Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Thurs 27=11=09 = Thanksgiving USA

OK, this is jusr a short little post in the hope SOMEBODY might be able to tell me:  all you American ladies \(men too I suppose) have been busy busy busy preparing for Thanksgiving and all and the descent upon your houses of sundry family and friends.

By my reckoning that makes just a few people doing all the work and a vast number just being guests.   Am 
I right?  If I am, how old do you have to be before you learn how to cook a turkey?  As I write this 75% of America is on the move, going home.  What would happen if their homebody decided to pay a visit home too?

I am not being disrespectful (not wilfully anyway);  I was just wondering how it works.

Right, I'm going into hiding now!!!

lots of love and a VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING - wherever you are,


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Tuesday 24 Nov - Hark, I can hear fiddles..........

As soon as he walked in the back door and said " 'ello Darlin' .  'Ow about a cupper tea?" - as soon as he did that he was dead in the water as far as I was concerned.  This was a Double Glazing Salesman par excellence.  The sort you used to see on "That's Life".  He was the result of a cold call and normally I just put the phone down but this time I thought surely after all the bad publicity they must have learnt a lesson.  Not a bit of it.  This bloke had such  attitude, such swagger, such arrogance.  I already decided he wasn't getting my order but I played along.

Cup of tea (one sugar sweetheart) - I forgot the sugar, heh-heh - and NO biscuits.  He spent the first half hour telling us exactly how we could set about burgling most of the houses in England.  When I pointed this out and asked if he could get arrested for "going equipped" he scoffed that women don;t remember these things!  Ooooh was he in danger of flying out the window!

After measuring the windows - from inside because it was raining - He did a lot of tapping on his calculator and came up with two prices, the higher one fixed for a year and which he would send us 'in due course' as their quote.  #2 was £400 lower and if we wanted to accept that - their special offer - we would have to sign an order now today.  I said no thank you, we'll think about it and be in touch.  That's when he started to get unpleasant, you know, kind of sneery.  I was glad Keith was there, though as I was quite enjoying myself he didn't say anything..

Tap tap tap and he came up with yet another price a further £600 cheaper than his earlier lowest.  He sar back all smug "Now luv, what would you say to THAT?"  "I would say, LUV, why didn't you say that in the first place?"  "So you'll sign an order on that then?"  "No".  And off he went in a right strop muttering about getting paid to sell windows not spend 2 hours wasting his time..............

Ooh I did enjoy that

Monday, 23 November 2009

First Catch your Turkey...........Monday 23rd November

Happy Thanksgiving to all you American friends.  I know it's only Monday but, you know me!  I might be quite certain at this minute that I'll be doing another entry before Thursday but more than likely not.  What is it they say about good intentions?

Some of you may remember that I have always bemoaned the fact that our dog Sally is camera shy.  In all her 16 years I have never managed to get a decent photo of her.  Well, pssst, listen here, I think I might have cracked it.   Keith and I have given ourselves a camcorder for Christmas.  It's not supposed to be used yet but I just had a l-e-et-l-e look, just a quick squint you know, and milady looked straight at the lens!  She's got cataracts so she doesn't SEE any camera and her deaf ears don't hear any tell-tale clicks and whirrs.  If I can figure it out I'll show you my beloved little old lady.

Well, we have been well and truly let down by the window man.  He was supposed to start our new windows on Oct 26 but he didn't turn up.  When he called in on Wednesday it was to explain that he had been diagnosed on Monday with advanced bowel cancer that had spread to his pancreas.  He said he had arranged with a mate of his - Duncan - to do the job the following Monday.  He never turned up either.  Our chap rang with profuse (the more I look at that word the less right it looks) apologies and promised faithfully to start "a week on Thursday".  Do you think he did? When he rang at 11.30 to say he wouldn't be here until 1.30 Keith cancelled the job.  Well, wouldn't you have?  I felt so sad about his illness and how he must be feeling but I would have been happier if he had just been honest and said he couldn't do the job.  Now I have to try and get our £150 deposit back from him.  And, of course, find a company who can do the job at a price we can afford.

