Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Make that three pairs

That woman I mentioned yesterday? She was wearing another pair of high heels tonight. And pair of platform heels this morning. I shall continue to keep count. I am fascinated.

Meanwhile my navigation skills have been criticised. I am, despite what you might think, a very good navigator. As long as the map is facing the same direction as we are travelling, I am not distracted by pretty scenery and Husband doesn't suddenly ask me which direction to take. (That panicks me and I say, 'Yes,' to whatever he says next. Which is why, incidentally, we took two wrong turns today. His fault really.)

I do sometimes wonder if I have become invisible. Have I reached that stage of life? I was talking to Husband about it and he said that he quite often turns around and I have disappeared. He suggested I should use it to my advantage.
'You mean next time a man tries to walk through me I should practise my ninja skills on him? A quick yeehaaa kapow bang? (Here you have to visualise me demonstrating said skills.)'
''Something like that,' he said.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I returned from the buffet table at breakfast to find Husband had changed into an elderly white-haired man. Now i know what you're thinking: she went to the wrong table. But I didn't. I am well aware of the potential danger and if not quite laying a trail of breadcrumbs pretty close to it.
No, the waiters had been especially efficient and cleared our table so another couple could sit down.

Anyway this evening we sat at the same table as last night and the same family came and sat next to us. The woman in the group has brought at least two pairs of posh high-heeled shoes on holiday with her. Two pairs! I don't even own one pair let alone take them on holiday with me.

Yesterday I was thankful for a safe and comfortable flight to Tenerife. Today I am thankful that I have lost the extra weight I had put on and feel confident wearing my bathing suit.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Hey, viva Espana!

I'm grateful for holidays!

Tomorrow morning bright and early we're off to Tenerife. I should be able to continue to post there but it will depend on my techy ability. So maybe not.

Incidentally, I'm doing these gratitude posts for Lent, as you may recall. I didn't know until last week when I did some research that lenten pratices don't happen on Sundays. I always wondered how Lent was forty days when it lasts for just over six weeks.

P.S. Don't worry about George: Younger Son and Nuora are looking after him.

Picnicking in February

You know that moment when your mouth says, 'Yes,' while your head is shouting, 'No! No!'? 

If that doesn't sound familiar you won't understand the rest of this post. However if you recognise the situation you'll understand how I came to be on the beach this morning having a picnic in February when the temperature was only 3 degrees.

'Can we have a picnic on Sunday, Granny?'
'Yes, if you want.'
Husband coughs. 'You might want to check the weather forecast first. It's getting colder.'
'Oh, okay. What about if we have a picnic but we have it indoors? Yay! That sounds good, doesn't it?'
Two disappointed little faces look at me. 'No, a proper picnic. Outside with a rug and french bread and hummus and crisps and drinks and ...'
'You wouldn't prefer to go to a cafe?'
'No, we want a picnic!'

I decided we'd go to the pier beach because it's always sheltered there. Except this morning.

It wasn't that cold really; it was more the wind blowing away our crisps that caused the problem. But it took a mug of hot chocolate to warm everyone up.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

It's hard being a Welsh rugby supporter

It's the hope that gets you every time.

I didn't expect Wales to beat England the other week so rather than disappointed at the loss I was gratified by their performance. This week I foolishly let my heart rule.

Final score Ireland 37 Wales 27.

I was going to say that score flatters Ireland but really they put on by far the better performance. What the score doesn't reflect is that about five minutes before the final whistle Wales were still in with a chance to draw and even possibly win. And then they threw it all away. Literally.

It's at times like these that I am truly thankful for chocolate.

Friday, February 23, 2018

George is getting old.

Having quietened my concern yesterday George fell on the steps today and couldn't get up so we've had a trip to the vet.

Basically he's getting old. Dodgy joints, thick knees, probable osteo-arthritis. We're trying him on pain-killers to begin. See if they ease the pain and help him move more easily. The vet also suggested massaging his legs for him. 

George will think he's in seventh heaven.

If these don't work ... well, they'll try something else. 

Relieved it's not his heart but sad to think he's been in pain, even it is just a nagging ache rather than acute. We were lucky with Harvey: he made it to the end with just cod liver oil and glucosamine supplements. Could get expensive. Thank goodness we have the NHS supplying our medicines.

