Friday, July 31, 2009

Suicide and other thoughts

I hear that a side effect of the swine flu drug is nightmares for our children.
Why can't it be an overwhelming feeling of happiness and goodwill? Does there always have to be a barb, dark cloud or downside? Why can't it be the really harmful drugs that are unpleasant to take because of the side effects?

It led me to the thought that perhaps instead of spending billions on new prisons, why not develope a drug to alter behaviour and contain it in a simple pill?

Instead of sentencing someone to 15 years, costing the taxpayer £300 per prisoner per day minimum, just sentence him to one pill a day guaranteed to obviate the need to offend.

The workforce needed to force the pill down his or her throat could be on a wage just above minimum requirement. Better still, give them a good wage for doing a better job than you know who. I'd go for such a job and become the expert on pill application.

Actually, one powerful pill ought to do the job, administered at the point of sentence and to last a lifetime.

This line in the Times newspaper caught my eye today...'Drugs are so evil that we should legalise them'. There is some sense in this at superficial level. We always seem to touch the things we are not allowed to or do the things we are told not to do.

The line in the Times that REALLY made me think was our current suicide law as it relates to assisted suicide.

My thoughts drifted to a very painful incident in my past...a pill which was very bitter to take.

I've killed spiders, flies, ants and bugs without a second thought, but I once killed something that has affected and troubled me.

It was dark on the night in question, and I was driving back home.

Sorry, but I've just got back home after meetings, and 'As good as it gets' is on TV. I really want to finish this post, but I also really want to see the film again, so...well, it's as good as it gets! C'mon, it's a brilliant film!

There you go! It was so good.

Right, so I was driving home in the dark and something hit the car just beyond the Nottingham Knight island. I pulled over and ran back to see a liitle dog kicking and screeching in agony. It was a terrible sight and it's injuries were extensive. I felt so helpless. There was no house nearby to call for help or people around to give advice.

As I contemplated what I should do, this little dog continued to writhe and kick in agony. I could bear it no longer and decided to put it out of it's misery. I found it very hard to do as the only effective implement available was a large rock which I could hardly lift.

I've often thought if I had made the right decision. I really searched deep to find an honest answer at the time because I knew It would haunt me if I hadn't. I felt I did make the right choice, but I still think about it.

From this experience I've learned that I would want to help someone I love who is in agony and with no chance of survival.

I believe in the sanctity of life, but I also believe is free agency. I struggle when it comes to the question of someone wanting to end their life and pleading for someones help to end a hopeless situation.

I don't feel it right to prosecute those who are with their loved ones once they 've made that choice to travel to a country where it's legal to carry out their wishes to end it.
What are they expected to do, allow their loved ones to make the journey without assistance and die alone?

Assisted suicide for some cases is a tough call...especially for a Christian.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I had two new experiences at the cinema last night.

The first was an intermission. They just stopped the film half way through, and 'Intermission' flashed up on the screen. We were all bemused. There was no warning and we had no idea how long it was to be.

I took advantage of the unnatural break to have a natural one...the scene of my next new experience.

I lazily wandered in and halted abruptly as I almost bumped into a young lady. I hastily beat a retreat to scrutinize the sign on the door before re-entering. Sure enough, it was a female.

I was about to doubt the sign on the door that I had only just checked, but was put at ease when I caught sight of the urinals. I waited discreetly while she dried her hands and left without saying a word, but with the slightest glance of acknowledgement as I stood rooted and staring like a fool.

I nervously glanced around to check on other possible shocks before having the confidence to continue. It was a relief (lol) to get back to my seat and enjoy the rest of the film.

I must be a creature of habit as I'm slightly fazed when there are changes to the norm. It must be an age thing.

Definition of fazed...To disrupt the composure of; disconcert.

I'm fazed by last minute changes, loud women, irate dogs, running out of shaving blades, speaking in public, confrontation, being misunderstood, under-performing football teams, overpaid politicians, greed, violence, thunder storms and even love.

This list can easily quadruple yet I consider myself faily well-balanced, stable, composed and relatively unfazed.

Right at this moment we are having thunder storms (the sky was clear blue when I arrived for work) and it reminds me a little of 1962. I love thunder storms...especially violent ones.

I was at boarding school at the time and the storms started around midnight. It was really exciting and we couldn't sleep if we tried. One of the windows in the dormitory was open but we wouldn't dare close it for fear of being struck by lightning. The storm increased in violence and around 5:00am we heard the most unbelievable crack. The house master came to check on us and closed the window.

The 'crack' turned out to be our 'sausage tree', so named because of it's long, low-lying main branch. We used this tree as a climbing circuit and initiation ceremony for the youngsters. It was the most popular tree in any of the three woods that surrounded the school.

It had been ripped and stripped and lay blackened in huge pieces. Some boys even cried. I'm not sure if Hawkins did...he was the champion climber and had devised the circuit.

The skies are clear again and I'm back home.

The mousaka was supurb and we are now going for a walk along the river.

On the way back from the walk. Our little castle...

A pleasant and peaceful end to the evening.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rainbows, Martin, magic and me.

A comment from Auntie M on Randi's blog on Sunday mentioned a rainbow.

I still can't get over seeing so many double rainbows over the last 3/4 months. They really lift my spirit and make me want to stop and stare in awe.

The last two have been whilst driving and I've had to crane my neck so as not to lose sight of it as I twist and turn on our bendy roads.

I've noticed that sometimes, and I don't know why, I wake up with the same feeling as when I see and follow a rainbow. I wish I could replicate it. I wish I could catch it too. I always feel like I can drive right underneath one, but I never get anywhere near it. It's always just ahead of me.

At the moment I'm feeling 1/4 rainbow, which isn't bad really, and the only thing I'm likely to catch isn't a rainbow, but this dreadful swine flu.

I'm feeling more anxious as time goes by that I might catch it the very week I go to France in three weeks time. There are more and more people here at work who are falling foul of it and I feel sure it's only a matter of time before it taps me on the shoulder and introduces itself.

I know I'm in danger here of being perceived as weird but If I could volunteer to have it next week, I'd jump at the chance under the premise that it'll be all done and dusted in a week and my holiday will be swine, chicken, Asian, German or any other perculiarly named flu. Sorry Germany...yours was the measles not the flu.

Tonight I'm off to see Harry Potter with one of my sons. It'll be a welcome diversion albeit a temporary escape from ever-pressing reality...not that life is all that bad at the moment.

I read today of Joseph Figlock from Detroit who, in 1937, had a baby land on him as it fell 4 stories from a block of flats. Both of them survived. A year later the same man had a two-year-old boy land on him from a 4th story window. Both survived again. It was an incredible coincidence, but would you say they were both lucky? Were they having a good or a bad day?

Sometimes I think it's difficult to say if a day is good or bad and when you think it's bad, it often has a silver lining.

I've included this thought to remind me that I haven't had a 100% bad day as far as I can recall.

The weather was bad, the company good, the film magical and rainbows...majestic!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Frank Devine, the Australian journalist and commentator died this month aged 77. The news caught my eye because of the name.

Now here is something interesting about my name.

My Grandma married a man named William Stewart and within a year she was expecting my Dad. William however died long before their first anniversary. Grandma married again just before my Dad was born...this time to a Devine.

So the blood that flows in my veins belongs to the Stewarts, yet I feel quite attached to the Devine name. Not surprising I suppose, since I've had it for over half a century.

Someone who was twice my age...112 I believe, also died this month. No, he wasn't a Devine or a Stewart. His name was Harry Patch and he was the very last living British witness of the First World War. He was the last of all the millions who experienced the trenches first hand.

