Thursday, October 31, 2013


Brief.......I lost the original.

Sorry.......I just wrote a reasonably good account of our day in Alnwick and Alnmouth.
Then got in a muddle with left and right hand clicks on this lap top and seem to have lost what was written.
Alnmouth was lovely with a wide river estuary flowing out to the sea.
I can describe it more with photographs when we get home.
I am tired now.
So that is that for today.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Our trip out today in the north.

Tired people in this house this evening......and cold germs are lurking.
Clare has not really lost the cold she had last month and it has returned.
Ah well, we have had one good day out. And I suspect there will be other trips.
This morning was bright and breezy and we headed north into Northumberland. We stopped first at Northumberlandia.......the woman of the north.
 She was sculpted on waste ground, abandoned by coal mining works. Mining of sorts still takes place adjacent to the woman........surface mining.
The woman is just about a year old........just one set of seasons for things to grow. She will evolve over the years.
We climbed first to the head = good views from up there. We walked through her cleavage and up onto one of her breasts (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) and continued along the length of her body.
Fascinating and unique.
We then drove on to was once the site of the largest village coal mine. But that has gone now leaving a community in poverty. The shops reflect this - nothing up market in Ashington. We trawled the charity shops......certainly cheaper than those of other towns.
After some wandering we ended up at the twee sounding "Copper Kettle" for a bite to eat. I think it counted as a bit up market in Ashington......we dined alongside a retired RAF man, in his badged blazer.
After lunch we continued north and walked on the beach at Druridge Bay......a wide bay of sand, windswept today.
The  beach is part of a Country Park, with lots of footpaths and views centred on  a huge freshwater lake.
A little further north is the small harbour town of Amble. Lots of sea birds on the river shores, pecking for food.
It was getting dark.....lateish in the afternoon and the skies had begun to look gloomy.
We enjoyed our walk.......but it was a chilly walk.
Home then for tea.....glad that The Copper Kettle had fed us well earlier on.
Pictures have been taken, which I look forward to sorting and I hope you will be glad to see.
Don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The day we went to Newcastle

Its has been a long day, but a smooth day.
I think I decided well to suggest we load the car and then call in at The Jack Fairman in Horley for a breakfast. This meant that we needed very little else during the day.
Well, needed not at all - but the Marks and Spencers cake we ate with our pot of tea from Costa was delightful.
It might be Costa Coffee - but I don't drink coffee and a pot of tea from which both of us can get a big cup from is quite a good price. Then we ask for more hot water and have another big cuppa.
The Donnington services are, for a Motorway Service Station, is quite pleasant.
We enjoyed extremely comfortable seating, which invited dozing!. The view over the countryside is lovely. So, a welcome time out from the endless miles of motorway.
Bill drives.......that ability is not lost.
Knowing the route and where we might have to turn off is lost.
At every junction "Where do we go now?"
The route is actually very simple. M25, M1, M18, A1M.........then turn off to Clare and Beth's house less than a mile away.
Clare looking every inch my lovely daughter served us very welcome mugs of tea, and we relaxed.
Perhaps I am biased, but I just don't understand how any passer by or fellow traveller on  a bus could see anything but a tall slim woman.
She has already done so much to establish a new identity. She is now counting the days until seeing a specialist to continue the work. 23 to go.
The weather has been good, We are assuming it will also be good tomorrow.....chilly though.
We are planning to take a walk ay The Woman of the North, also known as Northumberlandia. It is a landscaped park where the earth has been sculpted into a reclining nude woman.
Then we plan to to go to Ashington for lunch and then to Druridge Bay - a country park which also includes a fresh water lake just inland. Maybe we will even amble at Amble.
Should sleep well after that lot!
Hope we sleep well tonight.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Whoops several times over.

The weather forecasters got it right.....even down to the hours of the most intense part of the storm.
Some people are laughing at them (or maybe the media) for having built up the power of the storm beyond what it actually was.
Try telling the people still without power or who have had damage done to their property by falling trees that it was all a bit of a joke.
Even worse try telling it to the families of those who lost their lives......fortunately very few.
I feel  some closeness to one who lost his life at Newhaven. I know that beach so well from my childhood.
The 14 year old had gone to the beach with friends to feel impressed by the power of the waves. I guess the group did end up larking about - that's what 14 year olds do.
They played at running into the sea and trying to beat the waves back up the pebbly beach.
Young Dylan didn't make it back onto the beach and was swept away.
I feel some additional closeness to this tragedy because a  young relative knows/knew the boy.
Roger - I refer to India, who is the great great grand daughter of our Great Aunt Mercy.

There were no problems for us however; we sat in bed this morning, listening to traffic reports. There were quite a few problems in the Dorking area........but nowhere that we went. Our journey was easy.

I began to sort out our sales for the week.....and then realised I had far greater money issues to deal with us.
There has been a bit of a cock up.
Basically I think it was down to muddled thinking on Bill's part - over a year ago.
I pay the rent for our sections in Pilgrims by standing order once a month. Or I thought I did.
And Steve assumed that that was what was happening too.
Until he found a month when no money had been paid and investigated further - rent was being paid every alternate month.
I took the problem round to our bank - who confirmed that this indeed had been happening - they were following the instructions from Bill in September 2012.
The only thing I could do was withdraw the unpaid rent and hand it over. And the instructions to the bank have been corrected and rent will be paid every month now.

I returned to the shop and wrote up all the stock I had taken in.
After lunch I played around with Bill's shelves once again.
I attempt to talk to him about whether he really wants to continue with a section in the shop. He rarely buys any new stock, doesn't take an interest in the section and nor does he take any interest in customers who look at his section.
His answer is "I haven't really thought about it".
If he is unable to think about it, then I guess I will have to make the decision for him.

