Thursday, 23 December 2010

Woops forgot photo

And two little girls enjoy the spectacle.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

PEEL ME A GRAPE

George getting her back sorted out on the beach. Life gets tedious don't it?
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

THE OLDER WE GET

These observations were sent to me by a good friend. They would be funny if they weren 't so true!

ONE

Recently, when I went to McDonald's I saw on the menu that you could have an order of 6, 9 or 12 Chicken Mc - Nuggets.

I asked for a half dozen nuggets.

'We don't have half dozen nuggets,' said the teenager at the counter. 'You don't?' I replied.

'We only have six, nine, or twelve,' was the reply.

'So I can't order a half dozen nuggets, but I can order six?' 'That's right.'

So I shook my head and ordered six McNuggets.

(Unbelievable but sadly true...)


TWO

I was checking out at the local Walmart with just a few items and the lady behind me put her things on the belt close to mine.
I picked up one of those 'dividers' that they keep by the cash register and placed it between our things so they wouldn't get mixed.

After the girl had scanned all of my items, she picked up the 'divider', looking it all over for the bar code so she could scan it.

Not finding the bar code, she said to me, 'Do you know how much this is?'

I said to her 'I've changed my mind; I don't think I'll buy that today.'

She said 'OK,' and I paid her for the things and left. She had no clue to what had just happened.

THREE

A woman at work was seen putting a credit card into her floppy drive and pulling it out very quickly.

When I inquired as to what she was doing, she said she was shopping on the Internet and they kept asking for a credit card number,
so she was using the ATM thingy.'

(keep shuddering!!)

FOUR

I recently saw a distraught young lady weeping beside her car. 'Do you need some help?' I asked.

She replied, 'I knew I should have replaced the battery to this remote door unlocker. Now I can't get into my car.
Do you think they (pointing to a distant convenience store) would have a battery to fit this?'

'Hmmm, I don't know. Do you have an alarm, too?' I asked.

'No, just this remote thingy,' she answered, handing it and the car keys to me. As I took the key and manually unlocked the door,
I replied, 'Why don't you drive over there and check about the batteries. It's a long walk....'

PLEASE just lay down before you hurt yourself !!!

FIVE

Several years ago, we had an Intern who was none too swift. One day she was typing and turned to a secretary and said,
'I'm almost out of typing paper. What do I do?'
'Just use paper from the photocopier', the secretary told her.
With that, the intern took her last remaining blank piece of paper, put it on the photocopier and proceeded to make five 'blank' copies. Brunette, by the way!!

SIX
A mother calls 911 very worried asking the dispatcher if she needs to take her
kid to the emergency room, the kid had eaten ants.

The dispatcher tells her to give the kid some Benadryl and he should be fine,
the mother says, 'I just gave him some ant killer......' Dispatcher: 'Rush him in to emergency!'

Life is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid!!!!

Someone had to remind me, so I'm reminding you too. Don't laugh.....it is all true...
Perks of reaching 50 or being over 60 and heading towards 70!

01. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

02. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.

03. No one expects you to run--anywhere.

04. People call at 9 PM and ask,"did I wake you?"

05. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

06. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

07. Things you buy now won't wear out.

08. You can eat supper at 4 PM.

09. You can live without sex but not your glasses.

10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

11. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.

13. You sing along with elevator music.

14. Your eyes won't get much worse.

15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.

17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.

18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.

19. You can't remember who sent you this list.

20. And you notice these are all in Big Print for your convenience

And last but not leasst, never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

TRAVEL CHAOS

The travel chaos at Heathrow Airport and St. Pancras Station in London this week has been unbelievably inhuman. Thousands of people stranded, sometimes for days, some waiting for hours outside in sub-zero temperatures, with no information, no comfort and no apparent concern. The British Airport Authority advised people not to turn up at an already overcrowded airport and travel companies told them that if they didn’t turn up they couldn’t claim an alternative flight or refund.
There must be a better way of dealing with this type of emergency. For a start TREAT it as an emergency, not a corporate “cover our ass” exercise with conflicting advice.

I must again apologise for being a little naive, but this should not have been left to serendipity. There was plenty of warning of impending massive snow falls. Airport, train and tour companies should have acted as one. Travellers could be “filtered” by text offering rescheduled bookings.

Anyone that HAD to travel could state their case, go on a realistic priority rating waiting list and given a time to arrive at the airport/station to take their chances with any planes/trains available. You would think that in these days of superfast communication a system like that shouldn’t be beyond the wit of corporate idiots. No – strike that out. It probably is. They prefer to hide their heads in the sand and hope that it will go away.

If olny they would tell the truth. I was impressed by one woman from a hospital who admitted that despite all the warnings they had been totally unprepared and were now going “back to the drawing board” to rethink the whole thing. One of the solutions was to have a list of people that lived near enough to be on call, transport to get others in instead of individuals having to struggle in on their own and provisions for staff to stay overnight. The patients must come first. Bravo.

Monday, 20 December 2010

This is a photograph of Mummy Georgina, Daddy Dan, Orianne, Noah and Leyton before it got too windy to enjoy.

This is another photograph of Mummy Georgina and Leyton while the sun was still shining.


And this is a photograph of Leyton yesterday when he was still 0 years old, trying to eat sand. He decided that he actually quite liked it.

Poor Leyton was sick this morning. Not a good thing to happen on your birthday. His brother Noah had already been sick in the restaurant at breakfast although they seemed OK in themselves. Then the wind got stronger and it became quite cold so we retreated to our apartment for the day to watch endless replays of Sky News.
Sky News, now there is another pet hate of mine. How do they get away with running one or two major stories endlessly on a loop all day? Obviously today's story was all about the snow. Now there's anothr pet hate of mine, the way we fail to handle snow every year. I do understand that the falls have been exceptional here, but the fundementals of managing it are all wrong and it's not just down to "well we only get snow every no and then so it's not worth spending public money".
I watched an "official" on TV advising us not to buy winter tyres because - "they need to be stored in summer and not everyone has a garage" and "are expensive" and "you need to go to a garage and get the summer tyres replaced for winter tyres". Negative, negative, negative.
In Switzerland it is compulsory to either have all weather tyres or two sets of wheels, one for summer one for winter. Garages change these over for you free of charge and if you don't have storage facilities the garage will store them for you. It's so simple and it keeps the traffic moving.
Also, we lived up a mountain but the road was only closed 3 times in 30 years. They simply run a snow ploughs up and down the roads all the time. Gritting is absolutely useless in heavy snow.
When are we ever going to learn? We are the laughing stock of Europe. Get a grip Britian and sort things out. We can't afford NOT to solve this problem. It's costing more in lost business than any small investment it would take to stop this madness.






This little man is 1 today

Happy birthday Leyton.

Together with his brother and sisters about to have fun in the sunshine while Britain freezes!
But someone has to do it.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Sunday, 19 December 2010

ANOTHER STORM WARNING

During the year I have been wondering what to do this Christmas, the 1st anniversary of Davy's death. Should I stay home and tough it out, or leave that for another year?. In the autumn I had a devastating shock and impetuously decided "to hell with it, I'll leaving toughing it out for another year".

So at 0400 last Friday morning, in the company of my granddaughter, her husband, my two great-grandaughters and two great-grandsons, we headed out for Fuerturventura where the sun always shines, leaving behind a freezing and gridlocked UK and we won't be home until the 27th.

Christmas in the sun isn't quite the same, but none of us relished the thought of this impending anniversary at home. Will it make us feel better? Of course not, it's simply a "geographical", but the pain of staying at home was even more unbearable.

And looking at Sky News I think that we have made the right decision, but will it ease up long enough to get back home again? This is the question.

One thing that this year has bought is the realisation that Davy and I made wonderful friendships. They have stayed close and watched over me. Without their love and the love and support of my family, life would have been much, much harder. I am so blessed.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

EXTREME FRUSTRATION

This is mad.

At the end of November I received a reminder that the TV Licence was due for renewal and that the payment would be taken by Direct Debit. OK. Problem. The TV Licence was in Davy's name and the bank they would be trying to take the Direct Debit from had been closed.