If I live as long as he did, I would be experiencing life in the year 2064.

When you consider the advances over the past fifty years, the thought of what they might be over the next fifty is quite a mind-blowing thought. 2064 looks more like an address than a date, doesn't it?

In 2064 there will still be grass, trees and sky, the wind, rain and snow. The sea too, as well as bricks, mortar, politicians, taxes, musicians, artists and poets.

I think this is why I like the sea so much. I look out and see exactly the same as someone hundreds of years ago, and in hundreds of years to come. Nothing dates it.

Anyway, I'm not fussed about being around then. I'm already blind as a bat and half deaf...the list will only get longer.

I'll be satisfied if I arrive at 2032 to celebrate my 80th. That'll do me fine, thank you.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I've noticed at work that the least happy people are those who criticise most. Sometimes the criticism is justified, as is the case with Karen this morning, but generally I'll need to remind myself not to get dragged into and perpetuate it...or I'll have to suffer the consequences.

From memory these words come to mind courtesy of Garbutt via Kipling...

If you can keep your head when all around you, are losing theirs and blaming it on you.
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too.
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting or being lied about, don't deal in lies.
Or being hated, don't give way to hating, and yet don't look too good nor talk too wise.

Okay, I've had to check how the rest goes. I do remember the last verse however. I once saw and heard Vin Garbutt put this to music and sing it in a room no bigger than 12' x 12' and I was right up close. It was live music, the hair on the back of my neck stood up, and it was so powerful. I've always managed to recite it from memory...until now.

to continue...thanks to copy and paste from google...

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and DisasterAnd treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spokenTwisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginningsAnd never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinewTo serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in youExcept the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minuteWith sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Today I'll be as bright, breezy and positive as Lizzie a few desks over.

tbc...with an update on how I fared.

I haven't been following it this year, but I was amazed to hear that Lance Armstrong had come out of retirement to compete. He's been out of it for four years yet comes back and claims 3rd place. It's nothing short of a miracle. What an incredible man.

I'm still at work and coping quite well in terms of remaining positive...another miracle, given what's happening at the moment.

Yes, I did okay. It's nice to be in control.

I'm home and have had an evening of painting while Bev helps Ash and Amber over at Blidworth. I'm not allowed anywhere other than my studio. It's nice to be in control!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Where is my adversity?

What trials do I have in life? I'm not confined to a wheelchair. The last time I checked, all my limbs were where they should be and my senses along with all my other bits are fully functioning.

I'm not in debt, prison, hospitalised or institutionalised. I don't have an overly-embarassing body. I'm of reasonable intelligence and live in a peaceful environment. I have full time employment, good health and opportunity. I live in a land of freedom. No one hates me or wishes me harm. Yes, I do have children, and a mother-in-law, but the kids have left home now... so that leaves just the one trial in my life...just kidding!

I mention this because the topics at Church today were on adversity. I just don't get it! I understand it, but just don't get it!

Do I want it? No. Will I get it? Yes! When? Dunno! Am I prepared for it? Well...not really.

Perhaps I've already had my share of it... I was born in Sunderland after all. We lived in a deprived area and were so poor that I went to school in 'Wellies' summer!
I'm sure I had second-hand nappies because we never bought anything new other than food, and I even have my doubts about that.

I was run over by a milk truck and almost died. I've fallen through the first floor of a derelict house and almost died. I've a sister that WOULD have died had I caught her after she cut my hair and left me with bald patches. I was taken into care (nothing to do with chasing my sister).

I've been chased, beaten, robbed, shot, spat and sworn at. I've been senseless, shameless, homeless and penniless. And yes, for a brief spell, incarcerated.

I've been frozen with fear on the side of a rock face; Frozen with fear sat on the edge of an open door of an airplane, and frozen with fear on that car roof out at sea...not to mention other terrifying situations relating to various seas throughout the world.

I've been abandoned and let down by friends. I've been humiliated, insulted, pittied, lied to and laughed at, hungry, alone, frightened and I once suffered a gas blast and had my eyes knitted together as a result.

It's been a good life!

I've got old age and poor health to look forward to as well as possible injury, disease, loneliness and certain death.

Why am I so happy? Well, if you think I've just reeled off a long list of bad things, it's nothing compared to the good things. it really isn't.

Mortality is pretty cool...even for those who don't live in a land of freedom and plenty. Even for those without limbs or senses. Even for those without wealth, good looks, youth or good health.

Mind you, I'm not so sure about those who are physically, sexually or mentally abused. What a living hell that must be.

Such were my thoughts this morning along with gratitude for the knowledge I have of a God.

Some things in life are pretty tragic, but I'm not one who subscribes to the thought that God should necessarily interfere with the free agency of His children. He didn't step in to help His Son in Gethsemane for a reason.

Right! What now?

I'm thinking lunch, a few phone calls, plans for the future and getting up to date with my finances. Also a walk and talk would be good. And yes Jon, I will upload those photographs today.

On the way to the graduation, Nottingham City Centre turned into a funfair and beach...

Bev waiting patiently for Jon to arrive...

And me...

Waiting for the ceremony...same place that we saw Donny...

Serene and her quirky irregular choice shoes...It's tradition...At the Fat Cat...

with a few friends...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Je voudrais me reposer

Roy's post title for today is "I would like to rest". I've decided to adopt it, but only in theory because I've too much to do really.

The temptation of today is to put all my eggs in one basket and concentrate on the wall, but I'm going to resist and do some painting just to please Bev. She's taken her Mum, Ash and Amber to the Temple today and left me behind, hoping that I'd grab some painting time.

In truth, I didn't fancy being squeezed between my MIL and Ash, while Amber claimed front seat by virtue of her predicament. You could argue that if I drove, everyone else could fight it out for the best seat, but it's an unwritten law that we share the driving, so the inevitable will happen anyway. Even if I sat on her deaf side my MIL could be formidable for such a long journey...Ashley even more so!

Anyway, the weather is fine and there are no distant clouds to threaten rain. All the same, I promise I'll finish bricklaying by 3:00pm Bev, regardless of how much I'm enjoying it.

Bev is back and we've said goodbye to Martin and Sarah who made a surprise visit along with an even bigger surprise of a Chinese meal.

Bev helped Sarah with a flag and t-shirts for the girls camp next week while Martin helped me tidy up outside.

We are now about to watch 'Kung Fu Panda'. It isn't really my taste although I hear it's good.

Sitting down with Bev to watch it is the very least I can do for being caught red-handed with a bricklaying trowel in my hand as she pulled in the drive.

I think Martin and Sarah's arrival saved my bacon.

I live to fight another day!

I'm ready for that well earned rest.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Another brick in the wall

It's another bright day and fantastic that I won't be sitting at a desk.

I dropped Bev off at work and went to pick up some 'Commons' for the base of the wall up to dpc. Darn it! I bet I'll be singing today's title all day now that it's just popped into my head.

I'm wondering if Eileen is off to France today. I called but there's no answer.

Well, here goes...a day of bliss!

It's now 9pm and I've just finished all the brickwork up to ground level...none of it will be seen!

It wasn't exactly a day of bliss as it kept raining, but I'm very pleased with the progress made.

I'm too tired to upload the photographs from the graduation...perhaps tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Well done Serene

It's one of those Summer mornings...bright, colourful and with the air of optimism, opportunity and expectation. As yet, it's quiet but pretty soon someone will be stirring in this household other than me. I think everyone is taking advantage of the fact that it isn't a work day...everyone being Bev. She deserves a lie-in.

