Tuesday 30 April 2024

Perhaps our NHS isn't so bad!

 I've read Andrews blog as he has listed what happened to his partner Ray. It seems he had a weak area in his aorta, which burst.

The thing is, here in UK men are offered a scan at 65 years to check for this and Dh and I remembered his well, because we nearly missed it. 

It was a couple of months after I broke my arm and Dh had been given an appointment for an aorta scan. We'd never heard of it, but all men are offered it at 65 years. It was booked for 4:30pm, in a clinic in Wickford. I was still having an afternoon nap after lunch. as I was still having bad nights with my arm. Suddenly I woke and could hear Dh in the kitchen making an afternoon cuppa. I looked at the clock, it was 4:05! I had slept and he had forgotten! We drove the 5 miles as fast as the speed limit allowed and arrived just after 4:30.. there wasn't a problem, as there was a wait, because the room had several pregnant women there, Dh was the only man! 

His scan was fine, and to be honest, we've never really thought about it till now. So thinking about that, we realised we do have a lot of preventive checks here in UK. 

At 60, we had a sort of MOT, which is when Dh's blood test showed he needed treatment for high cholesterol and high BP.. Me?? being over weight I was fine!  

There are regular checks for:- Bowel cancer, Breast scans, (ouch!) Prostate checks, and a variety of jabs given to older people to prevent them getting the diseases. We've had jabs for pneumonia, shingles, flu, plus all the covid jabs, I have one booked for next week, which will be my eighth. So perhaps our NHS isn't so bad after all. 

Life can be gone in a flash.. so get your checks and take your tablets, most mornings I ask Dh if he has taken his tablets just incase he's forgotten, he rarely has, but I asked all the same!


Monday 29 April 2024

Dark thoughts

 I should have thought this yesterday, and I shouldn't have let the shopping experience drag me down! I knew I was being grumpy but couldn't shake it off.

But our evening steak meal was very nice and Dh cooked it beautifully, so I was grateful for that. 
I had a bad night I was awake for hours and got up to read, because I just couldn't get comfortable in bed, even though Dh woke and helped me with the duvet, so I was covered. I can't pull it over me with my right duff arm. Then wouldn't you know I needed the loo again! So I grabbed my kindle and dressing gown to read in the lounge. Usually in my arm chair I can sleep with my feet up on a stool. But I was in the wide awake club with thoughts whizzing through my mind. I read a little but couldn't even settle there, then I felt cold. The temps dropped quite considerably last night and being hypothyroid my hands and feet get really cold. So I thought I'd try to sleep in the bed again. 
Dh was sleeping quietly, I could see the duvet moving as he breathed. And I think that was the cause of my sleeplessness, some one in a FB gardening group I follow, had reached out to the group that day, to say, his wife had failed to wake that morning and he was distraught. Poor man, what a sad thing to happen. You go to bed together and one of you doesn't wake up; what do you do next?

Then I read Andrews blog that his partner of 44 years had died, presumably suddenly as he hadn't said his partner was ill. 
It all preyed on my mind and the thoughts of death brought back that several of my friends have died in the last few years. 
So no wonder I couldn't sleep with such dark thoughts.. 

As I was wriggling back into bed Dh stirred and asked if I was alright, he knew I'd not been in the bed for a couple of hours. So I just mumbled I was a bit cold, so as he is the lovely man he is, he curled up behind me to warm me up. It was still a while before I could get to sleep, but I took comfort in his warm loving cuddle and eventually my eyes closed. When I woke Dh was in the kitchen I could hear the click of the kettle lid, so a cup of tea was on the way. 
I got up, weary but determined to smile and be in a positive mood.
Thank you my love for being there, day and night and I am grateful for everything, my life, still going at 81, even with this duff arm. I've survived the ops, the inconvenience, the pain and the limited life I have now; not the life I had before breaking my arm, I miss driving but most of all I miss playing the piano, but I have a comfortable life which is as happy as I want to choose it to be!


Sunday 28 April 2024

Never again!

Dh asked could we pop to Tesco yesterday afternoon, a Saturday? It might be busy he said, but then it might not! Why did he want to go? The steak he had ordered wasn't available, so we didn't get it when we had the delivery on Thursday, and he really fancied it for our evening meal.

