Monday, June 30, 2014

Not running for health

On our walk this morning I saw a young fit woman running with her dog. I said to George, 'We should be doing that to get rid of our podgy tums.'
George stared at me for a moment and then said, 'You start, I'll follow.'
'Hm,' I pondered. 'I'd better not as I haven't done my warm-up exercises. I have circuit training tonight and I don't want to damage myself.'

I was really hoping he wouldn't mention the fact that as we'd just walked through the wood, up the hill and over the top into the park, I was probably already warmed up. At least if the sweating and panting was anything to go by.

Fortunately he didn't. He's too smart for that.

It was all right for him: he could cool down in the stream afterwards.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Living as nature intended - possibly

First Younger Son tells me about the rat that ran along the ceiling rafter as they were eating. (No, wait, first he told me about the squat toilets and the cold showers.) His assurance that 'all the houses have rats - but they usually stay outside,' didn't really help. Nor did his logic that if he kills one another one will come and take its place so there's no point. 

Now he tells me about the python that killed next door's chicken. 'What do you expect when you live in a wooden hut with holes in next to a jungle?' he says.

I must send him a list of Things Not to Tell Your Mother.

In which I do something very unusual (for me)

Saturday began early - by 7.25 am I was home having been to Sainsburys! (As I write this it's 11.39 on Sunday morning and I'm still in my nightie and about to have my third cup of tea - and that is much more the norm for me.)

I was hosting a Zac's Ladies' Day and the busyness of the week had meant that I'd been unable to prepare very much, hence the early morning trip to the shop. (Which, incidentally, was very empty making shopping a doddle. I may have to do it regularly at that time.) (Yes, I can see that happening.)

I'd woken at 5 thinking about what I needed to do and again at 6 at which point I thought I might as well get up and do it. But we had a lovely day including a trip to the pier and on to the beach, and, of course, the obligatory ice cream at Verdi's.

The new lifeboat station is open so we called in to take a look at the shiny new boat.

It is incredible that the RNLI is funded entirely by donations and manned by volunteers (apart I think from the coxswain). And there are many sailors who have cause to be grateful for it.

Another crazy week

So I arrived at the church hall where I was due to speak to a group of ladies about my books. Sitting in the car outside I prayed quietly, 'Lord, please help me to cleak spearly. You see, Lord, how much I need your help!'

In the kitchen I found some ladies, explained that I was the speaker for the night and could they introduce me to the organiser, Gwynneth - our only contact had been on the phone. They led me through to the hall where Gwynneth looked up, saw me and said, 'Oh no, not you!'

Which isn't as bad as it sounds as I replied similarly, 'Oh no, you!'

Gwynneth, it turned out, was one of the quilting ladies who meet at Linden and with whom I regularly chatted when I was in the office. Neither of us knew the other's surname or recognised the voice on the phone. Relaxing was easy after that and the talk went well with the audience laughing at the right moments, asking questions and seeming to enjoy.

Afterwards, as well as tea and cake, sandwiches left over from a lunch held in the church that day were brought around. When everyone had had their fill and the organisers were wondering what to do with the leftovers I piped up, 'I'll take them. I'm an impoverished author you know.' (No, I didn't add the last bit but explained hurriedly I was going on to Zac's and they'd be eaten there.) And in the heat of the moment and bathing in the success of the evening I offered to go back another day and talk about Zac's. My mouth has this dreadful habit of speaking without consulting my brain, which, were it to be consulted, would remind it of the stress I go through prior to these talk things.

So, from there on to Zac's where I arrived at about 8.50 and all seemed calm. Steve was leading and it wasn't until nearly the end and a non-regular began speaking  that I sensed a tension. The way he spoke you could tell it was going to culminate in a criticism of Steve - and it did. Steve dealt with it by saying, 'That would be a good point to end,' and praying.

I dragged him outside afterwards, where it was quieter, and said, 'Come on, tell.' And he told a story of strife and fall-outs and chaos, adding gleefully, 'And it's over to you next week!'

