Monday 31 March 2008

Bluebells and massage

The first bluebells are here! Now I usually think of these as arriving in April or May so that shows you how early we are this year. And while global warming might be ruining our planet, at least it shows that spring is on its way. And that is a cheering thought indeed.

On Saturday afternoon I had the second of my birthday massages. My mum and Himself gave me vouchers for the wonderful spa at a nearby hotel, and so I am able to have several massages – free!

One thing that struck me is how young the girls are – the masseuses, that is. Yes, I know this is a sure sign of Getting Old, but most of these girls are 20ish. They look at you as if you are no longer a member of the human race, and evidently eye my sagging skin and skinny frame with distaste. Having worked as a masseuse I know. As I know the unflattering comments that abound later. “Tubs of lard” was one at the place I used to work.

But this girl gave me a 5 second chat to ascertain whether I wanted aromatherapy oils to calm me down or buoy me up. I explained that I’m fairly hyper by nature, so calming would be better.

I had half an hour’s thorough neck, shoulders and back massage and got up feeling quite light headed. I recovered in their Rest Room – lay sipping a glass of iced water and reading a glossy magazine wondering where to place a couple of pieces I’d written on spec for a glossy that doesn’t want them.

I then went home, so reeking of Soothing Aromatherapy Oils that even Mollie sniffed at me nervously. That night I slept like a tree trunk (do they sleep?) and have been unable to function ever since. Life is like struggling through treacle, or brain high mud. As for brain cells – forget it. I left them with the twenty year old on the massage couch.

But I’d still go for another massage. Half an hour to have all the stresses and strains kneaded out of my body – bliss.

PS Mum - I hope you're reading this today. Hello and I love you. Keep practising your emails!

Friday 28 March 2008

Bad Times and Good Times

I am surrounded by friends going through dire times.

A few days ago one friend rang up to apologise for not having been to stay recently. She’s been having problems with her 20 year old daughter who’s developed OCD. She’s now seeing a counsellor which seems to be helping, and her mother has got her hands on as many books on the subject as she can and is now an expert. But she doesn’t like to leave the daughter while she’s so wobbly.

I listened to her anguish down the phone and thought, she doesn’t deserve this. My poor friend who has one trouble after another. But as I can’t make her life any better, I just reissued the invitation and sent my love to both of them.

Another of my friends, one of my dog walking partners, has had a very poorly husband for weeks now. As I write he’s being operated on in London and I haven’t dared ring to ask how things are. She said she’d be in touch so I’m waiting – and hoping – that things are OK. They’ve both been through a lot of bad health recently and they really don’t deserve this recent bout of bad luck.

Then there’s my mate whose father is very ill. She’s dividing her time between Exeter, where her husband works, and here, where her parents are and she is now the kids are home from university on holidays. I can tell by her increasingly desperate emails and phone calls how torn she is. Everyone relies on her for everything, and I worry that she’s going to snap pretty soon.

Lastly there’s my other mate who’s been in hospital having her hip recoated. She’s home now but is being inundated with friends and family coming to Help. Unfortunately she really needs just to rest a lot and isn’t able to do so while all these people are in attendance. (She’s not very good at saying No.) I warned her daughter, who’s a nurse, that she’s supposed to rest every hour and a half and hopefully she will swing into action and get heavy. But I’d hate for the hip operation to go wrong just because she’s not getting enough rest.

So that’s some of my friends. I ring them, email them, lie in bed and worry about them and think how lucky I am.

I’ve got one vigilante husband, one extremely muddy dog from this morning’s walk, a car that we’re hoping will pass its MOT this morning, and bills to pay. But we’re healthy, and we’re happy, which is the main thing.

PS The car failed.

Thursday 27 March 2008

Vandalism - your say

Last week’s vandalism in our street – about twenty cars all deeply scarred with an instrument like a screwdriver – must have amounted to around £20,000 worth of damage. And it turned out not to be the only incidence in the area.

A few days before that, a friend of mine’s car had the pipe leading to the petrol tank cut off and all the petrol siphoned out of it. Of course, she’d just filled it up.

We weren’t going to report the vandalism in our street, because we didn’t think the police would take any notice, but they assured us that this wasn’t the case. Apparently, the more incidents are reported, the more the police will patrol that area.

