Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thank you

Thanks for registering a vote for the RA selection either in person or on the blog. I'm compelled to say you all have excellent taste :)

The results are...
No.1 = 12 votes.
No.2 = 11 votes.
No.3 = 2 votes
No.4 = 11 votes.
No.5 = 3 votes.

2+4 tie so my casting vote goes to No.4...mainly because I have a frame for it and I don't have two large frames (1+2 are large).  so it's 1 and 4 that get to go. I just hope one of them is selected after all this trouble. Thank you so much.

Other good news today...
My son has got tickets for us to see the FA Cup Semi-Final between Aston Villa and Chelsea and Bev's sister in law has got tickets for the whole family to go to Belton House on Friday. With a good day hoped for in London tomorrow, I feel pretty lucky.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Feeling very fortunate

I forgot to mention what happened on Saturday. See if you can pick out the unusual one...

  • I sat in the lovely sunshine and read my book for an hour.
  • Bev enjoyed sorting the garden out.
  • Lots of rubbish to the tip.
  • Wax removed from frames (needed two more coats of paint).
  • 2nd coat of varnish on paintings.
  • Bev backed the car into the brick entrance pillar...the one I've just built.
  • Enjoyed an evening out.
Yes, you've got it...I had to remove all that wax polish and start again...just as Bev rushed past in tears. I have to say it was quite a relief to see the pillar still standing. It's just cracked a little. The car is easier to fix. Accidents will happen and I'm glad Bev soon began to feel okay about it.

Yesterday we took full advantage of the day of rest. Studied the mechanics of repentance at church in the morning and totally chilled in the afternoon. In the evening we walked, talked and made plans.

Today I found out that Tracey J has had lung cancer confirmed. Last year her only concern was the ill health of her husband who is now fine by all accounts. Dot also has been unable to contain the spread of cancer. Jo ended up in hospital last week and Karen informs us that she has clots on her lungs. Florrie now needs 24 hour care and will move into a rather plush looking establishment this week I believe. Me, well I'm 100% fit...at the moment. You never can tell what tomorrow will bring though. If I eventually end up in a place like Florrie, I might just change my plans to windsurf the English Channel aged 89.

Feeling very fortunate.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Can you help me to choose two for the RA selection committee?

Okay, here we are. I have quite a few paintings but have decided to include just five. Out of the five, three have to be discarded...but which three?

I think these have been on my blog before but in an unfinished state and to be honest, the others are either not quite finished or not as good as these.

I've reworked this entire painting...trees, tables, foreground, removed lettering, putting two people back in (romance), the background less white...the whole thing much looser and a lot warmer and sun-kissed.

Completely re-painted the background of this 30"x24" to be indistinct...also the boats and foreground.

I sold the original 15"x15"of this one but decided to paint another but just the boat and a different size. I got the idea when I cropped it to use as my blog banner. This one is a lot bigger at 24"x18". It's a bit dull here. The colours are more vibrant in the flesh so to speak.

I've done a lot of work with this one to make the figures noticeable but very loose. I love the lack of detail.
I've re-worked this 24"x24", the foreground, people and other bits...

The other paintings will appear here each week as I finish them to satisfaction.

Thanks for your help!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Almost there

Painting bare-faced frames...top coat. I started to varnish the paintings and considered the safest and flattest place to let them dry. MIL had just gone to town and wouldn't be back for hours. Bev was at work and wasn't due home till evening so the best place appeared to be the hallway floor next to the front door.

I didn't reckon on the free newspaper delivery boy shoving his load through the letterbox and landing right on top of one. You've got to laugh!.

Apart from this little mishap, I've had a good day really. Although I've finished the paintings to consider for the RA selection committee, I carried on with the others and made reasonable progress.

Tomorrow I think I'll post the selection to get the views of anyone dropping by. It will be interesting to see if we have the same view on which two should go.

I'm quite excited about taking them to London on Wednesday.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just the ticket!

"Be careful, they are red hot in Newark!"
These were Bev's last words as I dropped her off at work. It was my good deed of the day because of the rain. She was referring to our lovely traffic wardens.