My bottom drawer

And the de-cluttering continues apace.

I haven't used these yet during my married life so it's not likely that I'll ever use them.
Old linen
So they're in the charity shop bag. And you can bet your bottom dollar that in two months' time someone will say we're having a retro tea party or stall or something and do you have any old-fashioned linen.

Actually some of it I think I bought at huge expense from gypsies at the door, simply to make them go away and not put a curse on me. (They did go away but had me marked down as a sucker so came back again as well.)

The rest I inherited from my gran and my great-auntie Gay. This 'bottom drawer' clutter is probably the last link I have left with my growing-up. But if I do it quickly enough I won't notice that they're gone.

A message from God

I was sitting at my desk playing a game when I heard a clomp in the hall. I ignored it assuming it was George. When I eventually got up I discovered this:
A new brush - complete with label - that I've never seen before.

Is it a message from God?

'Get up off your lazy bottom and do the housework you've been putting off in favour of things you'd rather do!'

Okay, okay, I'm doing it. We're trying to put our bedroom back together. (I'm just waiting for Husband to finish screwing wardrobes together before I go and put things in them, hence, I am sitting here blogging you understand.)

Husband is discovering the problems of me 'working' in the same room as him. I keep dancing. And singing along to Springsteen. But I only ever know one line or two so I am silent for most of the song and then every now and again I burst into life. 'Shackled and drawn, shackled and drawn, woke up this morning shackled and drawn.'

In other news had my all clear letter from Breast Test Wales. Even though it's routine screening and I don't expect them to find anything there's always that moment when the envelope arrives before you've opened and read it when the heart beats extra fast.

In other other news, does anyone else boil hankies? Does anyone else use proper hankies? (I just mistyped other as oethre and spellcheck asked me if I meant shoetree. there is a logic to it I suppose but then again how often have I used the word 'shoetree' to make it think a more likely option than other? As far as I can remember I have never used it.

Excuse me, I have been summoned to hold a screw.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The egotism of shyness

A few posts ago I wrote about feeling responsible for killing people. I realised today that I blame myself for many things. Most things. To be honest quite often it is my fault but sometimes I'm innocent.

I wonder if it's like shyness. I am shy now and as a child was painfully shy (it's always described as painfully, rightly so) and sometimes people would try to help me overcome it by saying, 'Really it's egotism, thinking everyone is looking at you. When really nobody cares.'

Yes, so that was really helpful adding egotism and guilt to my ever-growing list of faults, but am I doing the same now? Is it egotistical to think everything's my fault? As if the world revolves around me?

Possibly. Or perhaps I should stop thinking so much. 

Lent 9

The gentle warmth of the Spring sunshine, an assurance that better days are coming.
And George did really well on his walk today, even going uphill. So not so worried about him any more.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Lent 8

Today I'm grateful for George. And that he seems more like his usual self again.
He's gentle and patient even when being mauled by numerous children. He doesn't display the same affection that Harvey used to when he saw us and I'd go so far as to say his favourite thing in life is food. But if we were out and someone attacked me I think he would protect me. Unless offered a tasty scooby snack in which case I'd have to rely on my street-fighting skills, all of which I learned from Miss Piggy.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Getting personal

I'm leading Zac's tonight. We've been studying the gospel of Luke and tonight we arrive at the Last Supper.

I grew up attending an Anglican church - I was christened, confirmed and married in one - and in recent years I've accompanied Uncle to Roman Catholic services. 

Try as I might I cannot find grounds for the ritual that is attached to communion in traditional and orthodox churches. Jesus says, 'Eat this bread and remember me.' From that I understand him to be saying, 'Make me a part of your everyday life. Remember me when you eat and drink, remember me when you cry or you're in pain, remember me when you're laughing and singing. Involve me in your life. Don't set me apart from it.'

It's simple, it's personal. That's what I'll be trying to say tonight.

