Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ithaca - final part with photos

Having found the site of Homer’s secret city we walked on air to our favourite taverna in Frikes and feasted on red mullet, baclava and village wine. On the way back to Kioni we stopped at the-beach-with-steps for a swim. Sailing boats were bobbing, a small motor boat was chugging back to Kioni for tea and intrepid wind surfers we skimming over the glittering sea at a fearsome rate. Each to his own.

The evenings were spent sitting under the mimosa tree outside Dite’s Taverna. The owner Aphrodite would feed me metses with my aperitif and I would feel like a favoured child. Across the bay where visiting yachts moor near the other taverna, Titania’s husband might be roasting a lamb or a pig on his outdoor spit. Later we would amble round there for dinner. The next evening the procedure would be reversed and everyone was happy.

The Greek government had been at pains both to curb noise levels and to ban the siesta- with little success in Ithaca. In the afternoon you could hear a pin drop but at night the dogs, cats, donkeys and cocks – and sometimes the villagers took it in turns to celebrate the end of a long lonely winter. Then it’s time to Go Greek, have a siesta and forget about an early night.

Yianni, our taxi driver had had many illustrious passengers including Winston Churchill and Aristotle Onassis. This day he was having to make do with us; he drove us up to a deserted monastery on Mount Exoghi. We watched him bouncing back on the dirt road and then scrambled up the stony slope to reach the mountain top.

The view was as you might expect from a terrace of the gods- the air crystal clear. Great gauze-covered shapes rose up from a silent sea, their peaks smothered with cumulus.

As we stood mesmerized the spell was broken by a noisy, black cloud of tiny butterflies and – more worrying long pointed insects emitting an angry buzz. It was round about the time of the film about killer bees so we scuttled down the dirt road to the sanctuary of the village. Here we were reassured that, far from hounding us off the mountain the harmless insects were just collecting gravel from the path.

In Ithaca there is always someone who speaks sufficient English to answer questions. After the earthquake of ’53 there was an exodus to Australia, America and South Africa. Over the years many of them have returned to their homeland and although the accents are many and varied they understand English.

Alike's shop in the village provided most basic needs plus my favourite Greek yoghourt, Greek honey, pistachios and kourabiedhes (delicious round almond cakes dredged in icing sugar). At this time one could eat out for under £10 a day and we normally took with us, tea coffee and cereal.

We found Ithaca to be one of the friendliest and safest places on earth and sooner or later everyone returns. Just two years earlier the British archaeologists Sir John Cook and Miss Helen Benton returned to the scene of their fantastic discoveries after a gap of 56 years. He was in his eighties, she in her nineties

Everywhere I took them said Yianni they wept.

The next day, waving farewell to my Greek friends from the boat, I understood how they felt.

Originally I mistakenly wrote Bentona instead of Benton - this from Yianni’s pronunciation, as is the spelling of his name which I suspect should be Gianni.

See photos below – if Blogger behaves- or they may be above.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Aphrodite - mine host of Dite's Taverna
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All Photos taken by Pat Mackay
Kioni Bay Ithaca

The other Taverna

Favourite taverna at Frikes

Kioni Bay and Aphrodite's taverna

The beach with steps
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

IthacaLand of Sage and Honey

It was our first Sunday on this fragrant isle in Greece. Washing the breakfast dishes it didn’t occur to me to wonder why the church bell was ringing incessantly. Suddenly I lost my balance. Clutching the sink for support I found the sink, the dishes and the floor beneath me were gently shaking.

Later in the village we were told it was an earth tremor which measured 5.5 on the Richter scale. They said the earthquake of 1953 had been measured at 7.8. Three quarter of the buildings had been destroyed but miraculously only one person was killed.

The tremor revived memories and everyone had a quake story to tell…

All the water was sucked out of the harbour and then a great wave came and we thought we would all be drowned.

I was a child and I didn’t mind when the ground shook, but when it jumped up and down…

Words failed Yianni, Ithaca’s most famous taxi driver.

