Sunday, January 31, 2010


The Wolf Moon

This has been the weekend of the Wolf Moon.
The moon has appeared much larger and brighter than it will at any other time this year.

It has looked superb.

This morning it was the moon that made getting up on a very cold dark morning worth while.

The journey to Dorking for the car boot sale was filled with pleasure with the huge moon, low in the sky, looking amazing.
The pleasure was enhanced, for as we travelled, the Eastern sky began to turn pink over the horizon.

I have searched in vain for a suitable photograph of the moon as seen in the UK. There were some good ones, withthe surface of the moon clearly in focus; but they were just of the moon and good as they were, there was no indication of how big and beautiful it looked from the ground.

I have found two beautiful pictures.
The first was taken in Poland and the second in Switzerland.

The Polish picture was very like the view of the moon over the trees this morning.
Maybe we will get another chance to see it again tonight - just one day past the full moon.
Perhaps a new purchase would be of help.
This morning at the car boot sale we bought a telescope.
It cost us £1.
It is marketed by National Geographic. It is a 50mm telescope - certainly good for children to use to explore the night sky.
The Amazon price for this telescope is £30.
We didn't find many other items, although it was quite busy. I really don't think I would have wanted to spend all morning there - it was so cold. It was fine to be a buyer there and to be able to leave after less than an hour.
We called in at our local Tesco Express before getting home. I had been planning some sort of cooked breakfast. We found packs of ready made sandwiches greatly reduced. So sausage and egg sandwiches were added to the fried potato and mushroom, egg and beans. Excellent stuff!
We watched Big Questions on TV - and did catch a glimpse of Caroline in the audience. I hope she found the experience worthwhile and it compensated for not watching the tennis.
The tennis was, rather predictably , a bit disappointing. Of course Federer won. He is not so very much better really than our Andy Murray. But he has a supreme confidence that ensures that everything he does turns out better than his opponents.
I have idled much of the rest of the day.
Yes, I have written up the weekend's purchases - but these were few.
Things are ready to take to the shop in the morning.
But I don't need to take much until I clear up my January sale - which will drift into February for about 10 days.
A piece of beef is now roasting in the oven -potatoes and parsnips will join it very shortly. We will enjoy a roast dinner and I will spend much of the evening with some of my favourite relaxing TV programmes.


Saturday, January 30, 2010


Aspects of Pulborough

The day has been lovely - but was not what we planned when we went to bed last night.
The alarm went at 6 o'clock, but I, - having been awake at 5 o'clock - didn't hear it.
When I awoke, the car boot sale at Ford would already have been under way.
Perhaps I had subconsciously decided that today was not a good day to be there - so cold, and with a chilly wind. A very tiny amount of snow lay on the ground.
But, of course, we were both muttering about how glorious the day looked with sunshine and blue sky - and we thought of all the treasures we had missed.

So, after breakfast we planned a different sort of day. It was planned very loosely - who knew where we might actually go?

Our trip centred on Pulborough.

We planned to visit some antiques centres.
Many years ago we used to go occasionally to a garden centre just outside Pulborough where a little antiques centre thrived in a barn.
We found it had long gone.

This was very close to an Ancient Monument. I suspect the 15th century builders never saw their work as a monument.
Stopham Bridge is very old - the most commonly quoted date for its existence as a stone bridge is 1423.
And until 25 years ago it carried the main road.

The White Hart was tempting for our Saturday lunch - but it was a bit early.

Pulborough is a long sprawling large village - much loved now by people who work in London. There is a railway station with a good train service.

There is another bridge over The River Arun - yes, the same river that we know and love at Arundel and at its estuary at Littlehampton.
The river is not wide - but the flat water meadows on either side form a broad valley below The South Downs.
At this time of year much water lies in the meadows.

My picture was deliberately against the sun so as to form a silhouetted, straggly tree.

There is ice along the edges of the water.
By the bridge is an antiques centre in the old corn store.
It was warm and pleasant in there.
We saw things that we would like to have on our shelves at Dorking - but there is no point buying if not even about £3 can be added on for a little profit.
I bought two necklaces and Bill bought two plates with railway engines on to decorate his railway shelf in Pilgrims.
I suggested to Bill that we go to the RSPB Nature Reserve at Wiggenholt, now known as Pulborough Brooks.
Today was not going to be our day to explore the walks and the hides, but I knew there was a pleasant cafe.
We had soup - my spicy parsnip was delicious.
There is a charge to enter the walks and we would have needed to plan better to have gained maximum benefit; but we enjoyed some good views across the Arun Valley of the countryside we will one day visit.
We will return - but not on a Saturday. It was very busy on this lovely sunny day.

This is the view across to the centre of Pulborough - you can make out the church above the village.
Don't forget that pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them and then using the back arrow on the computer to return to the main page.

Looking down across the broad Arun valley.


Of course there were birds.
There was a garden with masses of bird feeders and typical garden birds were swarming round like flies.
It was lovely to be in a sheltered, sunny spot just to watch them.

Birds were not the only wings to be seen. Gliders from a local club were being towed up above us and then let loose to fly free. Bill recalls his times in a glider in his youth.

Below us were cattle and deer grazing.

As we watched there was quite a kerfuffle.
Some of the cattle in this picture are on the move across the field. They all hurried to one spot and stood around.
Rather hidden we could see there was an animal on the ground.
What was it and what was wrong?
A couple we talked to with binoculars couldn't make it out.
It was lying down, thrashing about and legs kicked in the air.
Was it about to give birth we wondered?
If you enlarge the picture you might be able to make out two farm workers by the stack of hay in black plastic.
One walked up the field, did nothing and walked back.
Every creature waited - farm workers, cattle and spectators.

The big bull ran across too. He needed to be informed of all that was going on in his field.
Even cows in adjoining fields began to moo loudly.

The deer had scattered as the cows panicked across the field, but soon were back to graze peacefully.
Finally a pick up truck arrived. We saw a worker lift up two hind hooves and drag what by that time must have been a dead animal to the back of the truck.
We shall not know what happened. It seemed to be too big to be a new born calf.
But for that herd of cattle there had been their own drama for the day.
We moved on into Storrington and went to see if Stable Antiques had anything for us.
It is cold in there - cold and not as welcoming as Pilgrims. Once again there were a few things I might have liked - but the quality of items generally was not there.
It made me feel glad that we are part of the Dorking shop.
I did buy an enamel item with hooks to hang in the kitchen.
One day we will explore the rest of Storrington. But on this day we felt ready for home.
It will be just as cold when the alarm bell rings tomorrow morning, but we will get up and go to the boot sale in Dorking.
And be back home to see Caroline (second cousin) in the audience and maybe contributing to TV programme Big Questions.
And perhaps we will see also the first British man win a major tennis competition for 73 years! But I guess Roger Federer has other ideas.


Friday, January 29, 2010


Elephant Trek 2004

Jamie has been asking me for some time to write about our experience of an elephant ride in Thailand.
He wants to use it for his blog.
This week seemed just the right time to counterbalance the newspaper headlines of an elephant who ran amok with 2 tourists, causing damage and injury.

On the assumption that today will be as dull and quiet as this morning, I am sharing with you my words about that day and some of the pictures.

When I was a child I would look through my books and see pictures of far away, wonderful lands. I was fascinated; but in the 1950s it didn’t seem possible that I would ever see any of those places for myself.
I was filled with wonder at the sights of children riding on elephants and imagined how it would feel.
That little dream lay dormant for almost a lifetime.
The world has moved on during that life time and people travel far and wide – ordinary people like me.