You would think that this would easy to recitify. One 'phone call links me to an automated system with 6 selections all with 6 additional lists option. Several minutes later I finally get me through to "an adviser" who "advised" me that it was too difficult to change this. The best plan was to apply for a new licence in my name when the licence expires.

1st December, exiry day, I go through the same routine. Name changed, OK, new direct debit form will be sent out. Brilliant.

Yesterday (14th December) I realise that I haven't had the new direct debit form. Coincidentally I also receive a voice mail advising me that the direct debit had been cancelled, asking if I wanted to set it up again?

So..onto the 'phone again, through the same routine to be eventually connected to "an adviser" who would not listen to my sad tale of woe and insisted that the licence WAS in my name and HAD been paid. I tried to explain that this was not possible and I had even received a voice mail tell me this. He said that it wasn't him that had 'phoned and that his computer told him a payment had been taken. I again explained that this was not possible because the account that the direct debit had been set up in was now closed.

We then went into a vortex, me saying my script, him endlessly repeating his. I ended up so stressed out that I shouted down the 'phone "the least you could do would be to say "sorry you have been troubled by this at this traumatic time in your life, I'll look into it and 'phone you back"". But this tough cookie told me that he had worked in this job for 15 years and he knew how things went. The licence, in my name, had been paid. So be it. Watch this space.

Where do they get these characters from and how can they hide for 15 years without getting the sack?

Oh! and I should mention that I have just written an update on my travel blog http://www.travelpod.com/z/retiredandcrazy/1/1292398080.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

HALLELUJAH

Take a look at this. It was sent to me by grit and has restored my faith in the human race. I love marching bands, they make me well up inside. This had the same effect. Wonderful. Thanks grit. You made my day.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

I went into meltdown yesterday. Everything seemed to overwhelm me and I couldn't even seem to make the most elementary decisions. I just wanted to crawl into a hole. Let the world pass me by for a few weeks. Get Christmas over. Wake up in the Spring.

I could tell that everyone was so concerned and absolutely paralised with fear and helplessness to know what to do for me. But there was nothing that could be done. It's a lonely place to be and they couldn't climb in with me.

Then my friend and colleague Tanya sent me this. It's so beautiful. With this she managed to reach into my heart to help be back out into the world again. I do have faith in a God and I must hand my will and my life over to him again. Thank you Tanya, you are a true, dear friend.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

THE FIX

The Business Section of the St. Petersburg, Fl Times asked readers for ideas on: "How Would You Fix the Economy?". I think this guy nailed it!

"Dear Mr. President,

Please find below my suggestion for fixing America 's economy.

Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the
"Patriotic Retirement Plan":

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.

2) They MUST buy a new AMERICAN Car. Forty million cars ordered - Auto Industry fixed.

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis fixed.

It can't get any easier than that!!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress pay their taxes...
while you're at it, make Congress retire on Social Security and Medicare. I'll bet both programs would be fixed pronto!"

I want to marry that man instead of Neil Diamond. Until then I will pass this on to my grandson who works in the City of London. Maybe he can pass it on to the "powers that be".

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

OZ-BUS REVIEW FROM THE LAST TRIP

I have been finding it difficult to explain exactly what my three month trip overland from London to New York starting 26th March will consist of and I think that this review gives a beautifully descriptive narative of last year's journey. Rob, the author, loved it so much that he now works for the Oz-Bus Company.

http://clients.enablermail.com/el/newsletter/index.cfm?tID=2624&enablerchid=Oi4iTTM1IS5OSiBOQichT0wnN0ooIAo=

Unfortunately the minimum numbers haven't been reached yet so it might be called off and I'm not sure if the Royal Wedding bang smack in the middle is going to help. Personally I think that I would love to be in England to soak up the inevitable feelings of good will and well being. I'm a sucker for a marching band so how much better is a grand wedding? I love all that pomp and circumstance. But to "think that one through" I guess there will be massive TV coverage all over the world and I will be watching the wedding with my new friends.

In the meantime, I am optimistically having more booster vaccinations tomorrow. When I have finished this course I will be "good to go" pretty well anywhere in the world! So watch out, here I come.

...and finally, I recently had this is a conversation with my 8 year old grandson.

"How old are you nanny"

"70"

"You aren't in very good shape for a 70 year old are you nanny?"

Thinking, ah! sweet child, he doesn't know what a 70 year old should look like.

"So, Taylor, what makes you say that?"

"Because my grandad is 70 in January and he's in much better shape than you".

He is a very literal child! His parents were doing their best to block him off at the pass by changing the subject and trying to reason with him, but he would not let the subject drop. WHATEVER! Out of the mouths of children!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

DON'T WATCH THIS ON A FULL STOMACH


This is a lesson in how to avoid workplace conflicts and replace it with sheer terror. Today's challenge is to stick with it until they reach the top!

http://www.liveleak.com/e/f2d_1284588370

Friday, 19 November 2010

AND WHAT IF YOU DON'T PRAY?

This was sent to me by my good friend DogLover. When I read it I laughed until I cried. The challenge is to read this without wetting yourself.

I'VE JUST READ YOUR BLOG! HERE ARE SOME DARES FOR NON-GOD-BOTHERERS:

ONE POINT FOR EACH OF THESE

1. Ignore the first five people who say 'good morning' to you.

2. To signal the end of a conversation, clamp your hands over your ears

3. Leave your fly open for one hour. If anyone points it out, say "Sorry, I really prefer it this way".

4. Walk sideways to the photocopier.

5. While riding in a lift, gasp dramatically every time the doors open.

6. When in the lift with one other person, tap them on the shoulder and pretend it wasn't you.

7. Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the prophecy...

8. Don't use any punctuation.

9. Interrupt your conversation with someone by giving a huge dejected sigh.

10. Use your highlighter pen on the computer screen.


THREE-POINT DARES

1. Say to your boss, "I like your style", wink, and shoot him with double-barrelled fingers.

2. Kneel in front of the water cooler and drink directly from the nozzle.

3. Shout random numbers while someone is counting.

4. Every time you get an email, shout ''email''.

5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has got over his or her caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.

6. Keep hole punching your finger. Each time you do, shout,"dagnamit, it's happened again!". Then do it again.

7. Introduce yourself to a new colleague as "the office bicycle". Then wink and pout.

8. Call I.T. helpdesk and tell them that you can't seem to access any por*ngraphy web sites.


FIVE-POINT DARES

1. At the end of a meeting, suggest that, for once, it would be nice to conclude with the singing of the national anthem (extra points if you actually launch into it yourself).

2. Walk into a very busy person's office and while they watch you with growing irritation, turn the light switch on/off 10 times.

3. For an hour, refer to everyone you speak to as "Dave".

4. Announce to everyone in a meeting that you "really have to go do a number two".

5. When you've picked up a call, before speaking finish off some fake conversation with the words, ''she can abort it for all I care''.

6. After every sentence, say 'Mon' in a really bad Jamaican accent. As in: "The report's on your desk, Mon." Keep this up for one hour.

7. In a meeting or crowded situation, slap your forehead repeatedly and mutter, "Shut up, damn it, all of you just shut up!"

8. Repeat the following conversation 10 times to the same person: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now."

9. Present meeting attendees with a cup of coffee and biscuit; smash each biscuit with your fist.

10. During the course of a meeting, slowly edge your chair towards the door.

11. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

12. Ask people what s...ex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.

13. While a colleague is writing, grab their pen and throw it out of the nearest open window.

THIS CAME FROM MY NEPHEW, WHO WAS CLEARLY HAVING A BAD DAY! SOMEONE HAD SENT IT TO HIM.


Hi, this is me speaking again now. The worrying thing is that everyone that read this says that it's me! To do list: remind me to sack a few people.

.......and finally. 69 year old Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has reiterated his desire to remain in management for the foreseeable future.

Retirement is for young people," said the Scot "I'm too old to retire. I would have nothing to do. As long as my health is in good condition I will carry on. My family will make this decision."