We had just come out of church and we looked back and we saw our church disappear.

Rebuilding was done to strict specification; we were relieved to hear, and learned the safest place to be in a quake is under the table. Not unlike the blitz.

Noted for its association with Homer’s Odyssey Ithaca in the late eighties was unspoilt. It is situated west of the Greek mainland, 17 miles long by 4 miles wide.

We flew to Cephalonia and then bussed north to Fiskardo where a caique took us across the strait to the tiny fishing port of Kioni. On our return a road was blocked because of the tremor and we had a breathtaking coastal drive on Cephalonia.

The best way to see Ithaca is on foot; the taxi drivers are very accommodating and will drop and collect you at a prearranged rendezvous so you aren’t constantly retracing your footsteps.

I found Homer dull at school but here the myth and legend became real for me. The noisy owl in Kioni is said to be the unquiet spirit of a young boy who inadvertently pushed his brother over the cliff to a watery grave. Every night he hooted Thomas, Thomas.

Any doubts that this was the home of Odysseus were dispelled by the small dusty museum at Stavros with its solid pieces of evidence including the 13 tripods said to be part of Odysseus’ treasure and discovered in the bay of Polis by Miss Helen Bentona a British archaeologist. His secret city is said to be near Stavros between three mountains and where can be seen three seas.

We had to find the spot.

The headmaster’s wife – custodian of the museum was not optimistic:

There is barbed wire – it is for your safety.

Undeterred we continued along a path until we came to a house surrounded by barbed wire and a notice – Keep out – by order of the owner now an exile in Australia. Clinging like a limpet to the forbidden house was a ruin. (The Greeks tend to leave the ruin and rebuild next to it.)

Carefully we entered this, gingerly clambered onto a stone ledge and there – Eureka –were the three seas; the channel to the west, Aphales bay to the north and the bay of Frikes to the east. The mountains were Mount Neritos, Mount Exoghis and Mount Marmakas. I swear I know how Columbus must have felt when he discovered America.

More later.

Cropping the photo doesn't get rid of the blank below. Any solutions?

Ithaca - an Isle in Greece
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

For a special girl - Ponita - who has her op this morning.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Today's blooms

Below is Casa Blanca lily-highly scented with glistening white flowers. This measures 8-9 inches in diameter.
My first aganpanthus is doing well. That yellowy foliage was therefrom the start

Everybody admires these orange flowers. They are much better in their second year.
They are either Silene 'Jack Flash' or Sparaxis - I think I orederd both.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Wise Words...

from Clarissa Pouncer
"When death's agent leaves his dread calling-card at one's door, he also brings a Sense of Perspective. Time is very short, friends, and we Neither Know the Hour nor the Day, as dear old Jesus Christ said. Now is the time to do all that is l...eft undone, particularly those things that we are shit scared of. Particularly all those things that we think we can't do because other people will go hog wild. We must be brave and put our houses in order. Quite literally in my case. Item 1: clear out attic."

On Face book this morning.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Gas Man cometh

Sheila “Can you smell gas?”

Pat “I’m not sure. Can you smell gas?”

Sheila “I think so. Can’t you?”

Pat “Well I did think it was a bit frowsty in here when I came in this morning so I opened all the windows.”

Sheila “Well I think that proves it.”

We rang the emergency number cursing the fact that our recently acquired phone has developed a rushing sound and so far unplugging and plugging hasn’t really helped. Heaven forbid that it should muck up the computer.

I got through and oh joy a person from a foreign land answered. When I told him the problem he was intent on reading out precautionary measures – as a litany which was barely audible.

The gist was: turn off…naked flame…open windows… electricity…with you under an hour.

MTL was out.

I knew the gas thingy was in the garage, there was quite a new meter and an ancient lever which neither Sheila nor I could shift. MTL told me later this was a cock so either way would have worked. On the gas fire is a little cock. In the last month both the fire and the Aga have had their annual service and when the gas man cameth he found the little cock was the problem – a design fault and required a sealing paste which he applied. Job done.