Can I be very honest with you?  Various things have suggested to me that something is not quite right about that man's firm.  I mean, I don't dispute his illness - you don't tell people you have cancer if it's not true surely?  But though I have asked many times he has never sent us any paperwork;  we have signed no order or contract.  All I have is a letter from him acknowledging our deposit and confirming the start date.

And of course all our windows are left with chunks missing from the corners - like this - and that's how they'll have to stay until they get replaced.

Did I ever show you this photo?  It's from our trip down south when we had lunch with Marie and Todd at Oak Cottage.  It's Marie cooking Sunday lunch in her beautiful cottage kitchen.  Such a warm, happy, cheerful place.

Keith has made a start on the first projectof his retirement - he's changing the garden (again) I won't try and describe it.  At the moment it's too horrid to contemplate.  I'll pop down the garden in Jet Chair 1 and take photos, maybe a vid.  Soo next time I'll be showing you some mucky photos!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Friday 13th November - The Big Day

Don't know about other countries in the world but in England Friday 13th is always considered by the superstitious to be an unlucky date. Never mind what month it is, on Friday 13th the superstitious stay in bed.  My Little Grandma was terrible.  In fact she was a spooky old lass all round.  When we visited you had to hope the weather stayed fine because if you saw the storm clouds gathering at dinner time, te chances were you wouldn't get fed!  The least hint of thunder and lightning and that was it.  All things metal had to be out of sight.  That meant no knives and forks, no tea pot, no cooking pots - in fact no cooker either!  If you had hair grips they had to come out.  If you were half way through a meal she would throw a cloth over everything on the table and  we hadn't to touch anything.  I don't know what good she thought a cotton table cloth would be if lightnin struck!

I'm not sure whether or not I'm truly superstitious but on this Friday 13th I had to be up and doing because it was the day of  The Handover.  My friendly neighbourhood wheelchair OT (occupational therapist) came round so I could officially take possession of the electric wheelchair I've waited so long for.  More than a year have I waited for it and now - Ladles and Jellyspoons - I give you..............THE CHAIR.
I know what you're thinking: "Wouldn't you think she could have taken out that extra bit of cushion out from under the 'proper' cushion."  I should have.  Would have lookdd nicer but to tell the truth I forgot,  I'm using the extra bit to lift me up higher (me being awful wee)

Eeeeeh I went up to town on Saturday, to the camera shop.  We have a verygood familyrun one here where they really know what they're talking about and guess what?  They managed to retrieve all 118 photos of Keith's birthday that I thought we had lost.  Oh happy day so here he is, the birthday boy............ and a girlfriend!

C - H - E - E - R - S!!!!!!


Friday, 6 November 2009

Fri 6 Nov - The result!

I passed!!!!  Flying colours, the man said.  No he didn't, what he actually said was "OK, you'll do,"  but he couldn't keep from grinning like a Cheshire Cat.  Probably cos I was and smiles are infectious aren't they?

I can't get the chair until next week because they won't hand over until I arrange some third party, fire and theft insurance with breakdown cover.  Then it's mine and (I hope) my life will open up a bit.

Ilook forward to going places on my own instead of being taken everywhere.  It's not good for you, you know, being taken places.  Everything has to be arranged and then you feel sort of obliged to go wherever your 'minder' needs to go.  I suppose I ought not to say that, and truly I am grateful when people help me, it's just nice to be in control of something for a change.

Afterwards Keith and  I went out for lunch, which we've been trying to fit in since we didn't go on his birthday on 26th October.  It was well worth waiting for except that there's nowhere to park and it's on a busy road in town, so we left the car at home.  Brrr - I'm sure it's cold enough for snow.  A wheelchair is certainly a draughty place at this time of year.  I'm not complaining mind you!  Well, would I?

