musings (187) fun Monday (76) friendship (63) K9 (12)

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

It's history

When a conversation turns into an impromptu history lesson.

Chatting earlier today we both went back down memory lane with Andy who must be only late 20s at the most. We were talking car registrations, it being that time of year when the new 17 plates come out. 

Both of use could remember our first car reg but nothing much after that. Mine was BFM which a friend suggested stood for Bl**dy fine motor. Fine it was not, but I learnt to drive with it and happily drove in the opposite direction to most of the rush hour traffic that was stop-go into the city as I drove out.

This led eventually to my Marina, not so much as vehicle but welding practice. With a rotten floor that we replaced with pieces of dexion shelving welded into place. A front wing that ended up more 'cocky' as in body-filler than metal. Then I remembered the Marina had drum breaks. we checked them by removal, placing in a large pan on the stove and heating to reveal any cracks.  

Safer modern vehicles have disc brakes all round.

I was hankering after another Yaris until I found out that it still has drum breaks on the back. Also as himself remarked he'd feel happier with more metal to the 'box'.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

going against the grain

Mothering Sunday has nothing whatsoever to do with the saccharine Hallmark fest.

Nauseating is the word of choice.

True my long-time friend of more than half a century is and has been a terrific mother. Something that seemed to come to her naturally.

But Sunday as in Mothering Sunday has always been in praise of the Mother Church! Nothing whatsoever to do with sprogging and coping with dirty nappies, feeding one end of the digestive tract and cleaning up the other.

There, I've said it, I've acknowledged the elephant in the room.

To indulge in a mothering one has to have had a baked apple pie caring, hugging and in all ways delightful mother.

There are those whose mothers were just the opposite. Cleaning the house maniacally and thereby making everyone uncomfortable. Two-faced liars putting up a front of congeniality for the rest of the world whilst making family life uncomfortable and threatening. Throwing treasured items away or disposing of them at a whim. Ruining meals and insisting they be eaten. An endless list...

Monday, 20 March 2017

St. Paddy's Day

I'm lucky to have made several journeys to the Emerald Isle as in to Dublin the capital. Suddenly, I had an invite to fill in on an already booked trip. Naturally I agreed. That's how I came to fly to Dublin on the evening of the 14th March and return on the evening of the 18th. Not only did I spend time in Dublin, I also went to another Saw Doctors concert at the Olympia. The last time I saw then was at the same venue.

Usually the hotel of choice is the Beresford, formerly the Isaacs near Garda central and the Busaras. Travel from Dublin airport into the city has been altered by the new tunnel which means entering the city along the banks of the River Liffey.

This time with it being close to Paddy's Day hotel accommodation was at a premium. The Beresford being already fully booked we found ourselves residing in Wynn's Hotel circa 1921. fantastic hotel redolent with history.
"Wynn's Hotel is steeped in History - built in 1845, bombed during the 1916 rising and rebuilt in 1921 using mass concrete, the only building in Dublin to do so at this time."

Wow what a difference, with a concierge at the entrance and service par excellence. No idea of the cost as it had already been booked for someone else who was not able to go.

Favourite hostelries
Madigans - Abbey St. across from the hotel
Robert Reade

Not forgetting the Luas (tram) which knocks all others into the proverbial cocked hat. Bought a 7-day pass so we had freedom to use the Luas whenever necessary. Bonus being it stopped near the hotel. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

signs of the times

I seem to have become  a 'frequent flyer' at the GP surgery.

Things began to go haywire towards the end of 2014 when I found myself in hospital recovering from a major op. Since then 'himself' has spent time in hospital twice once in 2015 and again in 2016. Now he's had two replacement ops, one knee and one hip.

For some few years I've been rather creaky and put it all down to tempus fugit. Whilst I was doing Tai Chi regularly twice a week until my op the creaks were kept at bay. It took months of recovery after the op before I could begin Tai Chi again. Then disaster struck in June 2016 the Friday class ended. This left the group at a loss how to continue and we ended up joining in with another group. Theoretically Tai Chi but bore no resemblance to the real thing. For a while I got himself to take me to Lymm. But that's such an awkward place to park that I gave up.

