Friday, February 27, 2009

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Audrey and Roger.

In bed with Roger Moore last night – well his book - ‘My word is my Bond’ to be exact – I read how Audrey Hepburn, who had been awarded the highest civilian award in the USA: the Medal of Freedom in 1992 - had persuaded Roger to become an ambassador for UNICEF. I never met Roger – he was leaving photographic studios for film studios as I was starting modelling, but for a time we shared the same agent and one of the studios I visited frequently was always singing his praises: Studio Lisa. Lisa was the mother of the actress Dinah Sheridan of ‘Genevieve’ fame.

Both Audrey and Roger have helped children all over the world through their stalwart work for UNICEF and this despite failing health on Audrey’s part and a brush with cancer and a pace maker on Roger’s. In January 1993 Audrey died at her home in Switzerland and Roger told how her son Sean, at the funeral service read her favourite poem and I’ve managed to find it.

Time tested Beauty tips
Sam Levenson

For lovely eyes,
seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure,
share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair,
let a child run his fingers through it once a day.

For poise,
walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone...

People, even more than things,
have to be restored, renewed, revived,
reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed ...

Never throw out anybody. Remember, if you ever need a
helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands.
One for helping yourself, the other for helping others".

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not an Award

If you want to see the award go over to Scarlet’s ( side bar). Having scuppered my awards I don’t do them anymore but as the well is dry here goes.

Ten True facts about myself.

1. I have an uncontrollable peculiar sneeze. It has changed over the years but is even more embarrassing now.

2. I got 23 marks out of 400 in mock School Cert. in Chemistry. I passed the actual exam and - to my surprise matriculated.

3. At 49 I left my husband, home, business and friends to throw in my lot with a man I hadn’t seen for 30 years.

4. I cry when I laugh.

5. I’ve lost my singing voice which was quite pleasant.

6. I can’t dance.

7. I can only swim in Greek seas.

8. I have a sweet tooth. And a savoury one. I just love good food and wine.

9. I don’t like cities but love the theatre and art galleries.

10. I’m still trying – without a great deal of success – to be better person.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Miss Marple Update

The doorbell rang and there was a man with a rucksack on his back and leaflets in his hand – and nothing like the figure I had seen. We had a chat and established that we didn’t require new windows, and that he always had his rucksack, with his ID inside.
Time to phone neighbourhood watch - no answer - so I left a message and decided to call the police.

It took some time to find the number as I had no intention of dialling 999. I spoke to someone on a switchboard and told her the story. I had to give my DOB and place of birth but I assumed this was for security reasons. After I had told her all I could think of I was given a very long security number and told that someone from our local station would get in touch – possibly tomorrow. She was polite and helpful throughout.

Not long after – before lunch, I got the phone call from K and when I told her I had the photo on my computer she asked if I could send it to her. We exchanged details and I trotted off to do the deed but got a message that it couldn’t be delivered. When I spoke to K we decided that it would possibly be their security that was the problem and she asked if I could print a copy. I told her this would have to be black and white and she said she would collect it around 2pm and would ring just before to let me know and that I shouldn’t worry that she was in mufti – but she was a police officer. By this time she was beginning to feel like an old friend.

To my surprise the black and white print was clearer and looked like something from Crime Watch. I went to open the gate for K and eventually a pleasant young woman in jeans turned up on foot. We examined the photo in the kitchen and just for my own satisfaction went through the story again. She emphasised that I should never put myself in danger and when I told her about the wood she said someone who had problems but was harmless, was living there.

I asked K if anyone recognised the figure if she could let me know. Soon after she had left she rang to say the sergeant thought he might recognise it but he would like to see it in colour so I gave K my URL so they could see it on my blog. Two new readers- yippee!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Miss Marple is alive, not very well and living in Minehead.

So I set off with my walking pole and my camera, up to the Church Steps and noticed a figure dart out of a lane just as I was shooting. I was surprised to see him try a door opposite and then he went on up the steps. Intrigued I followed him and pretended to be looking at the view whenever he turned round. Along the road by the church is a terrace of cottages and he seemed to be trying all the doors.