The police couldn’t have been more helpful when we went to see them, and the forensics lady had a good look at our car and was astounded. But they weren’t too hopeful about finding the culprit(s) and even if they do, legally they aren’t able to charge them. There were no witnesses and they have no powers to punish them.

When Himself erupted, saying he’d like to bring back hanging, one of them said, “yes my husband would too.”

But if they can’t actually do anything to the culprits, what’s the point?

What do you think should happen? What would you like to do or be done?

Tuesday 25 March 2008

Runaway Dogs and Insurance Claims

Following on from the vandalism saga (see Friday’s post), we then discovered that our MOT has run out. And the tax is due on Monday. So we walked Moll first thing this morning and decided to call in at a garage in town on the way home to see if they could fit us in pronto.

It was a glorious morning: after the wind and wet of the weekend, this morning was serene and sunny, no wind and a feeling of calm descended on the castle. We met other dog walking friends, exchanged news of the weekend (more about the vandalism) and were coming back to the car when we found a group of dog walkers gathered on the Hornworks, a long flat landing strip covered in grass.

A 10 month old collie was running wild, having been let off the lead for the first time. Of course, at his first glimpse of freedom and playing with other dogs, he was having a wonderful time, and the owners couldn’t get him back. We stayed for a while to help, but this dog didn’t respond to being called, to biscuits waved near him, balls thrown for him. Nothing.

I hadn’t realised how bad it was until the owner, a timid lady in her sixties, said, “How do you train a dog?”

So she’d had him for four months and done no training at all. Oh, no.

At this point Himself decided we should leave and went by a new garage which is a family run business. The son said that they could fit us in on Friday and when we told him about the vandalism at the weekend he called, “Mum. ‘Ere. Look what they’ve done this car!”

Mum came along (a lady in her sixties at a guess) and we tutted and swore over the youth of today until another lad came along. The grandson. Thankfully not like the youths who dug screwdrivers into our car. He helps his dad and his gran run the garage.

We were sent on our way with promises to look after us, and that this bloke was moving round the corner from us, so we’d be neighbours. (Hope he’s got a garage for his car.)

We returned, warmed by the generosity of the garage family, and Himself set about ringing the insurance people to get a claim form. An hour, and endless phone calls later, he put the phone down and yelled, “Pop!”

I emerged and asked what was the matter.

“We’ve only got third party insurance,” he said.


“So we can’t claim anyway.”

The only reason we were going to claim was so that when we need to change the car, we can do so in part exchange. It's worth nothing with these scratch marks all over it.

We looked at each other in dismay. Then he started laughing. So did I. “We’re f***ed,” he said, tears running down his cheeks.

But he’s made some phone calls and is off to find some spray so we can do it ourselves. Remember, this is The Man Who Will Not Be Beaten,

Monday 24 March 2008

Frustrated Silver Surfer

As I write, Mum is having her last computer lesson of the weekend. (Himself has a lot more patience than me so he’s being Teacher.)

It’s been a very busy few days and she brought her laptop with her, but because of the cockups with Tiscali, she wasn’t able to access her emails here so has to go back home and try there.

She is really upset about the whole Tiscali thing (and we are furious) and has decided to cancel them and go with BT. Trouble is, it’s impossible to get hold of Tiscali and she’s supposedly bound into a contract for a year. As they haven’t delivered any service and sent her the wrong modem and router, she has no faith in them.

So for those of you who have sent her emails and waiting for a reply, she’s not being rude. She will write back as soon as she can.

It’s such a shame because we wanted her to get started hassle free and found her someone who can install broadband etc. He’s great but she has no confidence in Tiscali and is understandably worried about the whole thing. Not a good start.

However, despite dire weather forecasts, it hasn’t been too bad. We’ve been out and about, met up with some dear friends, had some great walks and read forest fulls of newspapers when we got home. My dear mate who’s had her hip recoated is in fine fettle and should be coming home tomorrow, so all is well.

Actually, we could do with another bank holiday to get over this one. My bed has never seemed more attractive. Trouble is, it’s only eleven am…

Friday 21 March 2008

Mindless destruction and rules for living

Last night we met up with RT and ET from next door and the friend who’s about to embark on a PhD in September as a mature student. Exciting but scary. We went to the same café as last week’s girls’ night – except that last night Himself graced us with his presence – and had a lovely evening. Lots of natter, laughs, cheered the prospective student up a bit and walked home, buffetted by the high winds.