We are heading for Nottingham later this morning to attend Serene's degree ceremony and afterwards for a celebratory meal. It's also her birthday so I imagine she'll be bubbling with excitement.

I'm into my studio for two hours to progress the painting panels and perhaps later on, source some bricks that I'll need, as I don't quite have enough for my wall.

Tom phoned last night to say he has some rosemary tiles and blue bricks for me. I also spoke to a neighbour 15 doors down the road about his wrought iron, so things are moving in the right direction. I'm happy.

Yes, if I can just steer clear of a newspaper, radio bulletin and TV news updates it'll be a great day!

We drove to the Park and Ride and met Martin as we got off the bus. After a very nice lunch from Subway-which we ate on a bench in the sunshine, we let Martin get back to work and made our way through the city centre. It was a carnival atmosphere and it was great to see the square transformed into a beach and everyone in deck chairs.

Jon eventually turned up at the Royal Concert Hall and we took our seats for the ceremony. Serene waved as if she hadn't seen us in years. She was so excited.

After the ceremony we were surprised to come out to rain, but that didn't deter Serene as she enjoyed her walk through town in her cap and gown to the Fat Cat restaurant, where we enjoyed a fine meal.

We are back home now and very tired after a long, long day.

A few photographs...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Well what do you know...

Dave pluttered and croaked "Good Morning" as I entered work and I remarked that he should really be at home. In less than 30 seconds of conversation I found out the following from him...

Norman had been sacked for being a 'Loan shark' during working hours. Ed had been sacked for suggesting to an ME sufferer that it's all in the mind, and that if you are off sick you don't lose any wage.

Well, what do you think about that? I liked Norman and I liked Ed. I was just thinking the other day that I haven't seen them recently. I also wondered why so many people here can afford to be off sick so often.

I learned also (from Foreign Quango...72 hour pack post) that Randi's handbag weighs 6lb and can possibly be mistaken for a 72 hour pack. I reckon Bev can beat that! My MIL must be carrying way beyond any 72 hours...more like 72 days!

I must add my external hard drive to the things I need to grab in an emergency...I would hate to start all over.

I'm supposed to be on holiday this week but decided I might need the time in an emergency later in the year, so I'm just taking tomorrow and Friday instead.

I'm back home again after a frustrating target filled day. The next four days should just about be enough to relax me sufficient to view things differently, and possibly even brightly come Monday morning.

Well, what do you know? I started the day by talking with Dave, I spoke to a different Dave after work as I stood by my soon-to-be wall, and I've just spoken with Dave Cuthbert on the phone. He's at Folkestone and wanted to make sure I knew where the key was to let myself in when I deliver the painted panels.

I'm now about to send an email to yet another Dave. That's four in one day.

To top it all, guess who was born this day in 1947? No, it was Don Henley of Eagles fame.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Past it?

Last night there was a mad dash to use up the mortar I'd mixed so that I could go with Ash to unload the van at Blidworth.

This morning I have aches and pains and am wondering if I'm past it. Am I asking too much of this frail little body? Should I put my feet up and become a telly addict? Should I join a bowls club or take up flower arranging...not that there is anything wrong with these things...I'm just looking at options.

Teddy Sherringham was playing football at the highest level in his forties.

I'm sure Eileen told me that the chap who almost won the golf the other day was 58.

Our Queen at 83 still rides horses two or three times a week and Prince Philip rode a team of horses competitively up to the age of 85.

Peggy and Pip Coy are just ordinary folk who play golf several times a week, and they are in their 80's.

Am I past it? No, I don't think so. I just feel it today.

Question: So why can't I windsurf the English Channel aged 60? Answer: I can! I will! It's on my hit list. Thanks for the reminder.

Perhaps I should start preparing. Yes, I think I'll start preparing. When I get to Bel-Air I'll check my sails to see if the mice have left anything.

I have three years!

I've always liked the sea.

When I left school, I went to Hendon beach with two of my brothers and we hacked the roof off an abandoned old van and put to sea. We left John on the beach as it wasn't big enough for three.
It soon became dark and we gave up paddling as we weren't sure where the land was. Our Alan was paddling frantically but was just filling the 'boat' with more water. We concentrated our efforts instead on scooping out the water oozing through the rust holes.

Our John alerted the police after three hours and we were eventually picked up by the police launch on their way back home. They had been searching for hours and had decided to give up before chancing on us. We were two miles out and when we were dragged on board, our little craft immediately disappeared under the swell.

If they had missed us, we would have been in deep trouble.

We got a right telling off but it was a great adventure and seeing the write-up in the local and national press made it even more worthwhile. Shan't do it again though. It was a one-off. Don't even think about it you grandkids! Grandad was very silly!

When I was even younger, I played on bomb sites that had been turned into great lakes by the rain. We all used to float corrugated iron and jump on with a piece of wood as a paddle to see who could stay on the longest.

When I started to learn how to windsurf, it was the same kind of feeling...except I could now go much faster.

Before I'm past it, I just have to get across that Channel without being charged an arm and a leg!
It's getting pretty late in the day though! It'll have to be my swan song...the definition of which is the beautiful legendary song sung only once by a swan in its lifetime, as it is dying.

Well, I'm not exactly dying, but it'll be my last energetic type adventure I think.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden (GOLF)

Yep, that's how it got it's name.

Golf is...the process of groups of people following a few men in all types of weather as they swipe at a little white ball until it eventually ends up in a hole.

Unlike football the participants wait their turn to play , they use sticks with feet stuck on the bottom instead of their own feet , the hole replaces the net and the spectators all have to STAND with brollies open for days on end instead of just 90 minutes sitting under cover in a comfortable seat. Oh, and the ball is much smaller and hurts when it hits your head. Is that what they mean by making the "cut"?

Goodness knows what it was called prior to the ladies trying to muscle in. How about "Let's go push ball, whack a slice out of that lovely lawn, clobber some worms or splatter a few pidgeons".

Actually, perhaps that's how they get such ridiculous names like 'Albatross', 'Eagles' and 'Birdies'. I dread to think how the 'Bogey' evolved, and 'Ace' ...what's that all about? It's a right Par Lar-De Dar where you don't know if you're one over or two under.

Anyway, presumably way back in time, these are the things the ball hit en-route to the green and ultimately that tiny little small it needs a flag-pole to locate and identify it.

I suppose they never hit squirrels, foxes, pylons, woodpeckers, innocent byestanders, cars, kite-fliers, low flying aircraft and club captains otherwise we'd have different names.

When all said and done though, I'm looking forward to watching the next tournament now that Eileen has explained the rules of the game.

I'm so excited!

tbc...after tee (sorry, I meant tea).

Back home now and I've spent an hour or so painting. I enjoyed the spag-bog for tea along with summer fruits from the garden and ice-cream from the freezer..

Ash should need a hand into the van with the fridge and washer that arrived today and, who knows I may be able to squeeze a bit of building in (wall) before calling it a day.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


We've had plenty of liquid precipitation today. Bucket-loads of the stuff. Yes, I got wet too!

I still find it fascinating to watch and have fond memories of it at key points in my life. Well, perhaps not all fond memories, but mostly so. I love my rainy day experiences.

Whenever it drops and I have time to stop and stare, there is invariably a memory attached.

One family totally wet day of the past was on holiday at lake Coniston. We had set our tent up next to the lake. It was a lovely holiday but with little opportunity to windsurf, which was one of the main reasons for going there.

I was woken up very early on the last day of the holiday by the howling wind and rushed with great excitement and anticipation to the lake with my windsurfing equipment...David was already there, zooming along and hanging on for dear life! It wasn't even light yet!