Now we have family in Thailand (it was Siam in my childhood) and on one of our visits I was determined to fulfil my childhood dream.
I can’t now tell you the name of the place where we went for our elephant ride. It was in the rural south of the island, in hilly terrain. I feel there couldn’t have been a better place – the elephants were well looked after and so were we – my husband and I. The jungle was thick and lush and the views from the hill tops were superb.

We climbed up onto a platform of wood and bamboo to wait for our elephant and the young man who would guide us through our adventure.
The back of the elephant was level with the platform and we climbed onto her back – I wish I could remember her name – and tried to get comfortable in the hard metal howdah. Even before we started to move we felt rather insecure, perched up there.
It is high up and the seat is not strapped too tightly to the elephant.

Addition...... we have just remembered that the English name for our elephant was Star. That is Duang Dao in Thai.

This picture was taken by somebody in the office to sell to us afterwards.

Slowly we moved off. I was all grins and happiness! At first the ride seemed fairly smooth, but soon we were traversing the slopes of the jungle through narrow pathways. It was like a fair ground ride – I was thrilled and exited and scared stiff at the same time!
Going down hill it almost felt like we would be lurched forward and roll over the beautiful elephant’s head! We hung on tight and enjoyed the thrill.
Mostly our elephant strolled slowly along the familiar paths – sometimes she broke into almost a trot, accompanied by gasps and squeals from us.

These pictures were taken by the young man who was the elephant keeper.

Hanging on tightly!

Now swaying the other way.

The view from the highest point of our trek.
Our elephant man started the ride sitting on the elephant’s head, between his ears.
Often we would stop completely when the elephant felt like a nibble at the trees – her trunk swinging to reach the tastiest bits.

After a while our elephant man slipped down from the elephant and walked ahead.
Oh my! Here we were, my beloved and I riding alone on an elephant though the jungle!
Did I ever dream that I would be doing this?
Soon our young guide came back and asked for my camera – a moderately simple digital camera.
I wondered if he would know how to use it. But he was a superb photographer and we have a collection of fantastic photos of the pair of us on our elephant - as you you have already seen.
The pictures definitely capture the excitement we were experiencing, far more than the fear.

Our ride lasted for a long time – about an hour we recall. As we realised we were coming to the end of the ride we became aware that we felt physically tired. It is hard work to keep the body stiff and alert and to be holding on tight. But above all, we felt exhilaration that in our 60s we had taken the chance to fulfil a dream.
We climbed from the back of our beautiful elephant onto the platform. The world seemed so still and at peace.
We climbed down and gave her some bananas. Wow, she looked so big from ground level! Then she was led away for a rest and to wait for the next people to delight in the experience.

We fed young elephants before we left and stroked their heads.

It was a lovely place to be and has provided us with a treasured memory.
If you want to ride on an elephant I would recommend that you do it, choosing a rural spot where the people have more time for you than maybe close to the tourist centres.


Thursday, January 28, 2010


Back in the athletics groove

This will be short and sweet.
I am now very tired.
This evening has been so busy, but also very enjoyable.
We have been timekeeping at an athletics meeting - sprints in an indoor tube.
This was the best attended meeting that the Horsham club have ever put on in the tube.
Except that each athlete is promised three races!
The first round took an hour and a half - we envisaged being there until half past eleven!
But by the time the third round of races began, many people had gone home. Many are youngsters and needed to get home to bed and be up for school in the morning.
But for much of the evening the 50 metre races came thick and fast.
I was the chief timekeeper and on such an evening there is so little time that it was a matter of making quick decisions about the race, recording peoples' times and waving to the starter to get on with the next race.
I enjoyed it - I like to be thinking quickly.
But by the time the third round started, I was losing concentration.
We all wanted to go home - false starts were greeted with groans!

It was good to meet up with some of the athletics crowd again and catch up with news. It was a friendly team of timekeepers.

What of the rest of the day?
I have forgotten much of it!
We took 13 parcels to the post office this morning.
All of yesterday's sales have now been paid for - except the atlas.
I hope this person in France is not going to let me down.
But there were other bidders who I can contact if by chance there is no payment from the winning bidder.

Time for a quick drink and then off to bed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Ode to an atlas.

A day of good things.

I offer thanks to an atlas. I have enjoyed studying the pages of the 1842 atlas.
I thought it was quite special.
So, it seems, did the Ebay bidders of the world.
This morning I checked it before we went for some food shopping.
Oh Wow! It was due to sell for £310.

When we got home I checked again.
Oh *********** - double Wow!
There had been a bidding war going on in my absence.
A man in France had the top bid - hold your breath....."£471.99".

This is the most that I have ever sold an item for.
Such a lucky break comes rarely.

It is wrapped and ready to go.

But first, enjoy a look at Australia. It is so empty in the middle that the map maker felt he could put Tasmania into that space - or Van Diemans Land as it was then known.

Of course we have been busy with EBay business for much of the day. Lots of other things sold well too.

Our shopping was done in Lidl this week - and by good fortune we met good friend Marion. So, now we have a lunch date for next week.

This evening we have been sharing a meal with Michael and Beverley - Bill's brother and his wife. It was Mick's birthday yesterday - he is 15 years (almost) younger than Bill.
It felt good to invite them round for a dinner rather than send a birthday card.
We feasted well and talked lots.

We have seen images of our great nephew or niece - only about 10 weeks now. Baby is small but growing normally. Megan and Tom's baby will bring our total to about 25. There are some families I am not completely certain about. Bill's brother Ian's family seems to be producing children quite regularly - are there 5 of them now? And the American Frost family have 2 children now, I think. I wait to be corrected on that one maybe.

And now to bed.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Some have worked harder than others.

The day has not really got going.
Not for me - the man outside on the digger, well, he has worked really hard.
Work began at half past seven and already he has dug out where the footings must go on the far side of the building.
At the same time as feeling sad, we are trying to take an interest in the goings on.
We need to do this so as to feel positive and save our sanity.
This morning as the digger man worked and Bill worked, I was busy creating a blog posting for Pilgrims Antiques.
I was working too - but enjoying myself,
Bill was busy doing some housework, bless him.
I am hoping that some of my pleasure in doing the blog for the shop shines through - people tell me so.
Frieda popped round later in the morning and gave us another Frieda-ism to enjoy.
She was telling me that she had cut out a picture from a magazine of a dog with long legs (she thought it could be called a greyhound) which was nuzzling up to a young fawn.
"It said in the magazine (she calls them books) that the greyhound was a girl dog. I didn't think you could get those" she said.
I chuckled a little and reminded her that greyhounds need the females - or how would there be new puppies?
In admiration, she commented "You think things through much more than me."
The plan was, this afternoon to describe more things for EBay. I got waylaid and only did two. Bill did just a few more. At least when the auctions for our things finish tomorrow, we will still have things for sale.
And the finish tomorrow could prove to feel quite emotional.
I am whispering this next bit, behind my hand...... the 1842 atlas now has a bid of over £300.
I was happy to be held up and use another of my little talents.
My time with the cancer self help group benefited me in more ways than carrying me through a very bad time.
I took on a certain amount of telephone counselling - we advertised that somebody would be there to talk to 24 hours a day.
Today I have been listening and advising a friend who has a friend with cancer.
I made it clear that none of us could do anything for the cancer patient unless she herself wanted the help. But I did discover a cancer self help group in her area and hope that maybe she can be pointed in that direction.
I was also able to explain much more about the nature of the disease and chemotherapy. People with little of experience of cancer (lucky them) seem to think that chemotherapy is just one drug and always the same for all cancers. I explained about the cocktail of drugs which can be constantly tinkered with.
I don't know if the cancer person is in a terminal condition or not. She will be seeing staff at her local hospice this week. I thought it wise to to open the door to the possibility that the end could be nigh and maybe she already knows this.
And I had another reminder today of my own physical fragility. I have suffered a succession of wee bag problems in the last 10 days. This morning I decided that I must try to ensure that bag changing took place at a time of my choosing - not forced on me by embarrassing circumstances.
How long did the new bag stay on for? About 6 hours!
It is starting to knock my confidence a bit.
Sorry to remind you of things that you maybe don't want to know about..... but this is my journal and I like to be able to off load bad things, as well as the good.
Tomorrow is another day. Some shopping will be done.
Bill's brother Michael and his wife are coming for dinner tomorrow evening - our birthday treat for Michael.
And of course we have to deal with wrapping and sorting out the sales. There is a coffee table to be wrapped - fortunately the legs are detachable.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Not a very peaceful day in Dorking - but good anyway.

