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Friday, 16th August 2019

Friday question on a Friday!  What next...  ha,ha
They intrigued me, so i'll get on and do them - can you believe i couldn't remember how to spell 'intrigue' and had to look it up?! Just shows how little i use the word, eh?
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Sunday, 11th August 2019

Not a lot happening today, except it's very windy.  i'm hoping for some rain. i know, sounds daft what with the flooding etc on the west side of the country, but not a lot has come our way.  i'm hoping this wind will tail off soon and the contractors will come in and do the 50% reduction on the two trees that so badly need it.  i'm told it's all aranged, though the contractors are 'very busy' but will do the work.  i'm told they are both flowering cherries.  i'll post 'after' shots again.

The Cambridge Folk Festival was last weekend - wow, week gone already - and we all commented about the lack of audience numbers.  It doesn't help when you don't have many big names to draw the crowds. We did have Graham Nash [of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame, for those of you who don't know him] and he just killed it - 2 encores, and the Fishermens Friends.  Graham was on Friday night, not even a weekend night and the FF were on Stage 2, the smaller venue on Sunday.  Very odd. The Festival organisers tried to compensate by cramming in lots of acts, though sadly only a few were worth mentioning. Or that i had heard of.  Some of the tired old acts were in there of course, but i wished they weren't!  The 'Guest Curator' was local boy Nick Mulvey [never heard of him] and he was on an African kick, lots of drums and not a lot of actual music, if you know what i mean. When there were lyrics, you couldn't understand a word and it was very repiticious. Only Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita hit the spot with great music. The Sisters of Elva Hill were worth a mention with their ballet piece, first up on Stage 1 Friday and 81 year old Lil' Jimmy Reed defying age and infirmaty to get the crowd into some authentic old blues on Stage 2, just before the Fishermens Friends - who rocked the tent. My main problem i guess is that i'm not a 'folkie' and find a lot of actual folk music pretty boring - i mean, it is all the same, Irish, Scottish or whatever, fiddles, pipes, accordians. You get my drift?
It was well organaised and the stewards were great BUT what really got me hot under the collar was the lack of water in the disabled toilets - only hand sanitiser bottles. Can you believe it??  Roll it all together and i'm pretty sure i won't buy a whole weekend ticket next year.  Maybe they will line up some more interesting acts, who knows?  Watch this space!
Just the Friday Five to close...

1. How are you feeling today? i'm okay i guess, but my circulation is not good and the numbness and lack of feeling in my feet is getting steadily worse and my shins are following suite?  It's all diabeties linked probably, though my arthritis won't be helping it and is pretty bad, so not sure what i could do about it.  It doesn't help that one of my neighbours has recently died and he was a diabetic with chronic foot/leg problems.  i'm also having trouble thinking of the right words sometime, lack of quick recall, i haven't forgotten the actual words.  It's true, disabilities are not all visible.

2. Have you gone to one of those emergency/urgent care walk-in clinics? No, i haven't but i saw one start up in Sydney that was very successful. Cambridge is toying with the idea. It's all about the money, of course.

3. What symptoms made you go there? Not applicable.

4. Does it make you feel better to have the doctor translate your symptoms into a medical-sounding diagnosis (e.g., really bad cough = bronchitis)? Translating symptoms doesn't come into it, you want to know what you have.  i self medicate a lot and only go to the doctors for when i can't cure myself

5. What is the worst tasting medicine you have ever had? That has to be a solution called Mistexpect, pale green and foul!

Well, that's about it, friends and neighbours!  i sound like an old radio programme!
Have a great week and take care of your sweet selves

