Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Waiting for results and a floor and good weather.

A new day and a new trail to find out what is wrong with me this time.
Some details of a new diagnosis were described yesterday.

I may well still have a wee infection. Maybe people in my situation have to accept that as normal.
This morning I sat and waited to fill a container to be tested.
The stoma performs when I don't want it to - but not when I am sitting waiting for it to do so.
I will hear about that, maybe next week.

This afternoon I saw one of my ex pupils, Lisa. She is excellent with a needle and took some blood to be tested.
The results of this test may be at least 2 weeks away - apparently it is not just matter of dipping in some test paper. Cultures have to be taken and time must elapse.

My health problems are as nothing compared with one old lady.
We had a phone call from Mike, the floorman.
So, thank goodness he is not lying in some morgue somewhere, which was my worst case scenario.
He had to get away very quickly last week to sort out problems with his 90 year old mother.
Mother has dementia. She suffered a fall and broke her hip. She was operated on and the hip was mended.... then she suffered a heart attack.
The dementia means she is unable to communicate with the doctors and nurses.
Poor Mike. I would never pass on an opinion I have, that maybe it is time to let mother go. I am full of admiration for all that the health service do - but maybe there is some skill in deciding not to do it.
But I am not talking about my loved one.
It will be 2 or 3 weeks now until Mike will be ready for extra flooring jobs.
We will wait.

Bill has had a tooth repaired today.
The lap top computer has gone away to see if is worthy of a repair. There is a good little company which specialises in lap tops and for £20 will do a fair assessment and advise on how much a repair might cost.

Tomorrow we move from medical matters (I hope) back to the shop. We are doing 2 Thursdays running for Hilary, so that in September she will be able to help us.

It has rained a lot - but of course the weather here has been nothing like that experienced in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Some people seem surprised by the snow.
"Snow at Easter?" they ask in disbelief. In fact we are more likely to get a white Easter than a white Christmas.
In the past 42 years there have been 12 white Easters somewhere in the UK.
I remember one in 1966 - the first after we got married.
Bill remembers one in the early 1960s when a group went cycling for Easter. He cycled from the New Forest to Bridport in a blizzard!
The snowiest was in 1983.
It looked really bad in Scotland - don't travel unless absolutely necessary.
There will be questions asked in a school.... how come it was deemed absolutely necessary for the teenagers to have a day out at Alton Towers?

Right - time for some relaxation before bed time.
We have to leave early in the morning to pay for and collect 2 lots that we won at the auction yesterday.
I have an interesting modernist mirror and Bill has a box of old cameras and a WW2 periscope.
Denhams is on the road to Dorking.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


A medical diagnosis

An interesting day - quite a medical day.
Both Bill and I have seen Dr Oliver - it seems that dear Dr O rather likes Bill and me - we both have problems which have been the basis of his own specialisations and which are not too common.
And Dr Oliver has not specialised in thyroid problems.
I misunderstood the hospital doctor - hearing just "thyroid". He must have actually said "parathyroid".
I was not aware of a parathyroid gland and would have assumed it was something to do with the thyroid gland. They are completely different.
Many years ago Dr O was finishing his medical training and had to deliver a lecture to a row of professors - very daunting he said it was!
He opted to lecture on his work connected with the parathyroid gland and the absorption of Vitamin D.
I then benefited, this afternoon, with a summing up of this lecture - with diagrams.
I think he has also been lecturing one of the junior partners in the practice because she was called in to listen to my case and to see what conclusions she came up with. Well done - junior doctor..... you got it right!
I could also get it right now.
At least we hope it is right. There could be other causes. But the first plan is have a blood test to check for Vitamin D levels.
If, as is suspected, I am failing to absorb Vitamin D I will get injections of it and my calcium levels should even out.

Now, Bill saw Dr O this morning about what seems to be some gastric problem. Bill wondered if he might have an ulcer. It might be acid reflux.
The cause could be the immuno suppressant drugs he is on for rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatology is an other field in which Dr O is somewhat of an expert.
So expert that, some years ago, he got Bill in to see a specialist about his rheumatoid arthritis problems in 3 days.
Now there will be an investigation down his gullet to make sure there is no other cause.
He has some tablets to take to help counter balance acid.

