Friends

24 June 2018

NEW ACQUISITION



I recently bought the above coffee table, which I adore. Because I can no longer visit stores I looked on line but it took months to find what I wanted. Most stores sold coffee tables but all had to be self-assembled. Honestly, can you see me building a table?
Eventually I found just what I wanted – on line and ready assembled. Even though I worried about buying such a thing on line, the service was good, and everything was made easy.

The table was delivered in a short time and unpacked by the delivery men. You can imagine how pleased I was that everything had gone according to plan. As you can see, the table is solid. Properly tongue and grooved, just like my father used to do when he made furniture.

A few weeks after receipt of said item I was approached (on line) by a company called Trustpilot asking me to publish my recommendations either through them or via Facebook or Twitter. The reward for doing so was £200 worth of vouchers.

I ignored it.

I was approached again with the same offer.

I ignored it. This time I emailed the furniture store and told them that although I was very happy with my purchase I did not want to publish a recommendation elsewhere. To my mind it should be enough that the company who sold me the table knew how pleased I was with the purchase.

Again I was approached by Trustpilot, raising the offer and almost pleading with me to give my recommendation.

I ignored it.

It had happened before, when I purchased something from another company, and that’s why I was so cross when it occurred again. That time I had been pestered with offers of cash and promises to air my words for all to see, which included name and details of purchase. The purchase was a surprise gift – how was I to know it wouldn’t be seen by the person it was intended for?

It has made me think twice about purchasing stuff on line in future. 

20 June 2018

Latest Groan!


The latest ‘breakdown’ at my house was part of the guttering. I had a message from neighbours to say water was pouring into their yard from broken guttering - mine. It must have been collecting rainwater for a while and then WHOOSH, got rid of it. It has been a bit quiet on the repairs front so this came as a surprise. Oh well, let’s get it repaired.

First, find someone to do the work.

Gutter Guys is the name of the firm I chose from Yellow Pages Directory. Yes, the girl said, someone will check it out on Saturday between 9 and 12 o’clock; that’s the first day after the complaint. Not bad going, I thought, except nobody turned up.

Rang the firm the same day and was told someone would be out between 3 and 6pm. Again, no-one turned up. You can imagine my mood.

As soon as I calmed down I contacted another company. This time, on line. I am always a bit dubious about doing stuff on line, forgetting the success rate of most of my efforts. So, a guy called Andy responded to my plea for help. He is local to me, which made me feel a bit better. I mean, I have his address… I can always pop round with a battering ram if he lets me down. I don’t think that will happen because the guy not only responded to the on-line approach, he went to the trouble of phoning me and fixing a time and date, even apologising for the fact that he is going on holiday first.

Well, Andy returned from wherever and straight away sent a text to confirm the appointment. A few days later he repaired and cleaned the gutters. 

Now we’re all happy...

Until the next breakdown...

Watch this space!

17 June 2018

MORE NEWS IN BRIEF



1.   Charlie, the cat, makes me laugh. Lately he has got into the habit of leaping on the kitchen counter, right under the cupboard where his bowls are kept. He gets up there and paws the cupboard door as much as to say ‘this is where they are, now get the blue bowl and fill the damn thing.’

2.   Great excitement when I saw a pair of colourful goldfinches in the garden. Not seen any for about three years so I’m hoping they’ve made a long term comeback.

3.   I never thought I would be comforted by a cat. No longer do I sleep in a lonely bed now that Charlie spends the latter half of night-time fast asleep by my side, or my face, depending on his mood!

4.   I have said it before and I will say it again. Television is partly responsible for the violence we see, hear and read about. So much anger and violence is taking over the world. Who needs guns when the now popular way to kill and maim is with knives. I live in a respectable area; never did I think we would be targets.

5.   Lately Charlie has refused a particular brand of ‘goody’, his preference lying with a well tried and loved biscuit. Guided by price, I thought he should have a change, but he refused to eat the new variety. Rather than throw it away, I put some out for the birds, selecting a special rock that is always used for feeding purposes. Well, Charlie didn’t like the thought of birds eating the food so he got stuck in to eat it himself, closely watched by a magpie. Some food was still there when I realised Charlie wasn’t there. It was then I learned the wiles of a cat. He had gone into hiding, behind some greenery, close to the rock, waiting to pounce. Needless to say, no more biscuits will be put out in the garden.

