Sunday 29 June 2008


What are you most afraid of? This challenging question was posed by authorblog: Weekend Wandering.

I guess my long-term fear is the fear of being alone. This is not uncommon and leads to many compromises that are not always of benefit. But….. I know many people that are totally uncompromising and that is sometimes even more harmful.

I know that this is a mad example, but one of the things that I love is to socialise and eat out - OG hates it and refuses to give in. I could bang on about this and it could become a real contentious issue but there are many things that we have in common that we DO enjoy.

So is my fear of being alone causing me to compromise on something that I love? I don’t think so, I simply go on “Orient Express” trips without him, enjoy long summers in Switzerland, go out to lunch with my crazy mate on Saturday and generally have a good laugh. Now if he objected to me doing that, that would be a different thing altogether. Then I would have to ask myself if I was compromising too much.

I know people that would let this become a BIG ISSUE, much like – “if you loved me you wouldn’t play football”, “if you loved me you would pay me more attention” etc. I know that I'm going off on a bit of a tangent here, but my dad loved football and my mum hated it. On the day of the cup final he would get a bottle of pop and some chocolate and sit and watch it through from midday to finish. Every year she made a "statement" by doing the ironing in another room! The sad thing was that after he died she started watching the cup final too and I ofter wondered if she ever regretted not sharing his passion with him because he absolutely adored her and it would have made him so happy.

Surely you should (and I paraphrase that great JFK quote) ask not what your partner can do for you, instead ask what you can do for your partner - provided you keep your core person intact and don't become a doormat. No-one gets it entirely correct, but I try to give it my best shot.

I also know people who would rather live alone than make the "sacrifice" of living with someone that might have different goals and make demands on them, but who do they share the evening sunset with? Who is at their side when the going gets tough? Who do they laugh at daft things with?

I think the important thing is not to be so scared of being alone that you compromise to the point of losing your own personality. Here endeth the first lesson.

Friday 27 June 2008


OG’s chemo was cancelled yesterday due to his blood levels being too low. He had a transfusion instead and today he has been bouncing around like a two year old. In fact I could almost say he is back to his “old self”!

This afternoon we went to buy some more paint. The car is not always a good place for us to be together on account of the fact that when he is well he likes to drive and when he drives he frightens the life out of me.

After one particularly dangerous manoeuvre I hear him mutter

“Oh shut up”

“Don’t tell me to shut up”

“Well you are getting on my nerves”

“I’M getting on YOUR nerves? How dare YOU tell ME off when YOU are frightening ME to death. It should be ME shouting at YOU, not YOU shouting at ME”.

“I didn’t shout at you”

“You did. I sometimes don’t know what planet you live on, YOU drive like a lunatic and shout at ME for being scared. Oh! I'm so sorry, I forgot, it's all my fault! You’re totally barking mad”

“Will you just listen to yourself? It’s you that is doing the shouting, not me”

“Oh shut up”

“Don’t you ever, ever come in the car with me again”

“Well then, you will have to remind me of that, because I just sooo love to be with you when you’re driving”

“No need to be sarcastic”

We driving on for a while in amiable silence, then he speaks

“It’s a lot cleaner isn’t it?”

“What’s a lot cleaner?”

“That place where you where”

“What place?”

“The room you were in”

“What room?”

By this time we are screaming at each other again

“The fucking room downstairs in the new fucking building”

“Well why didn’t you say that in the beginning”

“It’s a lot cleaner isn’t it?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t notice”

By this time we have drawn up at the Dulux Decorator’s Centre. Ahhhh! It’s not the DULUX Decorator's Centre, it’s the CROWN Decorator’s Centre. Unfortunately we must have Dulux to match existing, Crown paint just simply will not do. Back to the drawing board. Hush my mouth, who was it said this was the DULUX Decorator's Centre, surely not me? Less said the better! Still, look on the bright side, it passed away a pleasant hour together. And in the famous words of Scarlett O'hara "tomorrow is another day". We will venture out to the DULUX supplier in the morning, by that time we may have recovered from todays' traumatic adventures. This time I will do the driving!

On to more normal stuff. A young student that worked for us in his holidays is taking part in the 2008 Mongol Rally that starts on the 19TH July leaving Hyde Park, London, heading over 10,000 miles to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The idea is to raise as much money as possible for charity by driving an old banger through some of the most remote areas of the world. Anyone that would interested can read all the details and donate sponsorship money at

Good luck Matt, we are all rooting for you.


This was sent to everyone in the office by one of our colleagues.

Just in case you've had a few rough days (and I know that you have), here's an eight-step stress management technique recommended in the latest psychological texts. The funny thing is that it really works.