Now that's something to look forward to.

* * * * * * * * * *
Wednesday, Thursday down to Devon for some grandchild-minding. Swimming on Thursday morning and GrandDaughter, in arm-bands, managed to swim a width of the pool! Much delight.

Then Friday it was the wedding of the daughter of some friends. Husband did such a good job videoing the wedding in Kefalonia of the older daughter that he'd been asked for a repeat performance while I just had to turn up.

I haven't mastered the art of dressing up for an occasion. Happy that I'd bought a dress I sat back forgetting that a 'lady' should have complementary shoes and handbag. The shoes and bag I had didn't match each other let alone the dress but 11 o'clock Friday morning before a 12.30 wedding wasn't a good time to realise this.

But I felt comfortable and that was all that mattered.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I know him so well

On our 25th and 30th wedding anniversaries Husband contrived to be away on works jollies; today I get my own back! This evening we can't go out for a meal because I'm speaking to a group of ladies about my book. Okay it's not quite playing in boats with the Marines (25th anniversary) or attending the rugby sevens (30th) at twickers with all that entails but it's a ... well, anyway.

But when walking George I had a brilliant idea: we could go for afternoon tea! But even as my mouth was starting to water at the thought of those sandwiches with crusts neatly cut off, cream scones, Madeira cake and other dainty delicacies served on fine china plates and accompanied by a steaming hot pot of tea, I knew what Husband's response would be.

When we'd both returned from our journeyings I told him of my idea.
'But I've just bought food for dinner,' he said.
'We could eat that another night.'
He pondered then said, 'Nah, I can't be arsed. It's too hot.'

Thirty-six years and I know my husband so well. It's a good job he has other qualities because he doesn't have a single romantic bone in his body. (Okay, maybe he has just one.)

So we went skinny dipping instead ...

Anniversary memories

When I was a little girl my mum planted an orange blossom bush in the garden. She did it she said, 'So you can carry some on your wedding day.'

Sadly she died long before I was married but I made sure the florist included a sprig of the orange blossom in my bouquet on my wedding day.

That was 36 years ago and today an orange blossom is blooming wonderfully in our garden.

Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm going to a wedding on Friday

So yesterday I thought I'd better go and buy something to wear.
'What?! More clothes?' Husband said. 'What about all the clothes in your wardrobe?'
I shrugged and set off for town. 

Or rather I set off for prison where I was being supportive at the service. Do you remember the Friday before last I was propositioned by an acquaintance recently released from prison? He's back in. In fact he was back in the same day.
It was his turn to shrug when I said, 'Oh Cookie!'
'It's my home,' he said.

So, anyway, back to the shopping.

I spent an hour that lasted a lifetime in Debenhams, tried on a dozen frocks and finally settled for a red lacy one. By the time I'd queued, paid and got back to the car I was already having second thoughts. Husband's reaction when I tried it on to show him made up my mind. 'I don't like it. Red doesn't suit you.'

I rummaged through my wardrobe; perhaps I could wear something I already owned. The best I could come up with were a lilac shift dress and a pair of white trousers. 
'I could wear that dress but I'll have to shorten it a bit.'
'You? Sew?'
I had to admit Husband had a point.

Today I returned to town to return the dress. Perhaps I could find a pretty top to wear over the trousers.

There was a pretty top in Monsoon that I liked but when I tried it on it was very low in the armpits. I assumed it was the design and it wasn't until I'd taken it off that I discovered it wasn't a size 12 but a size 22. (Note to self: wear glasses when shopping.) (Notice that other than the armpits it was fine; I just thought it was meant to be loose and flowing.) (And they only had it in 22.)

Three shops in and I was giving up the will to live partly because most of my time seemed to be spent avoiding eager youngsters trying to guilt me into sponsoring a child, taking up zen buddhism or joining the socialist worker party and partly because no-one ever make anything exactly as I want it. (Maybe I should give up writing and become a fashion designer. How does one go about that?)