6.   Trying to think of something to write that doesn’t include Charlie…………

7.   Lunched out this week with my good friend. Lovely! Only fault was the cost of taxi fare there and back. Friend paid for my lunch to make the taxi fares more tolerable. How nice was that?

8.   Looking for a gardener now. The bushes out there are growing upwards and outwards, taking over the lawn. The garden certainly lives up to the name ‘wild’. The past month has seen spectacular flowers from self-seeded plants but the bushes need sorting. Did manage to cut some lower branches off the apple tree since the mower man has to bend double to get to the second lawn. 

9.   Gone back to skirts. Jeans were too hot with our rare bout of hot weather. Two extremely hot days and now back to cool day. Thinking again about the jeans!

10.  That’s all. Bye for now!

12 June 2018

DOUBLE CROSS (last posted 2014)

Still clad in stripy blue pyjamas and heavy dressing gown, Philip Abbott stood at the sink washing breakfast things. Outside, raindrops sprayed the window, driven by squally winds, to match his mood. Except for the clatter of plates, the clicking clock, and the thrumming of the fridge-freezer, the room was still. Pam had gone back to bed, claiming to have a migraine. As he stacked plates on the draining board, Phil’s mind raced through their rare night of passion. Pam was like dynamite. Once her touch-paper ignited she went at sex as if she was running out of future. The experience had left him thoroughly enervated. And unhappy.
     
The last plate stacked in the drainer, Phil wrung out the dishcloth and draped it over the mixer tap. Leaning his belly against the sink, he stared trance-like through the net-draped window. He was totally oblivious to the antics of two very wet fox cubs trying and failing to drink from the garden pond.

Had Pam told the truth, he wondered when questioning her unintelligible, frenzied cry? Without exception she cried out when roused, usually repeatedly uttering his name whilst scraping her nails down his back, but in the early hours he could have sworn the name she called was Jerry. Jerry? It had stopped him in his tracks. Coming as it did mid-copulation it doused his verve and ultimate ejaculation.

Jerry!

Overcome by surging grief, Phil had a mental image of his wife’s boss, Jeremy Ifield: a maddeningly handsome face with prominent eyebrows, arched in perpetual bewilderment above sharp eyes that blazed with vitriolic scorn. The hewn cheekbones and fashionably styled grey-streaked dark hair were more like an all-American movie star. At first meeting he seemed like a nice guy but longer acquaintance revealed a superficial personality.
     
With a heavy heart, Phil pushed away from the sink and balanced on one of the tall kitchen stools. His mind darted from one incident of Pam's unpunctuality to another, all of them assigned to pressure of work. Her words. Her excuses. Excuses he had no reason to doubt until a few hours ago.
     
He had challenged her. It transpired that he had mistaken Pam's wild utterance for 'hurry'. So why did he feel encumbered by sickening qualms? If she was having an affair with Ifield ... Violently shaking his head, Phil tried to oust the notion, insisting that Pam's persistent absence was valid, that her breathless diction was easily distorted. If it wasn’t, he would surely kill her. Or him. In a short space of time he had learned to hate Jeremy Ifield with all the passion of a practiced killer.
     
Yet, he told himself, it took two to make a deal. Ifield was a free man who had nothing to lose by seducing Pam. But she had a man of her own, a husband, a legal lover, one who had given her everything her heart desired. Seemed she wanted more. Didn’t she realise that Phil could provide her with more … much more than she bargained for?
     
It was cold in the kitchen, the sort of damp cold that seeps into the soul. Phil started to dry the crocks and put them away. Only one knife remained; the sharp one used to slice bacon. Catching the light from the window, the shiny blade almost beckoned. Slowly and quite deliberately Phil picked it up. Watched as dribbles of water rolled from blade to handle. It crossed his mind that a wet knife might lose its edge. Carefully, almost lovingly, he wiped away the remaining drops and rubbed the blade dry. Pam hated to see smears on cutlery. Well, she wouldn’t see any on this knife ... ever again.

10 June 2018

MEMORIES (a repeat from 2012)



Picture sorting
Memories thrive
Times when courting
Happy … alive.