Good for him. He must have absolute faith in his family. My problem is that the family members and colleagues that I work with are desperate for me to retire PROPERLY, instead of CLAIMING to retire and then(as they see it)interfer in every g@+$*~m thing they do. This thinking is flawed. They will regret it when the time comes that they aren't able to draw on my valued experience and advice!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOU NEED TO PRAY AT WORK?

THIS is how you can tell!

If you have ever thought about poisoning, choking, punching or slapping someone that you work with - you need to pray at work.

When you hear a co-worker call your name and the first thing that crosses your mind is "what does h@*^ does she want now?" and you try to hide under your desk - you need to pray at work.

When someone comes in and announces "Office meeting in 5 minutes" and you think "what the f*$~ do they want now?" - you need to pray at work.

When you take some vacation time and when you come back you come find a mountain of paperwork on your desk because no one else would do it and you think "sorry a## M#X% F<<*" - you need to pray at work.

If you avoid saying "hello" or "how you doing?" to someone because you know that it's going to lead to their whole f*^@@~# life story - you need to pray at work.

When a co-worker comes in a little too happy singing "good morning" to everyone and you think "someone needs to slap the s#^t out of her" - you need to pray at work.

When you computer is mysteriously turned off and you want to say "which one of you sons of b*%@~s turned off my computer" - you need to pray at work.

When you're in the lift and it stops to pick up someone who stood for 5 minutes for the darn thing only to go DOWN one floor and you think "that lazy b&"$@+~d" - you need to pray at work.

If you know all the words that have been bleeped out - you DEFINITELY need to pray at work.

Let us all bow our heads.

Lord, please forgive me as I repeat all the bad words in this post; and please forgive the person that sent it to me, for they also knew all the words! And please forgive the people that are reading this, for I'm sure that they know what the words mean too. Amen.

Friday, 12 November 2010

LIONS & TIGERS VERSUS RABBITS

Years ago I was told by a very wise lady that it's not the lions and tigers that get you, it's the rabbits that'll kick you to death.

Since Davy died last Christmas my rabbits are things like having to deal with light bulbs that fuse solidly and can't be removed, light sockets that refuse to grip a replacement bulb, light bulbs that need replacing but are too incomprehensable to understand, short-outs that cause electric clocks, boiler timers and security alarms to need resetting. Grrrr.

I had anticipated the lions and tigers, but I can testify that this lady's words were absolutely correct, the rabbits are the real baddies.

On Sunday I read an interview with Neil Diamond in which he said that he was looking for someone to settle down with. Well I'm here Neil, ready, willing and able, but with one proviso, you must have a good DIY skills with a particular emphasis in the electrical department.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

QUANTITATIVE EASING

Today the USA has announced that it is going to pump another $600B into the system, commonly known as quantitative easing. That's the equivalent of burning $1M a every single day since the time of Attila the Hun in the 5th Century. This is to be added to the $1.75 trillion that has already been printed. These are huge numbers. Two words come to mind. Bloody hell. Literally.

And here we have councils adhering to government directives to reduce spending by cutting road repairs and shutting down child care facilities. Two thoughts come to mine. The American Tea Party Movement and Parkinson's Law. Help! We need to sort these bastards out now before they reach the tipping point of no return.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

DEMONS OR ANGELS?

Here are five of my little angels. As you have probably guessed, this is not their usual garb. Four are dressed for Halloween. The one on the right won a competition at the school party for being the scariest but I think they would all frighten the s..t out of me on a dark night. Except for the baby of course. He is just adorable.

Monday, 25 October 2010

ONE FLEW OVER THE COCKOO'S NEST?





I didn't realise until this week that the Brig O'Doon is a real place, believing for years that it was a mystical place conjured up by Robert Burns. Not only that, my sister in law lives a few miles away from it. As they say, you live and learn. And I thought I knew everything. Just goes to show doesn't it?

It's a beautiful spot in a village called Alloway, a few miles from Ayr in Scotland. The village also has a Burns monument and a Burns Visitor Centre so I guess he must have had connections with the area. Mind you, this IS only a guess!

The trip to Scotland was great. Davy's sister Mary and niece Margaret Ann live near me and we thought it would be good to take the trip to visit his other sister Margaret and her family. We had a great time just mooching around, relaxing and swapping memories. It was just what I needed.

One way and another I've had a very traumatic time this year but last week was the final straw prompting my decision to "be good to myself", hence the trip to Scotland.

One funny thing happened to me this week though, at least I hope that it's funny. I was booked in for my booster vaccinations and because I forgot my first appointment I was paranoid about doing the same again. I shortened my trip to Scotland, set up several reminders to myself and even asked my colleagues to remind me. So there I was on Thursday morning, having got out my appointment card to remind myself, sitting in the office chatting away. I had completely forgotten again! Kimberley suddenly remembered and I just about made the appointment.

As I was laughing about this with the Practice Nurse I suddenly wondered what I had done with my car keys. I looked around and said "Oh well, I've probably left them in the car". As I got up to go she reminded me that I had forgotten to pick up my jacket. "Ah! that's where my keys are, in the pocket". She looked at me strangely and said "By the way, how IS your memory?" "Not great, but let's face it I'm getting on a bit now". "No seriously Ann, are you alright Do you think that I should refer you to the "Memory Clinic"? My fear is that "Memory Clinic" may be a euphanism for the dreaded "One Flew Over The Cockoo's Nest" type set up. I declined. I may be old but I'm not in my dotage yet (I hope).

Friday, 22 October 2010

PAYING THE PIPER

One last thing, then I'm done - but don't hold me to that because I may come back to visit this subject again. A couple a years ago when the "Credit Crunch" first hit we took a close look at our business. In the good years we had become bloated and now we needed to tighten our belts.

We went through our figures, worked out our current breakeven, spoke to the staff and reached an agreement to tackle this head on. We cut salaries and costs, reduced hours, implemented a recruitment freeze, worked smarter and survived. It wasn't easy for any of us. We had to make sacrifices and every other business that we spoke to was in the same situation.

What happened in the public sector? They carried on regardless. In fact spending and recruitment went up and everyone complained that they weren't getting big enough pay rises. Have you ever noticed that public sector workers have become more beligerant over the years? What happened to the "civil service"? Somewhere along the way it lost it's civility and stopped serving us.

Believe me, this ain't rocket science. Now is the time to pay the piper. The 500,000 public sector job losses predicted over the next 4 years will come from the 700,000 mickey mouse jobs created over the last 10 years.

Welcome to the real world folks!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

HERE I GO AGAIN, SHOUTING MY MOUTH OFF

I wish that I could stop myself from banging on about things that I know f... all about, but I guess that I'm entitled to my own opinion so here goes.

Today's Spending Review.

What I would like to see is:-

The end of Department Budgets with their "use it or lose" mentality. Departments inflate their budgets in case it's needed and then proceed to spend like a drunk at happy hour to stop it being reduced next year due to over budgeting this year, creating a huge spiral of waste.

Stop the public sector early retirement age of 50 along with the one off massive lump sum payment and a pension that is inflation proofed. Which, I might add, is being paid for by the good citizens of this Country who will eventually see their pensionable age raised to 68.

Tighter regulations in public sector sick pay which is way higher than in the private sector.

The sacking of public sector procurement numpties that lock us into ridiculously over priced and ineffective contracts. In fact I think they should be charged with treason and locked up in the Tower of London.

In a word - waste. It is the root of all evil.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A COUPLE OF HEART STOPPING MOMENTS



Last week we sold Davy's pride and joy his Audi S6 Quattro with Lamborghini Gallardo 5.2 V10 engine. I had tried to sell it a couple of times before but something always went wrong which, at the time, was a relief because I couldn't seem to bring myself to sell it.

But, being pragmatic we told ourselves that it was only gathering dust and deteriorating in the garage, a car like that needed to be driven, and more to the point we had found a good use for the money. The time seemed right to sell it. Amazingly enough we found a buyer straight away and within a couple of days it was gone, leaving us all stunned and over emotional.

It was bought by a couple of "likely lad" dealers who "appreciated" the uniqueness of this beautiful car. One of them had even lost his father last Christmas after being taken ill with cancer in the October. De ja vu!