It was on my fourth tour of Debenhams that I set myself this rule: you will not leave here without buying something to wear. Even if you hate it.

I must have looked pathetic as I loaded up my arms with things I didn't really like to try on because the Personal Shopper spotted me and hollered, 'Did you want to try those on?'
Now I didn't know she was a personal shopper at that point or I'd have said, 'No, no!' It wasn't until she led me into a little room labelled Personal Shopper that I began to get an inkling. Now I'm a bit wary of personal shoppers fearing that I will be talked into spending lots of money on something I hate but this one was very good and did find me the dress I ended up buying. 

And she said I was petite. (Okay they're paid to make customers feel good but it worked.)

And Husband liked it. And, even though I bought a top as well - to wear with white trousers - both items together came to less than the price of the original dress. And despite what Husband thinks the whole kerfuffle wasn't a cunning ploy on my part to make my purchase seem like a bargain.

But I might bear it in mind for future purchases.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Something strange has happened to me

There was a time, not so long ago, when I couldn't say the name of the English rugby team without spitting it out. Even being married to an Englishman - who is always very generous in his support of Wales - didn't seem to take away this built-in antipathy towards the boys in white.

But over the last year I've noticed a subtle change in my attitude so much so that this morning I was genuinely cheering on the English in their battle against the awesome All Blacks. So what explains this metamorphosis?

I'm not a rugby expert but I 'know what I like' and it seems to my inexpert eye that the way the English team plays has changed; it's become more exciting. (Dare I say more Welsh?) Also the current crop seems less arrogant than previous teams. That arrogance may have been imagined or exaggerated but 'the very nerve' of it was enough to cause a them and us situation.

But really I think it may be a more fundamental change in my thinking that has led to my about-turn. I've been horrified over past weeks by the comments of some Swansea football fans about Cardiff City and their relegation from the premiership. As I looked on appalled I think I saw my own reflection staring back at me.

Of course, nothing will ever take place for me of the Wales rugby team, who this afternoon came so very close to beating South Africa in SA for the first time ever. And when thinking about the reasons why they failed something became clear to me.

Two sin binnings and two penalty tries will not win us a world cup. What they need out there on tour is a Welsh mam to instil a bit of discipline into the boys. And in the spirit of bravery and sacrifice shown by the boys this afternoon I am willing to offer my services. 

(I've also noticed that we're still not very good at line-outs, something that the Welsh management team don't seem to have noticed, so I'd point that out to them too.)

I'll need someone to carry my bags, of course, but Husband would be willing to take that on and ask nothing more than board and tickets to the games. So, Mr Gatland, keep me in mind for your next tour - what? There isn't another before the world cup?  Then I fear we're in trouble ...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Just what I've always wanted

Now don't you wish you had one too?

For those of you not in the know - as I was until six hours ago - this is a ... wait for it ... I feel there should be a drum roll ... kiwi spoon.

Yes, a kiwi spoon, which was given to me by the lady in Sainsburys offering samples of golden kiwi fruit and which I accepted with alacrity and was tempted to be cheeky and ask for another for Husband.

It wasn't until I got home and regained control of my mind that I realised that I'd acquired yet another piece of useless plastic tat with which to fill my second drawer.

Do you remember Tupperware parties? (Do they still have them?) If you do then you'll remember all those wonderful little gifts and prizes with which the hostess and guests were rewarded. Who could forget the  melon baller? Or the shoe horn key ring? Bringing back memories yet? Or what about an orange peeler or a berry huller? How could we as modern housewives in the twentieth century have survived without these vital pieces of kitchen equipment guaranteed to make our lives easier and probably our husbands happier with it?

Did anyone ever use them? Or are there drawers all over the country full to bursting with these never-used items that we can't throw out because 'we might use them one day'?

Swansea's answer to ...

