Wednesday, 28 September 2011

New link for blog

I've been having a problem with logging in to my Google account so have moved it to here. Hope you will move with me without any difficulty.

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Hearing of a hospital stay by a friend's young child recently, got me thinking back to my hospital visits as a child. My first recollection was of having my tonsils removed when I was about 8 years old and I think it must have been in a private nursing home as I remember being in a room on my own and my parents visited each evening. My father brought me a new book I had been wanting for ages, although I can't recall which one. My other main memory of this is what caused me to dislike marmalade for years! A crushed pill, which was obviously to send me to sleep before the op, was given to me in a spoonful of marmalade but I could still taste the bitterness of the pill, which I associated with marmalade until I was quite grownup.

My second visit (or it may have been my first - can't remember) was when I broke my collar bone on the beach, just by bumping into someone whilst running to warm up after a last swim. I can remember my poor father having to piggyback me up the slopes (known as the zig zags) from the beach to home and recall sitting in the hospital waiting room for hours before being sealed up in sticky plaster and given a sling. My doctor removed the sticky plaster after the due time and decided the best way to do it was to grab each end and rip it off, causing me to scream and my mother to be horrified by the blood which welled up from my skin! I never liked that doctor - he was a complete sadist!!

My third visit was when I was 12 and was suddenly struck down with appendicitis. I remember my Victoria grandmother was staying and insisted that I eat my Sunday lunch, whereupon I was violently sick. When the doctor came the next day, an ambulance was called, I was carried downstairs on a stretcher and was rushed into hospital. No-one told me what was happening and, in those days, my parents weren't allowed to be with me. I can remember hearing one nurse say to another, 'the operation will be at 11pm' and I assumed it was likely to be my operation! I was on a children's ward and the rules were so strict. You weren't allowed out of bed to wander around, a child with chicken pox was totally isolated in a separate room, family weren't allowed to visit - I could only wave to them from a window or I did manage once to sneak out of the ward doors and wave to them down a corridor. I was in there two weeks and although I probably coped with it well, my parents must have been distraught!

Things have changed so much for the better now, with parents being allowed to visit all the time and, I believe, in some cases being able to stay with their children at the hospital.

On a slightly different tack, I came home today to find a brown envelope on the doormat, containing the following leaflets:

Arthritis may not kill you, but it can take your life.
Are you losing your hair?
End the struggle to lose weight.
Enjoy life again using bladder control formula.

This ties in well with the occasional phone calls I receive where I am called 'dear' and asked if I have a problem getting in/out of the bath, using the stairs, getting out of the armchair when I've finished my crossword etc.

I suppose it's natural to assume that when people are of a certain age, their health begins to deteriorate and I have been very lucky so far, but it is quite depressing to have it rubbed in so much!!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Taken advantage of

I hate it when people are taken for a ride, particularly those close to me, and end up being hurt.

Some people can only think of themselves, how things affect them and what they want and their attitude to life is all ‘me, me, me’.

The people they hurt are often so happy to be in a relationship that they allow them to creep into their affections and they then get taken advantage of, like being attacked by bloodsuckers.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Empathy with food

I blame my parents! I cooked some pasta for supper last night and on stirring it in the bowl a few bits flicked on to the work surface, unnoticed at the time. When I came to move the bowl to serve up, I saw these couple of bits of pasta lying forlornly on the work surface. As I picked them up to throw them in the bin, one of them said to me ‘please don’t throw us away, we want to be with our friends’. What could I do, I had to put them back in the bowl!

If I open a tin of sweetcorn or similar, I have to make sure that not a single piece is left in the tin and they are all together in the bowl/saucepan!

I recall that my parents persuaded me to eat things by appealing to my sentimental side – the crusts were the mummy and daddy of the bread and needed to be together – the last few peas on the plate were so lonely without their siblings – you get the picture!

I really can’t remember how old I was before I used to hide the crusts under the edge of the plate …. but some habits have stayed with me all my life.