This has not been the most peaceful of days.
But the work must go on.
At half past seven men were working in "our" field. The digger with a huge bucket was back and forth collecting the wood from felled trees. They were not giant trees, having been planted in the last 20 years, but there is a lot of wood.
The field looked sad - with muddy "tank tracks" creating a web in the grass.

Well, we thought - at least we will be out of the house for the day. There is a lot of traffic going by the shop, but it might feel more peaceful than home today.
At the end of West Street there is a collapsed sewer.
There was work going on there a couple of weeks ago.
Today a huge drain sucking tanker was parked right outside the shop, with the engine running because it was from the engine (I gather) that the pump was powered to empty the collapsed sewer.
The man doing most of the work came in the shop - and , at least, appreciated not being grumbled at!
He was looking for some ceramic handled cutlery for his aged mother's special birthday. Sadly we didn't have any - and seemingly nor does anybody else in shops or on EBay.
The work, far from being finished today, has been the prelude to major works.
From 7 o'clock this evening West Street will be closed to through traffic - this is the main A25 from Guildford to Reigate!
Diversions will be in place.
The work is expected to take a few days.
The sewer man - who liked us, spent some time explaining what was going on to us. He will expect to be earning much overtime in the next few days. The work would go on through the night, maybe he can grab a bit of sleep in his cab.
When we mentioned about the work outside out house and the first clue to its beginning being the arrival of the Welfare Unit, he sighed. He wishes he could have one - he has nowhere to go when nature calls.

Anyway, the shop will not be closed. The pavements are still accessible.
West Street can still be used for access and to the car park that we use.

The sewer man was not the only person to like us today. We chatted with a couple from Cranleigh - she has a little antiques shop there. She was so glad to have discovered us - and wished she had been in first and not wasted time in the other shops where, she claimed, people just couldn't be bothered to pay them any attention.
She bought some of my things! One item I had decided to put in my sale just this morning - it was a huge vase and I kept having no room for it; and another item was a lovely small set of china that I took in for the first time this morning.
I sold 4 things today. I am very happy with the way things are going.
The music man from the mask show we saw just after Christmas was in again. Mark is a friend of Monika's and we see him most weeks with his lovely wife and beautiful baby, Willow.

I spent some time taking pictures with a lose sort of Scottish theme to mark the birthday of Robert Burns and Burns night, which is today.
Some items are quite tenuous! I photographed some china of Jonathan's - by chance the same pattern as the sewer man wanted on the handles of cutlery. It is called Old Country Roses (red roses) - "My love is like a red, red rose......".
There are scottie dogs, whiskey jugs and jars etc.
I'll sort the shop blog out tomorrow.

If work men are going to be starting work at half past seven for the next few months, I guess long lie ins are a thing of the past. We should have some earlier nights.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Home from Dorking by 9 o'clock with treasures.

By 9 o'clock this morning we had enjoyed a trip out and we were back home.
Home for a light weight breakfast!
Today we were at the Dorking car boot sale.
Our first point of call is always the one who used to be known as "my man" - because we didn't know his name. He is Michael now. He always has the sort of interesting bits that we want and he seems willing to sell them at knock down prices - anything to get rid of them, it seems.
Bill bought some model fire engines - in their boxes. Then he was persuaded to buy a load of ash trays, pin trays, pen stands etc - all which came with a Matchbox Model of Yesteryear. They were mostly a bit damaged - but for £2 they were worth it for spare parts. Bill has already made 3 or 4 good items out of them.
I bought about 150 nostalgia postcards, a war time Penguin book about warships and a 1935 calendar published by an electricity company with some wonderful prints showing lighting through history. And I have a box of doll's heads. They are plain white - some have been fired unglazed and 2 are glazed. They would appear to be of the Royals - though we can't be sure which ones. Somebody has put labels on saying Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon - but it doesn't look like Lord Snowdon. There is one of child Princess Ann and that ties in better with the date on them - 1957. They need a little research.
Standing at Michael's stall I got something else I really wanted - good news.
Jo had been in the shop yesterday and she told me that she had sold my Shelley tea set yesterday. Hooray. I loved it, but I have had it 6 months and it was taking up space.
We didn't really buy much else.
If I had more space then something else would have been heaved into the car. I grieve that I had to leave behind an amazing 1930s/50s cocktail cabinet, being sold for £15.
Since then I have been busy getting everything sorted and written up.
I didn't want my purchases strewn all round the kitchen for the week.
Bill has been busy too - cleaning the car was a priority for him.
But also he has tinkered with the heating. With the smell of over heating we were concerned - maybe it would get too hot and burst into flames. We were looking ahead to having to spend quite a lot of money to repair or replace.
Bill had a "Eureka" moment and felt sure he had seen what the problem was. He has mended some faulty wring and hey presto - working heating and no smell.
Can he fix it? Yes, he can!
Bill can fix almost anything.
I had an email from one of Bill's sisters who can remember Uncle Abraham/Jim visiting the Monk family home. It seems he turned up to bid farewell at some point not too long before his death.
She recalls the words "I am 60 and my time is up." and he went on to remember 2 of the other brothers who had died before their time. I presume that all 3 had some form of cancer.
Bill and I were already married at this time - with our 2 little boys. So, Bill would not have been with his parents when his Uncle visited.
Sunday evening is a TV evening just now - Country File, followed by The Antiques Roadshow, followed by Lark Rise.
Soon it will be bed time - we had 2 early mornings this weekend. And Bill has had disturbed nights. On Friday night there was a power cut and when everything came back on it woke Bill. Last night the fox was out on the prowl calling loudly - complaining maybe that its habitat has started to be destroyed.
Tomorrow I have parcels to post in Dorking. I sold 2 books this afternoon on EBay. It will be busy in the shop, getting fresh stock on the shelves and preparing for this week's blog. And we can assume we will enjoy the company of some customers too.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Being Pogged

I am sure that is not a word - not one to be found in the dictionary.
I am not sure how it came to be part of this family's vocabulary.
It describes the feeling you have when you have eaten too much.
This morning I was too greedy. Instead of being content with the £2.79 breakfast in Wetherspoons. I thought I would indulge in the £3.99 plate.
And once I had paid for it - well then, I wanted to eat it.
And very good it was too!
But I have suffered for it - felt pogged for the rest of the day.

The breakfast came after our time at the Ford car boot sale.
How lovely it was to be back there.
I bought the most in quantity - but Bill spent more money.
I have 15 interesting books to be sold at some point. I have a couple of items of china, an old fashioned mixing bowl and some old snap cards.
Bill has just 2 items - a camera that he pondered about for some time. I persuaded him with the notion that even if he makes very little money on it, he will have enjoyed owning it for a while.
We chatted for quite a while with the camera seller - he had all sorts of interesting optical gadgets and other gadgets.
And he bought a covered wagon and horses - die cast metal, 1950s, in its original box.

Then it was time for breakfast - 2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 rashers of bacon, 3 hash browns, tomato, mushroom, black pudding, beans, toast and butter and 2 mugs of tea.
Anybody would be pogged after that lot!
OK - lesson learned!

