26 February 2017


I do admire keep fit fanatics primarily because I can no longer follow the same
energetic pursuit. However, I do dislike seeing elderlies almost knocked over by inexperienced runners. Yes, it happened recently to an elderly man, right in front of me. Fortunately, he didn’t hit the deck or Mr Runner would have felt the power of my hand. Yep, I might be ancient but I could still pull a punch if pushed, or should I say when pushed? To give him his due he didn’t run off but he didn’t even ask how the guy was. He had stopped – end of story!

It used to happen in the local park, both Joe and I reported to each other
incidents whereby we were bothered by runners and cyclists who wanted the paths (not roads) to themselves, using bad language to make us shift. No matter that we were three times their age and less able to move quickly.

Cyclists were the scariest. Apparently bells don’t exist anymore. I spotted this piece of information which was published in 2011.

A requirement for all new bikes to be fitted with a bell before they leave the shop is one of 142 transport-related regulations likely to be scrapped by the Department for Transport (DfT) in response to a ‘Red Tape Challenge’ launched in May.’

It’s a long article which mentioned cyclists on roads and footpaths but no mention of park paths that are close to animals and their dens and passing walkers, paths which to my mind should only be used by walkers. Perhaps one day the powers-that-be will reconsider or at least make some effort to train cyclists in the art of cycling in a considerate manner. There is nothing worse for hard of hearing people and the elderlies than to have a bicycle skim by in scary fashion.

Thought for the day: Cyclists protect themselves with helmets but a mere walker doesn't. Maybe the law should change so that walkers wear protective gear as well. Coats lined with steel wouldn't come amiss!  

Although I miss my dogs, I am glad I don’t have to walk in parks anymore. It’s
far too terrifying.

21 February 2017


There's a reason for this midweek post! I tried earlier but was surprised to find that I couldn't write one. It was only by accident (many hours later) that I found the reason was having my name at the bottom. Suddenly and without my knowledge the code for it must have been wiped out. Once I removed my name from Settings all was well. So it looks as though I have to carry on regardless and insert the name every time.... if I remember.

Here's another story I wrote in the early days.... hope you enjoy it. 


In 1954 Patrick and I did the journey to Capecastle to celebrate his parents ruby wedding, a grand affair with a marquee and a slap-up meal and attended, it seemed, by the entire population of Northern Ireland.

'A great fuss,' grumbled Patrick, who was not keen on crowded functions. Nevertheless, he didn't mind joining his four brothers for after-dinner drinks … half a crate of Bushmills whiskey which was probably still illicit. And he didn't mind staying in bed the whole of the following day and night, cursing the pain in his head and blaming me for allowing it to happen.

Well, I enjoyed the anniversary party but if you were to ask me what I ate or to outline the topics discussed around the table I'd be hard pressed to remember. What does come to mind was the decision of the Portrush group to attend the village ball. It would be a perfect end to a perfect day. Or so I was led to believe.

My dress was ideal for a ball being ankle-length and created from shimmering pink parachute silk, though the high-heeled satin shoes were hardly fit for walking the dark and muddy lanes. Patrick assured me that I looked like a princess. I took that with a pinch of salt considering his inebriated condition.

Brimming over with jollity, we arrived at the dance hall. I remember turning the corner of the lane and seeing the single lantern over the door of a wooden hut, and I remember the mirth deserting my soul. I had expected more than a decrepit shack to dance in. I had expected to be whirling around a Casino-type place in the arms of my well-oiled husband.

One of the brothers took my arm and guided me towards the entrance. Patrick trailed behind singing Baa Baa Black Sheep. I was mortified when we reached the door and Patrick began chanting, Yes, sir; Yes, sir, three bags full, to the amusement of the man on the door. I was so humiliated ... and was even more so when the doorkeeper seized my left hand and quick as a flash imprinted the back with a black-ink date stamp. My entrance ticket, I was told, and a pass-out. I complained bitterly about the mess but was reassured that the ink would eventually wash off. The word ‘eventually’ bothered me no end.

Inside that glorified shed, straight-backed wooden chairs were arranged in rows on two sides, with a single chair bang in the middle of the floor. A red-cheeked, robust individual with a shillelagh under his arm paced to and fro inspecting the floor and shouting instructions to an elderly man in a grey cap and tweed jacket who was scattering chalk like he was feeding the fowl.

