Saturday, 31 January 2009

A Child’s Painting…

This is an actual picture from a child at school.


After it was graded and the child brought it home. The child returned to school the next day with the following note from her mother:

Dear Ms. Davis,
I want to be very clear on my child's illustration.  It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint.  I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm.  
This photo is of me selling a shovel.
Mrs. Harrington

Friday, 30 January 2009

Perks of Reaching 50+….

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 4pm. 
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 (or your headaches) 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. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The On-Going Saga of Our Radiators…

What have I said already about our radiators? I said we had let the air out about 5 times… But still, after a while, the top half went cold and the bottom stayed hot… So the house hasn’t been freezing, but it hasn’t warmed up as much as it should, or usually does. I’ve been putting one of my mother’s shawls round my shoulders for that little extra warmth.

Pete, our man who put the new shower in, arrived to do another job for us. He checked them out and also bled them. Still no luck after about half an hour.

Dave rang the help line we have. We have some insurance we pay a little each month that means we can call someone out to fix a problem. A man came out first thing the next morning. A lovely man… I have to say that as my dogs all fell in love with him and nearly licked him to death! He has a boxer, he told me. He used to have five, all but one were rescues. He obviously knows dogs. My dogs sensed it.  l ways trust people who my dogs accept.

He bled the radiators for us and also tried adding some water to one. Made sense to me as there had been so much air in the system. He left… Then rang us a couple of hours later. I went and felt the radiators… All back to normal… NOT WORKING… He popped back and bled them again and left his firm’s office number and said to ring them if they weren’t working again after he had left.

Needless to say… They still went cold. Dave rang the firm. This was last Friday, a week after Pete had tried to fix the problem. They’d send a man out after 2.00pm on Monday. That was fine as far as we were concerned. I just continued to wear a shawl over my sweater. It was either that or a coat!

Monday afternoon arrived… We were ready for the plumber to arrive… But he hadn’t got here by 4pm. Dave rang the firm. ‘The plumber was definitely on his way…’ they told him. So we waited…. and waited…. and waited. Dave rang again. Same answer; ‘Plumber was delayed but he will be there.’ Fine… So we waited some more.

At 5.15pm Dave rang yet again… ‘Our man was delayed… He’ll be there sometime after 12 noon tomorrow!’

Around 4.30pm Tuesday, a man did arrive. Another nice man. At least this rather unreliable firm hired pleasant people to work for them. This chap knew nothing about our appointment from yesterday, but said they were very busy at the minute.

I told him that all his firm had to do was ring us and be honest and say there was delay… and could we wait till the next day? Of course we could. It wasn’t an emergency… there was no flooding of water everywhere, and the radiators did let off some heat.

By this time, Dave had had a good look at the boiler in the shed. He thought there was a bit of a problem with it… So I led the man to the shed… Turns out, that was were the problem lay. He then had to bleed the radiators again… How many times is that now? I’ve forgotten!

He said there may be a problem… If there was, he’d replace something or other… He’ll ring in a day or two, or we should call the firm.

So far, so good. No problem… All the radiators are – at last – working fine and are hot from bottom to top. I’ve put my shawl away again!

I hope that is the end of the boring saga!


A woman had just returned to her home from an evening of church
services, when she was startled by an intruder. She caught the man in the
act of robbing her home of its valuables and yelled: 'Stop! Acts2:38!'
(Repent and be Baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ , so that your sins
may be forgiven.)

The burglar stopped in his tracks. The woman calmly called the police and
explained what she had done.

As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: 'Why
did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell a scripture to

'Scripture?' replied the burglar. 'She said she had an Ax and Two 38s!'


Tuesday, 27 January 2009

To All My Pet Readers…

The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door.

Dear Dogs and Cats: 

The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food.   The other dishes are mine and contain my food.  Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not  designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack.  Racing me to the bottom is  not the object.  Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you  can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized  bed.  I am very sorry about this.  Do not think I will continue  sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however.  Dogs and cats can  actually curl up in a ball when they sleep.  It i s not necessary to  sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent  possible.  I also know that sticking tails straight out and having  tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but  sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit  from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you  there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine,  meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to  open the door.  I must exit through the same door I entered. 

Also,  I have been using the bathroom for years - canine/feline attendance is not  required.

The proper order for kissing is:  Kiss me first,  then go smell the other dog or cat's butt.  I cannot stress this  enough.

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the  following message on the front door:

(1)  They live  here.  You don't. 
(2)  If you don't want their hair on your clothes,  stay off the furniture. 
That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.  
(3) I  like my pets a lot better than I like most people. 
(4)  To you, they are animals.  To me, they  are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't  speak clearly.

Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids  because they:

(1) eat less,
(2)  don't ask for money all the time,
(3) are  easier to train,
(4)  normally come when called,
(5)  never ask to drive the car,
(6)  don't hang out with drug-using people;
(7)  don't smoke or drink,
(8)  don't want to wear your clothes,
(9)  don't have to buy the latest fashions,
(10)  don't need a gazillion dollars for college and
(11)  if they get pregnant, you can sell  their children .. 