On the way back to the car, we went in a few charity shops and Bill bought 2 pairs of Marks and Spencers trousers in his size for £9.
We felt so full and tired that we decided we didn't want a drafty walk, even by the sea. we just wanted to get home.
The sea will be there next week.

And that has basically been my day. I have done nothing with my purchases yet. They are piled on the dining room table beside me.

I have looked briefly at another idea for a holiday round the time of Bill's birthday. I want it to be special. Perhaps we will splash out and do a Swiss railways tour. What more could we want than mountains and trains?

Friday, January 22, 2010


Highs and Lows

This has been a day of highs and lows.

This has been the week we didn't want - when the plans we had protested so vigorously about nearly a year ago would start to be fulfilled.
The small trees in the field in front of our house, not planted very long ago really - have been cut down.
We watched carefully to make sure that the one that is in the plans to remain was left alone.
I am trying hard to be reasonable about it.
There are many worse things that could have been built opposite our house - but after all these years to lose something that was important to us seems like a death.
I commented to Bill, though, that it is a little like the death of loved one after a long terminal illness. The final day is a shock in its finality, but quite a lot of grieving has already taken place.
I remind myself, too, that many people in the world are enduring far, far worse. In fact for many people in this area the new medical centre will be seen as something wonderful perhaps.
I look at the people of Haiti - they have nothing.
We have everything we need - just no open space in front of our house.

Bill is taking photographs of things as they change.
It will seem to change hourly.
Already things look different from the last photo because a big digger has arrived - presumably to deal with the tree roots.

The beginning of the week.

Similar view but the portable welfare unit (loos) has arrived.

The first tree to be lost. No more to catch the early morning autumn light and be surrounded by a circle of orange leaves.

From the bedroom.
Some might wonder why we value a view that includes the road and the phone mast etc.
But honestly all we have really been aware of was the trees.
Now for the good news.
It was news that thrilled me.
I suddenly got it into my head today that I should be doing more for the family history.
I have felt sad all along that Bill has an Uncle who we know almost nothing about.
I told my brother about Uncle Abraham (or Jim as he was known) in an Email.
Roger has his brain much more in tune than me with all the right places to look for things. And what I did know I seem to have forgotten!
Very quickly Roger was back with a date for Uncle A's marriage and a date for his death (1974) and for the births of three sons.
The sons are all now in their 60s - but presumably still living.
Where are they? That is my next task maybe.
Then a little later came something not nice.
Being excited I was on a bit of a high about these new found cousins of Bill's.
And being dutiful I decided to pass on what I knew to anybody in the family who has an email address.
It might have jogged some memories.
I got a very brief EMail back from the husband of one of Bill's cousins, who lives in France. I had already picked up some comments that he is an odd man and selfish and not supportive of his wife.
His mail asked me to delete his address from my address book because he didn't want to receive my tedious Emails ever again.
I realise now that he guards his computer with a rod of iron and no doubt Bill's cousin never gets to see anything we have sent.
Naturally I felt a mixture of being very angry and very hurt.
And sorry for his wife - because she loves to communicate. If you get her on the phone she will talk for hours - 2 or 3 hours!
But "let it go, Paula". It is not my problem.
Not my problem once the negative reaction dies away.
It made me realise that this attitude of his was one of the reasons I chose to pass on my daily news through a blog.
I hate to think I am imposing on anybody.
Grandma P's blog leaves it completely up to the people I know, if and when they want to read what I record.
I can rest easy that I have not intruded into anybody's personal in-box.
I do try to reply to the emails that others send to me, but these are never very long these days.
They know where to look if they want more.
Now I am signed up with Google Analytics I can see how many people do look and I find that I have a regular little following.
I also can see where (roughly) the people come from. I wonder who in Pakistan and Brazil have looked at the Pilgrims Antiques Centre blog!
Another high for the day is that the 1842 atlas has now reached a bid of three figures.
Soon we will have dinner - another Internet recipe today. It is a minced beef stroganoff. It smells just fine in the oven.
Tomorrow we will probably go to Ford for the car boot sale - it will be cloudy, but the rain will have stopped. And then we will have breakfast in Littlehampton.


Thursday, January 21, 2010


National Health Service

Isn't our National Health Service wonderful?
I hope you think as I do on this matter.
I know that there have been unfortunate circumstances - tragic circumstances even - where things have gone wrong for the minority of people.
But I can honestly say that I have had the very best of treatment for almost all the years when I have needed it.
I don't just feel that I haven't been let down - I can positively say that I have been given the very best of treatment and support.
Today my treatment took a very short time - just a few seconds to have an injection of Vitamin B12. But there is always time to chat and Nurse Lesley listened to my worries about the infections that I seem to have within my body. Yes - I think a week after finishing the antibiotics they are back.
She also sorted me out a form for my next blood test, which is not due until March.
The population have so much to be thankful for.
Whenever there is a suggestion that one or other political party might not want to keep the NHS as a service to the population, but to allow private enterprise to take over, there is outrage.
Even the tabloid press who like to accuse very quickly when ever anything goes wrong, suddenly seem to fear the loss of our precious NHS.

We fear losing it.
I just can't understand why the people of the USA - well, at least half of them - fear the introduction of something similar.
Healthcare in the UK prior to the war had been a patchwork quilt of private, municipal and charity schemes and that seems to be the state that the American system is now.
Just as in this country over 60 years ago, there are people in the USA who can't afford to have medical treatment.
The benefits of the NHS are three fold - these were the original aims:
That it meet the needs of everyone
That it be free at the point of delivery
That it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay.
How sad that the American people shun these ideals.
Perhaps they have read too many articles as published in the Daily Mail or some such newspaper and misunderstand just how satisfied we really are in the UK.
Although the NHS has a high level of popular public support within the country, the national press is perceived to be highly critical of it. This may have affected perceptions of the service within the country as a whole and outside. An independent survey conducted in 2004 found that users of the NHS often expressed very high levels of satisfaction about their personal experience of the medical services. Of hospital inpatients, 92% said they were satisfied with their treatment; 87% of GP users were satisfied with their GP; 87% of hospital outpatients were satisfied with the service they received.

It looks like the election of one Republican ex male model in the USA might be a turning point and the dreams of having a health service which meets the needs of all might have to be curtailed. I hope not.

I am living proof of what a health service can achieve - the amount of money pumped into my survival, over several long drawn out episodes, must be enormous. I admit I have had more than my fair share and very much more than we or the sub standard health insurance that we might have been able to afford would have been able to pay out.

And even when I had to admit that I was finding it hard to find some true joy in living, the NHS forked out again for some medication to make me see my world more clearly and more joyfully. No thought of reprimanding me with a "You should be grateful for all we have done for you".

Today it has been easier to feel some of that joy.
I know it is just a day - but we have enjoyed a brief interlude of good weather. There really felt to be some hints of Spring air.
But we expect rain by about midnight, which will continue throughout tomorrow.

I worked today on what might be deemed to be a new years resolution - good cooking.
I can cook what I have always cooked - I do a good roast dinner and we love sausages and mash, but I had stopped trying anything new.
Yesterday I used the Internet as my recipe book and today I cooked chicken veronique - chicken breasts in white wine, tarragon, onions and with grapes.
I did potatoes in butter and onions too.
We both really enjoyed the eating - and I enjoyed the process of creating something worthwhile.

Bill was also inspired by the springlike air. He went out this afternoon to tidy the back garden. The biggest task was to clear our very small plots of where the cats had been! But he has also made it look neat and ready for the spring and some new plants.

Another snippet of joyfulness is that the 1842 atlas now has a bid of £82.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Back to my hibernation nest.

