How refreshing…NOT!

Hi All

I have to confess to having totally, and without a doubt,  recently screwed-up my computer.

One or two little things were starting to niggle me – they weren’t where they were supposed to be, or were taking much longer to load – so in my infinite wisdom I started looking for that bit where you send your computer back, to a place and space in time, to where it was working perfectly. Because this is a Windows 8 operating system, most of the ‘techno’ stuff is a tad alien to me, simply because I spend my time polishing and perfecting the bits on the computer that I DO use, and I rarely spend time figuring out the bits that I DON’T use. There’s only so much time in a day, hey?

I couldn’t find what I was looking for – but I did find ‘refresh.’ This sounded OK. A bit spring-cleaning ish? Refresh! Yes. That would do nicely. I could imagine it – everything back to how it was – fast, furious and in the right place, all open to my usual abuse. I pressed the button and away we went.

An hour later and I was unimpressed to find that all the little Word logos had disappeared from my Word docs’ and not one could be opened, because I no longer had Office installed on the computer. Yes, I know, you are shaking your heads and thinking what an idiot, and I confess, I was, and I am.

I wasn’t too much of an idiot though to realise that I’d reset my computer to factory settings and that half of my stuff had hit the ether with a loud hiss.

No worries, I had a product code for Office, I’d simply reload it. Easy. Not rocket science. Unfortunately it wouldn’t let me do it, chucking out the code and showing utter revulsion to my Microsoft account.

I battled with it for hours and then I did my usual thing – grovelled to my brother, telling him I’d cocked-up mega, that I was an idiot (I work on the principle that if I get the confession in first it saves time) and that I needed him to come over and sort it out for me.

I’ll cut a long story short by saying it took several attempts, with my brother coming to me, and me going to my brother, and a discussion with my nephew (a computer wizard) to get it back. But back it is, and not only that, I’ve got a much higher spec’ version.

The problem was that Office had been installed by the supplier of the computer and not registered directly with Microsoft, so Microsoft didn’t recognise either the product code or my account. At least this is what I’ve been told and frankly I’m not arguing the toss. I could have phoned Microsoft but resented the charge of the phone call. I did ask Richard’s opinion at one stage to be met with his stock reply of, ‘Don’t ask me. I know nothing about computers.’

This is true.

I love my brother. There I’ve said it. He is always there for me in my times of trouble and idiotic behaviour. It is down to him that I have a single hair left on my head. I often have to wait for his schedule to get around to sorting out his div of a sister, but he always turns up, eventually – and anyway, it could be ME doing HIM the favour. Isn’t it nice to be needed? And I always give him some fresh chucks’ eggs. I certainly wouldn’t give their precious eggs to just anyone.

I won’t be refreshing my computer again. It can grow mould and self-decorate in spiders’ webs for all I care. Besides, I’ve now been informed of what I SHOULD have done.
2014-04-11 08.42.27

Take care all x




Breaking Bad…It Can Seriously Damage Your Outlook

Hi All

I haven’t been here for a while, due purely to the fact that I’ve had to attempt to get these migraines under control. Another visit to the doctor, another type of drug, another bad reaction and then a rather ‘out there – random,’ decision from me. I decided to stop ALL medication and get the shit (sorry, but I’m sure I’m full of it – no comment please!) out of my system. I have been without drugs now for over two weeks and I’ve had one, one-day migraine so far. I’m addressing diet, time spent on the computer and various other things and at last my brain is beginning to respond to the lack of shit coursing through my system. I may be entirely on the wrong track but, at the moment, I am feeling better and the option of ‘medication’ is always there if I should need to go back to that situation. So…moving on…