Monday, 26 January 2009

Peace & Quiet at Home… NOT!!!

Phone call last week:

“Can we stay a night at yours? We’re off down to London… ?” It was Martin, Chris’ friend who lives in Scotland. He and his wife Gail were meeting up with his family and friends and were also going to see a show.

This is a very small bedroom and we don’t have much room so Chris got the small caravan organised for them to stay in it. He put the little electric heater in on a low setting a couple of days before they were due to arrive. They, typically, arrived at 5.30am Friday morning! The outside lights came on and the dogs barked so I got out of bed to look… It was them.

I went to welcome them as I saw Chris go outside to bring them in. I had to detour straight into the bathroom. It was another bad morning for me and my tummy! Chris made them a cup of tea as I went back to my bedroom to take some tablets. I was then in and out of the bathroom for the next half an hour and only managed a quick ‘Hello!’ between trips.

It was the first time I had met Gail. She’s a lovely girl born and bred in Glasgow. They departed to the caravan for some sleep after telling us that their first hour of driving had been in driving snow so it was slow going to start with.

They came back into the house around the middle of the afternoon where Martin cooked them both bacon and eggs. Martin has stayed with us enough times now that I am happy for him to take over my kitchen when he wants to.

The day before I had cooked a lovely stew of beef in red wine sauce… After we had eaten, it went into the fridge. I knew they’d eat it later… which they did. In fact there was still enough for us all to have some. Why is a meal like that always better the following day?

Mean while as I explained in an earlier blog, I had a plumber in and out trying to fix the radiators. After the second visit, I thought they were fixed… but as luck would have it. They weren’t. The top half of most of the radiators were cool to cold while the bottom half were quite hot! So there was still air in them… Something was wrong.

Dave rang the firm up… They are due to arrive at any minute… today Monday. Fingers crossed they solve the problem this time.

Martin and Gail took off for London on Saturday morning. Peace and quiet at last. I love having them here… but the place is so small and Martin is so tall – well over 6 foot – there really isn’t much room if we are all in the same one!

To Drink or Not To Drink…

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I have always enjoyed a glass of wine in the evening or when out with friends. I seldom drank more than one glass here at home… But I did enjoy it. Months ago, I went right off it. In fact, over Christmas I had a small glass of Baileys, and that’s all.

I love the taste of Baileys and discovered that our local Co-op sells a similar drink for a good few pounds cheaper. So I bought a bottle or two. Dave likes the odd glass and Chris, who doesn’t normally drink, also likes a shot in a cup of coffee. Over the last week, I’ve had some and while Martin and Gail were here, I had a couple of glasses too.

I noticed that my tummy was very bad every morning for consecutive days but I hadn’t been having a dreadfully swollen tummy in the evenings. Most odd? I wondered if the little drink might have had anything to do with it? After all, it’s very rich, sweet and creamy. So for the last two evenings, I haven’t had a drink of it. And Martin – bless him – bought me two bottles of the stuff as a thank you for letting them stay.

My tummy has been fine for the last two days… Since not having a drink at night. I have no real stress either as Dearly Beloved has been fine and hasn’t had a mood swing since coming out of hospital. Not sure of his mood today though. He’s a little upset that the plumber still hasn’t arrived! He’s just rung the firm. They said he is coming today! It’s 4.10pm as I write this… So there isn’t much of today - in work hours - left now!

Chris is about to take off down to London to meet Martin and Gail and other friends. He does this every now and again… But he’ll be back late tonight or tomorrow morning before it’s light. He never leaves his dogs for too long.

If this plumber would just come… fix the problem and go… We will have a very nice quiet evening with no arguments as to which channel to watch! I shall take control of the remote… LOL


For several years, a man was having an affair with an Italian woman.
One night, she confided in him that she was pregnant. Not wanting to ruin
His reputation or his marriage, he paid her a large sum of money if she
Would go to Italy to secretly have the child. If she stayed in Italy to raise
The child, he would also provide child support until the child turned 18.
She agreed, but asked how he would know when ! The baby was born.

To keep it discrete, he told her to simply mail him a post card, and write 'Spaghetti' on the back. He Would then arrange for the child support payments to begin.

One day, about 9 months later, he came home to his confused wife.
'Honey, 'she said, 'You received a very strange post card today.'
'Oh, just give it to me and I'll explain it later,' he said. The wife obeyed
And watched as her husband read the card, turned white, and fainted.

On the card was written:

'Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti.

Three with meatballs, two without.

Send extra sauce.

Friday, 23 January 2009

It's All Happening Here...

My tummy has been playing me up for the last four days. Typical that the stress of dearly beloved’s emergency departure to hospital affects me after the event… But that’s how it is with me.

Turns out I had an appointment with my consultant – about my tummy – while Dave was in the hospital. Stupid me… I didn’t remember. Could be because I had other things on my mind? LOL Yesterday, I got a letter from the hospital to say they had made another appointment for me in April. Dave rang them up. That’s when we found out I had missed an appointment.