We were on that lake with Donald Campbell somewhere beneath us, wetter than wet, but totally overjoyed. It was just incredible!

The family did not share my joy. After a few hours I returned to learn that they were also wetter than wet. When I left, I hadn't noticed that the tent was virtually floating and I had, in effect, abandoned the family who had to cope with packing everything without me.

I have felt a bit guilty about being so selfish as I look back... and Bev has often fanned the flames of my guilt and selfish actions of that day. But what an incredible two hours that was and worth every bit of criticism over the following years. I've long since been forgiven as Bev is very forgiving once a decade or two have passed!

The other incredibly wet family day was a truly family affair...again shared with the Flinn family.

We'd reached the summit of Mount Snowdon and the family were very tired. The train wasn't available to go back down so we set off on foot just as the weather turned. Long before we reached the bottom we could be no wetter if we had jumped into every puddle...which we did! We have never been so wet in our lives and couldn't imagine ever being warm and dry again.

We were stretched on that day and found out a great deal about ourselves and each is often the case when we are stretched.

Fond memories indeed.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturdays are great!

It's a blustery but fresh day and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into some work.

I had planned to be on the roof, but I value my life today so it's probably preparing the ground for building my wall at the front of the house. It'll be fine if I'm blown over at this level...only my pride will be hurt.

I've just enjoyed translating Marie-Jose's email and replied so she can translate the English. I think it's going to work well...I'd like more French and Marie-Jose would like more English. That's what I call progress!

I think Eileen has swine flu symptoms. I checked it out on
I had to post a note on the genealogical library for her last night as she was too unwell to attend.

MIL is about to go into town and I've asked if she could buy me three hours for a pound. If she can buy one and get one free, it will be even better. Bev thought I said three flowers and smiled thinking I was being nice and was buying her flowers. She should know me by now!

Oh, I love Saturdays!!

Off to do some work...

Well, I did quite well. The hardest thing was getting the posts out. They were encased in a mass of concrete. Digging the trench was easy-peasy in comparison.

Martin is here now with Sarah. Martin has brought his Apple-Mac and Sarah is with Bev sorting something with the sewing machine. I'm going to do some studying after a nice long hot bath.

How come Saturdays always go quicker than a working day?

Friday, July 17, 2009

good night?

A good sleep makes all the difference and, even though it's drab and pouring with rain outside, there is a ray of sunshine in my heart and a spring in my step.

I was tempted to stay up and hear news of the men who landed on the moon 40 years ago, but I reasoned that I stayed up the first time - for the real deal, so why should I stay up for the update?

I took a quick look at Time Magazine this morning however and was saddened to read of Aldrin's Father who took his own life. His Mother (maiden name was Moon would you believe) followed suit 14 months before her son's epic journey.

Actually, the more I read the news, the more sad I become. It would seem to be a grotty old world if the good things aren't reported in equal measure...which would appear to be the case today.

Apologies for being so flippant about the swine flu the other day. My age group may be relatively safe if in reasonable health, but it seems children are at serious risk and are dying even with previous good health. I should have read more about it first. The future looks pretty bleak if it continues at this rate.

Meme question: If I was given £300 to spend on anything I'd like, what would it be? Answer: An acoustic amplifier and a sherbet lemon dip.

I'm finding it difficult to justify buying an amp, but if the money isn't mine there will be no problem. The sherbet lemon dip will be to give away so as not to make me feel so guilty. If I'm feeling devilish I'll have the sherbet dip too!

Ash and Amber had a good night at the Harry Potter premier of the Half Blood Prince but looking at him now (I've just turned around to look at him) he looks in desperate need of a good night's sleep. He should have listened to his Dad.

During my break I'm going to read what Randi has to say about 72 hour packs...something I'm very familiar with.

Get in there Randi! Spot on! As you know I'm LDS myself and I'm immensely impressed! You must have some very good LDS friends.

I think I need to update mine. Thanks for the timely reminder.

On another note, I think it's important to show in a daily journal how you actually feel from day to day. Well, today I feel content and happy. I feel relaxed, friendly and approachable... if anyone needs a loan or my help, now is the best time to ask...but you'll need to be quick!

Oh dear, never mind! You weren't quick enough.

I've realised that I've only 3 hours or so left before my week holiday. YIPPEE!!! No wonder I feel good!

Had to dash to Bridgford after work but I'm back now. Carole King was my singing companion on the way home. I wonder if she's still touring this country?

It has been a very busy day and a busy evening doing things familiar and things totally new.

So...I guess it's good night and farewell to Friday the 17th July.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What relaxes me most

It's another one of those meme questions to kick-start the day. Let's make one thing clear...I do need kick-starting today.

I watched The Patriot while my photos were transferring. I was so tired and it was so late. I didn't even see the end, and had to leave the computer on all night to do it's thing. If Bev finds out I'll be in for it!

I personally think The Patriot is as good as Braveheart...great film.

It's nice to have RB back in circulation today so I'll quote him...

"I sit in my garden, gazing upon a beauty that cannot gaze upon itself. And I find sufficient purpose for my day."

Yep, I think wandering, sitting, chatting, working, listening, singing, eating, laughing and reading in the garden ticks all the boxes for me. It's what relaxes me most.

Question: What was I doing ten years ago? Answer: I was in the garden. It's all there in the garden, isn't it? Birth, life, beauty, growth, decay and death. It's an entire life- span 'potted' in a single year, every year.

Time for work. No, it doesn't relax me in the slightest at the moment.

Well, would you believe it. All systems are down and we can't access our computers...until now (11:00 am).

I've taken advantage of the time by planning what jobs I'd like to complete in France. I also allowed my mind to wander over there for a while.

Systems went down again and I used the time to write a letter.

The end of my working day came quickly thank goodness.

Bev has had to turn back from her French lesson as the traffic is congested...probably an accident. She's now joined Ash, Amber and myself to go and see the house at Blidworth they'll be living in for the next 18 months. We've just got back.

We're tired and listless. I blame The Patriot last night. What'll relax me most right now is no more than ten seconds away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


What the heck's a meme? (pronounced mem, memmay, meemee or meem). Who knows? Ah, it's pronounced meem...thank you Randi.

Anyway, I was tagged yesterday and invited to participate, so here is my watered-down version... in dribs and drabs...or is that drips and plops?

There are a number of questions, the answer to which will give the reader a better understanding of the writer. It's a 'Get to know me' exercise...I think!

Question : If I was a time traveller, what era would I live in?
Answer: The future is very tempting but I'll be bewildered, shocked, speechless and will feel useless and stupid as I am with most new experiences.

This obviously needs deep thought so I've decided to change the time period from an era to a day. No, I've changed it again...make that an hour x 24. That makes 24 places I'd like to be without the need to sleep.

First off would be an hour with Christ...I'm sure he'll also help me with my remaining 23 choices...possibly even send me straight back and tell me not to interfere.

If I get the go-ahead I'd like to arrive at Auvers-su-Oise in 1890 and be with Van Gogh just before he shoots himself. So what if you HAVE only sold one painting in your entire life, I'll say. What if you ARE hungry, miserable and pathetic. You are a genius mate, and I'm here to offer my appreciation and £2000 to tide you over... and for goodness sake get yourself a decent hat.
All I ask is you write on the back of one of your paintings THIS ONE IS FOR KEN DEVINE ONLY.

Seriously though, best not tell him he's pathetic, but I'd let him know his paintings will sell for millions and he's appreciated the world over. Hang in there my friend!