Today he created a dreadful frisson of sadness for particularly me; though Steve felt it too I think.
I was talking with Steve about Christmas and how we will almost certainly be at home on our own - and that is fine. Maybe the best thing for Bill.
I mentioned that my brother already had plans for Christmas.
"Which brother?" asked Bill.
"How many brothers do I have, Bill?" I asked.
"Two," he said with certainty.
I asked him to name them - perhaps he was thinking of my half brother. That's fine.
But he wasn't.
"Robin and Roger" said Bill.
"Well we can't go to Robin's" I said.
"Why?"........maybe then a flicker of something crept through. "Did he die?"
My brother Robin died at a very young age (34) of cancer in 1980.
I felt so sad that something that so deeply affected me has been forgotten by Bill.
It makes thinking that we are in the year 1976, as Bill did today, pale into insignificance.

I am somewhat nervous about how Bill will cope with our going away tomorrow. We are off to Newcastle to see Clare, Beth and young E.
Those that know the family will now be aware that Liz has joined in the name changing of the family.
Liz has been dropped and she is now Beth. They are both using the surname Matthews.
I am looking forward to having some fun away from home.

Bags are now almost completely packed. I haven't checked yet to see what Bill has put in his bag.
So tomorrow - off we go.
I shall write a blog in the evenings, hopefully using Clare's laptop.
I shall post things on facebook using my phone.

I have had some comments that my blogs are becoming sad.
I make no apologies for my blogs will always be personal. There are some sad aspects of life right now. But generally I am content and fulfilled.......just don't want to be over confident that I can deal with what Bill might throw at me in the future.
And I do have some hope that the neurology specialist will have some medication which will give us a bit more time.
Be happy for me that I think I have the strength to cope.                                                

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Storm is a comin' oh yeah!

Strange day really with some torrential rain showers and a beautiful rainbow.

I was up reasonably early and did the ironing.

After breakfast we set off on what we hoped would be another fun day out.
This time it wasn't so good.
We went to a vintage rummage sale......basically an indoor table top sale of vintage items. It wasn't as good as the one we went to in Cuckfield.
I bought some things - including a very large enamel teapot.
The village hall at Upper Beeding is quite small and stalls were crammed in and it was crowded with stall holders and customers.
Bill didn't feel very comfortable or positive about the event - and that was understandable.
He doesn't like crowded places.
I might have stayed for a cup of tea and cake. Bill preferred the idea of finding a tea shop......but lunch time on a Sunday was not a good time.
Upper Beeding, with some lovely old cottages is by the River Adur - across the bridge lies Bramber.
No tea shops - just pubs, mostly doing Sunday lunches.
Soon we just felt happy to abandon tea and cake and go home. We had walked to the river in the village and it was very windy and we didn't feel comfortable.

So home......for a lazy afternoon.
I should have done so much. We go away on Tuesday and I am not well prepared for that. Nor I am prepared for the shop tomorrow.

So generally it has been a "flat" day with little to excite me.
I look forward to sleep and a more stimulating day tomorrow.
But not too stimulating.......I wonder just how bad the storm may be. It is quite wild wet and windy out there right now and I presume it will get worse.
There will be no trains running until at least 9 o'clock in the morning. Our own journey to Dorking might be difficult.

I was thinking about Bill....I do this a lot, of course.
I realised just where Bill's brain went for a moment when we got off the bus yesterday afternoon.
Opposite the end of our road is one called Ditchling Hill.
Named after the high point along the South Downs.
Bill saw the street name and  somehow his brain was caught between the local road and the South Downs.
The result was that he didn't know where he was.


On the continent.

This has been Day 1 of "the great storm" weekend.
There have been some fierce spells of wind and torrential rain.
I hadn't intended really that we would go out - but we needed some fruit and I thought some meringues would be good. They have the advantage of providing sweetness without stodge.
So, once Bill was up - about 11 o'clock, we got the bus into town.
We had a snack in a delightful cafe in The Broadwalk......owned and run by eastern Europeans.
It was our first visit and is already on my list of good places to be.
We followed this up with more Continental foods.
We have an abundance of small shops run by people who have come from far and wide.
Another opened quite recently.
It is an excellent shop, well stocked and spacious - and with the most amazing cakes and biscuits.

Well, I wanted some meringues. Though for 2 of us we didn't need more than one of these monsters.

And that's tomorrow's dinner sorted.
We have a pork fillet and a chicken fillet.
I am also tempted by the cabbage filled pancakes.

I needed to go to the bank - so we ended up in Queen's Square, completely unaware that a continental market was taking place.
That was fun.

Olives are so beautiful. I love to eat them.
And they always look better on an outside stall than in a supermarket.

Couldn't buy more cakes.
Shame really.

Sand sculpture.

Jolly little garden folk.

In a baker's window.....and you just know that the buns would be mungy sponge and artificial flavours.
Nothing continental about these little monsters - just second rate British mush!

Into Taj - a far eastern shop, for greengrocery.
Spotted the mustered oil!

Home then for tea and cake.

Bill had a custard bun....or should that be custered?
I had a small chocolate and cherry cake - oozing with juice.
But I had to pose with a meringue.

So, all in all, a good trip out for us.
It was spoiled for me by the most scary incident of Bill's problems yet.

We have lived in our house for 44 years.
We have used the bus stop at the end of our short road for most of that time.
When we got off the bus this afternoon, as we have done many times before, Bill stood on the pavement looking confused.
"I think we must have got off at the wrong stop" he said.
He just didn't recognise where he was; nor did he know which way to start walking home.......home, hardly more than 100 metres away.
It spooked me out!
It moves too quickly.

And now time for bed....just what is the time?
My computer tells me it is gone midnight, but many of the clocks tell me it is just a few minutes after 11 o'clock.
It is that time again - time to turn the clocks to Winter time.
Bill has changed most of the clocks - that didn't confuse him.
It is all part of the familiar routine of our lives and our seasons.
Tomorrow it will be dark before the afternoon is through.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Today's dealings with the NHS.

