Community, Contentment And An Understanding Bank …

Good Morning

I have icy-cold fingers – in April! Actually it’s May tomorrow. I’ve just pegged out a line of washing and it is freezing out there. The sun is out so hopefully it’ll warm up a bit. Richard really annoyed me last night so his ‘pants’ have been hung in full view of anyone who wishes to check them out from a bedroom window. Hung and stretched out until they look like they might fit an elephant. That’ll teach him. He hates it when I do that. He says, ‘Do you have to hang them out so that they look SO big?’ How do you hang out huge pants so that they look small?

I didn’t get to blogging yesterday as I had things to do and people to see. Namely, take a trip into town and sort out my bloody-minded bank. A week ago, as I sat in all innocence doing something or other, Richard dropped a letter in front of me. We have this very uncivilised way of half throwing things at each other. When I opened it I saw that it was a letter from my bank, informing me that there had not been enough funds in my current account to cover a cheque which they had honoured by granting me an emergency overdraft.

This sent me into panic mode. Emergency overdraft? Not enough funds? I instantly thought someone had hacked my account. On inspection, on-line (yep, I can do that) it appeared that I hadn’t transferred the money for the fence which my son had erected for me. Yes, thanks to Matt I was overdrawn. Obviously I instantly transferred the funds.

By yesterday the bee in my bonnet had irritated me so much that I climbed up onto my high-horse and galloped off down to the bank. OK, the oversight might have been mine but did I ask them to give me an emergency overdraft and charge me £10 a day for the pleasure? No I did not!

The lady on the desk looked to be having a good day and I did have the slightest twinge of guilt that I was about to put an end to that but, hey-ho, principles are principles. She smiled sweetly and asked what she could do to help me so I asked if there was anyone available that I could rant at? She asked if she could help?

Cutting a long story short I explained that yes the oversight was obviously mine BUT  I’d banked with them for over thirty-five years, had NEVER been as much as a penny overdrawn and took great exception to having been given (charged for) an emergency overdraft. What happened to bouncing cheques? Anyway, after massive conversation with several people behind closed doors it was concluded that I was an idiot and they dropped the charges. Just as well. It all got blamed on my internet provider. Obviously there had been a dip in connection just as I had attempted to transfer the funds! Sorry internet provider.

I then popped over the road to make an appointment to get the bonce trimmed and my lovely hair stylist (I call her a stylist … it isn’t her fault that my bonce is style-free) said she could ‘do’ me immediately. I think she just wanted to get it over with and not have the sheer horror of knowing I was coming in later in the week.

Then I popped into the garden centre to purchase some canes for the runner beans which still haven’t popped their heads above the plant pot rims but I’m still optimistic that they will.

The horse muck exercise went well at the weekend and that has been spread into position.

I decided, as I walked back to the car, that I like where I live. It’s an old mining area and there is a lot of ‘closure’ all over the place. But it’s the people. Many are as old as the hills. They remind me of my dad. I still see him standing in the precinct chatting to his cronies. I catch  the local dialect. It is a friendly mashing together of words. I do fear though that when these ‘oldies’ have moved on the town will have lost something precious. A rich, deep core of community.

I’ve lived here now for twenty-two years. I don’t think I intended saying this long. I came here originally to be near to my parents as they entered their ‘later’ years and would need someone to keep an eye on them. They have both gone now and I still remain here. I can’t say that it’s the mansion-sized property that is the draw. The house is modest. A semi-detached. Most people I know have larger, more prestigious properties. But what the house lacks, the garden makes up for. It is narrow but long and it backs onto fields and I love it. And I don’t need to surround myself with bricks and mortar, six bedrooms, four en-suites and a staircase wider than the M1 to feel contented. I have a sweet house, a nice garden, a man who dotes on me (sometimes) a cat who dotes on me (mostly) and I’m a jolly nice dude (?) so I think I’m pretty lucky. And I don’t need more. HPIM2729

And as usual, I don’t know how I ended up at this point, don’t know what I’m talking about, and so I’ll go.

Chea has been absent for the last hour so I’m just hoping  she isn’t upside down in the loo!!

Take care my lovelies x


Love Means Never Having To Chop Off A Finger …Ever!


I’m wondering, seriously, how much stress I had in my life before I purchased my first computer?