I had been put in a position of trust and I had my list ready...£200 into our bank account. Transfer the cost of the painting frames from my personal account to our joint account. Have my glasses fitted. Be at the doctor's surgery by 10:20. Pick the frames up from Hills. Varnish paintings. Prime and paint the frames. Do not get a parking ticket.

Outside Hills (no parking between 8:00-6:00) I parked as soon as they opened and rushed in taking care to look up and down the street for an orange jacket. It was deserted. I put a sign on the windscreen to say I'm picking frames up and left my hazard lights on. No problem I thought.

I was the first customer and within a minute I was bundling the frames into the back of the car. I nipped back in and was handed my receipt and card. When I left the shop I glanced to my right and spotted the female warden suddenly picking up speed not twenty feet away. I ran round the car and jumped in, started the car, indicated and pulled off in one swift move. I left her standing, ruddy faced and out of breath. I reckon she could see my smile in the rear-view mirror as I sped off.

My next stop was the banks, so I headed for Morrison's Car Park. As I approached, I realised I didn't have a pound for the ticket machine so I quickly pulled into a 30 minute parking area and ran up the hill to the town.

Can you recall how stupid you feel when you push the door open only to realise the place is closed and you only succeed in breaking your wrist...or your nose on the glass? It was worse for me because there were two people waiting for it to open. "They don't open until half-past". "Oh, right", I said.

This meant that I would only have 15 minutes to visit two banks and run down the hill to the car.

To pass the next 10 minutes or so, I took a stroll around the corner and saw the very same warden taking photos of a car and slapping a ticket on the windscreen. She looked happy and I swear there was a glint of recognition in her beady little eye. I decided to call her Bertha...in my mind.

I was about 7 minutes late as I raced down the hill just as a traffic warden was coming in the opposite direction...it was Bertha! "I don't believe it", I thought, as we passed and exchanged glances. The words came back to me..."Be careful, they are red hot in Newark!" Bev will kill me!

Imagine my surprise when I reached the car to find no ticket.

Next stop was the opticians, so I parked in another 30 minute parking space and ran for five minutes into the opticians to have my glasses fitted. She was very polite considering how horrible I was to her last week. I began to panic at how long she was taking to get the frames right but decided against being the grumpy old man again.

I was late by the time I reached the car and guess what? Bertha was nowhere in sight. No ticket.

Next stop was the doctor and yet another 30 minute parking space. I walked into the surgery bang on time...and spent the next twenty minutes looking at the clock in the waiting area and seeing everyone being called but me. I felt sure that Bertha would be approaching my car soon and would get me this time.

No ticket!

Life is good.

Oh, the doctor's appointment was to have my ears syringed. I can hear everything now...it's incredible!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Surprise, surprise!

Kirsty set me the challenge of not eating any lollipops, crisps, chocolate, chewing-gum or anything else not good for me today. She doesn't think I have any willpower. This morning she immediately pounced and I had to get rid of the crisps (I hardly eat them anyway) and the cheesecake that I was really looking forward to. Everything else was very healthy, although I didn't tell her that the chicken was doused in mayo.

Anyway, I mention this only to register my crushing victory over what she thought was too difficult for me.

When she left at 4:30 pm I cast an eye over the lollipop deliberately left within sight. Kirsty can be very sneaky. I bet she can't wait to see it gone tomorrow. I only hope a cleaner doesn't polish it off.

Before I finished work, Hills phoned me to say the frames for my paintings were ready and I immediately phoned Bev to see if she could pick them up for me. She wasn't answering the phone. I tried twice more before giving up on the idea.

Bev rang some time later after finishing work late and I asked her if she'd be able to pick the frames up. "I'm on my way right now", she said. "They rang earlier and I was going to surprise you when you got home". She was disappointed that they had phoned both of us because she really was looking forward to surprising me.

I arrived home but was surprised not to see them on the back seat of the car or in the hallway. "Were they not ready after all?" I asked. "Oh yes, they're on the coffee table". "Isn't it fantastic how quick they were", said I, whilst also thinking how strange to put them on the coffee table. I poked my head round the door in anticipation. Nothing! "What do you mean by quick, they've been weeks?" Bev shouted from the kitchen. "Weeks...it's only been a few days". Then I saw them. Bev had picked the frames up but not for my paintings...they were for my eyes!