I recently had my attention drawn to the US series, Breaking Break. My son suggested that I try it, and to be honest, after the first five minutes, I turned it off deciding that it wasn’t for me. Wrong! I later went back to it and that, as they say, was that. I was hooked and dropped into the keep net. I have 2 episodes left to watch and then I’m sure that I shall suffer withdrawal effects. However, it HAS had one negative effect on me…
Yesterday, in Morrison’s, whilst waiting to buy the winning lottery ticket (?) I couldn’t help but ‘listen in’ to the conversation between the sales assistant and the two men on my side of the counter. One was a young lad and the other was an older man – short, plump, suited and booted, and speaking with an Italian accent. At least, I think it was an Italian accent, you know me, the extent of my global travel runs out at Jersey, France and Spain. Anyway, I was listening to him and the thought crossed my mind that he was a drug baron, like the very scary people who Walt, in Breaking Bad, mixed with. He was very jolly – the drug baron not Walt – but I felt this overwhelming desire to slide further along the counter and to keep my eyes well forward. I did risk a quick glance when I thought his attention was on the sales assistant…and he was looking straight at me! I grinned, well, better to go down smiling, and he winked! I hurriedly started rearranging the leaks and Chea’s crunchies that had spilled out of the carrier bag, and pretended to be engrossed. I heard him say, ‘Yes, well that’s what my first wife said!’
That confirmed it for me. He was a drug baron and he’d killed his first wife. Bloody hell, how many other wives had he had? I felt a cool breeze as he walked past me and left through the automatic doors. The sales assistant was still smiling from his quick wit and humorous repertoire as she took my money. ‘Oh God,’ I said, do you think he was a Mafia boss or something?’ She frowned a bit and handed me my winning lottery ticket. I continued, ‘And what do you think happened to his first wife?’ She said something like, ‘Oh yeah.’ Obviously she’d been sworn to secrecy and threatened that something bad would happen if she discussed it further. For her own safety I said no more.
Once home I made the leeks into a lovely potato and leek soup. I’d never made it before but we bought a sack of potatoes from the garden center the other week and so I’ve been dreaming up, any, and every idea as to how to use up the glut before they turn green and start chitting. I think I must have had my head elsewhere as I dragged the blender from the cupboard and started to blend the soup, because with horror, I suddenly realised that I’d left the bouquet garni in it – you know, the little paper bag of herbs? I had a fish around for it but alas, it had gone.
Dilemma. Throw away 4 pints of beautiful soup? Eat it – paper and all?
I decided that it could do no harm to eat it so, when Richard came home, I announced that there was some lovely soup and crusty bread for tea. As usual he poured a huge bowl full and sat down in front of the TV to watch the news and eat his delightful soup. After a few mouthfuls, which I watched from under my fringe, whilst flitting through FB, I said, ‘How is it?’
‘Lovely,’ he said.
‘Good.’ I said.
‘What are these crunchie bits that I keep getting?’ he said.
‘Celery?’ I suggested. ‘It WAS a bit stringy.’
‘Hmm,’ he said. ‘It’s a bit like…gritty?’
‘Herbs?’ I offered.
‘It’s like…er…crunchy…like sand.’
‘Oh! That’ll be the paper bag that I blended in with it!’
He looked up, laughed, and took another spoonful.
Richard loves my sense of humour. Funny how when you tell some people the truth they prefer to think it’s a lie?
I blame it all on Breaking Bad. It’s unnerved me…and also…made me a little devious?IF
Take care my lovelies x

Things That Go Croak In The Night.

Hi All

I can’t pretend that the last 8 days have been a blast. They have produced nothing but migraine headaches, and they have kindly brought with them all the horrible additional symptoms of migraine. Nausea, dizzy spells, light sensitivity, brain of mush, etc. Mr Migraine is NOT a lonesome traveller. Each time I have approached the computer my vision has changed and the typical ‘migraine aura’ has had me shutting everything down. I feel that I am risking it, even now.

When I could stand it no longer, and when I had wound myself up to tantrum proportions, I went back to the doctor.  She was less than impressed when I confessed to having already started cutting down on the tablets pre prescribed. She found it hard to see my logic. I didn’t. What’s the point in taking a high dosage of something (she said it wasn’t) if the drug changes you into the undead, and you still get migraines breaking through? She even showed me the paperwork from the God-like consultant I saw way back, and there it was in black and white – his recommendation that they should keep upping the dosage until it reached enough to floor an elephant. Bloody idiot! I told the doctor that the consultant had been an obnoxious moron and that it was pretty apparent at the time that he was trying to kill me. After this she kinda took me seriously.

A long story short, we (?) decided that I should come off the existing drug and start a new one. I, start it tonight, so if I appear to have left the planet you will know that I am prostrate somewhere, attempting to rise to the challenge of a new drug. If there is such a thing as reincarnation I am coming back next time as someone who is insensitive to everything.