It probably wasn’t too bad back then, because back then I hadn’t self-published novels, joined twitter, fb, writers’ groups and attempted to consider myself  a techno dude. The only real problem back then was finding the energy to dust the mammoth of a thing which took over the entire box room. It did have one good point. If I kept the box room door closed the computer generated enough heat to warm me nicely even on the coldest of days.

Recently I have purchased an all dancing, all singing, state of the art laptop. Lovely wide-screen. Super silent keys when pounded. Perfecto. It has fingerprint password access. Super. Or at least it was super. The fingerprint access has ceased to work and I can’t remember my Windows password to get it working again.

I am blaming Chea for this. Her trots across the keypad can’t help. I told you once how she almost transferred £5,000 from my bank account, (which, by the way wasn’t in it) instead of £50 by bouncing across the top keys at the moment of transfer. It was pretty much a kitten thing and she tends not to do it these days. But what other reason could there be? I wouldn’t have messed up, would I?

I also leave it constantly charging and it is now telling me that it is 95% charged and not charging so I’ve plugged the plug and I’m going to let the battery run right down. Someone told me you have to do that with ALL batteries – but they were probably lying!

Isn’t this interesting?

You’re right, it’s bloody boring. How do you think I feel? And another thing … it keeps losing the internet connection. I think, come September, when all the evening classes start up at the local college, I’m going to take myself off there and take a course in this techno crap.

The weird thing is I am really top-dog at some things on here. No, really, I am. But it was only recently that my son ending up in wide-eyed amazement, almost rolling on the floor in manic laughter because he discovered I didn’t know how to cut and paste. Cut and paste? I thought that was a wallpapering term. Cut the bloody paper to the right length, paste it and slap it on the wall. Apparently not.

To be honest most of my success is by default. It just happens. But then I reckon life is like that. We achieve stuff by default.

And we are all good at something. Can my son trim an Airedale terrier to show standard? No. Can I? No. Haha I jest. I can actually. And I can make, ice and cobble together, a three-tied wedding cake. Neither of these ‘talents’ have any bearing whatsoever on this techno stuff though.

Richard said if I die he’ll have to chop off my index finger so that he can access my laptop. Charming. Not sure how long fingerprints last when rigour has kicked in. Not sure I’d want a rotting finger sitting at the side of the computer. I’m being silly. Obviously there is a ‘manual’ override password but I’m afraid I’d have to take that with me to my grave. I wouldn’t want Richard loving me in this life and then accessing this blog, reading everything I’ve said about his festering tooth and such, and changing his mind about his dearly departed. When I go I want to leave a gaping hole a mile wide in his life – as he will mine.

He’s just risen from his pitHPIM2724, walked into the kitchen and said, ‘Hello beautiful.’

I said, ‘Hello,’ and turned my sweet face towards him.

He was stroking Chea.

Says it all really. See. This is why he is NOT chopping off my finger.

Have a lovely Sunday.

Take care my lovelies x

Is YouTubing Dean Martin A Step Too Far?

G’day All

I’ve just had to have a blast of Bobby. Can’t get the blooming tune out of my head. But then, all things considered, it is better than It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas! 

I think I may have to ban myself from YouTube. After the Hello Summertime and Honey bit I got rather silly, even by my standards, and listened to, with great delight I might add, Dean Martin singing Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime and a rather funny clip where Dean and The Duke, big John Wayne, sang a duo. I DO worry about myself sometimes but then I hold very strongly with the theory of why worry about something you can’t do anything about?

I think it was suggested after The Dukes death that he wasn’t a very nice person in ‘real’ life. Frankly I think he paid for it with that ‘waddle’ of his? I grew up with John Wayne. Don’t be silly. Not literally. My mum adored him and even dad loved him. And I love True Grit. Especially the bit where The Duke and Glenn Campbell are crossing the river and Mattie rides Little Blackie into the river and The Duke says,  ‘My God. She reminds me of me!’ Classic. Bloody classic. Of course, every time I see these films it reminds me of my dad. I have seen them so many times that I know every scene that dad used to laugh at. It’s like he is still sitting with me watching them. The spoiler in True Grit has to be where The Duke rides Little Blackie into the ground and the poor thing conks out on some scrubby hillside, lathered in white sweat. Hollywood hey? Tsk.

Moving on.