On Friday I opened the mail to find that I had been issued with a speeding ticket. This sent me into total meltdown because I am already maxed out, so goodbye licence until next March! I was a blubbering wreck until my granddaughter pointed out that at the time it was issued I was at the solicitors and the ticket was actually for Davy's car. It was clocked at 110 mph on our local by-pass. Phew.

So the car has gone from one rascal to another. Fitting.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

MEMORIAL GARDEN UPDATE

When Davy built our office one of the planning conditions was that the surrounding acre of land should be landscaped. Our plan was submitted, agreed and we were delighted with the (expensive!) end result. The office was now enclosed in beautiful gardens and peaceful grassy areas.

Apart, that is, from a sizeable portion of land directly in front of the office. Davy said we were not to touch because it was to be his project and who were we to disagree with him when he was being this assertive? It was an eyesore and the planners and neighbours frequently complained about it.

So when Davy died last Christmas he left us with a huge dilema. What should we do with this area of waste ground? Dare we touch it? Dare we go against his wishes? We all loved him dearly and wanted to do the right thing, but we couldn't just leave this unsightly mess, especially as we sometimes have prestigious visitors.

So we mulled this over for several weeks and finally someone suggested we turn it into a Garden of Memorial. This felt right and work commenced.









I apologise, once again, for my appauling photography. These photographs don't actually portray how awful it was and how beautiful it is now.

We kept it simple with three trees, an Oak, a Copper Beech (Davy's favourite) and another tree which I can't remember the name of right now, but it has bright yellow foilage. We also planted shrubs along the back fence which will look beautiful in a couple of years time.

The tree in the far righthand corner is the Oak and it is under this that we quietly interred Davy's ashes early one sunny morning. It's visible from the office and the house so it seemed appropriate that this was to be his last resting place,close to the people that he loved and the business that he loved.

And here's the strange thing. Can you can just make out the the area surrounding the Oak tree is slightly raised? This was not planned.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

VERSATILE BLOGGER? ME? THANKS.

I'm sorry about my rant yesterday. I know that it was very confusing but what I was trying to convey in my rage was that I know from talking to my immediate circle of family and friends there are massive savings to be made without touching front line services.


But today the sun is shining and I had a message from eddie bluelights that he had a little something for me to collect from his blog. It was "The Versatile Blogger" award. Thank you so much Eddie.



Now the challenge is to write 8 things about myself that are not generally known. This could present a problem because my life is pretty much an open book, but here goes.

1. I left school at the ages of 14 and 15! Yes, I know that's hard to believe because I have such a superior intellect, but I absolutely hated school. I like to say that the "school of life" was my training ground. Isn't that sick making?

I was living in the Channel Islands at the time where the school leaving age was 14. I harassed my parents until they agreed that I could leave. That was in July 1954. Unfortunately (for me) they then decided to move back to England where the school leaving age was 15 so I had to go back to school for another year. I should have reported them for child cruelty.

2. My first job at the age of 15 was in the City of London. I used to commute by train in my lovely new red high heeled shoes. I was a trainee typist with the Post Office near St Paul's Cathedral. It was good grounding. It taught me how to be independent, deal with extreme boredom doing the same damned thing day after day in a typing pool and the importance of presentation. It was drummed into us that we were funded out of taxes and as such were one of the public face of the Post Office. All our letters had to be perfect. If only public services had the same ethos today. This may be why I get so het up about the cavalier way our taxes are wasted now.

A point of interest is that at that time the City of London was one huge bomb site that wild cats had claimed as their home. The miracle was that in the middle of all this devastation the Cathedral stood out like a beacon of hope.

3. I met my first husband at the Post Office youth club. We used to go there after work to play dart, billiards and dance to the latest records. This is where I first heard Elvis and was blown away. A group of us that lived in South London would walk down the middle of the road from St Paul's to London Bridge Station. You could do that then because the City was deserted in the evening.

4. I went to the same school as Bill Wyman from the Rolling Stones, albeit that I was in the girls school and he was in the boys. At one of his booksigning sessions I was determined to renew our non-acquaintance but bottled out at the last minute. However, what I DID say was "hello Bill, how nice for you to meet me". How cringy is that? He looked at me as though I was a mad woman. He was right.

5. Since childhood I have been both very, very poor and moderately well off - several times. I prefer to be well off.

6. I believe in love at first sight because it happened to me twice. When I saw my first husband at the youth club I told my friend that I was going to marry him. We married 4 years later when I was 19 and he was 20. We were far too young and tried to make a go of it for 14 years but Vic was a great guy and a wonderful friend but a crap husband and father. Then I fell in love with Davy at first sight. He was lodging with my best friend, very drunk and making up quotes by Confucius. Madness!

He stopped drinking with the help of AA, was sober for 36 years and, being a great family man, was the complete the opposite of Vic. He died last Christmas and we all miss him so much. Tomorrow would have been his 68th birthday.

7. I hate fish apart from battered fish from the fish and chip shop, tuna with mayo and tinned salmon with vinegar.

8. And last but certainly not least. I am a born again Christian. I had been vocally agnostic, but after going to Al-Anon for several years I became a believer. I had a "Road to Damascas" conversion that would take a while to explain but one day I think that it would be good to put it all down in writing.

My next challenge is to pass this award on to 8 other worthy bloggers. After much thought I have selected the following:-

http://alcoholicdaze.blogspot.com/

http://www.wrestlingwithretirement.com/

http://rnsane.blogspot.com/

http://wwwsueann.blogspot.com/

http://gritsday.blogspot.com/

http://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com/

http://sandimcbride.blogspot.com/

http://mimiindublin.blogspot.com/

I won't say anything about these blogs apart from to say that I find them fascinating.








Wednesday, 29 September 2010

GRAVE CONSEQUENCES

The Ministry of Defence has been asked to reduce its £37bn budget by 10%. This morning Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, warned that "draconian" spending cuts while the UK is at war will result in "grave consequences" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11432620

No Mr Fox, MofD money wasted on the jobs redeployment pool is resulting in "grave consequences" http://network.civilservicelive.com/pg/pages/view/265595/ . This sounds like a good idea, but let me tell you that it is being grossly abused by people who deliberately relocate to rural areas where there is little or no chance of redeployment. Whilst waiting in the job pool they draw full pay and are entitled to take another job until something suitable is offered.

Another "grave consequence" is the unbalanced ratio of 85,700 civil servants in the MofD to 92,250 soldiers.

Yet another "grave consequence" is that highly experienced Defence Contractors are outmanoevring and overcharging inept, inefficient, inexperienced, nieve and ever changing MofD buyers.

I know people working in this sector and the waste is mind blowing. There is no need to cut the Armed Forces, just stop this scandalous misappropriation of the public purse.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1302711/Liam-Fox-rules-merging-forces-hints-Trident-funding-Treasury-row.html.

But the MofD is the tip of the iceberg. I know individuals in the public and local government sectors and who are being instructed by their line managers not to work so hard because it looks bad on the others. And then there is the police. Another can of worms http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1302580/Police-chiefs-axe-overtime-bid-slash-500m-bill.html. Again, I know this to be true from personal accounts. I could go on all day.

It simply has to stop. No wonder the Country has run out of money. It's not only greedy bankers that have caused the problem it's systemic greed throughout the whole population from benefit fraud to MP's inflated expenses and all the stops along the way.











































Monday, 27 September 2010

HOW US "SENIORS" GET OUR KICKS

What do us "Seniors" do to fill up our leisure time. Go disco dancing? No, certainly not! Go binge drinking at the weekened? Well maybe! Flirt with the postman? At the risk of being accused of baby snatching, I don't think so!

I'll let you into a secret. We spend hours on-line hunting out the weird, wonderful and bizzare to write about. This was written by a blogging friend of mine who is age "challenged", much like myself. It is so funny. http//www.wrestlingwithretirement.com/2010/09/disaster-protection-needs-second-look.html




Sunday, 26 September 2010

GRANDMA BONKERS

Eve Pollard one of my favourite journalists and one time editor of The Sunday Express and the Sunday Mirror was reviewing the papers on TV this morning during which she revealed that her grandchildren call her Grandma Bonkers. A great name and very distinctive.

