Sunday 27 July 2008


This is my Sunday. The weather is fine and warm and I am sitting with my French doors open enjoying the sunshine while I blog. The lunch is cooking away in the kitchen and smells wonderful. Today we have chicken, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and YORKSHIRE PUDDING. I know, Yorkshire pudding doesn’t go with chicken, but hey, we like it so we have it every week. For pudding we have home made rice pudding (for my grandson) and shop bought vanilla and chocolate cheesecake (for our daughter).

On the stroke of 1.00 pm our daughter, SIL and two of our grandsons will arrive, full of stories about the amazing holiday they just had. Because we have such a large family we operate a “Sunday Lunch Rota”. Occasionally we will even have a mass get together, but that takes some organising and can only happen when we are all feeling very energetic. One of the reasons for the big renovation programme was to extend our kitchen so that we could all be together in one room now and again! God is in his heaven and all’s well with the world. has given me this lovely award:

Here are the rules for this: The rules: SHARE THE LOVE!!! Share this award with all those blogs out there that you love. All the people who make you smile. All those that make you laugh. All those that make your day. All those that leave uplifting comments on your blog. **All I ask, is that you include a link to this post with the award and ask your recipient to do the same** Visit (Memoirs of a Mommy)for the awesome story behind this award.

Thank you so much Sandi. I will have to think about this. I have so many people I want to share the love with and during the week I will name them and invite them to come over and pick it up. Now, I have to get on with the cooking otherwise I will not be the one that is loved!

Saturday 26 July 2008


You will be given a scenario, at the end you will be faced with a dilemma. You will be given 2 options, you may NOT make up any 3rd option.

You are in a town where there is a flood of biblical proportions. You are a photographer hoping to take some real career-enhancing pictures to sell to the newspapers.You see a man swept away into the current. He is obviously on the point of drowning. AS you step a bit closer to the edge of the raging torrent and you see that it is Gordon Brown. You have time to either save him, or take a Pulitzer Prize-winning picture of him drowning.Your dilemma:

Should you a) use a high contrast colour film or b) go for the gritty traditionalism of black and white?

I know, this is in very poor taste isn't it, but it made me laugh. Tell me, is Gordon Brown the most unpopular PM we have ever had? I think so! And how much longer can he continue to hang on to his job?

But enough of that. It is an unusually glorious day today and OG has been pottery around clearing up after the builders. Our “holywood bedroom” carpets are being fitted on Monday and our “holywood bedroom” curtains the following Monday. So in just over a week OG and I can rattle around in our posh room, open one or both sets of our posh French doors, shower in our posh wet room or bathe in our posh bath and pretend that we are not the bricklayer or typist that we once were.

All that is left to complete the renovation now is fit the kitcnen units, give the kitchen another coat of paint, fit the stair treads and banister, give the two downstairs bedrooms another coat of paint and bob's your uncle, we are there! Any bets on it not being finished this side of Christmas?

OG is not feeling too bad at the moment. Following the blood transfusion and now that the chemo strength has been reduced by 25% his is beginning to bounce back a bit. However, having said that there are some days when he is totally wiped out because he has overdone things, but “one day at a time” things are on the up.

We had a visit to the oncologist yesterday and he is planning on extending the chemo for at least one, possibly two, months. This would bring us to mid September so no mad parties or extended trips in the foreseeable future!

Thankfully, his eyesight has returned to normal, so that’s a tremendous blessing. Thank you to everyone that is praying for him. I like to believe that it is working, although I know that some of our family and friends prefer to believe that prayer is a pretty useless activity. All I can say is - let’s pray for them!

Thursday 17 July 2008


“That will be £2.41” She stuck her hand out for the money
I handed over a £5 note and said “I’ll give you the odd 41p in change”
“That’s alright, we’ve got plenty of change”
"But I would rather I gave you the .41p"
"I've rung it up now"
"But I don't want more change"
"I't only £2.59 in change
“No, what I mean is I have a purse full of change that I want to get rid of ”
“Well I've rung it up now” she repeated as she shoved the change at me.

It must have been that woman’s lucky day. She doesn’t know how close I came to leaping over her wretched counter and throttling her. Instead I graciously took the change and smiled. Whatever!

This experience reminded me of something my dear lunch friend emailed me some time ago. These examples of this manic type of behaviour are Americans which proves that this problem is global:-

I was at the checkout of a K-Mart. The clerk rang up $46.64 charge. I gave her a fifty-dollar bill. She gave me back $46.64. I gave the money back to her and told her that she had made a mistake in MY favour. She became indignant and informed me she was educated and knew what she was doing, and returned the money again. I gave her the money back. Same scenario! I departed the store with the $46.64.