We had hail yesterday. HAIL. No wonder I keep singing It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!  I should be bursting into April Love or Here comes The Sun. No chance. I get told off for singing. I don’t think it is just for the fact that I’m very loud and over-confident I think it is more to do with my timing. I spring from my slumber and by the time I’ve entered the bathroom I’m warbling away like a good ‘un. Richard usually waits until I leave the bathroom and I’m passing the bedroom door and a hissed voice says, ‘Do you know what time it is.’ Sometimes I lower my voice a bit and sometimes I just mime – but I’m still singing in my head. Sometimes I just shout back, ‘No idea, sorry. Why don’t you look at the clock?’

Richard is a strange person. He doesn’t consider he has the right to place his feet on the planet. The TV is turned down to barely audible if the neighbours are in. If they are out he has it blasting away on the bloody Yesterday channel. He has a fascination with the past for some weird reason.

If I’m standing in the shopping isle dissecting the fat content of a swede and someone else turns up wanting a swede, he moves me out of the way.  MOVES ME OUT OF THE WAY. He leaves me pondering and clears off with the trolley and lurks in a large area where he isn’t going to get in any one else’s way. And then I’m chasing him round the supermarket laden with eight tins of baked beans and twelve litres of milk. Then he gets embarrassed because when I spot him I bawl, ‘Come here with the basket?’  Bless him – or not. He is sleeping off the night-shift just now. When he wakes, all lightness and air (yes I’m being sarcastic) I have a lovely little surprise for him. We are going out to track down six bags of horse-muck for my runner bean area.

He will be thrilled, loading up horse dung into the reasonably new VWUP – and with a calcified shoulder. I would say that I’ll load it but I daren’t because my chiro lady reads these blogs and she gave me a right roasting yesterday about all the shed and compost heap moving. So I’ll just whisper it …I ‘ll help him load it …


Take care my lovelies x

Enlarged Bits Don’t Quite Do It For Me …

Good Morning

I have been indulging myself in sheer, unadulterated nostalgia for last thirty minutes. Why? Because I can. Does there need to be a deeper reason? I think not, my little poppets.

I have come to the conclusion  that you can and should take pleasure when and wherever you find it. And I do find pleasure in nostalgia. Not looking back at the past. I don’t mean that. I specifically mean, in this instance, music. I’ve been tootling on YouTube and came across Bobby Goldsboro singing Hello Summertime. I’ve put a link to my fb page at the bottom of this post so if you want to wallow with me click on it – it’ll cheer you up no end – guaranteed.

I find music massively uplifting – even sad songs. Sad songs take you to the crux of your problems. They top-up your misery levels and allow the tears to overflow. And doesn’t everyone feel better after a good sobbing session. I know I do. Not that sobbing sessions are my norm.

The weak link to this YouTube stuff is that I clicked on Honey by Bobbie Goldsboro – Oopps! Don’t go there. She died. He came home from work one day and the angels had taken her. Bloody inconsiderate of the angels I say. All the poor guy was left with was the memory of Honey and a flipping tree she’d previously planted. Bum deal I say. But  Hello Summertime is harmless – trust me. As if, hey? Haha.

I’ll be back to poor old Honey on one of my sad days. I doubt the angels will have returned her though?

Besides uplifting, soppy music, I have to admit to loving passionate people. And you can stop before you start. I know this erotica genre is flooding the book shelves but frankly it leaves me nonplussed. How many times can you get excited about an enlarged penis – if ever? No, I mean people with a passion. Doesn’t sound much better really, does it? OK. I’ll name-drop. People like Alan Titchmarsh. Stop laughing. I like Alan. At least I used to like him, a lot, when he was a gardener. Not so keen on his silly afternoon shows. His passion for the subject of gardening almost broke the TV screen. It was so full-on.

And dear Bill Oddie. Can’t say I rated him in The Goodies but then it wasn’t my thing and I never watched it … but his passion and blatant enthusiasm for nature and all things linked is unrivalled. These people just leave me breathless. I try not to envy anyone because envy isn’t a nice thing but I do come close to envying these ‘Oh so passionate ones.’

I have come across a few people in my lifetime who have exuded this passion. This energy. Funnily enough most of them have been Pisceans. Weird. Especially so as Richard is a Piscean and the only thing he exudes is … well, probably not best to go there. Perhaps, because I am the life-and-soul of the party and the chief instigator of all things he feels that he has no need to exude? Bless him. And I lie, slightly. I’m NOT always the life-and-soul of the party. In fact I turn down most invitations because I’m an anti-social git. I’d rather talk to my spotted laurel bush than some hammered tool.