MTL was mightily relieved that we hadn’t switched the gas off as re- lighting the Aga is not his favourite job. Such a nuisance – Sheila couldn’t vacuum, I couldn’t iron, the fridges and freezer stopped. The tooth brushes couldn’t recharge and the computer was off. So I’m terribly behind and have spent all day trying to catch up. One thing I am determined about is that that fire will be replaced before the winter. Wish me luck!

I have just been watching Mr Murdoch and son facing the special committee.

James could talk for Britain and bores people into submission. I felt a wave of compassion for Rupert – so old and frail and a bit deaf. It seemed to take a while for things to sink in. He did seem genuinely contrite and said this was the most humble day of his life. At one time he was so impassioned he was beating the table and causing bangs on the sound system. His wife sitting behind him tried to nudge him to stop. Will something good come out of this sorry mess? I do hope so.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Is that a patch of blue?

It feel as if the clouds have lifted somewhat. Nothing much has changed – MTL still has numbness in his hands and feet but I feel we have turned a corner. The other day I blind-folded him (courtesy of some old air-line mask) and guided his hand to touch:

a/ A metal grater.

b/ A silk scarf.

c/ A rough towel.

d/ The bristles of a clothes brush

e/ My flesh.

His reactions were:

a/ A rough pan scrub.

b/ Silk.

c/ A pan scrub

d/ A piece of cloth

e/ A kind of cloth.

Not very scientific but at least I know he does feel something and when he sees his doctor and consultant later on they can do their own testings. Of course it may be nothing to do with the chemo.

He continues to eat and sleep well and has got a tan from sitting in the garden. I seem to have lost the gift of sitting, soaking up the sun but do lots of pottering in the garden.

Good news - our eldest grandson has at last passed his driving test, has a car and is all set to drive the 24 miles to his new permanent job which would be very difficult with public transport. Another ray of sunshine – my dear friend Margaret is coming to spend three nights here so we can celebrate the ‘girls’ August birthdays. There’s been some wilting since she left for Cheltenham.

Writing – other than blogging - is going well and I’m following Daisyfae's idea of doing something for thirty days. This should ensure I complete the present project in good time. Below are some shots of The Northfield Hotel where we lunched last Sunday and I met an interesting woman in the Ladies Cloakroom. I hope to continue our conversation when she comes to coffee this week.

My regulars may remember some time back when my younger son and I spent a week-end at the Duke of York Inn in Iddlesleigh. I now learn from an article by Nicola K Smith that a regular of the pub (now up for sale alas) is Michael Morpurgo. Not only did he used to listen, spell bound to his friend the late Ted Huges, but he also met a Captain Budgett a First World War veteran:

He talked in this moving way about how it was to be there as a young man of 17, leaving this tiny place and going to the horror of the trenches, and he said the only person- he used that word- he could talk to about how frightened he was, was the horse. I was very touched.”

Morpurgo wrote a book about the village which tells the story of the boy and his horse. This resulted in War Horse and Steven Spielberg has just finished filming the big screen adaptation. Who knew?
The Bristol channel from the grounds of the Northfiled Hotel

The Northfield Hotel

The Duke of York at Iddleslleigh

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thames barge in the background. Pat at the helm.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sailor Beware!

For Cap'n Jimmy - proud skipper of Hope

I was working hard and my bank balance was growing. William had arranged for us to go on holiday, sailing in Judy - a small wooden boat. Two weeks of being able to slob around without make-up or stilettos. Lovely! We were both ready for a holiday. William had been settling into his job with BISRA and I’d been getting established in the modelling world. Two weeks with no housework and no pressure for either of us. Bliss!

We picked up the boat from Maldon (in Essex not New Maldon in Surrey). Judy was a lovely wooden two-berth sailing boat – as they were in the fifties. I loved those boats. Somehow one’s rear would meld safely to the wood when the boat heeled over - unlike the fibre glass boats of today.