Tiring work - being looked after!
And I do feel our great national Health Service has done us proud this week; and especially today.
How my friends who live in some other countries must be in awe of all we receive - oh yes, I know that some people seem to fail to get the very best out of the NHS - but we are very grateful  and full of praise for the hard working people within the NHS, who have almost always done their very best for us.
I suppose my only regret must be that we have had so many opportunities to test the system.
Firstly today it was my turn to be cared for.
I had my flu jab and my dose of Vitamin B12 injection.
I have forms to take to the hospital for a blood test and a bottle for a wee test.
The nurse ran through a few of my needs and took my blood pressure.
I was a bit anxious about that.....there has been so much on my mind.
But, good old heart - it keeps doing the business and does it well. My blood pressure was 112/71.

So then we travelled to Brighton.
Poor Bill just couldn't remember where we were going - or why.
Our destination was the research department of the University of Sussex. It is a vast conglomerate of buildings and roads.
On our map, the buildings were all numbered and on the ground the buildings were all named.
It was confusing and we never found the main car park......"Excuse me, University - some of us could do with some better signposts!"
But we did park and then climbed steps by the scores up the side of the hill between modern buildings.
We there found the main car park!
Very pleasant people welcomed us to the diagnostic centre.
I went with Bill to help answer questions about his medical history and then I returned to the waiting room.
I sat with an elderly gentleman waiting for his scan.
We should never compare ourselves with others and it was foolish of me to muse on the unfairness of this 85 years old man not being as badly afflicted as Bill.
This man told me all about the last 3 weeks, about a funeral in North London he had been too and all about the family of the deceased.
Bill couldn't do that.He doesn't know where he has been.
Indeed he has been thinking that we went to Guildford for the scan. Well, I had an MRI scan at Guildford over 20 years ago. It seems that that is the time zone Bill might be living in.
Bill found the scanning rather difficult. He got uncomfortable and disorientated in the scanner - it is very noisy.
It was decided that once the analytical  necessary part of the scan had been done, not to proceed with the research project part of the scan.
I wonder what the pictures will show......we will see at some point because we get a disc with pictures of Bill's brain I believe. We will not be able to interpret much - but experts will be able to. We should get an appointment with the experts within a month.

I don't know why Bill couldn't get it into head that we had been to Brighton......once he felt strong enough (after a cup of tea) we went to eat something in The Wetherspoons at The Marina - a familiar enough place.
Now Bill can be very childlike at times.....if we are waiting he wanders and noses into things that are nothing to do with him
I have to tell him sometimes to sit down and wait quietly!
In Wetherspoons he did something else that children might do. I needed the loo and left him at the table, looking at my phone. "Oh no" I thought, "what buttons will he have pressed and what settings will have been changed?"
It was a little later when I checked my voice mail that I heard Jo's voice wondering why I had called her and then said nothing.
"I didn't really phone her" he pleaded" I just pressed something...I didn't talk to her."

Later still we were back at the GP's surgery. "Bill - we are going to the doctor's - it's in Ifield" Good grief we had only been there a few hours earlier.
Then I had to tell him why we were going.
To be honest, I am not sure why we were called in, but we were. We were called in to review methotrexate.
"No pain? Good. Keep taking the tablets"
Dr O has gone part time - maybe it is time for him to enjoy a full time retirement and reflect on the good he has done in the past.
I told him that we had been for an MRI scan and he was a bit surprised.
Well, Dr O was the one who on asking Bill just 5 simple questions had categorically stated that Bill did not have Alzheimers Disease.
"Oh come on Doctor" I was thinking "there are many causes for Bill's problems - are you not interested in pursuing them?"
Fortunately another of the doctors took up the reigns and got things moving.
And things are now moving quite quickly.
Well done Dr A! And thank you.

Tonight I feel sad. I really would like my old husband back, but it does look like he might have gone.
But I will go on loving my naughty little boy who is lost in a world of fog and doesn't worry about it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Lovely day

Today was a little gem - amongst the days of dullness or storminess.
It was a day with a blue sky.
It was a day out.
We were late setting off for fault. I heard the alarm well before dawn; I switched it off; and slept for another hour.
The journey was lovely - watching our world wake up and warm up.

That's the River Arun as it meanders across the meadows near Amberley.
I took this from the car as we drove along.  Not bad eh?

There were lots of stall at Ford, and, as ever, I was looking for the unusual.
I have come home with old legal documents - late Victorian and into the 20th century.
They will take some reading and understanding.
One concerns dealings of Leah Keppel. I shall have to discover if Leah is of the Keppel family very much connected with the Royal Family.
Some others are connected with The Cocoa Tree Club - a gentleman's club in London.
Lots of interesting research is now on the agenda.
I bought other things of course and then there were the things I just walked away with, without paying.
No, I have not turned into a petty thief.
The house clearance guy had obviously made his money and saw boxes of things that he would have to dispose of.
So - he just said it was all free......take it away.
It included a coffee table with a magazine holder.I had that. And lots of other bits and pieces.
I'll photograph them tomorrow.
We saw our Wetherspoon's friends, Harry and Brian at Ford. Harry is getting frustrated as he sees that different medical departments dealing with Brian are not co-ordinating well. Brian is the one in a wheel chair, who is almost certainly dying........but "they" want to do a second biopsy. H and B would not be in Wetherspoon's - they were off to the hospital.
We were late to The George of course.
We met some of the people we know.
After we had eaten our food we took our second mugs of tea/coffee to seats away from the tables. It had got rather noisy with the arrival of about 8 severely disabled people in chairs and their animated volunteer careers. They were all enjoying a grand day out.
We went and made a new friend - Alan. His family business had been  supplying the theatrical and modelling world with dresses, accessories, sequins, "diamond" stones etc etc. He had travelled all over the country with samples and dresses he had designed and met fascinating people.
We came home via Charlie's....a farm shop we had not visited before. It is just outside Bury village.
It was good......the butcher stopped plucking the large pheasant and served us 4 sausages - 2 Charlie's specials (with apple and cider) and 2 Bury bangers.
We also bought a tub of home made icecream - lemon meringue pie ice cream.
We had a little of that with thinly sliced kiwi fruit with the hot drinks we made when we got in.
And then we both fell asleep.
It is just as well that I woke when I did or Bill would have been late for his appointment for a flu jab.
So, what with business and sleeping I have hardly looked at all the things I brought home from Ford.
Tomorrow I shall have my flu jab, B12 jab and BP check etc.
Then we will be in Brighton for Bill's MRI scan.
We will have time to go to the marina afterwards for a little something. Then later in the afternoon he has an appointment with Dr O for a methotrexate review.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Bargain Hunt in Dorking. West Street. Pilgrims Antiques.

