29 June 2015

Stop that call!

Instead of smashing the phone, try this method of coping with unwanted, unsolicited telephone calls!

I have complained about this before – and it gives me great pleasure to report on my final choice of dealing with it. It was a blogging friend who mentioned it and I have to say how much I appreciate the advice.

You see, the callers had become quite cunning. If the call went unanswered they would leave a message on the voicemail system – which had to be paid for. If someone leaves a message all we get is an announcement that a message awaits – not who left it. More often than not it was the cold-caller inviting us to ring back. What a cheek!  

You must have caller ID to do this , otherwise the Granny would be upset. It’s a simple matter of seeing who called via Caller ID; if it says WITHHELD or INTERNATONAL or NUMBER UNKNOWN then lifting the receiver and immediately replacing it cuts them off, and they are unable to leave a message. Knowing this makes me feel GOOD when I do it. It certainly removes the tension.

It's simple but effective and I’m so pleased I learned this trick. It removes all the tension and angst.

What amazes me though is being able to check on numbers via Google. Is there anything Google can’t do?!

27 June 2015

Songs and Sounds on Saturday


who died in a plane crash

21 June 2015


It seems to me that life is suddenly not worth a dime, or whatever denomination we prefer to use. Let me say right now that I didn’t come to that conclusion easily. Every day, in newspapers, on radio and television there are reports of murders, some more gruesome than others but still putting to death a lover, partner or child, colleague or drinking companion, even parents or grandparents. What is the world coming to when it becomes fashionable to commit such a crime. Open a newspaper and you won’t just read about one awful incident, but two, three, and more.

Recently I read about a 14 year old boy being murdered in a cemetery. It was described as a savage and brutal murder committed by three males aged 16, 18 and 19. What on earth induces young people to commit such terrible crimes? Is it anger that drives them or drugs?

And what about those husbands who kill themselves and their kids in an act of defiance against an ex-wife and/or society? This tips the scale for me every time I read about such senseless crimes. They seem to have an attitude that says ‘if I can’t have them, neither will you’. Do these men actually LOVE their kids? I can’t see how they can if they are willing to slaughter them in spite. I say again, what price is life if it can so easily be destroyed?

Only yesterday I read with horror about a guy who stamped on his heavily pregnant partners tummy, killed the well formed but as yet unborn baby, and landed the woman in hospital. He is charged with killing an unborn child and assault. I hope he and all other murderers rot in hell.

It seems that from an early age kids are being brainwashed by television and those newspapers that make more of the crime and less about the punishment. The latter was once a deterrent, now it’s like winning medals. If courts sentence teenagers to a term of confinement they brag about where they’re sent to.

My current thinking, which has been current for a long time, is that the UK should bring back the death sentence. We used to hang criminals, now we pat them on the back and tell them not to do it again. Not literally, of course. Instead they are locked away, deprived of family life, and released before an imposed sentence is complete.

Bring back the dungeons, I say. Prisons do NOT teach criminals a lesson. The only sufferers are the families they leave behind.  As a nation we’ve become soft, which allows wrong-doers to carry on without fear. For sure we need stronger punishment than a term in prison. 

20 June 2015

15 June 2015

Dear Sir...

photo courtesy of RSPB
Dear Mr Magpie

Over the months my husband and I have watched with interest how you, Mr Magpie, overcame the hurdle of getting food from the feeding station in our garden. I didn’t actually think you would achieve success in getting nuts or meal-worm from a swinging container, but conquer it you did. We are impressed, Mr Magpie.

I confess we laughed at first, seeing you frantically flapping your wings in order to keep upright while lifting a single nut before flying off to enjoy the taste. What I didn’t know was that you would be copied. Mr Jay, no less, the prettier member of the Crow Family. I spent some time watching you and he in action and am wondering if you, Mr Magpie, are about to give more lessons.

We saw Mr Blackbird eyeing the feeders as they tried to regain a stationary position. He had a sort of longing about him which eventually turned into a look of determination. Or was it desperation? Yes, he tried, and failed a few times, but eventually got the hang of it. Mrs Blackbird looks on and I wonder how long it will take her to copy her mate, I mean someone has to teach the children, don’t they? What with the new babies of Mr and Mrs Bullfinch, there is much to see and methinks much to achieve.

I wonder, Mr Magpie, if you have a minute could you think of a way to get rid of Mr Squirrel and his growing family? I promise treats galore if you could oblige me on this major small matter. My main grievance is caused by me reducing the amount of sunflower seed in one of the expensive feeders. Not only did Mr S manage to remove the metal perch (or whatever material it was) but he also chewed the plastic container in such a way that prevents replacement of said perch. Needless to say I am LIVID. Of course, it’s my fault for not filling the whole container. I should learn from this. I took some pictures, of course, in order to confirm this. I will attach them to this communication so you can see for yourself the sort of bad behaviour we have to put up with. 

Oh dear, Mr Magpie. Did you see the attack on the woodpigeon? It looked as if the bird had a wound between wing and chest but whichever predator got him killed him. Such a shame. Such a pity it wasn’t the squirrel!

I must go now, Mr M. I have wasted much time writing this and the birds are waiting for food. Thank goodness you treat the feeders like they should be treated. Your antics as you feed on the wing, so to speak, are truly entertaining.

