Monday, October 26, 2015

Do I really want a sewing box?

Helping Uncle declutter has simply led to me becoming more cluttered. 'Oh that looks useful. And I can't throw that away. And that may come in handy. One day.'

I spotted this pretty box amongst Uncle's things and decided it would make a good sewing box.
It could replace the now-three-legged sewing box my great-aunt made for me, oh, maybe 50 years ago.
But then I thought: realistically how much sewing am I going to do between now and the end of my life?
I came to the conclusion all I really needed - in case of an absolute and dire emergency - was this:
The crinolined lady pin case out of sentiment I'm keeping as, along with the cookery apron, is the only sewing I did in school. Oh and a stuffed felt Bambi, which, sadly, fell apart.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Uncle's Progress

My blogging has been minimal recently. As you might have noticed. Or maybe not.

Uncle came out of hospital just over a week ago and we've been quite busy helping him to settle in to his new apartment in a retirement village. He was very sad to have to give up his sea front cottage but he accepted the advice given him by the occupational therapist from hospital that he simply wouldn't be able to manage there. It will take him a little while to get used to the apartment, being in a wheelchair and having carers, all major changes for someone who only three years ago drove himself and his lady friend to Italy for Younger Son's wedding.
It's his 90th birthday in December and I'm organising a special tea party for him. Yesterday I made the cake - and my Christmas cake. And because I had so much mixture I made another small one as well. Which turned out to be for the good as I emptied a bottle of brandy over the small cake just before I realised it had gone off. I'm just glad it wasn't the birthday cake that I have possibly ruined. (I'm planning on feeding the damaged cake to Husband.)

Important questions about life, the universe and flies

Are house flies just born big? I mean, you never see a small house fly. 

True you see some that are slightly smaller but none that you'd call babies. And now I think about it: how do flies reproduce? Eggs?

The little flies that you see around fruit are a different species, drosophila to be specific. We all know that because who hasn't sexed a drosophila in biology class?

And where do they go in winter?

My curiosity is aroused by the fact that our kitchen tap seems to have become a magnet for fruit flies. No, I don't understand it either. But I'm not that interested that I can be bothered to look it up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Who will be in heaven?

Who will be in heaven? I have absolutely no idea.

But I am sure we will be surprised.

I don't subscribe to the idea that because God is love everyone will be there. (Incidentally, in my reading of Love Wins, I don't think that is what Rob Bell says either.) Yes, God is love but God is also just and he is not a puppet-master. And Jesus himself talks about hell and eternal punishment.

Last night in Zac's we read the story of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21 on) about how many times we should forgive and why we should forgive. God's forgiveness is limitless and he gives us chance after chance to acknowledge what Jesus did for us in dying on the cross. I wouldn't be surprised if a non-believer on the pathway from life to death is gifted a Damascus Road experience i.e. a meeting with the risen Christ. Paul was after all in his own words 'the worst of sinners' and yet God chose him. It's not God's will that any should perish but if then man still refuses to acknowledge and accept Christ then God will not make him. 

We might think it would be impossible for man to meet Christ and still turn away but the devil has met God, knows him well and yet he still has the arrogance to think he has the greater power and that he can defeat God. If someone who has known God almost from the beginning can turn away why would not mere man?

So who will be in heaven? Again I say, I don't know. I'm just thankful that it's not me who has to judge or decide. My job is to love and to treat others as Jesus would.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

And then it was off to Vietnam

We reluctantly said goodbye to Younger Son and Nuora and then it was back on the ferry ready to take another over-night coach trip to Kuala Lumpur from where we would fly to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).
We hadn't been in Ho Chi Minh City long before I was asking, 'Is this a communist country?' and 'Who won the Vietnam war?' (Yes, I know I am ridiculously ignorant of world matters.)

The red flags bearing the hammer and sickle that hung from lamp-posts were a bit of a give-away and a quick google revealed that Vietnam is indeed a one party communist state and the American war (as it's known in Vietnam) was won by the North Vietnamese.

But Vietnam's history is far more complicated. Under French rule until the August Revolution of 1945, on 2nd September of that year Ho Chi Minh declared independence. We arrived in the country just a little too late for the 70th anniversary celebrations.
The Palace of Reunification built originally as the Independence Palace its name was changed after 1975

But from there on it really got complicated.

A word of advice to American tourists thinking of visiting the War Remnants Museum (formerly known as the American War Crimes Museum): don't. While there was undoubtedly a lot of spin and propaganda the section dealing with the effects of Agent Orange is very hard to look at. And, naturally enough, rather than put any blame on the South Vietnamese who, after all were now all part of the same nation, the major responsibility is placed well and truly on the Americans.