I have done very little during this time. I’ve managed to sort out the chucks each day and organise the garden, with shades rammed against my eyeballs, and a filthy sun hat, that I found on the floor of the shed, flattening my unwashed hair. The garden is coming to life beautifully (shame about yours truly!) and even with all these horrible symptoms I can only stand and stare.

There’s not much going on in the ‘greening up’ department, but the ‘boys’ are back. The boys being the plague of frogs that make their way back to their birthplace, each year. The water literally bubbles with activity and it is impossible to count their numbers, but if you sneak up on them, and they don’t hear you coming, there are little heads sticking out of the water, all around the pond. Obviously the boys are all pigging-backing the females as the breeding fenzy is played out. And they show no remorse if there aren’t enough females to go round, they just pile on top of each other, and perform a leaning tower of frogs. I fear that the females will never survive but they always appear to, and what’s more I think they like it?

I fear the story with the tadpoles isn’t as successful, as the 3 remaining pond fish, now at least thirty-years old, and the size of small dolphins, take a lot of the spawn and growing taddies. And every year, as soon as the spawn is laid, we seem to get a hard frost and the spawn exposed above the water suffers.

To say that the frogs are manic, and only have one thing on their minds, is an understatement. They will grab anything that moves and I noticed that the old goldfish was struggling, near the top-third of the water, which wasn’t right. The fish don’t come that near to the top of the water at this time of year, so I grabbed a net and called for Richard (3 times….and even that hurt my sore head) and when he appeared I cradled the fish in the net, so that it couldn’t dive, and Richard removed a rather disappointed frog from the goldfish’s face.

Sleeping hasn’t been a blast either. The foxes are mating in the back field and their screeches and screams fill the late nights and the early mornings. And then the dog, a few doors down, that apparently lives outside, starts barking and doesn’t have a turn-off switch. I was a hairs breadth from hanging out of the bedroom window and screaming, ‘Shut the eff up!’ but I figured it would hurt too much. And then the owl starts hoot-hooting…and then the wood pigeons, nesting in the conifer outside the bedroom window, start hoo-hoo-hoo-hooing…and accompanying all of this, from dusk to dawn, is the sound of croaking frogs. Lovely!

For those of you who are following the ‘broad bean count’…and I know you are out there, don’t deny it, the score is even better now because I’ve bought some more. So… Chea 2. Slugs 1 and Gail 17! Ha!

I’m going now before I push my luck.  And if the new medication doesn’t kill me …I’ll be back. 

Take care my lovelies xHPIM3187

It Hasn’t Started Well!

Hi All

Well, that was a pleasant enough weekend, and what’s more the sun actually appeared and encouraged 10 baby spinach seedlings to leave the dark compost and head for the light. First thing Saturday morning, 5 little green shoots had ventured forth, and then, by midday, 5 more. And now I know you are frowning, shaking your head and thinking, ‘What kind of idiot counts seedlings twice a day?’ Simple answer…I do. And why not? Everyone likes to see the positive results of their efforts, don’t they?

Unfortunately I can’t report a similar success with the baby broad bean plants. I told you in the last post that I’d planted them and that within seconds Chea had smashed two into the ground, well, another poor plant was taken overnight by some renegade slug. It chomped through the stem and the plant was left, legless and cut off in its prime. Current score; Chea 2, slug 1, Gail 7. I fear that I will have to fight to the death for the remaining 7!

Chea has also decided that the season is changing and has started to shed her thick winter coat. Normally, Richard, being an asthmatic, can more or less cope with her hair, if it remains on her body, but after rolling around on the floor with her on Saturday evening, playing (?) Sunday morning found him with blood-shot eyes and the right eye appeared to have a hammock slung beneath it. I caught him examining the swelling in the mirror and then later bathing it with a piece of soggy kitchen towel. This had a dire effect and the hammock grew alarmingly. He then stood in front of the mirror, staring at himself through one eye, and exclaimed, ‘This isn’t getting any better.’

I continued painting chocolate into an Easter egg mould – my latest waste of time and effort!

‘Did you hear me? This isn’t getting any better.’

‘And why would it?’ I said. ‘You’ve just used paper kitchen towel to clean your eye! What do they make paper from?’