My own grandchildren and great-grandchildren, being the fruit of multi-marriages have multi-nannas, some of us with the same christian name so it can get quite confusing. I have been called many things ranging from Nan, Nanny, Big Nan (my mother was Little Nan. They assured me that it refered to my height and not my width, but I didn't actually buy that). Big Nan was pluralized to "The Bigs" to include Davy (now I'm simply called "The Big"). Some of my great-grandchilden call me "Nanny Bullet" originating from their mother who used to say "you're quick, what do they call you? Bullet?"

So... Grandma Bonkers? Yes, it has a certain ring and fits me well.

Friday, 24 September 2010

HE DID IT

Vincent Cable gave his speech and raised some very interesting points. Now I realise I'm just an old woman who doesn't understand how these things work but I do know that rampant commercialism kills competition, just as the man said. It's the nature of the beast. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't we have a Monopolies Commission to stop businesses becoming too big and powerful for this very reason? And while I'm on the subject, as we have this legislation how come 96% of banking transactions in the UK are channelled through 4 banks?

So, what's the answer? It certainly isn't nationalisation. We all know how that one goes. Unskilled public servants attempting and failing to run massive corporations. Uggggg!!!

Then there's that other mob. The Unions. Now demanding no public sector cut backs and, amazingly enough, PAY RISES or they will strike. They should be flung in prison for treason. We teeter on the brink of global financial collapse and they don't want to help because the bankers caused it? Get real.

There is talk that "small government" is being advocated. I could see this working provided we, the good citizens of this Country, take more interest in what is happening, particularly what our leaders and public servants are doing. Make them accountable. I know, easier said than done. We need a true democracy run by the people for the people and we need it now.

And now for something completely different - dada.........

Warning, you have to be broad minded to view this video.




I suspect that "cheap air flights" might be a particularly a European UK phenomena, originated in the UK by EasyJet.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

GREEN SHOOTS OF RECOVERY? I HOPE SO.

Today Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills is to speak at the Liberal Party Conference. He was to launch an attack on "the murky world of corporate behaviour" and criticise capitalism, saying it "takes no prisoners". He is already being critisised. Let's see if he has the balls to pull it off. I love that man.

For our friends across the seas we have a unique situation going on here. The Labour Party (left) has been running the country into the ground for the last 13 years, scheming and blagging money out of good honest citizens to squander on feckless dossers and mad schemes. spending money they didn't have and getting the country into massive debt while doing nothing to curtail the bankers as they robbed us blind.

So... we had an election which, naturally, Labour lost. The Conservative Party (right) received most votes, but not enough to form a government so they formed a coilition government with the Liberals (centre). Now we have a Conservative Prime Minister (David Cameron) and a Liberal Deputy Prime Minister (Nick Clegg). It's my belief that they are two modern, honest and capable men, but they do have ideological differences with the Liberals leaning more to the left than the right.

We live in interesting times and I only pray to God that they can pull together for the good of the Country and put aside the pressures that are being applied by their more radical colleagues. This could all go horribly wrong, but if the will of the good citizens of this Country is allowed to take root I have hopes it will work. Or am I just being a Polyanna again?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

THE CAR WASH

Sorry I haven't posted for a while, my car needed washing again. I went to the car wash and had to have them rewash it three times...they kept missing spots...so if you don't hear from me for a week or so...you'll know where I am!






Now here's a feisty lady who I am sure would appreciate the car wash. Stick with it, it's very, very funny. I saw this on Eve's blog http://wrestlingretirement.blogspot.com/ and this what she said:

"A friend of the couple who founded Home Instead Senior Care, Mary Maxwell, was asked to give the invocation at the company’s 2009 Convention. Initially it seemed like a normal prayer, but it soon took a very funny turn. After I saw it, I had to share it with you. Feel free to click on the square at the lower right hand corner to enlarge the video to full screen "




Saturday, 11 September 2010

ANOTHER MEMORY

These memories come at the oddest times. This morning I was watching a news report of the tragedy on 9/11, listening to a very dignified lady talking about her son who died in the attack when, out of the blue, back flooded my memory of that day.

Davy and I had recently bought a flat in the city and were happily shopping for "stuff" in the John Lewis store when we noticed groups of people huddled around TV's in the electrical department. Wondering what was going on we strolled over and were horrified to see the image of one of the Trade Centre towers burning. As we watched another plane smashed into the other tower. The shared grief in that group of strangers can't be described. Strangers who didn't speak or look at each other but somehow had a merging of minds. After watching in silence for an hour or so we walked back to our flat in silence and continued watching on TV for the rest of the day.

There has been the usual publicity approaching this anniversary again, including the mad Pastor who wants to burn the books of the Koran, but it wasn't until I saw this beautiful lady being interviewed that memories of Davy and I slamming from extreme happiness in anticipation of buying new things for our beautiful little flat, to the horror of seeing that scene unfold on TV, came back and I felt the two extreme emotions all over again.

Memories are strange things aren't they? I was prepared for our wedding anniversary on 27th August and I'm preparing for his birthday on 1st October, I was even prepared for his favourite TV programme to end afte 40 years. What I wasn't prepared for was hearing the intro music to this show and watching this poor brave woman talk of her son this morning.

I must admit that I'm a bit all over the place at the moment because I have been embroiled in a delicate and difficult family situation since immediately after Davy died. It finally came to a head a few days ago and I had to make a very traumatic decision. Again, it was the unexpected that that managed to creep under my radar. A birthday gift being delivered, the door unexpectedly being opened with a hypercritical smile after I had suffering months of abuse resulting in me "behaving badly", refusing to say hello and the children being told that "nanny needs to learn how to behave towards her family". I guess that was the final straw for all of us and it's left me a bit shaky.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

THE REAL SUNDAY ROAST



On my last post I mentioned that Eddie Bluelights interviewed me for his Sunday Roast Feature. It is now live on http://eddybluelights.blogspot.com/ and, if I might say so myself, he did a very good job of it, even if he is a bit risque at times!

Reminds me of when I had my one and only full body massage in the Alps last winter. As I was approaching the ripe old age of 70 I thought that it was something I should experience, and where better to experience it than in the Alps. I duly booked myself in and presented myself to the masseur, a very handsome French man, who told me to strip off down to my bra and pants and enquired why I felt that I needed a massage.

When I told him my story he naturally assumed that I was there purely out of curiosity. He worked merrily away, chatting about this and that until he got to my shoulders. He stood back and exclaimed "Madame! I sink zis is not a luxury but a necessity, you have very naughty shoulders". I was alarmed. "Naughty shoulders?" "Yes, naughty shoulders". "Oh! you mean knotty shoulders". "Yes, zis is what I say, naughty shoulders". If only!!!

I heard this read out at an AA meeting once. It never fails to make me cry.

Touch of the Masters Hand

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
thought it scarcely worth his while
to waste much time on the old violin,
but held it up with a smile;

"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar"; then two!"
"Only two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three?

Three dollars, once; three dollars twice;
going for three..". But no,
from the room, far back, a gray-haired man
came forward and picked up the bow;

Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
and tightening up the loose strings,
he played a melody pure and sweet
as caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
with a voice that was quiet and low,
said; "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.

A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
and going and gone," said he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand
what changed its worth." Swift came the reply:
"The touch of a master's hand."

And many a man with life out of tune,
and battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
much like the old violin,

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine;
a game - and he travels on.
"He is going" once, and "going twice,
He's going and almost gone."

But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
never can quite understand
the worth of a soul and the change that's wrought
by the touch of the Master's hand.

Myra 'Brooks' Welch

Davy and I were touched by the Master's hand.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

"TO DO" LIST



This is a picture of me behaving badly with a pint of Smirff in my hand. Smirff is a cocktail of Smirnoff Ice, WKD Blue with an extra shot of vodka. Quite lethal. The event was my colleague and friend Tanya's 40th birthday party last weekend. My fellow partygoer is another colleague and friend Cheryl. We had a great time.