We both laughed because she had surprised me after all.  In fact, we surprised each other!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

That's telling me!

Okay, I forgot that I can't put everything I feel here on my blog. It may be my journal but I still have to be selective to a degree. I tend to forget that other people read it.

I'm in real trouble from my family for being so grumpy, caustic and ungracious of late. They are right of course. The thing is that's how I feel at times. Thankfully it isn't very often and generally only is manifested when I feel I'm being taken advantage of. I don't bear grudges and quickly forgive and forget. Really!

So here I am...at peace with the world once again. I'm taking my medication and promise to be good.  I've even moderated my last two posts...make that four and a few beyond! Dear me, was I that ungracious?


Monday, March 22, 2010


I got my quote for framing.
Pete quoted £230 for two. Hills of Newark quoted £129 for THREE! Identical moulding from the same supplier. Makes me want to spit! It's a close call. I think I'll have to give it more thought ;)

Perhaps he thought I charged too much when I sold him the business ten years ago. If you read my blog Pete...I thought long and hard but, well, you know...what can I say? Your  prices do surprise me. Nothing personal you understand.

I came across this photo tonight which made me smile as well as sad. The head-gear was a present from Zany Janey just before the cancer returned. We were going to do a couple of songs together.

I intended to sit a while and play to her. Should of, could of but in the end didn't and I regret it. What I will do though is sit on that nice bench underneath the blossom tree where she is one balmy evening this summer and sing a few.

I think she'd like that.

But then again...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A piece of my mind

Last night we went to a birthday / retirement party on a Norwegian Trawler and I didn't get to bed until gone midnight. I'm feeling bleary-eyed but I think it was worth it.

To see Bev so radiant and bubbly was a sight to see. She looked so happy and beautiful.

Today we were talking about miracles at church (the creation) and it brought to mind a miracle I witnessed recently. You may not think it a miracle, but I do.

Sunderland is about 200 miles away but we were able to be there and here in Newark at the same time to see her blow her candles out and sing 'Happy Birthday'. We also were able to watch the family have a home-made Bobsleigh run. You just have to see the video on the Poulton Family blog (blogs I follow) under the post 'Bobsleigh'. It's hilarious.

Aren't these modern-day miracles?

Edith Piaf
I've been reading a book about Edith Piaf while I was waiting for a book to arrive from America. It arrived yesterday and I immediately put Piaf down.

I'll always consider her one of the greatest singers to have lived. I don't have to know what the words mean to feel the passion and conviction in her voice. She makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end and can make me cry by the way she sings a song.

On the other hand, she appears on the surface to be everything I dislike in a person... questionable morals. Possibly a home breaker, thief and liar. She appears to have little control over her emotions. She's often selfish, weak, arrogant, vindictive, inconsiderate, greedy and petty.

It has been said that you can take a person out of the slums, but you can't take the slums out of a person. Perhaps it's going too far to apply this to Edith, but the thought did pass my mind.

I've only read a few chapters, so I'll finish the book at some point so as not to be guilty of only getting half the picture, but for now I'll be reading this...bought for 99p (cheap but extremely powerful).

For this reason...

We share the same family line in Hannah Middleton Hawkey and Jana has researched and tells the story so well of her great-great grandmothers.

The book is a tremendous insight into courage, faith and sacrifice and she is herself searching for the same faith and inner peace that her great-great grandmothers possessed...on the back of a motorbike. She left the Mormon church as a teenager and has some very interesting things to say. My heart goes out to her as she struggles with all kinds of emotions.

Within the first chapter she has this to say of Hannah...when Hannah Middleton Hawkey heard the screams of her three-and five-year-old daughters, who were propped on top of their belongings, she dropped the shafts of the hand-cart she pulled and made her way to the rear where her fourteen-year-old stepson, James, had stopped pushing and had dropped facedown in the knee-deep snow. She reached down to help him up. Having stooped for this purpose so many times, she was barely aware of her actions. But this time she knew immediately when she wrapped her hand around his shrunken arm that he had at last yielded to hunger, to cold, to pure exhaustion.