‘Trees,’ he said.

‘So, why would you wipe your eye with wood?’

He looked at me (through the one good eye) and I couldn’t stand it any longer so I yelled, ‘Make me a cup of tea (I’ve never been known not to take advantage of a situation!) and then put the teabag in some boiled water! And then bathe your eye with it!’

‘What do I use to bathe it with?’ he said.

‘Well, not wood! Go and fetch some cotton wool.’

He toddled off, after listening to further instructions…up stairs…cupboard in the airing cupboard…top drawer…don’t bring the whole roll…

He then stood in front of the mirror, letting the cold tea drip onto the floor.

‘Get in the lounge and lie on the sofa,’ I yelled, following him and slopping the tea-soak cotton wool in his eye socket before going back to the kitchen and continuing with my Easter egg trial. Unfortunately I forgot all about him, (I’ve spent years turning that little trick into an art form) and it wasn’t until 30 minutes later, when his little voice piped up, ‘Can I get up now?’ that I realised he was still lying on the sofa with his face tea-stained and looking exactly the same.

Somehow he managed to struggle through the day. He’s gone to work now. We passed briefly at 6.00 am, as he was picking up the bike keys and I was struggling down the stairs with a wash load, a mug, a glass, and the printer. I have no idea how his eye is, I couldn’t actually see anything either – over the washing, the mug, the glass, and the printer…

The day hasn’t started well. I’ve spent 30 minutes trying to connect my iPod to the external speaker via Bluetooth…impossible, it won’t connect! I’ve attempted to remove the Easter eggs from their moulds…impossible, they all broke. I’ve tried to print-off a form…impossible, it won’t print. And the internet connection is dipping and diving!

I fear that this week is going to be a continuation of last week, where almost everything that could annoy, did annoy. I’ve given myself a headache already. So…I’m off to make some porridge, a mug of tea, and to source the paracetamol.

Today's Blog

Today’s Blog

Take care my lovelies x



Bittersweet March

Hi All

A couple of posts ago, I told you that I’ve been spending time in the garden each day, and that it is now ready for spring. Everything that has been ‘rooted’ over winter has now found a place somewhere and it’s all systems go. There is only one little, annoying fly in the ointment…Chea.

Two days ago, I decided that the weather, mild-ish and non-torrential, was suitable for planting out the broad beans, so, with beans and trowel in hand, I began. I’d made absolutely sure that Chea was off somewhere, having one of her totally captivating feline adventures, and off I went. Before I’d planted the second plant she arrived, trilling and grinning, expectant of the fun we were about to have!

I managed to keep her out of the planting holes, and avoided chopping off her paws, by rolling stones into the bushes. She mindlessly chased them and remained out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, as I planted the last bean, I took my eye off the ball and Chea galloped up and jumped on the string, marking out the straight row, and crushed two plants. They had only been in for five seconds.

Her next trick was to dig a hole, the size of a small bucket, right next to the new gooseberry bush, and then squat and pooh in it. This little visual treat lasted longer than her normal performance, as she appeared to struggle a bit. I’m now thinking that the super-expensive new Fisherman’s Delight might be a tad binding?

March is a strange month for me. Bittersweet really. It is the month in which my father had his birthday, and the month in which my father died. It is also the month in which Richard has his birthday and the month in which my mother died. Mum actually died on the same date as Richard’s birthday – 12th.

Mum died in 1999 and for many years her death overshadowed Richard’s birth. There was the obvious sadness and loss, but there was also the guilt that I felt regarding celebrating Richard’s birthday on the day that mum died. It sort of felt very disrespectful. However, I believe that all things run their course and a couple of years ago I decided that it was time for Richard to take priority on that day. That isn’t to say that mum’s passing is ever forgotten. Every year, on 12th March, I take flowers to the churchyard, but now I ‘sort out’ mum in the morning and then the rest of the day belongs to Richard. Not that it matters much to Richard. He is very laid back about his birthday.

