Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Who do you want to be?

Last night Monty led bible study in Zac's in part on the theme of hypocrisy. It was an excellent study and he suggested that God wants us to be transparent, the same person whoever we're with, people of integrity. (As much for our sake: it's hard work wearing different masks.)

Monty asked the question, 'Who does God want you to be? Who do you want to be?'
I thought straightaway of this old saying:

Then I thought, 'Actually, no. My dog doesn't have any illusions about me.'

As far as George is concerned I'm only nice if I'm feeding or tickling him. His attitude could be described as feline.

So instead I aspire to be as good a person as some people think I am. (No, really, some people think I'm good.)

* * * * * * * 

We go on holiday tomorrow so this'll be my last blog for a week or so. Burglars please note that the house is not unattended: Younger Son and Nuora have moved in to look after George.

Yesterday I told GrandSon2 that we were going on holiday in an aeroplane.
'A real aeroplane?' he asked.
'Yes.'
'Are you going in a Red Arrow?'

I sort of hope not. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mouse or Supermouse

The mice in the attic enjoy our poison so much they've eaten their way into the tub.
And, yes, we have tried the humane method.


If you see this woman

If I looked like this today, with the country on terrorist alert, I doubt they would let me back in.
That was my passport from 1973, for my first trip abroad, which happened to be to Mombasa in Kenya.
We went on an oceanography field trip, stayed in college dorms, spent mornings on the beach, ate lunch in posh hotels, and generally enjoyed ourselves. Our professor got his feet sunburned the first day there and spent several days in bed; our lecturer and his girlfriend (one of us students) smoked weed, while the most adventurous thing I did was to dance in a nightclub - I'd always been so shy I'd refused to dance in public before. Brown Sugar will forever have a special place in my heart.

And what did I learn? That if sand squeaks when you walk on it it means it has a high percentage of quartz. Worth going.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Aping an accent

I have a terrible habit - and one that seems to happen unconsciously - of copying a person's accent. 

So if I'm talking to a Yorkshireman I'll adopt the northern accent, if I'm talking to someone camp I'll get very theatrical, and if I'm talking to a Pakistani I sound like Peter Sellers.
Oh yes I forgot to mention that I copy the accent badly.

When I realise I'm doing it I make an effort to stop but I fear I could offend a whole load of people before that. So if I've done it to you please refriend me! I'm sure it must be some subconscious urge to make the other person feel comfortable. That's what I tell myself anyway.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I'm not a knit!

This is the most intricate thing I ever knitted.
In fact it's probably the only thing I ever finished.

I made it when expecting last-born and then when he arrived decided it was too pretty for a boy so didn't use it. By the time my children had babies they no longer wore matinee jackets so it's never been worn.

But I can't get rid of it. It's evidence that once - just once - I knitted something.

P.S. I've added 'knitting' as a label. Now that's something that you won't often find on my blog.

Bringing out the monkey in me

Lovely walk yesterday afternoon with Younger Son, Nuora and GrandSon4 down through Crawley Woods to Nicholaston Burrows and on to the beach.


Coming back through the woods Younger Son attempted to help me brush up on my tree identification.
And then I climbed one.*

*Someone had nailed footholds to the other side making it easy! Getting down, however, was a little scary, especially that first bit getting my leg back over backwards - and the last bit where I misjudged the drop.

Best excuse so far

Me: I'm organising a fitness class for women on Monday mornings; you might like to come.
Woman: Well, I'll have to wait and see what Jesus wants me to do on Monday morning.

She could just have said no. Giggling to myself in the car afterwards I said, 'Go on, Jesus, I dare you!'


Friday, May 12, 2017

You know that good idea?

You know sometimes you have a good idea? Something you could/should do? And then halfway through it you think, 'Oh why?'

My desk drawer before I started.
There are only so many staples/tape measures/pencil sharpeners one person can use in their lifetime.
The end result. Which may not look like a huge improvement but it is. And I managed to find room for a few essentials that may just come in useful some time.
Like a whistle and compass. Well, you never know.




Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Catastrophe!

So I'm on my walk this morning when I realise I only have one tissue with me. (This is slightly after I remember I forgot to put on my fitbit. One of those days.) It's not that I have a cold but walking makes my nose run. And the wind makes my nose run. So walking in the wind makes my nose run run.

All I can say is that it was a good job I was wearing a long-sleeved jumper. 





I had a paddle but wasn't tempted to skinny dip, you'll be pleased to hear. A bit of a breeze. Or a howling gale depending on how appropriately dressed you happened to be.


Scary being a kitten

Awake at 6.00 am, head buzzing. After failing to get back to sleep I decided to do as Younger Son suggested and make use of this time: I got up!

So by 6.30 this morning - it took me a little while to persuade myself that this really was a good idea - I was sitting at my computer working on my article.

The ideas I'd been having I tried out and mostly they worked so I have a finished article I will send off later on today after I've given it more resting time and checked it again.

* * * * * * * * * 
'Oh!' I gasped. 'There was a big black dog and it ate a tiny kitten. In one gulp. Like the old woman it just opened its throat and in went a kitten. I tried to pull it back out but it was too far gone.'
Husband looked at me. 'This was in your dream, right?'
'Yes.'
'Good. But did you hear about the kitten who fell from the sky?'
'And this was in your dream?' I suggested.
'No, on the news.'
I was just imagining the messiah returning to earth in the form of a kitten when Husband explained. 'A seagull had taken it and then dropped it.'

It must be scary being a kitten.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Would Jesus have played rugby?

I don't have time to blog much today because I've been too busy writing. And thinking about writing. And re-writing. 

The deadline for the next The Bay article is 15th of this month. As the next issue will be out just before the general election I thought I'd do something related but when I'd finished, although I liked it, I wasn't sure if it was appropriate for my piece. I emailed it to the editor for her consideration and she agreed: it wasn't right.

So it's been back to the drawing board today and a hurried re-think. Publication day will be around Whitsun so I considered - and rejected as boring -  the history and customs of pentecost/Whitsun. Then I asked Husband and Younger Son for ideas.
Husband: The Lions rugby tour.
YS: Would Jesus have played rugby or football? Discuss.

I didn't ask them for any more ideas.

I browsed through some of my old writing to see if there was anything I could rehash or ideas I could adapt. I have to say I was quite impressed: some of the writing I've done - at least I assume I've done it because I don't remember doing it - is quite good. But not right. 

But I've finally written something that I'm moderately happy with. It has its roots in some old writing but has taken a new turn. I'm not absolutely sure the turn isn't into a dead end so I'll leave it for now and go back with fresh eyes tomorrow. Let's just hope I don't hate it.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

I like to call myself a writer

At one time I had great aspirations to be a famous (and rich would be nice too) writer. Frequent knockbacks have knocked that out of me and today I'm happy writing for The Bay magazine and my blog. (Of course I'm not really. I still yearn for publication of a novel by a proper publisher, for recognition that my work is good. But I think I may have to give self publishing another go. Else I'll be dead before I'm famous. Come to think of it, lots of people get more famous once they're dead ...)

But way back when, when I began this journey, I invested in lots of books. I have what could be called a mini library of 'how to write _______ (fill in the gap with your choice). Most of which I've barely looked at; some of which I've not even opened.

So in the spirit of de-cluttering they're going. Leaving me with room on my bookshelf for ... more books!

And portion size is based on ?

Another new recipe (from Sainsburys magazine) for dinner tonight. Harissa salmon with warm chickpea salad.
Tasted yummy but there was a lot more of it in the magazine photo. 

When I read the recipe properly I quickly realised it wouldn't be enough for Husband for dinner. Not in a million years. So I added chips. Slightly spoiling the healthy effect but my life wouldn't have been worth living.

