Friday, April 30, 2010


Keeping a check on things

No dramas and no photos today.
We have been out and about.

We have been to Dorking.
We took 2 boxes full of good books to the Oxfam book shop. I hope they can make money out of them.
We spent some time in Pilgrims.
I wanted to make sure all my glass was sorted out - there had been 13 items of it in the window and I had rearranged and left no room for it.
I needed to tidy the new kitchen shelves - there have been sales from that section since Monday.
Bill had a couple of old Voigtlander cameras to squeeze into his area.
It was a sociable morning. We chatted with Sue and Anne who were on duty.
Mick came in - he is the new boy. He arranged things in a cabinet which he is renting from today.
Monika came in too.

We then went off to get some lunch - and made a poor decision as it turned out.
We have been to the pub down the road three times now - The Old House at Home.
We ordered a lamb rogan josh.
I didn't really enjoy it all. I was longing for Wetherspoons quality and prices!
The tastiest part of the meal was some garlic bread.
But I am not eating bread right now.....and may have paid for my foolishness.
This pub is now off my list of suitable eating places.

Our drive home was via the East Surrey Hospital for me to have a blood test.
This is to check on Vitamin D and Calcium levels.
I see the endocrinology consultant next Friday.

We did a little shopping in Lidl and then we were pleased to get home for a cup of tea.

Thoughts of George often come into my head.
I think it is the same for little Harry.
We both stood and stared at the back door mat this morning.
I picked Harry up and lifted him onto the table beside me as I started to write this.... he has stayed to keep me company!
But he hasn't pushed the rubber onto the floor!

Weather forecast is OK for tomorrow so we will go to Ford.
It looks like Sunday mat be a stay at home day.
But hopefully we can get out hunting on the Bank Holiday Monday.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


George - gone, but never to be forgotten.

I think we were expecting this day.
But it feels so sad.
Our George Cat has died.
Bless him - he did with it a minimum of fuss.
Yesterday he was his normal self - up on the table beside me at the computer, rolling pens onto the floor.
He ate food in the evening.
And he died during the night.
We have seen him have "funny turns for a while now", which have worried us. But he always recovered quickly.
We thought that they might be mini strokes. Last night it must have been the big one.
We found him on the door mat by the back door.

George has been my constant follower for almost 14 years. He always needed to be near me.
After my times in hospital he was always anxious if I wasn't the first to come down stairs in the morning and rushed to check up on me.
And his twin brother has also been his constant companion.
Harry seems quiet and confused - but how long does a cat's memory operate?

George was a Wiltshire cat. Roger and Sue brought the pair of them to us one June Saturday in 1996.
Roger and Sue were with us for a social event the next day.
It is slightly quirky that the social event was a big party for Uncle Billy's 70th birthday.
And George died just 2 days after we lost Uncle Billy.

Here he is - our tiny little kitten.
The kittens were named after our fathers.
The one I picked up first was named after my Dad, Harry and the one in Bill's arms became George after Bill's father.
We became able to tell them apart - but many couldn't and we did use different coloured flea collars for a long time, just to be sure.

Here is a selection of photos over the years which show typical activities and places for George and Harry.

George has been washing Harry all his life - right up to the end.

Both the cats loved Ashley.
Maybe because he looked after them when they were less than 6 months old. We were in Slovenia.

George on the right.

One is George and one is Harry.

George would often sleep for a while on the corner of the garage roof - opposite the kitchen window.

He always preferred to have his water from the bird bath.
He ignored the bowl of clean fresh water that we gave him.
He would ask to go out for a drink after eating - he did it yesterday, just as every day.

Both cats enjoyed looking out of the window - but George was King of the Table.
Harry is sitting there now - I lifted him and put him there and he is liking the freedom to look out.

Cuddling and scrapping - and above all trying to attract our attention to get their food a little early.
Harry doesn't seem to want to eat this evening.

"Who's on Mummy's chair then?" Familiar words when we arrived back home.
George would always move over onto the table quite quickly.

On the table.

This was the last photo taken of George - sitting at the top of the stairs a couple of weeks ago.
Both Bill and I have shed a few tears.
We invest much love towards our animals.
We have been blessed to have owned some characters. Hey - does one ever truly own a cat?
During the morning we took him to the vet who has treated him over the years.
I had hankered to take him to the woods and bury him under leaves - but Bill didn't think that was appropriate.
We have looked for ways to feel more whole today.
We enjoyed a cup of tea with Julie this morning.
This afternoon we moved my computer and the dining room table.
This was something I have thought of a few times - including yesterday even.
I now have the computer facing the window and can just lift my head to glance at comings and goings. I don't know what George would have made of it.
I shall now listen to what the 3 party leaders have to say about their views of the financial future.
Unreal sort of day.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Was he trigger happy - I think not!