Lovely day really - spent with some of my friends in Pilgrims.
Our hopes were raised when camera men came in and shot some film of items and cabinets.
I took them to my section to film the high chair and bird cage.

Obviously not what the programme makers were looking for.
Their story was to be about higher level antiques, all from one shop, which I am fairly sure have no hope of leading to a profit when sold at auction.
Programme makers don't want to faff about, lugging equipment from shop to shop.
They want their story "in the can" as quickly and cheaply as possible.
We saw nobody else from Bargain Hunt today.....a glimpse of Tim Wannacott through the shop window, swaggering with his pink scarf fluttering in the wind.
Did he look a little sheepish as our eyes briefly met?
He would know that people in our shop would feel let down at having been ignored.
Shame I didn't meet Thomas Plant - one of my favourites amongst the TV experts.
But we were happy - we know we appeal to "real" people.......both other dealers and the general public.

So the day, which began with some intensity of expectation evolved into a lovely normal shop day, with cups of tea and cake.
Lots of chat and laughter.......and the customers join in.
Yes, we had customers, buying all sorts of things.
We know our niche......and it is to be a very approachable friendly shop with items of very many styles and prices. The cheapest item sold today was £1 and we value the buyer as much as any other buyer and also those that don't buy this time.

Actually one of us did sell something to Bargain Hunt contestants. He has a cabinet in the bigger, smarter shop as well.
He was most peeved that the guy in that shop took over the selling of a large metal lion when he could have been there within 30 seconds.
He has yet to find his 5 minutes of TV fame!

My one regret of the day is that, as we waited, I gave the floor another clean; how I wish I had taken our home mop in! Instead I was bending to clean and scrub the floor and tonight my back hurts a lot.
But no regrets that the TV programme prompted us to think a little more about dust and dirt and untidiness.
The shop feels like a second home amongst an extended family......and just like in many homes the good intentions will probably fade.

Good luck to the today's contestants - would advise you don't get too optimistic about a fortune to be made.
I am sure you have had a wonderful time.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Peppermint and cakes.

A moderately quiet day......and a rather wet one too.

This morning we were flitting about, driving in the the dump, the post office and to the supermarket.

This afternoon I busied myself making a beef casserole and let it cook slowly in the oven for over 4 hours. Maybe it is time that I got a slow cooker - would save putting the oven on.
The food was beautiful - those 4 hours brought out every flavour.

Bill had an appointment at the GP's surgery this afternoon.
On hearing that Jessica had commented often "Oh Grandad, that's disgusting" as long ago as April, Dr D prescribed some oil of peppermint tablets.
I thought peppermint was good for releasing trapped wind.
Perhaps it is - it's job is to relax the gut.

And that basically has been the day.
Watched the final of The Great British Bake Off. Such luscious cakes, pastries and savouries we have seen during the season.
The most beautiful Ruby made the final - but was beaten by a more reliable cook.

I will get up early and go to the shop.
And wait......and maybe wait all day for the TV people.
Bill has opted to stay in bed.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Preparing to be TV stars.

Wow! We have worked today!
Jo came in and we worked at cleaning and tidying our sections. We both think that the shop should look at its best for every potential customer who comes through the door.
But this week there is a chance that the potential customers will be filmed browsing in the shop, so we want everything extra specially good.
The TV programme Bargain Hunt will be filming in West Street on Wednesday. This is their second visit - and sadly, last year the contestants were not directed to our shop to purchase potential bargains.
Consequently they didn't find any bargains.
Indeed one couple spent £140 on a Japanese tea set, which sold at auction for just £15!!!!
Please let our shop be would be such good publicity.
They will find the floors clean and the shelves and cabinets looking good.
Both Jo and I found that wanting just one thing in pride of place involved a fairly massive re-arrangement.
I wanted the child's high chair very visible and in a place where it could be easily filmed.

So I moved all the  toys and things to the shelves by the high chair.
This meant that all my books had to move to where the toys had been.

If the high chair fails to catch their eye, then maybe the bird cage will be more successful.

The day has not been without its problems.
I arrived to find that my keys were not in my bag - I had a feeling that they just might be inside the shop. I was correct - I had not needed to lock up last Monday and the keys got left behind.
The problem was solve in The Hospice shop.
Claudia who works in the shop quite often volunteers on Monday mornings at the shop and I went to see if she had the shop keys on her.....and she did.
Bill didn't stay very long.
I had phoned the dentist for him this morning to see if he could be seen about a broken tooth that was very jagged and hurting his tongue a lot.
The only time this week was this morning. He had to go - even if I had to be alone in the shop; and I wasn't alone.
I was a bit anxious sending him off on his own back to Crawley. He had been querying where our dentist is......the one we have been going to for 37 years!
Bill's problem is that he thought he had to go to the place of the dentist he had had before that time.
But he got it fixed correctly in his head and he managed just fine.

So a busy and lively day.
And all the better for me because I sold so much. One item that the Bargain Hunt people will not be seeing is the wonderful (I think) 1950s lamp that I bought last week. I took it into the shop this morning and sold it within the hour.