I know he'll think I'm the one who is mad and will probably shoot me instead, but I like to think I'll make a difference in an hour. I'll have to spend considerably more than an hour thinking about what I'll REALLY need to say.

Hey, that was brilliant! I love this time travel business. I've just got back! I couldn't save him but we had a good chat. I'll have another go later. Darn it, failed again. Perhaps tomorrow!

I'm going to think about who and where else I'd like to spend an hour with now. It could take quite some time before I get to my fav colour question.

Let me sneak another question in here. Where would I like to be in this next hour? Answer: You think France but no, no,'s Venice. France will be at tea-time!

Back home now. No, really...I wasn't time-travelling, I was walking across the field in real time and now I've arrived. It's quite a novelty to do it the hard way after such an exciting afternoon.

My external hard drive has arrived. Now I can get everything transferred at last which will speed up my computer.

Ash and Amber are off now to the Harry Potter premier all dressed up.

For me it's a case of dressing down, putting my feet up and relaxing...once I've corrected all my spelling mistakes...and emailed my French friend.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A true friend

A true friend never lets you down and is reliable, faithful, trustworthy and dependable. Good looks count for very little as do the advancing years. The passing of time invariably sorts out the unreliable and I have to say that I'm very fortunate to have such good friends.

One of them is in France at the moment and, oddly enough, another is waiting patiently outside for me right now. We tend to go everywhere together. We are inseparable really...especially when storm clouds gather and the rain threatens to come down and dampen our spirits. There is a genuine bond, forged over many years and it hasn't escaped my notice that he always, but always offers me protection above himself. How lucky am I to have such a friend?

I'm about to accompany him to the local garage for a long overdue oil change. It's the least I can do for my trusty old Avensis. I might even ask for the bulbs to be checked while it's improve it's failing eyesight so to speak.

The sun is shining today and life feels a good deal better than yesterday.

I caught Bev inspecting her toast this morning...very strange!

I've been invited to join another friend on facebook. I haven't seen him since 1967. His name is John Gates and no, he's not related.

I'm sure facebook is responsible for more broken friendships than what are forged...judging by the office gossip here.

Another friend sent a surprise email. Marie-Jose is French and David reminded her at church last week (in France) that we agreed to exchange emails in our native tongue to help each other learn one another's language better.

I'm pleased to have understood what she was writing.

Last night, with Eileen's help, I ordered a Concise Oxford Hachettes French dictionary from Amazon. It cost me a lot more than my last order from them (£1 +p&p) which indicates my resolve in getting to grips with the language. It also marks a major departure from habit as it's hardback. I wonder, if I tuck it under my arm as reading material, they'll let me on the plane with it without having to have it weighed? It's the only thing I'll be able to take if they don't, as Eileen reckons it weighs a ton!

Bev picked the car up after work and then came to pick me up.

There are two cases of swine flu at work today and, as everyone is bound to get it at some point, I'm hoping I'll get it quick so that I'll be over it before going to France. They believe it's only those with current health issues that need to be concerned. For everyone else it's just like normal flu.

It'll be the first time I've wanted to be ill as soon as possible and I'm psycholigically ready for it.

Bring it on! What's the worst that can happen? Mmm...right! Yes, well, let's not be too keen!

Spoke to Tom at last. He's happy to come to France with the van...if he isn't made redundant next week!

Life is never straightforward anymore, is it? He's quite positive though because he only has two years before retiring anyway.

My brother, a pensioner. I can scarce believe it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What happens next?

Tony Jeffries had his third professional fight on Friday and I missed it! Had I been there and blinked I would have missed it anyway because it was all over in less than two minutes.

When he came round for dinner on Sunday, my sister tells me he had TWO dinners and has put on 11 lb. He'll be going to Ibeza now, then some really exotic place with Sarah and Las Vegas to finish off.

Dya know what, I wouldn't mind even being the one who suffered a two minute beating if it means weeks of holidays and a blossoming bank balance! I take it back. I forgot I'm a wimp and probably wouldn't survive. Even if I did survive, it'll take weeks of hospitalisation, counselling and medication for life, afterwhich, I would have to run myself into the ground just to start the cycle all over again. You deserve every penny you get Tony.

Tom wasn't back from the barbecue when I last called at 10:15 pm. Some barbecue!

The poet John Clare was born this day in 1793 and died sometime after the battle of Gettysburg. Actually, this is a stupid statement as we ALL will die after the battle of Gettysburg and he didn't fight in it anyway.

He wrote..."If life had a second edition, how I would correct the proofs".

This is taking my thoughts at the moment as I don't start work for another half hour.

Honesty forces me to admit there will be lots of corrections in my life but it doesn't matter anyway. It's academic...we only have one bite at the cherry. Mortality is a one-off experience.

Annie Lennox sings..."I've got a life, it's the only thing I've got. I've got a life, it aint over, it aint over".

I've just got to make sure from now on that the cherry isn't a bitter gooseberry. I think that what I bite into next will be quite significant as I don't want it to bite back, or for me to have regrets.

This reminds me of what happened on Saturday morning as Bev pushed a plate of toast towards me as she munched on a half slice and was already pushing the other half in. No thanks, I politely replied...pointing to the green mould along one edge.

She promptly spat out the entire contents of her mouth and wretched in disgust. It was so funny.

Anyway, life goes on and I must ensure I don't spew out anything I take in without due care and attention.

I notice that a meeting has been scheduled this afternoon with 'Targets' as the only point on the agenda. Why do I feel a sense of anguish? Why do I predict the temperature in the room to soar?

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT is the right title for today's post. Watch this space. This is my life, it's 'live' and unfolding right before me.

I notice that Earl Haig, the painter son of General Haig of WW1 fame died last Friday.
He apparently discovered his talent for painting as a prisoner in Colditz. You could say that he found his freedom there.

As I sit in front of this computer I feel we don't have to be behind barbed wire or bars to feel imprisoned and in need of setting free.

Oh my word...who's feeling sorry for himself and doesn't want to be at work today? Can't you tell it's Monday.

The meeting came and went along with it's unrealistic targets.

Right! It's time to have a plan of action. I do not want to be here this time next year. I'm thankful for a job, but it's really time to move on soon for my own sanity.

It rained today...inside and out.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Is she in and Is he going?

Last night I tried to phone my brother Tom to arrange a visit after church. We knew that Newark will be packed with tourists and a big parade and wanted to avoid it by heading a different direction for a few hours. He didn't answer the phone but we decided to go anyway. He's almost always home on a Sunday.

I also tried to phone David and Wendy so we could drop by after church to check on a few of the wild flowers she wanted me to paint on the panels. There was no answer but we decided to drop by anyway on the way to my brother at Harston.

First stop after church...David and Wendy are out for the day in 'Matilda' (their VW retro camper).

Second stop...Tom and Lesley not in. They had just left to go to an 80th birthday barbecue.

My nephew Robert served us chilled Schloer to go with our picnic in the sun drenched garden . We chatted and ate and eventually said goodbye to Robert and headed home.

We missed the tourists and procession...and just about everything else we planned today.

We are enjoying a relaxing evening with the patio doors open and a welcome cool breeze gently blowing as we idly chat about this and that.

We noticed that Tom has a new transit van and was planning to come over this year to France. Dare we imagine he'll be able to bring anything over? There's chairs to go with the table the Flynn's bought us. Also mirrors, artwork, another rug, wardrobes, tiles, skirting boards, plants, shelving etc! etc! etc!

Yes, I know I've spelt Flinn wrong. If Eileen reads today's post, she'll smile and shouldn't take offence.