Please, miss, I don't have hymn number 524 in my book

There can't be many church services where you have to check the hymnbooks before handing them out to make sure they've got all their pages. 

It would be nice to think that the guys wanted to have their souls set alight by the beauty of the words, but the truth is rather more mundane: they want the paper to make roll-ups.

Since smoking was banned in prison the men will use anything they can find whether it's banana peel or tea-bags.

It's amazing how many Christian tracts they decide they must take back to their cells to 'read later'. 

George is embarrassed by me

It's been remarkably dry for ages so I figured I could risk a riverside walk in my trainers. And it was fine until ...
I had to decide which stick to balance on next.


Could have been worse. Until I remember that I have holes in my shoes. 'Oh ploopy, ploopy, ploopy!'
Even George pretended not to be with me.

Note to self: must buy new trainers. 

Saturday, May 06, 2017

And that cake ...

Blueberry and white chocolate cake with a cheesecake topping
From a Sainsbury's recipe

My attempt to crystallise mint was less than successful!

White sugar might have worked better.


I wrote a song!

Some dogs (some dogs) like to run all day, like to jiggy jiggy jiggy jig
But other dogs (other dogs) like to sleep all day and not do a figgy figgy fig.

Not inspired by George I should add. It's to the tune of what I thought was a song called Some Girls but I can't find it, at least not the song I think I'm thinking of. 

Anyway I'm off to the hairdresser today. Need to get my grey sorted before my holiday. Then we've been invited to dinner with Younger Son and Nuora. I offered to take dessert as I wanted to try a new cake recipe. (Photos later.)

(Husband just asked me if I have a scalpel.)

Wild garlic on our walk yesterday.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Mishaps and misadventures of me

'Okay, we're looking at John chapter 11. It's page 1034.'
I'm leading bible study in Zac's and we're just beginning.
'What page did you say?'
'1034.'
'It's 1726, isn't it?'
'No, it's not. I'm looking at it here and it's definitely 1034.'
'The gospel of John?'
'No! Luke! ...... Did I say John?'

Whoops. A good start to the bible study. You'd think it could only get better from there on, wouldn't you? But you'd be wrong.

Anyway that was Tuesday.

* * * * * * *
Yesterday I set the sat nav for a location in Swansea and found myself on the motorway to Cardiff (next city). We got there in the end. Scenic route I guess.

* * * * * * *
Today I set out to promote the fitness class starting next Monday. I arrived at my first destination and discovered I'd left the posters behind.

* * * * * * *
After screwing up my eyes in the bright sunshine I noticed I had my sunglasses in the car so I put them on.
'Oh, these are uncomfortable. Something's sticking into my eyelid. I wonder if they've broken.'
I took them off and found a strawberry stalk stuck in the corner. #joysofgrandchildren




Wednesday, May 03, 2017

WonderWoman had an off day

I could write a sermon; I could talk for forty minutes; but where I fail is getting people involved in discussion.

I think that I've come up with questions that will stimulate discussion but apparently not. Either that or people were particularly sleepy and uninterested last night in bible study in Zac's. Ah well.

* * * * * * * * *
It may have been Princess Charlotte's birthday yesterday but our little princess who is just as gorgeous - a biased granny may say more - is two today. Happy birthday, GrandDaughter2! 

Which meant pavlova for tea. Plus a small slice of lemon tart because it would have been rude not to. Diet resumes tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Today I shall be WonderWoman

Usually in Zac's I'm cake baker and taxi driver; tonight I'm adding study leader to that.

It's the first time I've led for ages and I'm really nervous about it so I need to don my WonderWoman knickers and pull myself together.

A lot depends on who's there. If they're the non-talkers then it will be a very short bible study. Think of me.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Beauty in the broken

I've just discovered I've been singing a song wrong for all these years.

Be Thou my Vision is one of my favourite hymns and I've always sung the first line of verse 4 as 'Riches I need not nor man's empty praise,' but it turns out that it's actually 'heed not'. Which is a small but subtle difference.