Yours, in admiration

13 June 2015

Songs and Sounds on Saturday

I wasn't a jazz lover but this piece of music got to me - then and now!
Hope you enjoy listening to

08 June 2015


Bill, with his cake
Last weekend Joe and I went to a neighbour’s 100th birthday celebration. It was great. As you can see from the picture there was lots of wine and cake. Bill’s family, friends and neighbours were there to drink his health and wish him a happy birthday. Unfortunately, his wife died a few years ago, in her nineties too but sadly she didn’t reach her centenary. 

On the day itself we (meaning neighbours) rushed to get a copy of the local newspaper because we knew a piece would be in it about Bill’s big day. Imagine my horror when it didn’t arrive. Not just me, the entire road – well, almost! My cleaning lady sent her husband out to get free copies from the local shop while I ranted until given one. It pays to rant sometimes, although in this case I needn’t have bothered – the paper arrived later that day, in time for us to see it before going to the party.

I didn’t get to see the birthday card from the Her Majesty the Queen or the letter from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions but one of Bill’s sons read them out. The Queen, via her personal secretary, used to send a telegram but now sends a birthday card with a large photograph of herself on the front. I took in the news on a need-to-know-basis in case I ever get that far. I’d better not move house, just in case! Actually, I can’t imagine living to that age but good luck to those who do.

As a just-in-case the royal card didn’t arrive, Joe and I sent a special 100th birthday card with a note inside from the Royal family across the road. Us! Conceited lot, aren’t we?

Although it isn’t so, I always think of great ages as times of suffering with ill health but in our neighbour’s case, apart from one or two falls and poor eyesight, he is doing GREAT. His mind is still sharp and his memory isn’t bad either. 

If that was to apply to all ageing folk I wouldn’t mind living it out. My memory is definitely on the wane so what it will be like in the future doesn’t bear thinking about. I overcome the problem by writing notes on and off the computer. If I write a note on the iphone it goes straight to my other gadgets courtesy of Cloud which is a terrific help. So instead of counting down – or should that be counting UP – I shall leave it to technology and the Queen to remind me when it’s time to celebrate. 

06 June 2015

Songs and Sounds on Saturday

Who remembers Dana Andrews and Susan Haywood?

My Foolish Heart
(from the film of the same name)

Every teenagers idea of romance!

01 June 2015


One great thing about technology is the speed photographs reach us. Remember the time when air mail was the only way to get fast communication from abroad? Remember how we wrote letters and then had to wait an eternity for a reply. I recall having to wait five or six weeks for a letter to reach me when my mother was in Australia – of course, that was by ordinary mail, by ship, a long time ago.

Desserts to die for!
I got to thinking about this when I received the above two photographs from Rosanne – sent from Hong Kong and received by me instantaneously ... or would have been had I been awake when they were sent. She was taking afternoon tea in Hong Kong and thought I’d like to see what she was having. She was right about my wanting to see them but a ticket to ride would have been the perfect way to tell her that... smiles. She did, however, give me permission to use them for this post.

Talking of pictures, I’m having a great time with the new phone camera. I’m snapping everything in sight, good or bad, in the hope of having something to post on the blog. I did a tour of the garden and marvelled at newly acquired seeded flowers as well as old favourites venturing forth to face the wind and rain – well, it is springtime, when anything can happen.
The best flowering the Azalea has ever had
Self-seeders sneaked in when I wasn't looking.
As did these!
They look like poppies but I can't find them in my wildflower book.
An unknown self-seeder, never seen before.

This is new, too. Honestly, those birds are doing me some real favours.
And this lovely Weigela that hid behind a huge Quince and only this year could properly be seen
Then, there’s the artwork! At least that’s what I’m calling the newfound hobby of colouring. I have a great collection of artist materials in the form of coloured pencils, felt tips and pens that were hitherto unheard of. There are sparkly ones and some containing gel, the latter to be used with extreme caution because it covers everything, takes longer to dry, and smears if I just breathe on it. I am still trying to find wax crayons in the shops... I think they must have gone out of fashion.

And what about the pictures themselves? Well, I have several books of pictures waiting to be worked on. One of the books on sale is in similar style to the Secret Garden (shown HERE) but consists of animals instead of flowers. I just had to have it, didn’t I? I also have a book of animals but of inferior quality. The pictures are okay but the paper they’re printed on is rubbish. Felt tip shows through to the other side and coloured pencils hardly make an impression; hence the need for wax crayons.

I love working with felt tips, the smooth flow of ink does something for me in the way of relaxation and I’m getting a dab hand at following lines without going over them. You can see how carried away I am, can’t you?
Amazed? No, a Maze!
The artist plants surprise items within her pictures, in this case the key to the door hangs from a leaf on the right. It is gold colour but looks pink in this photo

My favourite!

This fellow would have looked better if I'd left the face white to match the trousers. I shall know better next time.
I have told WI colleagues about this new craze and noted their interest with surprise. So, on a recent lunch engagement with a few mates I whipped out the (new) phone and showed them what I’ve been up to. I’m now wondering if I can claim commission for spreading the word.