For my #100happydays photo challenge today I've used a photo of my two current library books. Libraries make me very happy!

But what is particularly interesting about these two books is the blurb on the cover.

Jacqueline Winspear's is described by Associated Press as 'The British counterpart to Alexander McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency,' while the Spectator is more specific when they say James Runcie is 'Grantchester's answer to Alexander McCall Smith.'

I'll let you know what I think when I've read them but maybe that's where I'm going wrong in the marketing in of my books. I should get someone to describe me as Swansea's answer A McM S. It could change my life.

Quick reviews of other books I've read recently:
The White Princess by Philippa Gregory - continuing the Cousins' War series, quite good but drags on a bit for the last third of the book;
Lamb, the gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood friend by Christopher Moore - hilarious;
Love from both sides (can't remember author), - only read a few pages because just too crude;
The birds of the air by Alice Thomas Ellis - ditto but because too literary and descriptive for my late night reading;
A married man by Catherine Alliott - good yarn by one of my favourite romcom authors - you get what you expect.

One of my favourite bits in Lamb is where Biff is helping Jesus plan the sermon on the mount and, in particular, the beatitudes. Having decided to give the meek the kingdom of heaven the first suggestion for the persecuted is 'a basket of fruit?'

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Exercise until you rest

Either I have been imbued with superhuman strength or circuit training is more effective than I thought.

Husband said, 'Oh no! I've had that fork 36 years!'

Speaking of circuit training Jules has, over recent weeks, had us doing tabata routines. No, I hadn't heard of them either and still wish I hadn't.

In between the stations where we do 3 or 4 different exercises for a minute each, we have the 'extras', which change every week and, as I said, recently have been based on the tabata protocol and it goes like this.

In 4 minutes we do two exercises e.g. burpee and star jump, in a sequence:20 seconds star jumps;10 seconds rest;20 seconds burpees;10 seconds rest;and then repeat three times.

Sounds okay you think?
After the first minute you're thinking, 'This isn't too bad.'After the second minute you're thinking, 'We're only halfway through.'After the third minute, 'I can't do any more of this!'At the end, 'I'm dying ...'

(In the article linked to above it says, "So why isn’t everyone doing Tabata workouts? Well, most people would vomit—or come close to it—if they actually tried the routine that was used in the study.")

So when I turned up for circuits last night and Jules said he was trying out a new system for the extras I was relieved. Especially when he said, 'It's a rest-based system. The aim is to rest.'

At least that's what I thought he said.

What he actually meant was that the aim is to work so hard that you get to the point where you have to rest. 'If you can get through the four minutes without resting then you're not working hard enough. Or the weight you're using is too light.'

So you still think that's okay because you're in charge so you can rest when you want to - but pride - and the desire to be fit - creeps in. 'I must keep going, I must keep going, I must ... I can't.'

And when you've finally given in (not that far into the exercise in my case) that's when Jules says, 'well done!'

And then for something completely different

Friday evening Husband and I went to Slice courtesy of the voucher I was given by Linden on my retirement.

It had been closed down and taken over since our last visit there so I was a little wary as to whether it would live up to the previous high standard - but I'm pleased to say it did.

Our amuse bouche was a teacup of celeriac and apple soup, smooth, creamy and delicious. For starters Husband had a duck scotch egg on watercress purée and I had seared sewin.

For main Husband had lamb with ... um, I can't remember, and I had skate. Now this didn't look as I expected.
I think they must have taken the flesh off the 'bones' before roasting. I should have asked but it was yummy. We don't eat skate much at home because Husband isn't keen on it but I'm sure he'd like it more if I could cook it like this.

Then for pudding it was chocolate cheesecake and caramel ice cream for him and arctic roll and strawberry salad for me.
(Husband was keen to tuck in.)

I'm not very good at reviews but suffice to say that everything was delicious, service was wonderful - relaxed but not too slow - and that I'll look forward to my next visit. We still owe my uncle a birthday meal (from last December ...)