Monday, 22nd July 2019

'Monday, Monday..' music from the past.  It's been a busy one, for me at least.  i had a check-up appointment at the Hep Clinic at 10.15am and booked a taxi the night before - it was late and the Company had a scramble to get another one to me.  i restrained myself when it finally arrived just after 9.37am and just said 'you're late'.  i'm going to be racist here, so cover your tender ears!  Middle Eastern feller who took it personally and went into the usual song & dance how it was the despatcher's fault.  i give them the benefit of the doubt but he mumble/grumbled on far too long. Women in his world aren't supposed to criticise men and don't take kindly to any kind; suck it up, mate. i had left a goodly time to get there, so after a brief drop-off and dash, i made the appointment desk with five minitues or so to spare.
Needen't have worried, my Sister was running late. i set about getting an appointment with the dentist to replace a crown. A good twenty minutes later, Sr. let me know she was helping out as they are short handed, but did appologise. Usual story at the Hospital nowadays.  Had all my vitals checked before i saw her and i've not only lost a little weight [hooray] but i'm doing the Senior Shrink, now about 5.5in. Not sure how i feel about that. Anyway, Sr gave me a clean bill and 'see you in a couple of years' like the last bloke.  Just had to give some blood on my way out and i was done.  i called a taxi and in contrast to the first, this one was a dream. Quick, nice, polite and had no trouble with the scooter and had me home in jigtime.
Dentist wasn't until 3pm, so i had time for some homemade soup & a toasted roll.  Because of the Mill Road Railway Bridge closure to traffic, i made sure pedestrians still had access [they sent round a list of the days it was closed to everyone] and left an hour before i was due. It was a lot easier and better than i thought it might but at the far end of the bridge on the right side, there's a nasty little drop.  AND NO RAMP.  It was a scrape getting down, with nobody in sight.  i did speak to some of the working crew further down but they were gas men, not council - what's the difference? They were tearing up the road and needed to make it safe.  i went on my way unrejoicing.  i made good time into town and sat on my scooter in the shade for a while outside the surgery and watched the world go by. Building works on Regent Street corner and a sign told me it was 29C - i believed it! HOT in the sun.
Dentist had a fiddle about with my crown; maybe getting bit loose.  i don't remember this crown coming out before, so it may just be a time wearing thing. Do other people have the same problem?  i'd forgotten i had a crown there.  If it comes out again soon, he will make a new one. We can see at the end of August when i have a check-up due.
i did see a worker at the Bridge on my return but he was Gas too.  i was polite about it but let him know this curb was not a good thing.  He eventually came over and shifted a road sign that was blocking the shortest part of the curb and i managed to get up - yes, i remembered to thank him!
Belting hot in the sun, being a lot of reflected heat from the street & roads. i called into the chemist to see if my prescription was ready yet and it was, good one.  A boy & girl were sitting outside the Chemist, and he had dumped his bag onto the Council raised bed, almost onto a plant. So i told him to take it off - and the little twit got all lippy.  He did take the bag off, but put it back on while i was in there.  Can't have been more than about 12? Girl looked like a sister and was all for backing him up, as he didn't like the look he got.  i said outloud, 'that's all i need, Gobby Kids' and left them to it.  They didn't appear to have adult supervision, but it amused me that a lady standing near them, said something like i had a point.  i didn't stop and just went home.
It's been that sort of day...swings and roundabouts.  Weather supposed to be hot for the next few days down here.
i think i'll have some fish for dinner

Thursday, 4th July 2019

It's American Independance Day, ho hum...  Americans seem to celebrate anything at the drop of a hat, don't they.  Anything to cheer themselves up?  If so, why don't we; we could do with it!
My icon for those who aren't familiar with the Moomin stories, is Little My who seems cross all the time, but with whom i love my coffee.
i'm prevaricating...i should be getting on with my annual Spring clean. i've done a lot of picking-up off the floor and mostly finished vacuuming, except in the lounge, which is 3/4 done.  The dust is so thick in here, i need to do all the dusting before i continue!  Complete slag, me and lazy with it; ah me.
i've an appointment with the Diabetic Nurse at 3pm and although it's only 11.30ish, knowing me, i'll still be sitting here at 2pm!  i'll get all the rest of the flat mopped first i think, then i can finish in here at will.

Monday, 1st July 2019

Friday Five (USA)

Some of these really don't apply to UK, that's why i've put USA after the title.  We don't have a National Day for the UK Countries, it's more the National Saints - but i get ahead of myself

1. What is one of your favorite things about your country?
Two things - first, most of the people speak English (of a sort!) and two, there are four seasons in the year.  Though it is sometime hard to draw a line between them.

2. What is your favorite thing to do on your country's national holiday?
As i started to say, no National Day but the countries' saints - like St George for England, St David for Scotland etc. There's no day off or anything, so just a normal day

3. What do you usually do for your country's national holiday?
i don't do anything. i mean, we're lucky if i actually realise what day it is!