We went and yes it was busy,  but not too bad, so he kept saying?  As we only had a few other bits with the steak, we decided to use one of the self service tills. Right away it was a bad idea; we needed a shop assistant, it didn't like our own bags!  We waited and waited while she ok-ed some ones alcohol. Why did we think we could sail through the self check out? Then, because we had some paracetamol we needed her again! We always said we'd never use a self check out on principle, and because they always seem to go wrong as soon as they see us! So annoying and to my way of thinking, it doesn't save time.

Then in the very large entrance there were about 7 young lads bouncing around as though on a rubber bouncy castle. Shaking their collection buckets and making racket, exciting squeals and shouting. I was afraid one would bounce into me, it doesn't take much to over balance me.  The adults with them seemed unaware of their noise. I expect it was just me, old and out of the stream of the joys of youngsters enthusiasm, that found them out of order. So annoying I thought, what were they collecting for? It wasn't clear, but it was a boys football club.

Saturday shopping?? Never again! But the steak was very tasty and we had English strawberries from Kent, delicious!


Saturday 27 April 2024

A pleasant day in our life.

 At Slimming World the scales said I hadn't kept to the food plan, but truth be told my gain could have been greater! But its a new week so I'd better not suggest a coffee in town, as I have tasted a Costa's Tiffin, wooooo it was loverly! I remember making something like it when my children were little for their birthday parties. 

The recipe is really easy, Rich Tea biscuits, broken up, chocolate, syrup, soft brown sugar, glace cherries, raisins and cocoa powder. It is very calorific, but worth it, but I won't be making it!

When we came home the decorator said he would be finished in the afternoon and he was; it looks absolutely super and very white with red tile paint windowsills. The tile windowsills were here when we moved here and although not my choice, they look ok. So now we need to paint our bench and we are going to buy a new door mat.

 We love that bench and in the summer we sit there and say 'hello' to people who pass and most stop and chat. Dh used to sit on the outside wall, when we lived in Leiston, not that many people passed by, but the farmers in the tractors waved as they drove passed. 

This is our bench when Dh put in new wooden planks and painted it. At present it looks a bit faded but won't take a lot to get it looking like new again.
So the decorator has done a very good job of painting our bungalow, we are very pleased and we'd have him again, so we may have our bedroom painted next.

The decorator was admiring our seedlings and veg patch and said our garden looked lovely, and thought it all looked as though we knew what we were doing. We did say we'd been gardening for a 'few' years! He is a budding enthusiastic new gardener. 

Later on my potted on my Alicante tomato plants, all looking good. I'll do some more potting on at the weekend; hope the rain stays away.

And that was our Friday, not exciting but very satisfying and would have been even better if the hedge cutter had turned up at 4 to give us a quote, but 'dim problem,'  I have another one coming tomorrow morning. How was your day?


Friday 26 April 2024

Three early visitors!

 Dh and I are usually up, drinking tea at about 8:30 am most mornings, unless we have an early appointment or agree to meet someone or SW. So someone knocking on our front door earlier yesterday morning was a surprise. It was some one looking for an Ann Cooper? We didn't know anyone of that name.. so Dh came back into the lounge to drink his tea.. then knock, knock again. I could hear the man saying, 'I'm the decorator come to paint the outside walls' I nearly choked on my tea! I've had that decorator book since the beginning of the month, he was to let us know when he could start. 

He said he'd sent a text to me? I quickly got my phone. I only look at it to use as a phone, I don't use it for the internet so I don't look at it all that often. He had sent  a text at 8:10 am to say I can start today!!LOL

We were still in bed then, anyway as it was all outside painting, he and his crew started while we carried on in our dressings gowns, with another cup of tea, as that first one was cold! I can cope with cold tea, but not my first morning cuppa! 

Dh said we might as well carry on and have our breakfast, so we did, inside the lounge with the curtains closed. As we started to eat, knock, knock again! It was our grocery order from Tesco being delivered early!

Once we had showered and dressed later, we sat with our coffees and Dh said.. hope we can drink this in peace!!


Thursday 25 April 2024

Living for 'Manna'

 I did not sleep well and was awake for a couple of hours on Tuesday night,  ugh! So when Dh gave me a little tap to say it was already 8:30 am, I did not want to leave my comfy bed.. I'd got back to sleep about 5 and woke again for the loo at 7, so it seemed as though I'd only just gone to sleep. Why did he wake me? Because we'd arranged to go for a coffee with an old school friend.

We meet her now and then, because she lives alone, and her son died 18 years ago, so I do feel sorry for her, but we don't really have anything in common. She spent a long time recounting her story of her part time job. She had been offered extra days, because some one was taking extra holiday time. She was complaining about the extra time, and when I said 'well you'll have the extra money,' she was quick to say, 'it wasn't worth it because she'd be taxed! And didn't like to say 'no''.