Our day began with a cooked breakfast.....and I have found that I have not wanted much during the day. I had a prawn salad at lunchtime. Bill had his normal cheesy chips - so much easier than thinking. But he found it hard to eat them all and came back to the shop saying that perhaps he wouldn't have cheesy chips again.
Maybe we will be able to pursue the paleolithic regime - with modifications and some cheating.
I just loved the part of that modified diet where the author said....."and if your mother gives you a home baked apple pie, well it would be churlish to refuse"
Tomorrow's medical appointment will be with Dr D to ask what should be done about Bill's belching and to investigate if he has groin hernia developing.
I am guessing that maybe Dr D's advice would be: "Stop eating cheesy chips"

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Let's be hunter gatherers

There have been sunshine and showers.
But for about 15 minutes what we experienced was much closer to tropical rain storm.
It was very dark, the rain beat down - could hardly see our way ahead in the car. The wind lashed the trees, being blown this way and that.
So fierce it was exciting.
Not so exciting for anybody caught out in it.
But at least we were spared the tornado that hit Hayling Island.
We were in the car to drive to Bill's sister's. Good to see her and good of her to give us her signature on a form.
Because Bill would have found it hard to sort out the withdrawal of all the money from the Fidelity portfolio that we have, I had to arrange a very temporary power of attorney (for this transaction only).
It couldn't be me.
I am hoping I have got it all correct and then once we have Steve to witness Bill's signature tomorrow, we can send off the request and that bit of simplification will be complete.

This morning I sorted out some more payments and have parcels ready to post.
Just been gradually crossing things off the "things to do list".
I asked Bill to vacuum clean upstairs for me. He will do it if asked......not like when he was prepared to take responsibility for it.
I have lots to take into the shop tomorrow and will need time during the day to write them up in my stock file.
But the first priority must be cleaning and tidying so that if the TV cameras are rolling in Pilgrims on Wednesday then we are all looking our best.
Another edition of Bargain Hunt is being filmed in West Street.

Jamie and I have been talking today about health issues - mainly Bill's.
Jamie likes the idea that it would be best for most people to eat the way our paleolithic ancestors ate - basically hunter gatherers.
There are others, maybe slightly more evolved who would thrive on the very early agricultural type diet.
Well, I knew for a fact that I would never be able to persuade Bill to make drastic changes to his regime. he likes the security of regular meals at regular times and the same things day after day.
I know that to a certain extent I can make the changes - when I felt so ill with very high potassium levels I grasped the challenges of a low potassium diet because I didn't want to feel like that.
Fortunately potassium levels are now well balanced.

 The first thing I decided to do was offer him a cooked breakfast in the morning. No cereal and milk and sugar and instead eating a sausage, some bacon, an egg and some mushrooms.

This evening I have found a website for a manageable way of eating a paleolithic diet......basically cheat!

It makes good sense. I won't be pushing Bill too hard though - especially not until we know more about what is going on in his body.
But what we do know is that he has a lot wrong, high blood pressure (controlled with medication), a disease of the auto immune system (rheumatoid arthritis, controlled with medication), much wind and belching, symptoms of a prostrate problem (not cancer), lethargy and lack of interest in things and now the memory problems.
So, it certainly wouldn't hurt to try and improve his diet.....and my diet.
It may not cure anything - but I feel it could increase a feeling of well being.

I am sure the type of diet outlined is just the sort of thing that Jamie was thinking of.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


VIntage Cuckfield.

Got up early to dust, polish, tidy and generally clean.
Downstairs is looking good and the dining room table is almost was for a while.
The weather hasn't been good - well, not whilst we were out.
We went to Cuckfield (pronounce Cookfield).
We knew about the vintage fair from some old friends of ours.
Vintage tends to mean anything that has some old fashioned style - the things might date from any era of the 20th century. Some things date from that time; other things are newly made or converted or played with to create a style from any of those years.
People who have stalls at such a fair work hard on display and things look good and are very appealing.
Things tend to be very decorative and also useful.
I could describe myself as a seller of vintage items.
Misty and Avalon were selling at the fair......19 year old twins who we have known a little since birth. I have know their mother since she was a primary school age child and and I met her in a classroom. And their father was in the athletics club - about 3 years older than our Jamie, but both competing in the same Young Athlete's Team.
I loved Misty and Avalon's stall.
My eyes were immediately drawn to an item that I saw after they had bought it at the Poynings car boot sale. I coveted it then and today had the chance to buy it.

I think it would be great for hanging scarves and necklaces on.

Their web site shows the wonderful cards that they make.

I want to talk to Monika about their work for I know it would do well in her shop and would sell for more than they are charging at the moment.

 I couldn't resist this 1920's style hat. Great for the winter.
We enjoyed a cup of tea and a wonderful slice of cake and chatted with the girls' grandmother.

Then we went for a walk in the rain in Cuckfield.
Shame it was raining or we would have made more of a day of it; it was a special day in Cuckfield.
It is just a small town but they have their own mayor.
In 1965, having been refused permission to continue holding the money making donkey derby on land that had become playing fields, Cuckfield rebelled and became The Independent State of Cuckfield.
The money making for local charities had to continue and this was done that year and ever since by the voting for the Cuckfield mayor each October. Anybody can vote and each vote costs just 1p.
People pay for a lot of votes or few votes as they wish and can afford.
The voting for this year took place yesterday evening and today was the day of the parade, based on The Lord Mayor's Show in London.
It would have been fun to see it.
But Bill didn't fancy hanging around. Next year maybe.

The High Street would be closed to traffic later.

Cuckfield is lovely and its best feature, to me, is a tree.

I love this cedar tree.
There are lots of lovely old buildings too.

The pavements are all red brick - and I think they look so good, particularly in the rain when they glisten and shine.

More things I bought in Cuckfield. The book is fascinating and just the sort of thing people might get, as a joke present, for newlyweds. It dates from the 1920s.

Nice day. It kept my mind off things.
Nice day in Phuket too.......the Thai Monks now have 2 little ginger and white kittens. Tentatively called Jingle and Jangle. I bet it stays that way.