In which I am propositioned

Paul declared the soup I made on Thursday to be the best he'd had for years. He also said, 'Lady, I'm your knight in shining armour and I love you*,' so obviously he is a man of good taste.

(*Sung by Kenny Rogers. I found it on youtube and took my tablet in the next day to play it for him. He had never seen anything like my tablet and was in complete awe. He then spent a good part of the day watching Style Council, Karen Carpenter and Pink Floyd.)

Meanwhile on Friday when in Tesco's I met an old acquaintance. He said, 'Do you know, you're an attractive woman? Are you married?'

Admittedly he'd only been out of prison for half an hour so Godzilla would probably have looked attractive to him.

How are you enjoying retirement?

People keep asking me and I'm inclined to reply, 'I'll let you know when I have time to find out.'

Ask many retired people and they'll say the same thing, 'I'm finding myself busier than ever,' and 'I don't know how I found time to go to work.' But it's wonderful. I am thoroughly and absolutely enjoying retirement. Even though I only worked ten hours a week I'm now released from that regime and it just feels different. Completely free! The fact that the weather's been good has also helped!

But, as the absence of blog posts might suggest, I am finding a lot to do with my time.

Last week there was a workshop in Zac's. The people who made the Swansea on the Streets documentary series about homelessness in Swansea had funding to do a pilot performance involving some of the rough sleepers and telling their stories in their own words in various creative ways. On Friday the organisers miraculously pulled it all together enough to put on a performance for the funders with the hope of getting more money to do something more substantial. But before that they were in Zac's each day rehearsing and improvising - and making it up as they went along. 

I was there Wednesday to Friday doing lunch for them (production team, rough sleepers and actors) and I have to admit on Thursday that I was concerned for the performance the following day. But the guys turned up (always a good start), and put on a brilliant show. Well done to everyone involved!

Nina casually mentioned that she'd been beaten up and raped a few weeks earlier.

Paul, in the last photo, is a drifter who's spent the last thirty-seven years on the street. 

Monday, June 09, 2014

Cool for cats

On our walk yesterday I said, 'Oh look, there's a bunny rabbit in the field.'
'Ah yes,' said Husband, 'you can see his ears sticking up.'

Then the bunny moved and it was a cat. (We'd mistaken its tail for ears.)

At least it wasn't just me.

This morning, while I was walking, Husband drove across town to get a new battery for Alfie Porsche. He came back and found he'd bought the wrong one.

I made tea singing, ' It's Tea for Twits.'
Husband looked at me blankly.
'You know that song,' I said. 'it's um ... ooh I can hear it but I can't hear the words.'
Husband shook his head wearily.

He's gone back across town now to change the battery and I've just remembered, 'It's cool for cats!'

In which I break the law

Or possibly a by-law.

George and I did our multi-terrain walk today: up through the woods, across the top into Clyne Park and down to the front before finishing off with a tiny stretch of beach. 
And therein lies the problem. Strictly speaking I don't think we should have been on the beach. 

From May 1st to 30th September dogs aren't allowed on a number of beaches in Swansea and Gower. I have no problem with that as a general rule; dogs and families on beaches don't go together. Dogs pee on children's sandcastles (at best - at worst on people's rucksacks); dogs don't see why they can't join in picnics; and dogs can be big, bouncy and over-friendly, which upsets some people.

But it was Monday morning, not in school holidays, the beach,which is never that popular with families because the tide goes a long long way out, was deserted, and I am a responsible dog-owner. I clear up poo and would put George on a lead if there was the slightest suggestion of him being a nuisance. And we were only walking a very short distance along a long beach.

So why did I feel so guilty?!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Garden clearer for hire

Once again I feel inspired to set myself up as a professional garden clearer.

I am highly qualified and I base all my work on three simple rules.
1. If a plant has deep roots it's a weed.
2. If it has shallow roots it's almost definitely a weed.
3. Anything in between, I don't take chances but assume it's a weed.