It made me realise how really blessed I am and was, because in the last six years of my teaching job, I worked three days a week and when I was asked to do an extra day, I nearly always said no, because I didn't need the money. Not that I had loads, but I enjoyed my four days at home and what money I earned was good. I tried to explain to the secretary of the school, who used to ask me to work extra, that I was working for 'manna' like the Israelites, who only were given food for that day, except for the Sabbath.. So I only needed enough money to live, so no need for extras. When I did work the extra days, it was when the Head Teacher asked me. She was very good to me and so  it was hard to say no to her. 

Does that seem odd to you? I had sold my big house I bought after my divorce and down sized to get rid of my mortgage. and the house I bought, needed to have quite a lot done to it, well actually a lot! 

I never went without and had jobs done on my house as and when I earned the money. The front windows were replaced in the lounge first, then French doors in the dining room.. and so I had things done every now and then. I did have my youngest son move in with me in my second year there. He had a bit of an upset in his life, and he did all the electrics, as he was doing a college course. That was an enormous help and I'll always be grateful to him for all his help. (He's the son who no longer speaks to anyone in the family) He lived with me for just over 18mths.

Then when all of downstairs was more or less done, (not the kitchen) I had a real 'Billy bonus' A tax rebate and I bought something I'd always wanted, a raspberry pink carpet through out the lounge/ dining room and the hall, stairs and landing from Alders, an expensive quality store! I loved that carpet and it always looked good. It was still there looking good when I sold the house 14 years later. And amazingly all I'd had done to that house increased its value and when it sold, it went for three times what I had paid for it!!

So having seen my friend, we won't again for a while, she has some days booked out with work colleagues in the next few weeks, so she's happy.. and we had a lovely coffee!


Wednesday 24 April 2024

A Beautiful Grand daughter.

 My beautiful grand daughter spent last month in India working for her firm. I look at her and can't believe she is 30 this year, a qualified Chartered Accountant and a very confident young lady. 

I remember her being born, my daughter had asked me to go to her when she was in labour, as her husband was making too much fuss! I drove the 65 miles as fast as was allowed.. and stayed with my daughter rubbing her back, till late at night, when a midwife suggested I should leave as it was 10:00pm and all the husbands had left at 8:30pm!

My daughter was very tired and had agreed to have an epidural, so knowing she would be ok I left.. drove home and my grand daughter was born 6:20am.. I drove back right away and was delighted to see my grand daughter, a bit red in the face as they are, but beautiful.. and name?? Saskia Christine Amelia!

She is such a beautiful  young woman, and a very lovely.


Tuesday 23 April 2024

What is a weed?

Where ever we've lived we have had a particular difficult weed. Here in Porthcawl, it's this, ' Cuckoo Pint' It pops up under our hedges and in our flower beds. It is really difficult to dig up, as the stems are quite delicate, so when you yank them out, the little bulb is left behind. So careful digging and wiggling of your trowel to get them right up!

It develops into these.. bright red and poisonous, we've dig a few up this afternoon.. but I'm sure there will soon be more.

These we had in Billericay,  but as we drive around we see them everywhere.. 'Three Cornered Leek' We're keeping a watchful eye out for any in our garden,  because they are very difficult to eradicate.
The RHS gardens at Hyde Hall, Essex, had dug out a flower bed down to sub-soil and left it fallow for three years plus, in an effort to get rid of it. It's a plant that is against the country side law to plant in the county side.. called Three Cornered Leek because the leaves have three edges! Pretty? Yes but smells like an  onion and is a thug./

And here is Alkanet, which we had in our Suffolk garden. The previous owners thought it pretty and had allowed it to grow. It had underground runners, so a horrid one to get rid of, I dug it up as fast as I saw it, but it wasn't easy.

And of course there's the dandelion, here it is rife in our lawns. But reduced in the front after a weed and feed treatment.. once it seeds they blow every where and the long tap root snaps to allow a new plant to grow before you've turned around! I know people say they are food for the bees rousing from winter. So they can be, but in someone else's garden!

Of course we  have daises in our grass as well, but they show where Dh has missed when he's cutting the grass!

So flowers in the wrong place or a weed, what do you think?

Monday 22 April 2024

The Next Epidemic?

