30 October 2018

A Forty Year Tale

Flour-covered hands suspended their activities in the mixing bowl as she paused to gaze dreamily out of the kitchen window. Her concentration was lax, normal attentiveness to the job in hand completely awry. All morning her mind had centred on the reason for the forthcoming celebration rather than the preparation.

A grey squirrel darted up the path to the front lawn, then scampered up the chestnut tree causing two blackbirds to squawk their alarm. Watching this action, Joyce felt her own unease, a stranger suddenly in her own kitchen, as if she had been spirited there from a bygone age. The lounge clock struck eleven; each chime was like a signal that the finishing post was in sight. Was she really on the final strait of the forty year race?

Abandoning her baking, she wiped her hands on a blue and white towel and dropped onto a chair, uttering a huge, disbelieving sigh. Somewhat pensively she allowed herself to review the years, wondering at the swiftness of their passing, pondering on the perceptions she began with, the skirmishes, the adventures, and the myriad of achievements. It was a Saturday in September when she gambolled happily towards marriage. Who would believe that forty years could travel so rapidly into distant time?

Picking up a forgotten mug of coffee, cold now but welcome nevertheless, Joyce sipped the brown liquid. Grimacing at its bitterness she rested the mug on her knee, tracing the design of vines round the rim as she allowed herself to reminisce. Oh, the yarns she could spin, anecdotes both humorous and sad. How much she had learned. What advice she could give about life. So valuable; so precious. Unwittingly, she hummed the Wedding March, familiar still notwithstanding that matrimony was currently, incredibly, less popular with the modern generation. Don't know what they're missing, she murmured, rising to put the mug to soak.

In a more accepting frame of mind, less concerned now by the speed of things, she leaned against the sink and looked out at the garden: geraniums like a crimson sea, marigolds as bright as the sun, dahlias like orange orbs, a colour scheme as diverse as matrimonial occupation, and as satisfying.

The squirrel had been joined by another, somersaulting, racing, chasing, no time for contemplation. Like the forty years just gone. Shadowy images besieged her: her family, her children and their children, her husband guiding her from the altar where they made their vows.

Wilt thou take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?

Thrills whisked her insides as she remembered that glorious day.

I will, she had promised. I will.


Forgive me, but this is the time of year that Joe and I got engaged so I thought I would celebrate the occasion by re-blogging my feelings.

26 October 2018


I started off by having spectacles for reading and advanced in later years to wearing the damned things all the time. My silly pride was squashed when I moved on to fancy specs, making the excuse that I had to keep up with modern fashions.

And so I did. For the next forty years.

Opticians then were different, they prescribed lenses that suited my eye sight, but it changed when fashionable frames took over, when opticians got more money-minded and called their customers in once a year – for a test, you understand. However, more time was spent choosing frames than getting the eye test, an eye test that demanded a change in prescription.

Why not stick with the old frames? Because there was more money to be made updating the old ones. I did attempt to update the old until I heard the cost. Several hundred pounds…. Apparently cutting new lenses to fit old frames cost more than fitting them into new frames. Can you see the sense in that?

It got that once a year I was choosing new frames which was cheaper than having new lens in old specs. I never saw the logic in that but went along with it on the basis that they knew what they were doing and anyway I liked to think I was keeping up with friends!!!

After a while I began to realise that a pair of new specs didn’t feel right. Three times I took them back for adjustment but was never totally satisfied with the result or the extra cost. This year I rebelled, ignoring all letters to get me to make an appointment. I am getting older so where’s the sense in forking out hundreds of pounds. My friend agreed and we both decided to do a trial run, in other words not pressing for appointments.

Both of us have boxes full of old specs and unknown to each other we sorted through them.  I tried mine and wondered why I had fallen so quickly for new frames when there was nothing wrong with the ones I had. I could see through one pair of specs better than the latest.

I have been wearing my oldies for a few months and can see perfectly well with them. I now have a great satisfaction in ignoring the letters…. for now! I am old enough to know what’s what and who’s who, and when the time is right to make changes. 

21 October 2018


I watch two soaps on television daily but not much else. Why? Because lately programmes seem to be more educational than entertaining. I use the word educational loosely but it does teach me about the world and the people in it.

I watch television in the evenings, a time when I want something relaxing to look at. Instead I am faced with violence, violence and more violence. Shouting, screaming, screeching, fighting, murdering, is it any wonder the world has developed into a fighting ring?

Don’t TV people realise what they are doing, or that they must be held responsible for the way young kids act? Younger minds will and do think that what they see on telly is normal behaviour in real life. 