This week it was Bill's turn to see Dr. Oliver.
He needed to discuss all the results of the recent gastroscopy, but there were also other things to talk about.
These other things were problems with Bill's hands.
He has a rash of peeling circles on his hands - this has happened before and he now has some cream to, hopefully, deal with it.
The second hand problem was pain in a thumb.
I have heard of people being trigger happy - but had not heard of people having a trigger thumb (or finger).
Dr O recognised a trigger thumb immediately - his mother had one once.
And he knew what was best to do - he reached for his syringe and plunged in a dose of a steroid drug.
Research shows there can be a number of causes - but one of the most closely linked causes is having rheumatoid arthritis, which Bill has.
It will be something else to discuss with the consultant in June.
The hiatus hernia and consequent upper gut problems are being dealt with by increasing the dose of the antacid type tablets - lansoprazole.
And he must no longer take anti inflammatory drugs for RA or osteoarthritis.
He now has a supply of co-drydamol.

What else? Well, not much really.
We took complete rubbish to the dump.
I have finished sorting excess baggage - stuff in the garage that needed to be cleared out.
I have done accounts for April. We spent rather a lot on stock during April.
I have re-listed some things on EBay.
Bill has some Lima model railway coaches of various kinds on EBay at the moment which attracting a lot of interest - and bids.
Bill has photographed or scanned a box of things for me to describe for EBay - this is the May box - I haven't dealt with all the April box yet!
Not much else to say about today.
Jamie starts a holiday tomorrow with a trip to Khao Sok to stay in a hotel for a couple of nights.
It is beautiful there and far, far removed from the troubles in Bangkok.

We were there in 2006.
Maybe Bill and I could do the same trip that Jamie is doing, when we visit in September.
You might like to read the words and see the photos as Jamie describes his favourite place.
His writing is always very personal and says much about him as well as his subject.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Uncle Bill.

I think that almost everybody in my generation has an Uncle Bill.
My Bill had one.
I had one too.
Today that little word "had" has a poignant ring to it. My Uncle Bill died in the early hours of this morning.
Uncle Bill was my mother's younger brother. They had a tough childhood, loosing their own mother at a very early age.
They were farmed out to aunts and uncles for a while and then returned to their father when he had found a step mother for them; she seemed not to know how to give and receive love, but there was a a semblance of security I guess.
Uncle Bill was a railway man, as was his father, grandfather and great grandfather before him before him. The latter received some notoriety after his tragic death in the Sevenoaks train crash of 1884.
My brother, Roger must have inherited the railway genes.
Perhaps I inherited from other members of the family - the ones who were wheelers and dealers in junk and antiques etc.
Uncle Bill liked nothing better than talking about the intricacies of railways - not the engines, more the engineering of the track.

Uncle Bill was born June 5th 1926 - a couple of years after my mother.
He would always comment that he went to France for his 18th.
He was amongst those who went to the Normandy Beaches the day before D Day.

This is my mother and Uncle Bill. It must be very close in date to the loss of their mother.

This is a bit later.
If you enlarge the picture you might see a close similarity between me and both my mother and my Aunty Vera.
It was such a short while ago that we gathered for Aunty Vera's funeral.
Uncle Bill had been sad to miss that, but he was already too weak.

After the war, Uncle Billy looked very dapper. This was 1948.

Here he is on his wedding day - also 1948.
He fell in love and married his own special Vera.
Life was never the same for him after she died in 1992.
The years passed. There were visits sometimes - but not really often enough. The brother and sister had drifted apart a little, though not I think, in their hearts.

Uncle Billy and Vera were always welcome visitors within the extended family.
Here they are with our Ashley at a party for my Dad's 70th birthday and Matt's 18th birthday in 1989.
I am so happy that they were able to be there.
The link between my Dad and Uncle Bill had been lost after the early death of my mother.
But our extended family, from all branches is important.

Here is Uncle Bill at our house in 1999.
Uncle Bill was very shocked when I was diagnosed with cancer and became extremely ill. I think it was in his mind that he could make up for not being close enough to his sister (my mother) when she had cancer.
It was not Uncle Billy's fault - just part of the circumstances of life.
I know that Roger and I never once considered that anybody had let her down.

In 2006, Uncle Billy was 80.
He clearly enjoyed the family party at his home.

Here are Roger and I with our Uncle Bill.