Fri 6 November - Big Day Today

At last the big day is here.  In 1½ hours from now I am taking my 'driving test' in my electric wheelchair.

It's a condition in our locsal NHS Trust that if they provide you weith a wheelchair you ha ve to take a course of instruction followed by a test to show you are competent to drive the thing.  You would think I was taking a CAR test, I feel so nervous.  I'll be backlater to tell you how I got on.

Wish me luck,

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Tuesday 3 Nov 2009

Can you believe it eh?  All the pictures I took of Keith's birthday:  the cake, family lunch, tea party - the whole lot - gone!  They were all there on the memory card in the camera when we went to Blackpool but taking shots of the tower ballroom with its intricate decoration used up more memory than I knew.  It seems to have wiped other things to make more space - THEN sent me a 'no memory left' message.   Bother bother BOTHER, say I!  Sounds like a job for the brand new super-duper 8-gig memory stick.It'll have to go grazing off everyone's computers!  It's not the same though, is it?

Telephones.  Most of us have our very own personal carry-out ones these days as well as our home phone.  What they all have in common is push buttons.  I was just thinking this afternoon how I used to like the sound of the old-fashioned dial;  a simple pleasure denied us nowadays.  For some reason I could always remember people's phone numbers when we dialled them on a dial as opposed to a keypad.  I'm hopeless now - probably old age galloping up!  Now  I can't even remember a number for the length of time it takes me to look up the number and pick up the phone!  I did like proper dials though.  I didn't even mind ruining my nails in the holes.

There was something about a proper telephone ringing noise too.  Made from a proper bell, it was.  I know this because I once took one apart to see if I could alter the sound because the 2 phones on my office desk sounded identical.  A small bit of sticky tape stuck on the bell altered the sound just enough so I put it together again - and realised they were the same colour!  So I ended up with a r-r-resonant, r-r-rich r-r-ring-r-r-ring on one and a dull muted thud and a blob of Tippex on the other.  No needto mess about like that now.  You can choose your own ring, and what an eyeopener some are, to be sure!  My niece has an incredibly rude one which, basically amounts to an irate bloke urging you to "Pick up the *** phone.  Answer the phone...why dontcha,  Pick the *** thing up".  It gets louder and more insistent the longer you leave it.  Great in the supermarket checkout!

Let's take a step further back:  who can remember those old Bakelite telephonrs?  The first office I ever worked in had them.  Goodness knows how old it was even then, when plastic ones were the norm.  They smelled horrible and the handset weighed a ton but their dial made a beautiful sound and there was always a tiny little 'ching' when you hung up, which made slamming the phone down extremely satisfying and the person on the other end knew the phone had been slammed.  Not so now.  There's no sound when you press the disconnect button now and he who caused the displeasure rings you back and says"I think we got cut off..........".  Round 2 - ring-ring!

Monday, 2 November 2009

A Wet Weekend in Blackpool


There's a famous seaside town called Blackpool,
That's noted for fresh air and fun,
And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.

A grand little lad was young Albert
All dressed in his best; quite a swell
With a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle
The finest that Woolworth's could sell.

They didn't think much to the Ocean
The waves, they were fiddlin' and small
There was no wrecks and nobody drownded
Fact, nothing to laugh at, at all.
So, seeking for further amusement
They paid and went to the zoo
Where they'd lions and tigers and camels
And old ale and sandwiches too.

There were one great big lion called Wallace
His nose were all covered with scars
He lay in a somnolent posture
With the side of his face on the bars.

Now Albert had heard about lions
How they was ferocious and wild
To see Wallace lying so peaceful
Well, it didn't seem right to the child.

