With Spring In My Heart And A Pain In My Butt.


I’m excited. No, really excited. I think spring is definitely on its way. Yes, OK, I accept that it’s still bitterly cold and we are still having heavy frosts at night BUT …the snowdrops have bravely pushed through the hard icy ground and are standing proud on strong stems, their heads dipping in respect to the stirring of life.

The visitation will soon commence. A dozen or so frogs creeping through the fencing, their expectant little faces heading towards the fish pond, where a mating frenzy will begin. There always appears to be an uneven balance of males to females, with each female having 3 or 4 suitors. Those who can’t get the closest to the female, pile onto the back of the successful male and appear to be just as happy being a part of the gyrating tower.

And the birds have now started to sing in the mornings. They aren’t exactly up to the deafening chorus part yet but the song has well and truly started. And two robins threaten each other daily, from branches yet to bud, promising to beat the other to death in a territorial battle if it doesn’t look elsewhere for garden ownership. For such beautiful little birds, and incidentally my favourite, they sure are little monsters, fluffing-up and lowering their rapier-like beaks, ready for the attack.

Flight (grey chuck) has now replaced her tail feathers and is looking more like a living chicken and less like a table-ready chuck. Little (light Sussex) is once again proud to be seen out in the garden with her and will even give up the odd worm or grub to her, cluck-clucking until Flight rushes up and devours it. Such a ‘giving’ little creature is little Little.

AND …the veggie plot is also ready for the lengthening of days and the steady rise in temperature. Two days ago I emptied the horse muck compost bin and spread the detritus evenly and fairly across the ground and then dug it in.  I am only sharing this information with you and not my new physio, Andrew (name changed) who incidentally looks too young to be out of Pampers! But then, that’s my sodding luck these days.

After the sudden onset of a very painful lower back, and when the pain was so bad that I was more than convinced that I needed an emergency hip replacement, I had no choice but to bother the doctor with it. She was extremely helpful, referring me to a local ‘Specialised’ back and neck physio thingy/person. The appointment came through faster than poo off a shovel and along I trotted.

This guy, all smiles and testosterone, jogged down the corridor and gushing said, ‘Gail?’

Gail hey? And on our first meeting. I stood (painfully) and accepted his hand expecting it to have traces of Jelly Babies or SMA sticking to it, but no …

After the initially, “do you know how it happened?” bit, to which I lied and said, “No,” (and I’m not telling you lot either!) he requested that I placed my bones on his couch. Once there, and with my head protruding through the hole thingy, came his subtle question. “Is it OK to ease down your pants?”

I closed my eyes. I’ve led a full and varied life and this is NOT a query I have come across before. Of course it wasn’t OK to ease down my pants. I’m a person of a certain age and this dear child was …well …a child. “Sure,’ I said.

I based my positive answer on the fact that I’ve given birth and had an inguinal hernia op, both of which I was conscious for, so this would be child’s play …though hopefully not literally.

My left bum muscle was massaged to within an inch of its life, with Andrew periodically asking if I was OK. There really was no answer to that. I don’t know what hurt more …my bum or my embarrassment? A bit of a photo finish me thinks?

So, back to the spreading of the horse shit. Andrew says I shouldn’t be doing much at all. My instructions are to heat-treat my bum every twenty minutes in the hour (yeah right) not to sit or stand in one position for longer than twenty minutes (yeah, double right) and to do some knee-bend exercises on the bed every morning and night. (?)

I hate exercises. Isn’t digging the garden exercising? Isn’t clearing out the garage and carrying a deep freezer and tumbler dryer up the garden exercise? Isn’t playing hide and seek in the garden with Chea and the chucks exercising?

Anyway, I’ve had 3 of these sessions now. They won’t get any better. My embarrassment level will be constant. And another thing, like most men, Andrew, takes these things for granted because, other than our first-time meeting, when he actually did the polite thing and asked if he could lower my bloomers, he now takes it for granted that he may and dives straight in. Kids hey?