As for parents who murder their young children ... well, quite honestly, if I knew of one personally it would give me great pleasure in making sure that life behind bars is the best place for her or him. What a pity the death penalty no longer exists!

It’s knives where I live, in a former respectable area. Knives to kill and maim and mostly used by teenagers. What the hell is going on? What has led up to this new craze of killing? People are stabbed as they walk up the road, stabbed for merely being there. I am grateful for the fact that I no longer go out shopping.

I ask myself… why are these oafs allowed to continue? Why are knives so freely available? Why, why, why???

And people wonder why I would like to see the return of the death penalty. 

18 October 2018


Below are a few quotes I found and kept in case I wanted to share. 
Today is sharing day:
Each moment makes up our world as we go step by step into the future.

Keep reading the book of life, the next page might be the one you're waiting for.

What's in a name? Why, said the rabbit, a name is full of love, that's what's in it.

Is it laziness or advancing years that makes one choose the escalator rather than the stairs?

Women are mentally prepared for most things, it’s the arms, the hips, and the knees that call a halt.

Love costs nothing yet it is worth a lot to those who receive it.

15 October 2018


‘Don’t go too near the water.’

Little Meg could hear her mother’s voice but the seriousness of the instruction didn’t seem justified. She was a big girl now. And the water looked so inviting.

Meg had been brought here for her birthday, the trip to Morecambe Beach being part of the weekend celebrations. She’d had some super presents, a scooter, and a dolls house with REAL furniture.

A smile played round her lips and she mentally hugged herself. She’d wanted a dolls house for so long. The inside was lovely, the walls were papered and there was carpet in all the rooms. She loved the tiny chairs and tables, the clock on the kitchen wall, and the bed upstairs, and the bath, and the rocking horse in the bedroom. There were even tiny coat hangers on the hook on the door. It was exciting to have her very own dolls house. She couldn’t wait to tell her friends at school.

Meg really wanted to go home and play with the house but since they were here for several more hours she might as well explore.

Surreptitiously looking round, Meg saw her mother talking to Gran, their colourful beach chairs turned away from the sea. She slipped off the blue and white flip flops that had been bought specially for the beach. The sand felt soft against her bare feet, it tickled a bit but she loved the feel of it. If she pressed her feet down she could see the shape of her own feet.

Kneeling on the sand she felt a splash from a big wave. She didn’t realise she was so near to it. Meg leaned forward to sniff the water and a little bit went up her nose. She sneezed. Tasted the salt.

Fascinated, she watched another wave forming. If she hurried she could duck under it. Scrambling up she darted to the very edge of the water and waited.

It was like being in the shower. Turning her face into the spray Meg laughed happily when the water fell away from her face. This was fun, she thought.

Her mother called again. Meg turned and waved, didn’t see the next wave coming. It was bigger and more powerful, knocked her off her feet and dragged her into the sea. Coppery hair fanned out as she struggled against the water.

She felt herself sinking, down, down, down. She reached out to touch the sea bed but it wasn’t there. Instead she was grabbed from behind, arms gathered her up, floated with her. A piece of driftwood glided past, narrowly missing her nose. She giggled, tried twisting her head to look at her rescuer.

‘Keep still, Meg.’

The voice was squeaky, not one she had heard before. She wriggled in the great arms that held her so tight. They were covered in a red fabric. She didn’t know anyone who wore red.

Further and further they went, moving steadily along the coastline. Meg wedged her chin against one of the huge arms and peered into the gloom, wanted to ask where they were yet fearful of knowing. She couldn’t think why it had suddenly gone so dark. She wasn’t REALLY frightened, just a LITTLE bit trembly.

A few minutes later she saw a shaft of light ahead, coming from an open door. That’s why it was so dark, she thought, they were in a tunnel.

Her rescuer piloted her towards the door.

The cave was breath-taking. Meg took it all in, the splendour of it, cave walls lit by lanterns, glow-worms flitting around the ceiling like moving stars, and the biggest cobwebs she’d ever seen. Right in the middle was a table made of sea shells, the colours glowing in the light.

‘Come in, come in,’ said the King, adjusting his lopsided crown.

Meg was lowered to the seaweed covered floor, her hand held fast so she wouldn’t fall. For the first time she could see her rescuer, a QUITE ugly gnome.

‘She was very good,’ the gnome told the King.

‘Oh I’m hopskippingly delighted,’ said the King. His voice reminded Meg of Freddy, the grown up boy next door. He had the same croaky voice. But the King was a lot older. MUCH older than Daddy. Daddy didn’t have a beard either.