1. Picture yourself near a stream.

2. Birds are softly chirping in the cool mountain air.

3. No one but you knows your secret place.

4. You are in total seclusion from the hectic world.

5. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

6. The water is crystal clear.

7. You can easily make out the face of the person you're holding underwater.

8. See? You're smiling already...........

Have a nice week all

Very nice Clare, now get on with you work. Only kidding! Luv ya!

Monday 23 June 2008


This could be a long story, but I will attempt to be brief. In the early 1980’s life had become pretty grim. We were in a recession; the interest and inflation rates were climbing, (I think something like 18% at one time) OG had three building contracts cancelled in one weekend – well, you probably get the picture.

Through a series of “coincidences” that would have to be the subject of another blog, I went from being a complete agnostic to becoming a Chistian. I then looked for a church that was "worthy" of my Christianity (only kidding) and found one in Guildford called Millmead. It was (and, I believe, still is) a very vibrant place to be on a Sunday with three services and 650 people at each service singing their heads off. Cliff Richard was a member of the congregation. The neighbours used to complain about that, the noise I mean, not Cliff Richard!

At that time this was just what I needed. A place of safety where I could learn, regroup and re-energize myself. There was a particular minister that was an ace communicator and with his guidance I was baptized and eventually OG and I were married with him officiating.

Circumstances changed and we moved away from the area but I never forgot that church or that minister, especially at this time of year, because on the middle Sunday of Wimbledon the Christian tennis players used to visit and give their testimony.

So, this is where I am going with this. Recently life has become pretty grim again and I have often wished that I had the love, warmth and commonsense of that churchand that minister to support me. On Saturday a friend, who knew about me going to this church, mentioned the minister that had been the original inspiration, David Pawson. He said that he had a website. I didn’t really know this man because he was just leaving as I was newly introduced to the church. But it did get me wondering what had become of “our” minister Justin Dennison, so I “Googled” him and traced him to a church in Canada.

And this is the miracle. Last night I was able to listen to yesterdays’ sermon online. It could have been written for me and has given me a lot to think about. I shall continue to listen to his weekly message at and, hopefully, may even become a more rounded individual again?! Do you think? Nah!.

Wednesday 18 June 2008


“That place has closed Nanny”

“What place darling?”

“The Pet Shop”


“Can I have a pet Nanny?”

“I don’t think so, you’re not very lucky with pets are you? They all die”

“I know, but I could have a dog”

Her younger sister chimes in “No you couldn’t because you would have to have a lead”

“But I could have a cat couldn’t I Nanny? Oh no I couldn’t, Dominic is allergic to cats” (Dominic is the boy next door)

Her sister shouts “Leave my hat alone. Nanny she’s trying to throw my hat out of the window”

“No I’m not, the window won’t open far enough”. Well that’s OK then.

“Well, could I have a horse then? I could keep a horse in the house”

“How could you keep a horse in the house? Don’t be silly”

“Why not? My friend Charlotte keeps her horse in the house”

“Well Charlotte must live on a farm” Why did I say that?

“Why am I having this insane conversation with you two? I’m a grown up and I have grown up conversations”

Two little girls giggle.“I know Nanny, we are troublesome aren’t we?”

Sunday 15 June 2008



One day last week I was standing at the photocopier in the main office, wondering why people were hovering around the maintenance man. He eventually wandered up the office, opened the electricity box and stood scratching his head.


“Yes, we’ve got no lights”

I flipped the light switch. Lights!

The scary thing is that this was mid-morning in an office of about 30 people. How many had mentioned the problem BEFORE the maintenance man was consulted?


Our great-granddaughters slept over on Friday. After they left I said to OG

“Those girls are really lovely aren’t they?”


I repeated a little louder, clearly enunciating -

“Those - girls - are - really - lovely - aren’t - they?”

“Those curls are what?”

I shout


“Alright, no need to shout”

“I wouldn’t have had to shout if you'd listened in the first place”

He looked grim, I wanted to kill him (again). The quality moment had passed!

Friday 13 June 2008


Yesterday afternoon Davy had an appointment with the oncologist. Everyone says that he is a very nice man and he is, in fact he’s a very, very nice man (I mean the oncologist, not Davy. Although I am not saying that Davy is NOT a very nice man - oh! hang it up - I'm digging a hole for myself here).

The doctor had been concerned because the chemo nurse said the treatment was taking it out of him and he wondered if he was strong enough to continue. He had been on the brink of postponing last weeks’ session, but the blood test was good so he decided to continue.

He said chemo was, after all, a very toxic poison designed to kill off the cancer, but the wider implications are that it kills off good cells too, so it was not to be taken lightly, particularly so soon after major surgery.