Silly me… I was in the hospital anyway… and could so easily have kept the appointment. I do so want to see if there is anything they can do.

Friends Arriving… If anyone stays with us, we have to put them up in our little towing caravan. There just isn’t room in the house. A friend of Chris’ wanted to pass by on his way down to London. Could he stay for a couple of night? Of course… it would be lovely to see him and his fairly new wife. I hadn’t met her before though my son’s went up to Scotland for their wedding.

They left Scotland late last night and spent the next hour driving through heavy snow! They arrived about 5.45am this morning. The dogs barked so I got up… I couldn’t meet them. I had to go straight to the Loo! Back into my bedroom and took some tablets… went out to say hello… then a mad rush back to the bathroom! This went on for about twenty minutes to half an hour.

Then I managed to sit down in the kitchen (closest place to the bathroom), and have a ciggie, a coffee and a chat with them. Around seven, they went off to get some sleep as they had been driving all night.

The Plumber Arrives… Since Pete moved the bathroom radiator up higher on the wall when he did the bathroom for us, the radiators in most rooms have been temperamental! Lower half on with the top half cold. Not good. Bubbly gurgling noises often emanating from some of them. Dave bled them. Obviously, there was a lot of air in the system. They were fine for a day… Same problem occurred again. We bled them again. Pete arrived the other day to fix a post in the fencing. It had blown down due to the high winds we’ve had. He bled them while he was here.

We must have bled them five times at least now… and still they weren’t fixed. Dave called the emergency help yesterday. We have a policy through the bank for help with things that can go wrong around the house and garden. The man arrived this morning at 8 o’clock. He found the problem and I think it’s fixed now… Well I hope it is. No fun having radiators in the rooms with half of them not working properly!

Mean while I have taken extra tablets. I’ve now had double the normal amount I would take. I’m feeling a little ‘safer’. Not having to rush to the bathroom. So I switched on my laptop and caught up on some blogs.

Missed Blogs… Turns out I have missed reading quite a few friend’s blogs over the last few days. I missed where Penny wrote that she had got her new puppy. I missed when Technogran said she’d do a blog on a problem I have with posting to both Spaces and Blogger after writing my blog in Windows Live Writer… Gawd knows how of why I’ve missed these blogs?

Actually, it’s because I don’t get my Spaces Home page up often. It irritates me that they put who said what to whom on the page… and I’m not the least bit interested in who said what to whom! Oh I do wish they’d left Spaces alone. I tend to go straight to my blog and check for comments below my posts.

Blogger is handy as it gives me a list of the latest updates on blogs I read… But if I haven’t added some friend’s blogs to my list, I don’t get the update, obviously! Over the last week or so, I have tended to visit my friends who have left comments and catch up that way.

Even doing that on Spaces irritates me now as you have to click around a bit to get to their blog. It used to be one click and you were there. I seem to spend more time trying to find a friend’s blog than I do reading them… That’s if I do find them! LOL

That’s enough rambling and moaning!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Dearly Beloved is Home Now...

He rang me this morning to say, yet again, that he should be allowed home today. After the false alarm yesterday, I wasn’t really too hopeful. I’d rather he was in hospital than out, if he’s not really completely back on his feet.

So I sat around waiting for another phone call. He told me not to go up at visiting time… just sit and wait for his call. At 3 o’clock, he rang. I could go and collect him. Great… But I had no intention of rushing as I have never waited less than an hour in the past. There is always something. Either he hasn’t got down to what he and I call the ‘Departure Lounge’ or his tablets haven’t arrived or they’ve lost his prescription or there isn’t a Porter about to wheel him out of the ward. You name it, there has always been something that generally means a good hour – more likely two hours – before he can actually leave the hospital.

So I got myself organised, took some tablets to bind me so I was safe to travel. I rolled some ciggies and nagged my son to get organised. We put the four dogs in the car and off we set about 3/4 of an hour after Dave had phoned me.

We needed a few things like milk, so I suggested we pop by Tesco's before we went on up to the hospital. Chris waited in the car… I don’t like leaving the dogs in the car these days. I am paranoid about the car and dogs being stolen these days. I went off into the shop. I picked up the few things we needed then passed some cushions that Dave had mentioned Tesco had. Black and white zebra striped. I had said not to get them till I’d seen them. I loved them. They are perfect for our leather furniture. So I picked up three.

What I didn’t know was that I was paying 10 pounds for each of them. Had I let Dave buy them when he saw them, he’d have got them for a fiver each! I was not a happy bunny… but I still got them. They are perfect.

Then off we set a little further up the road to the hospital. We drove round to the area where the entrance to the Departure Lounge was… and Chris ran in to spend a penny! Dave walked out to the car and asked where we had got to? For the first time ever, he was free to leave the hospital within an hour of him ringing me! It’s never happened before, and believe me, I’ve picked him up a good many times in the past.

Dave was followed out by a nurse who thought they had lost him! He was in the car by now… Chris came out and explained that we had him! Trust Dave to rush out and not tell them!