And here he is with his 3 offspring - Rod, Alison and Chris.
And so today and era ends.
The older generation are almost gone.
That leaves my Bill to be the Uncle Bill for the succeeding generations.
He is blessed with many nephews and nieces - and even more great nephews and nieces.
I apologise to people who regularly read my ramblings that today is so very personal and family based. But I know you understand.
It has been a busy day here in monkland - many chores completed.


Monday, April 26, 2010


Monday - tired out again!

I don't think I can blame my age or any medical condition for feeling exhausted.
I blame life itself!
Or at least, life as I live it.
I have worked so hard in the last few days. Work? Well, no - a pleasure, but physically draining nevertheless.

Today at the shop I moved lots of my stuff around.
My kitchen section has been enlarged.
The section of juvenile items is also a bit bigger.
My section of things with a more masculine interest is much smaller, fitting on a narrow set of shelves that I bought a week ago at Dorking boot sale.
I might have put a picture with this writing - but I have not yet taken pictures off the camera - and at gone 10 0'clock I am feeling that it is bed time.

I posted 11 parcels today.
My legs felt so heavy and slow as I walked along to the post office.

The day in the shop was a bit slow too.
Bill sold a number of model cars to one of his regulars and I sold an old cookery booklet from my new kitchen area.
Between us we took one third of today's total.

We were so tired that we decided to go to Horley Wetherspoons for something to eat, on our way home from the shop. That was pleasant.

This evening I have been slowly working my way through EBay payments.
The bar of soap in the shape of a Tonka truck is off to the USA.

Tomorrow you can see some kitchen shelves - because I shall put them on the shop blog. I didn't have time today to set up any pictures - I just grabbed shots of things on their shelves.

And now - have I the energy for a cup of tea?
I long for my head to hit the pillow.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


The desired result

There can be several reasons for doing a car boot sale - a boost to one's income, clearing out lots of unwanted items, a day out in the sunshine and so on.
We scored on 2 counts - but very much lacked the sunshine.
But the car was fully loaded and we wanted to get on with the selling, and surely the sun would break through soon.
It looked like it was sunny for the London Marathon, but 30 miles south we were not so blessed.

We had a dozen or more boxes of books, glass, china, odds and ends of all kinds to sell.
Everything was priced - though we were always going to sell for less than what was on the ticket.

People were showing an interest early on.
Then the rains came.
We had to find covers for the things that shouldn't be allowed to get wet.
I had a flask of hot water and we made cups of tea and sheltered a bit and chatted to our neighbours.
We had next to us a business venture - with an interesting idea.
They had substitute funeral tributes.
The man's grandfather had died and they discovered a tribute of flowers spelling out the word Grandad would cost £120.
The man is a carpenter.
He made the same sort of thing out of wood, decorated it with personal bits and pieces and added some attractive silk flowers.
It was a very personal tribute and one not destined for the dustbin.
It was admired at the funeral - and he saw an opening.
People could order their own wooden, permanent adornment for the coffin or grave yard.
He had samples for people or for pets, who might be buried in the garden. No - we don't bury our relations in the garden of course!
A good idea I thought. Good luck to him.

Here I am shivering and damp behind the stall.
Eventually the rain eased and I set to with a cloth trying to dry things.
My price tickets were lost - all the ink gone.
At that point I reminded myself of perhaps the main objective - get rid of it all.
So with no price tickets, I began offering things for less than I knew I had originally wanted.
We were selling everything for 50p and £1

This is towards the end.
So much has gone.

Finally I thought I had had enough.
It was time to go home.
The original boxes were down to 4.
One was full of things to keep or try their luck selling in the shop or on EBay.
There was a small box of china and glass which is washed and ready to go to a charity shop tomorrow.
There is a box of books, to be sorted - also for a charity shop.
And a small box of complete rubbish.
Once home I could count up the takings.
It was less than I originally planned of course - but £120 was not bad for such a morning.
And the garage has space in it now - not enough for the car of course, but enough to be able to get at things stored in there.
So, apart from the weather - most satisfactory.
There was more selling later on EBay.
I sold old toilet chains with cream ceramic handles.
I am proud and amused that one of them is off to Tallin, Estonia.
Right - time for bed.
Tomorrow will be busy.
I am rearranging my kitchen area in the shop.
And yes, I already feel exhausted! My legs ache with all the standing around this morning.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Pigeon Fancying

Today we have been bird watching at Littlehampton - and not a sea bird in sight!