They Walk Among Us

I walked into a Starbucks with a buy-one-get- one-free coupon for a GrandeLatte. I handed it to the girl and she looked over at a little chalkboard that said "buy one-get one free." "They're already buy-one- get-one-free, "she said, "so I guess they're both free". She handed me my free Lattes and I walked out the door.

They Walk Among Us!

One day I was walking down the beach with some Friends when one of them shouted, "Look at that dead bird!" Someone looked up at the sky and said,"Where?"

They Walk Among Us!

While looking at a house, my brother asked the real estate agent which direction was north because, he explained, he didn't want the sun waking him up every morning. She asked, "Does the sun rise in the North?" When my brother explained that the sun rises in the East, and has for sometime, she shook her head and said, "Oh I don't keep up with all that stuff."

They Walk Among Us!!

I used to work in technical support for a 24/7 call center. One day I got a call from an individual who asked what hours the call centre was open. I told him, "The number you dialed is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." He responded, "Is that Eastern or Pacific time?" Wanting to end the call quickly, I said, "Uh, Pacific."

They Walk Among Us!

My sister has a life saving tool in her car designed to cut through a seatbelt if she gets trapped. She keeps it in the trunk.

They Walk Among Us!

My friends and I were on a beer run and noticed that the cases were discounted 10%. Since it was a big party, we bought 2 cases. The cashier multiplied 2 times 10% and gave us a 20% discount.

They Walk Among Us!

I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area, so I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up.She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands. "Now," she asked me, has your plane arrived yet?"

They Walk Among Us!

While working at a pizza parlor I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 pieces or 6. He thought about it for some time before responding."Just cut it into 4 pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces."

Yep, They Walk Among Us! They Walk Among Us,and they Reproduce,and Worst of all.....they Vote!

Tuesday 8 July 2008


Two things struck me this week. First thing was that New York used to be one of the most dangerous and violent cities in the world, not any more though! We were there last autumn and it felt very safe whereas London feels very unsafe. So what happened? I’ll tell you what happened - zero tolerance and good policing is what happened. In NY there is a very, very high police presence. They rule the streets with serious hardware and aren’t going to take prisoners. But, strangely enough, that doesn’t feel threatening in fact it feels safe. In London you are lucky to see a policeman, the nutters rule the streets and it’s all very scary.

The second thing that struck me this week is that there was a time when we had zero tolerance here too. But we did it “our way”, very British but very effective. Now instead of good old-fashioned PC Plod who wasn’t afraid to clip a kid around the ears and send him packing if he stepped out of line we have no-go areas where police don’t patrol in case it incites rioting! OK, times move on, but for goodness sake we should still be able to rule by law not by violence and intimidation.

I have often had conversations with OG about the rowdiness of our local market town where you see mobs of drunken youths, spitting and fighting on a Saturday night. And when you read the local paper it is always the same few scumbags committing the crimes. These characters are habitual offenders, well known to the police and yet they still walk the streets. Why?

Well, halleluiah, guess what? Roger Baker the Chief Constable of Essex thinks the same. At his first press conference three years ago he warned, “If you are planning on committing crime in Essex, bring a toothbrush because you won’t be going home”.

Where other forces are closing 24-hour stations, he is opening more. Instead of simply handing out a crime number he insistes that anyone reporting a crime is visited. In his first year he moved 220 desk-bound officers back on to the beat and has pledged an extra 600 within 5 years. And he is doing this by making savings, it won’t cost the tax payer a penny.

And this is the real genius of the man. In January he launched Operation Leopard on the Three-Four Estate in Vange, near Basildon. The development of Thirties terraces ad Sixties flats was plagued by vandalism, open drug use and marauding youths intimidating the residents (much like our local market town).

The strategy was simple but ingenious. First, police asked residents who was causing the problems and identified a hard core of only 15 troublemakers.

A team of three special surveillance officers with neighbourhood and Community Support Officers then followed these yobs everywhere. They knocked on their doors in the morning to inform them they would be watched that day and stalked them for 16 hours a day for three weeks. They also videoed them. At first the targeted troublemakers thought it a bit of a joke. Then they complained it was intrusive. In the end, they were worn down.

Before Operation Leopard, more than 20 crimes a week were being committed in the Vange area with the Three-Four a hotspot. The police team carried out 60 spot-checks and arrested four people for offences including cocaine possession and assaulting a police officer.
Crime levels went from a spike to zero.

Six months on they are still “incredible low”. One lady on the estate said “it was pure bliss, it was miserable living here before. You were constantly looking out of the window to see if your car was being vandalised. There were youngsters hanging around in groups causing a nuisance. They would think it was really funny to spit at you. There was graffiti and vandalism, kids openly smoking joints or skulking about with their hoods up so you can’t see their faces. It was very intimidating. I wouldn’t walk my dog in the evening by myself and I would think twice about it in the day. But for the whole week that there was this police presence it was wonderful.