These three little rules have stood me in good stead in the main - although I may, this afternoon, have inadvertently destroyed the solitary lupin and snapdragon in our garden that looked as though they might flower. But you wouldn't have been able to see them anyway with all the weeds.

Friday, June 06, 2014

'So you think you know me'

Today I've been to a sex work conference (Sex Work Research Wales) where the results of a four year study looking at sex work in Wales were reported.

It was very much addressed to the professional agencies working with the vulnerable but while there was a smattering of buzz words the keynote speakers spoke clearly and passionately and I have come away even more determined to find a way to reach the girls particularly in massage parlours. There's one at the end of Zac's road so it seems a natural progression to offer the girls there the same respect and equality that the homeless and addicts have come to enjoy at Zac's.

The speakers highlighted the many needs of the sex workers - help with housing, benefits, form-filling, literacy issues - and in my head I was saying, 'Yes, yes, we could do that ... and that ... and that ...' but that is what the agencies who have the training, experience and knowledge are there for. What we can do is offer friendship with no conditions, a dependable trustworthy listening ear, someone who won't judge, won't necessarily even offer advice but can signpost options and opportunities, someone who will value the girls not as a commodity but as human beings, and will see them for who they are and not what they happen to do.

I was at the conference with Mandy Harvey who is administrator of the Swansea churches together group and she reminded me of the story of the hundreds of starfish washed up on the beach and the old man who throws them back in the sea one at a time. When asked why he bothers when it's such an enormous task and he's not going to be able to make a difference he replied, 'I can make a difference to one of them.'

This dream or desire has been on my heart for a couple of years and now I really want to take it forward. So watch this space.

What every explorer needs

We took the Devon grandchildren into the woods to look for bears and gruffalos yesterday. Or rather GrandDaughter led me through the woods while Husband and GrandSon2 mostly stayed on the paths. As we disappeared off into a particularly dark part I shouted to Husband, 'We could be some time. If we're not back soon send chocolate.'
GrandDaughter added, 'And princess eye shadow.'

Invaluable when you're lost in the woods. 

Did I miss something?

Well I thought it went well.

I was leading Zac's last Tuesday and at the end I breathed a sigh of relief that all had gone smoothly. Then two separate people came up to me and said, 'Well done in difficult circumstances,' and Ric said, 'Another one you scraped through by the skin of your teeth.'


Yes, there was a bit of background chattering that I had to shush once or twice but it was calm compared to some evenings, and there were a few spontaneous outbursts of hysterical giggling (that I put down to 'medicinal' side-effects) but they were easily ignored. 

But we got through the readings and discussion and there were some good contributions, including from people who don't usually, and two women that I hadn't seen before both commented to me separately that they'd really enjoyed it, so it must have been all rightish. 

Then again it's quite possible that I missed something ... 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

A slight misadventure in the woods

So I was walking along by the river in a particularly muddy section of path, when I stepped on what I thought was a stick. It wasn't.
My foot sank nearly to the top of my boots. 'Whoops,' I said. Or something like that. 

I tried to lift my boot out of the mud but could only extract my foot - and there was nowhere to put it so I had to return it to my boot and think again. And I thought of circuit training last night.

Jules had us doing what I think is called a hindu press-up but which he described saying, 'Imagine you're a stoat trying to get under a fence to get at chickens ...'

That's what I'll do, I thought to myself. So with my hands precariously balanced on a piece of wood, one foot equally precarious on another and my bottom in the air I wriggled and jiggled and wriggled some more until ... plop, my wellie came out. And I didn't fall in the mud!
George meanwhile had wandered off and was merrily chewing a stick oblivious to me in my moment of need...

And here's a professional doing a hindu press-up.
See the similarity?

I am officially normal

We have a very fancy weighing scale. I think Husband bought it for me as a birthday present one year. (Regular readers will not be surprised at Husband's thoughtfulness ...) It tells you everything you could possibly want to know except possibly the temperature in Beijing. Normally all we ever do is stand on it and moan at our weight gain but I recently came across the manual - 2" thick so you can tell how complicated it is - and Husband read up about all the settings.