I don’t know if I updated his ‘fans’ (Geoffrey!) on poor Richards shoulder problem but he had his ultra-scan and they have diagnosed calcification of the shoulder. The story continues …

Well, my little sunbeams, I’m off to chat with the cabbages and murder the first emerging slugs. If the Lord sees fit to grant me another day we can rendezvous here tomorrow?

Take care my lovelies x


Go listen to Bobby… MB900446384

There’s No Tool Like An Old Tool!

Good Morning

I’m cheating with today’s blog because I haven’t actually had to engage the old brain to come up with something to write about. No I hear you say. No. Today’s inspiration came from one of my lovely followers – Mud’s wife, Elaine – Thelandroverownerswife.

Elaine mentioned in a comment to me that she has a passion for collecting gardening paraphernalia which brought a memory to my mind.

Two years ago, George, my elderly neighbour died. He was a lovely man and like my father bred to the ways of the countryside. George and his wife, Gwen, were both manic gardeners. Their garden was the talk of the neighbourhood and people actually came to see it. When Gwen passed away George continued doing as much as he could but life had cruel intentions and deemed fit to bend and cripple his spine making it impossible for him to continue with his garden. I took it on one year and he would toddle up his path and sit with me, chatting away, telling me all about black fly infestation on broad beans and how his ‘earth’ was so good because just after the war they had kept chickens.

George lived long enough to see the broad beans flourish – but not much longer – and it was one of the saddest days of my life. I remember standing in my garden looking over at George’s garden and it was almost as if it had stopped breathing. Nothing moved. I remember scrubbing away tears.

George’s family said if there was anything I wanted to take from the garden to do so. I took two garden forks and a spade. Wooden handles, blades and prongs sharpened and polished until they gleamed. That was the way with people like George. They looked after things. I don’t use George’s tools, they are far too precious for me to use them but I will keep them – always.

I also took three blackcurrant bushes and two gooseberry bushes. Last year we made wine with the blackcurrants and crumbles for the freezer with the gooseberries. This year I shall make blackcurrant jam. They are already pushing out vivid green leaves. I often wonder if he is ‘up there’ watching me? And I still sometimes scratch my head and think, ‘What would George do?’ And the weirdest thing is – the answer often comes to me.

I wrote a poem about George’s garden, or what remains of it. Things change.

Back To Nature …

The garden stands abandoned

Its heartbeat slowed by time

 Nettles invade a forgotten sandpit

A see-saw, broken, rotting in the brambles

 Small feet no longer patter, bare

Across cobbles, green with morbid moss

 Weeds, gargantuan, link their arms in defiance

As nature reclaims her own.

On a lighter note, if you remember, I said yesterday that Chea’s greatest fascination is now patting and swiping at bees? And I said it is only a matter of time before some irate bee pats back? Yes? Yesterday afternoon a wasp ventured into the kitchen and it was a wonderful source of interest to Chea. This was far more interesting than a sedate, pollen-collecting bee. Because this critter buzzed. Really buzzed. Especially when it kept hitting its head against the roof window. I thought no more about it, it wasn’t like Chea could get up to the roof.

An hour later I caught her licking her paw. On inspection the paw had swollen to three times its normal size. She didn’t seem unduly bothered. A right little warrior queen. I’m hoping she has filed this experience along with climbing conifers and won’t be rushing to repeat it. But who knows, hey?

Bit rushed today because I’m off to do something concerning one of my books. No, really, I am.



Take care my lovelies x




If Baby Cabbages Call – Are You A Writer?

Morning All

As I sit waiting for a thought to enter my head, I’ve glanced up and out into the garden and a little mouse is quartering the rockery beneath the bird table. A cute little thing with boundless energy, hopping from one rock to another.

It all becomes perfectly clear now why Chea spends so much time in that area. She has no idea what the fascination is because she has never seen a mouse. We did catch her the other day about to consume a baby dunnock. Its death was not down to her. It had obviously fallen from its nest. With bulbous eyes and gaping beak it was not the prettiest thing. Hard to imagine that anything so butt-ugly could metamorphose into something so beautiful. However … this has nothing to do with the title of this blog so …

The realisation that I am a fraud has finally settled in my brain. You see, I don’t think I am manic enough to be a writer. I see these (real) writers  whacking out posts about how great their books are and if you don’t rush out and buy a copy now you are an idiot – and I just grimace. It probably works for them because they have the necessary balls to do it. I don’t. I’ve told you all this a fair few times and I’m going to tell you again – I can’t sell myself. I can’t write those posts and press enter. So if I can’t do that, then, why write? Why produce stuff, self-publish and then leave it sitting there?