I explained where we’d been. Then, back to his usual self, he said the cushions were too expensive. I had to agree… but they are perfect! He said he’d have got them for a fiver if I’d let him… “I know, I know!” was my reply.

Got home having missed most of the O’Bama inauguration… Seen it now as it was repeated on the TV. There is an hours TV programme about O’Bama and his up-bringing starting in a quarter of an hour. So this is where I’ll end as I want to watch it.

Good Luck to all my American Friends… IMO, O’Bama is the best thing that could have happened to you and the rest of us in other parts of the world… His election has given me a great deal of hope for the future.

God Bless America… and the UK too.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Update on Dave...

I no longer follow the ambulance up to the hospital when they cart him off. We both know it’s going to be two or three hours of tests in A & E and then he’s shipped off to the MAU ward. I did phone of course, to find out how he was. I arrived around 2 o’clock to find him in a bed opposite the main nurses station in the MAU ward. Obviously so they could keep a close eye on him.

He looked a lot happier when I arrived. I had struggled to the ward with his bag of tricks… pajamas, wash things and a book he was reading. Why was it so heavy? Gawd knows… but it kept slipping off my shoulder. My handbag appeared equally heavy hanging from my other shoulder. Why are hospital corridors so long? Why isn’t there a chair placed strategically half way down the corridor?

I found Dave and told him to get off the bed, I could do with a lie down! The doctor arrived to take some more blood. I’m surprised he has any left now… they’ve taken so much! It’s never easy for Dave as being diabetic and with his heart problems, he has blood taken so often, all his veins are rather hard to get into… poor soul. It can mean a lot of prodding around, and he used to be afraid of needles!

After a while they moved him to a bed at the other end of the ward… out of harms way! Good. So he is no longer considered an emergency. They thought he should be able to go home after the consultant had seen him. I pulled out the crossword book I keep in my handbag. It helps kill time while waiting around for appointments when we get to the doctors surgery or the hospital waiting areas.

Nursed floated by every now and again. Dave told me they had put him on a Nebulizer when he was in A & E. It had really cleared his airways and made it much easier to breath. He has a slight chest infection. They also found that his dose of Warfarin wasn’t strong enough. It wasn’t thinning his blood as it should do. He was also put on more water tablets… so he was dashing off to the loo every now and again. I continued to do a crossword!

It didn’t look as if he was going to be let home so I went to find a nurse to see what was happening. Dave was getting very tired and really needed a nap, but his airways blocked up when he lay down. So the nurse put him on the Nebulizer again.

It was only after the consultant had seen him, that he’d be allowed home. She couldn’t say if it would be in an hour or more till his visit. So, Dave suggested I go home. But first would I get him a couple of things from the shop. I was dying for a ciggie so off I trotted, back down the long corridor and into the shop. Got a few things and popped out of the main entrance to see parking places empty in front of the hospital. I had parked quite a way away when I had arrived. But now that visiting times were over, the place was quite empty.

Off I went to the car… Got in and lit a ciggie. Then started the engine up and drove off to the parking places in front to the hospital. I turned into the one-way section only to be blocked by an ambulance parked parallel to another in the ambulance lane. And there was a large white van the other side. So there was no room to pass. Then traffic was behind me. Also a couple of people returned to their cars waiting to back out… But I couldn’t move… No one could move!

A quarter of an hour later – time for me to have two nicotine fixes – the ambulance driver came out and drove off. By the time I got back to the ward, Dave thought I’d just gone home! I stayed another half an hour and as the consultant still hadn’t come round, I did leave and go home.

I poured some Bailey’s into a cup of coffee and sat down to phone Dave’s son, his friend and a couple of other people. To update them.

Dave phoned me. He will be allowed home tomorrow. I should wait till he knows when they’ll let him out so that I don’t have to hang around too long. I was going to write something here but I had got quite tired and just sat and relaxed watching TV instead.

Dave phoned this morning. He has to stay in another day… So he won’t be home yet. He asked me to cancel his doctor’s appointment for tomorrow. I also needed to let them know he was in hospital… I didn’t get around to calling them yesterday. I just forgot.

I’ll venture up to the hospital soon after taking some tablets to bind me. I can’t just rush out of the house these days without taking them. I might have an accident. If I need a loo, I need it right then. Count to 5… any higher and I’m too late! The boring thing is that if I have had to take these tablets over a couple of days, I end up with a dreadfully uncomfortable swollen tummy. It’s a vicious circle and prevents me doing a lot of things I want to do away from the house.

Any readers that have been following my blogs, will know I’ve had a load of tests. I am still waiting to hear from my consultant to see what – if anything – he can do. I must chase this up, but not till dearly beloved is sorted and back home safe and sound.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

A Hectic Morning...

Dearly Beloved awoke around 6am. He woke me at 10 to 7 saying he was breathless and had a tight chest. He was also sweating quite a bit.

He got dressed and sat on his chair as I made him a cup of tea. He didn’t look too well, but not nearly as bad as he has in the past. He’s been so well over the last few months. At one time I was calling an ambulance every couple of months… but he’s not had to go into hospital for about a year. Since his quadruple Bypass, it’s been chest infections that have necessitated a stay in hospital.