This morning, traditionally our weigh day, we checked everything and I discovered that ... I am normal. No, honestly, the book says I am. Well, for a woman of my age that is.

My BMI is normal, my body fat is normal, my visceral fat (around the organs) is very good and, surprisingly, I have a higher than average percentage of muscle - but I don't know where that's hiding!

So I think I deserve a date flapjack.

Monday, June 02, 2014

The end of the road - and the start of the new one

So I leapt ahead of myself with that last post skipping straight to today and missing out all the weekend excitement.

Friday was my last day in work and it wouldn't have been a typical day if I hadn't spent some time on my knees under the desk jiggling plugs and wires to try and get the internet to work - and failing. My good intention to send out a farewell email to everyone came to nought as I couldn't send anything out all day.

But I tidied and cleared away as many signs of me as I could - including deleting the evidence and burying the bodies - leaving only the memory of me on which all blame can be placed in future. 'That was Liz; she did that.' 

Then finally I joined some of trust work colleagues, though I actually work alone, for a farewell ice cream in Verdi's, where I was given a very welcome gift of a voucher to eat at Slice, my favourite restaurant. On the card Chris thanked me for my' unique contribution', with unique, I suspect, being used as a polite alternative description.
Chris also asked me to recall three highlights of my career. When I struggled to come up with anything he said, 'Well, one of them has to be the time the computer asked if you were really sure?'
'Oh, yes. Thank you for reminding me about the time I wiped the computer completely clean.' I suspect that was his ulterior motive in posing the question.

After that it was home and then out to the Liberty Stadium to watch the Wales rugby trial, the probables versus the possibles, for the summer tour of South Africa. Unsurprisingly the probables won by a big margin but the loudest cheers went to the possibles every time they got the ball. And, as a special treat, dinner consisted of a pie and chips at the stadium. We know how to live.

Then it was off to Surrey for a couple of days with Elder Son and family. The weather was good, the children deliciously wonderful and granny worn out.
 Granny also had to be very brave when GrandSon1 put a worm on her hand. 'Oh that's lovely.'

Now we're back and I seem to have already filled up the first two weeks of retirement without even thinking about it. Dentist today, Zac's preparation tomorrow, Devon for two days and then the sex workers' conference on Friday. Other people take up a relaxing hobby when they retire; I would if I had time.

This won't hurt a bit

My first day of retirement and already I'm stressed. Partly because I can't find a musician for prison on Sunday but mainly because I had to go to the dentist for a filling.

I hate going to the dentist. Even though I haven't been hurt by one since I was a child I still dread even check-ups, so a filling turns me into a jibbering wreck. Not helped when the dentist says, 'I will drill out the infection and old filling and then fill it again. It's only little.'
'So I'm not having an injection?'
'No, you don't need it.'
'Are you sure?'
'Yes. If it hurts tell me.' (It's a bit flipping late then.)

Well, it didn't hurt and I remember now the last time I had a filling it was without an injection and that didn't hurt either. But I did whimper when she drilled off the tartar from the back of my front teeth.

It's not the pain so much - well, yes, of course it is - but lying back helpless, with hands and metal instruments stuck in your mouth, the fact you can't swallow - which of course you want to do far more than is normal - and the expectation of pain. Ah, well, all over now until the next old filling falls out.

My gran didn't go to the dentist until she was old. (On reflection she was probably in her sixties, and so was a mere youth.) I recall the time she needed a filling or possibly a tooth out. The dentist gave her an injection then told her to sit in the waiting room until it had taken effect. She walked out of the surgery, straight past the waiting room and out through the front door. She'd had enough. I don't know if she ever went back and had the treatment; that would have been a less interesting story.

Now I feel justified in blogging and reading until it's time for circuit training.