 I thought it was just me, although friends my age have said they thought the same. We all think we suffered in lockdown, because of less physical activity, through lack of walking and getting about and the lack of interaction with other people, that also caused feelings of anxiety.

But it seems, we are not alone and the latest figures show there is 16% more older people reporting falls, than before covid. Experts reported in a paper published last week, the enforced isolation had taken its toll on mobility, confidence, and the capacity of millions of older people to live independently without extra support. Specialists in older people's health had warned that this was likely to happen because of the lack of stimulation and lack of physical activity.

Furthermore, routine heath and social care services aimed at maintaining or improving physical mobility among older adults in the prevention of falls, had been suspended during the epidemic. Re-engaging with these services have proved to be a challenge for some elderly people, due to lack of confidence in every day activities or loss of physical activity.

Reading this report brought home to me how much it reflected my own reduction in physical activities, it also spoke about increases in weight, increases in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and anxiety. So its not just me. Its a blessing that I don't have any of these illnesses. Medical people are saying our next epidemic will be the lack of care for the elderly and that care services will be stretched beyond their resources, because of the number of people needing care. Did we need to be told this? I thought it was already a problem, but what I didn't realise was that, lockdown was the cause in some instances of some elderly people no longer confident enough to live independently!

I'm very thankful that I had Dh and that we didn't succumb to covid. However moving house 294 miles away from Leiston Suffolk in June  2021, didn't help us. At our age it was hard and completed floored us. We were months recovering and took our time, not rushing to unpack our 'hundreds' of boxes for the first 2 years! 

I think this was a much better idea than I realised, to buy my Rhet Butler! Lots of people have stopped me enquiring about it and remarking on how sturdy it looks.

I use my wheels all the time now and it allows me to walk confidently and quite far.. 1 or 2 miles daily depending where we walk.

Did lockdown have an adverse effect on you? But I must admit I do feel a little bit like my old self lately and walking doesn't have that 'ugh' feel any more!


Sunday 21 April 2024

Like a summer's day.

It was a sweltering hot day yesterday and our town was full, the main street was bustling and the car parks full. Lots of people were down on the front beach looking at that drift wood!

These were out taking older people for a ride up and down  the prom.   I'm not sure what this charity is but its free. I prefer to walk myself!

We were in town as Dh had volunteered us to man the U3a gardening  table for an hour, as the U3a were having a sort of advertising session to make it known in the town. I chatted to the Welsh Speaking group leader and she assured me that beginners were very welcome, but I don't feel confident enough, although I'm improving all the time. And we watch 'Popol y Cwm,'  ( People of the Valley.) on Sc4 We understand some of it and sometimes we get up the Welsh sub-titles, so that makes it much easier.

Dh chatted to the walking group leader and going to that would be super for him. I walk fairly well but only with my wheels, and 3 or 4 miles would be too much for me.

So a pleasant day and very summery.. I walked through town without my jacket it was that hot!



Saturday 20 April 2024

Some answers!

 Shwmae bawb,

Lots of comments on Meghan's jam.. I not a fan of hers and while I agree strawberry jam is made and eaten in US as well as other countries, it is a very  English jam. Why did she have them numbered and if they want a life completely away from the Royal Family, why hang on to the title of Duchess of Sussex. Just seems contrary to their wishes.. but I 'm happy to live and let live just NIMBY!.

My cousin, no she is not and I won't have her to stay. I think she only wants a nosy look and I 'm not prepared to listen to her condescending sayings. Her posh friends wouldn't have her in their 'bubble' in the covid lockdown, neither would her brother! I didn't like her when I was little either, she was always hitting me! And something I remember was the incident of my 'School Girls' comic. My Aunty Glad, who with my grand mother brought me up, used to buy me  comics, I was reading it and my cousin asked could she have it and I said no, as I was reading it, she snatched it from me and ripped it to pieces. We must have been 7-ish and I remember it well!! Am I bearing a grudge? I suppose so!

My dips in moods all stem from my weight and failure to lose big chunks of weight! The present SW consultant said I'm probably eating too much food, even though in the SW food plan some foods are classed as free, in that you can eat lots of them. However over the years, she explained SW has evolved to eating less carbs and more veg and fruit and protein! Why didn't someone say this years ago, saved me some £ s.. Although I have lost weight consistently in the last 4 weeks and I have increased my walking and yesterday walked a mile along the front prom.. probably not brilliant in some peoples exercise program, but brilliant for me!