I say I've always sung but, in fact, what I should have said is that I've always struggled to sing verse 4 line 1 because I do need man's empty praise. I shouldn't but I do. 

Which is why it's so lovely that Sean, leader of Zac's, tweeted a link to my article in May's issue of The Bay magazine. Here's what he said: A Sunday reflection on 'finding beauty in the broken' from our Liz

Isn't that lovely? It's so good to be part of a church that acknowledges the things you do inside and outside church. Acknowledges your value instead of treating you as a bit of a joke. 

Back to that subtle difference. It's probably worse that I heed man's empty praise even if it's usually briefly as I am here until it becomes in my thinking 'just Sean being nice and he didn't really mean it, and even if he did I don't deserve it,' and it disappears. Unlike man's empty criticism, which lives forever in my head.

P.S. In case you didn't notice you can read the latest issue, including my article, of The Bay online.

George thinks he's about to be de-cluttered

De-cluttering seems to have involved buying a new floor lamp as well as a shoe rack. 

It's only taken us nearly thirty years in this house to realise that a shoe rack might stop people just throwing their shoes in the under-stairs cupboard with the resultant bulging open door exposing our mess to the world. Or anyone who comes in our hall anyway. 

The fact that the children have now all left home - at least for the time being - never say never - and we'll have fewer shoes to house is irrelevant. I had it fixed in my mind that this was what I wanted and this was what I got on my mini shopping spree yesterday afternoon.


I also wanted a floor lamp for the lounge. It's ended up in the hall but that's another story. And while unwrapping it some of the cardboard fell on George. He panicked and didn't know what to do.
So currently our hall is full. There are lots of separate piles for:
Daughter, Younger Son, charity shop, Rough Edges (charity shop for men), Zac's.

Not to mention the various stuff cluttering the kitchen that has to go to the tip. I'm hoping Husband will eventually get fed up of walking around it and will dispose of it.




Un-bare-able!

So in the woods I am sticking my hand down the back of my trousers to pull up my knickers when turning slightly I realise there is a man behind me.

I hastily withdraw my hand and hiss at George, 'Why didn't you tell me?'
He gave his usual 'what's the point?' shrug.
'The point is I wouldn't have done that then.'
'Maybe you shouldn't have worn fally-down knickers to begin with.'
'I didn't know I was going out when I put them on.'
He gave another 'do I look like I care?' shrug.

By the time we reached the main road my knickers were dangling around my thighs. I was wearing trousers - obviously - but I felt naked. Exposed. As if the whole world could see my bottom. There might have been a thin layer of material between me and the world but it didn't feel like it. I kept touching my bottom to reassure myself. (Which, on reflection, could explain some of the strange looks I got.)

It was seriously incredible the difference it made: I felt vulnerable. How can people go commando? I believe that's the correct expression. Apart from hygiene it's just ...un-bare-able.

P.S. I hereby resolve to throw away my remaining fally-down knickers.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why my diet wasn't a total fail today - only partly

You'll be pleased to hear I began a serious attempt at de-cluttering today. Well, you may not care less but I am glad. I feel re-energised. Until I look at all the various piles of things that I know will sit around for ages until they're eventually taken to the tip/charity shop/Zac's. 

But no, I shall be positive. These things WILL be done and sooner rather than later.

And for dinner we had an M&S Meal Deal. Main course, side, dessert and bottle of wine for £10. (It's a really good deal as buying separately the items would cost double that. That's my excuse anyway.) I opted for the chicken kiev for main, mixed veg for side and then I struggled. I'm on a diet and I shouldn't eat sweet. Also, and more significantly, they didn't have any desserts I particularly liked. So I chose a gluten-free apple pie and gave it to Younger Son. A good compromise I thought.

Husband was less impressed. He looked at the chicken and veg and said, 'That's not much for dinner.'
Sulking because I'd given away his pudding he insisted on having potatoes as well. So I had to have a few but they were very little and as I was already over my calorie count I thought it probably didn't matter. (Please don't point how wrong that logic is.)