The Last supper Da Vinci

P.S. Researching the subject I discovered that Judas is fourth from the left in this famous painting. You can tell it's him apparently because Da Vinci painted him holding a money bag. Also it's said to be a representation of the moment just after Jesus announces to his friends that one of them will betray him, hence the surprised expressions on some faces. Also Jesus' feet are missing from the painting because some time after it - not strictly speaking a mural but a picture painted on a wall - was finished they knocked part of the wall away to put in a doorway.

Lent 7

It's half term so this afternoon I was grateful for the chance to play in the woods with the grandchildren.

They insisted on paddling in the stream and on making a 'boat'. I was only just able to stop them putting their coats on it and sailing off to sea.
Our boat

Monday, February 19, 2018

Lent 6

Today I am grateful as I am every day for my 'happy' pill. I can safely say it changed my life.

I could write a long blog post about being medicated and what Christians should do (in the opinions of some people) but I'll just say that I am thankful for the doctor who finally prescribed it for me, for the scientists who developed it and for the health service that allows me to have it.


According to the little map most of my blog visitors are from Russia. The KGB must have realised that all of my seemingly random and rambling posts are really code for ... something really important. Obviously I can't tell you what otherwise there'd be no point in it being in code.

They have seen through the facade, the show I put on of being a happily married granny. I am really 6'3", with the finely-tuned athletic body of a man who survives on a diet of kefir and seaweed. Oh and I look like a young Sean Connery. 

(You believed me until the last bit, didn't you?)

Apparently this post could be truer than you - or I - think. Husband just pointed me to a BBC article about Russian Troll Farms

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lent 5

Today is GrandSon2's 6th birthday. I am so very grateful for my grandchildren.

When we had our first grandchild I wondered if I could  love another as much but I find that the love just grows. There's more and more of it, plenty to go around. A bit like the magic porridge pot: it just keeps pouring out. I am so grateful for that expanding pot of love.
A card for me from GrandDaughter2.

Just popping to the mosque, dear

It was Visit a Mosque Day today so I did.

There is an old church building immediately opposite Zac's and it's been bought and renovated by the local Muslim community and they've done a fantastic job. The visit included a fascinating tour as well as information stands, and a variety of activities including henna painting and Arabic calligraphy.
mosque open day
We (I arrived at the mosque at the same time as some friends and we did the tour together) also tried on hijabs. I didn't have my camera with me but when Joy uploads her photos I will post a piccie of that too.

And of course there was yummy food. Well, it would have been rude not to try it.

There were also lots of police milling around. They were mostly community police and were very smiley and chatty but I fear there may have been an ulterior motive: a mosque open day offers a potential target for racists. Sad times. Thankfully when I was there everyone - and there were lots of visitors - was happy to be there. Communication between faiths - and with those of no faith - can only be good.

The goldfish's moustache

For those concerned with the fate of our goldfish I can tell you he has returned to his usual - albeit lumpy - self. He is swimming around normally and the right way up. Oh, but he has grown a moustache ...

And spider, who suffered traumatic stress disorder following my attempts to clean the bath around him has made it out of the bath! On his own! He is halfway up the tiled wall.

I was so proud of him when I saw what he had achieved. If I hadn't left my camera at daughter's I would have taken a photo.

George on the other hand is causing some concern. When I walked him last week I was struck by how very slowly he ambled along. Husband said he's been getting slower over the last six months but I'm not convinced. He's due for his annual vaccinations soon so we'll get the vet to check him then. 

Husband's probably right: his innate laziness is finally overcoming him.

Paul Flynn or an alien?

Over on FaceBook Glenn suggested that yesterday's earthquake may have been the result of alien intrusion. I didn't take it seriously at the time but since then I've been thinking...

For the last two nights I've been getting twinges where my bit was removed. I put it down to wind but what if, when they abducted me, the aliens implanted a transmitter?! And it's been busy sending and receiving messages to landing craft? It would explain a lot.

And then there's the strange coincidence of Paul Flynn turning up on the morning of my operation and offering to do it. Everyone knows aliens usually come in a chameleon form so maybe it wasn't really Paul but an alien!

I'm just putting these ideas out there for your consideration. Blame Glenn. 

Paul Flynn or an alien?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Did the earth move for you?

'I thought our new loft conversion was collapsing.'
'I thought a car had crashed into the front of the office.'