We are so lucky to have the team of doctors we have.
Tomorrow will be another medical day.
I must sort out a urine sample in the morning and deliver that before 10 o'clock.
I must have a blood test.
Bill will go and see Bill Clinton, the dentist, about a broken tooth.

The rest of today has been about auctions.
We have sold things on Ebay this afternoon, which has kept us satisfied and busy.
This morning we went to view the local general household auction.
I wanted to be involved with the process and so was determined to leave some written bids.
I am assuming that we won't win anything - but you never know.
I am not sure now if it was a good idea to leave the bids - maybe we wouldn't really want the things to sell on.

We have been able to compare the difference between an EBay auction and an auction house auction - the biggest difference is the charges.
At the auction house both the buyer and the seller are charged 20% of the selling price. On eBay just the seller is charged - and only 10%.
I know that both types of auction incur VAT payments too. But it is hardly noticeable on EBay.
I shall phone up tomorrow afternoon and see if we have won anything from Denhams.

I have done a shop blog again this week.

Well, I may not have thyroid problem symptoms - but I am still tired.
In fact weariness is an affliction of both sorts of gland problems.
I just read out the symptoms to Bill and he claimed the lot for himself! It even included acid reflux!

Monday, March 29, 2010


West Street Dorking

It has been another day in West Street Dorking.
I wish the weather had been as good as portrayed in this picture. I have just found this one - a limited edition print that is available on line.
It is a fairly accurate view of our street - the exception being that normally there is either a stream of traffic rushing through, to beat the traffic lights.....or a queue of traffic waiting for the traffic lights to turn green.
The artist has omitted the traffic lights altogether - just at the point where the red car is waiting at the little junction.
I am sure the traffic lights have been there for some time.
This picture is not completely modern - one of the shops opposite has now changed its name from Victoria and Edward to Surrey Hills.
The view towards the High Street is from almost exactly outside Pilgrims Antiques Centre. Our shop is on the right hand side.
Life in the shop is routine - and yet never routine. Many things each Monday are the same, but at the same time everything is different.
We see some of the same customers and then we see many new ones. Things sold can be similar each week, but are always different.
Today we sold one of John's barometers for over £300 - so our daily total was well boosted.
Bill and I sold again.
I worked hard on photographs for this week's shop blog. I set myself a hard task - an Easter theme. I wanted bunnies and chicks and eggs etc - there were not really enough.
I created a sort of Easter tree - little eggs that I bought, hanging on some pussy willow in a vase.
And I attempted to photograph the shop window display which also has an Easter/Spring feeling.
I look forward to making something of it all some time tomorrow.
I am now yawning my head off.
Time for bed soon.
Tomorrow both Bill and I have appointments with the GP - at different times of day and in different places!


Sunday, March 28, 2010


Racing into summer.

It was perhaps fitting that we heard the results of this weekend's Grand Prix in the business home of Jack Fairman, one of the old school, amateur grand prix racers of the 1950s. He competed in 13 Grand Prix races and was for a short while teamed with Stirling Moss.
He combined his racing career with war time service and the family business in Horley - precision tool manufacturing.
The picture shows Jack, racing at Oulton Park.
He would have been amazed at the huge media circus which has become the world of today's motor racing scene. No doubt he would have been pleased with a British win in today's race in Australia.
We were, of course, not in a factory this morning. We were enjoying a relaxed, leisurely breakfast in Wetherspoons.
Wetherspoons bought the redundant building and have renovated tastefully, combining art deco with the idea that this was once an engineering factory.
The breakfast was a lovely treat after a disappointing trawl round the car boot sales.
What a shame that we backed off doing a longer trip today - we had thought of Fontwell and Chichester.
I had felt rotten yesterday evening - it was a migraine maybe combined with the symptoms of my over active thyroid; I didn't even realise these were symptoms of a problem two weeks ago!
So, we went to Dorking and Horley.
We wondered if we were going to meet Mike, the man who was supposed to be doing our floor yesterday.
He has a regular spot at Dorking for his stall.
But he was missing.
I wonder where he is and what might have happened to him.
Ringing his mobile still gets just the answerphone (or should I say voicemail?).
Bill has seen the Grand Prix at lunch time - already knowing the result of course.
I described things. I described almost all that I had bought this morning - 4 booklets, plus some things I already had, crested china and a mug issued for the 1947 Royal visit to South Africa.
I have prepared a meal - a Thai green curry (of sorts); Mam would not believe it is true Thai meal I am sure!
But we won't eat it until tomorrow.
After a Wetherspoon's breakfast we don't need much else all day.
We bought a lovely loaf of bread with whole walnuts in at Dorking and also an apricot and nut cake. We shall have afternoon tea - at 7 o'clock.
I shall settle down for The Antiques Roadshow and the last of the series of Lark Rise.
It feels to have been a long day. Well, it did start early.
But it seems to be light for so long today, having put the clocks forward.
Summer is a coming!