There wasn’t a soul around but I could hear someone working and followed the road to the left until I saw a man working in the garden. I tried to attract his attention without raising my voice and finally he came close enough that I could whisper what I had seen. I rather hoped he would phone the police but he just thanked me and said he would keep his eyes open. Not very neighbour- hood -watch I thought.

By the time I got back on the road the figure had disappeared. My plan had been to go down to the harbour through a small wood and I wondered if that would be wise as the whole world seemed to have disappeared. But I did have my pole and if I removed the ferule it could be quite lethal (then I remembered where I had deposited the gum) and I did want to continue my walk and take photos. With any luck I would have a photo of the figure and I had noted that he was lanky, with a short hair cut and cut off trousers.

Heart in mouth I slowly descended to the esplanade and then my camera conked out. It’s not the batteries – they are new. I must get it seen to – I can’t live without my camera. Back home I was gently but soundly berated for taking risks. I phoned Margaret whose husband used to be head of neighbourhood watch. When I told her about the figure she said she had been out and seen a man with a rucksack delivering leaflets and I felt a bit of a wally. However when I looked closely at the photo there is no rucksack and there is a big difference to seeing someone deliver leaflets and someone trying doors.

Now I’ve published the photos and clicked on them I think my suspicions were justified.

Have a look and see what you think.

Approaching the Church Steps

See the figure -moins rucksack , leaflets etc?

Just visible - Dr Maroon could probable see every detail

From the wood - see Butlins - then the camera crashed.
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Monday, February 23, 2009

Got any gum chum?

The first half minute or so is pleasurable; crunching on the hard white oblong whilst the spearmint juices flow and stop any heartburn dead in its tracks. Then it’s just a question of chewing until all flavour is gone and one is bored with playing Rosalind Russell as a hard boiled journo.

I’m VERY careful with the disposal, even – when out walking - removing the rubber ferule from my walking pole and placing the gum in the tiny hole. One wouldn’t want little Bambis gumming up their insides, although gumming a few ticks might prevent a few Lyme diseases.

When I got home I couldn’t reach it to remove it but my son said it would help with the suction. I’m reminded of those great lumps of pink bubble gum which we chewed as kids. The flavour was weird but pleasant and lasted for ages. Then our little mouths would work overtime until the pink glob was malleable enough to push our tongues through and blow a whacking great bubble which would then pop with a resounding crack. Best not think how we disposed of the gloopy residue.

Yesterday was sunny so we had lunch at the White Horse at Washford where last summer I had lunch with Zinnia Cyclamen and Shane (side-bar). I didn’t take photos as I have covered that area before and it would become déjà vu. Today is sunny again – I don’t have anything I MUST do, so may take my camera for a circular – up to the church, round and down to the harbour and back through the town. I haven’t had breakfast yet and – goody goody – I have a pain au chocolat as a treat.

Friday, February 20, 2009

All’s Quiet on the Western Front

I miss her pink and black chequered plimsolls sitting by the Aga. On the kitchen notice board is her tiny first pink and white sock, weathered by 16 years of dust. We had a final fling at the Italian their last night and MTL said they had slashed the prices and the bill was £20 cheaper than usual. They are home safely (my son and grand-daughter) and I hope they enjoyed the visit half as much as we did.

Saw Margaret and the girls for coffee today; their garden is a mosaic of crocuses, crocii? But she says they spread like a weed and from one small plant the whole garden is awash. Fine now – when in bloom - but an eyesore when she is left with a carpet of dying leaves. I had the same problem with grape hyacinths. The crocii are of the Thomasaina variety.

It’s meant to be a good week-end which would be nice as we both feel a bit flat and achey. I hope you all have a lovely one

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Lullaby for Bedtime

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost on Exmoor

Following endless narrow lanes we reached this spot where we intended to climb Dunkery Beacon but as you can see from the gushing stream Exmoor was awash. After a few hundred yards of climbing up a stream - knowing it would be worse coming down we aborted the plan and set off for Luxborough with myself map- reading.

This gives an indication of where we were.

OOps! Here we are at Winsford - quite a way from Luxborough. I find Ordinance Survey maps rubbish for finding the right road - but it was a lovely drive:)
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There were wild snowdrops every where

View from the bridge. The Inn at Winsford has had the thatch catch fire quite often but I believe they are not allowed to change it

Journey's end - Royal Oak Luxborough
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vowel Mix-up

Up on North Hill my grand-daughter texted? her brother – not with us alas, as he is at Uni.