Friday, April 28, 2017

How to keep a granny entertained

Good day today. A walk in the morning with Ffion and George through the wonderful bluebell woods, then shopping for GrandDaughter2's birthday presents this afternoon. Carrying GrandSon4 in a sling!

I keep up a running commentary: 'Look at the waterfall; isn't it beautiful? See the way the water goes trickle, trickle, trickle. Ah, look at that huge seagull! Now let's go and look at the castle. What does that sign say? Oh, dangerous walls, do not climb. Okay, that's fine. Now what's over here? Ooh, a bridge. It goes wibble wobble.'

He falls asleep somewhere between seagull and walls but it doesn't stop my monologue.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A good bit of gossip

This is getting depressing. I'm on Day 4 of The Diet now and I've had 4 fails.

On the plus side I haven't given up, eaten ice cream, or said, 'Blow it, let's go out for a meal.' And I just picked up and instantly put down a bar of chocolate.

In other news I very much want to vote for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn but ...

I say that because we discussed the upcoming general election in women's bible study group in Zac's today. We also looked at Caiaphas, a Sadducee high priest, who would have been a Tory were he alive now. And we pondered how John, the gospel writer, would have known what was said in a private meeting between the chief priests and the pharisees. The general consensus put it down to gossip.

Why does it feel like Friday today?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Last night in Zac's

Linda, Dawn and I were 'commissioned' as community chaplains. 
We completed a course, courtesy of the Methodist Church, and lat night we explained a bit about it  and our reasons for doing it, and Sean spoke and read and prayed for us.

One of the scriptures he read was from Philippians chapter 2 encouraging us to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus who made himself nothing and humbled himself. No pressure there then.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A strange coincidence involving George

On the very day that I re-posted that story about George escaping he did it again!

He hasn't even tried for ages. I think he's finally accepted that he's probably not going to get a better home plus the fact that everyone knows him now and they won't feed him. And to be fair I don't think he did try to escape it was just a series of unfortunate incidents.

Daughter came in leaving the gate open for Son-in-law. 
George went out for a quick sniff.
Son-in-law doesn't notice George and comes in closing the gate behind him.
George finds himself locked out.

What's a dog to do in these circumstances?

He could bark loudly; he is very capable of it when he thinks he needs to, which is usually last thing at night when all the neighbours are trying to get to sleep.

Or he could go around the block, find an open gate and go and peer pitifully through a window so that he is brought home by a neighbour who thinks what heartless creatures we are for locking out such a lovely dog.

No prizes for guessing which option he chose.

Why I'm not queen of the world

Uncle had a nice fountain pen that I thought I'd like to use it but the ink cartridge was empty. It's an old pen so I spent some time wandering around shops and asking questions about the right type of cartridge to buy. At last I managed to find one and took it home delightedly. 

I took out the old cartridge and replaced it with the new one. At this point Husband wandered in, picked up the old one and said, 'You realise this is a refillable cartridge, don't you?'

Two points arise from this.

First, the staff who advised me obviously didn't know their cartridge from their elbow. 
Second, the articles I read in magazines in the dentist's waiting room about how to make your life more effective - things like allotting dedicated time slots, focusing on one thing at a time etc - don't take account of innate stupidity.

If it were not for that, with my 'brilliant ideas' and optimism against the odds, I could be queen of the world by now undoubtedly.


Monday, April 24, 2017

What about a cement coffin?

Husband this morning uncovered a letter he'd had from a great-uncle of mine a few years ago. Like Husband, Uncle Woodie was interested in genealogy so he sent us a load of family information. Some of it Husband has disproved - or rather not been able to find any trace of actual evidence - such as Count Otto von Bismarck having an illegitimate child by a distant relation of ours, but other bits are more fact-based though less colourful.