Happy couple
Hand in hand
Wading in
The sea and sand.

Sunrays, sunshine
Carefree fun
Crowded beach
Tan overdone.

Sunscreen reminder
Paid no heed
Soreness, sorrow
Regretful deed.

Specialist implored
‘Heed my advice’
He was ignored
Yet he said it twice.

Picture sorting
Memories thrive
Times when courting
Happy … alive.

06 June 2018

POWERLESS (a repeat)


He stood at the door and watched as she slowly lowered herself into her chair, her hands gripping the narrow arms as she tried to level out the descent. He had to force himself not to go to her aid, recognising her need for independence.
Once an outgoing, vital person with numerous interests both in and out of the home, his wife was now in rapid decline. Jed was afraid to touch her lest he caused her some pain. Although she never complained he caught the odd wince when his handling was less gentle.
              
Satisfied that Martha was settled, Jed went into the room to get her reading matter, a paperback, the only thing she had left to do apart from eat and sleep. Gone are the days when she fanatically enjoyed working her many crafts. Or jigsaws, though not the easy kind, she preferred difficult ones, working without pictures, forming scenes in her head as she concentrated on fitting each piece. There was always a project to do when all else was done. Now she couldn’t even hold a heavy book in her misshapen hands.
It broke his heart to see her suffer, though she never complained. Sometimes he had to leave the house, seek refuge somewhere, see people, do something different; the only way to get some solace. The whole sickness regime wore him down. He didn’t know what to do and if he was honest he didn’t want to know. He yearned to have the fun years back, when there were no worries about ill health.
In years gone by, they danced at the local ballroom. A practised dancer, Martha would whirl around the floor in her special dress and high heeled satin shoes, her flame coloured hair flying behind her, while he tried desperately to keep up. She would pull and tug and remonstrate that he wasn’t trying hard enough. 
But he did try. He had always tried to do his best for her. He guessed that sounded as though she was demanding when she wasn’t. It was just that he loved her so much and couldn’t bear her to suffer disappointment or hurt. 
He looked up, realising she was watching him.
‘Are you in pain?’ she asked.
He moved to stand beside her chair, one hand stroking her grey hair. ‘No, my dear, I was just besieged by a memory.’
‘Best leave the memories to me,’ she replied, smiling. ‘I’m better equipped to deal with them.’
And she was! Another example of her sense of humour.

Thinking back over the years he smiled, remembering. Martha’s humour was the first thing that attracted him to her. She was sitting in a coffee bar, breaking squares of chocolate from the bar and dropping them into a paper bag wedged between cups. When she saw his inquisitive stare she explained that she intended to throw the chocolate away because she was on a diet. At his suggestion that she could simply toss away the whole bar, she countered that it would be too quick and wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of handling each little piece.
The first years of their marriage were great fun, starting right on their wedding day when she tried to explain to the priest during the ceremony that the ring went on the third finger of the left hand. On honeymoon she hid her underclothes lest they offended her new husband, and when their daughter was born she wanted to spare him from seeing her undressed. Those were the good old days when she was young and fit, full of life and a trifle silly. 

There were no regrets. Martha’s life had been good, and still was. Although she had fond memories she wasn’t one for constantly remembering the past. Her style was always to live each moment and move on. Sometimes she’d felt a little claustrophobic with the pressure of remembering to order. It was too difficult to go down the route of reliving each long gone experience. She’d always wanted to be free to have her own opinions and ideals; they had shaped her life, shown her the way to proceed. She supposed she was thought of as unsentimental and in a way she guessed that was right. She wasn’t frivolous but light-heartedness suited her best.
And now here she was, confined to the house and sometimes the chair, surrounded by love and compassion yet still feeling stifled. Was that a sign of getting old or had she always felt that way? She sighed and opened the paperback book, one she’d chosen simply because the title intrigued her: Up Close and Personal, written by someone she’d never before heard of. She read the first few pages until she heard the softly closing front door. Glancing at the clock on the sideboard she saw that it was three o’clock. Much too early, she thought, for a visit to the Queens Head.  Thoughtfully she returned the book to the table beside her chair.