But it wasn't all gloom and doom.
The Reunification Palace also had the biggest ice cream maker I've ever seen. I could show you photos of the war and communication rooms but I like to get my priorities right.

You're always warned to watch out for scammers and we should have seen these coming.
'Here, you carry this! Take photo. Heavy right?'
'Now you very thirsty. I give you coconut.'
At £5 for two coconuts that we didn't really want in a very cheap country we was conned! But they were refreshing and he was nice and helpful so it wasn't a serious con.
 And somehow, 'We take you to the pagoda cheap,' turned into a long trip around a number of pagodas, a street market and downtown Ho Chi Minh City expensive. But it was a good trip and they were nice and informative. The older man was the other's father-in-law. During the American/Vietnam war he worked for the Americans and hasn't been able to get a job since.

There are still stalls selling US army surplus. (According to my bike driver.)
But I was ready when we were approached on the street and asked if we had English money we'd like to exchange. 'No, we're from Wales; we have Welsh money.' As very few people had heard of Wales that left them a little baffled.

Incidentally, of the few who knew the name Wales most associated it with 'Gareth Bale? Ryan Giggs?'

In which Husband is a STAR!

I'm sure tonsillitis never used to be this bad. Is it because I'm old? Or is this just a particularly virulent and nasty bug? Daughter and GrandSon2 were both very poorly with it. Each time I think I'm feeling better and I could do something useful - I've not done anything at all for the last three and a half days - I start then slump and wallow in self pity. And find myself back on the computer.

Luckily I had an appointment yesterday at the surgery for a 'female procedure' so before it began I asked the doctor to look at my throat. It's always reassuring when the doctor says, 'Ooh, yuck. Pus-y tonsils.'

I was sort of hoping she might say, 'You probably don't feel like having this procedure now, do you?' and send me home but she didn't. Ah well it's done and I didn't faint. And now I have to take two antibiotics four times a day at least one hour before and two hours after food. Slotting them in between the lemsip and gargling with soluble aspirin.

It's really boring hearing about other people's minor illnesses, isn't it? It's a good job I'm not ill often. 

But Husband has been a STAR! 

As well as tending to my every need (i.e. making me dinner and a cup of tea every so often), looking after George and helping with grandchildren he's been kept awake at night by me snorting. And it looks as though completion of the purchase of Uncle's new retirement apartment will happen this week so Husband is having to liaise between solicitors, the hospital, the occupational therapist, the social worker, and the care home as well as investigate electric wheelchairs and removals men.

If he'd let me near him I'd give him a big kiss. 

At least it's taken his mind off England rugby.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The wonders of Lemsip

I am spending the weekend feeling sorry for myself. I seem to have gone down with the throat infection that had daughter and GrandSon2 laid low this past week. 

I do feeling sorry for myself excellently! But after two days am ready now to get better, please.

Incidentally, an interesting side effect of lemsip: works wonderfully as colonic irrigation.

Meanwhile this weekend we've seen England go out of the rugby world cup. They have another game to play in their pool but it's impossible for them to progress to the quarter-finals. Husband is bearing up remarkably well. 

Friday, October 02, 2015

I might have seen the Duke of Cambridge but I definitely saw Nigel Owens

Well, we won. That's what matters. Not the best of games but tense as Fiji always looked scary. The fatigue from last Saturday's game showed amongst the Welsh players so it's a good thing they have a long break now before they play Australia.

And it was great to be there. It always is. You can see the game better on the television but you miss out on the atmosphere. It didn't quite come up to Six Nations standards - there was no band playing Delilah or Bread of Heaven in the stadium beforehand and the Welsh supporters way outnumbered Fijians - but it was fab.

Outside the stadium the highlight for me was seeing Nigel Owens (a charismatic Welsh referee) walking to the ground. I couldn't get my phone out in time to grab a photo so I had to make do with grabbing Husband and squeaking, 'Look, it's Brian ... Keith ... Nigel!' (I got flustered.)

Then inside the ground I found myself sitting next to Mike Day, an old acquaintance. Considering there were 71,000 people there it was quite a coincidence.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

I've hardly mentioned the rugby world cup

A long time ago we entered the draw for tickets for the rugby world cup: we got tickets for Wales v Fiji. At the time we were a bit disappointed not to get a bigger game but following Wales' heroic defeat of England (25-28 at Twickenham) at the weekend this has become THE game to win for Wales.

Grandson1 in England drew a picture after the last game.
Then he thought Grandad would like a picture of the man in white so he drew that on the back.
There are so many permutations that even after today's game - assuming Wales win and it will hard - progress to the quarter finals still won't be assured but we really really need to win today. Then we need Australia to beat England (on Saturday). My resolve to support England when they're not playing Wales will be tested. In fact I don't think I'll be able to watch.