Hannah buried James beneath the snow in a grave marked only with the ephemeral prints of her devoted hands, near the icy North Platte River in Wyoming.

Forty-three days later, on November the 30th, 1856, after having walked more than twelve hundred miles, she was brought out of the mountains into the Salt Lake Valley in the back of a rescue wagon sent by Brigham Young, toes burst open from the cold, her two young daughters clinging with frozen fingers to what was left of her tattered skirts.

Hannah would remain bedridden for several months; her damaged feet would not carry her another step until the following spring.

As a result of the post I did on Hannah (see archives 24th June 2009) the descendants of the two little girls have made contact with me.

On a personal note...
I embraced the 'Mormon' faith as a 23 year old rebel thinking I was the only one to do so in my family.  I'm now aged 58 and would leave the faith tomorrow if I had doubts about the doctrine or its authenticity. I have no such doubt. I'm far from perfect but I know the direction I face and want to go.

I have friends who share different beliefs and I get on well with all types and persuasions. I think the world is big enough for us all. If someone asks about my beliefs, it's because they see I'm living them and can give an honest response without pushing. Don't ever believe Mormons to be pushy...missionaries may appear so, but show me a missionary that isn't over-zealous at times.

The faith I enjoy has like-minded individuals in abundance who are down to earth, talented, funny, humble, faithful, honest, mostly hard working, ever-searching people quietly living their lives. They are people you can trust with your life. They've stood the test of time. That isn't to say that other faiths are bereft of such people and truth, but I've yet to find answers to satisfy all the questions I had and still have, outside where I go every Sunday.

There, I've said my bit...it's not so bad, is it?

I'm now looking forward to reading lots more about my Great Great Aunt...the book is barely started and already I'm fighting back the tears. They are my kind of people and I'm proud to have them as family.

Note to the author...put the North Platte River in Wyoming on your bucket list.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Frames sorted?

What an omen...a parking space right next to the ticket machine. We've never managed to be so lucky.

My fixed smile turned to something else at the sight of  the 'Out of order' sign. No, I won't let it affect me.

Five minutes later I passed the opticians with a grunt as Bev dragged me quickly past the place to nullify the temptation to inflict harm(just kidding). Perhaps the ticket machine did affect me after all. Am I really in the mood to be in town today?

I phoned Pete to see what the quote would be for identical mouldings to Hills of Newark. I hadn't told him that they quoted £65 for the largest painting. He quoted £230 for two. I now had to dash home and pick up the paintings and return to Hills before they closed. Today could yet be a disaster.

We had a hearty breakfast back home and I phoned Pete to say I wouldn't be using his services.

I left three paintings with Hills, bought some paints and brushes, had passport photos taken and returned home. They promised a quote for the lot by the end of the day which I predict should be in the region of £180. That makes it one painting more and considerably cheaper than Pete's quote. I decided to have the third painting with a frame ready in case I spoiled one in the run-up.

Sorted! I feel so much better now. I can relax.

As it happens, I didn't relax at all. Sunderland had a must-win game which would virtually seal their position in football's elite league. After 11 minutes we were 2-0 up, but with 20 minutes to go, the score was 2-1 and we were under the cosh. Final score Sunderland 3 Birmingham 1.

Reality check!! Am I being just a bit too worldly here? There are people struggling with the economic down-turn and losing jobs and here I am getting worried about a football result. I also have close friends struggling with cancer and barely hanging onto life.

I can't fathom it really.

Friday, March 19, 2010

New glasses

I'd just carted half a dozen paintings from the car park and decided to stop off at the opticians to pick up my new glasses. The overpriced trendy pair the lens of which come from Germany were still in Germany. So, the quoted two week delivery is stretching to four (I decided to use the word stretch because that's how my arms felt after carrying the paintings). My arms were aching, I was tired and this woman was treating me as if I should be understanding, patient and considerate and all the good things I generally am...but not today.

As I left, I felt a little guilty for making her feel like I'm just a grumpy old so-and-so.

