Thursday 31 January 2008


I have a nice little thing going with a friend of one of my grandsons. I give him a little bit of sponsorship money and he produces this. Not bad huh?

Last year he successfully raced a car, but now that he is to be a Dad (congratulations Wayne and Rachel) he has had to scale down his ambitions a bit. This is the type of cart that Lewis Hamilton used to drive before he became a Formula 1 driver – so there’s still scope to hit the big time yet Wayne. Good luck for this coming season.

My friend of the “Squirrel’s don’t walk” fame (It’s hard to be positive in an insane world) was sadly in Weymouth to attend a funeral.

She wrote:-

“B…. chose, some time ago, to have two black horses and a carriage to take her to meet her Maker. As arranged, two black horses, a carriage and a bio-degradable coffin turned up at the house and off we set, empty hearse in front, followed by the two black horses and carriage carrying B…. in her bio degradable coffin, a funeral car and then Dad and me in my car - hazard warning light flashing.

The route took us through Weymouth, a 50-minute drive and occasionally we would be "infiltrated" by an embarrassed motorist who would quickly get out of the way. At the first roundabout there was a sign directing us to the crematorium. The empty hearse correctly took this turning but the horses, carriage and B…. had been "infiltrated and didn't notice the hearse had turned off and they incorrectly took the next turning.
Realising their mistake the men in black on the carriage gestured wildly for the rest of us to follow the empty hearse. Too late for the funeral car which had already committed to following the carriage. So we now had two funeral possessions meandering their way through Weymouth creating traffic havoc.

I correctly follow the empty hearse all round Weymouth until we eventually stop at the crematorium where we waited patiently for the two black horses, carriage and B.... to find us again, having first negotiated the complexities of the Weymouth by-pass. Oh, how she must have laughed at us.
When we were finally all in the correct place the funeral guys said to all gathered "Come and say hello to the boys, (“The boys” being the horses) they are all hot and sweaty now and we need to get them back to the stables". So there we all are stroking and oohing and aaahing over these two wonderful but by now very smelly ponies whilst B... is still lying there patiently in her bio-degradable waiting to pass on to the next life.

It was at that point that something close to hysteria overcame us all and by the time we walked into the crematorium this little band of men and women was grinning broadly (I even got a couple of laughs with my Eulogy). At the end of it we said what a damned good going it had been. She was there, and she just loved it.

Remember this for me when I pass on - I want to be mis-guided down the wrong route by a group of hysterical people - just as my life has always been!!!!!!"
I think we can arrange that for you dear.
I then got to wondering why she always seems to have such exhilerating and wacky experiences and it occurred to me that another type of personality would have only seen the tragedy in this situation, but she saw the funny side of it. There must be a moral in here somewhere.

Saturday 26 January 2008


My looney friend just sent me this “heard a ridiculous thing on the radio on my way to Weymouth - oh I so love this sort of thing!!! On a new housing estate they named a road Squirrel Walk and the council official said they couldn't do that because squirrels don't walk - so they renamed it Squirrel Drive. No comment!!!!” No comment from me either!!

Old grumpy and I have vowed never to be negative again. We are so fed up with shouting at Gordon Brown’s insane antics and the general downbeat news on the TV every morning and that have decided to look for the positive and upbeat things in life. But really, Squirrel Drive, you can’t help wanting to scream can you?

I came across an amazing blog this morning called she is Wifeinthenorth with bells and whistles. If ever I complain about boring shopping, remind me that I am actually so lucky to be able to drop into the supermarket whenever the muse takes me.

This evening we have the two great granddaughters on their weekly sleep over. Thankfully since Christmas they have both discovered the joys of Nintendo DS so they keep themselves reasonably calm for small periods of time. Until, that is, Granddad whips them up into frenzy again. Today he has bought them a TRAIN SET and is busily assembling it on the floor anticipating the endless hours of fun they will have playing with it. I know that he is in for a big disappointment. But we can only hope can’t we?

