheating the Gambian government. Charlie wasn't even there at the time all this was supposed to have happened.
But he was arrested and held under house arrest for months, awaiting trial. There was quite a campaign mounted to free Charlie.
Here is one web site, amongst many, about him.


The setting for Lakeside Restaurant was lovely - and seemed a million miles from the very bustling brash resort of Patong.
I can see by comments on Jamie's blog that there are others who really do like to escape all of that.

Hello young lovers!
My boy will always seem young to me, despite now being 40 years old.


Waiting for our food to be cooked.

Ah - here we have some food!
Of course there was lots of rice.
The first plate of food is deep fried tofu in a sweet chilli sauce.

I can't remember exactly what these dishes contained - but all was very tasty.

A motto that we should all take to our hearts perhaps.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Bill's part of Pilgrims Antiques.

I am writing my blog this evening with a tennis match being played in the background - so I keep a check on that and am constantly not thinking about photos and blog but quickly bringing the tennis match up in vision.
I think it is the first time I have ever bothered to have a TV programme running whilst doing other computer work.
And Andy Murray obviously realised that we, in the UK, were missing drama when a Brit plays a match - he lost the first set.
I think he is now on course to proceed into the next round. BY the time you read this you just might know differently.

Andy Murray is working hard and Bill has also worked hard today.
Others have worked too - and I have dealt with the customers and so have not worked really hard.
People know me and appreciate that I find hidden energy when the weather is hot, but most others seem to wilt. The potential customers mostly chose to stay at home.
We sold just 4 things all day - one of them was mine. Look back to my "kitchen" area in yesterday's pictures and you will see the iron cockerel door stop - it now lives in another's home.

Bill's first job was a walk round to Wickes to buy some lamps that he could put under the wooden shelves to brighten up the items below.
So he spent the morning with lamps and cables.
The lighting further improves all that he did yesterday.

This was yesterday of course. You can see the wooden shelves with one locking cabinet on the left hand side.

Now for some close up pictures of the things that Bill has for sale - such a contrast to my area of course.
That is the advantage of a centre - each person who sells concentrates on the sort of things that interest them the most.

Please do enlarge the pictures for a better look by clicking on the picture and then using back arrow to return to the full blog.

The man with his legs in the air is actually a tea pot!
The next 3 pictures show things inside the cabinet.

I have chosen not to have a locking cabinet so sometimes I have to ask Bill to squeeze something into his - small and more valuable things might be just too tempting to a few people left free to wander around at the back of the shop.
The cabinet (now on the other side of the room) that Bill emptied now has jewellery and silver and miscellaneous bits in. It has been taken over by Anne who has had connections with the shop for many years, though she has not been buying and selling for a long time. I guess she and her friend who is sharing with her, have things stowed away at home for now that they can sell.
So there was activity on that side of the room too.
Tomorrow we need a little less activity. But we will be going into town for eye tests.
Bill will get out and cut the grass early - before it gets hot. I have ironing to do some time - perhaps that is an early morning job too.
But for now - I'll get back to the tennis.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Busy day working - or was it just pleasure?

Have we been working today or merely having fun?
We have certainly been busy and have enjoyed ourselves - but our bodies feel quite weary now.

The squirrel has an easy time of it - even his food is provided by silly folk who like to feed the birds.
Talking of birds our lives are accompanied constantly now by the alarm calls of blackbirds.
There must be a nest in one of Frieda's bushes and the adults protect their young by drawing attention to themselves by loud squawking.
Anyway we set off for Reigate on a simply glorious morning.
We opted for the car boot sale there this week.
For a while we thought we would be disappointed because it seemed small - but more cars drove onto the field and tables came out to display people's wares.
In the end we bought quite well - including clothes for us and for Ashley and Ekatarina.
There is always a good atmosphere at this sale - especially when the sun shines.
Back at home I quickly wrote up some of the better things that I bought so that I could take them to the shop.
We spent 3 hours there this afternoon. The main purpose was so that Bill could pull out one of the narrow cabinets he has been using and a narrow shelf. In their place he has now put in a longer wooden shelf.
It is much improved.
We are both delighted with how good his things are looking.
Of course we had the door open - and despite the fact that the shop is closed on Sundays, people walked in and we dealt with some sales.
I do wish the shop could be open on Sundays - a couple of the other antiques centres are.
It is just a question of who would want to man the shop on a Sunday. But maybe there could be a rota and we all take our turn, doing 11 o'clock until 4. It wouldn't come round that often.
First I will share with you a couple of pictures taken of Bill's "new" area. The space stays the same of course but it looks much better.
I will take a few more pictures tomorrow of his stock.

I had evolved some plans for my own area over the last week or so.
At one stage, when in Rocking Horse, I developed the notion of breaking the space up into sections sort of relating to different areas of a house.
I have the children's nursery, the kitchen, the gentleman's study, the lady's domain and then a section for 1950s and 1960s stuff.
This weekend I have bought things specifically to develop these sections.

Here I stand alongside the 1950s section.
Oh dear, I really must think about posture!
I am standing like an old woman!

