27 April 2015


I wonder why manufacturers put their company name labels in the back of garments. Most people I know cut them out because of the irritation they cause. Surely those who make the garments know this! What’s wrong with putting a label where the washing instructions go? I mean, it’s not every day someone gets to see who made a specific piece of clothing worn by friends. I struggle to see the point of the exercise since I never ever take off a blouse to check who made it, and nobody else can see the label either. 
This has been a personal problem for many years. I would buy something, forget to remove the identifying label, wear it once ... and suffer. So, out would come my unpicking implement to get rid of the offending item. Even the stitching would irritate so I had to be careful not to cut into the new apparel. Yes, I’ve done that before now!
After many years of misery coping with the problem, I now have a mark on the part of my neck where a collar rests. It is rough to touch and itches like mad. I treat it with creams but it doesn’t help, I still have the itch! And it’s all down to unwanted labels attacking my skin.
Talking of itches, do you ever suffer with midge bites? That’s my current annoyance. Every time I go out a midge or other insect attacks me. I have bought loads of insect repellent but nothing seems to stop them. If anyone has any suggestions about this problem I would love to hear them ‘cause I’m sick and fed-up with waking up in the night through tremendous bouts of irritation that need scratching.
The best thing I have found for soothing these irritations is Witch Doctor, so named because it contains witch hazel, and is described as a soothing, healing treatment for irritated skin. It is an antiseptic astringent which I have used for years and always keep in stock. That is ... until recently. I actually ran out of it so it quickly went on my shopping list. Would you believe that Boots, the biggest chemist we have in our country, had never heard of it. Or so said the assistant, but she was a young lady so I can understand that. However, she checked the stock list and it wasn’t there. NOT THERE? I thought she was joking! I tried other chemist stores, no luck there either. I had a brief moment of panic until I remembered the internet (as if I could forget ... LOL). 
So, Amazon to the rescue. They didn’t actually stock it but knew several stores that did and by next day I had a couple of tubes of Witch Doctor safely tucked away in my medicine drawer. It wouldn’t have surprised me if they came from some far off land since foreign countries seem to be better equipped than we are.

25 April 2015

Songs and Sounds on Saturday

Victor Borge
Clever, talented ... and funny

Also known as the Crown Prince of Denmark, the Unmelancholy Dane, and the Great Dane.
Born 3 January 1909 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Died 23 December 2000 in Greenwich, Connecticut, United States

20 April 2015

New Hobby


It was blogging friend Ron who got me interested in a new hobby, one that was supposed to be relaxing. Hmm, I thought, that could be an interesting way to occupy myself in spare moments. Did I say SPARE moments? I should refer to it as ‘difficult to tear myself away from’. I am engrossed with it. Of course, I realise you are wondering what on earth I’m talking about. Well, take a look at this.

Yes, it’s a colouring book. Shortly after reading about the idea this book was shown on television as an introduction to the latest adult craze. 

I didn’t know there was an adult craze, but I do now. Along with an enormous box of chocolates, Joe bought the book as an Easter gift. I love it. I even ordered new felt tip pens and now, as already stated, I can’t leave it alone.

Of all the things I have done there were always guidelines. Cooking required a recipe, knitting and crocheting needed patterns, creating greeting cards needed the bits and pieces to design with, all because I lacked imagination and/or confidence. And now I have a book to colour, one filled with someone else’s talent for drawing. However, thanks to the artist, Joanna Basford, I am now engrossed in colouring. There is something soothing about bringing to life a few flowers, birds, and leaves (complete with caterpillars), deciding which colours to use, and once done making the decision about which picture to do next.

This is an adult craze that I can heartily recommend. Here's a few pictures of first attempts.

It starts like this
First attempt

I wonder how many of my friends would decide to have a go.

13 April 2015

In the road where I live..

Our dining room table is right in front of the window, with a good view of patio and garden and the various bird feeders. One intriguing sight is the mouse that cuts across at high speed. If I blink I miss him. Sometimes all I get is an impression of something whizzing by. He takes the same route every day. I think he’s one of the three babies that came daily for birdseed last year. No longer a baby, he now ventures further afield.  We thought it quite amusing when several times a neighbour’s cat followed the same trail. Coincidence? Or was he following the scent of mouse? It all happens in our garden!

It all happens in our road as well. The next door neighbour, Doug, an elderly guy of 78, going on 79, has started to tumble. On a few occasions he has fallen in his own home, unable to get himself upright, but at least once he was outside where Joe found him. One night was spent on the floor of his bathroom where another neighbour discovered him. She pops round to sort his washing and do some shopping so she, fortuitously, has a key. Joe and I have been key-holders for many years on a just-in-case basis. The poor man’s memory is not what it was and sometimes he has had to phone us to let him out when he mislaid his own keys. Note that... we had to let him OUT. How sad when the mind gets in such a state, something that can happen to us all. Fortunately, Joe and I still retain our faculties. 