My Dh is very patient with me and does do the lion's share of work. This last week was the ninth anniversary of my breaking my right arm, which changed my life in a big way. However I still do a lot in our home and while I can't dig in the garden, I sow all the seeds, transplant them all and water them each day. That's some commitment and needs good pouring skills to keep the water off the floor. That's why Dh is not encouraged to water in the house! LOL And I weed, for 10 mins, sit and then weed some more!  And I do my 'tiara' job every day! I make the bed, dust and polish and tidy, picking up and putting stuff away. So I'm not idle, just don't cook, but I do clear up after Dh and load the dish washer.

So I am settled and happy here in my own home town, but I do miss some aspects of my life in Billericay, mainly my Church there. I attended that church from 1974 to 2005, apart from the 4 years when I lived in Coventry,  but attended a church there too and became a big part of the congregation.  I miss the Billericay, church dreadfully. I knew the people, the pastors, there were 5 in my time there and I suppose I was a cog in the church life.. so I must make the effort to put down church roots here!

But all said and done, we are very blessed and live a comfortable life. I do have worries about what would we do if Dh couldn't drive anymore, so in the next few months, once the weather is settled we're going to bus into town. The bus stop is 3 mins up the side path and it runs every 25 mins.. so that's my next challenge!


Friday 19 April 2024

My town

Some people asked what my town was like, this is the sea parts of it. 

This photo appears on all the weather news when the weather is bad!

But we do have days of calm and sunshine, honest.

Rest Bay is very popular for water sports

Some where we sometimes sit and watch the sea.

When we walk along the promenade this is where we walk.

                         The look out along Sandy beach

Men do fish here.

The light house when its fine weather, I used to play around this when I was a child.

Long sandy beaches.

Main street in town, no cars allowed after 11:00 am

We have some very pretty shops and also being a seaside town, nik nack shops with buckets and spades. And a lot of cafes all selling ice cream!
The photos are not mine, but taken off face book pages.
Just a selection of some views of Porthcawl. Where we live is just 10 mins from one of the five beaches and also within walking distance there are fields and woodlands, filled with the blue of bluebells in spring time. 
A lovely place to live.

Thursday 18 April 2024

Would you buy this?

 The latest venture by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is Strawberry jam, the label reads  America Riviera Orchard displayed in a basket of lemons.

I'm  perplexed as to why its strawberry jam, to me strawberry jam is essentially English, or should I say British as I'm Welsh. Just seems a strange thing to do. Is she trying to impress someone? 
Why did people think she and Catherine would be bosom friends. Its not as though they were seven year olds, who met and asked,' 'Would you like to be my friend?' 
They were grown women with established lives, Catherine already the wife of the future King and the mother of another.
While Meghan was a professional actor, and a person in her own right. So why oh why was it thought they'd be best friends? 
I'm very much in awe of Catherine, she is beautiful, gracious and at this moment in time fighting a horrible disease. And the King has an obvious affection for her, giving her a peck on the cheek, when they've met in public view.
So America Riviera Strawberry Jam can go west as far as I'm concerned and stay there!

Wednesday 17 April 2024

I didn't want to like this book but.....


This was our book group read
 for April. When I read the blurb that it was about the aftermath of the 'A' bomb on Nagasaki I did not want to read it.. I was convinced I wouldn't like it. How wrong I was, I loved it!
Each chapter is introduced with an explanation of a Japanese culture and history and is worth reading to get the 'flavour' of the story.

The story revolves around the life of Amaterasu, a mother and grandmother affected by the dreadful atom bombing of Nagasaki. She spends her life grieving the death of her daughter Yuko and grandson Hideo. 
One of the best books I've read. An engaging story,  exquisite writing, and characters whose emotions you could actually feel. The author has a poetic quality of writing and really makes you feel about the choices of love and trust.
Years after the bomb Amaterasu, now a widow and living in America, opens her door one day to see a disfigured man there, claiming to be her lost grandson, Hideo.
He has with him a parcel of letters from Sato, a Dr who had loved her daughter. Sato had never sent them, but declares his love for Yoko in the letters and with Yoko's diary, Amaterasu relives her own past. 
The story  tells of her own love, and her daughter's love. It weaves back and forth across generations and changing cultural attitudes. It is a challenging read in some instances but ultimately rewarding and I found it difficult to put down, wanting to know what happens next.
It is a very emotional book with a deep romantic story at its core. The author actually lived and worked in Nagasaki and Sapporo for three years and researched the cultural references, so the explanations and terms of Japanese history at the beginning of each chapter are correct They were an education to me who knew little or nothing about Japanese culture and history, and as an introduction to each chapter, they were a nice touch too. 
This is  a thought provoking, beautifully written book that I highly recommend. 


