Friday 31 January 2014


My first" event" in this week's anticipated busy schedule, Monday's supper at Church, was ruined because I couldn't stop coughing and consequently didn't get to ask any of my silly questions.  My second event on Tuesday, the meal followed by a visit to the cinema, bought with it more coughing.  On Wednesday I set off for golf but then thought "I really don't feel well" so I turned back and endured two "duvet days". Don't you just hate that? 

But, the good news is that the boiler has been replaced, we have heat, we have hot water, BUT my shower is still not working.  So we've come the full circle back to the beginning, I need to get my shower fixed!

The movie that I went to see with my friend Jean was Saving Mr Banks.  I wasn't particularly looking forward to it because I'm not a Mary Poppins or a Disney fan but, boy, was I wrong. It was one of the best films I've seen for a long time and I can thoroughly recommend it. It had me laughing, smiling and even (say it quietly) crying!.  What more can you ask from a movie?  Great. 

And I just discovered that my great-granddaughter Orianne's budgie is laying on his back at the bottom of the cage.  Unfortunately, he is no more.  I think maybe the shock of feeling warm again when the heating came back on again did it for him.  Oh dear,  she will be really upset when she gets home from school.

All in all not a very good week.  In fact I think that I can definitely say that, at best, it has been a mixed week.

So .... what words of wisdom would Winston Churchill have for me at the moment?  "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm".  Good on ya Winny!

Monday 27 January 2014


My life seems to get crazier every day.  Take this week.  I am waiting for the plumber to ring me with a firm price and a date to fix a new boiler which has been on the blink since Christmas.  It finally gave up on us a couple of weeks ago and we have had varied opinions on what to do.  Eventually the boiler got fed up with me flip flapping around and decided to take things into it's own hands. One day I swear that I heard it begging to be replaced and then it simply stop working.   So here we are, with a massive freeze being forecast, no hot water, most rooms without heat and four children to keep clean and warm.  Help!

Apart from that I have a very busy week.  Today I go to an evening supper at church followed by a discussion on "Christianity Explored", a course that started last week and which I had intended to go to but had to turn back because the fog got too thick.  When a  friend of mine knew I hadn't gone she said "drat! that means my prayers were all in vane"  I asked what she had been praying and she said "I was praying that you would ask the people running the course to answer all your silly questions"! She said it with a smile, so I know there was no malice intended! 

I guess I do have silly questions, but it seems important to me to know how Moses wrote the chapters attributed to him. Had he learnt hieroglyphics when he lived in Egypt with the Royal Family? Did he write on papyrus?  And have any of these documents survived? 

And did the gospel writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John know each other and collude in their writings?  And were all, some or none of them at any of the events they wrote about ? Did Paul, who used to be Saul of the Road to Damascus conversion, ever meet Jesus? I have many more amazing questions to ask but when I start talking I see people start to glaze over.  But you see a girl's got to know these things.

OK, so that's today.  Tomorrow I go to for a meal with my friend Jean and then to the movies to see Saving Mr Banks.

And on Wednesday things really hot up.  Golf in the morning, Chit Chat in the afternoon (Liz hosts a meeting of ladies from the church at her beautiful farmhouse.  It is, as it says on the tin, a chit chat afternoon where Liz plies us with hot drinks and home made cakes)  and then back to Liz & Bruce's in the evening for Church Home Group.  My brain hurts.

Just as well I have a busy week because they are rammed with work in the office and I only get in the way.  For those who don't know, my late husband Davy and I started a hotel booking agency in 1989 and took it on-line in 1995.  Our website addresses are, and  We went on to do corporate bookings and today one of our new contracts goes live.  So they don't want me hanging around asking silly questions do they?

Wednesday 22 January 2014


Forgive me for asking this, but why do you take items to a charity shop? I know that when I donate stuff to charity I do so because it is going to a good cause and it might do someone else a good turn.

Get this then.  My friend recently donated clothing to a local charity shop and several days later received this email.

"Supporting Sense with your donations enables us to continue to provide essential care to deafblind children and adults, their families and the professionals who work with them. You really make a difference.