Plans for my "Oz-Bus" trip in the Spring are progressing well. I've put a sponsorship link on the blog (all donations will be gratefully received by Marie Curie), made a list of all the countries that I will be passing through for my vaccination requirements (Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania,Latvia,Russia,Trans Siberian Express, Mongolia, China, South Korea, Japan, Alaska, Canada & USA), ordered my rucksack (a Berghaus Jalan 70 + 15 wheeled travel pack) and organised to borrow a sleeping bag, liner and blow up pillow from a friend. This has made a bit of a dent in my "to do" list.

A "pending event" is that I've given a mad interview to Eddie Bluelight for his regular "Sunday Roast" feature. You can catch this from next Sunday on his blog Clouds and Silvery Linings (http://eddybluelights.blogspot.com) This is a great honour. Thanks Eddie.

Friday, 27 August 2010

HOW AM I?

It occurred to me that when Davy was ill he knew everyone needed to be kept informed. He was too ill to speak to anyone and encouraged me to pass information on through this blog, which I did. The one thing that I found difficult was writing about was how I was coping. I don't find it easy to speak of my own emotional pain. In a situation like this Davy would say "If you don't speak, I can't see you". One of his many, many wise sayings. So here I go - I speak.

Concerned friends and colleagues ask how I am and, naturally, I say "fine". I actually am fine most of the time. I have built up "coping mechanisms" throughout difficult periods in life and this has helped me now.

But every so often pain gets under the radar. An example - "Last of the Summer Wine", one of our longest running TV sitcoms. It's a charming, gentle tale of friendship between aging men who behave like naughty young boys, getting into difficult situations as the result of their endless curiosity. It was one of Davy's favourite programmes.

I wasn't particularly interested in it, but used to love hearing Davy laugh out loud watching their mad behaviour. It seemed to release the little boy within. This helped me to "see Davy" who didn't normally "belly laugh".

Recently there has been much talk of the series coming to an end. The "coping me" thought "sad, but hey! it's inevitable. All things have to come to an end".

So...this morning the inevitable happened - after nearly 40 years the final episode is scheduled for this Sunday and it is now a news item. Without warning Breakfast TV played the signature tune. Under the radar! Hearing that music bought memories flooding back again and I had a massive physical pain in the pit of my stomoch. I "felt" the mellow Sunday evenings when we would sit in quiet companionship, side by side, him enjoying the programme, me enjoying him. We thought it would never end, but inevitabley it did.

I have been preparing myself for the fact that today is our wedding aniversary and I was OK, but hearing the signature tune of that programme made me come unglued. Now isn't that odd?

So, how am I? Fine, I get through most days with interest, hope and optimism, enjoying life in the way that Davy taught me, but every now and then something gets under the radar to stick that red hot poker into the pit of my stomoch.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

GCSE RESULTS ROLL AROUND AGAIN

This time it's the turn of my grandson Ali. Being his grandmother I predict that he is destined for great things. But hey, no need for me to brag, these were his results, you be the judge.

A* French and Chemistry
A History, biology, physics, English literature, English language, ICT, and Spanish.
B Maths and RE
C Art

And, even better, he is a great guy. Well done Ali and enjoy the BBQ and party tonight.

Apart from this excitement what has happened? Well I guess the highlight of my week was meeting up with Nick, the guy who did the London to New York overland trip this year. Any trepidation that I might have had evaporated. Joy simply radiated from he when he recalled the journey.

In his opinion the most "challenging" problem was the lack of "personal hygiene" facilities on the Trans Siberian Express, or as Nick put it "take plenty of baby wipes with you"! The "best bits" were the amazing places they visited and sharing the experience with his travelling companions who became like family. The bit he enjoyed the least was the 14 days spent on the 5* Cruise Liner because it was difficult to cope with pure unadulterated luxury and inactivity after experiencing the highs of the road. Personally, I think that I would be OK with that one!

So... where am I going and when? On 25th March next year I'm leaving for a 95 day trip across 3 continents and through 15 countries - Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Mongolia, China, South Korea, Japan, Alaska, Canada, finally arriving in New York on 24th June (or thereabouts!).

Why? Long story, but the abreviated version is that I watched a guy being interviewed on Breakfast TV about 6 years ago. He was organising a trip to travel in a bus overland to Australia. His plan was to buy the bus in London and sell it in Australia. I really fancied doing that and, with Davy's encouragement, tried unsuccessfully to find out more about it.

Roll on a few years - I heard about this Ozbus Company trip and thought "wow, that sounds great". The rest, as they say, is history. I know that if Davy was alive he would have loved me to go and a friend of mine suggested that I organise sponsorship in his memory, so this is what I intend to do. I am in the early stages of setting up an on-line donation payable to Marie Curie.

I chose this charity because the Marie Curie nurses were so kind to Davy when they came to the house to help nurse him in his final days. It was very cold and we had heavy snow, but they turned out any time of the day or night to do, what I call, practical "hands on" nursing. We had plenty flocking around offering "verbal" help, but Marie Curie was the only organisation that "put their money where their mouth was" provided what we really needed, lifting, changing, washing, etc. Without them I wouldn't have been able to keep Davy at home where he desperately wanted to be.

More news about the way to donate once I have figured it out for myself!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

IF I RULED THE WORLD

I don't delude myself that ruling the world would be easy and I do appreciate that there would be many set backs in trying to get things sorted. After all, as the great man said, you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time. Having said that there are some things that I would like to see tackled.

A "for instance" is that I would propose a radical re-think about how to handle addicts. I know that I bang on about this constantly, but why don't we go back to the way they treated addicts 50 years ago. Register them and give them the drugs. Take it out of the hands of criminal suppliers.

One of the objections to this is, it is claimed, addiction would spiral out of control. But surely it's out of control anyway. Young children are being targetted by criminal suppliers, addicts trawl our street looking for the means to fund their addiction filling honest citizens with the fear of being robbed, mugged or worse. They take up police and court time and fill our jails at a huge cost to the economy. How much worse can it get? Logic tells me that money saved by taking the problem out of the Criminal Justice System could be better spent in providing a solution.

Wana know another solution? Here's is a great one I heard today. Frederick Forsyth has just written a new book on the subject, The Cobra. He was being interviewed about it on TV today and he said that one of the the answers is to re-catagorise the importation of drugs from being a crime to being the act of terrorism that it is. Now that is an interesting one because it opens up a whole new method of dealing with the dirty scum at the top.

And finally -




Today is National 'HOLY CRAP, YOU'RE HOT' Day! Send this to someone gorgeous, but don't send it back to me – I've been getting this message all day!!!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

SUNDAY ROAST

I'm doing a traditional Sunday Roast today, something that I haven't done for a while. It was put into abeyance when Davy was so ill because he couldn't tolerate having anyone near him. He was in too much pain and, I believe, was trying to concentrate on staying alive. When he died I thought we would resume it again but it didn't seem to happen which is a great pity because all the house renovations were to accommodate our ever growing family when they descended on us.

Luckily my granddaughter bought her family to live with me when Davy died but now they are moving to a new house nearby and the time is right for me to make the big adjustment of belonging to a family of one! I will miss them badly, but life goes on and I will probably see them most days plus I have many grandchildren who keep in touch and visit whenever they can.

Widowhood is a strange place to be. It doesn't seem that long ago that Davy and I were at the heart of the family and now I live somewhere on the edge, not really belonging anywhere and trying to understand many problems that have occurred since he died. The family dynamics have changed and I guess it will take me a while to adjust.

But I have so much to be thankful for. Last week I had a visit from my friend who first introduced me to Davy all those years ago. She lives in Spain now and we had a great time catching up. We are planning for me to visit her and her husband in the autumn, so that is something to look forward to.

And then I have my BIG TRIP to look forward to next March. Next week I am meeting up with Nick who went on this overland London to New York trip this year. I read his blog, wanted to go, paid my deposit and immediately went into a blind panic. Nick is a friend of a friend and we have been in touch by email, but I need to look into his eyes and for him to tell me that it is OK for a 70 year old lady who is not particularly athletic or fit to do such a mad thing.