‘Tell him to keep off cannabis – that skank really messes with your mind.’ I suggested helpfully.

Hilarity all round. Apparently I meant skunk and the other word is one grand mothers shouldn’t use.

The sun came out – a little shyly – but welcome nevertheless, and we could see snow patches on the distant hills and pretend we were in Scotland. We checked on the site of my final resting place – I wanted to be sure they got the correct cleft and it’s not too far from the car park. Back to pick up MTL and we repaired to the Inn at Porlock where we had a lovely chat about our favourite places. Australia came high in the polls and also Florida. They love the people and the wildlife and my son says he feels very young there and his wife feels very slim.

We also discussed the generation gap with regard to attitudes to political correctness and gaffes one can make unthinkingly and how these are judged much more harshly by the young. Then back to a delicious cold lunch prepared by MTL. The young prepared supper with three different types of sausage – venison, pork and apple and pork and leeks, with mash and peas and a great chutney. Only I had room for tarte au citron – but I’m walking again tomorrow.

I’m delighted English Lit is my grand-daughter‘s favourite subject and is just working on Arthur Miller’s ‘View from the Bridge’ and reading Fitzgerald’s ’Tender is the Night.’ for pleasure. I proudly showed her my screen saver photo of Scott and Zelda.

On the way up - St Michael's Church and Butlin's.

Looking down towards Porlock Weir

Last resting place - halfway down the steep incline facing the sea.
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The last of the snow - hopefully

Friendly faces

View from Porlock Inn car park
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Jaunt.

Weather’s fine and warmer and we’re off up North Hill - an easier walk as grand-daughter has only brought one pair of shoes and I ‘m avoiding rocky down- hill paths. We’re rendezvousing with MTL at lunchtime and then who knows? I suspect real ale may be involved. Sorry if you’re hanging over the wash tub

Sunday, February 15, 2009


They’ve only been here a few hours and the digital is fixed, likewise the recorder, my profile photo has been back dated and my updated MS has been copied onto a blue flashy thing. What would we do without them? I, in my turn, am examining sell-by dates on preserves etc and throwing out the ones that don’t qualify. Not a word to MTL;)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sting in the tail!

Flowers, chocolates, champers, card and flowers but this morning two pairs of trousers I donned I couldn’t do up. And who decided to dominate Valentine’s Day with Rugby!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Altogether now!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A quick Chat

I watched the second part of Terry Pratchett’s programme about his experience with Alzheimer’s where he travels to the USA, with his faithful PA, Rob, to investigate a controversial new treatment. This claims to show an improvement within minutes.

The treatment had been developed in California where there are more old people than anywhere else in the States. One doctor described the spread of the disease like a tsunami.

Terry is half way through his 37th book and wants to finish it before the disease progresses further. He notices clumsiness and says it’s like his brain is at war with his body. He is being treated with Arocet which is meant to slow down the disease and his latest medical tests show that his results are similar to one he had 4 months earlier - or better - but not worse. He will carry on with the treatment and is cheered by what he regards as good news.

Earlier he had been invited to talk with other sufferers on Radio 5 where one man, who had had it for 7 years said he was able to ‘get over the wall but couldn’t get back again’. Another said he had enjoyed the programme but couldn’t possible say what it was about. Terry was very interested to talk to Becka the daughter of one patient too ill to speak, to give him some idea of how his wife and daughter would be affected

She tearfully admitted that part of her was glad when the disease progressed because it would be over sooner. This may sound heartless but maybe you have to see a loved one in this state to understand. Terry is ‘buoyed up’ by meeting fellow sufferers as they understand, but he himself is very anxious that he shouldn’t be a burden.

In California Terry meets a Professor of Neural Imaging and asks why one would develop Alzheimer’s, to be told it’s just ‘bad luck’. Again he is told there is a cure somewhere on the horizon but as he says ’too late for me.’ He goes to meet the doctor said to have discovered the controversial treatment and tells him he doesn’t know whether to address him as a Saint or Barnum (another very Terry like quip – if he’s going to end up a vegetable he’d like to know which one.)