Tuesday 16 April 2024

Grrrrrrr, some days I hate myself!

That  troublesome word has cropped up again ....weight.. mainly my being very over weight. How did I get here I ask myself?? The bulk of this extra weight arrived in lock down. Why?? We did things in the garden, to keep active, when we had planned not to when we moved to Suffolk, so we'd be free to take holidays any time of the year. But it didn't work out that way. Once the rules in the second lock down, was that we weren't to travel, our movements were restricted, we didn't drive to walk somewhere, but did walk around our road. and locally. I bought my 'wheels' to help me, so we did get out walking.  We didn't go shopping, but had everything delivered, so no tempting shelves of sweets and chocs to see.. sounds  feasible doesn't it? 


We ordered the tempting things instead, crisps, chocs, cake, we even found Orange Flavoured cake mixture and different fruit bread mixes and we did what a lot of Britain did, we baked cakes and made bread! When it was the winter months, we did not walk as much and my weight piled on. I felt very anxious the whole time and hardly ever slept through the night,  so we had tea and toast most nights! Then I compounded the stress by saying I wanted to move back here to Wales in the middle of lock down!

We had buyers right away, but they were slow getting a mortgage and the sales dragged on for 4 months. Each time we saw a bungalow here, because our sale hadn't gone through, we lost what we wanted to buy. This bungalow was the only one left for us to buy. Too big really, although we've filled it with our own furniture even though we gave a lot away before we came here. The garden is a lot bigger than we wanted, fortunately we have a big power lawn mower so it makes short work of the grass. And we have settled in and do get out quite a bit. But exercise doesn't lose weight, eating less does! Hence Slimming World and I am losing weight, but so slowly and I'm very easily tempted, so this SW cake helps.. But Sunday I ate more than one piece and some ice cream and as we had beef for our Sunday dinner, we had home made Yorkshire puddings, so doubt I'll lose another 2 lbs this week! Grrrrrrr

Here is the SW Weetabix cake,  it does hit the spot.

SW Weetabix cake

2 weetabix crumbled

200ml skimmed milk

100g sultanas

100g Self-Raising flour 

1 Tsp Mixed spice

2 Tbl Sweetner

2 large eggs


Preheat oven 180C fan/160C/Gas 4

Line a pound tin

Pour milk over Weetabix and mash, leave for a few minutes till thoroughly soaked.

Beat in all remaining ingredients

Spoon into tin and cook for 1 hour.

Turn out and leave to cool.

Slice into 12 pieces (3 1/2 syns per slice)


Monday 15 April 2024


The sun was shining and Dh said 'come on lets go for a walk'.. I hmmm and haaa-d a bit but got my shoes. We intended to walk along the Eastern Prom, as it has been all revamped and the path ways are smooth and no loose pavers. It goes all the way up to the harbour, filled these days with top class yachts, unlike when I was little when there were just  a few old wooden fishing boats, keeled over on their sides. Sunny Sundays here are always packed, but altho the roadsides are full with parked cars, there is always spaces in the car park. 

This coffee kiosk by the harbour has lovely coffee and they have these too. It was somewhere we always went with Nell but we haven't been there since she went over Rainbow Ridge.   

 A couple of years ago while we were sitting there enjoying a coffee, Dh thought there was a seal swimming near the entrance of the harbour, we both watched for quite a while and it did look like a seal. So we walked all the way round to get a closer look. And was it a seal? No, a rock,  but I did agree (?) it could have been one. Since then I have teased him saying .... shall we go on a seal hunt??
... but it is a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by. So I said, yes lets go... but as we opened our front door, the heavens opened and the rain came down like 'stair rods' We waited a while but it didn't look as though it was stopping, so coats off and Dh made a cup of tea, which we had with  a piece of Weetabix cake.

Then as we sat down in the lounge and looked out of the window, the sun was shining again!!!!! 

Sunday 14 April 2024

Insomia and a Saturday.

