29 September 2014


I am getting exceedingly tired of reading all the reports about dangers to our health. Eating red meat has reared its head again. Eat it at your peril! 

Then there’s the instruction to eat five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables, discounting bananas, of course, because they are now accused of filling our tummies with fat! FAT? IN BANANAS? Fruit doesn't agree with me but I do take Vitamin C on a daily basis, have done for nigh on 50 years. This means I rarely have a cold (first one last week in about ten years) and keep reasonably healthy. 

The latest don’t-do is the taking of statins, which are/were supposed to be the be-all-and-end-all of medication guaranteed to save our lives. I’ve taken them for years and I’m still here, folks. I checked with the doc because I am taking the medium range dosage. He said it was fine so I guess if it was going to kill me it would have done so long ago.

Almost every day there are reports in the newspapers about new discoveries to prolong the lives of oldies, yet – to balance out the news reports – there is great concern that oldies are eating up a fair portion of the economy. If we can’t afford to be kept alive in the comfort of our care homes, why on earth do they keep discovering ways so to do? Before we know where we are euthanasia will be introduced. I say it jokingly but who knows what’s on the cards if the elderly keep costing thousands to keep alive.

My admiration goes to our lovely actress Linda Bellingham who has chosen the time she will die, by curtailing the chemotherapy which is keeping her alive. 

Click picture to read the article)
Not too many people have the strength of will to make such a decision. I have stated to doc and family that if ever I had a stroke or something else just as serious, I do NOT want to be resuscitated. In fact, I now wear a bangle to that effect. I couldn’t bear the thought of lying in a machine waiting for someone to switch it off and just think of the heartache they would have. I wouldn’t know about it, of course, but I would much rather go quickly and get it over with.

 This month the magazine WI Life published an article about Death Cafes, places where groups of people go to discuss the matter of dying. How healthy is that? Death has always been a forbidden topic so it’s good that people can discuss it openly, thereby helping to eliminate the fears associated with it. It is so important to discuss it with family members so they know what our wishes are.
My funeral plan was fun to do, I had more laughs in the planning than were expected. It was planned with the aid of the undertaker, a lady, who asked me all sorts of unexpected questions.

‘What make-up do you wear?’
‘Make-up. You want to look nice don’t you?’
‘Er… yes!’
‘Well, it’s part of my duty to make sure you do.’
‘Oh right!’
‘Do you want a viewing?’
‘A viewing?’
‘Yes, you might want people to have a look at you.’
I thought about it and decided that a viewing would only take place if requested by family.
‘What do you want to wear?’ she asked.
She explained that if I wanted a ‘viewing’ (Gawd help me) you might ...
I interrupted at that point. ‘Well,’ I said’ ‘if I’m going to be gawked at I want to look good.’

So, best clothes are ordered on the understanding that the undertaker lady selects what suits my complexion. Until then I intend to keep a close eye on my wardrobe and remove all the stuff I don’t like. What a great excuse for more shopping….hehehe. She will also pay close attention to the make-up. That was something I didn’t know they did. I said I would leave it to her providing she didn’t make me look like a clown.

I hope you took this post in the way it was intended, to help put things in context and to eliminate fears, plus giving you a damned good laugh in the process.

Altogether now….. whaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

25 September 2014

Life in the garden

In an attempt to defeat or rather lessen the damage done by squirrels, we have invested in a new feeding station which is now installed in our lawn. It is in direct view of the house although far enough away for the birds to feed in peace. This means I can bird-watch to my heart’s content. And do! Oh what joy! I am now seeing birds I thought never see again:

Great spotted woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, the old favourites: Chaffinches, Bullfinches, Greenfinches, plus Nuthatches and all the usual garden birds including, naturally, the Magpies and Woodpigeon. I would rather do without the latter two but I suppose they’re entitled to eat
same as the finches. It’s just that they overdo it and break things in their attempts. Still, I guess I can’t have one without the other.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

The Great Spotted Woodpecker comes for peanuts rather than to peck wood, although as previously reported he did have a go at the wooden bird table.
Green Woodpecker

The Green Woodpecker feeds from the ground and since the grass is green we have to look carefully to see him. It was lucky that he decided to investigate other parts of the garden. Both woodpeckers used to be regular visitors at our last house but until now, as far as we know, never at the present one.