Mum’s flowers almost last until I once again visit the church, on 21st March, on what would have been dad’s birthday. I usually take mum daffodils. Strangely, she didn’t like them in the house but she liked to see them outdoors, and frankly, her wish is still my command. Dad liked carnations. I refuse to take carnations. Can’t stand them. I don’t know why. He usually gets daffodils as well. I can imagine mum and dad standing on some grassy mound, looking down, and dad saying, ‘Look! Look, Joyce. She’s brought me daffodils again! She knows carnations last longer.’ And mum would laugh and say, ‘She took no notice when you were alive, she’ll take none now.’ And then dad would also laugh, and he’d have that familiar twinkle in his eye…because he loved me.

I miss them like I would miss breathing.

Whoops…don’t know how I went from Chea, constipated in a gooseberry bush, to mum and dad standing in paradise discussing flowers and my contrary ways? But I guess some things don’t require an autopsy? Maybe that’s the wrong word to use there? Whatever.

Off to do something. Haven’t decided what yet, so I can’t really tell you…HPIM3166

Take care my lovelies x

A Blancmange No More…

Hi All

Today I thought I’d give a quick update on Chea. Blancmange Chea can now squeeze through a much narrower gap. Three weeks on a diet and she has started to develop her waist-line. She still has her little furry fat-sack but it’s empty. No storage of fat for when times get tough and the supermarket runs out of Gourmet. Oh, by the way, she now likes the new Gourmet, the one that costs 86p for a tiny, round metal dish.

I don’t know if she was feeling a bit peckish the other day because Richard said he spied her on the garage roof. We call it a garage but it isn’t, because you can’t get a car down the side of the house. It’s Richard’s dumping ground for all things manly and secretive…or so he thinks! Apparently, Chea was stalking a wood-pigeon. It was unaware of her presence until she was about a metre away and then it saw her. Instead of having a heart attack, it raised its head and started walking towards her. Chea held her ground for a minute before deciding that Mr Wood Pigeon was maybe a tad too big and powerful to take on, and she turned tail and ran.

I am dreading the arrival of the nesting season. DREADING it with a vengeance. Last year Chea took great delight in raiding a robin’s nest and trotting home with three chicks, one a day, for three days. I was horrified. HORRIFIED. The poor things were too young to survive and there was no way of knowing where they had come from, and so they died. I hated her so much for doing it. I even told Richard that he could take her back to the RSPCA. Richard would have rather stuck pins in his eyes (or mine) than to do that, and told me so. It took me a long time to accept that little episode and I fear that she may attempt the same thing this year. In her defence, and I hate to say it, because I believe that once you put a thought ‘out there’ it becomes a reality (unless it’s the thought of winning the lottery), to date Chea has never brought anything else back. She did once find a shrew but I don’t think its demise had anything to do with her. My CSI intuition told me that Mr Shrew had been dead a good few hours.

Chea’s latest trick is to pooh in the fine soil of the greenhouse border. She’s watched me liberally manuring the garden, and I think, in her little mind, she considers this helpful? I have two choices…remove said pooh, or reconsider the siting of the tomatoes this year. I am leaning towards the latter.

To be honest, spending time in the garden with Chea is one of my greatest and yet simplest pleasures. She’s funny. She makes me laugh. I don’t think it’s possible to remain angry, pent-up, up-tight, miserable, or furious at Richard for eating the last of the Victoria sandwich etc, when I am in the garden? I may be a simple soul who finds pleasure in the simple things but it seems to work for me. Give me a bit of cat-pooh to remove from the greenhouse border and I’m away with the fairies.

So! Off to whack in a few broad bean plants. I haven’t seen Chea for the last thirty minutes so if I’m quick, and I’m lucky, I will escape her attempts at helping.

Take care my lovelies xHPIM2817

Good Vibrations?

Hi All

Nothing much to report since I last ‘blogged’…and frankly that’s fine. It’s nice for life’s waves to ripple in occasionally. My life is all too often tsunami-like and sometimes even I need a break from that. There are only so many times you can get knocked off your feet by the unexpected before you begin to wonder if you should simply stay down and not bother getting up again. Oh! That sounds a bit defeatist, doesn’t it? It isn’t meant to because as you must know by now, I’m not a defeatist.

Probably, the most exciting and mind-blowing thing that I have done in the last week is to take a trip to the local garden centre. Yes, yes, I hear you…

‘Good grief, is that how she really gets her kicks?’

Well…yes, it is. I am a creature of simple pleasures.

‘All the same… a garden centre?’