As usual William became happy as Larry - once on the boat, and as the weather was kind I slung a mattress in the pram dinghy that we trailed behind us and read and sunbathed, enjoying the plop- plopping in William’s wake. Judy had to be anchored in deep water (she didn’t have a flat bottom) to maintain stability, and the pram was needed to row ashore. One day near West Mersea Island, we dropped anchor and rowed ashore to get some shopping. We hadn’t realised the strength of the tide and on the way back were rapidly swept past our boat and out to sea. Some chaps anchored in a large sailing boat saw our plight and managed to catch us before we were swept past them. They hoisted us aboard and we spent a jolly day with them until the tide took us safely back to Judy. They kept us amused with anecdotes; once they were becalmed for days in the Doldrums and suddenly were delighted to hear the swish of water and thought at last they could get under way – only to discover it was Trudy – the only female member of the crew - washing her smalls.

The holiday was going well and then William suggested inviting Wallace and Fleur – his brother and sister in law - down for the week-end.
‘But William it’s a two berth – how are we going to sleep four people?’
‘No problem! We’ll share one berth, Fleur can have the other and there is a pipe cot for’ard near the anchor chain. Wally will be quite happy there.’
To my amazement they accepted and said they would bring some stores and we would meet up in the pub. We’d also made friends with another sailing couple Harry and Jean so we looked forward to a jolly party. I have never knowingly been under–dressed and this night was no exception. I wore a halter-necked Horrock’s cotton in black, white and green with a bouffant skirt boosted by a scratchy, buckram petticoat. With my pale honey tan I felt like the Queen of Sheba - perched in the dinghy, as William rowed us to shore. True to form Wallace and Fleur arrived on the dot, we introduced everybody and settled down to a lovely boozy evening. The pub was full of handsome sailing types and I was having fun. At about seven thirty Fleur started to get twitchy. It was almost supper time she said, and we needed to get on, doing potatoes and so forth. My jaw hit the floor – we were having such a splendid time – the tales were getting wilder and wilder; why did we have to stop and think about potatoes? The men solved the problem. They would row Fleur out to Judy with most of the stores ( it wasn’t all food, Fleur had brought for herself three soft fluffy blankets and a hot water bottle – quite wisely – the blankets on the boat were congenitally damp and so rough, they left a red chafing rash round the chin.)
After a short while we would follow on with the rest of the stores and have supper. That was the plan. I can’t remember what it was that prompted one of us to suggest maybe it was time to make tracks and my goodness, the call,
‘Time Gentlemen Puleeze!’ confirmed this.

Outside the pub the five of us looked out to our respective boats, ours and Harry’s which were settled in a sea of black, soft, squelchy mud - the tide had gone out! Much further out we spotted Judy gently bobbing in the moonlight. I find at times like these it is politic to say nothing. It was decided that I, with my bouffant ensemble, should sit in the dinghy guarding the rest of the stores and the men’s trousers and Jean’s skirt (they had all stripped off with unusual alacrity) and William, Wallace, Harry and Jean would push the boat through the thigh- high mud until we reached our respective boats. Once ensconced in the boat I have to confess that the sight of the four of them in their Y fronts (Jean had big pants encasing her quite large thighs) caused me to giggle so hard I got hiccups. It was The African Queen all over again - without the leeches. I laughed so hard – well after all that drink you can guess what happened. Unfortunately I was sitting on Fleur’s lemon – meringue pie at the time. As we neared the boat our hysterical laughter died away and I realised that Fleur would not be amused and had every reason to be absolutely livid with us. After a whispered good night to Harry and Jean, we clambered aboard – William and Wally dripping the evil mud in their wake. Thinking on my feet I urged Wally to go below where, presumably, Fleur would be nestled in her pink fluffy blankets, clutching her hottie and, please God, asleep. We would allow him privacy to scramble into the wretched pipe cot, whilst we disrobed outside. Then we would sneak, silently, into our shared bunk, thus avoiding any unpleasantness. There was gentle snoring from Fleur as we crept below; in fact she was the only one who had a good night’s sleep proving that there is some justice in the world.