This morning we woke up to find that our car, parked at the end of the street had been keyed – scratched by a key all over the sides, roof, bonnet and back. Himself was so upset he could barely speak. Not because we are proud car owners but because of the mindless vandalism. The fact that whoever did this has no regard for others’ property. That they did this to all the cars in the street, though not as thoroughly as ours.

And also because it was my mother’s car that we bought off her a year ago, and of course she’s coming to stay this evening. The thought crossed my mind that should we need to sell the car in part exchange – as we always do need to – it’s now almost worthless.

We had a very Silent dog walk this morning. It’s best to leave Himself when he’s that upset. A cuddle is best to start off with. Then when he’s recovered, we get the language, and just what he’d like to do to whoever is responsible for such meaningless, selfish behaviour.

I get very protective of him at times like this. I can feel his frustration, anger and sadness. It bursts out like fast growing weeds, unwanted and virulent.

It made me think of an interview I did earlier this week when the wife said that they take it in turns to be strong. She asked me if we did the same.

“Yes,” I said. “We try never to have a wobbly at the same time.”

And there you have it. Our Number One rule of Living Together.

Thursday 20 March 2008

The Silver Surfer

Except that she's not - she's got less grey hair than me.

At last – I finally received an email from my mother yesterday morning.

For those of you not in on this saga, we bought my mother a second hand laptop for her Christmas present last year. Being completely new to computers and cyberspace, she was very Anxious so we managed to give her a couple of lessons here and she finished with shining eyes saying, “I’ve sent my first email!”

We found her someone in the village to help her set up with Broadband and in January he gave her a general lesson and advised her to ring Tiscali to get the package which he would then install. (BT and other suppliers aren’t available where she lives, in the depths of the Devon countryside.) She rang on January 19th and at various times after that and still nothing turned up.

Whenever she got through (and it always took a while) someone would assure her that the package was in the post. Which it obviously wasn’t.

A package arrived last week but not before she’d finally got through and been informed that she’d been charged for Broadband since January 19th. You can imagine my reaction to that. WHAT????? You can hear my crystal sharp Top C can’t you?

Finally, nearly three months after she rang, she told me that Chris was coming to set her up with Broadband yesterday morning.

I forgot about it and came back from a meeting to find the following in my Inbox:-

We finally made it. See you on Friday. Lots of love Mum.

So she’s bringing her laptop so she can have some more lessons over Easter. Just as well given the weather forecast.

Hooray and happy easter!

Wednesday 19 March 2008

Sick as a Dog

Poor Moll. She wasn’t herself last night.

We walked out over Trefusis Point yesterday afternoon, a headland now mostly covered in mud, but you walk along looking out over Falmouth Docks, round to the castle, then as you round the point, you see St Mawes and the corresponding castle. Further round is Millionaire’s Row, then St Just, and in between the sea was a painter’s dream of colours – the palest green, a bold royal blue, inky black and jade. Wind scuffed the top of the water, ruffling it into small, bad tempered waves.

Moll and I walked and I talked, as I do about whatever. Nothing of consequence, though sometimes I ask her opinion. She doesn’t deign to reply, but that doesn’t matter.

She got home and wolfed her tea down but somewhere along the line she must have eaten something that disagreed with her. Something nice and tasty like fox or badger poo probably.

She went rather quiet after that, but the fire was lit and it was a cold day so we snuggled down to read the paper and watch the news. She slunk off, a bit later, returned and regurgitated a large amount of whatever it was on the carpet.

We cleaned it up and she drank some water, eventually returned to the sofa to crash out. It wasn’t until we were going to bed that I noticed a similar deposit under the bed. Right in the middle, so I had to lie on my belly and crawl under the bed to reach it.

Moll lay in her bed looking embarrassed. As in, “sorry Mum. I didn’t mean to.”

I forgive her of course. But I’m not very hungry today. Just shows, I’d make a lowsy nurse.

PS - Just had a phone call from mum. She has finally got Broadband package and is having it installed today. Only took Tiscali three months. More on that later.

Tuesday 18 March 2008

An Addition to the family?

This one is for Shelagh. My sister in law in Vermont.