4. What is your favorite national/regional ethnic dish?
Opinion is multi-divisional on this, but i guess you could say Roast Beef for the UK as a loose rule.  Some veg associated - leeks with Wales, potatoes with Ireland, but haggis with Scotland and the roast beef with England.  Me, i don't care for leeks or haggis!

5. Who is your favorite national hero and why?
St George fictionally but i have to say Prince Charles in real life. Here is a man who formed his own opinions and stuck to them, even when ridiculed by others.  A man of strong principle and champion of the under-privileged.  i think he will make a good King.

In Other News - not that i don't appreciate the sunshine but we could do with some decent rain over this side of the country.  i have taken the opportunity to finish up the plant pruning in the gardens, following the major now-annual Council tidy-up.  With the assistance of Helen my #8 neighbour, who sweeps the cuttings into piles for me and takes up the small stuff in her long-handled brush & pan. We did a good clean-up of her rear plot and our Mews entrance way now looks nice and tidy.  i'm nursing my sore hips/back now :D but it was worth it.
My H&B will probably complain again today - it's clean floors day!

Must crack on, as it takes longer to pickup and clear the floors, than the actual vacuum and mop.  i frequently do that over two days.
Have a great week

Friday, 21st June 2019

Friday Five on Friday!

1. How do you beat the summer heat?
Not a problem, i'm an expert on cooling methods, witrh open windows and fans - Tip: REALLY hot wind, soak a net curtain in cold water and hang in the doorway.

2. Do you have air conditioning?
No, Council don't run to such luxury! I just have a fan in lounge and big one in bedroom. Just make sure you have a full length net-curtain for any outside doors for nighttime, to keep out the bugs and let any breezes in.

3. What’s your idea of the perfect summer day?
Lots of sunlight, but cool weather and a nice breeze

4. What’s one thing you always seem to do every summer whether you want to or not?
Sweat?? Keep mozzy repellant on hand!

5. Are you ready for the summer?
Sure, not that there's been much of one yet. It's Summer solstice today with very early sunrises and equally late sunsets. i've had to keep one of my winter coats out with some of the cool days and nights, and surprisingly, i've had my little heater on some nights.  Maybe we'll have an Indian summer?

Have a good weekend!

Sunday, 16th June 2019, Part 2

On request, I've been given three subjects in the new meme, all intrigueing

Horse Riding
i learnt to ride while i was still at school, mainly because my sister wanted to and i went along.  We both learned quickly and became proficiant; i never fell off, even when one horse stepped in a hole and went to it's knees - i was a swimmer and had strong legs!  It was quite good fun but restricted mainly to the polo field, though we did have the occasional foray out under escort, around the salt pits and down Khormaksar beach. i learned horses love the sea but didn't have a lot of brain!  i only rode in England once and it was quite the difference to the sand i was used to in Aden.

The Colour Red
So many shades of red to choose from but i am partial to the crimson and darker reds. Scarlet can be too orangey for me.  i don't really like Orange, or Pink for that matter (except occasionally the very pale pinks). Funny don't you think that when the colour Red is mentioned, a lot of people think of Roses? My favourite roses, however, are yellow and white, scented of course!

i do like chocolate a lot, but prefer dark or 'bitter' chocolate. The purer the better up to about 80% cocoa solids.  However, i love the chocolate orange or hazelnut mixtures and rose, orange or strawberry cremes. i'm not fond of Quality Street but do like Roses - who doesn't?!  Sadly, the onset of diabetes has put a severe crimp in my consumption.  *sad face*