Female Chaffinch
Chaffinches were once only seen on the ground but they certainly like the new feeding station. They come in whole families… six or seven at a time. As do the bullfinches. Greenfinches have started to come in as well and that’s good because they are so few of them now. In fact, they are almost on the extinct list.
Male Bullfinch

The fox has made an appearance although his eye is on the tasty looking woodpigeons. He caught one the other day, and what a commotion there was from other birds, all trying to scare him away – and failing. Talk about nature in the raw! Hmm I took a great picture of the fox but can't find it... perhaps he ate that as well! This photo is rather inferior but it will have to do.
The Fox 
I do still have the two field-mice in the garden ... not sure what happened to the third. They're almost tame, certainly they don't run away from me. I said 'smile please' but they didn't bother!
The best thing for me has been watching the babies of each species, seeing them develop from babies to juvenile and then to adult birds. It has been interesting to see the way the plumage slowly changes before the birds finish up with adult colours. It starts with a slight colouring of the downy breast, then the tail changes colour and the back, and finally the head. Because of this I was able to identify the male and female babies.

I am pleased we are able to feed birds in this country. Australians are forbidden to do so and I believe that’s because of the different viruses wild birds carry. I suppose it’s the same the world over so I’ll carry on feeding them until told otherwise.

23 September 2014

Taking liberties...

I had a new computer this year but I still have the old one. Why? Because the new one is a PROFESSIONAL and the old one a mere HOME machine.  I tell you this, though, the old one is more professional than the professional! Whatever I want to do on the new machine takes me three times as long because everything is HIDDEN. Plus half the keyboard commands are missing which slows me down something awful. Everything is hidden and hardly anything opens with a hovering mouse. It didn't take me long to realise the old machine had to be retained! 

What gets my goat more than anything is the new idea of downloading stuff onto the computer that I don't want. Like the following:



Do they tell us these things? Do they ever think of asking permission? Darn right, they don't!

Well I deleted both in the hope that it would give me something to complain about but in actual fact it did nothing to affect the running of the computer. What good does it do to have all these files thrust upon us?

If someone could explain it all to me I would be grateful.

21 September 2014


Let me tell you about my lost family … or part of it, and it was all down to my son’s broken marriage. When Jon was in the army he met and married a German girl. Sadly, the marriage didn’t work so his wife moved back to Germany with their two very young sons. After a few years she came back to this country and went to live in Scotland, which is the other end of the country to where we are in the Midlands. Jon was able to see the boys periodically but I only saw them on one occasion. The youngest would have been about eight at the time and his brother two years older.

When they were still in their teens, after a period of uncertainty and some unhappy changes in their family structure, the boys left home and were ‘lost’ to their father and me, their grandmother. However, the good news is that they have been found on Facebook. As many of you know Facebook has for some time been on my ‘don’t touch’ list but with the knowledge that the boys were on it meant I had to go there too. There they were, grown up and looking fabulous. I also discovered that I am great-grandmother to a baby boy … quite suddenly I felt not just old, but positively ancient! Just waiting for someone to say I don't look it!

The 'find' was due to Jon’s partner, Karen, and I can’t thank her enough for her endeavours to trace the boys. Jon doesn’t walk well nowadays nor can he do long distance driving but that was okay, grandson would come to us. Two weeks ago it was when my youngest grandson, Keith, and his Swedish partner, Sara, came to the Midlands. And Joe and I got to see them.

It was about twenty years since last we met but Keith walked in to my house as if he’d been coming there all the time… and gave me a HUGE bear hug. I felt very emotional and happy. Actually his memory is good, he remembered the house, and especially the garden. That made me feel good.

Joe and I had a whole day with them all. We took them to our usual eating place for lunch, which was a great place to get to know each other. It was lovely.
Top left: Keith and Sara
Top right: Keith and Jon
Bottom left: Keith
Bottom right: Jon

Keith is handsome, friendly, intelligent, fun, and the image of his dad when Jon was his age. 

Sara is a delight. As you can see she is a pretty girl, with the sort of good looks you want to keep staring at. She is petite and graceful and very friendly… and what’s more she speaks perfect English. She and I are now in regular contact by email. 

There were none of those awkward moments that occur when people haven’t met for a long time, it was as if we had always been together. I am really hoping that we can all meet up again and become a proper family unit even if there ARE many miles between us.

That’s not all. Imagine my surprise when I arrived home from a meeting to find a box of flowers in the porch… delivered and obviously not heard. Yes, they were from Keith and Sara, and they're still good today. 

Since hearing a little bird whisper that Keith and Sara might be here for Christmas I am living in hope with fingers firmly crossed!