She took the gospel doctrine lesson today partly about high principled apostates who abandoned their religion through taking offence at the slightest provocation. One of them was as a result of having his name spelt wrong. Hard to believe, but true! Good lesson Eileen.

My mind is buzzing with the worldly possibilities of my brother's first visit to Bel-Air. Even if he can't bring anything, it'll be great to see him there. Out of all the family, I think it's Tom who would appreciate most about what we are doing with the place because renovation is his job.

I'll call him in an hour or so after speaking with my sister who I haven't heard from in weeks. I hope she's at home and picks up the phone!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

cette voiture marche bien

This car runs well...but it's a miracle. It seems to thrive on neglect. It hasn't had an oil change in two years and the last time I washed it was... 'Mmm, now let me think!

We've booked it in for next week because we've just realised that we can't really do without it. For it to start complaining now would be quite a disaster. It's getting the works! We're going to be nice to it and hope it'll continue to be nice to us.

Jon paid us a surprise visit last night and stayed over...he's off to buy two bicycles in Mansfield, but we had to leave him this morning as we overslept a little and had to rush out.

The car got us to Tuxford today so that we could raise funds for Children in Kenya (CHiNK).

We did really well and a lot of people turned out to support it. It was outdoors and the weather was just perfect.

You wouldn't believe the variety of things on sale. I came away with the strangest of purchases...a hinged lidded wooden boxed 12" single fat Dutch cigar that originally cost 50 French Francs. It just has to be of interest to a collector, so I'll put it on ebay to see if I can raise extra funds for the charity.

It seemed strange buying a cigar...the first I've bought in decades. It's so big I'm sure it could be floated on water with a fully grown man on top, and sail it...all the way to Holland.

We were wiped out when we eventually got back, so a little nap was just the ticket.

I finished my book 'The Children of Freedom' when I woke up. I think it lost quite a lot in the translation to English, but a very sad read nonetheless. Worth reading though.

Painted the panels for the remainder of the afternoon. Bev was in the garden.

The fruit of Bev's labour...

Thanks for today's post title Roy, but I have to say you are making me feel guilty about my lack of effort in the French language department.

ps, If 5 photographs aren't showing on yesterday's post, can someone let me know? I seem to have problems with uploading them.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I usually write here as I go along and don't acually finish and correct the post until about 6pm or later.
In future I think I'll save a draft and only post it when I've checked it...starting next week perhaps.

I really enjoyed a forage into Randi's blog and read with interest about her prayers as a 12 year old relating to the Osmonds...many, many, many years ago!

I said I'd relate an experience I had with them.

It was a bolt out of the blue. A woman rang me around 9pm inviting me to a Donny concert and asking how many tickets I'd like. A total wind-up I thought.

As the conversation unfolded I became just a little bit more convinced but not much, so she handed the phone to Donny. I have to say he doesn't ring me often, so I obviously didn't recognise his voice therefore I didn't believe him either. He handed the phone to my son whose voice I did actually recognise. He was serving a mission in the Shetland Isles with Brandon Osmond and they were now all together in Glasgow as a family for a few days...Ashley had to go with Brandon because missionaries are to stay with each other wherever they go. So here they were having a great laugh trying to convince me it wasn't a prank.

Donny was so impressed with Ash that he wanted to meet his family...which is why he called and arranged complimentary VIP tickets so he could meet us all at his forthcoming concert in Nottingham.

We had a great time at the concert. We were ushered past the waiting queues and into his dressing room where we had a good laugh for half an hour prior to the normal meet and greet.

We then weaved our way through all the backstage areas before opening a door to the main auditorium and masses of screaming girls and women.

He gave a great performance and we had a memorable night.

Here is my daughter waiting for Donny to autograph something... never having said a prayer in her life for such an experience to happen. This is for you Randi... when it eventually uploads.

I'll upload when I get home later.

Other famous people that I've been so close I could smell their aftershave or perfume...
Queen Elizabeth 11 and Prince Phillip... 1977 Jubilee in West Bridgford...I swear he winked at me as she waved. They were just two feet away in their car and our eyes met. I don't think they recognised me.

Dave Stewart (Eurythmics)...1968. We lived near each other in Sunderland and used to go to the same folk club which was a single room at the top of a pub.

Dianna Dors and her husband Alan Lake (he later committed suicide)...I sang to them in the Shepherds Restaurant in Cotgrave (Tony Wille and myself called ourselves 'Witchwood').
Aurthur Scargill was also there watching us (we got a very nice tip...unusual for Scargill).
Can't think of anyone else off the top of my head.
Martin waiting for everyone to arrive with my MIL...
He was actually being carried along here...
Bev having a hug...Juli being naughty...note where her hands are...

Serene and Sarah were also in there waiting patiently. It was so funny.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Coincidence, dreams, mice and things

Can nothing really be nothing? This is the question I was struggling with as I tried to get out of bed this morning. It was really confusing me.

I also dreamt in colour (not usual for me). The dreams were of large brightly coloured canvases loosely painted in a distinctive style. I wonder if there is a subliminal message there? Is this the direction I am to go perhaps? Dreams are funny aren't they?

My earliest dream (nightmare) was of me trying to avoid being hung on a hook like everyone else in a huge van type space. Everyone was scrubbed up clean and had their hair neatly parted and combed to the side. They were just hanging there silent and dead.
Let's hope it never becomes reality. If I can avoid the temptation of a toupee, it's not likely to now.
For the record, a toupee will never be an option!

Coincidentally, Karen and Kirsty both pulled a mouse from their bags by their long tails this morning. Not a single scream... and they didn't even jump up onto the desk for protection. They then plugged them into the back of their PC's. Yes, we've moved back upstairs, and what a pleasure it is to be back.

We are way behind with work now but I won't allow myself to be stressed.

It's no coincidence that the only time I feel calm and relaxed is when I'm calm and relaxed (don't laugh) I will make SURE I'm calm and relaxed now, even though I'm a little under pressure. I'll MAKE it happen. Positive thinking is what I'm about today. I think I'll experiment with it and see how I get on. If I'm calm and relaxed come bed time I'll be very happy.

I'm home now and feel okay really. I just said to myself, let it go, it isn't life threatening! There were no funny looks because they are used to me talking to myself.

I'm making a list of the paints I need for these panels Wendy wants me to paint. She'd like dandelion clocks, clover, cow parsley and grasses.

Checked out RB who is supposed to be having a break. Great quotes...don't know how he comes up with them.

I'm just going to finish the evening doing, thinking, writing and saying things.

I'm relaxed. I'm happy!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Page 16

We bought the Daily Mirror for MIL because she likes this newspaper.

If this is a reflection of what British society wants to read then Heaven help us.

The front page was split between a failed drug test for a second rate goalkeeper, how to obtain a free magazine, Posh and Becks and Michael Jackson's funeral.

Then you have to wade through pages of total rubbish...rumour, gossip, scantily clad society girls and special offers before reaching something newsworthy. Why do people buy this? Why did I buy it?

Page 16 made me sit up...156 dead as China takes on rioters.

The Muslim majority Uighurs in North West China are being dominated in the Capital by Han Chinese migrants who have taken over many political posts. They are using this political power to stir ethnic unrest. It's incredible to see the level of hatred and violence. Goodness knows where it's all going to end.

Why can't people just accept and respect the beliefs and traditions of others and enjoy a peaceful existence?