To donate this money to our Charity you need do nothing further.  If we do not hear from you within 21 days of the date of this letter, we will assume you wish to donate the money raised to our cause. Should you, however, wish to claim the money raised, please write to ’The Admin team’ at the postal address below and be aware that we will deduct 5% commission + VAT. "

What?  Do people actually raise money by getting the charity shops to sell their stuff?  I'm sorry, I simply can't get my head around it.  Surely if you are strapped for cash you would take your clothes to a "nearly new" shop on a sale or return basis, have a garage sale or sell at a car boot sale .  Is it me?  Is there something that I'm not seeing here?

And now to something completely different!


Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in Antarctica ? Where do they go?

Wonder no more!!!  It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life. The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life, as well as maintain a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout its life.

If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into, and buried.

The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing:

"Freeze a jolly good fellow."
"Freeze a jolly good fellow."

You really didn't believe that I know anything about penguins, did you? It's so easy to fool OLD people. I am sorry, an urge came over me that made me do it!!! Oh quit whining I fell for it, too

Saturday 18 January 2014


I should be in Australia now. I should have boarded a 'plane on Christmas morning and returned at the end of the this month. I should have been watching Roger Federer all his sexy glory playing in an exhibition match prior to the Australian Open. I should be reclining on the beach at Mornington Peninsular near Melbourne drinking Pina Coladas.  I should be catching up with friends, maybe even sharing a glass or two with one or more of my Oz-Bus mates.  But I'm not there, I'm here amid floods and gales, refusing to watch "Benefit Street" and Hayley Cropper terminating her life to escape the horrors of cancer in Coronation Street.  Damn. 

So what's the story?  A rare complication of cataract surgery is what.  Well, at least, that's what they think it is, only time will tell.  I had the procedure on 19th November and it went well, until a couple of weeks later when my vision deteriorated.  It swung from "iffy" to not so "iffy".  It was decided that I should err on the side of caution and cancel my trip, which I did. 

Now the insurance company are playing up.   They say the Doctor's Report (which cost me £60!!) differed from the Consultant's comments.  How so?  The Doctor took his information from the Consultant's information !  Well, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it probably is a duck, and we all know that insurance companies are crooks.

And this morning some wretched woman on TV was berating people for going to Accident & Emergency with critical illnesses too late to be helped because they had neglected to recognise the signs earlier. She said the Great British public need educating.

Excuse me?  Medical help these days consists of doling out pills and potions.  Anyone that is ill enough to actually warrant a Consultancy referral gets batted around the system while they get sicker and sicker.  That's not fair, there are some really dedicated, hardworking individuals working in the National Health Service, it's mainly the processes and procedures that are dire,  Trust me, they couldn't organise a ... well, you know how that one goes.  

The good news is, there is only one way to go now and that is up.  I look forward to a really good year.  My building project is nearly complete, I have friends planning to visit me in the summer, I am off to visit my friend Monica in Switzerland in a couple of weeks, in April we are having another Oz-Bus reunion in Rome and in May my friend Jean and I are going on a road trip to Ireland.  So, after an unpromising start, the year is stacking up to be great.  Happy New Year to you all.

Friday 17 January 2014


Is anyone else as stupid as me?  I am really struggling with google+ on blogger.  Until I installed it anyone could comment and as a consequence I made many good friends.  So...trying to be "with it" I decided to go with the flow and upgrade to google+ with the promise that it would increase my "circle of friends". 

I actually find google quite worrying in that it seems to know more about me than I know about myself.  Sometimes I can't remember where I've been, but google knows.  I even see photographs that I don't remember taking, but google remembers and google introduces me to "friends" that I never knew I had. 

With crazy thoughts vacillating through my head I finally told myself  "don't be so pigging paranoid, get a grip of yourself and stop having these mad imaginings" and pressed the button.   True to the google promise, blogger suggested a new "circle of friends" but they are total strangers and have nothing in common with me.  What is the sense of that?

Then I stopped getting comments altogether  and thought "everyone's so bored with my ranting they have stopped reading the blog, and I can't say I can blame them.  Who want's to read the mad ramblings of an old lady anyway".  So my blogs became more infrequent and then I virtually stopped.

However, at Christmas my dearest friend died suddenly and I felt the muse rise within me again.  He was such an extraordinary man that his passing couldn't be left un-recorded.