That was fun.  Hadn't thought about the horses for such a long time, what a flood of memories this unlocked.
Most of the horses that we rode were stabled at the Golf Club (where they also played polo) and some belonged to the Sultan of Lehej, on loan.  Looking back, i don't suppose they were very suitable for us to learn on as they were super responsive, due to being used for polo.  There was one we were not allowed on, as he was badly treated as a youngster, tempremental and would only willingly take women riders. He had to be blindfolded for a man to get up on him and very few were game.  i remember some of the horses names even now - the half brothers Mabruk and Mubarak, Shamsan one of the biggest and very uncomfortable seat, unless you could get him to canter; big black and powerful Prince who had the thickest neck i've ever seen and little nervous Mahboob or Mahmood, i think he was called. These were Arabs and danced rings around the longer-faced Army horses.  Mabruk the grey was my favourite and had a really comfortable seat, loved him.  i heard later he'd died, having got colic and they couldn't keep him on his feet. Sadly, he managed to lay down and ruptured himself.  i often wondered what happened to the rest. The Sultan's would go back to him of course.
i nearly had a nasty accident once, riding Shamsan.  We came back one trip via a short road culvert and as i was about to go through, a large 3-tonne lorry caught up with us and didn't slow down. The roar of engine noise made Shamsan panic and he backed out into the road. There was nothing i could do to make him straighten up (he couldn't hear me) - short of dismounting and dragging him forward, far too dangerous.  The lorry didn't even swerve (i was told later) and hit him on the flank, knocking us to the side of the road.  It never stopped and roared off.  Bastards. How i stayed on him, i have no idea or how Shamsan stayed upright. We both survived but the muscle on his flank was caved in and left scars.  You couldn't take him near tarmac roads after that.  Now where did that early-sixties memory come from? Amazing how clear it was.
Well, i must go wash-up - the kitchen is reproaching me!  And it's dinner time - how did that happen?

Sunday, 16th June 2019

Weather is dominating our 'other' news. We get better weather on the East side of England and so far haven't had the hammering the West has and is still getting periodically.  We have a weather warning for Tuesday/Wednesday of thunderstorms, lots of rain and even hail and strong possibility of flooding. Luckily Cambridgeshire is pretty flat and it would need apocalyptic weather for it to really affect us.
My bones are giving me shit at present but it's a petty problem when you consider what it could be. On the other hand, the diabetes is numbing my feet as the circulation slowly gets worse but i'm having more arthritic pain in my hands, which get really sore, and cold oddly enough.  But less of that!  i'll do the Friday Five.

1. What was your favorite childhood vacation?
We didn't have those sort of holidays but went on leave (about a week per month of service). We could choose where we went but it was usually back to UK, except for the time we went to New Zealand. My folks were looking at places for retirement, i think.

2. What is your dream vacation?
I'd like to go to Japan on a guided tour, as i'd need a lot of help and a translator

3. If you could take a trip around the world, what locations would you be sure to include?
i'd start off with the Scandanavian countries, Norway etc and Denmark. Work my way down with Portugal & Spain before Greece and a return visit to lovely Venice. i'd like to see Pachu Pichu and Iguasu (sp?) and the Pantanal.  Then visit Antartica, and on to Far Eastern countries, Thailand and re-visit Malaysia/Singapore before moving on to Japan.  i'd like to visit bits of Australia i never got to and New Zealand's South Island.

4. Do you prefer vacations to new destinations, to familiar destinations, or a mix?
Definitely new

5. What activities would you plan for a two week staycation?
See as much of the country as possible and include any famous museums and touristy bits - can i take Mark with me?.

That gave me itchy feet!  Travelling is such a complicated business now, as i can't walk far and need help with my mobility scooter.
Well, i must away and get on with a spot of cleaning up in the kitchen. Have a great week!

Saturday, 1st June 2019

Finally doing the Friday Five on the right day!  It's often late or i don't catch up for a couple of days. Before i start, today would have been my Dad's 99th birthday. i frequently muse on how he would have handled old age, on his birthday. Being born in 1920 is a mind-bender for me; impossible to imagine what it was like to live in those days.

1. Do you make any kind of art or craft? Please share.
Not any more. i used to do a fair bit of crochet (self taught) and sold a few shawls back in the day.  Recreational skills were very limited at school and i only did drawing and watercolours, with reasonable success but was more interested in swimming as a teenager.  Otherwise not nearly good enough with my hands to make things, but there wasn't any room or time to learn sculpture or any handycrafts, though i think there was a woodworking class for young boys at St Saviour's. You'd have had to go to the Technical College later and pay extra for the privillage, though i don't think they took girls.  The nuns didn't have those skills (or time) and anyway the thought was embroidery was 'for girls' - we'd have been better off learning dress making.  i did get fairly proficient with crossstitch, making table settings & tea-cloths.  Hardly earth-shaking though!

2. Would you rather make art (paint, sing, play an instrument) or observe someone else’s art? Why?
Make art - paint and sing (can't play an instrument). Watching someone paint would be pretty boring.  i would have liked to take the singing further but no opportunity, and the same with instruments.  Only learning the piano was open at school, after hours and my hands didn't have enough 'reach' apparently.  i do like to hear and watch singing, orchestras etc

3. If you could be really good at any creative endeavor, which would you choose to be really good at?
Painting i guess, though i'd like to try sculpture.