Tomorrow we are having one of our mad family get togethers. It started off at 10.30 this morning “Shall we go to the Moores Arms for lunch today?” “Ah! I had better not have this second piece of toast then because I won’t feel like eating” “No, you eat it, let’s go tomorrow” “OK” “Shall I ask Tracie, Daniel and the boys if they would like to come too?” “Sure” (This is the daughter that moved into a house with no central heating or hot water at Christmas – and still has no central heating or hot water, or any prospect of a plumber actually turning up to do the job when promised. No, look for the positive Ann. Fuck it there isn’t any – all plumbers are bastards)

So, I booked a table for 6 at 1300. I then spoke to my granddaughter and asked if she would like to come too. Yes, she would. Increased party size to 8. Then my darling wondered if the other daughter and her family would like to come too. Yes. Re-booked table for a party of 12. Anyone else wanna come? Maybe we could take over the whole damned pub.

Now I know why the other daughter escaped to France. If I had a family like this I would want to get away too. Stop it Ann, think positive. It’s good to have a fun loving family and be able to shop in Morrisons.

Tuesday 22 January 2008


Yesterday my husband had his third biopsy in as many months. The wait for a definitive answer and with it a treatment plan is very debilitating. It now appears that the hoped for “best case scenario” i.e. no treatment following the removal of a tumour before Christmas is not to be. Our GP believes that because he is still getting severe symptoms such as pain, exhaustion, nausea, lack of appetite, agitation, yellow tinged skin etc. etc. the indications are that cancer is still present.

He stressed that it is very important to define exactly what is happening before starting treatment but if Davy's present state of health is anything to go by it is his opinion that he will need chemo and possibly surgery.

BUT, he said the upside is that the oncologist who will be handling this treatment is one of the finest in the Country, he is talking about affecting a cure and at this moment in time everything is pointing to the fact that the cancer is still contained within the bladder.

So, that's how things are at the moment. One thing that this has taught us is that illness does not change a personality. As my esteemed colleague put it so succinctly - once a bastard, always a bastard! And we say this in all sincerity, with much, much love and a great deal of humour. I should point out though, that most times the bastard is me!

Thursday 17 January 2008


These are the mosaic tiles that I ordered for the curved wall in the new bathroom. As Old gumpy wasn't with me when I ordered them we called into the suppliers on our way back from his pre-admission assessment for the hospital next Monday. He liked them (whew) but as his eyesight is not very good he failed to notice the cost. However, he also took a photograph and in the corner of his photograph is displayed the price! When we got back to the office he pointed it out to me. "Have you seen the price of these tiles" "Yes" I said with a certain amount of aggression. No answer to that is there? That will teach him a lesson for sending me shopping on my own! I was told to order mosaic tiles but given no guidance on how much I should spend.

Wait till he sees the cost of the rest of the stuff ordered. He will think that the tiles are a bargain.

Originally uploaded by anninfotel

Monday 14 January 2008


When we started the building renovation programme in June last year my husband was insistent that we have everything organised and down on paper so that when the builder started he could work straight through with wiring and plumbing diagrams etc to avoid the madness and mayhem that our projects normally turn into. Good plan! So we scout around for a “designer” to help talk us through fixtures, fittings, colours and designs. We find one but after a couple of visits he disappears off of the face of the earth. I guess our demands must have been too taxing for him.

A few months of struggling on our own prompted our talented and willing son-in-law to take pity on us. He is an interior designer at a firm of architects in the City of London and albeit that he has limited time available to indulge our fanciful whims he sets too to help us. Inspiration flows and great ideas are born. We get over enthusiastic about the project. The builder then injects his view of realism and with a lot of head scratching and a few “umm, that won’t work” and “wouldn’t it be better if you did this?” everything is slowly, but surely, changed. OK, I can live with that and, luckily, my son-in-law is not "precious".

The time has now come to select new bathroom and kitchen fittings. As I am not the world’s most enthusiastic shopper this is a particularly stressful time for me. I would like a bathroom and kitchen personal shopper, but this particular angel does not appear to exist. I have put off thinking about it, but now the builder is making noises like “where do you want the pipes?” and “where is the cooker going?” How should I know? ask the postman, he might have a better idea than me.