The worst thing is that we see the blood, anguish, distress and the injustice, yet we are powerless to do anything. All this carnage and suffering is often in our living rooms via the TV...then we pop into the kitchen for a snack, powder our noses or nip off to a dance or the pictures or some other peaceful happy activity and leave them to get on with it.

What are we to do? What CAN we do?

Such news makes me feel uneasy about how easily detached we can be.

On the work front, we are on the move again...back upstairs (now that Wmbledon has finished).
The work is still very demanding but at least we'll be back at our normal desks and familiar surroundings.

Last night I cleared my studio to accommodate the 6' panels I have to paint in the next two weeks, whileBev made a start with taking the wallpaper off the front bedroom walls. I gave her a hand for the last section.

Nearly finished the book I'm reading. I treasure reading in's a real luxury.

We are both back home now and ready to make a stir fry. Then it's tackling some more decorating.

I've just corrected my spelling mistakes in this post while Bev talks with her Mum.

I just thought of a line or two from a Dylan song...'If I had wings and I could fly, I know where I would go. I'd sit here on this bank of sand and watch the river flow'.

If I had wings and I could fly, I know where I would go...if I thought it would make a difference. But I don't think it will and besides which I can't speak Chinese. I'll just have to be discontented with being a pathetic page 16 passive observer and sympathiser.

So annoying!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

It's curtains!

It's not that I'm in the dog house after yesterday, but I suspect it's 'curtains' for me.

In fact, I'm certain!

What a difference it makes when you block the light out of the bedroom. Blinds on their own just don't cut it. I'm converted. I had a great night's sleep.

It's also curtains for Roxanne's friend by the sounds of it. It's amazing how life styles change from individual to individual. Some lives are filled with such violence on a regular basis. It's almost's only a football game!

Actually, she is also talking about her brother who ended up with a shattered cheekbone during a fight.

Thank goodness I'm a wimp and don't feel the need to prove myself physically.

As a youngster I grew up amongst gang warfare. It was terrible but we just got used to it. It was the way it was. It was normal.

I'll always remember one man being set on by a group with 'knuckle dusters'. It wasn't a pretty sight and I felt so sorry for him. Because I was young, I knew I was safe...such things only ever happened to adults or 'big boys'. It never ocurred to me that one day I'll be a 'big boy'.

Fortunately, I've only ever been beaten up once. Back in the good old days they knew when to stop...otherwise it would have been 'curtains' for me.

Today is different. Even defenceless innocent and gentle old men and women are being targeted.

If I'm good, perhaps Bev will have pity on me today!

I wonder what ouch! is in French?

After work I was drenched walking home, so I decided to drive back to pick Bev up (she works till 4:30 now). My star is rising...especially when it started throwing it down again.

I notice that the curtain finally closed for Michael Jackson today. In forty minutes the whole thing will be televised.

I was saddened to hear of the death of Karl Malden on July 1st. He was 97 years old and I still imagine him in his fifties.

I was even more surprised to find out that Patrick McGoohan had died in January. Where on earth have I been? Even prisoners get the latest news, so how come this one missed me?
I checked it out online and sure enough, he's definitely gone.

I had a look at the Times Obituaries Online to get up to date. There are a few good books there...take note family as it'll soon be Christmas and I have sufficient aftershave.

The three I like the look of are...Obituaries in Depth, Great Victorian Lives and Great Lives (20th Century).

As I'm a reasonable man, I'll post suggestions over the coming months.

You'll have to pass them on Juli as you are the only family member to read my blog.

If they are more than the £10 I like you to spend on me, you can possibly club together.

If I get another pair of socks, it'll be curtains for you! Not you Juli, but anyone with socks in mind. So yes, it could be you too.

Monday, July 06, 2009

les fusibles ont grillé

The fuses have blown.

Bev and I are not in the best of moods so let's hope we don't blow any fuses. Work is particularly stressful for me at the moment and Bev has been told her hours at work have to increase.

I woke to see the trailer in our drive. Mike was going to drop it off tonight. Never mind, it's best to have it early. Hopefully I'll have picked up the tiles in time for him to take it back with him.

I managed to pick the 108 pantiles up and also another 50 old bricks to match the ones I've got already. David Cuthbert directed me to the skip just around the corner from him. They had renovated the house and had no need ot them so there I was, happy to take them off their hands.

On the way back I witnessed another perfect double rainbow. It was absolutely fantastic.

No sign of Michael, but at least it's ready for him.

I was going to surprise David and turn up in France next week, but the price of the flight suddenly shot up. I've still booked a week off and will build the front wall instead. That'll be another job finished...or well on the way!

Just wished Juli a happy birthday. She's so tired after her trip to ikea that she's going to to bed early without doing anything special. I never thought I'd see the day.

I've advised she do something simple that she's never done before. It's people of my age that need the early nights.

Off to bed now (only joking). Going to help Bev do some work in the front bedroom...curtain rail or something!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Wimbledon Final 2009

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep and cows.
-WH Davies

That's exactly what we were doing fifteen minutes ago.

After two weeks of Wimbledon without a drop of rain...including a record-breaking final, we nip out for a walk and get caught in a downpour.

We scurried to the nearest cover and stood under an oak tree and stared into the sky to guess when it would pass. I don't know if sheep or cows actually talk to each other, but we did.

I once saw a sheep standing under a horse for shelter. They seemed to get on well but I bet not two words were spoken between them. It was no fluke. We passed them often. They were genuine buddies. Soul mates to the end.

Hard luck Roddick. It was a tremendous effort and you should have won it. I think you increased your fan you do each time we see you play.

Well, there goes another day...a historic one in terms of tennis and a unique one personally.

Philip Larkin the poet once said that days are where we live and they are to be happy in. I've lived in this day...the 5th July 2009, and I'm happy.

I wonder what happened in 1909, 1809, 1709 and 1609? They probably went to church, and had a long nap afterwards, but I bet they never followed it with a quiche salad and watched a Wimbledon final on TV! I'm now about to have a Mars bar...get in there! Isn't life good when we can have a treat now and then?

Juli is on the phone speaking to Bev. Gonna make a few phone calls myself if she ever gets off the phone (could be hours). It's good to talk I suppose!

A rare photo of me at the activity yesterday...

Maggie and Naomi making the ice-cream pots...David and Wendy's extension. Just look at the length of where the folding glass doors are going...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pot luck

Okay, it's a lovely day and I've spent too much time looking at blog templates. The one I like best doesn't seem to function very well so I'll give up for now and perhaps try later.

I'm getting everything together for David to take to France then I'm off to Bridgford to work on Wanda's path. What happens after that is anyone's guess. I didn't want to have too many things planned.

It's Saturday!! Yippee!!

Dropped in on a bit of a party...recreating a village fete... so we played some games and chilled for a few hours. Actually, chilled isn't the word as we sizzled in the sun.
I took a shine to 'Splat the Rat' and 'Limbo Dancing'. It was all good clean fun and the rat didn't feel a thing! The ice cream was delicious (thanks Naomi and Maggie). It was good to see the family there too.

While we were there Serene called to say she passed her exams. Not quite sure if that makes her a lawyer or solicitor, but I'm really very pleased for her...five years is a long time studying and she was worried that she got a few case studies mixed up in trying to answer one of the questions.

Called by to see Wanda and cut the slabs. She was up to her neck in gardening and welcomed a sit on the garden swing for a chat with Bev. Afterwards, we dropped back at David's with the grinder and the other things heading for France. He's all ready and raring to go!

Our last stop on our way home was to David and Wendy to see the progress on their extension. It looks fantastic and it's not even finished. Wendy has commisioned me to paint two 6' panels so we loaded them into the car and made our way home after a tour and drinks.