He’s been coughing a bit lately, but not as badly as he has in the past… But I thought we had better be safe than sorry. So I dialed 999.

The first to arrive were three men in a car from the Fire Station armed with breathing equipment. This is new to me. It used to be the fire truck, lights and sirens flashing, that turned up first. Our Fire Station is in the next village, so they can get here very quickly. The ambulances get called from Boston, which takes them a great deal longer to get to us. And if the Bridge is closed, they have to make a detour of several miles.

These cars are new to the Fire Service, I understand. It means they can get to a patient much quicker. I would say it also saves a lot of petrol. Poor men, I had got them out of bed to attend. How they got dressed and on the road to us so quickly, I’ll never know… but it was only 10 minutes from me putting the phone down to their arrival.

I offered them a cup of tea, but they wouldn’t accept. However they did let me turn the sound up on the TV as there was footie on. I know from their past visits that they like football (I hate it), so I turned the sound up till the Ambulance arrived about 15 minutes later.

Dave was a lot better after being on oxygen for about half an hour, but after a few more questions and gathering up his assortment of pills, he was wheeled out to the ambulance and carted off to King’s Lynn hospital.

I just rang the A & E department. They let me speak to Dave. It is a chest infection again. They won’t know if he’s had another heart-attack will they have his bloods back and have done some more tests. He said not to come up till he’s in the ward as they are pushing him around the different departments for his tests right now.

He’ll end up in MAU (Medical Assessment Unit) ward eventually. So I’ll go up with his over-night things later today. He’s got all his pills and potions with him. So there’s no panic. He had his insulin before he left the house and had a biscuit.

I might have guessed something would go wrong last evening. For the last few days he’s been in such a good mood… He’s been fun to have around. Then quite suddenly, he changed. I can always tell as the tone of his voice changes and he doesn’t really answer you properly. I thought, ‘Oh no! Not another flipping mood!’ I thought of packing up and going to my bedroom to sit it out. It’s the safest thing to do. But he decided to go into his bedroom… So I stayed up for a while longer. I heard him coughing quite a bit… more than he had been.

I am sick to death of nagging him to put a shirt when he goes out-side. He sits around the house with no shirt on all the time… But it can’t be doing him any good when he goes out-side? But he won’t listen. He keeps a coat in the back of the car… but won’t bother to put that on when he walks around the shops. It really has been very cold and damp up here in the Fens.

So he is now suffering with yet another chest infection. I am more relaxed now as I know he’s in the best place where he can be looked after properly. He’s 73 (74 next birthday in February), so he really does have to be a bit more careful with his health. But there’s no telling him!

I’ll keep you updated…

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Riki 1962

Around 1961 I moved into one room in a large house in Islington, north London with my first husband. There were tenants in all the rooms with the landlord and his wife living in one of them. The ground floor was used as a club.

The landlord had a lovely natured German Shepherd Dog that used to walk out with me when I went off shopping. After a while Riki would come to the door of our room and ask to be let in. He followed me everywhere. The landlord was not amused at this. Riki was his dog… but Riki didn’t know it.

His owner and wife used to fight and Riki would escape up the stairs to our door to get away from them. I am sure that he was hurt when he had got in their way during these dreadful fights.

Eventually one almighty argument broke out that ended with Riki’s owner throwing his food bowl up the stairs and kicking the dog up them too… yelling at me to keep the bl**dy dog and he didn’t want to see it again! Actually, the language and violence involved was a lot stronger than the way I’ve written it.

So Riki moved into our room completely and settled. He never left my side. He insisted on carrying something in his mouth when we went shopping. It could be a tin of dog food or something. I had one of those Moses baskets with two small handles either side. I would put the shopping in it and Riki would hold one handle as I held the other… and off we’d go back home.

A private party was arranged one night in the club room on the ground floor... I was carrying my first child at this time.

My first husband was Ambrose Campbell (West African Rhythm Brothers), who was a musician. He also did a little film work. This night the producer Harry Saltzman had booked the club to gather and meet some of the people who were to appear in his next film. A film with Bob Hope and Anita Ekberg and others who’s names I don’t remember.

This film was being made between two James Bond movies made with Sean Connery as the star. I hadn’t seen a Bond movie at that time and had no idea who Sean Connery was. He was sitting next to me with Riki on the floor beside me. We were chatting and then got up and had a dance.

There was me, about six months pregnant, dancing with the most well known actor of the time. And I had no idea who he was. I’ve never met him since, but would love to remind him of this day.

Bob Hope unfortunately wasn’t there, but Anita was and quite a few other actors from the film to be made and the Bond films… but I can’t remember their names now.

Danny, my first son was born on the 28th July 1962. Riki took him on as his charge and lay beside his cot or the pram where ever we were.

Riki did live a bit of a nomadic life… He used to go walk-about sometimes. My local butcher used to give me meat for him. If Riki felt like a little extra he’d slip out and go and sit in the doorway of the shop till the butcher threw a bone to him. Then he’d bring it home to eat it.