There was a bit of a popple on the water and a swell, so although there was to be no conjugal nonsense over the week-end I spent the night clinging for dear life to William to avoid falling out of the narrow bunk. Poor Wally had the wandering anchor chain for a bed fellow and didn’t sleep a wink. He was up at crack of dawn with a conciliatory mug of tea for Fleur and one each for us but we had to get up in order to drink it. We all apologised to Fleur with lots of excuses about time and tide but she knew full well that for the rest of the week-end she would rule and we would behave impeccably.

As the wind and tide were right the men decided we would set sail immediately and I would cook breakfast en route. The stove was on gimbals and I was a dab hand at cooking under way. Everybody enjoyed eating in the fresh air – whilst scudding through the waves, but Fleur objected to my doing bacon and egg AND tomatoes.
‘So extravagant Pat, and not at all necessary!’
Fleur hello! The war is over! I think she was quite cross that I could actually do something useful. She was such a competent and thrifty person she had stuck me into the useless blonde compartment. She had no interest whatsoever in sailing and it didn’t occur to Wally that I might like to man the tiller occasionally. So different to William who was the most generous of sailors and was always delighted to let me have a go. I found it quite illuminating. The adage climb a mountain with some one if you really want to get to know them is equally true of sharing a small boat.

Judy wasn’t a boat with mod cons. There was an enamel bowl for washes and a tin bucket of the bucket and chuck it variety. The etiquette was that the men went for’ard to pee and we girls were given a private bucket. Anything more complicated had to be dealt with ashore in the pub and it all worked perfectly well until we had that dodgy ice cream at Felixstowe.

Oddly, for a naval officer, Wally was often sea-sick – I was told it was not such a rarity in the navy. It was a glorious sail up the coast and we were in high spirits as we went ashore for lunch. The fish and chips were delectable and then came the fatal ice-cream. I don’t want to labour the point and list the gory details but the four of us - that week-end - reached a level of intimacy that can take years of married life to achieve. We didn’t linger in Felixstowe as we had a hard beat against the wind to return Fleur and Wally to where they had left their car. It would have been difficult enough tacking but with the onset of D and V it was sheer hell. To find which way the wind is blowing you have to stick a wet finger in the air and see which side dries first but when one is being violently sick there’s no time for such niceties. The sea became rough and we were tossed about mercilessly with the violence of the waves. At one period I thought how bizarre it was that we were on the brink of disaster and yet across the turbulent sea were the holiday makers at Clacton sunning themselves in deck chairs – oblivious to the life and death struggle unfolding before their eyes. Life jackets? What life jackets?

We didn’t drown, we didn’t die and we finally reached port - exhausted and chastened. As Wally and Fleur tottered towards their car, trailing the now sodden, non- fluffy blankets I wondered if Fleur would ever take to the water again. By the way, I almost forgot - what with the sickness and all, the lemon meringue pie wasn't mentioned. The rest of the holiday was an enjoyable convalescence, exploring medieval Maldon and pottering round the salt marshes, relishing the birds and glimpses of Thames barges with their terra cotta sails. By the end of the fortnight I was eager to get back to the phone and see what Paula had in store.

An edited version of an earlier post.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Yassas Paxos

‘Where in Greece you like better than Paxos?’ growled Spiros – the coffee I had ordered held tantalizingly out of reach.

It had been a long hot climb out of Gaios and we were thankful to find a small store with table and chairs where we could sit and sip – provided we gave Spiros the right answer.

In the years I have been in love with Greece, many of the islands have become tourist – ridden: chips with everything and incessant pounding of disco music reverberating round the hills where once only cocks crowed, donkeys brayed and goat bells tinkled.

The friendship of the people, the warmth of the seas, the majesty of the Samaria Gorge, Delphi, Olympia, Mycenae and the museum treasures all had left indelible impressions on me in the past.