‘What’s your name?’ she asked.

Suddenly the room was filled with more gnomes, hands covering their mouths as they stared at her.

‘What?’ she asked.

Her gnome, her rescuer, whispered in her ear, ‘You should never ask a King how OLD he is.’

Meg looked at the King, thinking she should say she was sorry, but the King had sat down at the rickety table with his back to her. He wore a cloak of green seaweed which had caught in the chair. Meg moved across to tug it out but stopped when the gnomes loudly exclaimed in horror.

‘What?’ she demanded, brushing away a silver fish swimming too close to her face.

As if they were automated the gnomes put their fingers to their lips, shushing her.
Her own gnome whispered again, ‘We do not touch the King.’


‘Because he’s the King. The Almighty Ruler of the Seas.’

‘Well, I’M going to speak to him,’ Meg told him. Defiance wasn’t in her nature but she didn’t like being told what NOT to do.

Looking fearful, the gnomes huddled together, then shuffled back so she could move to the front of the table. She wanted to ask the King why he didn’t allow people to speak to him.

Grasping hold of a steel rod that was wedged in the ground, she edged forward. The floor was very slippery and she felt something crunch beneath her foot. Looking down she saw a mass of broken shells, heard the gnomes complaining amongst themselves. Meg supposed the King would tell her off for being clumsy.

Slithering and sliding, she at last reached the other side of the table, sat on a chair opposite the King.

‘Ooooh,’ she said. ‘Why are you crying?’

The King raised his head. Tears coursed down his cheeks, his tongue trying to catch them. ‘Too much salt,’ he said. ‘Too much salt.’

‘Don’t you like salt?’ Meg asked, ignoring the horrified noises coming from the gnomes.

‘It doesn’t like me,’ replied the King.

That was a MYSTERY. Meg wondered how salt could take a dislike to anyone. She didn’t like salt but she didn’t think it was offended by what Daddy called her faddy ways. A shoal of fish swam across the table, she wondered if they’d taste good with chips.

Realising the King was looking at her, she returned her attention to him. ‘Why are you crying,’ she enquired a second time.

‘Nobody talks to me,’ the King explained. He seemed VERY sad.


‘I don’t know.

‘Is it because you’re the King?’

‘I don’t see why that should make any difference.’

‘How old are you?’

In the background the gnomes muttered and tutted amongst themselves.

‘I’m VERY old and VERY lonely,’ admitted the King.

‘How can you be lonely with all these gnomes around?’

‘They don’t speak to me. They don’t make a sound when I come home from my travels. I haven’t got a friend, either.’ More tears spilled out of his eyes.

Meg felt bad. He seemed a nice old man, and his white beard was beautiful. It made her want to push her fingers into it, curl it into ringlets. ‘I could be your friend,’ she said. ‘I always speak to my friends.’

The King beamed at her. Suddenly he stood up. ‘Let’s dance,’ he said.

Meg had never danced before but she went round the table to join him. She held out her arms, eager to see what dancing was like. But the King didn’t take them, instead he stood by her side, put his gnarled hand on her shoulder, and jigged on the spot. Meg jigged as well. She started to giggle, and the King giggled too. Her rescuer joined in, and then the gnomes. And the cave was a riot of laughter.

The King yelped with delight, ‘At last,’ he cried, ‘the gnomes have found their voices.’

Meg didn’t like to say they hadn’t lost them.

They jigged the afternoon away, and the gnomes joined in. Meg was so tired at the end; she just collapsed on a bank of seaweed. I’ll just have five minutes, she thought, using her mother’s words.

‘Wake up, wake up.’

Slowly, Meg opened her eyes.

Oh there you are, young lady. I thought you were going to sleep forever. Your chips are waiting. You’d better hurry up before they get cold.

Rubbing her eyes, Meg tumbled off her bed. Her picture book fell on the floor. ‘Can I have salt on my chips,’ she asked, wondering why she suddenly had a desire for it.

12 October 2018


For many years I have supported Sky TV by using their television sets and programmes. It was Joe’s wish to start with and I didn’t have a problem with his view. Acquiring a TV set and programmes was something he liked to do, and I always admired his choices. Fortunately, he didn’t know how upsetting it would get in the future.

Problems started when my set went on the blink and I had to summon assistance. A Sky man turned up and straight away announced that I needed a new box. I didn’t like to tell him I had a lot of boxes in the cupboard: cardboard boxes, little gift boxes with flowers on the lid, some suitable for baby gifts, some for grown men, and one that once held wedding cake. Anyway, I eventually caught on with what the guy was saying.

