Saturday 26 September 2009


We had a McMillan Cancer Support charity coffee morning fund raising yesterday. The main event was Ed having his locks shawn. He claims that he hasn't had his hair short since he was 11, so it was a very,very brave thing to do. Well done Ed, you are a true sport.

Many people baked cakes for a competition which was won by, stangely enough, Ed. No, he wasn't the only one to take part, but he does bake a mean New York Cheesecake.

The event raised a total of £322.15, so well done you people, especially Ed who agree to undergo the ritual public humiliation and Donna who organised it.

Thursday 24 September 2009


I have been swallowed up in a blogger’ vortex. with so much to say but no words to tell the story. But let me start with the feel good stuff.

Last weekend OG and I went to the really posh wedding of one of our colleagues. The ceremony was at the very grand Stapleford Park Hotel. OG and I stayed the weekend and were very priviledge to be upgraded. If look on their website the room we stayed in was the one to the left of the flag, the one with the open window.

It was a massive room, as high as it was wide, in fact cube shaped. Although OG was not particularly impressed with it and kept banging on that it couldn’t possibly be an upgrade. I explained that this was “faded grandeur”. He thought it was tat. I must agree that I did have the occasional thought, “I’ve got better than this at home, what am I doing here?"

I digress, the wedding. The weather was perfect, the happy couple were beaming, the bride was beautiful, the setting was stunning, the company was entertaining, and the food was to die for.

So that’s the good stuff. Now for the vortex stuff. There is a saying “don’t listen to the words, hear the meaning”. So here goes - this is when I reveal my true craziness. I applaud the new initiative to treat heroin addicts with heroin. Yes, I know, mad isn’t it. But this is my thinking.

A high proportion of prisoners are “in residence” because of crimes committed to feed a drug habit. The cost of policing and incarcerating junkies is massive and doesn’t even begin to solve the problem, not to mention the cost in human misery to the addict, their family and us good citizens going about our everyday business. The result is that the Criminal Justice System is in virtual meltdown.

Added to that is the wider issue of drugs funding the terrorism that our soldiers are dying to protect us from and the evidence for just buying the damn opium direct from source and giving them the wretch “fix” at clinics is compelling. Work smart, not hard - cut out the criminal/terrorist middlemen.

By giving junkies their drug in clinics we make our streets safer and take the criminals operating the supply chain out of the equation. It is a solution that works well and saves money in Sweden and Switzerland

I should also add that I don’t believe that anyone sets out to be an addict. The term "addiction" is used to describe an obsession, compulsion, or excessive psychological dependence and takes many forms such as drug addiction, alcoholism, compulsive overeating, problem gambling etc. I know many people with alcohol and/or heroin addiction, both in recovery and still suffering so I do have some personal knowledge of the difficulties that surround this hellish condition.

Last year I met a wonderful group of brave, honest, hard working souls, all with personal experience of addiction either themselves or within their family. They believe that wherever possible the addict should abstain from drugs, which is obviously the best solution, but this is only the beginning of the recovery journey. They set up a drop in center. Their work has been an extraordinary success story, helping addicts get clean and back into society by opening up channels for them to get back into work and housing. Unfortunately, because they don’t have “qualifications” they can’t get funding. They struggle.

The “qualifications” that they DO have is that they know all the angles, they can’t have the wool pulled over their eyes and they work with conviction, passion and love. The “been there, done that, got the T-shirt” sort of people. But this, apparently, doesn’t count. We desperately need to look at this whole problem with fresh eyes.

So - hurrah for this initiative. Now let’s sit back and watch the bleeding liberals and mad politicians wreck the scheme!

And finally … I believe that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help

Tuesday 8 September 2009


Last Friday the wretched satnav deposited my grandson-in-law and me in the wrong location in deepest, darkest Norfolk. I suspected that something was amiss when it took us off the google route but, fool that I am, I decided to ignore google and stick with the fool in the car. Hey, a top of the range satnav that is reading the road conditions straight from the satellite can’t be wrong, can it? Oh yes it can!

So…Einstein’s definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I am proud to report that the very next morning I put this theory to the test and, guess what, he was right. I am now officially classified insane.

On Saturday morning I punched our wedding destination into the satnav and off we set to a tightly timed schedule only to end up on a very nice suburban road that went for miles winding around neat houses, bumping over sleeping policemen, obviously lost.