All we wanted this year was peace, beauty, good swimming, eating, and walking together with mod.cons. Then we heard of Paxos which with Antipaxos is the smallest of the Ionian Islands: ten miles south of Corfu and about nine miles west of the mainland. The journey wasn’t easy in the late eighties. We flew Gatwick to Corfu and had a six hour delay, then a bus ride in Corfu to the Anna Maria which ferries you south to Paxos – weather permitting - in about three hours. Our trip was in pitch dark with rolling seas.

The first port of call is Lakka- a small fishing village with broom spattered hills contrasting nicely with the aquamarine sea. There is a sailing club where you can get sailing instruction and hire sailing modules and surf boards. Fifteen minutes later the boat lands at Loggos, an even smaller fishing village where time stands still and the same visitors come year after year. Finally we landed at Gaios, a comparatively bustling port, where in the peaceful square you can rest under the oleanders sipping an ouzo (beware) or sampling a plate of loukamades – a sort of Greek doughnut drenched in honey and cinnamon,watching the Greeks go about their business – very slowly. Nearby yachts from all over the world are moored at the edge of the square.

Paxos measures seven miles by three and it is possible to cover the length and breadth on foot, but the maps were very simple and it can be difficult to find exactly what you are looking for. In spite of the lack of road signs and English speaking natives it is unlikely that you would get hopelessly lost as the highest point is only 248 metres. You can recognise the east coast by the mainland and Mount Olympus and the north coast by the cliffs of Corfu. Tavernas were sparse away from the coast, so it’s best to travel with some sustenance and of course water.

Walking in Paxos is a joy: wild flowers abound, each footstep releases an aroma of wild herbs, and the ancient olive groves provide shelter from the relentless sun. A bus runs from Gaios to Lakka twice a day. Motor scooters are available and its good fun to hire a boat. We had an old wooden one - Samothraki, with a small engine which, coughing and spluttering took us to Loggos and back. There are more powerful boats available. Unless you are very experienced, it is prudent to stay in the harbours when white horses are on the sea- line. The boats are equipped with flares and lifejackets but there’s no point in being uncomfortable and scared.

There was no surface water on Paxos and the rains that fall from November to May have to last the people of Paxos all summer. Sternas are built under the house to store rain water; which is soft and considered to be pure. Nevertheless bottled water is best for drinking. One of the reasons the British are liked in Paxos is that in Victorian times British engineers built five stone cisterns behind Gaios, which are still in use. The villagers without sternas use three village taps which for a two hour period are in use three times a week. They queue with their tannikins for water which has to last three days. Obviously it behove us to be careful with water. Sometimes the electricity fails and the pump from the sterna doesn’t work so an emergency store is advisable

The beaches are mainly shingle, but a half- hour trip in a caique to Antipaxos reveals excellent sandy beaches. Swimming in the dazzling turquoise opalescence with the distant mainland dusky pink is an experience not to be missed. Be aware there is little shade and the tavernas at Vrika are a welcome oasis in the midday sun.

Back in Paxos we walked south to see the Triptos arch and south east to Mogonisi Island. A walk or a bus ride takes you to Magazia from where you can walk S.E. to the church of St Apostoli and see the awesome sight of the Erimitus cliffs from the church yard. We searched for the lost village of Vasilatika; we were frequently lost but found a coastal path with a splendid view of the Ipapanti caves. We guessed the tortuous path led to Vasilatika, but the previous day we had seen a rock fall near Loggos where a fifty ton boulder bounced close to where we were picnicking so we thought better of it. Turning east in the hope of reaching Loggos for lunch, we dropped into deep fern-covered valleys with deserted houses, rusted chains at the gates: their owners long gone to distant shores. At one stage we found ourselves locked in a ghostly estate but desperation and amateur orienteering got us to Loggos for a late lunch.