So straight 'way the brave little feller
Not showing a morsel of fear
Took his stick with its 'orse's 'ead 'andle
And shoved it in Wallace's ear.
You could see the lion didn't like it
For giving a kind of a roll
He pulled Albert inside the cage with 'im
And swallowed the little lad 'ole

Then Pa, who had seen the occurrence
And didn't know what to do next
Said "Mother! Yon lions 'et Albert"
And Mother said "eeeh, I am vexed!"

Then Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Quite rightly, when all's said and done
Complained to the Animal Keeper
That the lion had eaten their son.

The keeper was quite nice about it
He said "What a nasty mishap
Are you sure it's your boy he's eaten?"
Pa said "Am I sure? There's his cap!"
The manager had to be sent for
He came and he said "What's to do?"
Pa said "Yon lion's 'et Albert
And 'im in his Sunday clothes, too."

Then Mother said, "Right's right, young feller
I think it's a shame and a sin
For a lion to go and eat Albert
And after we've paid to come in."

The manager wanted no trouble
He took out his purse right away
Saying "How much to settle the matter?"
And Pa said "What do you usually pay?"

But Mother had turned a bit awkward
When she thought where her Albert had gone
She said "No! someone's got to be summonsed"
So that was decided upon.
Then off they went to the Police Station
In front of the Magistrate chap
They told 'im what happened to Albert
And proved it by showing his cap.

The Magistrate gave his opinion
That no one was really to blame
And he said that he hoped the Ramsbottoms
Would have further sons to their name.

At that Mother got proper blazing
"And thank you, sir, kindly," said she
"What waste all our lives raising children
To feed ruddy lions? Not me!"

Does anyone remember hearing this recited in a broad Lancashire(ish) accent by the late Stanley Holloway?

Now, I found it absolutely vital to recite this little ditty for you as Keith and I have just today come back from this self-same place. 
Blackpool, Lancashire, England.  The seaside town to beat all seaside towns.  Home of the "Kiss me quick" hat and the candy floss on a stick and draconian landladies.  The place where these ladies - proprietors of the Bed and Breakfast Boarding house - would, not all that long ago, enquire into your marital status before they let out a room to you and any chap you had in tow.  And you had to be married to THAT chap, not some other one upon whom you were 'doing the dirty'!
Home of the Illuminations.  Has anyone outside England actually heard of Blackpool Illuminations?  I only ask because, you know, I was so very disappointed with them.  I didn't think there was anything earth-shatteringly beautiful about them or spectacular.  In case you don't know, I'm talking about a display of multi-coloured lights which runs the full length of the sea front.  They get switched on by some celebrity in September and switched off again early November - I suppose by the lights-switcher-off but perhaps they have another celeb.

Home of the Tower.  Blackpool Tower, not Eiffel Tower, though it is alleged to look like it.  That'll be if you look at it through your fingers, through half-closed eyelids, in a fading light!  But that's only the outside.  Keith wanted to go see a show which had its last night when we were there.  It was in the Tower Ballroom.  Now, this is so famous over here - specially if you're into dancing - that I can't imagine the rest of the world not knowing about it.  It is beautiful - almost indescribably beautiful.  Breathtaking.  The staff there were so helpful to me in my wheelchair and decided that I - a whole posse of us wheelchair users in fact - should visit the top of  the tower (or as near to it as the lift will take you).  We were treated like royalty, escorted to our tables as well as for the bird's-eye view from the top and then at the end escorted out again.

Strange isn't it how the negative sometimes begets the positive?  The first thing I noticed about Blackpool was that it looks very run-down, seedy even.  Worse than Cleethorpes, and that's saying something!  Then I saw how clean everywhere was.  No litter in the streets, not even in the early morning when you might expect it.  It could have been the origin of the term 'shabby chic'

And of course there were the shops.  I was surprised to find there a seriously good shopping centre;  places to eat, whether just a quick coffee and a bit of cake or a  special lunch;  everyone so kind and welcoming and helpful.

I'll go there again, although I was quite sure this would be my one and only!  And all just 2½ hours from home.  Roll on summer.