I'm absolutely burnt to a frazzle and very tired. The heat has sapped all my energy.

Pics to upload but not tonight. I'm too tired to even think. Want my!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Friday is special

We invited David and Eileen over for a meal last night.

Venison steaks were on the menu which incidentally weren't dear (deer!) Oh deer (dear!) thanks to the cull on the Estate of Belton House earlier in the year and the generosity of someone we know who works there.

We were all tired as its been a heavy week, but we still enjoyed the evening and it was nice to have them around. David is off to France at the weekend so we also firmed up some plans on what we'd like to achieve before the end of the year.

We washed all the pots so as not to wake up to them. I was surprised at how quickly it was all back to normal. I still had time to read a few pages of my book which is taking my interest at last.

The thunder storms didn't arrive through the night as expected so Bev was out this morning with the hose on. She also moved the furniture around in the living room (don't ask!)

Today is Semi-Final day at Wimbledon and I'm stuck here at work. I feel like I'm missing out. It isn't fair! They are showing it on the big screen...upstairs! I was moved downstairs last week. I'm also out this evening so I won't even catch the highlights. I'm left with the impression that I'm not supposed to have any treats today. All work and no play. Everyone else can enjoy themselves, but not me. Yes, I'm sulking!

At least I can take comfort in the fact that it's Friday. It's always nice to have the weekend ahead of you.

Came across this and loved it...

Dear Mr. Darling, Please find below my suggestion for fixing Britain 's economy.
Instead of giving billions of pounds to banks that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:

There are about 20 million people over the age of 50 in the work place. - Pay them £1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Twenty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.
2) They MUST buy a new British CAR. Twenty million cars ordered - Auto Industry fixed.
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis fixed.
4) They must send their kids to school / college /university - Crime rate fixed

It can't get any easier than that! P.S.. If more money is needed, have all members of parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances.

NOW THAT'S BETTER... someone that I don't particularly get on with has put the tennis on the pc just behind me so I can keep in touch with developments. Now why didn't I think of that? He's not a bad chap really!

Work eventually came to an end and I arrived home in time to see the best of the tennis. I had to abandon plans to go out. What else could I do?

It was a thriller. Well done Murray for giving your all. Well done Roddick for winning. I had a sneaking feeling last week that his serve would see him through...and it did! He's a great player and I really like him as a person. He deserved his victory.

He gets my support to lift the trophy.

All is not lost. I understand there will still be British representation on centre court during the final...the net!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Just thoughts

That large grinder is a brute! The kick on it always surprises me. I've just got the slabs to cut for Wanda on Saturday and it can go with David to France...forever! I'm pleased that I ticked off a few more jobs last night. It was worth the effort.

The last person I spoke with last night other than Bev was Juli who is still hankering over one of my paintings shown on a recent post. The best things come to those who wait Juli, and you'll be waiting a while yet. Those paintings are hanging on someone's wall somewhere in the world.

I wish I could track them like Robert can track his quotes.

I woke to a bright blue sky and lay there listening to the sounds outside. There are birds chirping, cars passing and the sound of a train.

I remember as a youngster laying and listening to the sounds of ships being built and the clink of bottles of milk being delivered. I'll never hear those again.

As a teenager I remember laying and listening to the cries of foxes and the faint sound of a train in the far distance while at schoool in Gatton.

I've woken up to the sound of babies screaming, dogs barking, chickens clucking, mice scratching, workmen drilling, birds singing, postmen knocking, letters dropping, cats screeching, music playing, people laughing, crying, shouting, giggling and sighing... and a few times to the sound of cars crashing.

What a blessing it is to hear.

As I thought about these things, I concluded that everyone who is up is going, doctor, hospital, toilet, kitchen, visiting, walking, shooting, garden, solicitors, prison, to find, to prepare, to look after, to finish. For me, it was to sit here and type my thoughts before they are lost in the hubbub of life. Karen reckons there's no such word as hubbub!

What a blessing it is to be going somewhere and doing something.

It's been such a busy daythat I was unable to finish this posting. I guess that's how it is sometimes.

A good day all in all.

Tired and more than ready for bed.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Think good!

It was too warm last night. The windows were open to entice a breeze but to no avail.

However, something delightful wafted through. No, it wasn't those nasty little mosquitoes...can't call them delightful. It was the sound of solo, duet and quartet singing accompanied by a variety of instruments from the garden of the house at the back of us. It was like a breath of fresh air lasting up to 11:00pm.

I do believe there is nothing finer than live music performed amongst a small gathering. It reminded me so much of my student days when we used to visit each other's flats with our guitars. What a life that was.

My thoughts drifted to one time when Bev was heavily pregnant with Juli. After college we travelled with the class on a rickety old bus to Wales to watch John Webster's play...The Duchess of Malfi.

Although we didn't get back until the early hours, the memory of a live performance...even though only a little music was played, is something that is treasured. It's special, unique and personal.

The last time we saw a live performance was to see 'A Show of Hands'...the best acoustic group you could ever wish to see. We wanted so much for David and Eileen to have come. They would have loved it.

Anyway, a line or two from Webster's play came to mind yesterday as it relates to work.

'If by chance some curse'd example poised near the head, death and destruction through the whole land spread'. I know it's a bit unkind...but that's how I felt. Today I feel a lot better. Things are rarely as bad as you first think.

It must have been a negative experience altogether yesterday because another line came to mind from the play as I identified an individual that fits it like a glove. I swear it's the first time I've tied someone to the line, although if I think about it now, there are a few that come to mind.

The Duchess, speaking to Bosola says..."Thou dost blanch mischief; Wouldst make it white. See, see; like a calm weather at sea before a tempest, false hearts speak fair to those they intend most mischief".

Well, that's ******* to a tee!

On a positive note, she has some very good points which probably outweigh the bad. Who am I to judge anyway?

As Bev watered the veg and plants this morning, everything seemed just...if I could spell the word idylic, it would be the word I'd choose, but it doesn't look right. Life is so good. If I could just steer clear of being negative, I'm sure I'll reap the benefits.

Okay, the challenge for today is only to think good of everyone I come into contact with.

Hopefully ****** will be off sick today. Oops, sorry! Okay, starting NOW!

There you go. It wasn't so bad. My working day has come to an end and I've been positive throughout. I was surprised at the heat which hit me on leaving the building. It surely has to be the hottest day of the year.

Another surprise came when I learned Murray had already played and won. He's now in the semi-final.

I love the fact the GB are still in it. I can appreciate the passion Murray displays most of the time and he's done fantastically well to become number 3 in the world. He isn't my favouite player however. Roddick, Nadal and Hewitt are all better to watch...especially Nadal who has a great presence and temperament.

When all is said and done though, I have to back Murray playing against any of them, regardless of his bad temper and impatience...not that I'm criticising him you understand.

It looks like Roddick and Murray in the next round (not finished yet).

I'm off into the garden to trim the ivy and cut the grass. Perhaps I'll have time to cut a flagstone for the patio, then it's reading a few blogs, sorting out the menu for tomorrow (I'm cooking), and reading a chapter or two of 'The Children of Freedom' which is losing its battle to keep my interest.

I can't believe it hasn't rained during Wimbledon yet.

I'd like to end today's post by wishing Florrie all the best. Florrie Asher is the only 90 year old in the world that I have the privilege of knowing. Her birthday is today and I hope she had a memorable time.

I can honestly say that my thoughts towards her have been nothing but good all the years I've known her. Not one single negative thought. It's got to be a first, but that's really down to the kind of person she is.