Saturday 31 July 2010


I saw this on Carmen's Blog this morning (RNSANE)and she graciously gave me permission to use it. It's hilarious.


This was sent to me this morning. Having been married to a Scot I can say that there more than a little truth in this!

I guess that I have now upset most of the global population because if someone isn't Scottish they have someone in their family who is and if not really, really love the Scots and hate the English. Now why is that do you think?

Sunday 25 July 2010


My last blog caused some confusion, so I am now attempting to resolve that. This is my portable keyboard which folds in half and has a niffty little pull out rest for my BlackBerry to repose on. I have sat it on my laptop so that you can see it's full sized. It's so much easier that trying to type off of the tiny 'phone keyboard, especially when I want to write a blog. It was indispensable when I went on my Orient Express trip and I'm sure it will also be indispensable on my trip overland across Europe, Asia, and North America.

The power monkey is simple and does what it says on the tin. I charge it up from the mains or by solar power whenever I get the opportunity and use it as my power source when I'm in a remote region without mains access. Clever huh! But will it work? I have spoken to many people who assure me it will be fine, but I guess the only way to prove it is to buy one because what works for other people doesn't necessarily work for me, especially when I don't have an "expert" at hand!

Wednesday 21 July 2010


In preparation for my BIG TRIP next March I have dug out my Freedom Universal Keyboard. I switch it on and - heypresto - with the help of my trusted IT expert taking good instruction and advice from me, I have a full sized keyboard instead of having to use the diddy keyboard on the BlackBerry.

So that is that problem solved, my next challenge is do I need an IPad? It would be good to be able to Google and read books on the hoof, as it were. I know I can Google on BlackBerry but it's not quite the same without a good sized screen. Or should I make do, Google on BlackBerry and take Davy's EReader with me? Much easier to read books on.

...And then there is the question of how to I charge my batteries? I think that I am leaning towards a Power Money with Solar add on.

Anyway, enough of that, the keyboard is now tested and I'm going for a power nap. My brain hurts.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Tuesday 20 July 2010


The other day I needed to go to the hospital casualty department. Not wanting to sit there for hours I stuck a patch onto the front of my blouse that I had downloaded off the Internet.

When I went into A & E., I noticed that three quarters of the people got up and left. I guess they decided that they weren't that sick after all. Cut at least 3 hours off my waiting time. Here's the patch. Feel free to use it the next time you're in need of quicker emergency service.

It also works at the DSS. It saved me 5 hours.

At the Laundry, three minutes after entering, I had my choice of any machine, most still running.

Don't try it at McDonald's though..... The whole crew got up and left and l never got my order...

Monday 19 July 2010


Last November I "acquired" three speeding tickets whilst Davy was in Addenbrookes Hospital. Because I already had 3 points on my licence these tickets would have taken me up to the maximum resulting in a driving ban and because I was Davy's primary means of getting to his various medical appointments I asked a specialist solicitor to look into the validity of the 30 MPH limit on this wide, tree lined avenue.

This opened up a can of worms culminating in my appearing in court this morning. I had a really "colourful" barrister who set out the fact that this road had a somewhat chequered past in that it had been at various times in it's history 30 MPH and then 40 MPH and still was 40 MPH along some stretches which are signed 30 MPH! Are you with me so far? However, sods law being what it is, the section that I was on is officially 30 MPH and correctly marked as such.

He went on to explain that had we been given this information last November when we first requested it I would have held up my hands and pled guilty, but the lack of co-operation and information from all the authorities concerned had resulted in this delay which had been finally resolved last Thursday when they released the information.

While the barrister was calmly and patiently explaining the history of this road there was much head shaking and lifting of eyes on the magistrates bench. They concluded that I should only be fined the bare minimum set penalty costs with 6 points on my licence and not the additional exhorbitant costs that Cambridge City Council were asking for. They admitted that this road had caused many problems over the years and were, I thought, extremely sympathetic towards me. I now have to drive like a nun until next March when the 3 points from the previous speeding offence drop off my licence.

As for the barrister.....we had coffee with him there IS a colourful character, but client confidentiallity prevents me from revealing anything. My lips are sealed.

Thursday 15 July 2010


This new government is proposing to make interesting changes to long standing money pits. This morning it's the turn of University funding. When Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, was interviewed he explained, very rationally and succinctly , that we currently have a system in place where students pay an upfront fee of £3000, which poorer students stuggle with, and then fund themselves by way of a student loan to eventually be paid back through additional taxes on earnings in excess of £15,000.

The new thinking is that higher earning professionals such as surgeons should be expected to pay more than, say, teachers or social workers. The TV reporter immediately jumped on this saying that high achievers should not be penalised in this way. Is it me? Surely that is what the whole taxation system is about anyway. High earners pay 40% income and capital gains taxes, and are in higher Council Tax bands because they can afford better housing etc. so this would simply be an extension of this thinking.

Vince Cable quite rightly said that we have limited funds available and have to use them wisely to ensure that we provide world class universities. At the moment we have so many university doling out mickey mouse degrees, frittering away precious resources and dumping virtually unemployable students onto the job market at the end of it.