Help, I have to go my great granddaughters are laying the table for lunch and want me to move!

Monday, 9 August 2010

SO HERE I AM

On a sunny Monday afternoon sat in the gloom of the roller disco. The things I do for my great grandchildren! But I guess it keeps me out of mischief.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Friday, 6 August 2010

THAT WAS THE WEEK, THAT WAS!



Firstly, congratulations to my son-in-law Jamie. Not only did he complete the Iron Man Challenge last weekend, he is also the only son-in-law who, on the surface of it, still likes me. Whew. Two feats of extreme endurance and I'm not sure which one should earn him the most "brownie" points!

For those who are unfamiliar with the challenge it's a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride and than a 26.2 mile run. You can read all about it at http://ironman.com/events/ironman/uk/?show=about#axzz0vopw6INh. Is he super fit, or what!? And he is also a throughly nice guy. Love you, love your wife, and love your two great boys. Well done Jamie.

As for the rest of the week? Mixed in the extreme! My grandaughter, her husband, one of the girls and one of the babies have been extremely poorly. Dan started it off with sickness, followed a day later with flu like symptoms and then a few days later sore throat, mouth ulcers and agonising gum pain, drenching night sweats and delirium. Then George, Noah and Orianne went down with it.

The medics have diagnosed - stomach upset, flu, tonsilitis, thrust, mouth ulcers and cold sores, ! It lasts about 10 days and is vicious in the extreme. Dan lost over 20lbs in that short time. Dan's gym instructor had the same symptoms and she was told it was because she was too old to be doing the job and this was her body protesting!

I have two worries. If they are the only ones in the area to have these symptoms why are they not being investigated or if not why didn't they tell them and give some idea of what to expect? One Doctor even told George off for bringing the baby to see him!

Another trauma this week was that my computer also became chronically sick. Fortunately my family and computer are now well on the way to recovery. So now we are on the up again!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

THE MUM SONG

I saw this on Carmen's Blog this morning (RNSANE)and she graciously gave me permission to use it. It's hilarious.

WHO SAID ROMANCE WAS DEAD IN SCOTLAND

This was sent to me this morning. Having been married to a Scot I can say that there more than a little truth in this!



I guess that I have now upset most of the global population because if someone isn't Scottish they have someone in their family who is and if not really, really love the Scots and hate the English. Now why is that do you think?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

BLACKBERRY KEYBOARD



My last blog caused some confusion, so I am now attempting to resolve that. This is my portable keyboard which folds in half and has a niffty little pull out rest for my BlackBerry to repose on. I have sat it on my laptop so that you can see it's full sized. It's so much easier that trying to type off of the tiny 'phone keyboard, especially when I want to write a blog. It was indispensable when I went on my Orient Express trip and I'm sure it will also be indispensable on my trip overland across Europe, Asia, and North America.

The power monkey is simple and does what it says on the tin. I charge it up from the mains or by solar power whenever I get the opportunity and use it as my power source when I'm in a remote region without mains access. Clever huh! But will it work? I have spoken to many people who assure me it will be fine, but I guess the only way to prove it is to buy one because what works for other people doesn't necessarily work for me, especially when I don't have an "expert" at hand!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

TESTING, TESTING, TESTING

In preparation for my BIG TRIP next March I have dug out my Freedom Universal Keyboard. I switch it on and - heypresto - with the help of my trusted IT expert taking good instruction and advice from me, I have a full sized keyboard instead of having to use the diddy keyboard on the BlackBerry.

So that is that problem solved, my next challenge is do I need an IPad? It would be good to be able to Google and read books on the hoof, as it were. I know I can Google on BlackBerry but it's not quite the same without a good sized screen. Or should I make do, Google on BlackBerry and take Davy's EReader with me? Much easier to read books on.

...And then there is the question of how to I charge my batteries? I think that I am leaning towards a Power Money with Solar add on.

Anyway, enough of that, the keyboard is now tested and I'm going for a power nap. My brain hurts.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

BEWARE OF CUSTOMS

The other day I needed to go to the hospital casualty department. Not wanting to sit there for hours I stuck a patch onto the front of my blouse that I had downloaded off the Internet.

When I went into A & E., I noticed that three quarters of the people got up and left. I guess they decided that they weren't that sick after all. Cut at least 3 hours off my waiting time. Here's the patch. Feel free to use it the next time you're in need of quicker emergency service.



It also works at the DSS. It saved me 5 hours.

At the Laundry, three minutes after entering, I had my choice of any machine, most still running.

Don't try it at McDonald's though..... The whole crew got up and left and l never got my order...

Monday, 19 July 2010

SPEEDING TICKETS

Last November I "acquired" three speeding tickets whilst Davy was in Addenbrookes Hospital. Because I already had 3 points on my licence these tickets would have taken me up to the maximum resulting in a driving ban and because I was Davy's primary means of getting to his various medical appointments I asked a specialist solicitor to look into the validity of the 30 MPH limit on this wide, tree lined avenue.

This opened up a can of worms culminating in my appearing in court this morning. I had a really "colourful" barrister who set out the fact that this road had a somewhat chequered past in that it had been at various times in it's history 30 MPH and then 40 MPH and still was 40 MPH along some stretches which are signed 30 MPH! Are you with me so far? However, sods law being what it is, the section that I was on is officially 30 MPH and correctly marked as such.

He went on to explain that had we been given this information last November when we first requested it I would have held up my hands and pled guilty, but the lack of co-operation and information from all the authorities concerned had resulted in this delay which had been finally resolved last Thursday when they released the information.

While the barrister was calmly and patiently explaining the history of this road there was much head shaking and lifting of eyes on the magistrates bench. They concluded that I should only be fined the bare minimum set penalty costs with 6 points on my licence and not the additional exhorbitant costs that Cambridge City Council were asking for. They admitted that this road had caused many problems over the years and were, I thought, extremely sympathetic towards me. I now have to drive like a nun until next March when the 3 points from the previous speeding offence drop off my licence.

As for the barrister.....we had coffee with him afterwards....now there IS a colourful character, but client confidentiallity prevents me from revealing anything. My lips are sealed.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

BLOATED SACRED COWS

This new government is proposing to make interesting changes to long standing money pits. This morning it's the turn of University funding. When Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, was interviewed he explained, very rationally and succinctly , that we currently have a system in place where students pay an upfront fee of £3000, which poorer students stuggle with, and then fund themselves by way of a student loan to eventually be paid back through additional taxes on earnings in excess of £15,000.

The new thinking is that higher earning professionals such as surgeons should be expected to pay more than, say, teachers or social workers. The TV reporter immediately jumped on this saying that high achievers should not be penalised in this way. Is it me? Surely that is what the whole taxation system is about anyway. High earners pay 40% income and capital gains taxes, and are in higher Council Tax bands because they can afford better housing etc. so this would simply be an extension of this thinking.

Vince Cable quite rightly said that we have limited funds available and have to use them wisely to ensure that we provide world class universities. At the moment we have so many university doling out mickey mouse degrees, frittering away precious resources and dumping virtually unemployable students onto the job market at the end of it.

And another thing.......the public sector is being asked to make across the board cuts too. Not before time. I know of local government workers and civil servants who are actively encouraged to reduce their productivity and submit inflated overtime claims because if the budget isn't used they lose it.

Even when Davy was in the building trade in the 1970's and 80's it was common practice for builders to be asked to increase the headcount on public sector sites toward the end of the year because there was a budget excess to be used up. And that is just the tip of the misappropriation of funding disgrace, I could write a book about it. It has to be stopped. Let's hope this government has the balls to tackle this national sacred cow.

Unfortunately any sensible suggestion is jumped on by the TV and media with the BBC appearing to be hell bent on subtly trashing any much needed changes and the Unions and spin doctors pursuading poor maligned workers that they are being victimised. What I don't understand is that benefit cheating is a crime, so why isn't cheating in the workplace also recorgnised as being the crime that it is? It has the same result, it keeps the Country poor and stops the really needy from getting help.