It was not a day for going far - so we didn't.
Parcels had to be taken to the post office - but they were very big and heavy so we used the car.
It was just about the same time that the snow began to fall - large "ploppy" lumps of snow. There is a covering over the ground, but its not the sort you would want to play with.
There were times when it snowed really hard - almost blizzard like.
It actually made me feel sorry for the young men putting the fence up out the front - in readiness for the builders.
These two chaps look hardly more than boys.
They had to wait a long while for a truck to arrive with a second load of fencing. The only protection from the weather would have been the Welfare Unit - but I don't think they had a key.
They did work hard and efficiently and the metal fencing is now in place.
It's not a pretty sight.

I have found it very hard to get going today - the return to winter made me feel quite lifeless.
I will do better tomorrow. I probably needed a long day of rest.

Tomorrow morning I have to get out for a B12 injection. I shall have to ask the nurse what the computer says about my next date for a blood test - I have lost track of that.

Tonight our Tiscali ISP is not functioning.
I know that sometimes these things happen and normally the problem does not last long.
But I am ever suspicious - Tiscali have now been totally swallowed up by Talk Talk and I wonder if that will actually prove to be a good thing.
Well, we still have gmail to send mail and no doubt the tiscali mails will get here some time.

Is it time for bed yet? I am yawning.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Rest in Peace Field!

Let's get the news we don't like out of the way.
The end of "our" field is nigh.
Of course we knew it would happen - but a feeling of mourning creeps up when you realise that you are about to lose something precious.
No building has started yet.
But the land is now ready for builders.
This morning a cabin was drawn up behind a big truck.
The words "welfare centre" were inscribed on the side.
I am sure that the patients of the local doctor's surgery were expecting something bigger than that!
But this is not for the patients - it is for the builders.
"Welfare centre" is a euphemism for "portable toilets".
The cabin is now fenced off. Tomorrow the field will be fenced off again. One slightly positive note is that it does look like we will not have a solid wooden fence outside our front door - it will be the same sort of metal fence that was there before.
They might have to change their minds though - such a fence is a challenge to those with a mind for these things and it gets pushed over.

The good news has been some successful EBay selling.
You might recall that Bill was bamboozled by a man who came in the shop with lots of model railway stuff. Well the railway stuff didn't come into the shop - Bill went to the car park and bent over the car boot to try and see what was there.
Bill probably paid a bit too much - but then we all do that when a person is standing in front of you. Nobody wants to be accused of ripping people off.
Ten days ago Bill listed items like control units - 4 of them. They have sold rather well and so Bill has started to get some of his money back. One of the control units will be posted to Romania tomorrow.
I sold some books too.
So we have been quite busy this afternoon with all of that.

And I am happy to report that the 1842 atlas has bids - and also the book of Russell Flint drawings. So on those books alone I have my money back - and more, from the books I bought in Woking.
I have been researching the atlas a bit today for a potential customer in Holland. It is good to learn as much as I can - and people's questions lead me to do that. My Dutch contact is now the highest bidder.

I have worked today on the shop blog.
It doesn't seem like work of course - it is a pleasure.

I have just checked the met office site - they still predict a good chance of some heavy snow in the morning - but not for long.
Looking ahead I was pleased to see a suggestion that there might be a little sunshine on Saturday. Hooray - a trip to Ford and Littlehampton perhaps!

Happy days!


Monday, January 18, 2010


Mist and Onions

I started the morning feeling quite run down - wondering what ailment I was in for.
But it was a Monday morning, so no time for feeling sorry for myself - it was time for the familiar drive to Dorking.
As we left home it was really misty and murky.
I quoted from a child's rhyme on facebook before I left......."One misty, moisty morning when cloudy was the weather."
Ashley commented back that the words brought the sound of Maddy Prior's voice into his head - Steel-Eye Span recorded this song, mainly at the instigation of Tim Hart for an album of children's songs and nursery rhymes.
Sadly Tim Hart died on the Christmas Eve just gone.
Amazing where a simple thought about the weather can take you!

We arrived in Dorking and the sun was breaking through the mist.

We opened up the shop and we all got busy.
I had taken mostly items to put on my sale shelves - although when I came to go through my sales for the week I realised that it was mostly non sale items that had gone.
But everything got fitted in.

Gradually I felt much less under the weather. The shop seems to do that for people. It is a happy atmosphere and with interesting people to meet and things to do.

I have been taking photographs today - my theme for the shop blog this week is "colours of an open fire"; so lots of reds and oranges.
I shall put that all together tomorrow.

With my camera in my hand, I wandered back to the desk and asked "What shall I take a picture of now?"
Bill said "Me!"
So I took a picture of Bill working at the desk. I really like this picture.

Both Bill and I sold things today - not for lots of money, but selling almost daily keeps the coffers replenished.

And so I end the day feeling a bit tired - but contented. maybe I am not about to suffer any ailment.
I read today that eating an onion sandwich in the evening is good for clearing sinuses, stuffy noses, colds etc.
I might give it a try - though not tonight perhaps. I have beautiful memories of cheese and onion sandwiches and good beer!
Bill wonders if he might have to sleep in the spare room!


Sunday, January 17, 2010


The journey

I am so tired this evening.
Bother it! I fell asleep before the end of Lark Rise.

The early start maybe was a sudden jolt to the system - after many weeks without hunting at car boot sales.
But what a lovely morning it was!
So lovely that the drive back home from Dorking at half past nine was fraught with the problems of a very bright low sun.
At Dorking the first job is to go to see Michael - "my man".
He always seems to have something for me to buy. I bought a good early Ladybird book about wild flowers (with its dust wrapper -I don't have them without). And I bought a set of patience playing cards in a very 1950s plastic sort of book cover packet, also a white glass vase, very 1960s in style.
We will still get him (Michael) to sort out flooring in the kitchen/dining room - when we get round to it.
I bought quite a few other books, including a good history of Dorking.
I also bought some 1950s children's birthday cards.
Oh and Michael had real bargains for me. I use my Parker fountain pen nearly all the time for writing. It takes cartridges and I particularly prefer the royal blue washable ink. He had packets of cartridges which he sold for 20p each.
We met Jo and Monika at Dorking.

Then we went to the shop to collect a few bits to list on EBay. I wanted the 1950s coffee table. Bill got an aeroplane model - but not the big one he had, for that did sell on Friday.

Back home we finished all the describing and listed a total of 35 items today.
The shoulder bag with the very good name got a watcher within minutes.

The thing with most watchers so far is the 1842 atlas. I have started the bidding at £24.50. Of course all the watchers are now hoping to get it for that! I suspect it could go up to a 3 figure sum.
Here is a map of Africa from the atlas, which I find really interesting.
So much unexplored and so many unfamiliar names.
Enlarge it and take a look.

The table has not yet persuaded anybody to select it to specially watch.
I hope that it will - still 10 days to go.

So by listing all these things we have embarked on another adventure. The journey is fun as we watch what happens and deal with any queries. The outcome is unknown, but could be good.

Marriage can be described in a similar way.
Sadly we learned today that the marriage of one our nieces is ending after 12 years. So sorry Jo.

Well, I shall be off to bed very soon. I shall have to sort out what I want to take to the shop in the morning.
I seemed to have spaces on the SALE shelves.
The weather should be pleasant tomorrow.
There is a the threat of a bit more snow on Wednesday.
One face book comment today, from a distant relation, suggested that this was nothing short of a catastrophe. I wanted to say that a devastating earthquake might be deemed to be just a bit more of a problem! But whats the point upsetting somebody?