First, of course, we browsed all the stalls at Ford.
I bought most of my good stuff from just one couple, who we talked to for quite a while.
I have a lovely stuffed dog on wheels - a baby walker, for a toddler to push; and I have superb 1930s wall mirror; and I have a Picquot tea set - that a 1950s teapot, water jug, sugar bowl and milk jug.

Before we walked along the beach to the river and The Balaton we got waylaid by a sight we have seen before - a large truck full of pigeons.
Pigeon races often start from the Banjo Road car park.

The last one we saw must have been twice this size, but we were there at the wrong time to see the birds released.

We chatted with the driver - from Dorset.
He was due to release the birds within about 5 minutes and so we stayed.

In the mean time I took some pictures of the gently cooing pigeons.
The driver commented that his load was worth thousands of pounds.

We then got our cameras ready for the big moment.
Oh dear - I haven't yet learned about all my facilities.
Bill said he would set his camera to be able to take photos in rapid succession. I realised I didn't know how to do this!

The following pictures are all Bill's - and very good they are too.

Off they all go, back to Dorset.
They would be in their own pigeon lofts in Weymouth or Parkstone or other Dorset towns and villages after about an hour.
The results have not yet been published on their website - but I saw last week's results.
Later I used the new camera in a way that thrilled me - it was just a matter of using the long zoom lens.
A blackbird was sitting on the uppermost twigs of a small fir tree and he was singing his heart out - a joy to hear.

If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can actually pick out the hairs within his beak!

Bill's picture is good - but it was pleasing to beat him with the blackbird picture after my abysmal failure with the pigeons!
I have dozed this evening - missed half of Dr Who and hardly concentrated on Over the Rainbow.
Tomorrow we will be up early for a car boot sale and much hard work.
We have a car loaded with boxes to take up to Pease Pottage.
It is time to sell, get money back in our purses and create space again in the garage.

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Friday, April 23, 2010


St George, Jane and our great niece and nephew.

It has been St George's Day.
Now, who on earth was he and why have we English got him as our patron saint.
Knowledge is hazy.
My source (Wikipedia) told me he was born in Palestine in about AD 275.
But the BBC (and who can doubt the BBC?) tells me he was born in what is now Turkey.
I am prepared to believe this is true, but wonder what his mother was doing in Turkey at the time. She came from Lydda in Palestine.
And it was in Lydda that George joined the Roman Army.
And it was in Lydda that he was beheaded for refusing to renounce Christianity.
As far as we know he never set foot on English soil.
I think we can be certain that there never was a dragon!

Obviously George was much admired for his soldiering and his faithfulness to Christianity.
He is the patron saint of many countries and many cities too.
The other countries seem to make a better job of celebrating the day than we do.
Our soldiers who went to the crusades heard the stories and brought them back to England and we adopted him as ours too.

Perhaps it would be better to have an Englishman as a patron saint..... or woman, before I annoy the feminists!
Ashley suggested St Edmund.
I gather a poll was done and St Alban topped the list.

Meanwhile our Patron saint's day is marked with a few flags.
Sadly the flag of St George is used far more for football matches - just wait for the World Cup in a few weeks!
And even worse it is associated with the worst kind of nationalism - not patriotism, which I can understand, but the nasty claims that all foreigners are less than us that the BNP try to push.

Did you hear that the BNP manifesto contains the notion that there should be absolutely no immigration from any Moslem country. OK - some Moslems are involved with terrorism. The BNP seem to suggest that all Moslems must be viewed with extreme suspicion and even more that every person in a Moslem country is a Moslem. Some people in those countries are actually Christians.

Right, having annoyed the feminists I have now antagonised the extreme Right Wing in our politics (good!) and any other person who thinks the only good Moslem is one that isn't in England.

And so - back to the real world world!
St George's Day is also a family birthday. It is Bill's sister, Jane's birthday. Her daughter and her grandchildren travelled down for the weekend.
Bill and I took a card over and I snapped away with the camera.
Bill told me I should have flash on - and he was right.
The pictures tend to be, shall we say soft focus?

Here is our niece, Liz with Henry. Aged 3 and a half.
He's a bright little boy.
I was impressed with his interest in words - mostly rude words just now!
But having been introduced to Uncle Bill, it wasn't long before he put two and two together and started calling him Silly Billy.

Isobel is 15 months.

She fell for Silly Billy!

Have they noticed me climbing on the furniture, he wonders.
Henry does look like a three year old Bill.

More silliness for Bill and Isobel.

Jane - proud grandmother on her birthday.
We'll be up early and down to Ford again.
I have Littlehampton withdrawal symptoms, so I am sure we will go there for breakfast.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010


Cold April evening.