Operation Leopard is now being developed for trouble spots throughout the entire country. The problem is that you just know the PC / Health & Safety loony brigade will strongly object, down will descend the fog of lunacy and instead of embracing and expanding something that really works it will be scaled down until it has become totally impotent.
OK, you could wonder if the 15 trouble-makers simply moved the problem to the next town. I’m sure they did, but if we keep chasing them down they will either stop or go to prison. We are not talking about big numbers here. And I would hazard a guess that the numbers are quite small in every community. Lets hunt the buggers down and win back the streets.

Saturday 5 July 2008


On the front page of the Sunday Times dated 20th April 1941 it was announcement that women born in the year 1919 were required to register at a local office of the Ministry of Labour the following Saturday.

300,000 women born in 1920 had already registered the day before (19th April). It was anticipated that many of them were already employed in services open to women but those who were not would be interviewed by experience women officers in two or three weeks’ time and would be required to sign on.

So… in the middle of a war, and without the aid of technology, the Government registered, interviewed, assessed and re-deployed upward of 600,000 women within two to three weeks and yet with the advantage of a computer system that probably cost the Department of Education a King’s ransom it was announced this week that a million children expecting their Sats results on Tuesday will have to wait at least another week. The company handling the papers blamed “technological, logistical and administrative problems”. Thank goodness they are not trying to organise a war then huh?

Apart from reading newspapers, what else did I do yesterday?

1. I had a “heated discussion” with OG. It started with my statement that, in my opinion, the Government had handled the Northern Rock situation badly and it had resulted in a loss of confidence. OG started banging on about it being the banks to blame, not the Government. Some minutes, and much shouting later, this impasse resulted in me having to bang the bathroom door shut rather loudly.

2. I had arranged to take sporty, nearly to be grandson-in-law, to his driving theory test. I knew where it was because I had been there before and the Crown Paint Shop, where I needed to go, is right next door. Whilst I was there OG asked me to take his car into the Audi garage to get them to look at the window trims that were oxidising. No problemo!

Big mistake! Big problemo! The theory test centre had moved and a leisurely “don’t worry, I’ll get you there in plenty of time” saunter turned into a gut wrenching chase across town with me taking every wrong turn known to man or beast.

The Audi garage had also moved! But I did pick up the paint without any major incident. And sporty, nearly to be grandson-in-law passed his test. So far, so good.

3. The new iron that had replaced the iron that recently blew up, blew up and the cleaner couldn’t finish the ironing that had been left from when the washing machine AND dryer both blew up the last time she was in.

4. A visit to the oncologist went without incident. The chemo would resume next Thursday, provided OG’s blood levels are OK, with the dose being reduced by 25%. Hopefully this should eliminate the problem with the blood levels dropping too low.

5. Our two great-granddaughters came for a sleepover while our granddaughter and sporty finance, imminently to become sporty husband (in fact, this Friday), went out for a meal to celebrate “the passing of the test”.

6. Mid-evening we had a knock on the door. A bird was trapped in the office and couldn’t be persuaded to leave. We made an executive decision. Simple really, in fact a no brainer, couldn’t catch? then leave it there! The hope was that it wouldn’t set off the alarm in the night.

7. Just settled nicely into bed when a plaintive voice started crying “nanny, nanny”. I spent the next four hours comforting the poor little girl whilst she bought her heart up. At 0300 she finally got the hang of the routine enough to let me go to my own bed between half hourly bouts of throwing up.

8. In the middle of all this OG announced that his eye had started haemorrhaging again and his vision had gone from extremely good to almost zero. Shit. The hope is that this will clear up again. Only time will tell.

9. At 0700 her sister started throwing up too. That is when I called their mummy. At 0800 I went back to bed for a couple of hours until the wretched bird finally managed to trip the alarm at 1000! Hey ho! Another day in paradise.

Tuesday 1 July 2008


I read in today’s paper that when asked to describe the room he was sitting in a boy wrote “fuck off” on his exam paper and was awarded 2 points because it was spelt correctly and conveyed meaning. This example was used to teach other examiners about marking. I actually think that the boy should have been awarded full marks because he is obviously a genius and has all the makings of a future prime minister.

Talking of which, when you read this I think you'll agree the world is now a scary, scary place:-

Teaching Maths in 1970 - A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Maths in 1980 - A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or £80. What is his profit?

Teaching Maths in 1990 - A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is £80. Did he make a profit?

Teaching Maths in 2000 - A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is £80 and his profit is £20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Maths in 2008 - A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he's selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of £20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (there are no wrong answers.)