29 November 2015


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I wrote about this before - see here - when I first discovered there was a problem so I guess this is an update of where I am now.  

I want to explain about the problem I have with reading blogs that have coloured or white text on black or very dark background. Actually it’s the background that’s the problem. Anything black or navy defeats me... clothing, for example. When I wash and dry dark coloured items I can’t see to fold them ready to be put away. The light always has to go on so I can see what I’m doing. It never used to be so; I always prided myself on having good eyesight.

Never take eyesight for granted. We don’t appreciate it until it starts to decline, as in my case. I thought Macular Degeneration was something that happened to other people, not me. I’m only just starting down the path but already I’ve stopped laughing. It’s so inconvenient, as well. If I’m shown something by someone I have to back off because it’s a strain to the eyes to focus close up. Fortunately I can enlarge the font for most computer work but typing figures in columns is beyond me since enlarging tends to throw columns off screen. I had to resign as Joe’s secretary because of it. 

One of the hardest things is trying to read blogs with dark backgrounds and I was very pleased when one of my blogging friends changed the colour of his font. Thank you, Larry. I appreciate it. Sometimes it’s a struggle but at the moment I’m coping. However, I dread to think what it will be like in future. I hope bloggers will understand if I disappear from their blogs. It won’t be for any reason other than being unable to follow what they’ve written.

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It has its funny side, though. When I type email messages I have to check and recheck that there are no errors ... even then I miss some. You see I used to be an ace typist with an official high speed of a hundred-and-something wpm (words per minute). I forget the exact figure but it was high, nearer 200 if my memory serves me right. Well, I still have that speed but the brain interferes with my decision of where to place fingers on keyboard. I have told it to stop interfering but I’m ignored so I’m stuck with typing and reading and fervently hoping I spot all the errors. 

22 November 2015

Regretfully, this is the world we live in.....

Another teenager murdered. A respectable 15 year old who had the world in front of her, a girl who should be rejoicing in life. Instead she is murdered and only God knows what she went through before the end. The police found her mobile phone first, and then some of her clothes, and then her body – in a field. Two men charged, one with murder and having sex with a child, the other with grooming and having sex with a child. Their ages.... 27 and 28. I feel sick and very upset thinking about it.

Unfortunately, she’s not the only one who is treated this way, and what do we do about it? Damn all! I have aired my views before and was amazed by the controversial replies. We had hanging once and I would advocate that it was brought it back. Let’s face it ... prison is neither deterrent nor punishment to those who would commit such crimes. 

I agree that careful steps need to be taken before hanging someone but the American knows how to deal with it. Some say hanging is no deterrent but at least it removes some of the scum we seem to be rearing in vast numbers.

My heart bleeds for the parents of murdered victims. How could you live with the knowledge that someone hurt your child? I am surprised our government hasn’t done something about it. I think they’re scared of facing the truth, scared of upsetting people, scared to make a decision in case it upsets their followers.

I can’t bring the girl back but by heck I can curse those that killed her... and hope that one day we get back to being a caring community no longer littered by scum.  

15 November 2015

Where I am and where I want to be...

Adelaide Hoodlass
who was responsible for the start of the Women's Institute
100 years ago

Doesn't time fly? It seems only five minutes since I blogged about an invitation to stand as President of my local Women's Institute. In fact, that was two years ago. 

Last Thursday was Election Day, always a nervous time for me in case I didn’t get anything or everything right. I wrote my presentation well in advance and kept updating it as the weeks went by and it seemed to go down well. I’m not the only one who has to report, the secretary (new to the job) has to present one, as does the treasurer. Mind you, the treasurer had more to worry about than I did but it’s no consolation on the day. I tried to introduce some humour before getting down to the nitty-gritty and that raised a smile from the audience members. Actually it was a good thing to do because it made me relax more.

I am not a good speaker. I dare not even try to talk without the written word to refer to. However I did practice reading with plenty of pauses and lots of looking up at the members. I have read about public speaking but it doesn’t come easy to me. Nerves play a big part; even if my subject is familiar and well known I still fear making a hash of it. Oh how I admire those who can stand there and talk for an hour without a hitch. But I’m okay with a script in front of me.

I had made my mind up in advance about what I wanted to do and decided that I would stand down if someone else put their hand up. Being President is a worrying job sometimes. No matter what you do to encourage enthusiasm it never seems to work. We’re an ageing institute, you see. Everyone has been there and done that and doesn’t want to do it again. Under those circumstances there’s only so much we can achieve.  The Women’s Institute does great things but it’s younger people who keep it going. I never thought I’d say that but we have to be realistic. All the oldies want is a cup of tea and a chat and to listen to a good speaker. Anything else would be hard work.

I was voted in. An honour really, but after thanking them for their confidence I told the members I would only serve for one more year.... adding that three years was more than enough for anyone. I shall be 82 next May (you can raise your hands in horror or merely smile) so I’ve reached the stage of wanting to take it easy. Being president doesn’t allow that to happen because there’s always things to dream up, plan, and arrange. I’m running out of steam so that back seat is beginning to beckon.