She knew all about Jed’s quandary. Despite his unwillingness to be tied down to domesticity he was a good and kind man and she loved him dearly. However, coming to terms with his impatience of long term ill health had taken her many years. Her first encounter had been when his father had a stroke. Jed was first at his bedside but subsequent visits were well spaced out, prompting fierce arguments between them until she recognised that he hadn’t sufficient aptitude to get more closely involved. But it didn’t mean he didn’t care, that’s why she had vowed not to be a drain on their everyday life. 
As if that thought was a reminder, she painfully stretched an arm out to the side table and selected a pill bottle from an array of similar bottles, all with caps ready loosened. Damn these fingers, she cried, as she shook out two easy to swallow painkilling capsules.


‘Hi Mom,’ said Danny as he and Babs let themselves into the house. 
‘Hello, dears,’ called Martha, straightening her plaid skirt so that she would look more respectable for her children.
Carrying flowers and a basket of fruit, brother and sister entered the room, both of them trying not to appear shocked at their mother’s appearance. In a short space of time she’d shrunk to nothing, from healthy plumpness to this emaciated existence. The doctor put it down to inactivity, lack of appetite, and old age.
‘Where’s Dad,’ enquired Danny.
‘Probably gone to the park,’ Martha said. ‘He likes to get out when the weather’s fine.’
Danny inwardly seethed although he knew better than to say what was on his mind. His father had always cut and run rather than face up to domestic situations.
Martha could see that her eldest child was privately at war with his father and wished there was something she could say in her husband’s defence. Instead she asked Babs to brew them a pot of tea and reminded her that the biscuit tin was still full of her favourites.
Babs chuckled. ‘Oh Mother, I’ve brought you some more. I thought you would have eaten the others by now.’

With Babs out of the way Martha turned to her son and said, ‘Don’t feel badly about your Dad.’
Danny shrugged. ‘It upsets me when he leaves you alone so much.’
For the first time Martha admitted aloud that she preferred it that way. ‘It means I can wallow when I’m on my own. I have to put up such a front when your Dad’s here.’
‘Why?’
‘Because he loves me, almost too much.’ She knew that Danny would never understand but she tried to elaborate. ‘He lives in the past, you see. He always has done. I think he’s afraid of what the future will bring. I’m more realistic. I don’t let on too much when I have pain because I can’t take too much fuss. Your Father does a lot for me but I prefer not to wear him out. It’s selfish, I know, but then we’re both selfish. We know when to keep our distance and when to allow some dependence upon each other. It’s about knowing each other, Danny, respecting who we are, but in a strange sort of way it shows how much we care about each other.’
She didn’t enjoy seeing the tears in Danny’s eyes, but she’d had to be blunt. She just hoped he and Babs would finally realise that although their parents had faults their relationship was as strong as it ever was. 
  

At the end of the afternoon visit Danny and Babs left the house by the front door, leaving Martha still sitting in the chair. Just before the door closed, Martha heard Babs say ‘Well, I for one don’t understand it. Wouldn’t you think that being in love would make people more accommodating?
One day, thought Martha, you might be more understanding of the human race. Being in love is wonderful but it doesn’t necessarily iron out all of life’s wrinkles.

03 June 2018

Love in the wild!


Living on ground level, in a single storey bungalow, certainly has its advantages. Bird watching, for example. If I lived higher up I would miss such a lot because much of the action occurs on ground level.

Have you ever seen birds mate? For several years the dunnocks would mate right by my lounge windows and being a curious creature myself I stood and watched. The procedure fascinated me, so different to the human way of mating. Then the dunnocks left and I almost forgot that yearly procedure. Until today when I discovered the birds had merely switched from back of the house to the front.

I was in the bedroom doing that daily chore of making the bed.

As I walked round the bed I heard a noise outside. Birds, I thought, as I rushed to the window. It’s an old habit after years of birdwatching. One cheep and either Joe or me would check the variety. Some bird sounds were clear to us but this one was just ‘a bird’.

Well, the noise that alerted me this time had nothing to do with birds but it was responsible for me catching sight of the dunnocks. Yes, they were at it again. I didn’t realise they had changed their mating spot. This time I was nearer to them so got a real lesson in how birds ‘do it’.