4. Do you prefer recorded performances or live performances? Why?
i prefer live performances as you really only get the full effect in person, if you can get close enough to see as well.  However, i do like to watch ballet, ice skating & gymnastics on film as you have a much better view. You don't need to be really close for music performances, but the sound for full effect - you need to hear Katherine Jenkins in full throttle to get the total beauty of her voice, for example.

5. Did you get any kind of art education in school?
See Question 1 - pretty much just the basics.  i have a very early memory of some child eating plastacine, so i guess we had some play stuff at some point; kindergarten maybe?  Drawing and painting came later.

That was a trip down memory lane, wasn't it?  But that's all for now. Have a great weekend and a better week.

Sunday, 19th May 2019

Ah, the Friday Five - haven't been in here much, except for a quick read of Friends Feed.  i'll do this first.

1. Has your house been renovated?
i'm in a Council flat, so rarely do much to same structurely, but as it was the Council's will that i move (going to renovate my old one), they complied with my request for white walls.  i was so sick of the inevitable old 'marigold'.

2. Have you ever painted a room?
i've painted many rooms in my lifetime of renting, in New Zealand & Australia, but not here in England.

3. Have you ever put in a new floor in a house?
i haven't, no, but the Council removed the dingy grey carpet before i moved in here and i was able to choose a simulated wood-floor covering for the hall, bedroom and lounge; a darker one for the last room.  Which all look very nice - pity there's no underlay (or underfloor heating), but that's the El Cheapo Council for you!  i have various sized rugs and small carpets here as the floor can get quite cold in winter. The floor tiles in the kitchen were okay and although the weird bumpy-concrete flooring in the bathroom is SO ugly and i hated it, it wasn't going to be replaced anytime soon. All my other flats had floor coverings from vinyl (never can spell it!), parquet and carpets of course.

4. Have you ever worked with wallpaper?
i've never done wallpapering but have on occasion painted over it.

5. Have you ever choosen new colors for your flat or house?
Yes, quite a lot. And done small DIY, like shelving units and so on, like you do!

It's been a music-themed couple of weeks, what with Art Garfunkel, Ian Mckellan (not musical but it got me out of the house!), Katherine Jenkins last week and the Russian Philharmonic of Novosibirsk this coming Tuesday. The RPN are playing Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances and some Glinka - not unnaturally!  i do like the Russian composers and relish the idea of real Russians playing the music. McKellen's memory is amazing and Katherine exceeded expectations, which was nice and she has a great voice.  i like her singing opera best and have a couple of CDs - you do need to hear her in person to get the best experience, but turn up the sound and you can come close.  That's it until October when Aled Jones and Russell Watson do a concert together.

i decided to buy a small strimmer to keep the front garden under control and have started on it, a bit at a time as it's very overgrown now. It cuts well and is easy to use and clean,but i still need to rake and pick up the cut bits and put them in the green bin.  i have to limit my time or it really creases me.  My back & hips complain loudly if i do too much, but onwards and upwards!

i need to get out of the house more, i'm becoming something of a recluse. It doesn't really bother me but after a fall in the garden (some time back), i started wondering how long it would take for someone to come to my aid, if i need some.  i do have the ElderCare alarm (and a key in the keysafe at the front door), but what if i can't get to it? How long would it take for anyone to miss me? If i died, it could take awhile.  The postman might wonder where i was but i don't have a huge amount of mail and very few bits to sign for. The Tesco drivers wouldn't as they only come to my order, so unless i had one booked and they couldn't raise me, they'd just be cross and take the groceries away. Dunno what Tesco would do, email me? i guess only the Diabetic Nurse would be concerned if i missed an appointment. i've one booked for July but i could have been dead for quite a while before anyone missed me.  My friends on Facebook might miss me eventually but how to raise the alarm?  Again, it would take a while. So what to do, if anything.  Food for thought, and it's time i updated my will.  i may need to change my executor as i haven't spoken to relatives for some years now, literally.  Mark is closer than they - and knows me better!
Sorry to be gloomy, i write as i think and speak.
More later in the week, when i've done anything!