Obviously, I have had to source a new hot water bottle in order to heat my bum because stupid Richard burst the other one by leaning his crappy shoulder against it and flooding out my lovely new cushion. He moaned and said that I was more concerned about the cushion than his burnt back. True.

He is still driving me mental. In fact, I think I had heart palpitations last night. I’m sure he is sending my stress levels through the roof and I’m going to die. I’m not frigging joking either and you heard it here first.

The other night he was slurping his way through one of my tangerines (he doesn’t do fruit) coughed, and spluttering said, “I’ve just swallowed a pip! Will it hurt me?”

“No,” I said.

“Are you sure?” he said

How dare he doubt me?

“I said, will it hurt me?” he repeated.

“NO IT WON’T HURT YOU,” I repeated. “Not unless it attaches to your bowel and you get an orange tree growing out of your arse!”

He laughed …and then I laughed. Such is life.

Take care my lovelies017


Posted by on February 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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A Bare Bum And A Poorly Puss.


I haven’t mentioned the chucks or Chea recently so I’ll bring you up to speed.

Flight, my grey chuck, has gone into the moult of all moults and is throwing out feathers like confetti. Her beautifully feathered bum is now just a bum, with nondescript feathering barely covering her modesty.

It is bitterly cold here at night, just now, so the heater has been sought from the greenhouse and placed in Flight and Little’s roosting half of the summerhouse. It doesn’t produce much heat, just prevents the water supply from freezing, and they seem to appreciate it. Little is not bothering to moult, she’s a Light Sussex and tough as old boots, and continues to do her thing – laying a large egg daily. Flight, obviously has to put her energy into producing new feathers and so is taking time out from her daily egg drop.

Chea has had some stupid intermittent cough thing for the last 4 weeks and, although she hates the vet visits with a vengeance, I did, finally, have to admit defeat and take her to see him. She yowls all the way there, sulks for England whilst being examined, burying her head under my armpit, and poohs in the carrier on the way home. Then, she won’t speak to either of us for twenty-four hours, possibly longer.

The vet looked about twelve and spoke of asthma in cats. Yeah right. He took her temperature and listened to her heart and lungs, remarked that ‘something’ didn’t sound quite right with her lungs’ and sent me off with antibiotics and steroids. Bloody brilliant. Oh, and charged me £52. Double bloody brilliant.

Three weeks later and the cat was exactly the same, except that she was more pissed-off than usual because I was having to ram two tablets down her throat every morning, one of them being a steroid tab which increased her already gargantuan appetite, and caused her to eat like a demented pig. At this point I decided that she had to go back to see the senior vet, whom I’ve known for some years. He also knows me and what a pain I am where my animals are concerned. It was decided that dear Chea would go in for an anaesthetic, x-rays and an endoscopy. Naturally this filled me with fear, concern and dread, and had me taking up residency in the loo.

I didn’t even dare look at her when I handed her over to the nurse. My last words were, ‘Chea is the most beautifully natured cat that you will ever come across. She has never spat, hissed, scratched or bitten, however, she HATES it here and therefore will not be showing you that character. She will be sulky and unhelpful.’

I couldn’t sit around waiting for news of Chea so I took myself off to the supermarket, where I absentmindedly filled the basket with items I never use and had no call for. I was just sorting through the strong onions and my mobile rang. It was the vet. And it was way too early.

‘Hi Gail,’ the vet said.

I knew he was trying to be cheerful to soften the blow.

‘Oh God,’ I said. ‘You’re too early. Is it bad news?’

‘No,’ he said. ‘I’ve got your lovely, sweet Chea on the table now.’

I didn’t detect the sarcasm.

‘We couldn’t get near her. I wanted to put the anaesthetic straight into her vein but she was totally wild and the nurses couldn’t get near her either, so we had to pin her in the basket and jab her in her back leg, through the basket. I wouldn’t have had a nurse left that wasn’t covered in wounds, otherwise’

‘Have you got the right cat?’ I said.

