musings (201) fun Monday (76) friendship (64) K9 (13)

Wednesday 27 October 2021


 Your dead exceed your alive and the nos of dead keep on rising. One week ago it was Farewell to a dear friend, mentor and fount of wisdom. For over a decade she replaced the wisdom I'd relied upon from folks now deceased. We'd shared, accounts, reminiscences and attitudes common knowledge to us both.

To every thing there is a season...

Turn, turn, turn

A time to die

A time to love

and so on and so forth

In my family, the dying ages have been 37 and 73 with but one remarkable individual achieving the age of 90.

Impossible as it may seem to those far younger, DEATH has become a constant companion. If only it was Terry Pratchett's Death more rounded and yet more wholesome.

Numerous ads promote getting rid (disposing) of loved ones as mere corpses to be burnt without beel, book, candle or ceremony.

To quote Edna St. Vincent Millay " and I am not resigned"

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Gannets the human sort

Gannets feed by flying high and circling before plunging... An apt description of the coffin-chasers' attracted by the idea of gaining from someone's demise.

Have only just returned from a final farewell.

To say my hackles rose is to put it mildly. 

My recently departed friend has had her funeral interfered with, modified by the Gannets.

'M' was a person of Maths, calculations and organisation to the nth degree. She did not care much for music. Hence, my ire as 'Onward Christian Soldiers' blared out from loudspeakers. 

The Gannets had co-opted a priest to conduct the obsequies. Poor man being typically ill-informed; went thro' his prepared discourse.


'M' followed football EVERTON... So, priest burbling about Liverpool showed how out of touch the Gannets are.

2009 'M' retired thro' ill-health but kept on giving help (accountancy) to people she knew.

Her business MJM standing for Mavis, Joseph and Mary. 

When she took up 'working' for charity; MJM became the Christian names of the three neighbours.

Then Lois attempted the Eulogy, proof positive of the family's ignorance. Called her and the rest of the Gannets 'next of kin' being a glaring misnomer. She spoke, but her words only served to show how estranged the Gannets had become from 'M'.

No love lost and 'M' typically forthright excluded with reason one of their number. She told her solicitor there must be nothing for 'R' he's a criminal. That made the solicitor blench. 'M' had her way!

The  deliberately kept away from 'M' for over two decades. Little wonder they were ignorant knowing naff-all that really mattered to my friend.

Thursday 14 October 2021

Breaks in a routine

 Only one week ago, my friend lost her final battle with illness.

Thursdays used to have a certain pattern. Shopping for groceries, followed by putting newly-bought chrysants in vases.

9.30 usual visit to next-door-but-one, taking groceries for 'M'. Being welcomed in, staying to converse and to catch-up with any gongs-on for about an hour. When traffic became busier, changed meet-up to 10 am. Similar catch-up just a bit later.

Arranging to return c1.30 on Fridays for a cuppa and chat. Laughing and generally enjoying the company. Topics ranging far and wide.

Several months ago, 'M' had what at first appeared to be a health-scare. Going the rounds of several hospitals and clinics. Starting with journeying to hospital on the Wirral. Time-consuming and expensive as she had to go by taxi. Blindness having robbed her of being able to drive several years ago.

Managing to transfer to a slightly nearer hospital. Being treated like another package needing to be processed. Only to find that the medics now confine their attentions to tick-box 'treatment'.

Arriving in time for appointments, only to find long, lengthy waiting times. Hospital focussed on single ailment to be investigated. Completely overlooking several other problems, diabetes (type 1), hiatus hernia nick-named Heidi to name but two. 'M' had dietary restrictions caused by 'Heidi' and diabetes. Nothing about these problems seemed to get thro' to hospital staff. Focussing solely on 'their diagnosis' to the detriment of 'M's' welfare.

By Thurs. next week the final farewell will have been said and done.

M is in my thoughts many times a day. Almost comforting remembrances. 

She was a stalwart for so many people. Numbers and maths were her speciality. Even after sight loss she helped as in advised people with mathematical necessities. Those people will feel the loss of her patience and expertise. Perhaps it will also lead them to reassess their dealings and be thankful to her for all her efforts.