Saturday, January 16, 2010


Ramblings on a Saturday

When we were in the shop last Monday, Monika was wondering if my coffee table would do better on EBay.
Its a 1950's style table, red - with screw in black legs, in the shape of an artist's palette.
I agreed with Monika and decided that if EBay offered a free listing day it should be described for the worldwide web.
I paid £25 for it at a car boot sale in Canterbury when we were on holiday last October, so it will need quite a high opening bid, so that I don't lose any money. I have a £45 price ticket on it at the shop.

And what should I discover on Friday?
Sunday is a free listing day!

Tomorrow morning, when we are promised some clear skies, we will go to Dorking for the car boot sale and then into the shop to collect the table and probably one or two other bits.

I already have 27 items to list tomorrow - I have been busy today.
So has Bill. He did all the photographs for me.Bill now has 4 bits ready for tomorrow and may get some more from the shop.
If the big model aeroplane didn't sell yesterday then he will put that on EBay.
I have been describing some of the potentially valuable books that I bought from some people in Woking.
This includes a big hard back 1842 atlas and a book by Sir Russell Flint (artist) with plates of his drawings.
I also have a shoulder bag - apparently a desirable make that I bought in a charity shop to use, but have since adopted another big shoulder bag that I found at a car boot sale.
If lots sold well we will be busy again in 11 days time, wrapping etc.
As I described, I was "chatting" with Jamie and Mam.
Saturday is Jamie's day off.
Today they have been to a museum and then to the beach bar.
That was another compromise about our trip to Thailand - we have opted to go when the Beach bar will be closed for the low season.
The mining museum has just opened - not yet completely finished.
It is situated along a road that winds through the hills, which few tourists would know about.
This could be yet another very interesting attraction that fails to get promoted well enough.
The children enjoyed their visit.
Here is Jessica investigating what seemed to be a smooth piece of rock and finding all sorts of details when the surface was magnified.
I am so glad that Jessica and John all those miles away like to do some of the sorts of things that we as parents encouraged our own children to do.
Perhaps we didn't do such a bad job as parents - our sons encourage their children as we did too.
Bill has also been busy today with his computer - remember it was in trouble.
Before he fitted the new hard drive which he sent for, he fiddled with the old one.
Guess what?
The computer sprang into life!
Just shows how little the so called experts know.
But Bill didn't know what he had done to cause the problem and wanted advice.
He still has to re - install all the programmes that had been on it before, because re-installing Windows had wiped it clean.
Or something!
I don't understand this language!
Weather has been horrible. Gone is the bright snow - which I know has caused a lot of problems - and I am looking back nostalgically, for the rain has looked really gloomy.
Talking of snow problems - did you hear about the comments of BNP leader Nick Griffin?
How can we think of giving money to the people of Haiti when people have suffered here in the UK from cold homes and untreated roads?
And I am not wanting to underplay the problems and the fact that there have been some deaths in the UK from the cold and road traffic accidents.
But really!
How can the two situations be compared?


Friday, January 15, 2010


Good Times.

Yesterday I talked of troubled times; today lets think about the good times.

This morning Bill booked our flights to Thailand.
We used the same company as we have always done - Dial- a- Flight.
The guy Bill talks to seems to know our needs very well.
We seem to have very good seats - by one of the emergency exits where there is more leg room.
Bill had already got an idea that the best deal would be with Air Malaysia and that is what Reece (the Dial a Flight man) also came up with.
There might be slightly cheaper flights - but those would have a very long pause at a connecting airport. The journey is long enough without sitting in an airport for 8 hours waiting for the next flight.
On September the 13th we fly to Kuala Lumpar. Then on to Phuket.
Three weeks and one day later we arrive home.
To get this good deal we had to make some compromises. I really didn't want the flight back to arrive at Heathrow at half past six in the morning. It leaves a whole day before it is bedtime - so I suspect there will have to be some dozing during that day.
And we we will have to find cover at the shop for 4 Mondays.
It is also a bit of a compromise to be going in September - which can be a lovely month in England.
But we want more than just sunshine from Thailand - we want fun with the family.
It is very much the low season time in September. Jamie can take holiday and Jessica and John will not be at school. We just might need umbrellas during this month.
Jamie has already suggested that we all might go away for a holiday together - maybe to a place they went last year not very far from Chumphon, where Mam's parents live.
It all sounds very good.

We had a good day today for ourselves and also to cheer Frieda, our neighbour who is 88. She has not been out for at least 10 days.
We took her to the Wetherspoon's pub in Horley - The Jack Fairman. Jack was a racing car driver in the 1950s and pictures of him adorn the walls.
The cheap after 2 o'clock fish and chip meal is very good - the fish was delicious.
Frieda felt it was a really special treat.
We popped into Waitrose for a few bits - after all we had used their car park.
Then we went back to Crawley and shopped in Asda - Frieda had her shopping list and we made it up as we went around, as usual.
I think the best part of it all for Frieda was to be doing something with other people and indulging in some conversation.

I dream of going to Ford car boot sale again - but not tomorrow.
The snow will be almost gone; already green grass can be seen. The world looks all wet and soggy and tomorrow there will be a lot of rain.
Sunday looks much better and I am sure we will get to Dorking for the car boot sale there.
We also want to go into the shop. EBay have a free listing day on Sunday and we could gather together some more expensive items to photograph and describe. Maybe Bill won't be able to put the big Virgin model aeroplane on eBay - the shop phoned whilst we were at the Asda checkout to see if there was a box. Hopefully the plane already has a new home.

Bill has to sort out the new hard drive for his computer which arrived today. He will need to get all his programmes re-installed.
So lots to be getting on with.

Just tell my digestion that there really won't be any more of the antibiotics and it should settle down now!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Troubled Times for People.

This evening I am troubled.
Not in a depressed sort of way - I can handle this.
I am just aware of so much suffering.
Most of my knowledge of the earthquake in Haiti comes from the radio - words make it seem very graphic; more so than the limited pictures we can see on TV.
Life was not good for the majority of the people of Haiti - well, not in any material sense.
But each person was part of a family and families the world over, whatever their material circumstances, feel the same bonds of love and the same feeling of helplessness when everything goes wrong.
It is impossible for us to truly imagine how it feels when absolutely everything is wiped out in one's world.
It must feel almost impossible to harbour any thoughts of how to begin to make things right.

Life throws all sorts of problems at all of us - but nothing on the scale of the earthquake or any of the other major natural disasters.

I am thinking today of my nephew, Cameron. Life threw him many problems until finally the multiple sclerosis that afflicted him took him from us. That was 10 years ago today.
I think of my elderly aunt who has battled hard to live as full a life as possible despite crippling arthritis, who now faces what we must assume will be the last few weeks of life. Cancer was discovered this week.
She is in the same hospital as her brother, my Uncle. He has battled with many physical problems and is now unable to walk or even stand. He is finding life confusing. It is to be hoped that a caring nursing home can be found very soon to make his last stages of life much more bearable.
My neighbour is off to a hospital tomorrow to spend some time with one of her closest friends - also now facing the last stage of life.
Having had some experience of cancer, the neighbour turned to me for advice about what to say and do.
All I can say is that the friend is living and is still the same person as ever she was - but probably finding life very confusing. I hope the two of them can find the opportunity for some hugs and some laughs as they always would have done.
So many people facing a life that is confusing. I have also been a listener to another who thinks that life is hardly worth living.

I am not depressed - I am actually thankful that at this moment I am strong enough to take on board some of these other problems.
I am aware that my life feels quite easy just now.
Despite the fearful gut problems caused by the antibiotics.
Never mind gut - the tablets are finished - you will soon settle just a bit!

The weather, however, started to look a bit depressing.
We have had rain and fog. It looked so dreary.
I must not object - it is how it is.
I enjoy the extremes of weather and marvel in the variety of each end of the spectrum.
I envy The Thai Monks their heat - but feel they miss out on the distinct 4 seasons that we have.
So I must happily accept the dreary rain and fog I guess.