Yes, a garden centre, because you see, I haven’t told you the best bit yet. Because I needed 3 bags of potting compost, and we would have been struggling to get all 3 bags in the VW UP…we went in Betsy Land Rover! See? Now you are getting the picture.

Richard wasn’t too pleased when I suggested that the old heap should earn its keep (Betsy, not Richard) because obviously the ancient thing is a status symbol (?) a focal point for anyone passing and isn’t intended for actually use. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Richard does go to work in it, occasionally, now that I’ve got it running for him (last post…or the one before that, can’t remember).

Anyway, I climbed aboard and leaned inwards as Richard slammed the door, and I mean slammed the door. I’m not allowed to close the door because I wouldn’t do it right? I know. Nuts or what? He positioned himself in the driver’s seat and turned on the ignition. Betsy jumped into life and the thrill of the vibrating Land Rover began. Richard fished around a bit with the gears, found reverse, and off we went in a wake of smoke. Very eco-friendly.

‘Burning oil!’ I shouted over the sound of the engine.

He didn’t even hear me. Or he could have been doing his favourite trick and pretending he hadn’t heard me?

Betsy has the clever knack of giving the impression that she corners on two wheels. The steering wheel appears to be pulled to the right and Betsy veers to the left. That could just be my impression, but she certainly has her own version of a very fancy pirouette on every bend and corner. And she has little consideration for her passenger. Richard appears quite stable, hanging on to the wheel, but I feel like a Weeble. You know, those things that are bottom-heavy and can’t fall over? “Weeble’s wobble but they don’t fall down.” Actually, I’m not sure I should have used that simile, it’s unnervingly a little too near to reality.

It took a moment for me to stop vibrating, as I half fell from the great height of the seat and landed on terra firma, at the garden centre. I have a weird idea that all this vibrating might be beneficial for my neck discs? Does nothing for the fillings in my teeth, though!

We loaded up the trolley thing with our compost, 3 for £10, and I spied another blueberry bush and another gooseberry bush and some seed things on a sticky tape and we paid for them (yes, housekeeping monies – well, gooseberries and blueberries are for the house, aren’t they?), and off we trotted.

Good old Betsy was loaded and away we went. Halfway home, Richard opened a metal vent and a rush of warm air rushed up my crutch. He war-whooped and yelled (he had to yell over the sound of the engine, remember?), ‘A heater! We’ve even got a heater! What do you think to that?’

It was a blood temperature draught coming from a 4 inch vent, and it hardly compensated for the hurricane blowing through the badly fitting doors, but I smiled sweetly and nodded. Little things please little minds… as I’ve said a million times, and will probably say a million more.022

My garden is now ready for the spring. I have 4 apple trees, 3 blackcurrant bushes, 2 rhubarb crowns, a dozen raspberry canes, 4 gooseberry bushes, 1 plum tree and 2 blueberry bushes. Lovely. As you can tell, I’m concentrating on fruit this year!

The new rhubarb crown caused a bit of a problem because there was only one place that it could possibly go and as I whacked the spade into the soil it hit concrete and almost broke my wrist. I spent the next hour…YES HOUR…trying to remove the leftover solid concrete and rock boulder that had once housed a pergola pole. Chea was no help at all as she had to be in the hole, patting at soil as it trickled down the sides of the abyss, and even when I swore at her she refused to move. After an hour I’d removed all the concrete with the help of a spade, a fork, a lump hammer, a crowbar and a pint of sweat. Sometimes I wish I was a quitter. No, really, I do. Life would be so much easier.

To be honest it’s lovely having Chea helping…and the chucks. I had to dig out an established Acer from the shrubbery area and that was almost bloody impossible with Chea and two chucks in the hole. Not only that, it was rather nauseating, as every worm was snaffled by the chucks and sucked to death.

Anyway, that concludes my blog regarding nothing, so I’ll trot off now and see if I can put in a row of spinach seeds. Chea can help…but not the chucks.

Take care my lovelies x

PS Apologies for this blog having rambled on to over 950 words. I hate long blogs. I always get bored reading them. So if you didn’t get all the way down this I have to say that I don’t blame you. Mind, if you didn’t get all the way down it you won’t be reading this, will you? I think I’m thinking too much now? I’ve gone.