No romance at all. In fact, there’s not much getting together either. No lovemaking as we know it. First the birds do a little chase, usually led by the female. She does a lot of hopping on the spot while he flutters on a spot a few inches away from his ladylove. Then, presumably when she is ready for him, he jumps the small distance and fires! It takes all of one second, if that!. Then off they go, flying their separate ways, but no doubt they get together to raise the family.

And that’s it. All over.

Dunnocks nest in bushes rather than trees and there’s plenty of them at my place. I am thrilled that the birds have resumed the policy of years gone by and that is to make a nest near the patio window. Now I have great pleasure in awaiting the arrival of youngsters. 

29 May 2018

DELIGHTFUL ODDITIES


(Extracts from A Gentleman Publisher’s Commonplace Book by John G Murray)

~~~~~

‘Sex has become a serious international problem for which a solution hasn’t yet been found.’
(Introduction to a The Truth about Sex submitted by A M Macrae 1968)

‘The girl was beheaded, chopped into pieces and placed in a trunk but was not interfered with.’
(From a Fleet Street report)

‘What has one wheel and flies?’
‘A wheelbarrow full of manure!’
(A riddle from John Piper)

‘What is funny about legs?’
‘The bottom is at the top!’
(A riddle from a lady of 92)

 ‘I’m afraid,’ said a woman on entering a shoe shop, ‘that one of my feet is larger than the other.’
‘Oh no, madam,’ exclaimed the salesman, ‘if anything one is smaller.’

‘Exclusive Universal Tailors.’
(Advertisement)

‘Sole joint agents.’
(Sign outside a house)

‘Tattooed lady wishes to meet gentleman with similar views.’
(Advertisement from the agony column of the Observer)

‘Ears pierced while you wait’
(Notice in a Cork jeweller’s window)

‘St Margaret’s School of the Immaculate Conception for Girls’
and underneath
‘Preparatory for Boys’
(Sign outside a school in Berkshire)

Q. ‘What’s the difference between a snowman and a snow woman?’
A. ‘Snowballs.’
(Riddle from Anne Ridler)

A warden in the dark outside an air raid shelter during the war asked, ‘Are there any pregnant women here?’
A young cockney shouted, ‘Give us a chance, guv’, we’ve only been ‘ere ten minutes.’

Hotel notice: ‘If requiring breakfast please hang on door knob before 7am.’

‘Due to staff shortage the automatic ticket machines are not in use.’
(Notice in Farringdon Underground Station)

Wording on a form sent out by a Government department in 1962:
‘Separate departments on the same premises are treated as separate premises for this purpose where separate branches of work which are commonly carried on as separate business in separate premises are carried on in separate departments of the same premises’

‘Baths may be had by arrangement with the manageress only.’
(Notice in a Southport hotel)

‘Horse manure bagged 25p. Do it yourself 10p.’ 
(Advertisement outside a Sussex farm)


25 May 2018

Cat Comforts


Why, when I go to sit down, I find Charlie the cat is already there. It doesn’t matter which chair, he tries them all, but his favourite is the rocker, which is also mine. Second favourite is the sofa!

It is funny to see him rocking when he jumps on the chair but he seems to like it. I have noticed that he changes position frequently, presumably in order to experience more rocking.

In the meantime, I am relegated to another seat from which I disregard the look of disdain on the cat’s face. I swear he thinks all chairs are made for him.




Is it common for cats to take over the household furnishings? 
I don’t think Lee did it, many moons ago. Lee was white with black markings and a very feminine cat. Her legs reminded me of the Queen Ann legs you see on old furniture. She had such a precise way of placing her feet on the ground and if it was muddy outside she would select the right way to go, just like a Victorian lady.

One thing I do recall, though, is the way she loved me. Literally! She would leap onto my lap then stretch up to put her arms (legs) round my neck. She did that for eighteen years, until she got so poorly the vet advised putting her down. She clung to me that day, arms (legs) around my neck, and stayed there until the end.

I think Charlie will always be a cat that likes a fuss and likes to come on my lap but there is an independence about him that is rather cute. One thing that I like about him is that he talks to me - in his own language, of course. For example, if he gets caught in the rain he hurries back to me to complain, in loud cat language, and he won’t stop until I get a towel to dry him, even in the middle of the night. Don’t you just love pets that don’t understand time?


21 May 2018

ARTISTIC TALENTS, a repeat from February 2010