Now I have a hankering to return to Lymm for proper Tai Chi to keep the aches and pains at bay. Himself asked if I could D.I.Y. the Tai Chi on my own but I really want to go back to having proper tuition. I'm certain it will help.

This year I've had an x-ray of my hips - Result - right hip is within normal parameters but the left shows signs of osteoarthritis. 

Now there's a tale to tell...

In Feb. the G.P. referred me to MCAS the musculoskeletal assessment service. What a hoot! I waited and waited and weeks went by.

28th Feb. the post brought a letter from MCAS.
Written Feb. 22nd
Posted Feb. 27th - Stamped by postal service 27th Feb.
Received Feb. 28th

Here comes the funny-business...

I phoned MCAS to make appt. as requested by the letter just received.

But...after holding the line for some 15-20 mins I was told (much to my surprise) that...
I had been crossed off for not replying with the fortnight.

Monday, 6 March 2017

With apols to Flanders and Swann

"Oh, it all makes work for the working man to do."

Back in September 2016 there was the indoor flood as the old lead pipe rising main gave way.

19th September aka 'give a little man a job'.

It would appear we have been labouring under the misapprehension that we have a water meter and that it was fitted last September.

According to the billing section of United Utilities the water rates charges have been based on rateable value as we have no meter. Of course the letter arrives with the Saturday post so nothing can be done before Monday. 

Big companies must waste far too much money sending out computer generated formulaic documents. 
Some property requires a water meter?
Send out letter informing of site inspection visit...
Send forth little man to conduct the inspection...
G.A.L.M.A.J. 'give a little man a job'.
Hopefully little man returns to an office with the information...
G.A.L.M.A.J. 'give a little man a job'.
Send team of little men to install meter?
G.A.L.M.A.J. 'give a little man a job'.
That's what was assumed to have taken place nearly six months ago....

Hence my reference to Flanders and Swann

Next there's yet another 'we will send out someone to perform the inspection'.

Phone-call again to UU and reassurance (eventually) that the visit is to fit a meter.

Wouldn't it be fun to find a meter already in place and staring at them when the lid is lifted!

and with apols to the late great Sir Terry Pratchett -
UU would stand for the
Unseen University
wouldn't it?

Saturday, 25 February 2017

To everything change...

There's a backwater in the furthest stretch of Cornwall that's made its way into news media. Over the years Pendeen remained the quietest of quiet backwaters undiscovered by many until Winston Graham's 'Poldark' series was made anew for the small screen. Its 1st on-screen incarnation was before the days of mass media. 'Poldark' was a quaint series starring Angarhed Rees (1944-2012) as 'Demelza' and Robin Ellis as 'Poldark'. In the 1970s that was one of my favourite TV series to watch.

Moving on to the 21st century and another airing this time a much more modern version, more of its time and less truthful to the original books, So what? on might ask. Isn't it good to update series? For what it is worth I have no problem with the various incarnations of the story.

The problem lies with a body that likes to portray itself as conservationist and all-round do-gooder.

They have noticed an influx of visitors travelling along the Cornish coast to view locations made famous by the recent TV series.

Rubbing their hands with glee; they have set up machines to collect money from sight-seers.

This has annoyed and upset local people of the Penzance - St. Just area. They are incensed at the insensitivity of the large organisation...and quite rightly so. 

Contrary to the stated 'coastal management' scheme mooted by that organisation...this wild coast does not require 'management' nor interference from them 'Up country'. 

According to media reports, the first toll machine at Levant was soon uprooted and destroyed. Vehement protests have been made by locals at the lack of respect for the area shown by the organisation demanding charges. 

It is a former mining area and family ties run deep. Everyone knows everyone else in the locality. Upset one and you upset all. Historical events are alive for the local folk. They still remember the Levant Mining Disaster as tho' it were yesterday.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Last of the group of friends

SEDGEMAN Jimmy On Monday 16th January 2017, suddenly at Treliske Hospital, William James (Jimmy) aged 80 years of Pendeen.