Two of the comments from FaceBook friends following the afternoon earthquake - of 4.4 magnitude about 10 miles north of Swansea. 

I was in the car at the time and didn't feel a thing. 
However when we got to the library a message on the tannoy about 'the incident that just happened' and 'everything under control now' alerted us to the strange goings-on that we had just missed.

Incidentally this non-post is for Stu who requested that I blog about our near death experience.

Lent 4 Libraries

This beautiful but damp room used to be Swansea reference library. 
Now Swansea Central library is in a modern sea front location, light and airy, and with easy parking. It is one of my favourite places. I am so grateful for the determination of a few men to see free public libraries introduced for the benefit and improvement of the working classes. In 1852 the first such library opened in Manchester following the Public Libraries Act of 1850.

It's worth noting that during the debates on the act Conservatives, concerned about the cost of the scheme and the social transformation it could bring about, argued strongly against free public libraries.

Today more and more local libraries are being closed or being gradually run down having to rely on volunteers.

It's definitely a case of Use It Or Lose It.

What I want or what I need

I was feeling really weary this afternoon. I had two choices: I could sit and wallow or get up and do something. I knew that while I may prefer to do the former I would feel better afterwards if I did the latter. So I cleaned the bathroom. Carefully not disturbing the spider in the bath.

To be honest though I'm not sure how successful my attempts were. I fear he may have had one or two panic attacks but, hey, he's still alive. Husband can get him out later.

I'm not sure why I'm so tired. Husband has been very restless in bed - he tells me - and thinks I may be suffering because of it. Especially as we're still in the double bed in the spare room as opposed to our normal super-king-size bed.

Did I tell you that I have ordered curtains for our bedroom? But they won't be here for up to six weeks so we'll remain squashed for a few weeks yet. Perhaps I should go and sleep in a bunk bed. Oh no, wait, they're covered in boxes and things from our bedroom. Hey ho. I'll have to take up afternoon napping.

Television today - spoiler alert!

We watched the last episode of Requiem last night. The first five episodes were good; the finale was a let-down. Weird plus it left loads of ends flapping. Unless they're planning another series, which is a possibility now I think of it with the current trend for the supernatural, it left more questions than answers.

Unlike McMafia, which also finished this week. ended with the 'hero' going completely over to the dark side. 

Thank goodness for Death in Paradise, where someone gets murdered each week, but in very delightful surroundings, and the policeman always gets the baddie. Am I old-fashioned to want a satisfactory ending? The triumph of good over evil?

Saga from The Bridge
P.S. The best thing about Requiem was the opening music, which owed a lot to The Bridge.
P.P.S. Hurry up and bring back The Bridge and its main character, Saga! I could cope with her weirdness.
P.P.S. I watched several episodes of McMafia before I remarked to Husband that there wasn't a single Scotsman in it. He explained to me that it was a reference to franchised crime not clans.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Lent 3

Today I'm grateful for the bird life I can watch from my kitchen window. This is actually an old photo as we haven't seen any long-tailed tits for a while but they're my favourites they're so sweet.

We do however see a lot of robins. Or possibly one robin lots of times as Husband tells me they're very territorial and don't like other robins invading their territory.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Lent 2

One of my recent favourites
Today I'm feeling thankful for books. And at a more basic level that I am able to read.

Waiting at the counter in Waterstone's today I was glancing through the titles on the closest display:
A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind, Make Your Bed and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up. Safe to say they won't be on my To Read list any time soon. Or ever. However The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck may be.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Forty days of thanks

A few years ago I decided that rather than give up something for Lent I'd take more affirmative action. I'm doing the same this year and each day I intend to do a post of gratitude, on both Facebook and here.

As it's also St. Valentine's Day today there can only be one choice for my gratitude: Husband. I'm so grateful for my man and the love he has for me. (Even if he looks as if he'd rather be anywhere else in this photo.)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

No hostage harmed

I held myself hostage this afternoon. I said, 'You're not leaving this shop until you've bought curtains.'

The men came to fit our new bedroom carpet today so there is a new urgency to my search. I've looked before. Several times. And on the internet. But our windows are very wide, bow windows, and, most places don't stock ready-made curtains in the size we need.