Saturday, March 27, 2010


I am not best pleased

I want to protest - but what's the point?
I want to scream and stamp my foot and exclaim that life isn't fair!
First I just feel wretched this evening.
It feels like flu - but I guess it isn't.
Secondly I want to tell a certain person who said he would do something and has failed to do it that I am feeling very displeased.
But maybe I don't know the full story.

I got up early today - not sleeping well.
I tidied up in the kitchen.
Bill came down and moved the washing machine and we waited....and waited.
Mike, the man who was going to come and lay the floor for us didn't show up.
Bill has phoned his mobile 3 times with messages, including leaving our number - just in case he had lost it.
We have heard absolutely nothing.
He didn't seem to be the sort of person who would let people down.
Why hasn't he answered our calls?
We obviously don't know what is going on in his world. There could be all sorts of problems.
He could be in hospital - he could be dead.
My anger would not be justified in those sort of circumstances would it?

So, we are still without our lovely new flooring. Bill mutters that he ought to be doing it himself. I don't want him to work and give himself extra pain of course - but if he would value the satisfaction of doing the job, then go for it, Bill.
I did suggest asking his brother if he might have a couple of hours to come and help.
But I don't think that will happen.

I described and listed some more books for EBay and dealt with some sold ones. So something worthwhile was achieved.
The roast chicken dinner was worthwhile too.

Well, time for bed for me.
I want to feel better.
Maybe better enough to get out to car boot sales tomorrow.
This evening is a very good time for an early night for we lose one hour of the night as the clocks go forward.
The clocks still say 9 o'clock, but in reality (in my head) it is already gone 10 o'clock.

Friday, March 26, 2010


"It soothes me troubles away!" - The Wurzels.

Nothing to say!
It has been a rest day for me. I have felt fragile.

I did describe half a dozen books for EBay - mostly about Ludlow.

Bill went out and planted plants - he wanted advice about where to put things.
There is so much coming through now - I love to see the old friends appear each Spring.
And I shall enjoy the new arrivals.
The trouble is, that despite spending more money than intended yesterday, we still have empty spaces.
But the old friends will, I expect, cover the ground as we move on into Summer.

We did a little shopping this afternoon - a quick trip to Asda for some bread and a few bits.
We bought 3 bottles of wine - Asda have 3 bottles for £10. These are not £3.50 bottles of wine; one we chose was priced up at almost £7.
We didn't buy any cider.
We should have got some in - stockpiled it to save some money!
I wonder why Alastair Darling thought it a good idea to put the tax up on cider by 10%.
Will it raise lots of money for our hospitals and schools? I don't think so.
Will it discourage binge drinking? I don't think so.
From midnight on Sunday duty on cider will increase by 10 per cent above inflation. The price of a bottle of cider will rise by 9p while a litre of cider will cost an extra 5p.
You can just imagine the yobs turning out their pockets to find the extra 9p needed for a bottle of cider!
Bill likes a cider - but the few he drinks through the year will not increase our expenditure by very much.

The building work continues. The men work diligently and smoothly.
The first floor now has a floor - and even flights of stairs up to it.
There are not yet walls or roof.

Talking of floors - ours should be done tomorrow.

Don't forget - Spring forward, Fall back.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Plants and Westerham

We chose the right day to go out. Yesterday in Westerham there was not too much rain - today has been different.