This shows most of the rest of my area. That shelf unit with white uprights had just moved in from Bill's section.
As you see I am right at the back of the shop by the back door.

I bought that floral jug and bowl this morning. I am not sure how old it is - not very I imagine. But it is old in style.
The larger white cat came from the woman in Leigh last week - one of her "ornyments".
This is part of my feminine interest section.

Here is the Shelley tea set again.
I know it is worth what I have been advised to put on it but I feel slightly uncomfortable about it.
I am sure I will change the price in a couple of months if it is still there.

This is the kitchen section, I bought the cast iron scales with brass dishes (on the top shelf) this morning.

The children's section.
There is royal memorabilia on the bottom shelf. I should phase that out because it doesn't attract much interest.

1950s red and black.
Jo has kitchen things on her shelves backing onto mine. which you can see.

1950s and 60s coloured glass.
The dog is one of the ornyments!

And that has been our day.
It always feels good to make new displays - satisfies creative urges.
We feel content with a job well done.
And I have taken a pretty good amount of money during this last.
I look forward to tomorrow - hoping for praise from people who come in when they see the changes. Hah! Will Julie or Monika notice?
That doesn't matter - we know, and I am sure we will continue to please the customers.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Arundel Day

We were up early this morning and set off for Ford under a blue sky.
We hadn't gone far when we found ourselves driving through quite dense fog. Local radio, which we were listening to in the car, did talk of patches of mist and fog - but we were under a blanket of fog all the way across Sussex.
We were glad we had taken a jumper for our first walk round the stalls.
This morning I had the intention of ignoring china and glass - I have got too much of it.
I almost succeeded, but couldn't resist a Carn Pottery vase for £5.
Gradually my bags were filled with all sorts of interesting things - and a good collection of local history books about Surrey and Kent places.
We also bought green grocery from local growers and yet more of the sausages - I am not sure how many lots we have in the freezer now!
This evening we dined on food bought at this morning's car boot sale - the sausages were lamb and mint.
When we were ready to leave, we decided not to go to Littlehampton again this week.
Instead we went to Arundel - I do like that small town.
The castle and RC cathedral stand above the town, and the river Arun flows through the lower part of the town out to Littlehampton.
We went for a short walk before choosing somewhere to have our lunch.

We began our walk close to the castle.

And soon we were in the meadows where I joined a group of cows for a mother's meeting!
Except, of course, these "cows" were bullocks!

I really have tried to learn more about the facilities of the camera I bought recently and maybe this was the first time I had bothered with the close up facility. Normally I left that sort of thing to Bill.
Close to, even the common cow parsley looks beautiful.

A sign here that summer is progressing - the first rose bay willow herbs are beginning to flower.

Bill took this one of the convolvulus or bindweed.
After my experience just now when I googled the name of this plant, maybe I should stick to bindweed.
The item at the top of the page for said flower actually led me to a page about female anatomy!

Bill strolls along the banks of the River Arun.
You can see, of course, that the blanket of fog had long gone.

Cows grazed by the river.

Small boats waited on the water for lazy afternoons chugging up and down the river

Looking through the flowers to the cathedral.

Looking up the hill of the High Street,
Our cafe was down near the bridge at the bottom of the hill.
They served a good jacket potato and prawns with salad, very reasonably.
I was tempted by the New Forest ice cream - it looked and smelled as good as Isle of Wight Mingellas ice cream.
But I was full up.
Next time!
Then we visited just one of the antiques shops in the town.
I played a little game. If I saw something that I might have on my shelves I stated what price I would put on it and then looked to see if Arundel's reputation for being high priced was true. And in each case the two figures were almost in agreement. So Arundel gets the thumbs up from me - though I couldn't actually buy stock there.
In one of the rooms in the shop Bill found a man we have met before who deals in all manner of things photographic - some very old and some more recent, but all second hand.

I think we can say it was a kind of heaven for Bill.
I was tired by this time and we drove home.
I have worked and cleared up everything that was bought this morning and also the bits still lying round the house form earlier buying.
Tennis from Wimbledon was in the back ground - I seemed to have discovered that Czech nationality bestows good looks on tennis players!
Actually our own Andy Murray looks much more attractive now he has matured - good features and an air of confidence glows from him.
Tomorrow will be busy. Another car boot sale in the morning and later to Dorking so that Bill can sort out shelves in his area and give up one of the little lockable cabinets.
One will be enough.
We have still had no rain.
Suits me - even if the garden is thirsty.
This is just the weather I like with warmth and blues skies - today it has been up to 28 degrees centigrade and it may go higher in the next couple of days.
Goodnight. No Thai blogging today - just haven't had the time.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Medical matters

I don't like shopping!
I rarely go and do any shopping other than to buy food.

If there are other things which have to be bought new then I am very content to find a website and send off my order and payment and wait a couple of days for a parcel.

And of course I much prefer just to see what comes my way that has been discarded by somebody else.
That song - Second Hand Rose could have been about me.