My thoughts were on Molly P's post about the pink National Health glasses she  (and I) used to wear.  My arms were aching then too as my mother dragged me to the optician for my first pair. Since then, glassed have been a source of embarrassment and shame. All my life I've been trying to find the dozy beggar who chose pink for boys as well as girls. I thought I'd found that person in the shop I'd just left...perhaps it was a case of mistaken identity due to short sightedness. I might apologise when I go back, although I doubt it.

The samples Pete ordered for me are not suitable, which is why I'm trying again with the local framer. I settled on a moulding from a catalogue and asked for a quote. Fifteen minutes later she came back and could tell by my fixed stare that I wasn't best pleased. To top it all, she'd made a mistake and needed to go back and work it out again. Stop! Here's my number. Call me! And I walked out taking particular care not to slam the door in my wake. I love it when I'm in control of my emotions but it doesn't always work...as was the case in the opticians.

I'm not enjoying today! I thought the words but almost verbalised them as if to give emphasis.

I found myself passing Trent Galleries on the way back to the car park...that posh place I'd recently been in. Why not go for a hat-rick, I thought as I breezed through the open door and brightly re-introduced myself.

I asked for his opinion on my work and his personal choice for the best two to frame for the RA. With paintings propped all over the gallery, we spent the next half hour discussing it. He likes my work and wants to have some in his gallery.

It was Steven Covey (probably spelt wrong) who said something like...we view the world through our own  life experiences. As I left the gallery I viewed the world from a glorious new pair of specs. The world is truly wonderful again and there was a spring in my step as I passed the opticians on the way to the car park. I didn't even notice the weight of the paintings or care about the fact that I hadn't sorted any frames out. They'll be sorted somehow.

I painted for the balance of the day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I've been painting all day and now I'm off to see the sample mouldings Pete has got for me.

It's also our welfare meeting tonight. Once a month about seven or eight of us get together to see who is in need of help. It could be immediate help with food or finances, or it could be a helping hand to move or weed the garden. It might even be advice or a friendly chat. Whether it's social, emotional or spiritual help, we are there to provide it with the resources we have available. We usually have feedback from others who have their ears to the ground so to speak and before you think we use our own money, it isn't so.  It's church funds and members resources that we use.

When I have a selfish sort of week, a meeting like this is just what I need to redress the balance.

My eyes are so tired and I feel like its late. Hopefully the fresh air will revive me and I'll be of some good to somebody.

Probably won't be back until late so this is the one and only post for today.

Getting excited about the paintings being framed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Freedom of thought

I started the day with Weetabix and a wind-surfing DVD featuring Peter Hart. I still fancy being the oldest fool to windsurf the English Channel. Can you imagine me doing this...
Surprisingly enough, I have done the manoeuvre  once before. It was involuntary though and I was just hanging on for dear life. I'm so looking forward to getting out this summer to blow away the cobwebs.

Anyway, back to mundane things like work.  I was in a buoyant mood and feeling happy for some reason.

The day was full of surprises and weird thoughts. One such thought was why I always fold my arms with my right hand gripping my left arm, and my left hand tucking in. I tried it the other way and it was just wrong. I looked a fool trying to do it the opposite way and my arms were confused at what to do.

Elbows were another fascination. Try drinking from a cup without bending them. Did you know that your hand can't touch the elbow of the arm it's attached to? It's obvious that you can't yet I was stupid enough to try anyway.

I'm eating too may lollipops at work apparently, and it's beginning to show. I didn't notice it myself. It was pointed out to me. I hate having my attention brought to things like that...especially by women. I'm turning into a lollipop man by all accounts. I'll show 'em!

The big surprise of the day was Sky Sports Dave from our team handing in his notice. He'll be leaving in a couple of weeks. I think I'll miss his quirky abrasive ways.

The day was peppered with thoughts about people in old B&W photos and wondering what they did immediately after the photograph was taken, along with a string of other thoughts that kept popping into my head.

As it was St George's Day (no it isn't you plonker...it's St Patrick's Day), I also dreamed of the possibility of owning a 12' rusty metal dragon.  Yes, I'd love one hanging off the roof and threatening anyone trying to get through the front door. I've wanted one for years and should really put it on my list of things not to forget as my memory fades.

I did do some work today incidentally.

Almost forgot...I didn't post yesterday because we were very late back home. As much as I wanted to write up my journal, the lure of a comfy bed won the day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Say what you mean, but only if it's nice.