After my last futile attempt to find some, when each time I saw a curtain that was at least not too bad, it was only to discover that it was eyelet only (we want pencil pleat) or not available in the size or colour, I approached the store with reluctance today. 'If necessary I'll buy two pairs,' I told myself.

It wan't until after I'd spent a lot of time wandering around talking to myself, that I noticed the made to measure section. I'd checked out some mtm curtain prices on the internet and they were coming to about £500. While it is our bedroom and they will have to last several years, well, it's a lot of money. But the fabric on display in the shop seemed a bit cheaper so I browsed. And I um-ed and ah-ed. And grumbled about how much I hated choosing curtains. While gradually losing the will to live.

The assistant said, 'Can I help you?'
'Only if you can make up my mind for me.'

In the end, bearing in mind that I had to get home and put the chicken in the oven, I made a decision and ordered some. Then she told me it would take six weeks. I blanked that bit and said, 'Fine.'

I can breathe again.

And I've submitted my latest article for The Bay magazine. That was making me stressed too. I'd started well but then I kept writing myself into a knot. By the time I'd finished I wasn't sure if it even made sense but I sent it to the editor and she was happy with it so one way or another I'm breathing easy tonight. Or I would be if I hadn't left putting my potatoes on until so late dinner's going to have to wait until they're cooked.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The people I've killed

I've just read a book called The Perks of Being a Wallflower in which a teenage boy blames himself for his aunt's death. We're watching a television series called Requiem in which a young woman blames herself for the disappearance of a child twenty years earlier.

Guilt is a dreadful thing to live with it particularly if there is no justification for it. But of course it doesn't feel like that at the time. To the 'guilty' person there is justification and he/she should feel bad because he/she deserves it.

These two instances coming so close together reminded me of times from my childhood where I blamed myself for someone's death.

Growing up I lived with my mum, my grandparents and my great-gran, who had her bed in the front room. We hadn't long had a television and it was still exciting for all the family - maybe not my grandfather - to gather in the other front room to watch television, in this particular case, Coronation Street. This Monday evening my gran sent me to call my 88-year-old great-gran. I was cross because I'd already settled down nice and comfy so I hurried into the other front room, shouted, 'Coronation Street's on,' and rushed out again.

A few moments later we heard a scream. My great-gran had fallen and, it turned out, broken her hip. She never really recovered and died a few months later.

'If I'd not been so grumpy. If I'd stopped and waited to make sure she'd heard. If I'd stayed and helped her make her way in. If I'd done anything except what I did she would still be alive.' I was about ten at the time. I never told anybody what I felt.

A few years later I was walking my dog down the road past some neighbours who were standing, arm in arm, by their gate. The man asked me, 'How's your Uncle Jim?'
'Oh, he died,' I said.
The man went pale and shaky. His wife took a closer grip on him and, as she turned to take him back inside, said to me, 'I wasn't going to tell him until he was feeling stronger.' (It seemed he was a close friend of Uncle Jim's and had been very unwell himself.)

I walked away convinced I would now be responsible for the death of another person. I don't know if he died; I avoided walking that road afterwards.

I deserved all the bad feelings because I was a bad thoughtless person.

Is Gift Aid a good thing?

There's a programme on Radio 4 called Simon Evans Goes to Market. I'm not sure if he is an economist who decided to take up comedy or a comedian with an interest in economics but the programme about various money matters is factual but with a humorous slant. Most of it is mildly interesting and amusing.

But last week a very interesting point was raised that has got me thinking. He was looking at altruism and charitable giving by the very rich and at charitable giving in general.

Now in the UK we have a thing called Gift Aid; I don't know if it has been adopted universally but if you're a tax-payer and you give money to a charity the charity can claim back the tax you would have paid on that money thus increasing the value of the donation at no cost to the giver. So, for example, if a tax-payer gave a charity £1 the charity could claim another 20 pence from the government - or whatever the basic rate of tax is at the time. It doesn't sound much but adds up significantly.

So all that sounds like a good thing, right? I can support my favourite charity at no extra cost to me. But is it at no extra cost to me? Strictly speaking, yes it is. But each 20p that the government gives back to a charity is 20p out of the spending pot for the government. Which means 20p diverted away from hospitals and schools - and warfare and foreign aid and countless other things that the national government is responsible for.