Aren't old photographs fascinating? This is my Mom and Dad's wedding picture. Dad was the eldest of six, the last was yet to be born. Look at the outfits worn by granddad and grandma on the left. And don't they look happy? Only the best man had a smile on his face ... perhaps he knew something they didn't. Here's a more modern one, taken when I was a child. The rest of the grandchildren came later. I've added the names for ease of identification.

And here's Mom and Dad on their own, you can tell by the style of photograph that it's an old one

Whatever the character of the photographs, they elicit forgotten memories that are worth savouring. Here are some of mine for your amusement.


My family on my Dad’s side was both musical and artistic. Starting with my grandfather who ‘played piano by ear’ the family members developed their own form of music, playing the piano, dancing or singing. Most were artistic … woodwork, craft-work, art or dramatics. Only now, as I look back, do I recognise the surfeit of talent in the family.

In view of the fact that I was a downtrodden child, with a mother who offered no praise or encouragement and constantly reminded me to know my placespeak when spoken to, and what will neighbours think when they look at you? (referring to my habit of leaving coats undone) I went through life thinking I had neither appeal nor aptitude. Only now do realise I wasn’t too bad at a lot of things, especially craftwork and writing.

My Dad was an artist, too, but although he was good at drawing his imagination and creativity was not with the arts. He was a wiz with wood. By trade a carpenter and joiner, if there was wood to be turned he was your man. He loved to surprise Mom and me, doing things in the home when we were out. New bits and pieces would appear. I particularly remember door handles, big and extraordinary works of art that were the talk of the neighbourhood.

As a child I was the proud possessor of a magnificent fully furnished dolls house, a dolls cradle, pencil cases, 3-tier needlework boxes, and a wonderful desk and stool, tongue and grooved to perfection. When I married he delighted in creating things for my new home, a radio stand that was an exact wooden replica of the bird bath, a cork topped, carved legged card table that was the envy of the family and fought over when he died. I still have the desk.

(Norman)

The youngest sibling, my Uncle Norman, was musical. I don’t recall him ever playing an instrument but he sure could sing. He had a fine voice that reached the rafters in church. From birth he was a sufferer of osteogenesis imperfecta, better known as brittle bone disease. Judging by his stunted growth you would not have expected him to have such a fine singing voice. He sang with a well known choir for years and was a popular member of an amateur dramatics group run by the church drama group. Nearly always the star of the show, people would ask if Norman had a part before they bought tickets. They knew they’d have a good laugh if he was in the show. He is no longer with us but his memory lives on for many folk.

(Florence)

Encouraged by Ann, Norman’s wife, who is acclaimed for her work with oils, Aunt Florence took up painting. She delighted in transferring images of her garden to paper, with which she taught me everything I needed to know about plant life. However, her special talent was marquetry, producing wonderful pictures from different types of wood veneer.


Three Scottish cousins played in the National Youth Orchestra, but the one who shot to fame was Susan: noted concert pianist, writer, and pride of the family. She was the first girl to enter the music faculty at Kings CollegeCambridge, and is to this day a joy to listen to.

My musical career (said with tongue-in-cheek) started when Mom sent me for piano lessons given by an elderly professor of music, at any rate he seemed old to me. I did quite well, gaining two certificates from the Imperial School of Music. The third attempt would have been a doddle if the examiner hadn’t stopped me playing, pointed to a random piece in the sheet music, and ordered me to ‘start again from there….’ That’s when I realised he knew I was playing from memory. 

Reason?

I couldn’t read music … but my memory was fantastic.

Reason?

The Professor was a dirty old man. He would sit beside his pupils close enough for legs to touch. He liked to squeeze young girls’ thighs as they played.

I was very young and shy and scared of adults, always fearing what they would say. I couldn’t fight him nor could I tell my parents. Mom would just accuse me of lying. My immature brain decided that if I memorised everything I could get away from him faster, hence the discovery of fraud at my music examination.

In those days girls kept that sort of thing to themselves. I guess we were ashamed to admit, actually to put into words that a dirty old man was stroking their thighs. How embarrassing was that? 