Terry watches the Admiral – an 88 year old being injected with something which is said to dissolve the excess protein gumming up the brain cells. It is repeated every 2 weeks and the Admiral’s son says it makes a remarkable difference to his father. Apart from the fact that he had a smile on his face afterwards there was little difference to be seen and Terry says the family will see what they want to see – to be kept alive at 88 – kept alive for what?

Terry says he needs some head space to think and goes to do some Tai Chi on the beach. He wonders what his future will hold and goes to see a Care Home for Alzheimer’s and all forms of dementia. His first impression is good as it seems more like a good hotel. He says to the very efficient woman showing him round, that he doesn’t want to seem like the Duke of Edinburgh inspecting and apologises saying it’s a British thing and she says ‘This is California.. Chill!’

There are 5 units graded by the amount of care required and on the higher levels the woman warns there will be a lot of pacing and some agitation. The final level is the hospice stage. Terry says he doesn’t have to worry about the End Game because he won’t be there to worry. He talks to some o f the patients and is quite comfortable with them. Rob meanwhile didn’t want to go in the first place and clearly finds it stressful.

Terry says his wife is resolutely optimistic and encourages him to check on everything and to accept what they cannot change. He says he has to consider what is best for his wife and daughter and at one stage is thankful that his books have earned enough to help so that he would be able to afford such a place, which was nothing like as bad as he had imagined. Rob said it was his idea of Hell.

They go to New York to see the latest in PCA research; he wears another ‘loony hat’ and has his brain monitored whilst he does an experiment. The brain scans show blue and green at the back of his brain where there should be red. He asks if his PCA will turn into full blown Alzheimer’s and is told that it will.

‘How long’ asked Rob

‘Don’t answer that!’ says Terry. ‘We can cope with this and we will!’

Terry says when this jaunt is over he’s like to slow down a bit more. He wants better awareness of the disease and that when people are diagnosed instead of being shown the door they should be shown a path. He himself is determined to live in hope – not fear. What a wonderful, brave gutsy man he is.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Auguste Renoir The Lovers
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Because I feel like it…


From ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese’


Elizabeth Barrett Browning

If thou must love me, let it be for nought

Except for love’s sake only. Do not say,

‘I love her for her smile- her look – her way

Of speaking gently- for a trick of thought

That falls in well with mine, and certes brought

A sense of pleasant ease on such a day!’

For these things in themselves, Beloved, may

Be changed, or change for thee and love, so wrought,

May be unwrought so. Neither love me for

Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry-

A creature might forget to weep, who bore

Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!

But love me for love’s sake, that evermore

Thou may’st love on, through love’s eternity.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of Being and ideal Grace,

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight,

I love thee freely as men strive for right;

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints-I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life- and if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

It’s Valentine’s Day on Saturday – it’s also half - term, we have family coming (yay!) and I expect to be preoccupied for about a week. But I’m here so don’t go away.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Jeanette Mc Donald and Nelson Eddy - I used to know all the words.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Fire Raging in Victoria Australia

Photo by Andrew Brown bll/EPA
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Victoria Australia

Spare a thought or a prayer for the people in Victoria, Australia who are really suffering today.

‘Arsonists are responsible for some of Australia's worst-ever wildfires that have left at least 84 people dead, officials have said.

"These people are terrorists within our nation, they are the enemy within and we have to be increasingly vigilant about them," said Mike Rann, the governor of South Australia state on Sunday.

The death toll in the raging Australian bushfires has risen to at least 84, making it the country's worst fire disaster.

Police believe more bodies will be found in small towns razed by wildfires in the state of Victoria, the hardest hit area with more than 700 homes destroyed.’

Friday, February 06, 2009

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A Disease of our Time


Hats off to Terry Pratchett: a few months back he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and he thought – ‘who shall I tell?’ Then he decided to tell every one and is doing two programmes on BBC2. A novelist, who has sold 60 million books, he has already donated a million dollars to further research. He is 59 and says he didn’t expect to spend his 60th year like this. His wife and daughter decide not to take part in the programme but Terry has a man Friday – Rob – a PA who types for him and is with him ’every step of the way.’

When Terry was first diagnosed he was bewildered and angry and his rage has helped him to fight the disease. There are variations of Alzheimer’s and Terry had PCA - Posterior Cortical Atrophy which affects his sight. Although an optician would find nothing wrong with his eyes the brain doesn’t send the right message to the eyes so that the patient misses letters and lines.