One of my good blogging friends Maggie then wrote to say she had felt moved to comment on my post but couldn't, in fact she hadn't been able to leave comments for some time.  I had my IT guru look into it, but he said there wasn't a problem that he could see.

Anyway, to cut a long story short I wondered if the problem might be google+ so this morning I uninstalled it, heard from Maggie that her son had installed it for her, changed my mind and re-installed it again, changed my mind again and here I am, in a right mucking fuddle! And the google instructions are like reading Mandarin!  The authors of these instructions obviously have faith that they readers have half a brain, which I obviously don't!  I'm not even sure now whether I have google+ switched on or off!!

Help, anyone else experienced or are experiencing similar problems?  If you are I guess you can't comment, but you can email me on and tell me what the flip should I do now!  In the meantime if anyone is looking for me (which they seldom are unless they are looking for money) you will find me laying in that dark room again. 

Addendum: After writing this I thought "what am I doing, I have a talented programmer sitting in the next office, I'm going to get to the bottom of this".  I bribed him by promising that if  he fixed my problem I would go away, never to bother him again.  He laughed. 

So, "what is the advantage of having google+" "it's just like facebook" "but what is the advantage" "it's just like facebook".  I could tell this wasn't working!  "Right do I need it" "I don't know, do you?".  That wasn't working either.  "Can you get me back to where I was when anyone could comment" "yes" "how" "delete google+" "but do I need it" "I don't know, do you?" Not on the same page again!  "OK, delete it".  Job done!!  Any problems let me know.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!

Wednesday 15 January 2014


I have been told that some people have not been able to leave comments on my post. I had my IT guru take a look but everything seems to be OK.  If anyone else is having problems can you email on  I suspect that the culprit might be this wretched word verification thing and if that's the case I might just have to drop it and verify each comment myself, but that would be tedious! And tediosity is not my thing!!  TA.

So, on to stuff.  Two things.  Benefit Street and the NHS. 

For those of you who do not have the dubious advantage of watching British TV, there is a programme showing at the moment called Benefit Street.  I have deliberately not watched it and from the feed back that I'm getting my instincts are spot on.  Even the thought of it makes me want to lay down in a darkened room with a hand full of tranquilisers.  As the title would suggest it's about low life, no good, criminal, idle idiots justifying and bragging about the "life-style" they enjoy at the cost of the British tax payer. The real problem is that they are allowed to breed future generations with the same delightful "life goals and choices".  I say castrate them and let the rot stop now.

And as for the National Health Service, don't get me started.  Listen to this story.  At an inquest yesterday it was reported that a boy of four died in a "chaotic" hospital ward where he was so neglected after heart surgery that he resorted to sucking the moisture out of wet wipes. 

But that's only half of the story. He was operated on for complicated cardiac problems after which his parents were told that he would spend five days in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). However, after 18 hours was moved into a general ward because "the bed was needed" where he soon deteriorated .  He was then  moved back into the PICU ward for 11 days and was recovering to the point where he could get out of bed and play with toys.

They then moved him back to the general ward again which was "busy and chaotic".  When he became poorly and dehydrated his parents begged the staff to help him and what did they do?  They silenced the potentially vital alarms which monitored his condition!  It beggars belief doesn't it?  No matter how busy they were there is no excuse for this, not even the usual mantra "lack of staff due to Government cuts".

Finally after struggling for another month he suffered a heart attack, then a brain haemorrhage and died.  

What is it with these people? Where is their compassion?  How can they be allowed to get away with it?  This is serious neglect which, if it happened anywhere but in a hospital, would be criminal act. We lock up petty criminals and leave callous animals in charge of our sick. I use the word animals simply because I can't think of anything else to call them, but actually animals don't act in this cowardly way.

Sunday 12 January 2014


On Christmas day my good friend Derek died of a Cerebral Haemorrhage.  They say that his death was instant and he wouldn't have felt a thing but it was till a terrible shock.
Davy and I met Derek in the early 1980’s and took an immediate liking to him. A very complex man, highly intelligent, but at times incredibly stupid; parsimonious yet amazingly generous;  a  caring man who didn’t suffer fools gladly .  

But his most endearing quality was his kind and gentle nature.  When his wife Yvonne became ill and went into a coma he vowed to himself that if she survived he would devote his time to caring for her.  She did survive and, true to this vow, spent the next 25 years until her death tending for her every need.  You would have expected nothing less of him.   