What is quite amazing is that he used to use the zebra crossing if he could. He’d sit on the curb and wait for the traffic to stop before he’d walk across. Remember in those days there wasn’t the traffic about that there is today.

We moved to another room in the same area sometime later. I had a my second son on 13th August 1964. Sometime later I had to let Riki go to the Rainbow Bridge when he became too ill to cope. I think I had him for about four years… not long enough. I had no idea how old he was. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of him. He was a handsome normal coated sable dog.

Update News on Mother Cat...

I asked my daughter-in-law Helen, what the latest news was on mother cat escaping. (see post below). The following is Helens reply to me:

OMG....she is driving me mad now! She is back, but only prepared to live outside!!! She is constantly miaowing and when you go to the door she leggs it!! I put her food out and she comes and eats it. She will even come into the kitchen, but if you look like you may close the door she bolts. As soons as you close it though she is back miaowing again!! I can't leave it open - it is too cold and I don't want to lose the kittens. That's the other thing - she has unsettled them again!

At first they were running upstairs when the door opened, but now of course they see and hear her and spend a lot of time - especially at night - sitting on the kitchen table just watching her on the window sill.

She is obviously calling them, but they are not getting out!

She walked around the kitchen last night for ages - she looked like she needed a good groom and I'm sure she must have fleas by now. She kept trying to rub up against things so while she was up and down I was following her and gave her a little scratch with the brush. I'm sure it felt lovely - she really looked like she liked it - but she won't settle inside for any length of time.

If it were summer then the door would probably be open a lot of the time, but not now. Plus I really don't want the kittens to go out until they are completely settled in doors.

Danny said last night - "look, they are having a good ol' chat." And I thought, 'Yeah, they're probably asking - Why did you leave us mum?' And she's probably saying - 'Come on! Come with away, it's fun!!!'

I don't know what is worse - her being inside and being an ol' misery guts, or her being outside and VERY demanding!!! Pets eh? You can't win!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Mother Cat Goes Walkabout…

A few months ago, my eldest son, his wife and my two grandchildren decided it was time they had another dog. Thor, their beautiful German Shepherd Dog had died of old age a year ago and they all missed him dreadfully. They had him as a small puppy and we had a litter sister that we had lost a couple of years earlier.

My suggestion was that they look for a rescue dog this time as they could provide a very good home and there are so many dogs needing new homes. So they began looking around at the different centres. They ended up having an in-depth interview at their home by one of the Home Check people.

Off they went to look for a dog. They were at Battersea Dog Home and began walking around. As usually happens when all four people have to agree on the same dog, they couldn’t. A heated discussion ensued as they wandered into the cat section.

They went home with three cats. I couldn’t believe it! A mother cat with two kittens. It had already been discussed that another cat might not be the best idea as their last one was run over on the road in front of their house. Now they had three! They got them home and realised that all three were completely wild.

A lot of time was spent in trying to get the cats to accept a stroke, but it was hard going. Gradually, they stopped running off to a corner to hide when anyone came in the kitchen. Slowly, they came out to get their food with someone sitting or standing near them.

Then it was time to get them all neutered. The Home collected them and took them off to be done and returned them afterwards. Life continued and slowly but surely, the cats became a little more friendly. None would allow anyone to pick them up, but they could stroke them if they were eating. But they weren’t interested in playing with anyone… only with each other. Mother cat was also showing signs of getting fed up with her kittens. They had grown considerably by now.

Helen went out of the back door and mother cat rushed past her. She’d never done this before and Helen had always been very careful when opening the back door. These were meant to be house cats. They didn’t want to lose one to the traffic again.

This happened a couple of weeks ago. My suggestion was to keep putting food out for mother cat by the back door. The food was disappearing but Helen wasn’t sure if it was mother cat or another local cat.

A few days ago, Helen went out to the garden and mother cat was there, sitting on the fence. She called her quietly hoping… No luck. Mother cat wasn’t going to come to her. So she went in doors and left the kitchen door open till it got too cold. Let’s face it, the weather has been really cold for the last week. This was also a worry to Helen. Surely the cat would prefer the warmth of the kitchen?

Helen felt that the kittens were missing their mother too. (I doubt it, but I’m not there to see them all). But I agreed that mother cat might just come back in as the kittens were there. Helen then left the kitchen window open so mother cat could come in.

Helen sees mother cat every day in the garden and now knows she is eating the food… but no way will she come back into the house. I think these cats were feral. It isn’t easy to bring a wild cat round to completely accept people. It’s not as if the family are there all the time. My son is far too busy and works long hours. He’s a dog person anyway. My youngest grandson is in school and the eldest is at Uni. Helen works during the day but her hours have been cut because of the recession.

Why oh why did they bring a cat home from the rescue centre… and not one, but three? They wanted another dog. They still want another dog… My son could have taken a dog into work with him… but not a cat!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Remembering My Mother - Long

The 6th of January would have been my mother’s 90th birthday… but I lost her in March two year ago. The other day I wrote about my father so thought I might write about my mother. It really doesn’t feel like two years since I lost them both. It feels like the other week. May be that’s because I have so much of their stuff here in my bungalow.