Paxos was everything we had hoped for; we enjoyed the many tavernas, strolling in the quays and squares in the balmy evenings, the only noise from the animals and the Greeks themselves who think nothing of carrying on a conversation at full volume across the bay. The language didn’t impede friendship. One day a man came in the cafĂ© with his son slung over his shoulder in a dead faint; as he laid him on the floor I rushed over to take his pulse and make sure there was nothing constricting his breathing. Simultaneously the Greek wife of the owner came and threw a glass of water over him whereupon the boy sat up, to our intense relief. Ever after the Greek lady would greet us with a stream of friendly unintelligible conversation and frequently popped a delicious olive in my mouth.

By now Spiros had seated himself on one of the spindly chairs and joined us in our torpor, still waiting for an answer.

‘There’s nowhere better in the whole of Greece,’ I said with conviction ’Paxos is best!’

Footnote: oh how I envy you if you have yet to discover Paxos. There are bound to have been changes – but not too many I hope. Spiros told us the Greek Government was given money to build a small air strip on Paxos for internal flights to accommodate 18 people but, he said, they needed the money for something else. This was good news but what now? I’m relying on one of you at least to go and find out.


Welcome shade in the olive groves

Lulnch break
The mighty cliffs of Emeritus

Greek men mostly sit and chew the fat.

Vast urns to store precious water.
I hope these embiggen. Copy in post above.
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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Oh! What an ass I am!

Thank you to Ponita , Scarlet, Andrew and all who tried to solve my problem when I couldn't get my keyboard to do more than 8 numbers on the trot. It wasn't the fault of the magazine whose subscription form, for a year's supply, I was trying to complete , it wasn't an ageing keyboard it was all down to me.

I buy books all the time on line, sometimes clothes and other things and always I have to enter my credit card numbers. This time I had to enter my sort code and Sheila, my help, told me what that was, but it was only when my son went through the motions himself that he discovered it was my Bank account number they required - not my debit card. Which is weird becaus it was a special price for debit card users. All is well now, except they say it could be up to 6 weeks before I get the first magazine. Serves me rigjht I suppose.
As they used to say at school - read the questions!
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Monday, July 04, 2011


My son reminded me yesterday that I wouldn't be here forever so I determined today to get on with writing and stuff. Fell at the first fence when my keyboard numbers seized up. This has happened before and it finally fixed itself after I pressed random keys. Not this time though, so by way of an interlude here are some recent snaps.

We had a super roast here at the Dragon House when my step - daughter visited

Lucifer takes up a lot of space but is a gorgeous red.

Fuschia is rife here. Fun to pop.

Someone said hydrangea reminded her of cauliflowers but they are good value and I raved as a child about bright blue ones at Windermere.

That nemesia goes on and on - in the same pot.

Belle Etoile with a divine smell.

The frst of my three new lillies.

The loo at the Dragon House - with dear little hand towels
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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Jim Morrison 1943-1971
Died 40 years ago today. RIP.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Some old favourites.

Gussie Moran (Gorgeous Gussie) born 1923 made a big impact at Wimbledon by wearing gold lame pantees

Pauline Betz who died recently aged 91 won Wimbledon at her first attempt. As a school girl I idolised her.

Chris Evert born 1954 was a World Number 1 and won 18 Grand Slams. She was always a delight to watch and, at one time was married to our own John Lloyd.

Maria Beuno born 1939 won 19 Grand Slams - 'Poetry in Motion.' I saw her play at Wimbledon with Rod Laver in mixed doubles in the fifties.

Darlene Hard born 1936 was a curvaceous blonde and I admired her for paying her wayround the tennis cicuit by waitressing.

On the whole I think the girls were better dressed then. The body stocking type dresses some are wearing now are unforgiving , look hot and uncomfortable and reveal any spare rolls of fat. There was no grunting then and if there was a doubtful call the player to benefit would deliberately miss the next point. With the advent of big money came many changes. However it is great to see grace still on the tennis court when Federer, after his defeat the other day waited patiently to escort the winner from the court. What a chanmpion!
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