‘Oh yes …but you’ve not got a cat, Gail, you’ve got a tiger.’

A tiger? Chea? I did question again if he’d got the right cat and he assured me he had. Chea really is a sweetie – unless you are a robin fledgling (previous posts).

We collected her, wide-eyed and legless, choosing to get her home before she was fully round from the anaesthetic because I knew she would go ballistic if we left her to wake up fully and realise where she was – at the vets, AND in the cat carrier.

Once home she swayed her way to behind the sofa and wasn’t seen for a couple of hours. Eventually, she wobbled out and allowed me to shower apologetic kisses on her head and generally grovel until I could kneel and grovel no more. Around 7.00 in the evening she condescending to eat a little tuna.

The vet said that the x-rays were normal, with nothing nasty lurking. All the endoscopy revealed was a small ulcer on the larynx.

I am now giving her a steroid syrup on her food each morning and she has to go back next Tuesday. She is still coughing and frankly nothing has changed, unless you take into consideration my bank balance – that’s down by another £270.

The weird thing is, I can do absolutely anything to, and with, Chea. She trusts me completely. This I find humbling and lovely. To have an animal choose to trust you is something special in my book.

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Take care  my lovelies x


Posted by on February 6, 2015 in Uncategorized


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I Cuddle The Clutch …Apparently!

Hi All

Yep, it’s been a while, but as you know Richard had his shoulder op booked for New Year’s Eve and the aftermath of this has left me with little time and/or opportunity to do my ‘own thing’. In fact, it’s been so long since I did my ‘own thing’ that I can barely remember what my ‘own thing’ is?

We trotted off to the hospital at the crack of dawn, parked the car, where I received in-depth instructions of where and how I should park said car when I picked him up later that day. I obviously can’t figure this out for myself – and then we toddled in.

We sat and waited for a while, with Richard twitching a bit and with furtive eyes flicking to the door now and then. I squeezed his hand reassuringly (yes I did, I can be the bigger person when I have to be) and leaning in to him whispered, ‘try to remember as much as you can because I can put it on my blog.’ He looked at me and nodded. He had that blanked-out expression so my attempt to jolly him along failed.

Eventually they called him in and I, somehow, without his guidance and assistance, managed to get myself back to the car and drive home. I did take a wrong turn in Burton-on-Trent but it somehow worked out and I hit the right road eventually. I didn’t bother to mention this to Richard.

I did a bit of shopping in Tesco’s on the way back and then came home and waited. I figured I had enough time to watch a film on the T.V (to take my mind of the worry, you understand?) about a string of sled dogs that got left behind in the Arctic when the weather closed in and the humans had to make a quick exit out of there. The helicopter could only carry the humans so they were going to return for the dogs – which they didn’t because the weather worsened, so the poor things were left there, shackled, until the spring. One dog couldn’t break free and died where it lay, another fell and broke its leg, and died. I was pretty distraught by this stage with my mind flicking back to Richard, now and then, and starting to stress in case he died under the anaesthetic.

I figured the hospital wouldn’t ring to say he was ready to collect until 4.00 ish so when the phone rang at midday (with just ten minutes of the film left – I hate it when that happens) I stopped breathing. He’d died under the anaesthetic – I just knew it. Every psychic bone in my body was telling me so.

A cheery voice said, ‘hello, this is Burton hospital. I’m just ringing to let you know that Richard is ready to collect.’

Typical, now I was going to miss the end of the film!

Actually, I’d seen it before and the dogs were all rescued.

I parked where I’d been told to and hurried in. A door opened and my little soldier toddled out, arm in sling, tummy showing (I didn’t mention that or he would have been embarrassed) and off we went – slowly

I had to clip his seat belt for him, avoiding his shoulder. He looked a bit battered and dozy from the anaesthetic but still managed to ‘advise’ me on how to drive – every mile of the way home. I was … ‘in the wrong lane, cutting off the roundabout (he’s never liked my ‘racing line’ position) not looking in the wing mirror, going too slow, going too fast, jumping the lights, sitting too long at the lights, cuddling the clutch (?) holding the car on the clutch, blah, blah, blah’

All this I shouldered magnanimously, after all he had just had a bone scraped and a tendon cut. I figured he didn’t need his throat cutting or his head bashing in as well? I’m thoughtful that way.