I didn't go to the dentist today. I checked my diary and realised it was only 2 months since I last went. My teeth give many problems and I am in that chair several times a year. It was agreed that I might as well attempt to go a full 6 months before seeing him again.

I listed a few more items on EBay.

And that has been my day. Tomorrow we are taking Frieda to Wetherspoons in Horley for lunch and then to do some shopping. She has not got out for 10 days now.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I don't want any more.

There are days when you start to wonder if you can take any more.
For some that might have been the reaction to waking and finding another 2 or 3 inches of snow lying on the top of the crisp icy snow of last week.
Much as I do long to see green grass again, the snow didn't worry me and I enjoyed the walk to the Post Office with a dozen parcels.
I'm not sure how quickly the parcels will continue on their journeys.
But at least we had done our bit right and so had Sandra, the Post Office lady, at the local shop.
People had been asking Sandra why she bothered to get to work - and it had been an awkward journey.
Bless her! Sandra feels responsibility to her customers.
If an old person had made the effort to get to the Post office in need of some money, then Sandra felt she should be there.
Likewise, when I wondered if she might leave early. Sandra shook her head - if somebody came in to cash a Giro cheque for much needed cash after she had left, she would have felt so bad about it.
So, its not the snow that is bothering me.
It's the antibiotics.
I have just one more tablet to take and then I have promised my digestion that it can start to feel settled again.
I have had enough.
Let's hope that I don't find some of the recurring troubles returning after the tablets are no longer keeping things under control.
Tonight I feel quite rough.
I shall get to bed soon.

I will just comment further about my writings last evening.
This was prompted by Roger.
I can't imagine how I ever stated that Dad didn't write.
He even managed to produce an autobiography - finishing the last chapter during the day that he died.
I often have plans to write my autobiography - but I don't follow through.
I guess that sentence is my autobiography - lots of plans, not followed through!
But I would like a solid book of writings - what I am doing now is rather ephemeral.
And it is true that maybe Mum would have written more - but in the 1950s a young wife and mother had a full time job in the home.
We all write differently. Roger records things as they are. I record how things affect me.
Both my words and photographs attempt to reflect who I am and how each episode of life tells a further little story of what is my autobiography.
I didn't take a camera out with me this morning in the snow - I didn't feel there was anything to add to the snow story just now.

The computer doctor battled through and looked at Bill's computer. It was felt that there was a hard drive problem. Bill has now ordered one from Amazon. The computer man was able to get the computer doing enough for Bill to retrieve information to save.
I don't really trust the computer doctor - for how would we ever know if what he says is right?
But at least this one didn't try to sell anything to Bill.
And in conversation we had learned that he has been a computer freak for 30 years, having one of the very first ZX80's before moving on to the Electron which he just can't throw away.
Surely that makes him a good egg!

That's it. I want to go and sleep. Good night.
Bill's just looked at the calendar - bother, I have a dentist's appointment in the morning!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Keeping a record of life.

Why am I writing this?
Why do I feel compelled to record my life and my reactions to the events of life?
It is not something I inherited from either parent - though my brother also has the same urge.
I don't know where it came from.
I cannot tell what makes my brother write, but maybe there is a hint of my own yearning to put things in words from my teenage years.
I read a diary which moved me greatly - it was Anne Frank's diary.
Anne became a friend to me as she shared with me thoughts and feelings that I could relate to about growing up and relationships.
I can hardly imagine the reality of what life was like in hiding.
I am glad I have visited the small rooms where they lived.
Anne died very shortly after I was born.
Yesterday one of the people who protected Anne's family, and the others, passed away.
Miep Gies had become known to me through Anne's diary.
Miep felt she had lived a very blessed life - a long life for sure. She was 100 years old.
She doesn't claim hero status, believing that she just did what was necessary for some friends.
But she risked a great deal for her friends.
It is so sad that all but Anne's father did not survive the camp they were taken to after a betrayal.
But Anne lives on. It is said that there is never one day when there is not a performance somewhere in the world of the stage play crafted from the diary.
Anne wrote the diary, but it was Miep who saved it for me to read.
She saved it on the assumption that she would return it to Anne when the war was over - but that was not to be.
But it was saved for me and the millions of others who also formed a friendship with the young girl.
Thank you Miep for all you did - I am happy that you felt your long life was blessed with much good fortune.
And now, just like Anne, my trivial doings must be recorded.
I enjoyed creating a blog posting for the shop. I had not had my camera with me yesterday, so I needed a completely different approach.
This afternoon I have felt busy and satisfied to have things selling on EBay - the first for a month.
There had been 25 things relisted - some of them for the 4th time.
Today more than half of them have sold.
There was not a great deal of money made - I had reduced things to as low as I possibly could so that I would not lose money.
All I wanted was my money back in my purse and some spaces on the shelves.
Bill's old AA keys - which had been part of his own collection for years - had no bidders before Christmas; but sold well today.
It is hard work - wrapping and dealing with invoices and payments - no, "time consuming" would describe it better.
But it has become an important part of my life.
The weather has been very much part of our lives for the last week.
The green grass is still covered with a thick layer of icy snow.
It is gradually diminishing as temperatures creep above freezing.
The big icicle that Bill photographed the other day came crashing down during the night.
Bill lifted icicles from the fence this afternoon.
Time for bed soon.
Tomorrow I have parcels to post and the computer doctor will call to see what Bill has done to his computer.

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Monday, January 11, 2010


Some Vulgarity in Dorking! Surely not!

Last Monday, when we were last in the shop, seems an age ago.
The shop has been shut for 4 full days - so obviously almost no sales during the last week.
Since last Monday we have been absorbed in matters of the weather.
There is still a lot of snow about, but apart from the very first part of our journey, we were driving on roads cleared of snow and ice.
However, we did arrive late at the shop - just got all behind.
I don't think we actually let anybody down.
The first job, once in the shop was to check the water supply.
Fortunately, Monika had already been in and heaters were on.
Bill crawled under the sink in our little kitchen and turned on the stopcock.
I apologise for using such words!

It seems that a mail I sent for Roger and Sue using the word stopcock was blocked by Sue's school because it was bordering on pornographic!
Oh hell I am at it again!
I am hoping that by combining the two parts of the word (as I see that perhaps they should be) my Email might get past the decency police.
Roger thought it was funny - but at the same time, a little worrying that children have to be protected from potential vulgarity in this way.
Children have always and will always seek out ways to be vulgar and utter rude words. And of course I was being neither vulgar or rude!
At risk of offending Southbroom School I will tell you a joke that as a 6 year old I thought was very funny.
A woman had a dog that went missing. The dog had, for some reason, been named Tits. The woman, desperately seeking her dog was asking people she met "Have you seen my Tits?"
Collapse into childish giggles!
Sorry, Southbroom School - this is what 6 year old children do!

Anyway - back to the stopcock.
The water supply was turned on and we found no problems in either the kitchen or the loo in the shed out the back.
We were in business.
It has been a pleasant day - quite a lot of chatting between ourselves - and Terry and Emma who came in.
There was lots of chatting too with customers - no, I change that word, for customers buy things and few of them did today.
By the way, Terry - if I don't see you before I hope that your forthcoming hospital operation on your knee goes well. I am sure we can look after any Thursdays you might have been down to do.
And I thank both Terry and Emma for buying 4 things from my sale.

I forgot to take my camera today. But there will still be a blog posting about the antiques centre. I think I shall use old Dorking postcards and hopefully some present day images from web sites to create a little something about the town.