He was, therefore, very pleased to see that Davy bounced back well after last weeks session and has even put on weight. So it’s full steam ahead.

Last week I asked the chemo nurse about scans. Everyone we have known with cancer has regular scans, but Davy has only had one CT scan and that was before Christmas. The nurse said that it WAS usual to have regular scans, but some patients didn’t have to have them. She suggested, and Davy agreed, that I should ask the doctor, which I did.

“I know I’ve mentioned this before, will Davy be getting any scans?”

“Yes” - I sensed a certain evasiveness.


Davy stepped in “She is more worried about this than I am” (the way he said it sounded quite patronizing and is SO not true!)

The doctor answered “We may decide to do a scan towards the end of the chemo just to get a base-line”

“Oh right" I started babbling "I wondered that. Because I guess you would normally know the base-line, but because of the way it went with Davy having the operation first you have no base-line”. I smiled at Davy “He’s fobbed me off again hasn’t he?”

“No really, I’m not fobbing you off, but scans are not always appropriate. They saw no visual evidence of the cancer having spread during the operation, but that is no guarantee that it hasn’t and because cancer was present in two of the six lymph nodes examined chemo is being given as a precautionary measure.” He glanced at Davy “You are the patient, if you want a scan I’ll arrange one, but it really won’t be helpful.”
Davy grinned sheepishly. “She has been banging on about scans for ages and once she gets an bee in her bonnet she won’t let go of it.”

The doctor again stressed “But what do YOU want?" (was he having a go at me?) "I think we may do a scan a couple of months after the chemo but if it eases your mind I will arrange for you to have one anytime you want.”

Davy shrugged. The doctor continue “But would you really want to know if the cancer has spread? There isn't anything we can do about it apart from what we are already doing and it might just worry you to know that, for instance, it’s traveled to your liver. To be frank, you are probably best not to know”.

When we were in the car I said “Thanks for that, you made me sound like the woman from hell”.

“No I didn’t I was only saying you were concerned for me”

“Well that’s not the way that it sounded to me. Now the GP, the Uro-Oncology Nurse Practitioner and the Oncologist all think that I’m some sort of mad women.”

He then had the audacity and bravery to say “If the cap fits!”.

He was relating the story to his friend on the ‘phone last night and they were both laughing. “…so he said he is giving me a very toxic poison that will make me extremely ill, that I may not need, it may not work anyway and could even kill me, but he said he didn’t think I should have a scan because it might worry me!”.
I could hear gales of laughter and said “He doesn’t believe you”
“Ann said you don’t believe me, but it’s true”. More screams of laughter. It was at this stage that we ALL got slightly hysterical. Rab my friend, if you are reading this, it is the gods’ honest truth, it’s just the way you tell ‘em!

But enough about us. My friend sent me this with the comment “And even after the menopause I still get the same feelings - just no need for the pads!!!!”

This is an actual letter from an Austin woman sent to American company Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph. It's PC Magazine's 2007 editors' choice for best webmail-award-winning letter

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the Leak Guard Core or Dry-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favourite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from the curse'? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.' Isn't the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers monthly visits from 'Aunt Flo'. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying, jags, and out-of-control behaviour. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy!

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... Which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: 'Have a Happy Period.'

Are you f&@*ing kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything 'happy' about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local shopping mall armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or 'Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong', or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bull sh*t. And that's a promise I will keep. Always.


Wendi Aarons

Austin , TX

Monday 9 June 2008


Judge Judy presiding...............

Judge to prostitute 'So when did you realize you were raped?' Prostitute, wiping away tears: 'When the cheque bounced.'

The building work is one year old on 23rd June! Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear housework, happy birthday to you! When will it be finished? Well, in a month or so we should be onto the “snagging list”. What has to be finished?

Laying the under-floor heating in the kitchen/family room.
Floor tiling in the kitchen/family room and en-suite bathroom
Fitting units in the kitchen and en-suite bathroom
Building stairs and fitting glass balustrades on walkway
Job done!

If you say it fast it doesn’t sound much, but with only one tradesman on the job it will probably take a while yet. Then we start on the next project - renovate the part of the house that we are living in now. That is not such a big job because there are no major plumbing/electrics changes, but I guess that work will take us past next Christmas!

Anyway, once we are in the new part of the house we will have more room, enabling us to resume the massive family Sunday lunches and have the grandchildren and friends stay in comfort. Life can get back to “normal”. Well as “normal” as it is possible to be with OG’s cancer.

I say “massive family Sunday lunches”, but in actual fact our numbers have been pared down now that one of our daughters has taken her family to live in France. If the weather was good we would sometimes have over 20, with the younger children sitting at their own table in the garden. Ah! Happy days!