Such as this cutting from an old newspaper. It refers to my great-grandfather, Hobart Pasha Honey. I assume it's from the local Swansea paper but have no idea of date. My great-grandfather died in about 1951 but I imagine it was quite a while before that.

The article reports that Mr H. P. Honey had invented a metal-reinforced cement coffin and was proposing it as an alternative to the traditional because of the current high price of wood. He suggests they are also much better from a sanitary point of view.

The article ends with Mr Honey saying he would be glad to consult with any interested undertakers.

As far as I know the idea never caught on except with gangsters.

And, on a separate note, I am dubious about the claim that all children love syrup of figs. 



Feeling fat, fat, fat

A lovely weekend in Surrey with Elder Son and his family. Good weather - but not as good as in Swansea and that is very unusual! - great barbecue and wonderful grandchildren. 

Now I don't know if the mirror in the hotel was one of those funny ones - that's what I'm hoping - but I felt hideously fat. Now I know I'm not actually hideously fat but I feel much better when I weigh about a stone less than at present so today I signed up for a Rosemary Conley online slimming course!

I did RC classes a few years ago and was successful at losing weight but they weren't online, we had a brilliant and fun teacher in Cherie, and included an exercise session, so I don't know how well I'll do with this. It's mainly the incentive value: I've paid for the quarter so I should jolly well make sure I lose weight.

Hence my shopping list for Sainsburys this morning included very low fat cheese spread, very low fat sausages and two packets of Mug Shots. Even as I'm taking them off the shelf I'm thinking, 'These are going to be horrible,' but I'm not very good at lunches. I like something quick and there are only so many days you can eat ryvita. And they contain less than 2% fat. In fact they probably contain very little of any substance or worth but I'll let you know what they taste like when I've sampled them.

Oh, that's a good idea: I'll copy and paste this writing into my Middle-aged, fat and frumpy blog. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Earthquakes in London

Last night I went to the theatre. On my own. 

It was an amateur production of a play called Earthquakes in London and I knew two of the people appearing in it. It was a last minute decision to go: I'd been dithering but wanted to support them, so I checked the start time on their Facebook page and went.

And arrived just after it had started - 15 minutes before Facebook had said.

I slid into a seat, which happened to be on the front row. It's one of those trendy small theatre areas that don't have a raised stage and you're eyeball to eyeball with the performers. And then I noticed it. The strange smell. No, not strange, downright horrible. Rather like stinky fish but worse. It was so bad it distracted me from the play.

I tried to sniff my neighbours - subtly of course - but couldn't work out from where the smell emanated so I was greatly relieved when it came time for the interval. It happened that I knew three women sitting in the row behind. One of them said she'd noticed the smell and thought it came from the little woman on my right.

There was a spare seat in their row so for the second half I joined them and, apart from the odd whiff, it was happily pong-free. I can only assume the poor woman had a problem - in university there was a boy who although always scrupulously clean and smartly dressed had a strange odour that was alleged to be hormone related - and I do feel sorry for her, but, oh, I still had the smell in my nose when I got home and went to bed.

As for the play, well, it was long and quite depressing but very well done.

I was looking for something else and came across this from January 2008

George makes a break for it

Yes, that's right, George 'Don't make me go out of the front door on my own' has discovered the joys of 'other people's gardens'. 

He loves the postman. As soon as he spots the post-van pulling up he gets excited, then, after the postman has been to our house (or made a fuss of him even if he isn't delivering to us), George stands at the front of the garden and watches him on his way.Our garden has a drop at the front as you see so he can't get out that way but, a few minutes after the postman had gone, I realised he'd disappeared. I wandered round the garden and house, calling, but there was no response.

Outside on the road there was no sign of him and he didn't appear when I called. At that moment, the postman came along, returning to his van. 'Have you lost him?' he said. 'Geeoorrgge!'

At the sound of the postman's voice, George comes round from the back of the next-door-but-one-neighbour's house, looking innocent as the day is long.

We - the postman and I - figured he'd squeezed round the very front of the wall separating the neighbours' garden from ours; I've put a bucket there temporarily until Husband comes home at the weekend and can fix it.