The stroking didn’t stop at the thigh. I remember my skirt being pulled right up and fingers tugging at the elastic round the knicker leg. I remember making the excuse of wanting the toilet in order to jump off the piano stool and get away from him. 

I began to miss lessons, played truant, naively thinking no-one would notice. One day I caught a bus into town, while at home the police were organising a search party. Oooo the hiding I got for causing everyone so much worry! None of that ‘are you all right’ rubbish.

But that, as they say, is another story.


15 May 2018

TALE OF THE RAGGED CARD

(photo by thepartyteacher.com)

When I was a five-year-old child (yes, I remember) I had to be farmed out so that my parents could go to work without worrying about me. An incident happened that I have never forgotten. Actually, it was the start of WW2 so for seven years I spent many happy hours playing with their son.

Don’t worry I am not going to labour on about those years with Carrie and Fred, just one incident that happened during a weekend spent back home with my parents.

It was Christmas and my mother gave me the job of opening the Christmas cards and displaying them on our piano. On one ‘opening session’ I opened a card from Carrie and Fred, a pretty card if I remember rightly, one that had a sort of rough edge to it. My mother, always one to speak her mind, labelled it as a second hand card that had once had an inner page on which to write a greeting.

‘It’s one of last year’s cards’, exclaimed my mother. ‘She’s torn out the middle pages and used the card again’.

I thought it was a clever idea.

The card had arrived in a parcel that contained a Christmas gift for me which necessitated a thank you letter. I wrote my thanks in my best handwriting and in my innocence included a ‘Mommy said…’

The two women didn’t speak for a long time after that and the feud went on for years. All arrangements for my time with the family were dealt with by my Dad.

I guess that was the time I learned to keep my mouth shut!

13 May 2018

ODDS AND SODS



1.   Google is trying to get me involved with all sorts. Conversation with man/photo, known as Google Hangouts.  Apparently to stop this happening again I have to cancel it on Google Profile which is…. where?

2.   I have frequent conversations with Charlie but he never answers back. Can I take it that a loving nuzzle is a replacement for ‘yes’?

3.   Having lived through WW2 is it reasonable to feel scared at the way our politicians are behaving?

4.   Never call a cat ‘Marmalade’. A neighbour once had a ginger tom, a cat who loved being out at night. Neighbour used to go out and call him no matter what time it was. Marmalade! Marmalade! Her voice would shriek through the dark which either annoyed or amused her neighbours.

5.   And now, in keeping with the current breakdown trend, the bottom part of my double oven has packed up. Next….

6.   Next is good… £10 refund on a grocery order because one item wasn’t right. The refund was more than the original cost. Also found two incorrect items because there wasn’t time to check whilst delivery guy was there. Sent email. Reply stated that the driver hadn’t enough time so they were going to increase it by adding extra seconds! I shall definitely continue shopping at that store.

7.   When I was a young girl my aunt religiously taught me the names of flowers but now I’ve grown old I can’t remember them.

8.   Got thanked by refuse collectors for stacking unwanted cardboard in a way that made their job easier.

9.   The bottom half of the double electric cooker has given up the ghost. To join in the fun the large freezer is bleeping at me, which indicates old age. Mustn’t grumble. Decision, buy smaller one. Anyway, the tall one costs too much since it only has to freeze a few things. We bought it around 25 years ago which proves it was a good buy. Good buy or not, I am still going to say goodbye to it.

10. That’s all… it’s respite time!

12 May 2018

ANONYMOUS PHONE CALL

Phone calls from ‘unavailable’ are usually from people who either have nothing better to do or selling something I don’t want. I do NOT answer calls with no name or number. I’m referring to the land line, I never got funny callers on the mobile phone, until now, and this was a real beauty! Read on…

THIS IS HMRC (Her Majesty’s something or other). WE HAVE FOUND AN ARREST WARRANT IN YOUR NAME. PRESS 1 IMMEDIATELY TO SPEAK TO YOUR CASE OFFICER

Well, I would if I could remember doing something wrong but honestly I plead NOT GUILTY of ANYTHING. If you don’t hear from me for a few years you’ll know I was arrested and locked up. I worry about Charlie if I do get locked up for something I didn’t do.

Seriously,  isn't it time phone companies put a stop to these pests?