Mother’s Early Days…
My grand-father was a Vicar of a small parish in Sussex and he and my grand-mother lived in a large house called Walberton Rectory, near Heathfield. This is where I lived till I was about five years old. It was a lovely old place with farmland all around as old rectories used to have. It was huge and later in life, when I couldn’t sleep, in stead of counting sheep, I used to try and count how many rooms it had!
My mother was raised here. She had an elder sister Helen, and a brother Paul. I can’t remember where she went to school without going through a load of paperwork but it was a boarding school. But I know she had a happy childhood but I think she was a bit of a rebel. She was a party girl, of that there is no doubt! She was very attractive and had several suitors, one eventually became my step-father.
She met my father at a cricket match. He was a handsome dark haired man, but very quiet and rather shy. He was a well known cricketer and my mother fell hook, line and sinker for him. They married and I was born a year or so later in 1940. By now, my father was in the army and war had started. My brother Christopher was born in 1942 and my sister Patricia in 1944. So my father must have had quite a few visits home during the war! Sadly my brother died aged two of TB. I named my youngest son after him.

We went to join my father in German in 1945. One of the happiest times of my childhood was when we live in this large school where my father was a teacher and ran the sailing club with my mother running the riding stables attached to the school. I have happy memories of riding and sailing and swimming but none of doing any school work!
I think it was an exciting life for the adults too as I was later to learn! I better not name any of them as some are well known people but half of them appeared to be having affairs with each other and eventually my mother came back to England alone, leaving me in Germany with my father in the care of a nanny.
Eventually, my father and I came home to England too. It was quite a hard time for me as I missed my mother dreadfully. They divorced in 1952 or 3. I was sent off to boarding school.
My father remarried a woman who had been married to one of the other teachers in the school in Germany. I never got along with her. My mother married my Uncle Robbie whom she had known before she met my father and probably should have married the first time around! It wasn’t that he hadn’t asked her enough times. But Uncle Robbie was 15 years older than my mother, but had loved her since she was a child. They went to live in Malaya (now called Malaysia), and took my sister with them.
I found this time incredible hard as I hated my step-mother and wanted to live with my mother. I didn’t make life very easy for either of my parents. My father had custody of me, being the eldest, and insisted I went to boarding school and get a good education. I hated every minute of it.

My step-father ran several large rubber plantations. My mother lived the typical colonial life out East with the usual servants and it appears, a constant stream of social events. I have quite literally, hundreds of photographs of her time there. She and Uncle Robbie had two children: Joanna and then John.
Most years they came back to England in the summer holidays on leave with an Ahma (nanny). They rented large houses in Sussex and at last I was able to have a pony again, thanks to Uncle Robbie.
You may gather that I was completely horse mad all my childhood and being around horses was when I was most happy. Being with my father during other holidays wasn’t a happy time as I only remember one place my step-mother allowed me to have my pony with me. She didn’t like horses. Normally the horses stayed in Sussex with friends of my mother when they were abroad.

When Uncle Robbie retired, they came back to live in Suffolk. I had left home by now. He bought a large house with an apple orchard. They continued their life style of socialising and parties. Life was always exciting though I think they went through a lot of money as the orchard wasn’t the great success it might have been.
They sold up and moved into a small house. A lovely thatched place that was still large and had plenty of ground around. My mother got into gardening in quite a big way and started to cook as having a permanent cook around was no longer affordable.
Eventually she started a business of catering and organising parties for friends, often holding these in large country houses or Marquees doing all the food. She was very popular.
I am not too sure Uncle Robbie wholly approved of his wife ‘working’, even if it was for their friends. All her work was obtained by recommendations.
They moved to a smaller house in Needham Market, Suffolk. Mother had to take a job and went to work for the Executives of Barclays Bank in Ipswich, where she cooked them lunch most days.
By now, I had moved up to East Anglia and used to visit her at the bank sometimes. I had the most delicious meals there. She really was a fantastic cook… of chef might be the more correct word.
She also provided cream teas at Helmingham Hall at one time. Again, the owners were friends of hers, so I think she started this off for them when the owners opened the Hall and grounds to visitors.

Sad Times…
Uncle Robbie died peacefully in his bed one night. Mother was left with very little money considering how wealthy they had been.
Mother moved in with a friend of hers in Needham Market. It was a large house in the High Street. Her friend was one of the local GPs. This worked for a few years till the doctor retired and wanted to sell up and move down south near her daughters. Mother needed somewhere to live but no longer had enough money to buy her own place again.
My sister Patricia came to the rescue.
She went to live with Tricia in South Africa where her money went a bit further. Tricia had her living with her and mother was in her element again, with servants around to do the menial work.
But it wasn’t easy for Tricia. Mother wanted to run everything, as she always had, all her life. So Tricia bought her a ‘combo’ not far from her house. It was a bit of a come-down, moving from my sister’s large house to a small one bedroom place. But, with her ‘maid’, she was quite happy as she was getting older and there were no stairs to climb.
As mother’s health was beginning to deteriorate, she began needing medical attention, which has to be paid for in South Africa. Tricia suggested she come back to England.