The second person that we asked for directions guessed where it might be and off we charge again, racing against the clock. No, that’s not right either. Then I remembered that there was a “Church Street” on the satnav list so we tried again and bingo, finally found the church.

Hellishly late we abandoned the car and we made a run for it, hair blowing wildly in a gale,. “Quick” said the photographers, “the bride hasn’t arrived yet, she’s late”. Whew, thank goodness for that.

Unfortunately, our hurried approach was heard by the organist and, as we staggered in, to our horror, she struck up “Here comes the bride”. The vicar started to frantically flap his arms around in an attempt to warn her to stop but by this time the congregation had all stood and were gaping at two red faced, flustered, dishevelled and embarrassed guests, one clutching a fascinator in a hot sweaty hand. They very unkindly laughed.

When we sat down I attempted to don my very attractive fascinator only to be told by OG that it didn’t look quite right. I took it off. He said my hair didn’t look quite right either. We both attempted to "fluff it up a bit" but the mirror told the story -on top of everything else I was experiencing an incredibly bad hair day!

But I digress. The wedding. It was a beautiful, simple service with much laughter and joy. Then on to Emmanuel College Cambridge for that typically English tradition, canapés, Pimms and champagne on the lawn followed by a meal in the dining hall. The word to describe the day was “perfect”.

But all good things must come to an end and OG, not being social butterfly, always likes to leave before the heavy drinking starts and people start getting silly. Me? I like to get silly! Time to go.

Ah! the main gate was locked and the porter’s lodge empty, as in no porter to open it for us. We went on a reccy to find another exit, eventually stumbling across an elderly academic couple walking slowly, but purposefully. OG asked if they were making their way to an exit and, as they confirmed that they were, asked if we could follow them. They looked bemused and agreed. He muttered that they had “a special key” to open a gate.

After quite a long trek and the use of the “special key” we found ourselves in a back alley where, again totally lost, we were forced to ask for directions to the Crown Plaza. The puzzled man (probably the Lord High Justice or something grand) asked why, if we wanted to go to the Crown Plaza, we hadn’t used the main gate. When we told him it was locked. He said “but you should have gone through the door in the porter’s lodge, that’s always left open”. Shit!

And finally …everyday you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
Winston Churchill.

Friday 4 September 2009


Many people have expressed concern over OG's latest CT scan and asked for an update. The situation is that he saw his oncologist this evening and the good news is that the rogue lymph gland has returned to "normal" and he is as sure as he can be that the pain he is experiencing in his pelvis is not connected to cancer.

However, (and there always seems to be an "however" doesn't there?) now another lymph gland is larger than normal and needs watching. He did say that lymph glands do this all the time and have to be watched carefully in a cancer patient in case there is a problem. He arranged for him to have another CT scan in November and at the same time he will ask the technician to have another look at the pelvic region again.

When asked on a scale of 1/10 how concerned he was about this he said 3. So, all in all the news is good.

Tomorrow we go to a wedding, all our troubles behind us (well nearly). Have a good weekend y'll.

Wednesday 2 September 2009


I have always been fascinated by this man. He marched to the beat of his own drum, had a whole section of the Nobel Peace Prize museum in Stockholm dedicated to him and was nobody's fool. I should add that my mother and father hated him. I think that they were old school socialists who couldn’t bring themselves to like a Tory politician. But that’s another story.

The other morning one of my colleagues was attemtping to quote one of her grandmothers stranger sayings. She couldn’t quite remember her exact words apart from it being something about buggering on at a wedding. Yes, I was confused too, but out of this random, mad conversation one thought led to another and I was reminded that on days when nothing seemed to be going his way, Churchill would start the day off by saying out loud: "KBO - Keep Buggering On!" ... Sadly, in my hugely complicated life, there have been many, many times when I have known the exact meaning of this sentiment!

This small exchange led me to reacquainting myself with some of his best known quotes and this one leapt out at me as being very relevant in today’s world. “I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents.” I wonder what he would have made of our dear PM and his massively under-esteemed cohort “The King Maker” Mandelson? I am sure that he would have had a few wise words to share with us don’t you?

Maybe he had a premonition about our PM when he said, “I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns”.

Or he could equally have written this for our current bunch of no-hope politicians “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened”. Now ain’t that the truth?

And here’s a good one for Tony Blair “Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events”.

This is fun, but unfortunately I have a life that I must now go and live. But I leave you with one last quote in which, I believe, he really homes in on one of life's most important things “From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put”. Amen to that.

And finally ….. I believe that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance and the same goes for true love.