In order to become a charity an organisation has to prove it's doing good. (At least I assume they have to prove something.) And most charities are very worthy causes and to many of the smaller ones especially the extra money could be vital.

I am very happy that Zac's is a charity and can claim back Gift Aid on the money we give. Likewise the other charities we support. But while I'm a bit of a soft touch and love everything from hedgehogs to trees, do I necessarily want my money (Husband's to be precise as I'm not a tax-payer) to go to support weird and wonderful causes however deserving they may be if it's at a cost to my grandchildren's education?

I have no control over what other charities do with their money. I didn't vote for this government but they are democratically elected with a duty of responsibility to provide the services. I might not think they're doing a very good job but they are accountable. And, yes, charities are accountable to their trustees and the charity commission, but that's not quite the same.

So should I tick the Gift Aid box in future? Or should I choose to make up the difference myself. My charitable giving, my choice.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Just a bit of this, that and the other

It's a year ago today that Uncle died and it was forty-six years on Monday that my mum died.

The photo is from 1970, the occasion, my grandparents' golden wedding, the location the Park Inn in Mumbles.

On lighter topics, I seemed to wake about hourly last night and one time when I woke the thought that sprang unbidden to my mind was: it's a jolly good thing Hitler didn't win the war. A profound if slightly mystifying thought from my sleep-deprived brain.

Maybe it was that same sleep deprivation that caused me to cough and say, 'Ahem,' to the intermittent windscreen wiper to remind it to do its job.

Such is life.

Daughter's birthday tomorrow and this afternoon I prepared a cake for the grandchildren to decorate when they came for tea after school. St Delia would not approve of my messy cooking habits I'm sure. Husband is convinced I set myself the target of using every pan in the house when I cook. (I don't; it just happens that way.) This is my average mess before today's disaster.
 And after the disaster.
 It even landed on my boots!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Ginger free ginger cake

I was going to make ginger cake. Then I discovered I didn't have any ginger.

So I decided to make apple cake. Only to find I didn't have any apples either.

At that point it was, 'Shall I go back to bed?'

But I persevered and decided I would make ginger cake anyway. Younger Son crystallised some ginger for Christmas presents and while the ginger has all gone the gingery sugar was left so I used that. I shall let you know if it works.

Ginger-free cake topped with slightly gingery icing
(I've been to the shop)

Sometimes I go for ages just cooking the same old (boring) favourites; and sometimes I have a spree of trying new recipes. This week, for example, not only am I making ginger-less ginger cake but I've made rich venison and red wine pie (left) and tonight we're having braised beef short ribs. I've sort of followed a recipe but thrown in a few extras. The pie was good made with potato and celeriac mash topping instead of pastry - my diet you know - so we'll have to hope tonight's dinner is as successful.

Postscript: it was!

Beef short ribs braised in beer.
Not burned!

But the bits did give a lovely rich brown colour to the gravy.
Served with root veg mash, broccoli and sprouts.

Putting on the squeeze

Every so often in life, as a woman, you can look forward to that special moment. The moment when you get all the attention. The moment when they smile at you and say ... 'You might begin to feel the squeeze now.' 

And you grimace and say, 'You mean what I'm feeling already isn't a squeeze?'
And the next moment you find out that what they mean by a squeeze and what you mean by a squeeze is different by the power of ten. It's so tight you think your poor boob is going to be permanently flattened afterwards.

Yes, it's mammogram time again. My appointment is this afternoon but at least it's not in a car park this time. Having said that, being in Tesco's car park meant there was no problem parking. This afternoon I'm at Breast Test Wales, which is city central and car park distant. And at 4.20 so I'll be hitting rush hour traffic too.

Still mustn't grumble. Even if screening doesn't have a particularly good reputation or success rate it makes me think I'm being proactive, which is always a good thing when it comes to your health.

I won't be saying that at about half past four this afternoon though.
mammogram breast test

I exaggerate not I promise you.