Bill wanted to get to our favourite garden centre - it is in Betchworth and it is called a plant centre, for the emphasis is on growing things rather than the range of items often to be found in a garden centre - no furniture, no ornaments, no food.
Bill wanted plants to grow up the new trellises he erected last week.
At first I thought we should leave it until the afternoon.
But I heard from a friend in Melksham that she was enjoying sunshine and I assumed it would reach us during the morning; so, we set off.
We chose a clematis and a honeysuckle.
"Right", we should have said, "we have got what we came for. Time to go"
But did we listen to such good advice? No way!
There were such lovely plants.... "Oh, just one of these, Bill!" and "Look, the violas are superb and on offer" and so on.
We also bought compost, fertilisers and fat balls for the birds.
"How many people", I said to the woman at the till, "come in for 2 plants and leave, spending £100 pounds?"
She said that lots of people do it!
It was raining by the time we left and has rained hard a lot since.

Now, back to yesterday.
Before we visited Quebec House, birthplace of James Wolfe, we wandered in to the village for some lunch.

Our route took us through the churchyard.

The church was open. We were greeted by a very friendly woman who chatted about all sorts with us. She was there to do cleaning.

The font and a 17th century gravestone.
This is the font where James Wolfe was baptised.
Also baptised here were 2 of the children of Winston Churchill, who lived at Chartwell - within the parish of Westerham.

This window was designed by the Victorian artist, Burne Jones.
It was put into the church to commemorate the life and death of General James Wolfe.

Brass plaque with James Wolfe details.

The woman we were talking with is a bell ringer. This is the spiral staircase up to the bells in the belfry.
The Green at Westerham. Many attractive cottages surround the green.
There are statues of both Wolfe and Churchill.

4 views of The Green.
The 2 modern views actually do show changes - Wolfe is on The Green in the first and Churchill is on the 2nd of these two views.
We had lunch in The Tudor Cafe - to be seen in the above pictures with the church spire almost growing out of its roof.

Bill and lovely Georgian style house across The Green.

Bill took a series of pictures of interesting door knockers.

These cottages were named "Doorknocker Cottages" by us.

Pretty cottages between the Tudor cafe and the church gate.

Walking back to the car park, through the church yard and by Church Cottage.

The path took us past houses and back gardens.
One garden was fascinating, with a mass of interesting things to enjoy.
I loved this garden family.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


General James Wolfe.

Days out are like holidays - interludes set within one's normal regime.
We like our days out.
The weather forecast was not good, so it seemed sensible to go somewhere inside today. It rained for an hour or so, but it didn't dampen our fun.

Long ago, I would browse through a children’s encyclopaedia that we had when I was a child.
I seem to recall that my eyes skimmed over a section about General Wolfe.
There was probably a picture of a man with a strange hair style and a red jacket.
I think it sunk in that he had something to do with Canada.
Until today that was about the sum total of my knowledge of the man.
Today we have visited his birthplace in Westerham, not far from home, just over the border into Kent.
The house is now known as Quebec House and is owned by The National Trust.
In 1727 it was owned by the Wolfe Family.
It was a well appointed house, but not in the mansion class of dwelling.
James’s father was a soldier and despite poor health, James followed the family tradition.
He fought in battles in Europe and against the Scots at Culloden.
But it was in Canada that he made history. The French and the British were each staking a claim to own Canada – each had bits of it.
James Wolfe led the army which routed the French, leaving their French speaking parts of Canada to be British after all.
The victory gave him notoriety – he became a celebrity…… but sadly for him, he was a dead celebrity.
He died on the battle field in 1759, aged 32.

So today I have enjoyed a history lesson and had a lot of fun.
We dressed up, used a quill pen and talked lots.

It has been a day of chatting with people, exploring a life and exploring the large village of Westerham.
I will write about the village part of our day tomorrow.

James Wolfe - this could be the portrait I recall in the childhood enclopaedia. It is hardly the picture of a man to stir the heart of a young girl!

Our trip to Quebec House was in two parts.
There was a museum explaining all about the battle of Quebec and then the house itself.

Canadians have mostly been very satisfied with the outcome of the Battle of Quebec. One wealthy Canadian bought the family home as a place of pilgrimage for people interested in James Wolfe and his achievements.