Friday, 10 June 2011

New mobile phone

We decided it was time to change mobile phones, having had our current ones for over five years! Weren't sure about all the new technology but were prepared to be persuaded. Visited the shop and stated our requirements, the main one which was to have two phones, but one bill! Yes, no problem says the salesman!

We chose our phones and preparations were made to set everything up - beginning to get excited about the new gadget! The first phone was set up fine, no problems, old number to be transferred in a couple of days time. Came to the second phone - uh uh says the service provider, we can't set up two phones on the same direct debit! Why not, the salesman asks? Well, the London bombings were financed by mobile phone fraud, says the SP!

There was absolutely no flexibility in this and after two hours of the salesman and his manager arguing with the SP and apologising to us, we decided to set up the second phone on a separate account. Salesman rings through to do this and gets the message "we are now closed"! I have never seen a bloke so in need of a stiff drink as him!

I agreed to return the next morning and eventually, after one false start when the SP thought we were trying to con them, I got my phone!

Charged up the phone and suddenly it rings - don't even know how to answer it and don't recognise the number but do manage eventually to hear an automated message asking me if I wish to answer a few questions on how my purchase went. Yes, I thought, this is the chance! "If you wish to do the survey, either press 1 or say 'yes'" As I couldn't find 1 on the phone I said 'yes'. "Your response is not recognised". Tried twice more in different accents and volume and eventually heard "thank you for your time - goodbye". But, but I haven't spent any time or managed to tell them what I really thought ..... perhaps the same will happen on the second phone in due course and I can try a different accent!

What was I doing?

So I decided to make a cake! This is a tea loaf so fruit has to be soaked in tea. Made the tea, went to dispose of the t-bags and the small bin near the sink (for t-bags only) was full. Emptied the small bin into the large kitchen bin which was then full! Went outside with the kitchen bin to put the bag in the dustbin, which was full! Took the large bag out of the dustbin and put it in the wheelie bin, (don't question my rubbish removal routine please!) which was then full. Put a new bag in the dustbin, put my kitchen waste bin bag into it and it was then full again! Took the new bag out of the dustbin to put in the wheelie bin, which was full!

What was it I was going to do? Can't remember, oh yes, good job I wrote it down here - make a cake!!

Friday, 11 March 2011

I love cats but .......

I am a cat lover, have almost always been owned by a cat and will most certainly allow another cat to choose me when my life is such that I am not away a lot.

There are a large number of cats living on our small estate and I welcome a few of them into the house (separately) most days. To digress slightly, two of them are friends and both hate a third so sometimes it’s a question of one being bundled out the front door as another comes in the back! However I am beginning to wonder if perhaps my welcome was not such a good thing!

The problem is that most of my neighbours, particularly those with cats, have turned their gardens over to either ‘graveyard’ chips, large sharp stones or pieces of slate which means that the cats won’t use them as their “powder rooms!”

Therefore, every time I spend a few sunny hours in the garden, turning the soil over and despatching the weeds, I can see the cats almost queuing up at the gate with their legs crossed!

The next time there is a nice sunny day and I feel the urge to tidy up the garden I have to first prowl around with rubber gloves, a shovel and a bag to get rid of all the deposits left by my friends!

This does seem a bit unfair to me – firstly by my cat owning neighbours who, by chipping/stoning their gardens force their cats to use mine and secondly by the cats themselves who spend a few happy hours relaxing on my mat, being fussed over by me, only to then reward me by using my garden as a loo!

Monday, 28 February 2011

I don't suppose there is anyone who reads this blog who would be interested in a forum on the Three Rivers Race, which is one of my great interests but just in case, the link is here

Monday, 21 February 2011

Poems in my heart

Crossing the bar
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,    
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home!
Twilight and evening bell,    
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourn of Time and Place    
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

This poem is immediately evocative for me
of one of my oldest friends who
unexpectedly died in 2009.
This poem was read at his funeral
and will always remind me of him
and how lucky I was, after almost
25 years,to meet him again
before he died.