Baby, it's cold outside

If you look very closely outside you can see that it's snowing. Very tiny, very fine flakes falling. Which, when it comes to snow around here, is about as good as it gets.

We get the rain, we get the cold, but we don't get the snow. On those rare occasions when it settles there is great excitement. And everything stops. But it never lasts long.

Those of you who know what it's like to suffer from winter storms, freezing cold temperatures and snow that hangs on and on will probably tell me we're lucky. And I suppose we are. But just now and then it's beautiful and fun.

But I don't think today is going to be one of those days.
Maybe 2010?

Sunday, February 04, 2018

In which George is an embarrassment

George the dog
Last week Younger Son took George for a walk. He often does that but this time was different; this time it was part of his work. He was accompanying a guided walk that he'd organised in the Neath valley. 

The guide had her dog with her too, so there were two of them: one lively and running and being enthusiastic, and one plodding and just being. No prizes for guessing which one was George. But that was okay; that wasn't too embarrassing. To avoid any unnecessary embarrassment later Younger Son explained in advance that George was very brave and was only scared of plastic bags.

So it didn't get embarrassing until they reached a small metal bridge. And George refused to walk across it. 

The guide's dog bounded across happily; all the walkers crossed it without a problem. But George stopped and stared. 'Nope,' he said. 'Not walking across that.'

Younger Son tried to bribe him across with treats: normally he'll do anything for a treat. But not apparently walk across a metal grid bridge.

No matter how much Younger Son pleaded George wouldn't move. 

Normally coming across a bridge he didn't like wouldn't be too much of a problem as he'd swim across the river but with all the rain we've had the water was running high and fast and it would have been dangerous for him to swim across.

So Younger Son went back across to carry him over. But George saw him coming and was wise to the idea. 'Oh no,' he said, 'you're not carrying me across,' and he sat down firmly on his bottom making it very difficult for Younger Son to get his arm underneath and lift him.

He is now known throughout the area as George the Wuss.

This is definitely not fake news

It concerns me that people are so susceptible to fake news. I suppose I am late to this topic but this week I came across it at close quarters. (Not family, by the way; they are much too smart.)

'They have put new pay-to-sit benches in Singleton park. After a while spikes pop up. It's to deter rough sleepers and it's disgusting.'
Well, I walk in Singleton now and again and I hadn't seen any such benches. Also I don't think the council would have got away with sneaking them in without one or more of our public-spirited walkers complaining and reporting it to the local paper. I tried to say this but my argument was refuted because, 'My friend put it up on Facebook.' So therefore it must be true.

The same person also said that it's a fact that babies are being microchipped in California and in Europe. I didn't even try and argue with that.

Later, when I had a chance, I checked out these 'facts'. They were quickly disproved.

It's so easy for anyone to say anything on the internet and with the help of Photoshop to 'prove' it as well. But it's usually equally easy to disprove. If only people bothered to check out the items which horrify them it would be much harder to spread fake news.

I have been caught out in the past so now I am very careful. Unless a fact comes from a reputable source and is backed up by other equally reputable sources I will avoid it. Even if it seems to be challenging my very beliefs. I don't have enough time to check and post everything that comes my way so, on the whole, I only post my usual nonsense.

For which I am sure you are grateful!
how to recognise fake news
Incidentally the stories I write on here are always totally accurate and true. (Apart from those in which I allow myself dramatic licence.)

The readers of Broken Wheel recommend

The Readers of Broken wheel Recommend... that you read this book. As do I.

If you love books and reading and books about reading and small town life and wonderful characters, then do read this book.

That's all I want to say really.


A frenzy of posts

Or one big one? Several I think as I find them easier to read than a big block. So where to begin? (Consult scrawled list of topics.)

I'll begin with the good news: my consultant surgeon has had the results of tests done following my operation and he's confirmed that I did indeed cut off my own appendix. 

It seems there was a cyst in my appendix which then got twisted and amputated itself. And all without anaesthetic or the help of an Operating for Dummies manual. No wonder I was in pain the November before last. And no wonder no-one could work out what was wrong with me at the time.

And no sign of anything nasty so all jolly good news.

And in case, like me, you're not entirely sure what your appendix looks like or where it is here's a helpful guide. And the least vomit-inducing.