Friday, October 18, 2013



I should be feeling pleased with myself.
My signed Here Comes Muffin book sold well today. I sold 11 things in total and have been busy with that.
This morning I had my hair cut. I felt I wanted it to grow longer, but it had got too straggly for comfort.
Pleased with the result.
But I don't feel good.....I feel tetchy once again.
Sometimes life is hard to deal with.
It began with a constantly repeated question. Bill also had his hair cut this morning.....we have been going together or separately to the same shop for years and years.
This morning Bill couldn't go more than few minutes without asking where we had to go.
All hope and optimism drained away from me.
The frequent clapping and banging just screwed me up. "Leave me in peace" I was thinking.
The post brought me a form to fill in and get Bill to sign so that the money we have in a Fidelity portfolio can be withdrawn.
Damn it I have to arrange a temporary Power of Attorney; fortunately this one doesn't have to go through a solicitor and is only for this transaction.
So watch out....the first person we see tomorrow who we know might be asked!
Bill could just phone up and deal with the matter himself.......except he can't! He has grumbled for a couple of days about a broken tooth hurting his tongue.......but couldn't find the will to phone the dentist.
I'll have to do that for him on Monday.
I ought to stay at home tomorrow and do some house cleaning, but I feel the need to get out, whether it rains or not.
Maybe we'll go to the vintage fair at Cuckfield. It's almost free - the £1 entrance fee includes a cup of tea or coffee.
Maybe I'll think of something else.
There are parcels to be posted.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


The Thursday trip.

I dressed this morning as if setting off for the Antarctic!
As we drove to Ford, we wondered if we should be going at all....the rain was so heavy.
"Don't worry" I said - "on the other side of The Downs it will be fine; and it was.

Almost Mediterranean like!

I bought well at Ford.

There were other things, too, and quite a few books.

By the time we had finished, almost all the Antarctic layers of clothes had been removed.
It felt warm and we enjoyed a walk by the river.

Lots of people walking by the river.

Many people ambled along in the autumn sunshine with dogs.

This is Rufus.

Birds were singing noisily.

On the way home we stopped in Billingshurst for a drink.
We chose The Six Bells.

We had a brief stroll in Billingshurst.

Not my picture.
Major repairs were going on and I just couldn't avoid scaffolding.

Part of the main street.

There is much new development around Billingshurst these days.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013



There is a slight problem with doing a blog posting everyday - if I feel lazy or time runs away with me, I still feel I should write something.
Wouldn't want "my public" to worry that something bad has happened - though I doubt that many are as melodramatic as me.
The day has included a jaunt to Aldi.......that very good and cheap supermarket which seems to have now found some favour generally. Certainly I like the shop - but the nearest is in East Grinstead, about 8 miles away.
I added a trip to Wetherspoons.......The Ounce and the Ivybush pub. Wonderful name.
It gave Bill some pleasure in the day.
This evening we have been babysitting our young nephews. Apart from young O dropping and smashing a glass dish of stewed apple on the floor, it all went well!
Jamie and Clare will be a little envious (or even a lot envious) that their Granny couldn't be home with them because she was at a Kate Rusby concert at The Hawth.
They might also wonder why, with Kate Rusby performing about a mile from home, we were available to babysit. Cost, dear ones! We are protecting your inheritance!
Well, time has run away with me......goodnight.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Getting there.

Despite the problems, today I feel so blessed.

I had asked around a little about choosing a solicitor - but basically the choice was pretty random.
Today we saw Stella......who is just one of the nicest, most helpful people I have ever met.
She was so good that the cynic in me know, that bit of me that says "well, she's paid a lot to be nice"
She was so, so patient with Bill - who was floundering today.
First we discussed our wills. I think that will go smoothly, when the time comes.
Just a new problem for Stella to come to terms with - if money goes to our offspring......then legally just what is the name of Clare?
I'll phone you Clare.
Stella seemed very keen for us to deal with our wills in a way that the house (well, not the whole house) could never be used to pay for any nursing home care.
She had ways and means.

Then we turned to the Power of Attorney forms.
Poor Bill and poor Stella! Stella had to be sure in her own mind that Bill understood what the form was about.
Did he? I'm still not sure.
He suggested it was to do with somebody sorting things out for you after you die. He was told what it was very simply.
And when asked again he thought it was having somebody to sort things when you die.
So, another go.......did Bill get it? "If I lose my mind"....he began.
Good enough it seemed.
I had already dealt with my form. Bill had heard the names of the two younger people I have asked to act as Power of Attorney. These are people he knows. We had discussed it together. Though discussions these days tend to be me asking him his opinions and giving my thoughts and me not hearing very much back. Come to think of it - maybe discussions have always been like that.
Anyway, Stella asked him who he thought would be a good power of attorney for him. It was if he had never thought about it.
Well, I have a sister......6 sisters. "Why do you think they would be good?" asked Stella.
"Well........." I am guessing he said that just because his sisters are there.
Stella and I talked of the fact that the sisters are the same generation as Bill and within a few years the older ones will be in their 70s too.
I asked him what he thought about the people I had chosen.
"Oh yes......they would be good"
Sadly he didn't seem to know how he was related to one of them - "No, Bill, not cousin in law - niece in law."
Stella just knew that we had to get it done and Bill was certainly giving the impression that we don't have the option to leave it for long. She made simple notes for him and even drew pictures for him.
Bless Stella for persevering - the legal documents will be sorted. Just got to get details like post codes sorted.
I will forever be grateful to that young woman for her demeanour and handling of the situation.
We even talked a little of the autism issue.  At one point she told me that it is said that all engineers are somewhat autistic!. What was Bill? An engineer!

Bill was by this time completely out of his comfort zone.
We needed to get some bread before going many time did he ask where we were going?

I am glad that he felt too numbed to want to accompany me to the bank.

I had an appointment with Kundan.
Yet again I was dealing with somebody I could both like and respect.
He was very helpful.
I made some notes and have a much greater understanding of taking control of the bank account.
I need to phone up a company tomorrow to deal with the portfolio we took out over 20 years ago.
I want that money in the same bank as we use for everything else.
I shall be able to switch money about from current account to savings account and back, using the computer.
I learned that the currant account pays interest on sums up to a certain level....and there is no point having more than that in the current account.
I learned too, that ISAs can only be issued to one named what I thought were "our" ISAs are Bill's. I must try and sort that out with him.

Gradually I am getting our affairs in order. I want everything to be straight and then all talk of wills and powers of attorney can be pocketed away and not thought about much until the right time.

 I am quite tired tonight.......Bill, you are not the only one who has been way outside the sort of dealings we are accustomed to.
If you got to the end of this - well done!
It has been good to write and clarify things in my own mind.