Each time I write a blog and press ‘publish’ I think, ‘Oh, maybe I should have filled the page with links to  my books?’  But did I? Do I? Nah.

I have the bloody things all over the place; Amazon, Smashwords, Feedaread. I reckon that’s where they will have to jolly well stay until I learn how to type posts and tweets with my eyes shut and press the enter tab.

And another thing, I find the distraction of the garden and the needs of my seedlings paramount. I have a polystyrene pack of baby cabbages calling me right now saying, ‘Gail, come and put us in the garden.’ Yeah, I know, if I hear cabbages talking to me I’ve frigging lost the plot.

Everyone seems SO serious and full-to-the-brim with writing and selling and stuff. How do people do that? I don’t think I can find the manic level of involvement to say that I am a ‘real’ writer. Bugger. That’s a real bummer, hey mate?

Don’t get me wrong, I can post a link on Facebook and twitter but ‘real’ writers appear to be in every ‘group’ imaginable. And they all talk the talk. I can’t do that. Maybe, at the end of the day it just comes down to the fact that I’m not prepared to do the cringy stuff and as a self-published writer you have to?

I can’t do hero-worship either. I just can’t. I love Johhny Depp. I don’t mean ‘love,’ I mean I think he’s OK. A good actor who isn’t typecast. And if he knocked on my door one night after his car had run out of petrol he’d be invited in and offered a drink  – but it would be in a mug and he would have to drop the airs and graces if he wanted running to the petrol station. I don’t believe that just because someone is pretty, rich and successful it gives them any right to place themselves higher than anyone else.

I’m rambling – sorry.

I’ll end on something that does please me immensely – Chea. Her trips out into the garden with me have lengthened  She adores the garden and I find massive pleasure in watching her antics. Every insect is a fascination to her. And bees are now ranked as her favourite. A very dangerous favourite, I might add. It’s only a matter of time, minutes most likely, before the patting paw pats a little too hard and she is left with a sting in her pad. But the only way to learn something is by experience.  Yesterday she was sitting in the dry soil playing with a spider. It was a very one-sided game. She hasn’t quite grasped why her playmates suddenly stop playing!

The sun is shining. I have the day to myself. Should I whack out a few links to the books? Should I flood out Facebook with book covers? Find the link to Smashwords and tsunami twitter with it? Well I could  – but have you ever tried ignoring the voices of ten baby cabbages drifting down the garden and towards you? It’s a heart-breaker …

I shall try harder tomorrow. The reading public will never know what hit them.


Take care my lovelies x

Upside Down In A Rain Barrel! Is This Love?


I know I’m a strange person. No point in denying the blatantly obvious. I’m wondering if I was born that way or if, like life, it was something I just grew into?

As a child I was painfully and pathetically shy, always sitting at the back of the classroom in case the teacher should ask me a question. I would most likely have known the answer but to actually speak, to put my voice ‘out there’ and have my classmates turn and look at me was unbearable.

I have no awareness of when shy turned into strange.

I think this thought re-entered my head two days ago when Richard attempted to repair a rain barrel by fitting a new tap. He’d tried in the past to tighten the tap and couldn’t. The tap went through the outside hole of the barrel and then a washer had to fit over the end of the tap, inside the barrel. A really clever design!!! The barrel was much deeper than Richards reach so it was quite annoying when, a week ago, he suggested buying a new tap and trying again. I grumbled and mumbled that the problem was still there – the tap was still out of reach of anything other than a gorilla with very long arms. Would he listen? Nah.

After fifteen minutes of Richard grunting and cussing he removed his bonce from the barrel and said, I can’t get in it. My shoulders won’t go through the top.’ Why don’t some people learn a lesson the first time? He stood staring at me with his usual vague, ‘I’ve given up look,’ so I snatched the washer from his hand and began my journey into the rain barrel. I managed to squeeze my head through the hole followed by my shoulders and then my breasts and there I was – engulfed in a rain barrel, shoving a washer on the end of the tap which, kiss my posterior, dear Richard managed to push through the outside hole.