It is a fair sized detached house with quite a small garden.
We entered through the front door to be greeted by one of the volunteer guides.
Very soon she was telling us of army life and uniforms and clothes generally....... and we were soon wearing dressing up clothes.
We will grasp any opportunity - even dressing up in public. I fet sad for the couple who came in after us and hurried away quickly when offered the chance to don the cloaks and hats.

We talked to lots of the volunteers about the house and the life of Wolfe.
And we talked about taking photographs.
For us it feels sad not to be able to take away our memories of National Trust houses in our cameras.
It was explained to us that there were copyright reasons which made the ban necessary.
But at Quebec House it was not a complete ban.

I asked if I could photograph this jug and the man thought it would do no harm.
It is amongst the artefacts that were issued to commemorate the victory and death of this 18th century celebrity soldier.
I asked in another room about photographing a figurine of Wolfe and it was thought that perhaps I shouldn't do it.

There was a collection of model soldiers in the museum. We could photograph anything we wanted in there.

This is the drawing room.
I glimpse the image of that figurine on the right hand side!
The table was set up for visitors to enjoy.

I enjoyed writing with a scratchy quill pen.

My concentration to write well obviously addled my maths went haywire and I failed to calculate when James Wolfe was born.
His dates are actually 1727 to 1759.
We could also have tried our hand at cutting silhouettes.

This is a painting depicting the death of James Wolfe.
Amongst the artefacts was a small piece of the rock on which he was supposed to have laid his head as he died.
Somebody was quick to spot the profitability of being around when a celebrity died!
Tomorrow, then, I will explore Westerham with both rain and sunshine.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


A Mixed Bag

It was 14 years ago when family and friends joyfully united to share in the wedding of Ashley and Liz.
It was a fun day in Aberystwyth, full of warmth and love.
I don't think the weather was much better that day - though I don't remember any rain.
We found snow in the mountains the next day.
This morning Bill took the car for its own birthday celebration - a service.
Once upon a time he would have done the job himself of course. But as the car is still quite new we have to have the job done by an authorised garage or the warranty would become invalid.
I spent a while this morning re-colouring my hair.
I had wondered if the time had come to leave it alone and think "what will be, will be". Yesterday I realised that, for me, a little effort is really worthwhile. I am not aiming for dramatic changes just not to have "old hair".

I am pleased with the result. Many might see very little difference - but I know.
Even Bill commented that it looked better.
What do you think of the jumper? It was one I bought in the Hospice charity shop yesterday in Dorking, because I was feeling so cold.
I spent a while doing the shop blog.
I really enjoy getting to know all the stock in the shop as I search for things to feature in the weekly report.
Bill got busy making the doors a little shorter - when the new floor is laid then the level will be a bit higher and therefore a certain amount must come off the doors.
Bill has been out taking photographs of the building site.
A huge crane has arrived on both mornings so far this week - and we expect to see it again for the rest of the week.
It lifts huge concrete blocks, lifts them high in the air and then lowers them gently into place to form the base of the floor, which then has a surface laid over the concrete blocks.
Once the ground floor is done, they will be working on the first floor.

The concrete blocks arrive on a flat truck, which parks up between the huge air cushions.
We presume the air cushions are part of modern health and safety.

The block swings high - and look, for a while the sun was trying to shine!

This is a general scene - if you enlarge it you can see a little bit of the ground floor in place.
The man on the digger continues to work. He is sorting out the ground which will be the visitors' car park, situated between us and the building.
This evening I have enjoyed my date with the professor!
He waxed lyrical about Titan, one of Saturn's moons. Suddenly it all sounds so interesting. The landscape of Titan is rather like that on earth, with rivers and lakes - except that the liquid there is not water but liquid methane.
This is not Professor Brian Cox's first brush with fame.
The previous time was as a keyboard player with D Ream - Number 1 with "Things Can Only Get Better"; later adopted as an anthem by Tony Blair.
Tomorrow Bill and I might get out somewhere. Bill is eager to get some plants started up the trellises he bought last week.
I am hoping that the early predictions for Thursday's weather might be wrong - I am eager for a day out then too, to Ford and Littlehampton.
We shall see.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Monday in Dorking.