 This is pickled cucumber made by Dh, the one I made was eaten,; we really like it! The recipe is here....  https://alwayssmiling24.blogspot.com/2024/02/a-fancy.html

I had a funny old Saturday, started off tired as I was awake for 2 hours in the night. Some nights I sleep with the loo visits and some nights I wake for the loo and then can't get back to sleep. Friday night I tried hugging my pillow for an hour, with the mantra, 'I'm warm, I'm comfortable and I'm going to sleep,' with the picture in my mind of the sea gently lapping the shore. Then after an hour I get up, as that's what all the experts say.. I sometimes read my kindle, as its back lit so don't need a light, but at the moment I'm reading the book group book, 'A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding,' About a mother grieving for her daughter and Grandson, who were victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. The font is faint and where its in italics, I need a bright light to see it.  An easy  read, but not a book I'd go to bed early to read! So I sat in the lounge with my spot light to read it. Climbed back into bed at 4 and was asleep in minutes. 

We usually visit the library on Saturdays, but no books to collect so we'll take ones we've read back on Wednesday, the book group afternoon.

Then gardening in the afternoon, Dh mowed the front grass, then he pruned a rose I'd missed, when I did the others a few weeks ago. It was a cutting that Dh took of a rose, that my daughter gave me several years ago and flourished in my Billericay garden. He took 4 cuttings and all 'took' We left one in the Suffolk garden and gave 2 away, so this is the last one. It's very precious, pink with a heavenly Turkish delight scent.. And while we were looking in that flower bed, I found a little penstemon, called Sour Grapes, I thought I'd lost. I took cuttings before we left Billericay and have had 1 or 2 in my garden where ever I've lived. This one I brought with me from Suffolk. Some of my plants have lived in several gardens!

(pic from a catalogue)

I can't kneel to garden any more so Dh did and cleared away the Forget me Nots and dandelions around it, to give it breathing room! Its still very tiny but I'll give it lots of  TLC to bring it on.

So our pickled cucumber went with our green salad and a very tasty steak and baked potato, for our evening meal. Another Saturday gone, with a drizzly end, I call it air rain, the sort that wets you!

How was your Saturday?


Saturday 13 April 2024

Make your own pot noodle


50G dried noodles broken up.
1/2 veg stock cube crumbled.
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Tbl sp soya sauce
Carrot, grated
Small red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
Spring onion, chopped.
Fresh coriander, chopped
Tsp garlic granules.


In a heat proof jar, layer the ingredients with the noodles at the bottom.
When you're ready pour in boiling water till noodles are covered.
Put on lid and leave for 8 mins
Stir and add a tsp of sweet chili sauce if you want it, enhances the taste.
(That would be synned for SW)

(pic from a member in my SW group)

Friday 12 April 2024

A Sea Monster?

 On Thursday afternoons I have my hair done, since moving here I've found a hair dresser who does it just right. We don't usually go round town after it, but today we did, as it wasn't raining. Once I've had my hair done, I won't get it wet; we wandered through the town to get some cards, but suddenly there were some spicks of rain so we rushed back to the car.

We thought we'd have a drive to the sea front to see this huge piece of drift wood. Its been photographed by loads of people and is on all the FB pages. But we couldn't get a parking space near to it and I didn't want to get wet. Its like a huge monster from the sea!

It looks bleak doesn't it? We drove further along the front and got a parking space further along the prom, just by our favourite kiosk and got a lovely decaff coffee... 

... and one of these..

...A shortbread biscuit from Popty Bakery, they are delish.
And we sat and watched the sea breaking over the rocks and it rained and rained and rained!
So glad this isn't me!

Hurry up summer, we're fed up of the rain

Thursday 11 April 2024

How life changes.