I'm going to treasure my memories and welcome thoughts reminding me of our routines,

Sunday 10 October 2021

Not so much

 As the late, great Brian Redhead said:

Not so much a Country; as an overlarge Play-group

All those years ago, he could never have known how true his descriptor would turn out to be! 

He was describing the antics of the inhabitants of most of a large landmass. (Western hemisphere).

Today, we have become all too well-aware of the dis-ease (not 'disease') spreading like a miasma throughout the Western world in particular. 

Fomenting -




Disrupting everyday lives of law-abiding citizens. Spreading calumny, creating truth fakery, disinformation. Riding rough-shod, vandalising monuments, distorting history.

 Accepted and lapped-up by the gullible hoi poloi frequenting social media.

A term much used by a former colleague springs to mind 'whited sepulchres'. Or ought it in today's parlance be 'blackened sepulchres'... sounds about right.


Vol I, II and III

Friday 8 October 2021


 You are absorbing the news that someone you cared for has departed this Earth. Tis enough to cope with, without the coffin-chasers appearing, crawling out from the woodwork like cockroaches.

Over a number of weeks, I'd become accustomed to phone-calls from my friend. We'd meet for a cuppa and chat. As the weeks went by, it became meet-up and chat. We did our usual putting the world to rights. Agreeing naturally over so much we had in common.

I became concerned that she was having to cope with not only severe pain, but also 'well-intentioned' bullying.

Unless you've already experienced it most folk would never understand.

When so-called family distance themselves for over two decades, they lose any options on appearing to be next-of-kin.

My dear friend suffered daily from multiple medical problems, always stalwart and indomitable.

Gradually, macular degeneration robbed her of her sight. She was a natural mathematician. This was the skill she used to navigate the world as her sight deteriorated. It was from her, that I learnt to appreciate what sight loss actually meant. It amazed me. We caught the bus and she counted the stops. Effortlessly telling where we'd reached along the route.

The image shows her teaching a group of sight-challenged people how to do crafts.

Carers accompanying the visually challenged often refused to accept that my friend was blind.

Another pet-hate of hers was to come across people who insisted on assuming blind people ought to be treated like vegetables and left to rot in a chair.

Over the years, I experienced with her the in-built ignorance and bias against blind people. The daily assumptions that everyone everywhere always has all faculties.

Another growing irritancy was to experience the Cavalier attitude and tick-box bias of all so-called members of the 'medical profession'. To witness at first-hand the tick-box bias of so-called medical professionals. 

My friend must have been in extremis for several months. We adjusted to calls for us to leave everything and go to her aid. For someone so independent it must have been such an indignity to call for assistance. As I kept telling her,' You are the only one I've ''got' and you ar special to me.

For several weeks, we went round to help her up after a fall. The liver cancer robbed her of as much as it could.

Now, I cherish the occasions when I was able to help and to comfort her. Helping her back on to her feet, gently holding her upright in my arms; assuring her that I was 'there' for her whatever happened.

A fortnight ago she chose to go to hospital. The writing was on the wall. That first few days she phoned and we chatted. 

Next, came the impenetrable silence.


Wednesday 6 October 2021

Farewell and finalities

 “Farewell," they cried, "Wherever you fare till your eyries receive you at the journey's end!" words by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Words that seem to grow in importance.

Next-door-but-one lives (d) a wonderful neighbour and friend. Until recently, a cancer survivor. Someone to cherish and not very long now someone to mourn deeply.

We've knitted and nattered, crocheted and 'put the world to rights for over a decade'. A survivor in many ways right from birth. 

Even thro' her illness this summer, she'd phone for a chat. Whenever possible, we'd meet up for a cuppa and to share reminiscences. Both of us having lived thro' similar times, but I'm considerably younger. Similar no-nonsense approach to life and times.

Now, she's been in hospital for a while and typically, she's refused visitors. She's typically doing everything her way 'right to the end'. 

Family estranged themselves from her for over 20 years. 

Cynical me knows from experience, that when a death in a family is in the offing, all and sundry emerge like woodlice from under the skirting boards. Faining a closer kinship than ever was warranted; they gather like corvids at a feast on the remains. 

My neighbour has planned to have her 'last laugh' for a number of years. None of the alleged kith and kin are to be allowed access in any way, nor to any monies in particular.. 

To quote the Window Cleaner, "They always take the best ones".