We were walking along the beach one morning last week – a grey drizzly day with nil visibility but no wind. The tide was in, so trudging along the sand was hard work which makes Himself grumpy. He’d hoped to get out of walking part of the way but his plans were waylaid.

Himself in a Sulk is something to see, though to be fair it never lasts long. He has too much of a sense of humour for that.

We walked in silence, watching Mollie’s antics in and out of the surf, chasing other dogs, losing her ball, letting it dribble into the sea before dashing to retrieve it.

It’s better not to talk first thing in the morning. Himself is not at his best, and my head’s always full of things that whirr round like a little engine.

Then he said, “I think our next dog should be called Busby.”

“What?” I said. Let’s face it, in a small one bedroom flat there is not a lot of room for one dog let alone two. And of course, there’s the terrible Buster. Had Himself gone bonkers? Or did Moll have some terrible disease that I didn’t know about? Was she about to die? Oh no…..

“Busby,” Himself repeated, happily unaware of the turmoil in his wife’s brain.

I decided to humour him. Safest when people are bonkers. “Why Busby?”

“I was listening to something on the news and Dominic Busby was mentioned. I thought that would be a good name for a dog.”

“So we’re talking hypothetical here?”

“Of course, Pop! Why would we want another dog?”

I came down to earth then. I’d already got quite fond of the hypothetical Busby, could see him and Moll racing across the beach together. Silly me.

Monday 17 March 2008

Beginnings and Endings

On Saturday we took out our elderly friend for the first time in several weeks. He’s been in hospital having a lump removed and has recovered well from surgery, though as we’re not family we aren’t allowed to know whether the lump was dangerous or anything about the prognosis.

I rang him last week and he sounded very perky and said he’d love to go out for coffee, so we picked him up and I noticed how very frail he looks, like parchment paper, and the same colour. It’s as if he’d been in the washing machine and got stuck on fast spin. All the health has been washed out of him.

Still, he was pleased to see us and we took him to his favourite place. Miss Peapods is a bohemian/retro style café near us which does very good coffee and even better home made cakes, particularly flapjack.

Unfortunately it was raining when we got there, but we helped J up the steps and it took him several minutes for him to recover while the rain splashed down, drenching our heads, faces and hands. I started to worry. But J recovered and stoically made his way inside.

Flapjack was off the menu but J settled on a large piece of chocolate cake. After crumbling it into tiny pieces, he pushed the plate towards us. “I seem to have lost my appetite,” he said. “I can’t taste it. Can you try it?”

As I can’t eat chocolate cake, Himself tried it and licked his lips. “Delicious,” he said, eyeing the rest of it hopefully.

J tried a few more crumbs and eventually gave a wobbly smile. “Sorry,” he said. “I’m not very good company today.”

Having reassured him that he was extremely good company, we finished our coffee and took him back as he wanted help with various things, including putting his braces on.

While Himself took J up to his room, I went to see the manager as J was worried about a few things. I was dismayed to find him less than helpful. He refused to discuss J's health with me (as I'm not family) and behaved as if J was a bothersome little boy, intent on causing havoc. I watched him but said little, not wanting to make matters worse for J. I took mental notes and it made me shiver to think that J has to live with that kind of thoughtless and unprofessional behaviour.

That manager has caused a big blot in my copy book which is foolish on his behalf. I shan’t be recommending that place to anyone any more.

However, I went back and helped Himself get J into his braces as his trousers keep falling down. As we helped his frail body in and out of trousers that were too small into a pair that fitted him, it struck me that the beginning and end of our lives are very similar. At both stages we need help and guidance, support and encouragement.

And at every step of our lives we need to be loved.

Friday 14 March 2008

Girls Night and Dodgy Lungs

Last night we had a belated birthday girls get together. Six of us gathered in a café in town that opens a few nights a week and caught up, drank and ate. I’ve never been one to have a circle of friends, so most of these women didn’t know each other. I sat in the middle and directed proceedings, like a verbal traffic warden.

One, who didn’t know anyone apart from me, was quiet but livened up with the (very good) red wine. I don’t know her well so it was good to see her relax and enjoy my other friends.

One swept in late, stressed out by her day. The car had failed its MOT, needed new tyres, but most of all she is extremely worried about her husband. She wouldn’t go into details in front of the others, but she is wound up like a spring, and not being a drinker, didn’t have the relaxing benefits of wine to calm her down.