I eventually retrieved my body and dignity from the muddy, dead-larvae infested barrel and regained my composure. The sod didn’t even have the decently to brush off the dead critters from my hair without me asking.

See? Now that’s strange, isn’t it? Who in their right mind would do that? And who in their right mind would be with a mountain of a bloke who would stand back and LET me do that?

And another thing that’s quite strange … I can’t stop singing, ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.’ I just can’t get that tune out of my head and packed away with the decorations. And I’m laughing now because I’ll bet every one of you who is reading this is now singing or humming, ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!’ Ha ha Merry Christmas!

Maybe I’m not strange? Maybe I’m weird? Or eccentric? I like the sound of eccentric. It sounds like a word and life-style you could use to get away with all kinds of madness? Yeah. Eccentric. That’s the one.

I think I have already done something that fits that tag. I was looking at the runner bean plants in the garden centre and decided that there were far too many in the packs on sale (18) because let’s face it, who wants to be digging out runner beans from the deep-freeze six years after their birth? So I decided that I may as well just buy a packet of seed and set as many as I needed, around six, maybe. So I’ve set forty. Why?

I’ve set seeds in the garden which still haven’t appeared. I think they may have gone the other way so you guys in Australia look out for my radishes and spring onions.

We had a bonfire yesterday in the neighbour’s garden. My garden is too tidy now so we borrowed next door’s wilderness. We burnt two old sheds and ten old fence panels and it took HOURS. I was the ‘stoker’ because Richard is not to be trusted anywhere near to bonfires. Although it was a pain in the butt it achieved the desired result. The garden project is now COMPLETED. Yeah.

Richard just needs to turn the sofa round in his summer-house (shed) and then I may borrow it on sunny days to write – the summer-house (shed) not the sofa.  I’m not allowed to move the sofa because it has a wonky back foot and unless you apply complicated technology (don’t ask me how Richard manages to do that) to move it, the foot falls off. Well, it was an Ebay purchase – looked a million dollars on the pic’. Looked like it had been through a war zone in real life. But it was cheap, leather, and the right colour, brown. I chose the sofa because it’s huge. Long enough for Richard to sleep on actually, and if the bugger attempts to send me into any more rain barrels he’ll be doing just that.MB900298013

Today I am going to pop into the greenhouse and sweetly hum to my cosmos seedlings. Prince Charles talks to his plants, so I won’t be wearing my eccentric hat on this occasion – unless of course I’m humming, ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!’

Take care my lovelies x

Don’t Bury Me In A Hairnet …

Morning All

Phew! I was glad to wake up this morning before I broke my neck! It was this dream, you see. No sailing on The Black Pearl for me, me ‘earties, or lazily walking along some quietly lapping shoreline. Oh no. I was going racing. And not as a spectator. I was RIDING in the race. And not only that, I was riding the worst combination known to man – a chestnut mare!

I had to struggle to fasten the old  Jodhpurs, obviously a subconscious realisation that I need to diet – and the ‘colours’ were a bit tight around the chest area. I also had to rummage around for another pair of reins because the ones I had appeared like two withered pieces of string – again my subconscious panicking that I’ve run out of garden twine. These things get into my brain you know, with nightmare effects.

I chose a new pair of reins, some lovely thick ones with rubber hand-grips. I was pretty terrified because the forthcoming race was over ‘fences’ and I’d never ridden over National Hunt fences before. I was overly concerned, that if I didn’t break my neck, the punters who had bet on me would actually jeer and ridicule me when I fell at the first fence. I woke from the dream just as I was applying mascara to my upper lashes.

There was no way back from that. It was four in the morning, I’d had a lucky escape, so I got up.

Years ago, when a friend and I took our BHSAI exam (British Horse Society Assistant Instructor Exam) we had this pact. If I ever fell off a horse and was rushed to hospital she promised faithfully to remove my hair net. Lord above! Could you imagine anything worse than having some blue-eyed Adonis type doctor peering into your smashed up mush whilst wearing a hair-net – me, silly, not the doctor.

A week before our exam the instructor decided to put me on his ‘show jumper’ which hadn’t been out of the box for four days. Can’t remember the name of the beast but it was probably something like, ‘Evil’ or ‘Killer’. We entered the indoor school looking like next years answer to the British Olympic team and headed to the first fence in a line of three. Number one went well, number two lurched me up the animal’s neck and number three …? At fence three the stupid animal leapt for the stars. The saddle hit me up the bum, threw me over its head, where I hit the indoor school wall upside down, like a starfish, before sliding down it and lying in a crumpled heap in the sand.