Good as gold, the guy replaced the box. What he didn’t tell me was that the actual TV set ought to be replaced as well. It was my neighbour who gave me that bit of information, days after the Sky man had left the area. I wasn’t worried, I had TV and that was okay as far as I was concerned, until things started to go wrong with the programmes which seemed to have taken a dislike to the on-off switch.

It took me a while to get the hang of having two remote controls. One to switch the set on and the other to actually operate things. Fortunately, for me at least, I discovered that one of the ‘girls’ next door was a dab hand at dealing with TVs. “Call me anytime,” she said, but I bet any money she didn’t realise I would be calling as often as I do. Now I have to go through a ritual when switching on. Switching off is a doddle by comparison.

Just the other day I discovered that my neighbours on the other side have the same problems or, as they later admitted, suffer the same anguish every time they switch the set on.

Surely television should be a pleasure to use rather than a constant worry. Actually, I ask myself why I bother at all when nothing on telly is worth watching!!

10 October 2018


1. Feeding Charlie, put food in bowl and present it to him.  No, didn't want that. I said, "I suppose you want sweeties" at which he jumped on the kitchen counter and started licking my cheek. You have to laugh at how well he's mastered the English language.

2. As a young girl I used to laugh at my Grandmother when she sat in her chair twiddling her thumbs. Never thought I would do the same when I was older.

3. With so many fires being reported I keep thinking of the old saying 'the world will be destroyed by fire'.

4. The lawn looked like straw in the recent heatwave but a leaflet through the door assured it could be fixed in hours. I felt like returning the leaflet with the comment:  bring your own paint. 

5. I can read email perfectly well and can reply perfectly well. However, a new Google system includes three suggestions with which to reply. Why the heck don't they leave things alone? It insults my brain power.

6. Two bricks fell out of low wall on front garden. Neighbouring ladies fixed it, no problem, so long as I pay for cement. Still waiting for the bill.

7. Extreme heat seized locks on three doors and central heating switched on when it shouldn't. An easy fix for both, apparently. Surely nothing else can go wrong!

8. The last of the workmen has been and gone... and I wasted no time calling one of them back,  hopefully to start another job in the garden.

9. To think I pay to watch rubbish on television!

10. Hair cut day. New hairdresser comes to house and charges a measly sum. Gone are the days when I had to visit hairdresser by taxi and pay extortionate price for simple cut. The difference is £13 as opposed to £38 plus £9 taxi = £47.


See below:

It was a comment posted against my previous post entitled I AM SO ASHAMED. 

Isn't it about time people like this were executed!!!

This is the fourth attached to my posts by 'presumably' different people so this time I thought I would make a big display of it. 

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06 October 2018



I had heard of the problem oldies have with memory loss but I never thought I would suffer a memory breakdown. But now I have. It was embarrassing for me and for my step-daughter. Oh, if only I could go back and put things right.

We were out for lunch, something we do when she comes to see me. This time I had insisted on paying and attempted to pay with my card. It was fine until the guy at the till asked for my pin number.

What pin number?

I don’t have a pin number!

The more they explained the worse it got. I racked what’s left of my brains but could not come up with a number. It is about three or four months since I last used the card so there was nothing useful coming into my head. I couldn’t remember actually having a number.

I cringed at the sight of several pairs of eyes on me but fortunately my step-daughter had her card and so saved the day.

But not me. Nothing was likely to save my embarrassment.

If this is my fate for the future, I do NOT relish it one little bit.

However, after consultation with the bank I have been reminded, by post, of the number … one that has been lurking in my mind for the past few days. It pleases me to say that I hadn’t forgotten it, just mislaid it somewhere in the old memory box.

I have a feeling that number is going to stick in my mind forever more, along with the memory loss. 

02 October 2018


The only available space on the supermarket car park was between two of those monstrous vehicles which have all but taken over the country's highways. Cursing my bad luck I manoeuvred the old Ford between them and climbed out. I had already toured the parking lot in search of the Audi but there was no sign of it. Yet again I was first to arrive.

Initially, months ago, I was thrilled to see the stylish red automobile in the adjoining space. I studied its gleaming contour and gazed with admiration at the luxurious interior, red leather seats and polished wood dash. But as the weeks passed I found it unnerving and silently petitioned him to park elsewhere. Notice I said him. To my mind it had to be a man driving such a car, a white shirted, pin-striped executive. It was stupid, I know, but I felt pursued. I got to wondering if I was being deliberately hounded; not too difficult a task since my car was easily identifiable ... there weren't too many white Fiestas sporting Micky Mouse logos on the doors. 