Monday, October 14, 2013


Monday this and that.

What do you get when you combine over indulgence, with being over tired and overstressed?
Put simply - you get a need for immodium, pancreas pain and a headache.

Silly me! But it is only the first of those three which I have any control over.
I seem not to be able to control the lack of sleep just now. I was awake before 4 o'clock this morning.
Probably tied in with being over stressed. I seem calm and collected and in control to others, but there is one topic that dominates my thinking and stresses me.

We were in the shop today. I quickly did a re-shuffle so as to get the high chair on show.
I priced things up.
Jo rang and asked me to see if I could put some lettering on our A board that goes outside the shop when we are open.
She re-painted the board last week. We had things on there that were out of date....and just recently the A board pulled people in to ask about repairs to their barometer. Well, the barometer man left some time ago.
I wanted the message to be simple - one passers by could read as they passed......and then maybe not pass!

I put more on the other give people sitting in their cars, waiting for the traffic lights, something to think about.

Not the world's best lettering!
I felt it best not to worry about perfection.....that would have been doomed to failure anyway.

I just got on with it.

If others think it can be done better - then let them do it.
But it is never a good idea to leave things for "Somebody"......because Mr Somebody likes to leave it to Mr Anybody.

I bought the art deco cake plate yesterday at the fair we went to.

I loved it, and paid a bit more than I wanted for it.
But I hope it will catch the eye as it did mine.

There have been customers too......Mondays tend to be reasonably good for selling.
There was a couple buying silver plate to take back to their home in Columbia. They spent well.
An older gentleman, who nearly didn't come in because we didn't have what he wanted a couple of weeks ago, was delighted that I found him 2 pieces of commemorative royal china for very little money. He was delighted and enjoyed chatting for quite a while. He will be back.

Bed time soon. I haven't seen the BBC Crimewatch programme featuring the disappeared Madeleine McCann. It is quite hard not to feel touched by what happened.
But why her, and not all the other disappeared children?
And why now?
My cynicism even leads me to wonder if the new leads have much basis in fact. So much time and money is being invested in trying to find the truth - and very publically backed by David Cameron.
Action was needed to be seen and good results seen too.
So many people seem to have things to gain from keeping Madeleine in the news and from letting us believe that the truth is possible to find.
Most of all, of course, her parents have the dream that there is something to be gained.
Poor are being used!
But how happy I would be if I was wrong.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Dare we hope?

One swallow doesn't make a spring........though that is a beautiful thought.
And one good day does not ease our problems.
But things have sent me thinking and looking for solutions to our problems.
At the time, I didn't wonder about Bill's invitation to attend our GPs for a review of his methotrexate; that's the drug he has been taking for nigh on 10 years for rheumatoid arthritis.
Why now?
After 10 years with no such review, why now?
I have asked the rheumatologist about any connection with memory problems and methotrexate.
He might not have heard of such a thing - but what does Dr Oliver (one of our GPs) know?
I know, I know..... this might just be coincidence and routine.
But I have been checking on reports and research about this drug.
Yes, there is a rare, but reported connection with memory problems.
And yes, there are reports of a connection between the drug and excessive sleep.
There are even reports (a bit tenuous, or I don't understand them) of a link between methotrexate and autism.
It just left me wondering about it all.
I have also been thinking about something Steve said whilst I was at the shop yesterday. Bill and Steve have been going to the pub for lunch together for some time when we are in Dorkling. Steve told me that when they are in the pub Bill is just as he has always been.
So, OK......I thought, it must be me that has set Bill on this path.
Maybe that is true.......but I, alone, cannot create dementia in another person.
And maybe I am clutching at straws again.
But you know what? The last time I reported that we had enjoyed a good day was a Sunday.....almost a whole week since the last methotrexate dose. It is a drug you just once a week because of the power of it.
Reports say, though, that to clear the system completely of this drug can take much, much longer than a week.

So what has made this a good day?
Certainly not the weather!
It has been free of tension and Bill has been good company.
Perhaps the fact that he sorted my electric clock in the kitchen is the achievement. It is so long since Bill has been ready, willing and able to attempt to fix anything - and that has always been something he has been so good at.
The clock wasn't working and now it is.
Perhaps he was inspired by the fact that we saw the same clock at the art deco fair we went to at Hove Town Hall.

The clock is on the left hand side on a cupboard. Mine is on the bread bin in the kitchen.

I enjoyed the fair.....almost every stall was crammed with things I would have loved to have owned.
But I was restrained - spent very little.
I spent quite a while chatting with a pen dealer.

His pens date from the art deco period - 1920s and 1930s.
I asked him about the Sheaffer pen I bought yesterday.
He reassured me that whilst I hadn't been over generous towards the woman selling, neither had I ripped her off, even inadvertently.
He thinks my 1970s pen would be worth about £40.
I think it is one I shall keep at home and use.
My other fountain pen, a Parker, I can keep in my bag. He says it would sell for about £15 and it is a good everyday pen.
I felt relieved.
One dealer there today we know quite well.

This is Hilary, who has a cabinet in the Dorking shop.

Her passion is early plastic jewellery and I have never seen such a fine array of it.
It is not in the shop in any quantity.....maybe it is not what Dorking people want to see and buy.

This necklace has such character and I think it is chaming

I think it was this framed poster that I just might have succumbed to.

We could have had tea (in plastic cups) and cake at the fair......but we opted to wander along to George Street and have our little something in The Cliftonville (Wetherspoons).
Guess what? Once we were there Bill decided on eggs benedict.
The Cliftonville doesn't ooze character - but the pictures on the wall gave an indication of life in George Street in the past.
A couple of women, high on ego , drink or drugs put on a bit of a floor show! One began shouting at a young man and continued, getting ever louder and more abusive.
They were persuaded to leave - I wonder if they were apprehended. A couple of police personnel came and took statements.
It was till raining when we came out.
So, home we went.
I wax polished the high chair during the afternoon - it will go to the shop tomorrow.
We enjoyed a roast beef dinner and drank quite a bit of a cheap red wine, which was surprisingly good. We went in the Co-op close to Hove Town Hall and bought the cheapest wine they had!
So, a lovely day.
It is good to feel some hope. Time will tell if it is an unjustified hope.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


A pen story.