My best friend and everyone else rushed over. The instructor seemed massively concerned. I don’t know why because back then we weren’t in a ‘sue-the-pants-off-everyone-for-everything’ frame of mind. I staggered to my feet and limped off. Later, in the car, my friend said, ‘That was a really nasty fall … but I knew you were OK because as I came running over I saw your hand sneak up and pull off the  hair net[!’

I could barely walk for the next week let alone ride. My effort in the ‘theory’ part of the exam was exemplary ( I can bull-shit with the best) and my effort in the ‘ridden’ part of the exam was ‘a little stiff but acceptable’.

Acceptable? You hit a wall upside down from the back of a maniac horse and see if you are a little stiff, sunshine! Blood examiners. But here is the irony – I had to ride the same bloody killer horse in the show jumping phase of the exam. I sat well back this time.

I fell off a horse in a field of corn once. It veered off the track and fell into the tyre track made by the farmer’s tractor. The horse galloped off and my friend took chase. I just giggled, burped very unattractively and rose slowly out of the corn  – much to the surprise of a family who were walking past at the time. Well, I guess you don’t expect to see a red-faced woman in tight Jodhpurs rising up out of a cornfield do you? I’d had a little sherry (or three069) before we’d ventured out and the fall hadn’t hurt one little bit! Obviously I don’t recommend getting bladdered before horse antics but … I was young. Shoot me. Actually, thinking about it, I wasn’t that young. OK, young at heart. It has always been my cross to bear.

So, I think I woke from my dream just at the right moment, although, it would have been nice to know if I’d jumped the first fence or if it had been another ‘ hair net’ moment. I guess some things are better not known?

Take care my lovelies x

I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Spider …

Hi All

Because by nature I am not a lazy person, I don’t want to give in to this feeling of exhaustion and collapse in front of the TV watching an old black and white film. Although, a bit of Johnny Depp in the afternoon could never be termed as a waste of time, could it? A quick shifty on the old Black Pearl? Keep a weather-eye on the horizon? Shiver me timbers – whatever that might mean? Ho ho ho and a bottle of rum.

After being woken the night previously by the charming duo of wailing cats beneath my bedroom window I was really hoping for better things last night. No such luck. At one thirty I woke up coughing. I instantly knew the cause because I have read somewhere recently that the average adult will, in their lifetime, swallow three spiders whilst sleeping – hopefully not all together because that is just plain greedy!

Not having a particular phobia to spiders it didn’t freak me out too much but after a further thirty minutes of coughing I decided to get up and get a sucky sweet or a lozenge. I soon discovered that there was no power and had to creep my way downstairs (with my mouth shut in case of spiders dangling on webs in the dark) and made my way to the kitchen. I managed to lay my hand on two fruit drops before slowly making my way back upstairs.

I finally drifted off to sleep after the sweet had been sucked to death. Thirty minutes later I woke to the blood-curdling screams from the same two feuding cats from the night previously, obviously returning for a rematch. I won’t bore you with the details other than to say that sleep did not engulf me until half an hour before I had to wake, owing to the fact that one of the chucks looked very poorly last night and I wanted to check her the second it was light.

The power was still off. The thought crossed my mind that maybe the power loss wasn’t general and that our extremely sensitive trip switch had tripped out. It often happens at this time of the year. An over exuberant frog has been known to attempt to mate the pond pump, usually resulting in the poor thing getting stuck in it in some ugly manner and blowing the electric. Our electricity box is under the stairs, behind a very heavy wine rack, so after struggling with that so that I could see the trip switch I soon realised that it was still too dark to see anything. I found a candle and returned like Wee Willy Winkie on a bad day. Sure enough the trip had tripped.

With lights restored I ventured out to the chucks and thankfully Beautiful was OK. Not brilliant. But OK. I then checked the pond and that was still running. So the mystery of what tripped the electrics was not discovered.

I then trotted off to Morrison’s where I had a lovely chat with a man in the cat food isle. Apparently he has two spoilt-rotten cats as well. I left him mulling over a new yoghurt-type product for cats. It looked rather too disgusting for me. A brown yoghurt concoction that didn’t look too dissimilar to what you might expect to come out of a cat, rather than what you’d expect to put into it!