I can’t complain, I’ve had it good in the WI. I moved up the ladder quite quickly and took on responsible jobs; I was County Chairman for four years which was a big responsibility but enjoyable so I can’t complain that I haven’t seen life in the WI. 

08 November 2015


(picture courtesy of
(picture from internet)
Old houses are not geared to modern technology. When we moved into our present home, twenty-four years ago, there were plug sockets to spare but not now, not with the laptops, Broadband connection, printers, scanners, land-line phones, lamps, electric shavers, hair dryers and tongs, televisions, radios, kettles, irons, washing machines, dishwashers, portable fires, lamps, and even more that need regular charging, like mobile phones and iPads. Admittedly some don’t need to be plugged in all the time but they’re in the minority. Then there’s all the extension leads needed to extend devices to the areas we want them. It’s not always possible to arrange furniture so that electrical items can be used where we want them, therefore extension leads and adaptors are vital assets. They run along the base of walls like starving white snakes, from electric sockets to wherever the next lamp is situated.  Other cables run across desks and counters, tucked in for safety. You should see my computer desk... you can’t see the desk for strewn wiring. Have you ever tried to tidy wires so they look respectable?

I had everything arranged to my liking but didn’t take into account the age of certain items which meant purchasing new stuff. And isn’t it strange how things pack up at the same time as if they've waged war and decided to leave the family that had given them house room for so long. Lamps seem 
to be the in-thing for deserting an already sinking ship. First the Mother-and-Child lamp packed up beyond repair. I take it you know what I mean but if not, well, an M&C lamp is an up-light (that’s mother) with a smaller light attached (that’s the child). It’s the only style of lamp that throws light everywhere ... up and around. After the anguish of losing that source of light, a smaller bedside lamp gave up the ghost. Fortunately (bad choice of word under the circumstances) I had other smaller lamps stored in a cupboard in case of emergencies such as this.  Out they came and one by one they broke and became unusable. It was time to go shopping.

I purchased a few smaller lamps together with their permitted bulbs in the mistaken idea that they would solve my problem. That’s when I discovered that all electric light bulbs are now designed to save energy, which means they don’t have the strength or lighting capacity they used to have. I am
told it’s called mood lighting. Obviously they don’t cater for my mood. So, now I am working in dimmed light which is no good at all. I need light to see with. Naked bulbs would be ideal since shades just dim the light even more but appearances do count. I mean, visitors would think we’d hit rock bottom. I would suggest moving but I don’t think that would go down well, especially since Joe is still suffering. It wouldn’t be fair, would it?

Somewhat reluctantly we have ordered another M&C light for the simple reason that I can’t see a damn thing in the ‘office’ I work in. It’s like working in the war years when using electricity was frowned on. And with my eyesight the way it is I need as much light as I can get so I can’t wait for the new M&C to arrive. The only drawback is assembling it. It’s not a job for the elderly but fortunately I have a wonderful cleaning lady who has a handy husband. Heehee I don’t know if he’s aware that she promised his help when the item arrives. 

01 November 2015


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November was the month, many years ago, when I was seriously burnt, and had the misfortune to be in hospital when victims of bonfire and firework ‘accidents’ were admitted. I felt obliged to write the following prose and poem, at the same time incorporating other monstrous November scenes.

The Prose

November is perhaps the most moving month of the year, steeped in tradition and teeming with expectancy.  Why yearn for sunnier climes or a terracotta tan when November's seasonal pulchritude comes free of charge. Broad avenues, awash with colour and piled high with copper jewels: red-gold gems, cascading from majestic trees, making way for fresh creations of embryonic buds.

Natural beauty contrasts sharply with more morbid attractions. Searing bonfires concoct a vivid tableau. Orange flames triumphantly lick the feet of man-made guys, egged on by a jubilant audience gobbling sausages and baked potatoes. Historical, traditional, and macabre, as are the fireworks: pretty explosives noisily winging, gloriously beguiling.

Scarlet poppies adorning our attire signify remembrance for the soldiers who fought for liberation … the war dead, who gave us optimism. Yields of mistletoe and holly and sometimes early snow prompt thoughts of Christmas celebrations, of nativity, and gatherings of families and friends.
Thus, November is a month of diverse elements: breathtaking, poignant, and sad. But it is never dull and those who claim that it is should examine its true potential, and wrest a soupçon of comfort from the depths of the sombre monotony that exists solely within their hearts.

This is November.    Enjoy.
The Poem
Broad avenues awash with colour,
Red gold gems tumbling to the ground;
Evolution preparing fresh creation,
Embryonic buds already sound.

Beyond the mists stem glowing vistas.
Nature sighs in resignation,
No challenger for graphic scenes
Of morbid fascination.

Poppies, red and unembellished,
Symbols of commemoration
To men in bloody trenches; soldiers
Sacrificing lives to give us liberation.

Carousals of darting, searing fire,
Triumphant flames of orange hue,
Incited by beholders’ hearty cheers
To kiss the feet of guys, and maybe you.

Motley fireworks, spectacular and loud,
Spiralling in the darkening night,
Gripping young ones, riveting them to pain.
Inevitably their shocking plight.

Advance through crumbly autumn leaves
Amidst displays of deciduous attraction,
But heed the groans as flames descend
And human euphoria condones the action.