Oh I am tired tonight.
For quite a long time I have been waking much too early in the morning - that might be the cause of my tiredness along with the stress at the moment.
I shall be in bed soon.
I can look back on quite a busy day in the shop - and a very pleasant day.
I can look back with some guilt too - I think I have ripped somebody off - completely unintentionally.
A couple of ladies bought stuff in that they wanted to sell - mostly very second rate old stuff that probably nobody would want.
They had a fountain pen in  a box. Now I use fountain pens - much pefer to write with one. So I made a paltry offer; I acknowledged that I knew nothing about pens as collectables but would love to use this pen.
The women did think the offer was too paltry and Nigel persuaded me to double it up. I paid £10.

I had no idea that fountain pens could be so special or expensive.
It is unlike the old scratchy Platignum pen I used in my school days.
Nigel explained to me later that I had a bargain. The pen is in rolled gold and the nib is solid gold.
Well, of course it is worth more than £10.
I won't be using it - this pen will have to be sold and I might expect to get anything above about £70.
I might even be able to give the woman a bit more for it. I feel I should. They are due to be in the shop again next Saturday to see Jo.
Maybe I am daft, but it does seem that I have, inadvertantly, been in the wrong.
The weather forecast for tomorrow is for more heavy rain.
But I think we should get out - even Bill might feel the need. I think he was bored at home, alone.
When I got back home this afternoon he was just sitting in his chair - doing nothing, not even watching TV.
Is it psychological? Is it physical?
Why has he switched off?
Anyway, the plan is to go to an antiques fair in Hove Town Hall tomorrow.

Friday, October 11, 2013



Pull the curtains over early.....who wants to look out at the weather we have seen today?
Fortunately I got the outdoor tasks over and done with before the rain got worse and worse.
Bill didn't get up until gone 11 o'clock.
In that time I managed to sort out a solicitor.
We will go and meet her next Tuesday morning.
I am nervous now that Bill won't be with it enough or co-operative enough to look like he is in possession of full faculties so as to agree to things legal and sign them.
Let's be honest......time might be running out.
I have a good feeling about the solicitor - for the daftest of reasons. The woman we will see is named Stella - the same name as the memory nurse who we saw last Friday.
I look forward to having the wheels in motion.
When Bill was finally up we had to go out. The first stop was the hospital for one of his regular blood tests.
Then we did a fairly big week's shop in Asda.
In the biscuit aisle I saw Bill floundering. I had bought some biscuits thatI like - Bill wanted chocolate digestives (same things every time). I told him to go and pick up a packet....only about 6 feet from us. "I don't know where they are" he pleaded. I pointed and he did go and find his own biscuits.
Is that the sum total of Bill's achievements?
And then home via the post office to post the last of this week's ebay parcels. The Rupert Annual was the last to go.
This afternoon I closed the on line bank account.
It was very easy to do because I could just transfer the money on line to Santander.
The ING account hasn't been used for almost a year......and I hadn't realised it had been taken over by Barclays.
I made a big beef casserole and a bread pudding was cooked this evening.
I finished another jig saw puzzle.
I have felt quite tetchy and tense today....a bit out of my comfort zone really and of course with no interest whatsover from Bill.
Today I felt quite cross that when I began to explain something to him, he just banged on the furniture.
He did that several times.
You might think its a positive protest on his part - but he doesn't know he is doing it.
And he can't seem to take on board information I am giving,
Ah well.......what will be, will be.
And tomorrow will be a shop day - that will be good.
A stress free day for me because Bill has opted not to come. He doesn't have to do the Saturday duties.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


High tea

Today was cold - under a bright blue sky this morning, but cold. The north wind was really uncomfortable....everybody seemed to be commenting on it at Ford.
We had only looked at half the stalls when a trip back to the car with a large item prompted Bill to say he would like to sit in the car.
I don't blame him......and the second half of the stalls only produce 2 books for me to buy.
I bought quite a lot of books. That's good - I sell quite a lot; I sell them cheaply - well compared with other people who sell second hand books.
It was the large item that thrilled me.
I looked at it longingly, as Bill tried to dissuade me.
I am so glad I didn't listen to him because I think I have something special.

People of a certain age will remember high chairs like this.
It hinges to form a low contraption on wheels - a baby walker.
I love the spindles of the chair back.

And you would have to be of that same certain age to remember these "books" for storing and carrying your collection of 45s.

We were glad to get into the warmth of The George at Littlehampton.
Soon we were joined by Harry and Brian - last week I thought the latter's name was Bill.
He looks so thin and he had felt the cold dreadfully at Ford. He is the man with MS, in a wheel chair, who now has lung cancer.
His partner, Harry, said that Brian would have a biopsy done next week; but the consultant has already been told that there will be no cancer treatment which is invasive or distressing. Brian has enough to deal with.
I think the hope and dream is that they go to spend the winter in Malta. Harry didn't know how long for, but I sensed that he meant that he will stay there with Brian until the end.
Despite all this the atmosphere was jolly. Friends joined Harry and Brian. Linda and Wally called in to see how things were.
I said how much like a social club the place is and Harry agreed. He and Brian live in Rustington - "so up themselves" he said - "nobody talks or smiles there". He has made so many friends since visiting The George regularly.
We drove home via The Corn Store - an antiques centre at Pulborough.
Good grief - I saw some high prices there and it is no more special than Pilgrims.
It was the Ladybird books which made me laugh.
I found the most tatty copy of one - fit for the dustbin, in my opinion. It was priced £4.50. I sell a lot of Ladybird books - they are all in good condition and I charge just £2.
This afternoon, at home, we rested.
I am continuing with jigsaw puzzles. I am doing a steam locomotive one now.
And I wrote up the books that I had bought.
Well, it will be a bit warmer tomorrow, but no cheering- there will be quite a lot of rain by late morning and for the rest of the day.

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