But this is only scratched the surface of the great man and although Davy and I became his close friends he modestly only allowed us rare glimpses into his past achievements.  This is his brother Ross' Eulogy which he kindly agreed I could re-print.  So,  please let me introduce Derek:   

You will have noticed that a number of us are wearing Highland dress.  This is in Derek's honour, because he was very proud of our Scottish ancestors and wore the kilt or trews as often as possible when the occasion arose. 

I will now read a precis of Derek's life which I read to him eighteen months ago at his 80th birthday dinner.  He found it rather embarrassing! 

He was born nearly 82 years ago in the house in Lower Bourne that our parents built in 1926 and where Derek still lived. We had a happy childhood with loving and golf mad parents. 

We went to prep school at Barfield near Farnham. We then went to Rugby where Derek got an excellent exam result to Cambridge. At Keys College, Cambridge, he played golf and rowed for the College.  He was awarded a first class degree in Law. 

He did National Service in the Army.  He was an officer in the Royal Artillery, became an Airborne Gunner, earning the coveted red beret and took part in the ill fated 1955 Suez campaign.  He finally got his medal 2 years ago! 

Coming out of the Army and after passing his legal exams, he qualified as a Lawyer and became legal adviser to the Stock Exchange Council.  Then he worked for the Law Society in London. 

He was appointed Area Director for Legal Aid in the South and South West, based in Reading, with a large staff. 

He retired at the age of 57 to be with his wife Yvonne who had diabetes.  He worked from home preparing solicitors bills of costs. 

He looked after Yvonne for some 25 years until she died 7 years ago, after 34 years of marriage. 

Now to Golf. 

He started playing at the age of 8, coached by our father.  He must have known every blade of grass on the Hankley Common fairways, but not the rough of course! 

He played in the Army championships, was a semi-finalist in the Surrey championship,  a finalist in the Dutch championship and played in the Swiss championship.

He had the lowest score ever over 2 rounds in the Hankley Common championship which has never been bettered.  He presented a trophy to the Club for anyone who does.  He won the Hankley Common Club championship 6 times, the last time being 16 years after the first. 

He presented the Club with the very fine granite stone which marks the entrance.  The Club became his second home.  He was the oldest member. 
And other things.

He collected cars, especially Lotus.  He still owned one of the first Lotus Elites which he built in 1962 with a little help from Yvonne and me.  He was a motor cyclist for some 30 years. 

He was a talented photographer; a Member of the Royal Photographic Society;  a keen astronomer, having just bought a computerised telescope which sadly he never used; a talented artist; author of two published books and an acknowledged authority on vintage Omega watches of which he had a large collection bought from all over the world. 

He loved mountains and specially the Swiss Alps, having been on many walking holidays there with Yvonne.  He had over 250 books on the Alps, most of which he claimed to have read! 

He was a City Liveryman, a member of the Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society, the Historic Lotus Register, Clan Donnachaidh Society, the Parachute Regiment Society and he was a friend of the Airborne Museum at Arnhem in Holland. 

Now to Derek, the man. 

He was gentle, kind, thoughtful and generous, not only financially but with his time. 

He was not well from time to time having had a number of major operations on his back and neck probably due to a bad landing when jumping as a paratrooper.  But I never once heard him complain. 

Laterley, he had been very attentive to his friend Brian who does not enjoy good health. 

He was very fond of my wife Gill and immensely proud of our two boys and their children. 

He loved them as the father of a family he sadly never had. 

He was a true Gentleman and truely gentle man. 

He was my beloved brother. 

A very touching tribute from his brother who is himself a very kind and gentle man.   

None of these things were surprising to hear.  In fact I’m sure that from time to time we had heard them from Derek’s own lips, but to hear them all together was astounding.  How could this modest and quiet man have done so much?   

And do you know the biggest shock of the day?  He asked that at the end of the service they play Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz “The Girl from Ipanema”!  What was that all about?  J  Such a surprising man, why shouldn’t I have realized that lurking under his establishment exterior was a playboy!  And I, of all people, shouldn’t have been shocked because inside this old 73 year old woman lurks a 19 year old cowgirl!   

God bless you Derek, we all loved you so much.  xxxx