First I was cold and then later in the day I felt much too hot.......
another symptom of the over active thyroid.
Mind you I also got hot because I went out and bought an extra jumper from a charity shop. I bought two actually - and Bill claimed the second one for the day, for he was also feeling cold.

I also got busy - back and forth, up and down the shop selecting items for photographs.
The new window display is about Spring and Easter. My blog will focus on that next week.
Today I picked a random theme - metalware. I will sort that out tomorrow.

We were not bothered by customers very much this morning. There was time to arrange new stock and eat cake with cups of tea.

It got busy again during the afternoon - we normally seem to sell lots during our afternoons.
Both Bill and I sold things today.
There is hardly a day at the moment when we don't.
Our items are at the bottom end of the scale I would think - one of my sales was for one of the naff, but cute, little birds that I bought in from somebody recently.
We also sold 4 absolutely beautiful coffee cups and saucers, which Jonathan agreed (when we phoned him) could be reduced from £49 each to £40. The buyer is a dealer herself.
Jonathan does have some fine stuff to enjoy looking at.
I have looked at those cups and saucers for a few weeks now with a certain longing.

Amongst Bill's fresh stock was a clock.
He bought it yesterday. It chimes beautifully - and was doing it perfectly, at the right time at home.
In the shop it went crazy! Clocks do object to being moved.
It protested by chiming about 37 o'clock!
In the end Bill decided to leave it there and hope it might settle down.

Here he is, with the clock - and not looking very frustrated at all.

We'll ring tomorrow and see if it is frustrating the Tuesday people!

We left late tonight, leaving Monika still working. She stayed to finish serving the dealer who bought the coffee cups and saucers. She was buying still more things.

Right, Bill has just got back from buying some milk. Time to put the kettle on I think.
And both our weary bodies will be enjoying an early night.

Jamie has described a much more interesting day on his blog - a day of festival in Phuket, with lots of colour and history. And of course Jamie took lots of photos.


Sunday, March 21, 2010


Family portrait gallery.

I am oh so tired today - have been dozing on the sofa during the afternoon.
It is good to have a reason for the tiredness.
One of the reasons is sort of self inflicted - a late night!
We went to Bill's sister for quite a family gathering.
Newcomers to my world may not realise that Bill is the eldest of ten children, so even a small gathering of brothers and sisters and spouses can be quite large.
Yesterday 6 of them were able to be together - Bill, Jane, Pam, Ros, Michael and Lesley.
Also with us was our nephew Antony - the actor! We have spent 2 Saturday evenings running with Antony.
We talked and laughed and ate and drank.
We were the first to leave because, sadly, I was wilting. It was almost midnight.
It will be good to start sorting out the over active thyroid problem - my stamina might improve.

This morning there was still drizzle and we decided we were not up to a long day out.
So, off to Dorking and Horley again.
Bill bought another Westminster chime mantle clock,
I have my usual bits and pieces. One item I have begun to research - a studio pottery vase by Agnete Hoe. She was born of Danish parents in Southall in 1914. She worked for various companies, including Royal Doulton and in her latter years set up her own studio.
I have not yet found any potential values for her work - but as I paid just £3 for it I think I can hope for some profit.

We were back home by 9 o'clock and we cooked some breakfast. Hooray - no more cooking today!
Just lots of cups of tea!

Pictures today are mostly for the benefit of Bill's family - those near and far.
I have looked at the brothers and sisters who were with us yesterday evening from the then and now standpoint.
The recent ones were all taken within the last 10 years.
The early ones were all school photos.

I start with the oldest.

Here is Bill, aged 5.
This one was taken earlier this year at Pilgrims Antiques.
It is a shame that Julia was away for the weekend. She is the eldest girl.

This is Jane.
Sheila comes next, but she rarely joins small family gatherings these days.


Rosalyn. The recent one is with her grandson, Ryan.
We wondered if Andrew might join us. But he obviously got delayed elsewhere.

Michael. He was always known as Michael as a child, but has since adopted Mick as his name.
His siblings still say Michael.

Lesley was bridesmaid at our wedding.
The youngest brother, Ian, lives in Edinburgh.

And I didn't want to leave Antony out of the portrait gallery - even though he is from the next generation.
I must stir my weary limbs and pack a box of things to take to the shop tomorrow.
Then, make another cup of tea and doze again!


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