The next two days were filled with painkillers, meals on trays – it took me a while to remember that there was little point in providing him with a knife and fork because he couldn’t use a knife. I had to cut up his food for him. I found this a little weird, like I’d fallen asleep and woke up in a care home.

I took him for his first check-up a few days ago and I had used the ‘f’ word three times before  I had managed to reverse the car off the drive and into the traffic.

I’m pretty sure Richard hates my driving as much as I hate driving him, but for now this is how it has to be. I am now over my sentimental worrying about him and can’t wait for the day when he can drive the bloody car himself. What he doesn’t realise is that this is payback time for all the times he has scared the shit out of me with his motorway overtaking technique and his attempts to move the car in front of us faster by accelerating up behind it. Yes! Payback time.

I do however have to put it on record that he has been nothing like I expected. I honestly thought he would be a sniveling, useless, pathetic wreck, and that I would be cutting up his sausages for him for the rest of my life, but no, he has shaped up like a good ‘un.

The sling was removed within 48 hours, he showers (by himself, thank God) twice daily, and he can now wash the dishes, put the bins out, empty Chea’s litter tray, bring in an armful of logs and various other things. He has amazed and astounded me, which, after twenty-three years, is pretty amazing and astounding.

I limit the trips out in the car, even though he is going slightly stir crazy by spending so much time in the house. I figure it is safer. Not because of my dangerous driving but because I know where there is a particular deep hole in the road and I might just be tempted to drive the car over it and cause immense pain and suffering to dear Richard.

And another thing …why, when I’m having to drive, does HE always pick up the car keys and hand them to me?

I shall continue to do my best …though obviously it won’t be good enough!dog_194826

Take care my lovelies x


Posted by on January 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


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My Resolutions? Not To Make Any!

Hi All

OK, so you know for a fact that I’m going to have to witter on about it being the end of one year and the beginning of another, yada, yada, yada, so I’ll do us all a huge favour and keep it brief.

I’m going to thank each and every one of you who bought or borrowed one of my books. And I’m going to doubly thank everyone who has taken the time to leave a review.  There have only been the odd one or two one star reviews and over five books I don’t think that is a bad ratio. At first those ‘one stars’ sent me into a tailspin, until I convinced myself that the reviewer was an idiot, and then I moved on. I don’t usually ‘go on’ about these things, book sales, reviews, etc. because I find the whole thing rather akin to ‘bragging’ and I can’t bring myself to do that somehow. But I did need to thank you.

I’m not going to make any resolutions. When you get to my age you usually have yourself pretty much sorted, because let’s face it, if I still have bad habits now there’s a bloody  good chance they are too deeply embedded  to remove. Besides, I’m not sure that I have many bad habits.

I guess I could be too principled. This has led me to disaster now and then.  And I could be too critical. This has led to a very short Christmas card list. And I’m OCD regarding arranging foodstuffs in the cupboards. All tins have to be facing forwards, labels thrust out like ample bosoms, each showing their contents at just the right angle. And I could be guilty of snapping at Richard too much …on the rare occasion, well, OK,  a few times a day … but I figure I have reason for that, because I’m highly principled and over critical. But other than this I don’t think there is much room for improvement.

And anyway, I much prefer to converse with the chucks and Chea and the plants in the garden. They offer no argument and seem to appreciate me just the way I am.