Yesterday was a day of rain and wind, but we still managed a blow by the sea. Some days I need to blow the cobwebs away out of my mind and yesterday was one of those days.
I had been brooding about those people, who always seem to take advantage of situations and I feel down trodden. Well one in particular.
In fact all my life I've felt second best. My childhood was carefree, but living without a mother I always felt I was missing something.
For the first 9 years of my life my cousin and her parents lived with us. There was only 6 weeks in age between us but, she was always just that little bit bigger than me, she developed breasts' when I still had 'fried eggs!'  I loved her mum and I did spend a lot of time with them. When we did go to the beach with an adult it was with her mum, because she didn't work. So I have lovely memories of those afternoons, but she wasn't my mum.
Then they moved to Wolverhampton, because her father got a job there. So I had summer holidays there. I was put on a train in care of the guard and travelled by myself, met the other end by my aunt. Can you imagine that happening today? I spent many happy summers there with them. 
I didn't know the background of our living arrangements back then. I mean I didn't know who owned the house in Porthcawl. So it came as an enormous surprise to learn that the Aunt who actually looked after me, who paid for me to go to that private school was the owner. It was she who encouraged me to work hard at school and get my qualifications. And one thing I had more than my cousin was, I got my school cert in 10 subjects, including my Aunt used to say very proudly French with Oral. My cousin got one subject and that was needlework! 
But didn't I feel I had something more than her, not really she had a mother and I didn't. When my Aunt who brought me up died, the house became mine, it was a shock, she had never told me.  And it caused a huge rift and the Wolverhampton crowd, as they had become to be known, decided not to speak to me. That was 1990.. but a few years ago my cousin got in touch with me and we exchanged cards etc. She came and stayed with us in my little house in Billericay and the Suffolk house. We were invited to stay with her in her 'barn conversion' rather posh, but out in the wilds. She has posh friends who all live in very big houses and own horses; my cousin had one too, for years. But now it seems I have more than she can ever have. Very sadly, her youngest daughter died age 30 with meningitis, she and her husband split after that and although she 'appears' to have money, her life is very changed. I still don't like her, something I realised a few years ago. She thinks my husband is very down trodden by me as he cooks when she has visited us and I appear to do nothing. I don't care I don't feel I need to explain things to her. 
Why am I brooding about all this now? She wants to come and visit and each time she has asked I've said no, with the reason we had builders here or something going on. Now she has asked again, and I've said no, why does she want to play happy families now when she didn't speak to me for over 20 years? Dh says we should, she's lonely and we have each other and it would be the Christian thing to do.
I'm thinking about it, but really I want to say no. Dh says it will only be for a few days but I know it will be like an open door.. 
I'll think some more!
What do you think?

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Once Upon a Time!

 Ice on the inside of the bedroom window, toes on a hot water bottle.

 Spiders in the outside lav, with paper on a meat hook on the back of the door.  I never closed the door at night, but sat there swinging my legs, looking at the stars.

Sunny all day, playing out in the back lane.  Pushing my dolls in my pram with Kay and Margaret, wonder where they are today?

Days on the allotment with my grandfather, eating too many gooseberries and then tummy ache! Bless him, to keep me clean, off came my dress and on with a wheat sack, so I went home with a clean dress and filthy knicks where I'd sat playing in the mud!

Sweet shop round the corner and 5 for a penny.                             Dandelion and Burdock pop.                                                            Tinned peaches and Evaporated milk for Sunday tea and bread and butter!                                                                                                     Play clothes and a set of Sunday best clothes and school uniform. 

Toes cut out of last years sandals to allow for growing feet! There wasn't a lot of spare money.

Knitted pixie hat and matching gloves, probably would be highly valued now, but then every scrap of wool was used for something.

My aunty did knit one of these for me out of odd bits of wool.
Sitting in front of the coal fire in winter, toasting bread on the fire, listening to the radio, children's hour at 5 o'clock.
Playing Hide and Seek  in the dark, in the street, the lamp post was 'home.'
Paddling in the sea and getting my frock and knickers wet.. who cared?
Running down the hilly sandhills, screaming arms outstretched.
Days gone bye, but happy memories, and it never rained!
What was your childhood like?

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Ta da!!

Although it wasn't obvious, there was a big dip in the lawn here. We wondered if at some point in time there'd been a shrub planted there and then dug up and the area roughly filled and grass allowed to grow over the spot and it had sunk.
There were quite a few times when I didn't allow for the dip and I nearly fell over. This last time my whaooo loud shout frightened me and Dh, as I forgot the difference in level and nearly went over!
It took 12 or more bags of top soil to fill the dip. We did this a couple of months ago and did the foot shuffle as shown by Alan Titmarsh to get it flat. Heavy rain since helped, so it was ready for turf.
Then there was the  search for turf. We saw some at Homebase the weekend before Easter, but as we were trying to get organized for our Easter visitors thought best leave it till after.. ha ha of course it was all gone.

I asked on our local FB page and was given the name of a firm that supplied all sorts of stuff for gardens, about 4 miles from us. I phoned them Friday and ordered the turf and we went along yesterday and picked it up.. and ta da.....

Not bad for a couple who had never done this before, with just big boots jumping to make it flat and a kitchen knife to cut it!
Of course Dh did the work I just supervised. He was very muddy and wet and had to go straight into the shower. And we'll have to soak his old jeans!
We're really pleased with our efforts, now we have the patio to clean, as the top soil is very black. The woman in the office, where we got the turf, advised us to put down some fertilizer first which we did.
Looks ok doesn't it?