And then the band arrived. 'Here's the band,' Patrick cried, as one man and his fiddle sauntered towards the chair in the centre of the room. I closed my eyes, convinced I was hallucinating, but opened them again when the first musical strains hit the air. The fiddler was standing on the wobbly chair, tapping one hob-nailed boot in tune to an Irish jig, his red polka-dot kerchief crumpled between the fiddle and his chin. Around him ruddy-faced farmers, fingers dyed blue with crop spray, danced at arms-length with their wives, solemn-faced women, straight-legged and aloof.

Totally bewildered, I joined Patrick and the brothers on the hard chairs and bemoaned my fate. I felt like an overdressed dummy though Patrick continued to assure me I was the belle of the ball. If he could've transferred his intoxication to the poker-faced couples on the chalk-strewn floor, I would have been better pleased. If he had been sober, my presence in a room smelling of classrooms and wood yards might have been more tolerable. And then I saw the funny side of it. I started to laugh, and Patrick laughed, and the brothers joined in. The fiddle-player grinned and broke into a livelier jig. And I wouldn't have missed the experience for the world.

So when I am asked what my in-laws ruby wedding was like, I reply with truth that it was a remarkable affair. But it's not the event that comes to mind, it's the jolly-faced fiddle player with the polka-dot kerchief and the amiable grin.


19 February 2017


The closure of my WI went smoothly though not without sadness. Everyone put on a brave face, each person determined to make the final meeting one to remember. Why were we closing? Because membership had fallen and the cost of running the hall was prohibitive. If the money didn’t come in we couldn’t meet the bills.

The speaker we booked for the day was well known to us, a genuinely nice lady with a terrific sense of humour. We had been joined by the local vicar who came to give a blessing … WHAT, the speaker cried, A MAN? Well, it was the last day so distractions were welcome. Actually, the vicar enjoyed himself, and he laughed with the rest of us when the speaker got going, particularly when her delivery went near the mark.  I think Vicar laughed louder than anyone at those times.

Ladies had made special cakes for the occasion; the vicar enjoyed those and his compliments were like a healing balm on a difficult day.  

After the visitors went home we spent some time planning our own future. We didn’t want to give up WI so some of us decided to join one of the other institutes that meet in our hall. They used to pay rent to us for the hire of the hall so their financial affairs weren’t affecting their use of it. As owners of the hall my institute bore the brunt and the responsibility was unbearable.

But, what to do about the hall itself? The deeds were prohibitive in that we had never been able to hire out the hall to any association that wasn’t WI, cub scouts or girl brownies. You see the limitations! If we had been able to we could have hired out the hall and made a profit. Oh well, these things happen, or perhaps I should say ‘don’t happen’.

The hall being on church ground, it seemed to us that the logical conclusion would be to ask the church if they wanted it. We put it to the vicar and church trustees – who were most definitely interested. However, they needed to consult solicitors before they could agree to taking it on. The wait for news seemed interminable yet it was only a couple of months. Three of us, who had been acting trustees of our hall (on the grounds that no-one else would do it) went by appointment to receive the news.

It was good news, the church would take it on, pay all bills, and allow our neighbouring institutes to continue holding meetings. We agreed a date and that was that. Without further ado, my colleagues planned when to sort all the paperwork for archiving, a big job and one I never expected to do. That in itself will bring back huge memories of times gone by as records go back quite a number of years, with photographs to prove it. The hall has been in existence, or rather it was presented to my WI in 1932 and I don’t think anything has ever been thrown away.

In the meantime, a number of us joined the morning institute and were welcomed with open arms – literally. They are feeling relief at having acquired more members since their membership had fallen and they were on the verge of thinking they would have to close.

So it's off with the old and on with the new. One thing is certain, I will never join another committee or take on any official jobs. My colleagues are younger than me by many years so it will be my pleasure to leave it all to them. 

12 February 2017


Welcome to theOffice for National Statistics

The UK's largest independent producer of official statistics and the recognised national statistical institute of the UK

Well, well, this was a different occurrence in my life, but interesting.

At the end of December I received a letter from the Office of National Statistics. Not to me personally but to my address. Apparently, it was picked at random and started off ‘Your address has been selected for the Crime Survey for England and Wales’ and stated that my contribution to this study was essential for producing information about the extent of crime in England and Wales, which is used to help reduce crime and make communities safer.