.......and don't get me started on the NHS. Now there is an organisation that is bloated with useless tossers and insane work practices.

OK, rant over for today.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

WE WILL ROCK YOU - QUEEN

Just got back from our London "girls" weekend away. What a great time we had, first meeting up for lunch with good friends from way back when and then on to "We Will Rock You" a show built around the music of Queen.

What a great musical that is and the cast is so talented. It's awsome to think how much talent there is around. At midnight we finally got chucked out of the restaurant next to our hotel. What a great way to end the weekend. I aim to make this year my most outrageous yet!

This was sent to me by a friend and uncannily smacks of realism!

Girls Night Out

A group of 40 year old girlfriends discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally, it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the waiters there had tight pants and nice buns.


10 years later at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the food there was very good and the wine selection was good also.



10 years later at 60 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean.


10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the restaurant was wheel chair accessible and they even had an elevator.


10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before.

Friday, 9 July 2010

LONDON THEN LONDON TO NEW YORK

I have been very measured (for me) about the trip from London to New York. I emailed Nick Machin, the guy who wrote the blog, and he suggested that we meet up at the beginning of August so that he can give me the low down. I keep telling myself to stand back and consider what I'm doing because I always act so impetuously and get myself into so much trouble, then I though f..k it, do it, so I did! Completed the booking form, sent off my deposit and got an email confirmation by return. The dye is cast!

Even if it makes me lose a little weight and occupies my mind for a while it's worth it and if I really hate it I can always stop off at the nearest airport and come home again. So next March will see me with my rucksack timidly meeting my travelling companions in London ready for the big journey. How wonderful!

In the meantime life goes on. Tomorrow I'm going up to London for a "girls" weekend away to see "We Will Rock You" at the theatre. We are having lunch at Kettners, a wonderful restaurant in Soho and staying overnight at a gorgeous Grange City Hotel. It should be tremendous fun. I can't wait.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Joy, joy

Did you young mothers ever yearn for the day when your children could go off to parties unaccompanied? Think on. That day never arrives because your young children become parents and your grandparently duty is to accompany your grandchildren to these wretched parties and then your grandchildren marry and..... Well you get the drift. Advice? Take a good book with you while the youngsters enjoy themselves.


Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Thursday, 1 July 2010

IS THIS MAD MARCH OR SOMETHING?

My friend and colleague Tanya told me about an amazing organised trip an old school friend of hers has just taken, travelling overland from London to New York. He wrote a blog about his experiences at http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/jackregan/2/126947 1857/tpod.html.

I had seen a guy interviewed on TV a few years ago who was trying to organise a similar trip to Australia by bus. I got quite excited about the idea and Davy was doing his damnest to encourage me to go! I can't imagine why. Unfortunately at the time I was unable to unearth who was organising it or what it entailed.

After reading the blog I emailed the company telling them that I am a recently widowed lady of 70, not particularly fit, but with no health problems that I know of, asking if the trip would be too strenuous and this is the reply I received:

Dear Ann,

First of all many thanks for your message and interest in the London to New York trip in 2011.

Our first ever trip arrived in New York on 20th June (10 days ago) and was an unmitigated success. All the passengers thoroughly enjoyed it and have been hugely complimentary about the journey. Included within the passengers on this first trip we had a lady of 81 years old and two gentlemen in their early 70's.

You would certainly not be too old as we would not ask you to do anything too strenuous. Indeed it does tend to lend itself more towards mature passengers than some of the other trips. You would be most welcome to join this trip and indeed we are already taking bookings even at this early stage.

Please note that due to the fact that there will only be one trip annually and the number of places available are limited, we would suggest that if you do wish to join the 2011 London to New York trip it would be best to let us know sooner rather than later, as this way we can provisionally hold your place until you commit to book. The trip in 2010 was very popular and we expect the 2011 trip to be even more so.

I hope this helps but if you have any further questions then please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you again and hopefuly will be able to welcome you on board the 2011 trip.

Kind regards,

Alistair Chrystal

www.oz-bus.com

Would anyone that knows me please advise if they think this is a crazy idea because I do tend to be a tad impetuous at the best of times! But if you think it is sheer madness keep your mucking comments to yourself!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

FOOTBALL MANIA


Emailing: 35781_408780159274_719954274_4333033_6137135_n
Originally uploaded by anninfotel

My nanny says the funniest things. Today she said that she thought that England could win The World Cup. I said to myself "not a chance, they play like nincumpoops". I love that word. In fact I think I may make it the first word I say. My brother Noah is 17 months old and he doesn't say anything yet. But he's a good pointer and manages to get his "point" across, if you see what I mean.

Today I heard the grown ups say that the next England match is on Sunday. We play Germany. That's a laugh, although apparently I have heard say that we have actually won against Germany in the past. I think that we won the First and Second World Wars, but that was in the days when men were men and our footballers weren't wooses.

Now you wait until my brother and I play for England, we will show them a thing or two. My brother has hands like dinner plates and thighs like tree trunks and my nanny says he will be a goalkeeper. I, however, am more refined and I may be a Prince or something instead of a footballer. I haven't quite made my mind up yet, but I have plenty of time to decide.

2 LITTLE BOYS ENJOYING THE SUN

They are in a good frame of mind today. What with the sun and the good news that at last the debt crisis is being dealt with. They told me that they feel quite relieved and hope that the future will be financially secure for them now that our new Chancellor, that nice Mr. Osborne, has laid out his plans to get us back on track again.

However, they do have one small concern regarding Mr Osborne. They wonder why he was on that Baron Rothschild yacht a few years back with the scary Baron Mandelson our ex First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, President of the Board of Trade, and Lord President of the Council aka dracular.

Their worry is that young Osborne and the mad Mandelson are political poles apart so what was the attraction of being in the company of the man whose ancestors made their billions by creating financial and political mayhem inciting wars so that they could lend money to the countries in financial difficulties? I told them not to worry about that, the world is due to end in 2012 so just enjoy!

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

THAT THING BESIDE THE TREE IS CALLED A SHADDOW

Not many people in England have memories long enough to know that!

At last I have taken delivery of my BlackBerry to replace the one that was stolen.

Hopefully it will inspire me to write again because I can be more impulsive when I "blog on the go".
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Thursday, 17 June 2010

NIL CARBORUNDUM ILLEGITIMI

I just realised how long it has been since we arrived home. One week to be exact. I sometimes find it much more difficult to write when I'm at home because there are so many distractions.

So, what's happened this week? Well the tossers at the insurance company have decreed that I can't claim for my stolen items because they were "left unattended". My question is, aren't goods always stolen when they are unattended? If they were attended do they seriously think you would allow them to be stolen? Or is it me? Being the stroppy person that I am, I disputed this decision and asked them to listen back to the call recording and tell me exactly how they had come to that conclusion. I am now being punted around the system with them promising to listen to the call recording and apologising for not having done so yet!

I was luckier with my BlackBerry because it was on contract and due an upgrade anyway. The new 'phone came the next day, the sim card didn't. Now I am another vortex of them saying it's "in the post" and me not receiving it, then it's "in the post" again and around and around we go on that particular merry-go-around.

Do you know, I'm heartily tired of fighting the system all the time. I still have an on-going dispute about speeding fines. It's a long story, but the abridged version is that when Davy was in Addenbrookes Hospital last November I was caught 3 times that week on the same camera. I was so surprised that this was a 30 mile an hour zone and raised a query regarding the validity of this limit, requesting to see the Traffic Regulation Order. As this was not produced I requested this information under the Freedom of Information Act. It was still not produced and when we researched it we found this has been a contentious issue for the last 40+ years.

My original need to fight these speeding fines was that I was in danger of losing my licence and I desperately needed it to ferry Davy about to his various hospital/clinic appointments. After Davy died the need was not so great, but by that time I had got mad with the whole damn thing. We are having one last stab at resolving this, then I give in and, believe me, that will really make my flesh crawl! Isn't what a wonderful phrase?

Apart from that, and the sickness bug we all went down with, things are fine!