We shut up shop about a quarter of an hour early and the drive home was completely trouble free.
The Met office website now suggests that we will get a little snow during tomorrow and maybe some heavy snow during Tuesday night.
The temperature will remain just below zero.
I see that on Friday they expect us to be bathing (not literally of course!) in the balmy temperature of plus 5!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Have you got cabin fever?

So, now we all have cabin fever!
I have heard this expression a few times now, describing a situation where individuals are stuck indoors because the weather and conditions make going out uncomfortable.
Agreed! It can feel frustrating not to be able to do the things that we want to do and normally do.
But so far, it has only been for 5 days - and in that time most people have got out in some form or other.
And the forecast for the 5 days ahead suggests that, whilst our snow may remain on the ground, life will get back to normal. It will be cold and grey - but very little more snow should fall in these parts.

Tomorrow we plan to be in Dorking as usual. Monika, who works with us, lives in Dorking and says that even the pavements are not causing any bother.
Our only concern is if pipes are still frozen up.
The outside loo could be frozen. This might affect me..... the long course of strong antibiotics are requiring me to visit such a place far too frequently.
I have been told that there is a loo in Waitrose - about 3 minutes walk away.

But I shall be glad to be out and being normal in the shop.
Monika expressed the thought that the cabin fever people are suffering from will drive them out and into our shop.
I wonder.

Maybe today the dreaded cabin fever got me in its grip.
I didn't actually get dressed until about 1 o'clock.
And I don't feel I ever really got started on activities.

Bill has been trying to sort out minor problems on his computer.
I feel that there was nothing so wrong that it didn't do what he wanted.
He wanted his hard drives updated.
Basically he tried to fix something when there was nothing broken - or that's how it seems to me.
No doubt I could very justifiably be told that as I don't understand I shouldn't comment.
The outcome - as he just, so rightly, said is that he has "buggered it".
His computer won't work.
When it comes to computers - leave things alone.
I suspect he will have to get help - and this , as ever, will be costly.

For me, a computer is to be used - not fiddled with.
But what do I know?

The evening has been enhanced with the return of Lark Pies!
That was the affectionate name given to this series (Lark Rise to Candleford) by Victoria Wood.
It is gentle and well made, with lovely photography.
The old fashioned home spun philosophies are just right for a Sunday evening.

Time for bed soon - hope I sleep a little better.
I found the talking programmes on the radio just a bit tedious last night and I turned to Radio 2 and so enjoyed music to chill out to - including Pink Floyd's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond". I had not heard it before.

Jamie has written on his weather blog today - contrast Goffs Park in the snow with John playing on the beach at his birthday party.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


A suitable day for staying at home.

There is not much to say about today.
The snow remains, but we had very little more - unlike to the east of the county.
The icicles are longer than yesterday.
The temperature is low - feels a bit of an anti climax at merely minus one.
More snow is forecast for tomorrow and the biting easterly winds will continue.
Outdoors looked very unwelcoming for a while this afternoon as snow blew horizontally past the window.
We have not been anywhere.

This morning we got up late.
After breakfast we got a bit of housework done.
I wielded the iron and Bill attacked with a duster and vacuum cleaner.

At lunch time I watched sport on TV.
Not football, of course. There was hardly a game being played anywhere today, despite the top clubs having under pitch heating.
Today there was a big cross country running meeting in Edinburgh, Runners are not deterred by weather - and nor were the organisers and spectators.
I can remember Jamie running a cross country race in quite deep snow when he was about 15.
Where was that Jamie?
Top class runners have such grace and poise that they can be a delight to watch - and if a race is close it can be exciting too.
The tiny Ethiopian woman, Dibaba, looked almost balletic in pink, striding so gracefully over the snow.

This afternoon Bill and I got busy describing things for EBay. I have a bid on one of the books - about the Bognor Branch Line (railway) already. Bill has attracted some watchers.
We need to sell - for the shop has been shut for most of the week.
Apparently only one antiques shop in West Street has been open and that is where the owners live above the shop.
My January sale might have to continue into February.
I shall describe a few more things tomorrow - for there will be no car boot sales to attend.

And that's about it for me.

Jamie has completed his review of the year Part 2.

And if you like really good bird photography have a look at this blog.
The writer said yesterday that roads were generally clear in East Kent - where we holidayed last October.
Not today, they are not.

Friday, January 08, 2010


Icicles hang by the wall.

It has been warmer today - the calm before the storm.
The temperature has crept above zero for the middle hours of the day.
Close to the house there has been the drip, drip, drip of water from the gutters.
Neighbours' gutters.
We had our gutters replaced and no water has seeped through any joints.
But over our fence water has started to drip though and formed a long icicle
This was taken by Bill by leaning out of the back bedroom window.
Bill took all the icicle photos.

Water dripped down to the fence and formed walls of icicles overnight.

The top of the fence appears to have a colony of ice monsters - ice slugs!
They have left a mound of clear jelly like slime!

You can see that our little garden is home to more than plants. All sorts of pots, pans and ornaments find their way out there.
The large circular pan is a preserving pan. It will need a good wash whenever I get round to making any jams or chutneys again.

Making faces in the snow.
As we now have 3 stone faces, I guess we can say we collect them.
I would certainly be happy to add more strange faces to the garage wall.
This morning Bill worked hard to extricate the car from the snow and ice outside the back gate.
I took this photo of the car yesterday.

I also attempted to show the depth of the snow by showing the car tracks of a neighbour's car who had gone out.
The snow was easy enough to remove - it was the couple of inches of solid ice underneath that was harder.
Having done the work Bill was eager to use the car.
We didn't go far - just as far as Lidl.
We had done a major shop there over 2 weeks ago.
Now I think we have enough for the next 2 weeks - apart from bread, milk, rice cakes and cat food.
The North Easterly winds are increasing in strength. It will feel very cold over the weekend.
There will be more snow.


Thursday, January 07, 2010


Snow in Goffs Park

The pictures tell the story.
We had to go into town and chose to make a detour to include Goffs Park.
The sun was shining and the sky was blue.
The temperature didn't rise to above zero all day. It was minus 7.3 degrees when we got up.
It was a glorious morning and some of the snowy views were enough to make me gasp with pleasure.

The first 3 pictures are from our house, before breakfast at sunrise.

You can see that the roads had been treated and were safe for driving.

Snowy tree tops catch the rays of the first sunlight.

Ready to set off for our walk.

This is close to home - along Downland Drive; almost opposite the shop.

We walked through the little wood behind Caburn Court.

A lovely snowman. The children who made him used to live in Australia.
They thought snow was wonderful.
Close by a couple were attempting to move their car and failing.
Many cars are surrounded by thick ice and snow and we saw people out with shovels and spades trying to move it.
Our car wouldn't move forwards or backwards right now. Bill might try and dig it out tomorrow.

And now we are in Goffs Park
This sort of view surrounded us and is just so beautiful.

Bill poses by the woods.

In the summer this would be the cricket field.
Talking of cricket..... what fun this afternoon.
The end of the test match in South Africa was so exciting.
I shared it with Jamie when we were both on Skype. He could see it on TV - I had Radio 5 commentary on; we were both writing comments about this event.
Amazing - Jamie and I are 6,000 miles from each other and the cricket was about 6,000 miles from both of us.
Oh and somehow England hung on for a draw - which wins them the series.

I can't resist a pine tree!

The red stems of the dogwood always look stunning in the sunshine.
The snow just added a certain something.

My turn to pose.

The pond in the park was frozen over.

A small section of ice had been broken for the benefit of the ducks and other water birds.

Sledging in the park.

Goffs Park House.

Bill couldn't resist a snap of the railway line, looking towards Ifield and Horsham.

Tomorrow looks like it will be another good day - more heavy snow forecast for Saturday night.


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