As normal a Monday morning as you can possibly get. I'm sure there are people who love it, but I'm not generally one of them.

The work place was far too hot after the fresh walk, although just about everyone else felt cold. They were colder still as we filed out of the building to the sound of the fire alarm. Half an hour we were stood outside. Young Scott was freezing in his T-shirt but I felt comfy with my scarf and coat. I saw no reason to share and in truth felt no real concern for his obvious discomfort. There's not much empathy on Monday mornings. It's a hard life for those who don't think ahead.

So, on the first day after the Sabbath, I failed miserably to display Christian ethic. Mmm, must do better before the day ends.

Actually, I felt rather sad that Beckham has been ruled out of the World Cup through injury. He's worked so hard over the past few years just for it all to vanish in the run-in.

Mon fils gave me a lift home and I've since spent the entire evening studying French.

Trying hard to think what I've done to help anyone today.
Trying hard to think of anything nice that I've said about anyone today.
It hasn't been a bad day really, it's just that I've been really selfish.

As it's my last opportunity, I think I'll say how nice Bev looks tonight. Do I mean it?


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Are you listening Mother?

Just yesterday a young mother rescued her daughter from a tyrant trying to sell her baby at a table-top sale...
I tried to get the best price but she was determined to hang on to her priceless baby. Shame on her granddad for the way he looked after his granddaughter while her parents checked the sale out.

Isn't she gorgeous?

I enjoyed reading about some great Biblical mothers today. I also enjoyed having the family around to honour their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

I thought of my own mother who struggled to bring me up and who, on many occasions, protected me by staying the hand of my violent father who was intent on hurting me. I fear that I didn't thank her enough. If I had my time again it wouldn't be said quietly and rushed with the possibility of it not having being heard. I'd make certain she heard me.

Women are pretty special.

If anyone reading this has a special person in their life, tell them so... loud and clear!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I'm sitting in the sun-splattered dining room ready to start the day. I have a feeling we have planned more things than we can cope with really.

It's already the end of the day, so in as few words as possible because I feel faint after another hot bath...
  • Tuxford (CHinK) table-top sale to raise money for the orphanage in Kenya. Raised £1,313.76 and still counting.
  • Lincoln for a carnival type atmosphere and French market.
  • Choose a phone for Bev. 
  • Lincoln to Newark to help Nikki while people viewed their house (Robin is skiing with our sons and his dad in Scotland). 
  • Washed the car for the first time this year. 
  • Dashed off to Ruddington to order bare wood mouldings and slip for my paintings. 
  • Enjoyed the biggest fire in the back garden and got rid of tons of rubbish and tree pruning.
  • Long soak in hot bath.
  • Relax.
The CD is now unstuck and everything is working in the car.

If the rest of my life goes as quickly as today, I'm in big trouble.

Friday, March 12, 2010

RA selection is getting close.

Well, I'm here at last!

Last night I couldn't post because it was late when we got back from Bridgford.

I should really have been in the studio today but thought it best to select and take a few paintings for  framing even though they aren't quite finished. The Royal Academy delivery date is on the 31st which is getting frighteningly close.

I used to own the shop I took the paintings to and it was quite strange to be on the customer side of the counter. Alas, he didn't have anything suitable in stock. I really am worried now.

I left the shop feeling a little disappointed that I'd tentatively chosen frames I haven't seen 'in the flesh' so to speak and they weren't really what I was looking for anyway.

I drove home and decided to visit the only framing workshop in Newark. Nothing!

I then visited a rather posh gallery in chain lane for inspiration. They represent some of the best artists on the planet and I felt a little scruffy in my holed jeans and leather jacket. After a very pleasant and long chat about artists, publishers and Italy, I left with the inspiration I was looking for. I decided that the best thing would be to have bare wood and create my own finish...a simple white  lime or even paint so that it didn't compete with the colour that it framed.   Clean, simple, unobtrusive. I hope it works out.

The owner of the gallery was interested enough to invite me back to show some of my work. I think it was partly because we found it easy to chat, but mainly I think because I'd been published by a company he had previously been involved with.  We'll have to see how that pans out.