And another thing.......the public sector is being asked to make across the board cuts too. Not before time. I know of local government workers and civil servants who are actively encouraged to reduce their productivity and submit inflated overtime claims because if the budget isn't used they lose it.

Even when Davy was in the building trade in the 1970's and 80's it was common practice for builders to be asked to increase the headcount on public sector sites toward the end of the year because there was a budget excess to be used up. And that is just the tip of the misappropriation of funding disgrace, I could write a book about it. It has to be stopped. Let's hope this government has the balls to tackle this national sacred cow.

Unfortunately any sensible suggestion is jumped on by the TV and media with the BBC appearing to be hell bent on subtly trashing any much needed changes and the Unions and spin doctors pursuading poor maligned workers that they are being victimised. What I don't understand is that benefit cheating is a crime, so why isn't cheating in the workplace also recorgnised as being the crime that it is? It has the same result, it keeps the Country poor and stops the really needy from getting help.

.......and don't get me started on the NHS. Now there is an organisation that is bloated with useless tossers and insane work practices.

OK, rant over for today.

Sunday 11 July 2010


Just got back from our London "girls" weekend away. What a great time we had, first meeting up for lunch with good friends from way back when and then on to "We Will Rock You" a show built around the music of Queen.

What a great musical that is and the cast is so talented. It's awsome to think how much talent there is around. At midnight we finally got chucked out of the restaurant next to our hotel. What a great way to end the weekend. I aim to make this year my most outrageous yet!

This was sent to me by a friend and uncannily smacks of realism!

Girls Night Out

A group of 40 year old girlfriends discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally, it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the waiters there had tight pants and nice buns.

10 years later at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the food there was very good and the wine selection was good also.

10 years later at 60 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean.

10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the restaurant was wheel chair accessible and they even had an elevator.

10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before.

Friday 9 July 2010


I have been very measured (for me) about the trip from London to New York. I emailed Nick Machin, the guy who wrote the blog, and he suggested that we meet up at the beginning of August so that he can give me the low down. I keep telling myself to stand back and consider what I'm doing because I always act so impetuously and get myself into so much trouble, then I though f..k it, do it, so I did! Completed the booking form, sent off my deposit and got an email confirmation by return. The dye is cast!

Even if it makes me lose a little weight and occupies my mind for a while it's worth it and if I really hate it I can always stop off at the nearest airport and come home again. So next March will see me with my rucksack timidly meeting my travelling companions in London ready for the big journey. How wonderful!

In the meantime life goes on. Tomorrow I'm going up to London for a "girls" weekend away to see "We Will Rock You" at the theatre. We are having lunch at Kettners, a wonderful restaurant in Soho and staying overnight at a gorgeous Grange City Hotel. It should be tremendous fun. I can't wait.

Friday 2 July 2010

Joy, joy

Did you young mothers ever yearn for the day when your children could go off to parties unaccompanied? Think on. That day never arrives because your young children become parents and your grandparently duty is to accompany your grandchildren to these wretched parties and then your grandchildren marry and..... Well you get the drift. Advice? Take a good book with you while the youngsters enjoy themselves.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Thursday 1 July 2010


My friend and colleague Tanya told me about an amazing organised trip an old school friend of hers has just taken, travelling overland from London to New York. He wrote a blog about his experiences at 1857/tpod.html.

I had seen a guy interviewed on TV a few years ago who was trying to organise a similar trip to Australia by bus. I got quite excited about the idea and Davy was doing his damnest to encourage me to go! I can't imagine why. Unfortunately at the time I was unable to unearth who was organising it or what it entailed.

After reading the blog I emailed the company telling them that I am a recently widowed lady of 70, not particularly fit, but with no health problems that I know of, asking if the trip would be too strenuous and this is the reply I received:

Dear Ann,

First of all many thanks for your message and interest in the London to New York trip in 2011.

Our first ever trip arrived in New York on 20th June (10 days ago) and was an unmitigated success. All the passengers thoroughly enjoyed it and have been hugely complimentary about the journey. Included within the passengers on this first trip we had a lady of 81 years old and two gentlemen in their early 70's.

You would certainly not be too old as we would not ask you to do anything too strenuous. Indeed it does tend to lend itself more towards mature passengers than some of the other trips. You would be most welcome to join this trip and indeed we are already taking bookings even at this early stage.

Please note that due to the fact that there will only be one trip annually and the number of places available are limited, we would suggest that if you do wish to join the 2011 London to New York trip it would be best to let us know sooner rather than later, as this way we can provisionally hold your place until you commit to book. The trip in 2010 was very popular and we expect the 2011 trip to be even more so.

I hope this helps but if you have any further questions then please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you again and hopefuly will be able to welcome you on board the 2011 trip.

Kind regards,

Alistair Chrystal

Would anyone that knows me please advise if they think this is a crazy idea because I do tend to be a tad impetuous at the best of times! But if you think it is sheer madness keep your mucking comments to yourself!