I really have no plans for the New Year. No resolutions. No plans. I want my life to go on just as it is, with my family safe and healthy, and with my little world intact. This is enough for me. I possibly wouldn’t turn down a lottery win or a major book deal but they would be taken in my stride and nothing much would change.happy-new-year-2015-wallpaper-1024x768

I have one last major thing to get through in 2014 and that is to take Richard to the hospital on New Year’s Eve (tomorrow as I am writing) for his shoulder operation. He pretends he isn’t worried but I know he is …and so I am. An anesthetic is a risk to anyone, and at any time of their lives, but I will play the poker face and help him through it, because despite my many posts over this last year ridiculing him for one thing and another he is a dear soul and, along with my son, the closest thing to my heart. Shit! This blog post is getting really silly now so I’m going to end. When I start admitting that Richard is precious it is time to shut up.

So, dear friends, please have love, peace, and happiness in the New Year, but above all of this please find contentment.



Happy New Year my lovelies x


Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Wishing All Followers And Friends A Merry Christmas.




Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Uncategorized


Uh Oh! A Man Without The Use Of His Right Hand?

Hi All

Sometimes I’m wrong. No, really, I am. Here we are galloping towards the end of another year and in my tiny mind I’d decided that all that remained of note, in the remainder of this year, was to pick up a few stocking fillers for the  griddies (grandchildren), ice the bloody Christmas cake that I still haven’t got round to icing, tart up the lounge with a bit of berried variegated holly from the garden and attempt to cook a gammon joint.

I’d throw in a bit of cleaning here and there and that would be it. Then I’d unearth the T.V Christmas edition of ‘What’s On,’ (only ever buy a Christmas one) and settle down around 4.00 pm Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day.

Good plan? Yes. But then, you know what they say about ‘the best laid plans?’

I think I’ve told you in previous blogs that dear Richard has a massive right shoulder problem? He needs an op to shave a tendon and scrape a bone. I appreciate that this is hardly the technical term for such a procedure but other than Googling it (can’t be bothered) or listening again to Richard’s useless effort at telling me what’s going on (can’t be bothered) I’ll just stick to layman’s terms and repeat …he needs a tendon shaving and a bone scraping.

We have actually both been eagerly awaiting this appointment. Richard because he is in intense/immense pain and yours truly because the man makes such a performance out of bringing in a basket of logs from the log shed that I’m seriously considering enrolling him in the local amateur dramatics group. He plays the wounded soldier to Oscar level.

Back to the point. The appointment winged in with a Christmas card that had been delivered to the wrong address and lo and behold there it was …New Year’s Eve.

They want to rip, shave and scrape my sweet little Richard’s bones and tendons on New Year’s Eve.

But, as I explained to Richard, this isn’t as bad as it seems, at least it gets us out of the New Year’s Eve bash six doors up! And think of the money we’ll save not having to buy Fairy costumes.  See, ALWAYS a positive from every negative.

You may think that I’m making a bit of a joke about this and in reality I guess I am. However, I am concerned for him, obviously. He has never had an operation or any hospital procedure and I would be happier if I could be there holding his hand and offering encouraging comments like …breath …breath …pant …pant …that’s great, I can see its head. Or is that something totally different? Yes, OK, I am joking but I always do when I’m nervous. I would rather have the op for him. I always feel that I can handle things better than Richard, but I guess he is just going to have to shape up and go for it.

I’m sure that he will have the last laugh because they have advised at least 3 months off work …and it could be as many as six. Are they totally bonkers? Six months is half a year! Half a year of fetching and carrying for Richard? I don’t think so.

Spain sounds good – a couple of months at my brother’s place – just twenty or so miles from Alicante’? But for me or Richard? Richard I think, because let’s face it, how will he muck out the chucks and stuff like that? But then again, some Senorita might be taken in by his brown puppy-dog eyes and he may never return.  She will show him her castanets and he will show her his scraped bone. Let me think that one through …

Failing this, when my Florence Nightingale mode wears thin, I will shove him into the spare room, the one at the front of the house where he will hear the traffic going by, and still feel life’s pulse. I will leave him with everything he needs, drink, food, Land Rover mags and his charged mobile. To leave it flat would be rather cruel, even by my standards, and then, if he requires further supplies he can text me.

Yes, it might work out OK.