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W B Yeats

I have a special place in my heart for this poem. The last two
lines were quoted on a written note left on my son's grave by
a young girl who had a fledgling relationship with him,
maybe unrequited I don't know, just before he was tragically
killed aged 17. She carried him in her heart for many years and
obviously grieved for what might have been. I hope she has
gone on to find love.

"but February made me shiver"

February has always been the worst month of the year for me but not for the same reasons as Don MacLean! In my mind, it is always grey, cold and damp and this year has been no exception. I am sitting here looking out of the window at 10.00 am on a Monday morning at greyness, which is reflecting my current mood – and watching the postman’s van disappearing up the road without even delivering anything to me.

Whether it is the weather or the impending birthday in March, signifying yet another year has passed, I don’t know (have just noticed another wrinkle which I’m sure wasn’t there yesterday!).

It could be that I haven’t been able to get out with the camera for a while. I did snap some lovely crocuses in the garden and even resorted to photographing a shell which had been decorating a plant pot but I crave the open spaces and tranquillity of the Broads where there is always something new to attract my attention.

I do know that I shall probably feel better when February has gone and although I try and ignore the month every year, it somehow always catches up with me.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


I read this followed by a spooky feeling, as I also had a weird experience recently.

I was told by someone who shall be nameless that I am a Witch and this is my profile:

"A witch is the ultimate friend. Given their powers to save and protect those who deserve their help. Witches are usually the first being to settle down and start a family. Surrounding them with friends and family. A witch can shock you with their patience and views. They have the ability to cast spells and create the most powerful potions. Many witches would die for those who they love and consider family."

I was then looking at a photo I took of an owl and saw myself in the background. If you look closely you can see me .........

Friday, 7 January 2011

Krasadis Restaurant

I was saddened to hear last week that Krasadis, the best Greek restaurant in Norwich, was closing after 28 years.

Krasadis was part of my life for many years with most major events in my life being celebrated at the restaurant and we got to know the lovely Cypriot owners' family very well over that time.

To start at the beginning – we were in Norwich one evening and, on impulse, decided to go for a kebab at a little restaurant/take-away. We had never been there before so were not sure what to expect but the evening turned out to be more than we expected!

We placed our order and sat with drinks, listening to the background Greek music which was increasingly drowned out by raised voices, in Greek, in what was obviously a row going on between the two men running the restaurant! Suddenly, one of the men unplugged the music centre, tucked it under his arm and with a final riposte in Greek, stormed out of the restaurant.

We sat quietly, waiting for the next move, and the other chap eventually came over, full of apologies, with our meal which was very good! After a little while, someone turned up with another music centre and the music was resumed. We thought no more of this.

About four months’ later, we were again in Norwich one evening and just up the road from the original Greek restaurant, we noticed a new one had opened so decided to give it a go. As we walked in, we recognised the owner as being the man who had been left in the other restaurant and, as it turned out, this particular evening was his opening night and we were his first customers!

We got talking to him and his wife and were told the story of what had happened, the row between him (Dimitri known as Jimi) and his brother-in-law and his decision to go it alone.

We had such a good meal and got on so well with Jimi and Christa that we made this restaurant our ‘local’, visiting once a week normally. As we lived within walking distance, it was often a spur of the moment decision to visit.

Over the years we watched Jimi and Christa’s family grow until they had three children, two girls and a boy who used to appear shyly in the restaurant to say hello to us. We spent Christmas Eve with the family most years – they used to shut the restaurant early and invite selected friends to a delightful evening of laughter and drinks – many times we staggered home at 2 am full of Cyprus brandy!

A number of momentous occasions were celebrated at Krasadis – surprise parties for birthdays and family get togethers and Jimi and Christa shared in some of the most joyous and also the saddest moments of our lives.

I understand the reasons for the family closing the restaurant and send my best wishes to Christa for her recovery but hope that Lucas will be able to continue the tradition of hospitality and friendship for many years to come.