The same day I had an unrelated visit by a policeman in uniform who was conducting a similar enquiry, but strictly about police. He was calling to hand out a pamphlet and to invite opinions. I might have given him some but the request was to do it on line… which I didn’t want to do. I told him I wouldn’t and he was okay with it. What was nice though was being able to chat about the old days when I worked (to his amazement) for ten years in the CID as secretary and volunteer.

But back to the O of NS. The letter from them informed me that someone would call to carry out the survey and that I was to check their credentials before allowing him/her in. It was a lady who called, hell bent on making sure I knew who she was so that when she called again to do the survey I would know who I was letting into the house. I also received a phone call from her (yes, I gave her my number) to verify time and date. It seemed a lot of preparation just for a few questions.
Did I say a few? In fact, the interview lasted about an hour.

I was given two books, the pages of which contained possible answers to questions, each page dedicated to a certain question. I should choose one (for each question) the lady said, but half the time I gave my own automatic response. Responses were entered, probably with a tick or a cross, on her small computer. At first the questions were understandable and easy but they got more difficult when aimed at the past, like how many people worked in the building where I was once employed and which probably no longer exists. I couldn’t see the relevance but it was okay to give a ‘don’t know’ reply. My opinions of police, crime, and the community were easily dealt with but it was not up to me to criticise or praise … just state the facts as I saw them.

The woman made it more difficult because she spoke softly and, as is common these days, her speech was hurried. I bet she got fed up with me begging her to speak up, which she seemed unable to do.

Well that was it, my good deed for the day but I don’t suppose I will ever see any changes that might be attributed to me! 


Phone call received from the Department, checking on the attitude and behaviour of the lady who visited. I thought that was going a bit too far!

05 February 2017


Do you ever ponder on food and health reports and wish you lived in a different age… preferably 50 years ago? Current views are that brown toast, potatoes and parsnips are no longer considered good for us. It is reported that they cause cancer together with a list of other ailments. Apparently starchy food should be cooked golden yellow to cut our intake of a possible cancer-causing chemical. Is there anything these days that doesn’t bring on cancer? There was no mention in the report that we would have to eat almost 400 slices of burnt toast to encourage those cancer cells to work.
Years ago we were advised to eat burnt toast because there was something in it (I believe it was carbon but I’m not sure) that was good for our digestive system.
I wonder how I have lasted this long since chips, roast potatoes and toast have been part of my diet for a lifetime! Not so much parsnips, so perhaps I am safe from something. The good news is that I haven’t eaten bread or toast for some time so I might well be able to look ahead to some reasonable health.
Quite honestly, I get tired of hearing that this and that is harmful. We got on awfully well before scientists got to work although, admittedly, people died at younger ages. These days people seem scared over the least little thing and will run to see the doctor – or they would if they could get an appointment. Three weeks is the norm where I live and people complain bitterly. Why? Because it is their right to see a doctor and they want to see him immediately, never once thinking that sheer numbers of unnecessary visits are responsible for the current situation. Got a cold? Go see the doc! Unnecessary when, in many cases a visit to the chemist would provide them with the necessary medication. Oh, I forgot.... buying from the chemist costs money whereas here in the UK getting a prescription from the doctor comes free! 
Well, I’m doing my bit to alleviate the pressure on doctors but that’s only because there’s no need to pay him a call. I guess one day I will join the crowd and demand an early appointment. I shall have a lot more to say then!

01 February 2017

Passwords, love 'em or hate 'em

Pinched this from another blogger which, after my many failed attempts to change a password, I thought worthy of passing on. 

Changing Password

WINDOWS: Please enter your new password.

USER: cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must be more than 8 characters.

USER:  boiled cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain 1 numerical character.

USER: 1 boiled cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot have blank spaces.

USER:  50bloodyboiledcabbages

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain at least one uppercase character.

USER: 50BLOODYboiledcabbages

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot use more than one uppercase character consecutively.

USER:   50BloodyBoiledCabbagesYouStupidIdiotGiveMeAccessNow!

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot contain punctuation.

USER :  IWillHuntYouDown50BloodyBoiledCabbagesYouStupidIdiot

WINDOWS: Sorry, that password is already in use.