Monday 13 September 2021

Talking in to the Void

 Sundry annoyances

BCE before common era is the fashionable label for what has been for decades BC (before Christ) and AD (anno domino).

Cynically, the younger generations seem hell-bent on re-naming just for the sheer ludicrousness of it.

Far less thought is required with BCE; everything can be 'fudged' aka obscured.

History has gone from dates and events to a mish-mash of 'experiences'. Heaven help future generations. 

English counties have long, intriguing and complex histories.

Yorkshire with its Ridings, a shortened version of 'Thirdings; aka three

East, North and West.

In genealogy, as you delve deeper, complexities abound. 

Before the Reformation 1534, Lancashire came under the Diocese of LITCHFIELD which contained parts Carlisle and Ripon. 

Lancashire was divided into six HUNDREDS,

Amounderness, Blackburn, Leyland, Lonsdale, Salford and West Derby.

Ecclesiastically, the County came under the Province of York and the Diocese of Chester.

To make things more complicated, the County was divided in to two Archdeaneries, Chester (South) and Richmond, 'Richmondshire' (North). 

West Derby 

By the 1800s congregations were also grouped as Catholic, Dissenting chapels, Wesleyan Methodists and so on.

Hundreds being the areas for each Wapentake.

Place-names evolved over the years.

To distinguish between two Lancashire towns with the name BOLTON they were described (sensibly) as

BOLTON le MOORS now known as Bolton, Greater Manchester

BOLTON le SANDS near Lancaster.

Thursday 9 September 2021

When advertorials replace news

 Naming no names, but a series reappeared on the box. It received an overtly enthusiastic 'welcome' in the media. Looking into the various items, it becomes apparent they are advertorials used to promote a recently published book.

I'll state my bias here and now. Having viewed earlier series (never live) always with captions, I'd forgotten how much a dislike the narrator and his voice.

Back to looking at the new episode 1 with a hasty mute followed captioning as I heard him speak.

Another pet hate is when anyone distorts history for their own purposes. Claiming someone was a lawyer, when in fact he was a solicitor paled into insignificance when further blunders appeared.

To claim that Leeds has never had earthquakes is to evidence a parlous lack if knowledge of that area. 

The area has had a series of earthquakes with several being reported in the local Press. Some caused by deep-shaft mining for coal. Others, by movements of the Craven Faults.

Thursday 26 August 2021

Mulling things over

 Social Media is both a scourge to truth and disseminator of disinformation.

Commentariat - pundits, analysts and commentators proliferating world-wide.

Slacktivists - abound, spreading yet more disinformation.

A burgeoning Internet has given the oxygen of publicity to hoards of malcontents, nay-sayers and thoughtless opinionators.

The saying Wine In Wits Out adapted to nowadays becomes Social media in and Wits Out.

Common-sense and its fellow personal responsibility are fading rapidly. 

Recent cartoon shows the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have been joined by a fifth.. DISINFORMATION.

Having moved on-line, former news sources, regional and national have succumbed to the Siren voices found more often in trashy publications. Clickbait and phishing are now the name of the game.

"What are your bank holiday weekend plans?"

Cue phishing info-gathering freely given to media by the unwary!

The gullible and the unwary rushing to post 'answers' and 'opinions'...

Topics include - fast food, dearth of fast food. Who has sprogged, how many and gushing verbiage. The antics of the ne'er do well, failure to punish offenders.

Carnivals and assorted events, recurring problems - drug misuse, spreading virus, anti-vaxxers. Pillorying various politicians, poking fun at the antics and automatic 20:20 hindsight comments of others.


Saturday 24 July 2021

21st Century Dystopia

 'Good Morning Vietnam!' springs to mind along with the late, great and sorely missed Robin Williams.

Adrian Cronauer: It's gonna be hot and wet! 

 Well, there's been hot, hot and even hot as in increasing temperatures for weeks now.

Cue even more silliness courtesy of the media.

Today, an article about customers complaining to the Dairy. What was the complaint?

Milkman has been delivering 'hot milk'.

I'd laugh but I find naught but pity.

People being led 'by the nose' as in Social Media. 

Thinking back to before refrigeration was commonplace. The Larder had a block of marble on which the milk was put along with anything needing to be kept cool. Sitting the bottle in a bowl of cold water also helped. Then there was the time when my Auntie was given a fridge. It was never plugged in as it was thought to be another larder. As the bathroom was a cooler room, in hot weather the milk bottle in a bowl of water sat in the bath.