For weeks I wandered the supermarket aisles scrutinising male countenances, searching for an indication of acquaintance and pivoting with a reproving retort on my lips each time I was accidentally nudged. When nothing dramatic occurred I began weaving fantasies about the Audi driver, dismissing the stalker theory and conjuring up an image of a tall, lean individual with eyes like the deepening twilight, sun-browned skin, and silky black hair. He would carry the Telegraph and a multi-coloured golfing umbrella - the latter, together with his car, being the only colours he allowed himself to display. To my inventive mind the sombreness of his attire was the cause of his obsession with the cartoon character on my dilapidated car. 

Then one drizzly Friday he parked across the yellow dividing line, monopolising half my area as well as his own. I was so cross I pushed a note in his wipers informing him that another half-an-inch would have resulted in a fusing of paintwork and suggesting that he watch it in future. The following Friday his reply was impaled on my aerial, a torn-out diary page fluttering like an official ensign. The message, written in black in a distinctive style characteristic of a professional man, implied that I should be grateful he maintained a hairs-breadth distance, adding that a life can be saved by half-an-inch. I screwed the note into a ball and tossed it into the hawthorn hedge, thinking what an obnoxious creature he was.

After a profusion of memoranda ... ranging between caustic and cryptic, then becoming kind of matey and at times romantic ... we met. Needless to say the encounter was unplanned. Armed with acquisitions from the in-store bakery and the wines and spirits section, he arrived at his car while I was affixing my latest missive. He was exactly as I imagined, except the eyes smiled more and his mouth was more sensual. 

Without a word he took the paper and scanned the message I had composed, though for the life of me I couldn't remember what it was. My brain was paralysed by his closeness and the dallying smile on his delectable mouth. I had a vague impression of using nouns like privacy and tryst but seeing that his cheerful grin remained intact I guessed I was mistaken. If I had considered the meeting earlier I would have expected to feel embarrassed … I would not have anticipated the electrifying excitement coursing through my veins.

'We obviously think alike,' he said. 'I wanted to ask, but hadn't sufficient nerve.'

Only then did I recall my boldly written words, inviting him to stop hiding behind respectability and arrange a secluded assignation. I had felt safe being brazen with only an inanimate motorcar as witness. Indeed, leaving the saucy proposition had seemed a huge joke. I never dreamed the Audi owner and I might actually come together. 


Parked between a Mitsubishi and a Land-Cruiser, I climbed out and locked the car door, pausing to sweep a bunch of leaves from the bonnet. Autumn was not my favourite season. I appreciated its pulchritude but not the soggy mess beneath my feet on rainy days. So much had happened since that incredible day I hardly noticed the weather change. Not surprising when you consider my perpetually dazed state. 

With memories of theatre visits, pub lunches and candlelit dinners occupying my mind I headed for the tree-lined walkway where the shopping trolleys were moored. Knowing the Audi would be there when I returned I practically skipped past the Rowans with their juicy clusters of red berries. The church clock began to chime, its heavy brass fingers glistening in the early autumn sun. Nine o'clock and all's well. Seizing an abandoned trolley I hurried towards the revolving door, anxious to get in and get out in record time.

Fifty minutes later I loaded my purchases in the boot of my car. The Mitsubishi had gone and the Audi was in its place. I sniffed the air, relishing the smell of baking bread, taking my time, savouring the moment before detaching the week-to-view diary page from the aerial. December '09. Saturday 12 was ringed in black. Nervously I read the inscription. An acceptable date for a wedding, don't you think? Say yes - make my Christmas complete. 

I was stunned, yet exhilarated. Neurotic butterflies flew around my gut. My normally sound judgement deserted me, leaving me mentally incoherent and flushing like an adolescent. As if they had developed minds of their own my fingers began the frantic search for my diary. Unnecessarily. I knew I had nothing on in December. Absolutely nothing at all. Would the coppery leaves still be around, I wondered, tuning in to a vision of antique cream bridal wear wading through crisp amber leaves on the arm of the most handsome man in town. At last my fingers closed on the diary and I riffled the pages until I reached December. There was one entry for that day, a hair appointment at ten. 

On cue the church clock struck the hour as if to confirm the time. Perfect, I thought, tearing out the page on which to scribble my reply. Yes, I wrote, using my green ballpoint pen, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.