Back to the UK…
Dave and I had moved up here to the Fens by now. We had a large Static caravan in the garden that Dave had plumbed into the mains. Mother came back to live with us. She loved it. She would sit in the van looking out over the garden and watch the wild birds or sit by the fish pond and watch all around her.
After about a year she wanted to move back to Needham Market where she still had friends living. I have to admit, we didn’t mind as mother had begun to try and organise our lives as she had with my sister in South Africa.
Mother could never get used to not having servants so she could be very difficult at times. She was now just sitting around expecting everyone to jump when she said jump! Dave especially found it hard at times. So we managed to get her into small place in the High Street in Needham Market. Here she could sit by the window and watch everyone walk by.

Badly In Debt…
What we didn’t realise was that mother, now with no money other than her pension, was falling for those scams. I arrived on a visit one day when she said that she was waiting for about a hundred thousand pounds to arrive. She’d won it on some lottery! Not long after this I saw a TV programme about elderly people being scammed. They were being asked to send cheques so that the winning money could be released!
We had her come to stay with us over the Christmas and New Year. This is when I found out how big a problem it was with mother. She had managed to get herself in debt to the tune of about £2,000.00 plus, by answering these mails.
I had given her a computer hoping she’d learn to email me and the rest of the family. She couldn’t get on with it so lent it to a girl who lived in the flat above. This girl did do the odd email for mother between buying things. She used to shop for mother, so had access to her credit card. A further £3,000.00 was clocked up. So mother was now in debt to the tune of about 5 thousand. My sister and I were very worried about this situation. A very good friend of ours agreed to help. He took over her account so mother had no access to it. It was the best way to do this as he lived near her. It was very worrying.
Eventually we found her a warden assisted flat also in the village. Our friend had managed to clear mother’s dept completely and leave her a little spending money. Her health was getting worse. She was in her 80s now. She refused to wear the emergency red button around her neck and eventually, after a couple of falls, we moved her to a nursing home in Eye.
After a while. Mother decided she wanted to die. Most of her friends had gone so she saw no reason to carry on living. She began to starve herself. I understood how she felt. She was now bed-ridden and unable to do things as she had before. She’d had a couple of small strokes and also radio therapy for a touch of breast cancer. She had always lived a full and active life so it was hard for her. I understood, but found it hard to deal with.
She was always a snob, so just refused to mix with the other people in the home with her. She never gave any of them a chance to get to know her. It really was very sad to watch her go down hill so quickly.
The whole family visited her regularly during the last month of her life. My sister came over from South Africa, as did her youngest daughter. Her eldest came over from Italy, where she lived. I drove down about every other day. My eldest son Danny, drove up from London a few times with his family.

Crufts Dog Show…
Crufts was looming ever nearer. I always went and had never missed a year since the mid 1970s. I go as a reporter and keep some of the dog press in formed about the Championship Obedience side of things. Mother said I should go and not to worry about her. She promised she wouldn’t die before I got back! After all, I’d only miss 5 days of seeing her.
I left the next day – a Wednesday – and drove to the hotel near the NEC in Birmingham. Thursday was the first day of Crufts. Thursday night I got a phone call from my son Chris. Mother had just died… but he was with her. The home had rung him and he’d driven straight over. I was in a state of shock. I didn’t know what to do.
There was nothing I could do, so that morning saw me sitting in a quiet corner ringing everyone including the undertaker and arranging her funeral. I know she would have laughed at that. It used to be a family joke that no emergency should occur on a weekend - or over Crufts - as we’d be at a dog show! And she had promised to hold on till I got back…
It has taken me till this year to actually write about her properly.
Happy Birthday Mother Darling… May You Rest In Peace. I miss you so very much.

Monday, 5 January 2009

A New Hairdryer...

Getting a hairdryer through customs...
A distinguished young woman on a flight from Ireland asked the Priest beside her, "Father, may I ask a favour?"
"Of course child. What may I do for you?"
"Well, I bought an expensive woman's electronic hair dryer for my Mother's birthday that is unopened and well over the Customs limits, and I'm afraid they'll confiscate it. Is there any way you could carry it through customs for me? Under your robes perhaps?"
"I would love to help you, dear, but I must warn you: I will not lie."
"With your honest face, Father, no one will question you."
When they got to Customs, she let the priest go ahead of her. The official asked, "Father, do you have anything to declare?"
"From the top of my head down to my waist, I have nothing to declare."
The official thought this answer strange, so asked, "And what do you have to declare from your waist to the floor?"
"I have a marvelous instrument designed to be used on a woman, but which is,
to date, unused."
Roaring with laughter, the official said, "Go ahead, Father. Next!"

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year...

I would like to wish all my friends a very Happy New Year.
May 2009 be a successful and healthy year.
Below is the 2009 video of the firework display in London.