School holidays long ago - telephones belonged in offices - and people such as the doctor had a phone. 

Mostly, we went everywhere by Shank's Pony. 

The river was just over a mile away. Putting on swimming costumes and ordinary clothes over the top...walking 20-25 mins down to the river. Next, which bank to choose? Crossing the bridge to the deeper, opposite bank. Divesting ourselves of outer clothing, leaving clothes, towels and picnic on the bank. Wonderful, cold water up to our knees. 

Late afternoon, making the return journey, tired and happy walking home.

Children brought up to be self-sufficient and taught to act responsibly. We did not require adult supervision. Trusted to go where we said we were going. A gaggle of children or just 2 or 3.

Today, no-one would dream of being anywhere without a cell-phone. Except those of a certain age...

Children sans responsibility, indulgent parental units setting them to run about inside enclosed garden whist they do nothing of any useful purpose. Offspring day-bit-length screaming, shouting, crying as indulgent 'adults' fail grandly.

Language misuse proliferated by media.

Any hole in a road is declared a 'sink hole'. The latter being  geological terminology reserved mainly for Karst scenery to describe e.g. Gaping Gill near Settle in the Yorkshire Dales. An underground system of limestone caves caused by weathering.

Nothing could be further from the truth than to describe collapsed Victorian sewer systems and burst watermains as 'sink holes'.

Monday 12 July 2021


 Sometimes, the buying on-line finger strikes When with the OU it was the registration finger. I purchased a new vacuum cleaner, but found out when it arrived (speedily) and put together, it was too small. A disadvantage of buying online being that images can be deceptive. Thankfully the Company were happy to give permission to return it to them.

Next Oops came when printing out the delivery label. Suddenly, the laptop decided it could not work with the printer and vice-versa.

Reading tech updates from The Register: Enterprise Technology News and Analysis, the problem stemmed from a W10 update. M-soft were going to 'work on it'. fortunately, HP were a lot quicker off the mark. Instructions, and links to download fix were  easily accessible yesterday. Problem solved.

Traditionally, problems happen in 3s. This morning having duly packaged and labelled the box, we went to the local Pick-up Shop. Just in time as whilst the parcel acceptance was underway, the shop owner instructed the assistant not to accept any 'large' parcels. Huge sigh of relief! The package was accepted in the nick-of-time.

Unlike younger folks, neither of use glue ourselves to cell-phones. 

Hence we are not at the beck and call of sundry apps. I have a proper receipt, now in plain sight on the fridge door.

Thursday 8 July 2021

En masse

 Since March 2020 everyone has been singing the praises of a certain national institution. To be fair some survived and others died; some are still suffering.

However, when you dig down to the minutiae as in personal experience, things are not so rosy. 

Surely, it is not beyond the wit and wisdom on organisations in this day and age to Remember the Human. Setting an appointment time for an individual in her 80s, only to repeatedly on arrival tell her that there's a 2-hour waiting time is injurious to her welfare and well-being. 

Sight-impaired, diabetic, cancer patient; has enough to cope with. Why not communicate properly and enable her to remain at home until much nearer the time.

Saturday 3 July 2021

Time for a catch-up

 Daft as it may seem, I'm rusty not with the welcome rain this morning, but with Blogging.

A couple of hours ago, an idea, memory struck me. I went off down memory lane to view a friend's blog. Then, it dawned on me that I have lost touch, not for a few weeks or months, but years.

I'm going to blame it on living thro' Trying Times.

2018 was the last time I saw 'my GP'. Not because of being well, quite the opposite. Then the CQC Care Quality Commission wrote a damning report on that particular Health Service provider.

Ructions ensued which, led to 'our' GP surgery being closed. 2021 that surgery remains closed. 

Then, came the debacle known as 2020 along with world-wide pandemic. Here is not the place to share details of the ensuing brouhaha.

Oct.2019, surgery long-delayed took place.

2021 May 2nd Hilary departed this life. Wonderful lady, grandmother to my Goddaughter

."Grandma was finally reunited with Grandpa. Born a day apart, died 1 year 1 month 1 day apart, but now together forever."