An 80-year-old man has died after his car was involved in a crash with a parked car in Pendeen this week.

Emergency services were scrambled to Boscaswell Terrace at 8.55 am on Monday after a silver Ford Fiesta collided with a parked car - a purple BMW - but police have only just released the details.

At the time of the collision the 80-year-old local man who was driving the Ford was taken to hospital with what was thought to be a minor head injury.

However, a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police has since confirmed that the man has died.

Kel phoned several times this week with news of Jimmy. The local grapevine insisted Jimmy died at the scene, but the local newspaper says otherwise.

Geevor mine where Jimmy worked closed years ago. The group of friends had known each other from schooldays. Most if not all spent their lives in the village of Pendeen on Boscaswell estate.
True Cornishmen with strong Cornish accents. It took time to tune in to what they said. Women of any age were always (allus) addressed as 'maid'. Men were allus 'pard'. At the weekend they spent time in Penzance, wandering along the Promenade, 'aving a bit of a natter. Then they went on their routine pub crawl. They drank and smoked heavily. Often opinionated, some had hearts of gold. They could always be counted upon to 'set the world to rights'.
Theirs was the generation that went down the mine on leaving school and spent their working lives down there.
If the mine had continued, the next generation would have followed in their footsteps.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

History repeating

The older I get, the more noticeable it becomes as events clash with one another. 

December is already marred as there was the anniversary of a funeral on the 18th. 

January is forever marred by the events of 1984. What an appropriate year you might say with the Orwellian story '1984'.

33 years ago, but it feels much fresher in my memory. But, it isn't every day you lose someone that was of great importance to you. Or that their sudden demise coincided with your dear friend's birthday. The events of January 1984 resound across the years. At least nowadays I no longer sink so rapidly into the depths of despondency. 

This is were social media raises its ugly head. There folk post poignant remembrances which at this time of year tend to hit a nerve.

Putting on my tech awareness 'hat', it makes me uneasy to read how much really personal information folk share so openly and so carelessly on-line. Less is more as in asking those folk to omit personal data, leave it stored safely in that most human of memory-banks - your brain.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


Borrowed from a post by an on-line friend.

Granted I have a soft spot for all things owl in many forms. Apparently this image is of a plaque on a building in Cambridge.

Two dates might be someone's life from 1851-1934.
The owl clutches a scroll in its' claw - often a sign of learning, accomplishment sometimes a degree. It's perched on a mortar bowl with accompanying pestle. Then there's the 'ribbon' with necessary Latin tag-line.

Curious...hoping it'll be made clear eventually.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Spoilt rotten

Yesterday evening MJM went for a celebratory Chinese meal in Woolton. There's a restaurant on the High Street that's been run by the same family for many years.

My neighbours had decided we had a good reason to celebrate as according to them, I've now joined the Silver Threads like them.

They'd planned the meal. Over the years we've refined our menu choices and opt for the Early Bird menu. Mavis is on a restricted diet, yet allows herself a few what she calls 'naughties' when dining out. We used to have duck with pancakes etc. but Marilyn had decided it was not for her. We'd taken to having dry spare ribs instead as none of us like the sauce that usually accompanies the ribs. 

When they chose the banquet including duck, I queried it and ingenuous as ever, Mavis said she and I like it and we'd order spare ribs for Marilyn.

The meal progressed, the staff know Mavis well as she goes there fairly regularly with different sets of friends. 

We began with chicken and mushroom soup. Nothing unusual you may think, apart from it not being on the menu. None of us drink alcohol with the meal so they lalways provide a jug of iced water (without charge).

Next, we each choose a different dish that we like. Typically, Marilyn hardly touched hers and asked for a 'doggy bag'. That way she has her Chinese meal at home the next day.

As I was looking in my handbag to pay my portion of the bill, Mavis dropped the 'bombshell'. They were paying the bill for me! 

How lovely to have such thoughtful, caring friends.