Throughout the programme we see him doing hours of book signing and visiting research laboratories and the only clear sign that something is amiss is when he has great difficulty putting on a tie (a fellow sufferer who he meets later in the programme suggests he does it by feel rather than sight), and when he is guest of honour at a convention celebrating his books, he stumbles when reading aloud on stage. He says ‘a shadow keeps falling on the book.’ and finally has to stop – which is quite heart rending.

Talking to a specialist he is told that ‘something approaching a cure is on the horizon.’ Many new drugs are going through clinical trials and scientists have found a way to give fruit flies Alzheimer’s and to cure them. The specialist said that the disease was a stripping away of humanity and was a living bereavement for all the family. I can attest to this; over twenty years ago our family was shattered when my brother – in his early fifties, was told he probably had Alzheimer’s. In those days they couldn’t make a definite diagnosis until after death. Now they say a patient probably has the disease ten years before it is recognised.

Terry is eager to try anything to help fight the disease and tries out what he calls a ‘loony helmet’ – a Heath- Robinson contraption which is meant to stimulate the brain cells. It is very uncomfortable to wear so a staunch friend – Frank Bernard, makes a cast of his skull so that a more comfortable one can be made. He also has his amalgam fillings removed. Frank described the disease as ‘a black nemesis that stalks you and said he would be with Terry to the end when ‘Rob and I would take a trip with Terry.’

When Terry goes to meet more advanced Alzheimer patients he feels at home; they know exactly what he is talking about when he describes his brain as having a Clapham Junction day.

The programme ends when Terry hears of good results from alternative treatments in California and next week’s programme will cover that.

Living with Alzheimer’s is on Wednesday BBC2

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


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A Winter Surprise


Solveig Paulson Russell

Last night while I was sleeping
The snow came softly down
And slipped on all the shrubbery
A shining snowflake gown.

I guess that every little bush
Felt startled with surprise,
To find itself a cotton plant
On opening up its eyes.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tuesday Tattle


It’s so cold I’ve donned an old Arran cricket sweater knitted by my Scottish, dear departed MIL; it reaches almost to my knees and – unusually is made of the same colour wool (creamy white) throughout. It could be a reincarnation – she often unwound garments to re-use the wool – hence the colour variation. It encloses my frame with a loving impermeable warmth and I’m thankful for it.

We were talking about my birthday in March and as there is nothing I need or particularly hanker for, MTL is going to buy me books which I’m happy about. I have a possible three which were mentioned by Blogger friends but I wonder if you have a book which you could recommend. Doesn’t matter if it is fiction or non fiction – I don’t like sci- fi and probably have enough poetry books, so anything else and if you can be bothered to tell me why I should read it I’ll be very grateful. Thank you in anticipation.

Senses of humour are funny things; I’ve never laughed at Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy so I was happy to be laughing out loud at a new sit-com last Saturday. It helps if you like the people involved and with Roger Lloyd Pack (anyone remember his father Charles) of 'Vicar of Dibley' fame, Clive Swift( 'Keeping up Appearances') Jane Asher ( Macca’s first girl friend, actress and cake maker) and Katherine Parkinson, there is no problem – all highly likeable and talented. Briefly its two old blokes – heterosexual – living together and both lusting after their gorgeous neighbour. So refreshing after some of the stuff that’s churned out. ‘The Old Guys’ BBC 1.9.30pm Saturday.

This morning we have snow at last. My camera won’t work. I might cry.
Cast of 'The Old Guys.'
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Monday, February 02, 2009

For Naomi (see sidebar)
This is the singer and the song - our entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in May in Moscow. the singer is Jade Ewen and the song 'My Time'.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Jade Ewen

Last night Jade Ewen won the right to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest. Last year we came last, but this year Andrew Lloyd Webber has written a ballad ‘This is my time’ with lyrics by Diane Warren, the award winning Californian, to prove to our fellow Europeans that we are taking the contest seriously and hope they judge us with that in mind.

I’m an ordinary person – if you tickle me I laugh, if you prick me I bleed and when Jade Ewen sings ‘This is my time.’ I cry. In a good way. The video above is not the song, but an example of her talent. That’s if I manage to embed it. It is quite early.