Here's the gallery link if you are into visiting galleries...Trent Galleries.

The tragedy of the day was the new French CD which arrived this morning is trapped in the player in the car. Goodness knows how I'll get it out.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

UEFA Champions League

Bev is over 100 miles away at the Preston Temple with her mum to see Craig return from his mission, and I'm here all on my own.

Before you start feeling sorry for me, in two minutes Man U are playing the 2nd leg of the UEFA Champions League tie with A C Milan. The timing is perfect and I feel more blessed than alone. They won't be back until about 10:30pm so with luck I'll be having a dream night. The stage is set. My seat beckons.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The future is Orange

I have enjoyed visiting blogs so much that I neglected mine. I also haven't done my French yet!

The working day started with an email from our CEO outlining 375 redundancies before lunch. There was an initial rush of expectant chatter followed by reflective silence. It was almost as if everyone was silently weighing up the implications of being without a job.  I must admit my heart briefly lifted at the prospect, but I too then thought about it. Mmm, just a bit too soon perhaps. The end of the year would be better.

The afternoon carried with it an air of normality...except for those who's lives were about to change.

I must stop now and get some studying done.

I know what you're thinking and yes, I wasn't...or do I mean no, I was?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Week one: French

I've done it...or should I say started!

I keep taking my French book to work with the intention of studying in my lunch half-hour break. It rarely happens. It now calls for something more structured.

The plan...
From 7pm I am in the dining room with the mac while Bev is upstairs on the computer doing genealogy. I can spread out on the table for writing and use the mac for online interaction and French radio. The good thing is that I can leave everything out. We meet at 9pm for a date to remind us we are an item.

I have 11 weeks before going to France and there are 12 lessons in this book. I'd like to finish the book. I WILL finish the book. I'm determined to be better than last year. I've got to push forward and make significant progress.

So, for most of the week our dining room is a study area and on Sunday we are back around the table to eat.

That's the good thing about the mac. It's only one plug so I can take it anywhere. It's a wireless mouse and keyboard and I can print from anywhere in the house.

Yes, I've had the book a few years. Yes, I start more things than I finish. No, broadcasting my intentions isn't always the best thing to do. Yes, it could be embarrassing if I fail...again. BUT, you've got to love someone who tries. You're never beaten unless you stay down and I'm not staying down. I'll keep getting up no matter how wobbly my legs are.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Really a day of rest.

Not well today. Stayed at home.

Gently experienced the day which included updating just one of my blogs (it's all I could manage) and later venturing out for a walk to enjoy the late afternoon sun along the river with Bev.

I've just followed the link from Foreign Quang to Jeremy Johnson. It's nice to know that such people are living their lives in such unselfish fashion. He's my kind of person. He's doing what I'd like to be doing myself.
If you don't know who he is, why not google him? ( He's the one who has responded to the Haitian disaster.) You might even drop in on FQ and follow the link directly. It's worth the read.

Time to rest these weary bones.

Tomorrow I'd like to come out fighting.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Another eventful day

Last night we made Quiche and also took cherry pie and cream to our friends and enjoyed a relaxing evening of chat, chill and balloon debate. I was Willie Carson the jockey but was pipped at the post by a victorious Mr Cadbury and was subsequently thrown out of the balloon.

It was too zonked to blog by the time we got home.

This morning I finally tackled that box of papers and photographs which has sat next to the computer for 3 years or more. It was a de-clutter success of major proportion even though I succeeded in creating several piles and a lot of mess. I got there in the end.

You'd think I'd feel really good about finishing the job but I ran upstairs and was violently sick. The mirror reflected a ghastly sight as an ugly rash suddenly appeared across my forehead. It certainly wasn't there when I got up. Several telephone conversations with out-of-hours doctors ended with me queuing at the Newark General Hospital for treatment.

Dr Cheui saw me and confirmed an allergic reaction to the medicine dispensed the previous week. He also confirmed that my body has absorbed the diclofenac and had caused problems.

So, last week I'd lost my wife and this week I end up in hospital. Life is never dull.

Back home 14 doves and one pigeon are sitting in the tree in our garden. I've never seen 14 doves together before today which is why they get a mention. It's a lovely sight.