Another is terrified because she’s having her hip recoated (rather than replaced) next week. She went along to the hospital for an assessment and the doctor said, “I warn you, this is going to hurt like hell.” NOT what poor Deb wanted to hear. So since then she’s been in a terrible state.

We did what we could to calm her fears. Talked her through it all, promised to be there for her when she needs us. And as the wine went down and the food and the company, she too relaxed a bit. Those fears were still there but had shrunk to a rather more manageable size.

It was a lovely evening, being surrounded by friends, having a good natter and helping each other. Laughing and sharing. What good friends are all about. And despite not sleeping much, today I am filled with that warm glow that comes from good mates.

So when Himself admitted that his lungs have been painful for the last two weeks, I didn’t shout and scream as I usually do, but said, “darling. You have pulmonary fibrosis. You have dodgy lungs. You can’t afford to take risks.”

I then rang the doctor’s surgery while we walked the dog on the beach. I waited until another friend joined us, and did it then. That way Himself couldn’t wriggle out of it.

It had to be done. If I hear, “it’s all right Pop. I’m monitoring the situation,” again I really will scream.

Thursday 13 March 2008

The Year of the Challenge

Last night I got back at about six from walking Mollie to find Himself, lit up like a Christmas tree, hovering in the kitchen with a glass of wine.

“Bob and Ruth have just been round,” he said, quivering.

“And?” I know the signs.

“And –” he took a fortifying gulp of wine. “And Zena has a really big gig coming up in August and she wants us to form a band and take over her gig at Finn McCoul’s.”

I flung my arms around him and squeaked congratulations. I can see exactly what he’s going through – joy, terror, confidence crisis, panic, elation, you name it. And he was pissed off because he’d had a long rehearsal that afternoon and wasn’t able to go down and play last night with them as they wanted. Confidence on the wobble I think.

So there you have it – as I had to bow out of Pajama Game due to too much work and things, at least we’ve still got one musician in the family. Now they have to get the band together, start rehearsing properly together and start sitting in with more gigs.

All really exciting stuff. Terrifying, yes, but exciting. A real challenge.

By chance yesterday I also heard that another friend of mine is also tipping herself in for a new challenge this year (one that is also scary but exciting), and as my work is becoming a lot more exhilarating, it looks like 2008 is the Year of the Challenge.

Let's hope we all keep fit and healthy to enjoy it all. After all, without health we can't do much.


Wednesday 12 March 2008

Blind Dates

I have several friends who have tried internet dating. One of them (male) met several girlfriends on various sites, but none of the relationships turned out well. In fact one was a complete disaster.

Another friend tried it, and met some very strange characters. Well, I’m pretty strange, but some of them were decidedly not the kind of person you want your mate to get involved with.

One had psychiatric problems, one was running several women at the same time, all over the country (now that takes stamina) and I forget about the rest. They weren’t right for her.

Thankfully the above mentioned male is now happily married to a dear friend of mine and they are extremely happy.

My other above mentioned friend hasn’t found the person she wants to be with – yet. But who knows what’s round the corner? She’s about to start a new and exciting chapter of her life which will involve new challenges and meeting new people. The possibilities are endless.

I have another friend whose various marriages haven’t worked out. Both these women are intelligent, attractive and have a great sense of humour. They have different talents but I’m proud to be their friend. They are both dearly fond of Himself, which goes a long way in my book.

But they, and several other friends of mine, are single. Why?

If I knew more single men I’d organise a dating session, but I’ve been warned off by Himself. He introduced his brother to his last two wives and both of those marriages ended in unhappiness. So he says, “No, Flowerpot. Leave them alone.”

It’s tempting, though. So I thought I’d do a bit of cyber enquiring on their behalf.

Two men wanted. Must be in their late 50s/60s. Intelligent, GSOH, financially solvent. Preferably reasonably attractive. Must have wide interests, read a lot, enjoy walking for one; not walking for the other. No alcoholics, perverts, drug addicts or time wasters should apply. Oh, and must not be married or have any other women on the go. (What have I left out?)

So - any candidates out there?

Tuesday 11 March 2008

Prostate Cancer Awareness Week

This year the charity is urging women to look out for possible symptoms in their partners so they might encourage them to go and see their GP and get a blood test.