But just now we have no choice. We both know that it is time for eyes to be re-tested.
Now, the eyes might not have changed - in which case I need do no shopping.
But Bill will have to because his everyday varifocals got scratched badly in Thailand.
You might wonder why I needed to even look at frames at this stage.
Well, I needed to know that the place where we had our eyes tested had some frames that I like.

We went to 5 opticians. At first we shunned SpecSavers because of the smooth men in suits waiting inside to pounce on us.
We looked at frames in all the others and found almost nothing that we wanted.
The fashion just now is for very small frames - hardly more than an inch from top to bottom.
I prefer a larger frame and feel that varifocals operate better within a bigger frame.
So, having traipsed round all the others we thought we had better look at SpecSavers where we went last time.
And I found frames!
And the men in suits were not so smooth and patronising as we had feared.
So we made an appointment for eye tests next Tuesday and the man in a suit wrote down which frames I liked, because I will be sure to have forgotten.

Why does having to source what, in fact, is a medical need have to feel like shopping?

Medical needs are on our minds today. We have been informed that the plans for the medical centre in front of our house have been passed - we got a letter this morning.
Did we ever think that these plans were going to be thrown out?
This was a "done deal" even before the application went in.
This evening we have been studying all the web site material about it.
Queries and and answers about access to the site for pedestrians, cars, disabled - even the dust cart were dealt with as long ago as last October.

Each day I look out of the window and feel sad. Sometimes I gulp in horror at how I perceive that things will look.
If it all gets too much for me then maybe we will have to move - just after getting our new kitchen and bathroom and having accepted that this is our home for a good long time to come.
But we won't know how I will feel for some time yet.
The building must be started within 3 years of the application - but of course I expect work to start very soon.

What of the rest of the day?
Not much really. The stuff bought from the woman in Leigh is still strewn over the table in the lounge.
We did a little more food shopping - trying the market stall for potatoes and things.
And they were good!
People have played tennis.

And of course Michael Jackson has died.
I was never a fan, though I can see where some of his appeal lay. I do actually like the song "Billie Jean".
His life in many ways was a tragedy as he built himself into being a caricature of what he thought he ought to be.
Maybe this was just the right time for him to go.
The massive concert tour due to start next week could have been a disaster, though his fans would have tried to protect him from knowing that. Michael Jackson's life, already a mess could have become very messy indeed.
The emotional loss felt by so many apparently, has been likened to what happened when Diana died.
Strange - I also thought that maybe she, too, was heading for her life unfolding into a complete mess and her death saved her from further tragedy.
Two of a kind maybe.

And just now I care more about another death - imminent, of somebody I have hardly met.
I knew his wife, Margaret Goodwin, when I was a child and played with her and her sisters at their rambling house that her parents developed as a Quaker old peoples' home.
Margaret and husband David's daughter, Fiona married our nephew Stephen.
Now Fiona and her sister are very close to giving birth to sons - Fiona and Stephens baby will be called Ruben.
It is unlikely that David will ever see these grandsons.
This all just sounds so sad for them all and they all feel like they are a part of me - and Michael Jackson does not.

But life goes on - years get added to years and people have birthdays.
Scroll down to see Bill's birthday evening out in Thailand.


Bill's birthday treat with the family. May 20th.

About a couple of miles from Jamie's house a new restaurant and concert hall has opened up.
We all went there to celebrate Bill's birthday.

There is eating accommodation for hundreds but early on a mid week evening the place was not crowded.
Sometimes known Thai pop groups and entertainers perform on the large stage.

It is Phuket Brewery - and they do brew their own beer, both light and dark.

Jamie has been there before with a friend from the UK and he wrote about it on his blog earlier in the year.


The entrance to Phuket Brewery.

Jamie and Bill with their foaming dark beers.

Was she drinking or was she posing?

I was definitely drinking!
I used to love good dark beers. But I got in the habit of avoiding alcohol when my health fell to pieces and now fear what it might do to me.
Shame really, because that was a very good beer.

You can order your beer by the tankard or by the tower.
I think the tower contains about 8 tankards worth. The people at a neighbouring table had a tower.

Here is a tower being filled from the vats behind the bar.

There were musicians on the stage, playing Thai music, as we ate our meal.

Both John and Jessica soon moved forward and sat at tables very close to the stage to enjoy the
music and the atmosphere of a live show.
The musicians talked to John and talked to him by name.

Later there was a group with guitars and drums and a collection of singers.
They were very competent.

Well - it was Bill's birthday!
He enjoyed trying to get some good shots of this shapely singer.

Meanwhile, Jessica started to feel quite cross......."I thought there was going to be a magic show" she protested.
You can almost hear her thoughts...."Oh no, they are going to sing another song"!

The magic show started at about quarter past nine.
Jessica went and sat down near the front of the stage.
There were several magicians.
But she and I liked the illusionist who worked with playing cards and then doves was amazing.
"How the heck does he do that?" she turned to me, amazed as doves kept appearing in his hands.

The acts on the stage went on, but it was time to go home.
It would be a school day in the morning.

So Bill's birthday came to an end - there had been temples, eating out, shopping, drinking, a show to watch and being with our loved ones.

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