Things have been organised now, the doctor has arranged with Social Services to supply carers – much against the wishes of the man himself. Doug has always lived alone and it goes against the grain to have people in his home telling him what to do or generally keep an eye on him.
We are fortunate in the UK that our health service provides for us oldies, although to read the newspapers you would wonder, by the sheer numbers of ageing folk, how on earth the medics cope. But cope they do, and very well, at that. When I think of the speed and efficiency that went into caring for Joe I am truly grateful. It knocked us sideways sometimes with the amount of appointments he had but there was never any room for complaint, thank the Lord. 

06 April 2015

My Monthly Angst!

President's Badge... I really should get one!

Being president of the local WI has its drawbacks as well as its positive side and even after almost two years in the chair I still feel like an incompetent newcomer. You would not believe that previous experience at greater heights failed to give me confidence. I’m okay on the outside so I don’t think people notice, but inside... well, my stomach quivers like jelly. Maybe it’s because I’m older now, who knows.

When I think about it, I remember that previous experience was helped by a team of people who each had their own job. It meant that all angles were catered for without problems. Now, though, in a smaller institute I find there are too many cooks to spoil the broth. Either that or no cooks at all! It is very hard work trying to implement change when no attempt at change has been tried before. So why bother, I ask myself. Joe is great, he boosts my ego to such a point that I keep on trying.

I was elected president on the grounds that change needed to be made. Everything was dull, no interest being shown in any arrangement until it got that no-one bothered to try anything new. That’s where I came in. It was said that if anyone could brighten the place up, it was me. So, for my sins, I was elected.

Now, have you ever tried to shift an elephant? You can talk to it, cajole it to move, but you can’t get it to move any faster than it wants. And yet it can move fast IF it wants. Same with my institute’s members, they could, if they tried, enjoy things. They could, if they tried, show a bit of enthusiasm.

The WI programme is fairly straightforward: a bit of business, a speaker, a raffle, a cuppa with cake, and a chat with friends. It’s the extra activity (EA) that causes the problem. The monthly meeting is exactly that – monthly. But in the dim and distant past someone, in their wisdom, decided that four weeks was too long a gap away from their WI buddies. Hence the EA which occurs bang in the middle.

Years ago (and I DO mean YEARS) people chose the EA to do craftwork, making things and learning stuff, but now that members have reached great ages they don’t want to know. Understandably they have been there and done that and don’t want to do it again, yet still want SOMETHING. That ‘something’ is a mystery to me. Whatever I or others suggest or organise is ignored. Nobody shows any interest. Yet still I hear the whispered remark ‘we don’t DO anything’.

What DO members like?

It is very noticeable that they like to eat or attend anything that includes food. They’ll queue up for that! I did wonder if perhaps they don’t eat at home. The trouble is that committee members, who are also in advancing years, find it too much to keep members fed as well as their own families. They’ve had enough. Consequently, with this in mind, we suggested eating out as an extra activity. The local pub does a great carvery so that pleased the membership. But then the committee decided that they should still try and lay on something else. Just when I thought I was winning......

I am rapidly coming round to using the expression ‘Tough!’ It may or may not be the right attitude but it’s very satisfying for my somewhat disillusioned soul.

This year the WI celebrates its Centenary. Yes, 100 years. I wonder how many institutes have grieved about or pondered upon the same or similar situations and how many more will follow the same route. It is comforting to know that deep down we're all the same. 

05 April 2015

Surprise, surprise

You should have seen the grin on my face when I saw the size of this box of chocs. After many years of NOT buying an Easter egg my Joe decided to make up for lost time. I foresee a day of chocolate indulgence ahead.
Thank you, Joe, you certainly gave me something to smile about xx

Happy Easter to all my blogging friends

04 April 2015

Songs and Sounds on Saturday

This is not my style of music but since the piano is played by my cousin, Susan, I thought I would include it in my Saturday programme. Susan specialises in Chamber Music and is often heard on a radio culture wavelength, one that broadcasts operas and highbrow stuff. She has written three books and also writes about music in a national newspaper. Susan was the first female student in the music faculty at Kings College, Cambridge University.

Susan Tomes

02 April 2015

Bits and Bobs

Do you ever take no-interest pictures? I mean, who in their right mind would take a shot of soap suds in a sink? I am intrigued, though, at the way the oddest things form patterns. I remember spending lots of time watching water roll off a ridged draining board into a sink. It fascinated me to see the way it chose it's path, in an out of the ridges, rolling calmly until it met another obstacle, then choosing another route. My son used to think I was quite mad ... maybe he was right!

For many years I have been intrigued by this house, which seems to have been there for ever. See the height to the front door? Is it built on a hill or is that an illusion? The house is opposite the drive of our lunching place (the one by the lake) so we have a good view as we drive out. I have never seen the occupants but I often wonder if they spend their time looking at the canooists or watching birds on the water. 

Just to fill an empty space here are some jokey things I found on line. 
My favourites are the first and last.

Well, I can't stay here all day, I have a meeting to go to. Townswomen's Guild, where I can relax and let someone else do all the work. Marvellous!