The symptoms include:-
- frequent night time urination
- difficulty in passing urine
- a weak flow
- a feeling that your bladder hasn’t emptied properly
- pain when passing urine
- pain in the lower back, hips or pelvis
- blood in the urine or semen
- problems getting or keeping an erection.

If that hasn’t put you off the day, nothing else will.

Did you know that two thirds of British men don’t know what the prostate does?

In case you’re wondering, the prostate supports the neck of the bladder and makes some of the fluid of semen. Naturally, the prostate is therefore important to sexual function.

I can see by now you’re thinking, “Flowerpot, really. This is a blog! I don’t want to read about this stuff.”

And this is precisely the problem. We’re all embarrassed by this sort of stuff – stuff to do with waterworks, with the messy underground reality of what happens in our bodies – or in this case, our partners’ bodies.

And because we’re embarrassed, and because most men will think of any excuse NOT to go to the doctor, particularly if it’s about something as trivial as having to get up several times in the night to have a pee, prostate cancer might not be diagnosed until it’s too late.
In Britain, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, accounting for nearly a quarter of all new cancer cases among males. About 32,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Among these are men as young as thirty five.
So if you notice any symptoms – try and get him to the GP. I find threatening divorce usually helps. But get him there.

Monday 10 March 2008

Burnt Offerings

When our dog sitting friend was with us the other weekend, Himself decided to get some lamb cutlets for him and Pam for the Saturday evening. (I don’t eat much meat and had opted to have the previous night’s leftovers.)

Himself was going off to a jazz session and so couldn’t drink, so when Pam expressed interest in having a quick early snifter in the pub, we arranged that Himself should eat first and we’d eat when we got back from the pub.

We returned from the pub having had a good natter with another friend, a good laugh and ready for some grub. Himself was leaving as we returned and looked somewhat pissed off.

“I ended up having to nuke my cutlets (in the microwave) and they still wouldn’t cook,” he said, bottom lip protruding.

“Microwave?” I said uneasily. “How long did you cook them for?”

“Oh, about half an hour,” he said. “They were terribly tough.”

My heart sank.

“Anyway, I’d better go now. I’ve cooked Pam’s cutlets for her – they just need heating up.” And with that he disappeared.

Just as well. With some trepidation I opened the grill and saw two incinerated cutlets. I should mention here that Pam is a very good cook. Not only that but she loves her food, adores eating out and worked in the hotel industry before she became a dog sitter. Incinerating her dinner was not a good idea.

I put the grill on high and hoped that I could just warm them up without inflicting further damage. After all, they didn’t look THAT bad. Perhaps they were only burnt on the outside.

I’ve known Pam for many years, but even so I preferred to err on the side of caution. I poured more wine and cooked vegetables and served up Pam’s cutlets. She blinked slightly, took another draft of red wine and tackled her meat.

We’d had a conversation that afternoon about how, with dodgy teeth like mine, and dentures like hers, it’s difficult chewing things, especially meat. So now I watched, we chatted, and after a few minutes, she said, “do you think I could have a sharp knife?”

I heard a giggle in her voice, and passed over a sharp knife. “It looks rather burnt,” I ventured.

“A bit,” she replied, and took another swig of wine. “Has he ever cooked chops before?”

I shook my head. “Only casseroled,” I said, wishing I’d had the foresight to insist that we cooked the meat.

“Didn’t think so,” she said and tears of laughter poured down her face. “I’m really sorry but I can’t chew this.”

And that set us off. I’ve known Pam for 15 years or so and have never seen her life so much or with such abandonment.

We abandoned the meal (“the vegetables are nice,”) and finished off with cheese and biscuits and ice cream. And more wine.

For the rest of the weekend, cutlets became a byword for gales of laughter. (Thankfully Himself took it all in good heart.) Which just goes to show that ruining a meal isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Just don’t let Himself near the chops again.

Friday 7 March 2008



This came from a Rig Manager for Global Marine Drilling in St. Johns, Newfoundland.
They actually have to divert the path of these things away from the rig by towing them with ships!
Anyway, in this particular case the water was calm and the sun was almost directly overhead so that the diver was able to get into the water and click this pic.
They estimated the weight at 300,000,000 tons.

Incredible, isn't it?