Richard had surfaced by the time I got home so I directed him to where he would find the shopping and asked him to bring it in. He only has a bad shoulder remember? I have an inguinal hernia repair and two slipped neck discs – far superior problems! I had my theory on the tripped electrics and when he had finished unloading the car and checking that I hadn’t pranged it, I dived in.

‘What time did you come to bed last night? Did you overload the electric? Do you know we had no power all night? What were you doing down here till the early hours?’

Richard can only handle and deal with one question at a time. I don’t know if it’s a man thing or a Richard thing – I’m sure someone will tell me? Again, I did read somewhere that a man can only think of one thing at a time – and frankly I know what that one thing is!!

He denied everything so I lampooned him about leaving a cereal dish on the floor in the lounge and leaving the TV remote on Chea’s throw.

He has just tootled off to work, relieved to be going I reckon,  but honestly, am I supposed to have to sort out electricity problems in the middle of the night and do everything myself when I have a sodding spider stuck down my throat? I still think he blew it, in some way, shape or form. He’s a sneaky bugger when left to his own devices. I haven’t finished my Poirot act yet. I shall beat the truth out of him later. The only trouble with that is – knowing Richard he will like it too much and won’t look on it as a form of punishment at all!

Think I’ll pop and make a cup of tea. The old throat’s feeling a tad tickly. I hope that spider isn’t on its way back up?


Take care my lovelies x

Memories Brought To Mind …

Morning All

It’s amazing how much you can get done if you get up at four in the morning. I’m usually an early riser, being up and running by six, but this morning I was woken at three thirty by a cat fight beneath the bedroom window. I’m thinking now that we have a new six-foot fence these creatures are finding their escape slower and more difficult thus resulting in a cat pile-up.

Cat fights used to be the norm around here – when we had Oscar, our Burmese warrior. He was a little sod. If I had to use one word to describe him it would have to be persistent. He thought nothing of lifting the conservatory roof to squeeze beneath it and escape into the garden. He misjudged the bedroom window on one occasion when we were out and ended up wedged in it with the neighbours attempting to free him with a line-prop from ground level. Although he was neutered and had a fighting weight of very little he battled with any cat that he came across. And if he didn’t come across one he’d go looking! Head down, blood-curdling screams and in he went. I lost track of how many abscesses I had to burst and treat. He never realised that he was punching well above his weight – literally.

We lost him once. It was the worst three days of our lives. We put up posters, toured the back fields constantly and put flyers through the neighbours doors asking them to check their garages and sheds. One person rang to say that he was sorry Oscar had gone missing because he was such a lovely cat and always popped in for a bite to eat. Popped in for a bite to eat?? Who were these people? McDonald’s? Apparently they bought food especially for him. They had  photographs of him taken with each member of the family. Oscar was leading a secret life!

After three days Richard and I sat by the side of the pond staring into the depths after earlier admitting to each other that Oscar had gone. We had lost him and he wasn’t coming back. We would never know if he was lying dead in a gutter somewhere, drowned in a rain-barrel or trapped and dying a slow death. Then, on the breeze, we heard this barely audible miaow. We both spun so fast we collided heads. We just stared at each other and then said in unison, ‘OSCAR!’

Richard tracked down the miaows to just two gardens away. Two gardens away! He rushed round and banged on the neighbours door but they were out and there was no access to their garden so he came back and climbed over the dividing fences, tearing down vegetation  pushing through the undergrowth like Indiana Jones.

I was in the house trying to find a phone number for the neighbours when Richard walked down the garden path carrying Oscar. Obviously we cried all over him. He devoured a dish of food before turning, tail in the air, and trotting back into the garden as if nothing had happened. We were still in flood of tears and Oscar was off on his next adventure.

Our other cat, Mishka, gave him a foul look as if to say, ‘Shit, he’s back.’

He was beastly to Mishka as well, never passing on an opportunity to beat her up and remind her she was the subservient feline.

Having said all of this, in the fifteen years that we had Oscar he never spat, hissed or scratched us once. Each time he returned with an abscess from his failed bouts he let me burst them, bathe them and he never raised a paw. He was a true ‘people’ cat. He just didn’t like other cats.

He is still causing problems now. He is buried beneath the lawn and I’ve already had to raise the area once and it is sinking again. Sometimes I wonder if he is still there. The cat fight this morning was very reminiscent of Oscar days?




Take care my lovelies x