Yesterday we had lunch with our eldest daughter, son-in-law, two nephews that they adopted when their mum died and my grandson who now lives with her after returning from France. The weather was perfect and after lunch we spent “quality time” together drinking wine in the sunshine. OG doesn’t like the sun so he took himself off to the shops to drool over the new TV he intends to buy for our new bedroom.

The conversation, as usual, came around to how crappy this country has become and I learned things that I have been sworn not to reveal. Things that if I told you I would probably have to kill you! Suffice to say that I have stored the information and one day I will be compelled to blab. Watch this space!

But this I can repeat, because it was in the paper. Two men wearing balaclavas were spotted on a church roof stripping off lead that parishioners had recently collected £100,000 to replace. But despite the fact that they had thrown bundles of rolled up lead to the ground police refused to arrest them because they said they might have simply been enjoying the view. That makes me want to swear, and I fuck it, I will. What the fuck is that all about, fucking PC twats!!!!!!

Thursday 5 June 2008


This was sent to me by my beautiful friend with whom I will be lunching again this Saturday.

Age 3 - She looks at herself and sees a Queen

Age 8 - She looks at herself and sees Cinderella

Age 15 - She looks at herself and sees an Ugly Sister ('Mum, I can't go to school looking like this!')

Age 20 - She looks at herself and sees 'too fat / too thin / too short / too tall / too straight / too curly' - but decides she's going out anyway

Age 30 - She looks at herself and sees 'too fat / too thin / too short / too tall / too straight / too curly' - but decides she doesn't have time to fix it, so she's going out anyway

Age 40 - She looks at herself and sees 'clean' and goes out anyway

Age 50 - She looks at herself and sees 'I am' and goes wherever she wants to

Age 60 - She looks at herself and reminds herself of all the people who can't even see themselves in the mirror anymore - goes out and conquers the world

Age 70 - She looks at herself and sees wisdom, laughter and ability and goes out to enjoy life

Age 80 - Doesn't even bother to look - just puts on a purple hat and goes out to have fun with the world

Maybe we should put on that purple hat earlier...
My friend, what I love most about you is that you have ALWAYS worn a purple hat!


….and this was sent to us by our friend “the richest man in Surrey” who should be ashamed of himself!

Dear Pastor,

I walked down the busy footpath, knowing I was late for an important meeting. My eye fell upon one of those unfortunate, homeless vagabonds that are found in every city these days. Wearing what can only be described as rags, carrying every worldly possession in two plastic bags, my heart was touched by this person's condition. Some people turned to stare. Others quickly looked away as if the sight would somehow contaminate them.

Recalling some long ago Sunday school admonition to "care for the sick, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked." I was moved by some powerful inner urge to reach out to this unfortunate person. Yes, where some people saw only rags, I saw a hidden beauty.

A small voice inside my head called out, "Reach out, reach out and touch this person"! So I did .....

I won't be in church this Sunday!

Thought this parable would improve OG's mind. - Yeh, right!

Tuesday 3 June 2008


A couple of weeks ago I read in a Sunday magazine that Fiona Phillips, one of the best known faces on breakfast TV, had been offered a ministerial post in the Department of Health by Gordon Brown. Because she isn’t a Member of Parliament the job offer came with a peerage attached and she would have become Baroness Phillips!

Why? If she was one of the TV “heavy weights” I MIGHT understand why, but on the face of it she is just a fluffy bit of stuff, admittedly popular but, in my judgement, without any commercial or political experience, and certainly not qualified for that post. Another “yes” man for Gordon to bully? Thankfully she declined.

In fact, I think that my two great granddaughters would make a better job of running the NHS, the eldest of whom was 7 on Saturday.

Which leads me on nicely to the subject of her birthday, one of her birthday gifts was a trampoline and the whole neighbourhood of children came into the garden to celebrate with her! In fact the two girls went to the roller disco at teatime and the whole neighbourhood of children stayed behind on the trampoline until 10.00 pm.

Luckily my granddaughter and her fiancé love children and entertained the whole neighbourhood of children again the next day when they all played on the WII! One little foreign boy only has one word of English and that is the fiancés name. He comes in to play with him! Ahh!

Sunday 1 June 2008


“ Do you know, you have turned into a really nice woman” my face must have been a picture

“ Like I wasn’t always a nice woman?” OG looked uncomfortable and then started digging.

“Well, you were but you went through a bit of a transitional stage….”

“Stop, stop right there. Warning! Hole! Stop digging!”


“No, seriously, STOP”. Good job he is taking chemo otherwise I might have killed him.