Thursday 6 March 2008


Glass in throat has shattered, blocking up my sinuses and leaving me with a voice that sounds like Edith Piaf’s after a night on the tiles. I wish. Brain cells have taken fright at this intrusion and are skulking out of sight, not responding to drinks, food or Day Nurse. So if this makes absolutely no sense, blame it on the cough mixture.

Today I am trying to get back to normal, whatever that is, which involves trying to replace a couple that have dropped out of a feature I’ve written, and lining up several other couples for another one. As brain matter isn’t cooperating, I’m not at all sure what I will end up with. Probably cancer sufferers for the dog article and vice versa. Note to self. Don’t do any interviews today, probably not until next week.

But to other matters. For my birthday I received two wonderful helium balloons, one celebrating my huge age (the only thing about me that is huge, as Himself mutters) and the other one wishing me Happy Mother’s Day. I wasn’t quite sure whether this was because of Moll and Bussie or – or because there’s something I don’t know about. Or rather, someone. I don’t think I could have missed that kind of thing though.

Anyway, both balloons bobbed around our living room for a few days and as my mum arrived for Mother’s Day it seemed sensible to give the Mother’s Day one to her. The other one drifted in the breeze from the window but seemed to miss its pal, so last night we decided to set it free. We always do this with balloons.

We stood outside at around 6pm and launched our balloon into the grey sky. Our balloon sailed joyously out to sea, over the docks, round to the castle, up and up into the storm clouds building like cliffs, until it vanished from sight.

We wrote our phone number on it just in case anyone finds it. By now it should be over France, we think. It would be wonderful if someone actually rang to say where it was. I hope they let it go, though. It needs to be free.

Tuesday 4 March 2008

The Great Escape

Today I have a streaming nose, watery eyes and a throat that feels full of cut glass. To say nothing of my brain which has been reduced to scrambled eggs. What is it about colds that make us all feel the absolute pits? So to distract myself, I’m thinking Escapism.

It started at the weekend when Himself and I had a coffee down at Mylor Harbour before taking Mollie for a walk. Actually, he had a glass of wine and I had a coffee and he didn’t walk Moll, I did. But while we were imbibing, I saw a postcard ad for renting VW camper vans.

For some time I’ve been hankering after a holiday, to no avail. 1) We can’t afford it, 2) There is Moll to think about and we don’t want to put her in kennels and 3) If we could afford it, I don’t like hotels or B&Bs. 4) We can’t agree on the kind of holiday we’d like so we end up not going.

But this website – Campers in Cornwall made my heart leap in anticipation. Well, it gave a bit of a flutter, because I don’t expect we’ll actually get anywhere with this idea – but I can hope.

I don’t propose that we go anywhere far in a campervan, but we could explore, we could sleep in it, we could cook in it and we could take Moll. It would be like being back on the boat, except for the obvious absence of water.

It’s not cheap but what is nowadays? I got enough money for my birthday to pay for a weekend which would be all we’d need. So – go on, have a look. See what you think.
I can just see us trundling along the open roads, parking up for a picnic and a swim.

Of course there is the slight problem of how to convince Himself of this wondrous idea. Any ideas greatly appreciated.

Monday 3 March 2008

Photography Sessions

On Saturday RT came to walk the dogs with us so she could take some pictures. In case you’re not familiar with her work, see Cornish Dreamer for more pictures including Annie the sheepdog.

The dog walk started off with the Dogs Dawn Chorus - Mollie and Annie in full throat, singing all the way to the castle. I sat squashed in the back with Annie breathing hot fishy breath all over me while she warbled an alto tune in anticipation of the forthcoming walk, accompanied by Mollie’s sharp soprano.

We arrived at the castle to find RT had the car keys in her pocket and her partner was due to leave for work in half an hour. Himself jumped at the chance of delivering the keys which meant he didn’t have to walk the dogs, and RT and I set off into the sunshine.

Taking pictures of dogs is quite an accomplishment as I hadn’t realised until Saturday. The dogs never stayed still, and just as she’d lined up a good shot they moved. However, she did a great job, don’t you think?

We finally got back about an hour later having encountered various other doggie friends whose dogs were longing to have their pictures taken, pinch Mollie’s ball and run off with it and generally cause chaos. A normal morning’s walk really, but all the more relaxed for being a Saturday and being sunny.

I don’t think RT realised quite what she’d let herself in for, though it is all in the cause of art – in her case her photography portfolio. Whether she’ll be mad enough to come again is another matter.