And guess what? I don’t believe that for one minute. I may have to risk the castanet-clicking beauty.


Take care my lovelies


Posted by on December 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


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I Only Ever Wanted To Be A Cowgirl!

Hi All

It’s been a while since I blogged – probably 4 weeks or slightly more. However, I did say back then that I was taking a bit of time off after finishing my latest novel (Witch Ever Way You Look At It) to pursue something else, so that is half of the reason.

The other half of the reason is that I have been so angry and generally peed off by the attitude of certain people over the last fortnight that if I wrote anything it would end up being a pure and evil rant and someone would probably die through sheer ether venom. So, having pulled on my hat of calm, and grown-up-person status, I am here to calmly go where I have calmly gone before. Kind of…

Christmas is just around the corner and the grand children have already been over bearing their ‘Grandma and Granddad’ cards. I, on the other hand, haven’t yet purchased theirs. I also haven’t stuck the marzipan on the cake, but I have fed it regularly with Sherry, so that’s something. At least the dear thing is waiting patiently in the cupboard, swaying happily and humming rude pirate-type ditties. I might dig out the block of almond paste that I spied the other day, at the back of a cupboard, and slap it on. I’m sure it’s out of date – the paste not the cupboard – but then so were the flaked and ground almonds if you remember (previous blog) but only by a year or so…

I think I like Christmas – but I also think that I’ve liked it more than I do today. My parents are no longer here and so that is a massive loss at this time of year. It’s hard not to drift back to ‘family Christmases,’ when we were all young and when the excitement of Santa coming was almost uncontrollable. I’m not sure if I ever quite accepted, in an easy manner, the idea of a strange man entering my bedroom whilst I slept? I might view this differently now?

Back then the man in the red suit never failed to bring to me my heart’s desires. I think I was an easy child to please, in all honestly, and I remember one of my ‘greatest’ gifts was a cowgirl outfit. I opened my eyes one Christmas morning and there it was, hanging on the wardrobe door, beige imitation leather and tassels so long that they touched the floor.

From this point onward I became Calamity Jane, roping and riding my brother, sitting on his back as he struggled round on hands and knees, rearing up and down, trying to shake me off. Like that was ever going to happen! Obviously, the ‘outfit’ didn’t come with ‘tack’ for my horse (brother) so I had to compromise and came up with my dressing gown belt which I made my brother put in his mouth, like a bit, so that I could steer him. It all worked swimmingly, until my stupid brother turned the wrong way and a quick snatch of the belt, to correct him, removed his molar. Mum wasn’t too impressed but I do think my brother over-egged the pudding a bit. The tooth was out in a flash and it didn’t bleed much. I went on from that point to be a tomboy and lived up to the name …having one calamity after the other.

I also remember, back then, having pork pie for breakfast. Is this real? Did, and do, people still do that? And Christmas cake with royal icing, so hard that it could have supported foundations and gave you something to grate your teeth on all the way through the Queen’s speech and beyond. I don’t think many people use royal icing these days? Don’t we all use the softer fondant type? And we always had sherry trifle for tea, which was jolly fun – and seemed like even more jolly fun on the second helping than the first.

And dear Mum – cooking her little socks off for us all. And Dad, working hard to give his children Christmases to remember – and not just because of the gifts, but because of the love and family time we shared. As I say, I miss those Christmases.

But there is still joy. In comes in the form of the grandchildren. Small people loving the excitement and the expectation of Christmas. On their last visit they posed for pics’ in front of the Christmas tree. Jake sang hymns and carols that he had learnt at school and Grace performed her ‘ballerina’ moves that she had learnt at nursery.Her pirouette needs a little more work but she’s getting there  – and she is only 3. I don’t want this to make you think that Grace is a pink girlie-type – though she does rather like pink. No, I think Grace could well be asking for a cowgirl outfit next year. And as luck would have it Jake is at that age where his ‘baby’ teeth are queuing up to be shed. Just as well really.061

Take care my lovelies x



Posted by on December 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


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