Our garden is beginning to look like it's been done-over by one of those trendy television gardening programmes. Wire mesh is the new decking, don't you know?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Incomplete without ice cream

A while ago I complained about my mouse. Last week, just before the bank holiday, I said, 'Right, that's it! I'm getting a new one. This one is driving me crazy.'

Imagine my delight then when the next time I came to use my mouse it was working fine. Husband had worked his magic on it.

'How did you do that?' I asked him.
'Bit of spit and a tissue.'

Oh. 

* * * * * * * * *
Having been assured by the doctor yesterday that going away on holiday was fine - even with my 'condition' - Husband has booked us a week in Lanzarote in May. Since the end of November at least life has been a bit full on what with one thing and another. It's no wonder several people have remarked on how tired I look. (And there was me thinking I looked as gorgeous as ever!)

Within the Canary islands we've visited Fuerteventura and Tenerife but not Lanzarote. Apparently there's a live volcano and you can eat in a restaurant that uses the heat of the volcano to cook. I'll be glad just to lie in the sun/shade and read and swim and sleep. And eat ice cream. I just hope we can find an ice cream shop as good as the one run by an Italian lady in Fuerteventura. The success of my holiday depends on it.
In Italy in March 2012






Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Calm after the storm

If I'd been a premenstrual grammar pedant instead of just a grammar pedant I might have done serious damage in the waiting room at the hospital today. 'One in three women suffer premenstrual tension.'

Still, arguing with Husband about its correctness or not took my mind off my up-coming appointment. And when we'd finally agreed to disagree guessing the make-up of the British Lions squad (due to be announced at noon) took us through another thirty minutes.

The registrar apologised when we eventually got in: she was doing the clinic on her own. And it's the same old, same old. My cyst or whatever it is is the same size but my blood markers have gone down - so that's good. Generally the registrar suggested it's better to avoid surgery and as I'm very low risk that's what we agreed I'd do. Go back in four months for another scan, blood test, check, and so on. 

I'd gone there thinking I'd say yes to surgery to avoid having this hanging over me but, hey, I'm fine, so let's carry on as we are.

'You should have the coil removed though,' the registrar said.
'Will they do that if I have surgery?'
'I'll do it now for you.'

Oh no, really? You don't have to do that. I'm fine. It's been there donkey's years; it can stay a bit longer, I don't mind. Honestly I don't ... 'Go in that examination room? Really? It will hurt.'
'No, it won't,' she assured me. 'If I can't see it easily I won't do it.'

Then when the nurse says, 'You can squeeze my hand,' you know it is going to hurt. But not for long. So now I am foreign-body-less.

Now the hospital is right next to Singleton Park so after the appointment we went to visit the botanic garden. It is a beautiful oasis of calm.

At first sight I thought this was a peony.




Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Is Put in?

So there is to be a general election. The conservatives are riding high in the polls and are likely to win, which can only mean things are going to get worse.

And with education being one of the services to suffer we'll no doubt see more of the 'In Constant Use' signs in front of drives when they quite clearly are not in constant use. Frequent use, regular use, occasional use, yes, but not constant. Forgive me. One of my little foibles.

The NHS, which is under pressure now, will struggle even more with four years of Tory rule especially if they have a clear majority, so perhaps when I go to see the consultant tomorrow, if they offer me an operation, I should take it before waiting list times get even longer. Oh dear.

At 5.30 am I could think of a whole host of things that I urgently needed to do today but by the time I got up, after tossing and turning for two hours, I'd forgotten them all. 

I'm sorry, this post is very gloomy. I won't publish it just yet. I shall wait to see if I can think of something more cheerful. Oh I know!

Yesterday on the radio I heard part of a TED talk. Apparently back in the first half of the 20th century a psychiatrist did experiments on human brains studying the effect that electric currents had on different lobes. Nowadays they're not allowed to experiment on people so this particualr scientist is doing similar tests on the brains of drosophila. Do you know what drosophila are? I do but only because we studied genetics in school using them. They are fruit flies. Have you seena fruit fly? Can you imagine how small its brain is? 