But this particular chore will not go away so last week we invited along a “kitchen designer” from one of the big stores. Between us we cobbled together an adequate, but not great, kitchen and then ran out of his 2 hour allotted time slot and he left. I agreed that if I wanted any alterations made I would make an appointment to go into the store to see him. Easier said that done. This particularly store has a great filter system to ensure that customers never get to speak to anyone. You first have to press 8 to hear the list of options available! I’ve tried all week to get through. My fucking 50% discount time is running out and I need to make some alterations and then place my order. Help!

Tomorrow I am going to a specialist bathroom store to go through the same harrowing process. I would rather stick hot needles in my eyes, but hey! I’m an adult, I CAN do this. Can’t I?

Tuesday 8 January 2008


This has been a week of mixed blessings.

On Saturday my daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren moved to France. This is a very exciting time for them all and a very sad time for us. We will miss them and, on a very superficial level, will now have to find somewhere else to go for breakfast on a Saturday and a new venue for our summer pool parties. Pretty difficult in view of the fact that she was the only one with a pool. The mixed “blessing” is that we will have to build our very own pool. Plus, on another superficial level, we now have a close relative to visit in a sunny location.

She wondered how she could go about keeping us all updated on her goings on in France and I suggested the bloody “B” word – like as in “why don’t you write a blog?” I felt this didn’t go down very well on account of her not always approving of my blogging activities but after some discussion I think she may have warmed to the idea. I hope so because it’s a great way of keeping a log with photographs.

Yesterday the “wild one” that I call husband was told that he would need another biopsy on 21st. The “blessing” in this case is that he should at last get answers that range from “no more treatment”, down through a full gamit of options including surgery and/or chemo/radio therapy.

Another mixed blessing is the diet. I started it this morning forgetting that we order in lunch for the Board Meeting today. The “blessing” bit is that I only ate my allowance and the “mixed” bit is that now I’m starving hungry. I just have to get my head into the right place with this one – again!!

I am also trying to psyche myself up to do the aqua-fit thing, but one thing at a time and I have to loose a little (for that read a lot of) weight before exposing my ample flesh to a poor unsuspecting public.

Wednesday 2 January 2008


Another New Year. I wondered if I should start a new diet while I still had chocolates in the house. Decision – start now. Then in walked my granddaughter with a box of chocolates from her partner as a thank you gift for looking after our two beautiful great-granddaughters on New Years Eve while they went out. It would be rude to start a diet now (wouldn’t it?).

So I then get an email from my potty friend

“and so here it is - 2008 - I'll be 56 by the end of it and when I found a real problem with 55 what the hell will 56 do to me???? So I decided that this year I'm going back into the Tardis and will grow younger by the minute (no comments please).

Therefore one of my thoughts is “get back to the swimming pool”. Do you fancy an aqua-fit class? I have to say the last time I went to the pool was when my Father (who has never been able to swim properly) decided he should do it to get fit again. He jumped in at the shallow end and nearly ruptured his spine. We managed two attendances and I managed two lengths!

During one of those two visits I looked at the ladies doing their aqua- fit classes - jumping up and down in waist high water and waving their arms in the air and if that is all it takes to get fit I think we could do that. Alternatively we could go to Glastonbury!!!! (now there's a thought)

As you do at a New Year I have looked at my life and decided “new year - new life” that'll last until tomorrow - but I have enrolled for an RHS course in garden design. I do not know the name of any plants - I do not know what to plant where - I have never tested the ph balance of my soil (no more do I care) - but I do have a compost bin!! I must be their best candidate yet!!!

And so to 2008, I have New York and France to look forward to - you have Davy getting better (please God) to look forward to - I have a new grand-child to arrive in January, and two beautiful grand-children already here - you have how many grand-children and great-grandchildren?? who make our lives so full and to give us the pleasure of their company

I started this e-mail to say Happy New Year and I end it saying Happy New Year because that is what I wish for you and yours and hopefully I'll see you in the pool!!!

Love you both xxxxxxxx”

So, diet and aqua-fit classes or Glastonbury? Now that's a hard decision for a 67 year old to have to make. Let me think - Glastonbury!

You will remember that this particular lady was visiting Dubai and I wondered how she would fare. The answer to that is that she fared quite well under the circumstances. But that is a story for another day …..