Bev Skyped Elaine in America and enjoyed a good chat while I chatted with Martin & Sarah. They had heard I wasn't feeling too good and brought me words of comfort and a bar of chocolate...Cadbury of course. It tastes great but I still feel deflated! (get it?)

A&A and baby Edith also dropped by and lifted my spirits.

A funny old day really and now it's gone...along with the chocolate.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A grand job!


I started with lust because I always remember that one...the rest I have to think about. It's not that I don't have to think about lust too, it's just that...well...never mind! Anyway, so how am I doing with the seven deadly sins? Easy-peasy, they aren't so deadly for me these days although I'm guilty of most of them at least once a year and no, I'm not saying which of them I struggle with.

Okay then, it's none of them. That's right, none of them...not since I turned thirty anyway. I reckon I'm nigh on perfect really...or is that pride slipping in again?

I'll admit that if it's possible to have little white deadly sins I'd be guilty of all of them. Actually, it is possible. Does that still make them sins? Surely not! Please no!

I see evidence all around me which suggest every 'none-white' variety is well utilised. I even know of someone who flies the flag for the lot.

Speaking of politics...I am thrilled to hear that there will be live American style debates between the three main party leaders in the run-up to the election. I am so looking forward to them. You can learn so much by observing how they react to each other.

Politicians past and present have been the cause of my greatest deadly sin, but I've thought of a way out , thanks to the English language. It all started with annoyance...then aggravation, exasperation, irascibility, outrage, fury and currently raging fury. Not once have I needed to be angry.

Okay, perhaps I might not get away with it come judgement day, but I figure I'll be easily forgiven given the rabble that are governing us.

For any politician reading this...I think you are doing a grand job!

ps, thanks to Mitchell Symons for the gradation of anger courtesy of his book 'Don't Get Me Started'...a rant about modern living, given as a gift to me by Eileen last week. She saw it and thought of me.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Still learning

I learned today that chewing-gum doesn't float if you throw it in a glass of water...but it retains it's flavour when you catch up with it again.  I have only very recently taken to chewing the stuff. I blame the Americans. I didn't allow any of my children to chew gum growing up and here I am chewing it. What does that make me?

I also learned that some people are super-calm.  At work, a customer accepted fees of £32,000 and he was very polite. I found out that he will pay £30,000 more than he should. He'll also be very happy when I let him know next week. I'm supposed to be making money for the company, not giving it away but hey, what's £30,000? (Choke!)

I learned some French today but can't quite remember what it was.

Watched the first half on the wide screen and the second half with MIL to keep her company. There's no chance of us winning the world cup on this showing. They never learn.

Looking forward to painting tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

At the end of a day she's always there.

Almost forgot to do an entry today.

This morning was another magical sun-kissed morning as we trudged across the frosted field.

I spent almost all day working in silence but listening to the conversation around me. It was one of those days when things boiled over(very briefly) and at one point I'm sure blood could have been spilt between them but it was seemingly soaked up with smiles and veiled conciliatory banter. In truth I was detached but had an ear on a conversation behind me about differing views on the John Terry affair. I enjoyed the sides that were in evidence and eventually threw my lot in concerning role models and declining moral fibre.

Tonight has been spent catching up on my blogs and a disproportionate amount of time with Bev...but it was quality time!

It's nice to end the day sitting by her. Well, perhaps not always nice, but tonight it is. Okay, MOSTLY nice.

Always then!

Monday, March 01, 2010


I wrote a poem for Bev this morning...

The sun shone early
The sky is blue
I'm off to work
And so are you.

We linked up and crossed the field in the beautiful early sunlight.

The day was good but the coming home was better...not in darkness! BST begins this month! It's getting lighter by the second and it feels great.

Sorted out a better (and cheaper) telephone deal.
Sorted a better (and cheaper) gas and electricity deal.
Sorted a bargain on the internet.

I guess the word of the day is...?

Ok, here's Bev's poem...

Eh! Oh! Ahhhgh! Lost it! How can you think straight when you've just exploded the eggs by letting the pan burn dry?

Talented is Bev! She really is talented, but when it comes to poetry she's as bad as I am.