Yet scientists are applying electricity to specific parts (?) and then, wait for it, checking to see if it affects the emotions. Of a fruit fly.

I think this scientist might have been exaggerating slightly because when quizzed it turned out that what they do is blow at them. 'Puff' 'And the more we puff at them the more agitated they seem to become. Like wasps when you try to swat them.'

Then he tried to say that in 50 years time they'll be able to apply electricity to certain parts of teh brain using a pill.

Either these people are extraordinarily clever or I am extraordinarily dumb.

And then there was the researcher - who presumably got paid money - who found out that shoe laces come loose because of the movement of the shoe. Now, who'd have thought it?

Finally my take on an old - but my favourite - joke.
What a beautiful day, the sort of day that makes you want to go and knock on the door of the Kremlin and ask, 'Is Put in?'

Okay, perhaps not as good as Ken Dodd's Lenin but I was pleased with myself.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The best little railway in town

Just watched the last episode of Homeland and more confused than ever.

It doesn't help that we're also watching Designated Survivor and I keep getting confused in what's happened where. Then switching to Grace and Frankie where Jed Bartlett is now gay and auditioning for musical theatre ...

Meanwhile back in the real world, we went on the little trains today! Yay! Twice! In the morning with GrandSon4 - his first ever ride on the miniature railway - and then this afternoon with the other local grandchildren. Social media has a lot to answer for. It used to be a quiet little place that only the locals and regulars knew about. Then someone mentioned it on Facebook as a great way to entertain children at a very cheap price - 50p a ride - and now the queues go round in circles. Great fun though.

Spent most of the rest of the day trying to design a poster for an exercise class. Tomorrow I'll have to start distributing it.



Sunday, April 16, 2017

What do you call a starfish with four legs?

So it's Easter Sunday and that means Lent is over and with it my Lenten resolution to blog every day. However I think it's a good disciple so I shall try to maintain it.

As I write this my typing is even worse than usual as I can barely keep my eyes open. Up at 5.30 to cook breakfast in Zac's followed by prison followed by a lovely walk to Pobbles with family - and the inevitable bear hunt in caves - finishing up with leftover lamb and salad for dinner, an episode of Suits and an episode of Gilmore Girls and I'm ready for bed.

But here's the four-limbed starfish GrandDaughter1 rescued from a rock and returned to a pool where it perked up immediately.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Deadlines, flipping deadlines

Today, 15th of the month, is the deadline for my next article for The Bay magazine. While I can't imagine that anyone will do anything with it before Tuesday it's a matter of principle for me to get it in on time. 

When I was in Linden church I edited the local newspaper we published and the problems I had with people missing their deadlines ... I'm clenching my fists even as I think about it.

So I'm sitting at the computer finishing off the article. Yes, it's a bit late - 7.59 pm - but it's still the 15th and that's what counts. I'd thought a bit about what I would write and thought I'd planned it out but when I started writing yesterday the prose was very dull and glum so I had to rethink it.

The rewrite began well but floundered towards the end, which is where I'm struggling now. I think I've finished it to my satisfaction but I'm in such a state of panic that I can no longer judge whether what I'm writing even makes sense.

But I'm going to send it off now - in a minute. That good old Welsh time, which could be anywhere between now and when I go to bed. Which had better not be too late as I'm up at 5.30 tomorrow to go and cook bacon at Zac's. Every Easter Sunday people from a number of churches in Swansea gather for a sunrise service on the beach and come back to us for breakfast afterwards. And then I'm in prison.

I know how to live.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Not quite in bloom yet

We had a lovely walk through the secret bluebell woods and then into Clyne Gardens today. It's not 'In Bloom' until next month but some of the rhododendrons don't know that!
Wild garlic




Frilly tulip