Where were my gloves when I needed them?
Yes, I really could have done with them this was cold in the wind on the timekeeping steps this evening.
It was a small open meeting for the Haywards Heath club.
There were 5 timekeepers and we enjoyed a very amiable atmosphere - hardship often brings out the best in people......even Gerry!

I had even felt cold earlier in the day, even though the sun was shining. I had lots of boxes of stuff out in the back garden. These are boxes that I had begun to get ready for a car boot sale last autumn.
We really must start to get rid of it all.
We are planning to have a stall at Pease Pottage this Sunday.

The day began with a very minor disaster - a lens fell out of my glasses. These are my varifocals that I wear all the time.
A visit to the opticians was called for.
Whilst without them I realised just how much I need them - everything was so blurry. Driving would not have been good without them.
So I decided that I should have a spare pair of glasses.
I picked different frames, which I now like much better than the ones I have already - so the old ones will be the spare pair.
An expensive morning for me.
Then we popped into Marks and Spencers for Bill to buy some socks.
He came out with socks, sandals and a hat!

As you know I enjoy writing and maybe I have a small talent for it. Isobel thinks so anyway.
She was attempting to write a letter to the mother of her dearest friend, who died very recently.
Isobel was finding it hard to say what she meant and got a bit bogged down.
I helped create something which flowed well and said all she needed to say.
Glad to have been of service!

I saw a little of the political debate this evening - the second half.
Maybe I didn't see enough for a clear opinion to emerge - though I know what I think and who most agrees with me.
This evening it looks like there could be no clear majority for any party.
The leaders appear to have attracted equal parts of the support.

If only the politics of Thailand was as simple. Bangkok has been a battleground today.
Perhaps it is as well that later in the year we do not fly into Bangkok.
We will go to Phuket via Kuala Lumpar.

And now to bed. Goodnight.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Receiving parcels and other things.

Is it my birthday?
Two parcels were delivered for me today.
The first was a book - Littlehampton in Old Photographs. It is very interesting.
And a little later my new camera arrived.
How different it felt to get this camera than my very first digital camera 11 years ago.
Then I had not the first clue of how to use the functions and how to get pictures into and out of the computer.
And as Bill was "not interested" in digital photography at that stage he was little help. He thought then that he would never desert his "proper" camera.
Today I picked up the camera and could get on straight away.
Well, that's not exactly true - Bill picked up my new camera and needed to do things on it and with it!
But I am grateful, he has done the boring bits, like setting the time and fiddling with choices in the menu.
This camera has a long zoom lens and extra features that my little camera didn't have. I love it already.
I was soon out with just one thought - "What can I take a picture of?"

Bill came first, as we sat on the sofa making sure we knew what all the buttons did.

Then I went out into the garden.

Red tulips.

Pinky mauve tulip. This one was taken by Bill.
I couldn't work out why my efforts were not in focus.
Bill explained that the close up settings are normal, macro and super macro.
Flowers need super macro.
Of course, once he had my camera in his hands he wanted to take more pictures - a few more of the story of the building site were taken to add to his files.
And then he turned the camera on me.

Cowslips and tulips in the front garden.

My turn to photograph a tulip.

I can even take a good picture of a daisy in the lawn.
Now what shall I do?
I popped into the garage and took some pictures of stock waiting to go to the shop.

We have lots of violas in the back garden.

By this time Bill had retreated to an upper room - the front spare bedroom, where he does lots of work on things. Here he is sorting out an old voigtlander camera, preparing it for sale.
This morning I received another gift - an injection in my b*m.
This was Vitamin D.
I shall have a blood test in a couple of weeks to see how calcium and vitamin D are behaving.
Dr. O gave me some sheets of printed reading matter - not really for me. It is just that if I see any other doctor about these problems I should show them what regime I am on - for he said not many people really know about it. I see the endocrinologist in May - I expect he knows all about it.
I think I might work on him to give me calcium injections too.
I was less happy to see the notice which announces that the building used by our doctors will close in October. Actually we knew that the Brighton Road surgery would go.
Now the practice will operate entirely from the new medical centre in Ifield - almost on the ground that was once my school.
Once upon a time the entire practice was in Brighton Road. I can remember seeing dear Dr Collyer in The Grange - or if I was unlucky I would be snapped at by Dr Knight.
Bill remembers them too. He has been with that practice for 70 years.
When the New Town came my family used the new Ifield surgery.
After I was married I returned to Brighton Road.
The doctors have always been special.
Tomorrow I must do some of the jobs I planned for today.
Both Bill and I have described some things today which have been listed on EBay.
Now I must get some tea ready. We had our dinner at about quarter to two.

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