Thursday, 29 July 2010

Thurs 29th July 2010

Just a quick one.  May I just apologise to anyone who had expected to see an email from me during, say, the past 3 weeks or so.  It seems that not every email I have written actually ever leaves my outbox.  In fact I didn't even realise they ALL pay my outbox a quick visit before going on their merry way!  I (poor misguided soul that I am) thought they only went there if I didn't want them to go right away.  Well, I ALWAYS WANT THEM TO GO RIGHT AWAY"

It seems to be the trans-atlantic ones that are getting stuck.  Meanwhile, sorry if I appeared to be ignoring you.  I wasn't really. 

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Thursday 22nd July 2010

Something has been preying on my mind lately and now I just have to say it, even at the risk of upsetting my American friends:  hands up who thinks Hillary Clinton's hair looks a mess these days?  Well, not just these days, ever since she started being Secretary of State she looks like she's been dragged through a hedge backwards!  She always used to look so smart. Somebody buy the lady a comb.

Well, that's the bitching out of the way!

I was just reading Ann in the UP's latest entry 'Are we in Kansas' - a reminiscence of her time in nurse training.  I think she must have been training about the same time as I started because so much sounds the same.

There were strict rules about uniform for a start.  If you left the hospital with your uniform on you had to wear what was instantly recognisable as a nurse's coat and hat.  This outfit was navy (dark) blue and the hat was a little pillbox affair.   It flattered no-one but that was the rule and had to be obeyed.  What you did not do was go floating round the supermarket with your sticky fingered brood getting your uniform contaminated with all sorts.  

Nor did you wash your uniform yourself.  You were given enough dresses, aprons and caps to last a week with a couple of spares in case of necessity and each Friday, whether you 'lived in' or not, your used uniforms had to be put in your own personal box and left for collection by the hospital laundry.  As students our caps were made of white card, which was precut for us to fold - tee hee flat-pack nurses' hats!  The IKEA of the NHS!

Our uniform dresses, as students, were green with a zipper from collar to waist at the front and under no circumstances was that zipper anything other than zipped right up, even on a hot day.  You wore flat, black, lace-up shoes AND tights and if you needed to go outside on the hospital premises you had to put on your cloak - again, as much meant to keep your uniform contamination-free as to keep you warm.  Your dress had to be long enough to just touch the floor when you knelt down - which made it pretty darn long when you stood (try it).  We had a horrid Assistant Matron (the Matron was the boss of the hospital) who had no qualms whatever about making suspected transgressors of this rule kneel wherever they were - even in the hospital corridor - so she could check.  She certainly wouldn't get away with that these days!

All first year students had to 'live in' at the Nurses' Home in the hospital grounds.   The only exception to this was if there happened to be a male student nurse; very unusual then because nursing wasn't considered a men's job.  We had 2 of them:  Ralph and David!  Couldn't have them in a house full of females, though I'm sure they wouldn't have minded.  You got quite a nice single bedded room with a dressing table, wardrobe and a small desk and chair and wash-basin.  The bathrooms were shared with everyone else but I was lucky to be right next door to one.  There were two common rooms (lounges) and one of them had a black and white TV.  We had a small kitchen with a stove, fridge and kettle but for a while they closed this because two of the girls kept stinking the place out cooking pilchards.  OK?  Rather than tell them not to cook pilchards they stopped the rest of us making tea!  Typical!

But it wasn't all doom and gloom because if you didn't go home for your days off you could have your bacon and eggs breakfast right there in the nurses' home.  You put your name in the breakfast book the day before and a kitchen assistant came over to cook and clear away.  We thought that was real luxury.

The watchword though was always obedience.  We were there to learn from women who knew more than we did in the hope that one day we would know as much as they did.  It didn't occur to us to contradict or argue and, know what, that worked - Yes Sister, no Sister, three-bags-full Sister..  We never used each others' Christian names, only surnames, and patients were always Mr or Mrs or Miss.

Them was the days - or were they?  What do you think?

Saturday, 17 July 2010

17th July 2010 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY GWYN

All I wanted to do today is wish my sister a very happy birthday.  She's the one with the blue eyes on your right here with my brother and me.

If there was a 'Supersis' award I would have to nominate her - partly because she is (Supersis) and also she's the only sis I've got so I couldn't nominate anyone else anyway.

You wouldn't believe the energy that woman seems to have.  She does everything!  She is actually a bit of a super few-other-things as well.

Super-Gran for a start!  She doesn't look like a grandma does she?  Well, not with her make-up on.  But she is.  A grandson and a grand-daughter she's got and they both worship the ground she walks on.  Quite right too!

Super-daughter to our mum, who's 82 now and - despite what she would have you believe - needs a helping hand sometimes.  Who's there doing her decorating, taking her shopping, digging her garden and generally running back and forth?  Gwyn is.

Supermum too to 2 (how about that for an example of our confusing language!) grown-up daughters, each successful in her own way and each a credit to their mum (and dad)..

Super-missus, she comparatively recently stopped going out to work so as to be available when needed for the grands.  She has a big garden of her own, including a big veg patch, and she does most of the work herself while hubby's at work.  She it is who gets their caravan sorted out ready for a trip.  She it is who stands outside at the local rugby club, half frozen, because that's where hubby is.  Now, I've always thought that this, in itself, deserves a medal but it seems she likes it.  Oh well, it takes all sorts...........

And Supersis of course for all she is to me.  She has so many other things to do but she still helps me out.  When I've had broken bones and been forced to sit around all day she's been there hoovering, dusting, washing up, ironing, chatting and being good company.  She has helped me with the personal things - and I mean personal things, like in the bathroom, you know?. She has sat for hours at the hospital while I've been operated on.  She's driven me here, there and everywhere when I couldn't drive myself.  She's even helped Keith out in the garden so he could have a rest sometimes when he wasn't at work.  And then off she tootles and does more of the same for mum or her daughters or next door's cat - whoever!

Thank you Petal, you're the bestestmost - have a lovely birthday. xxx

Monday, 12 July 2010

Monday 12th July - Two Interesting Years

I cribbed this from our local church magazine:

1.      Prince Charles got married
2.     Liverpool crowned Soccer Champions of Europe
3.     Australia lost the Ashes
4.     The Pope died

1.     Prince Charles got married
2.     Liverpool crowned Soccer Champions of Europe
3.     Australia lost the Ashes
4.     The Pope died


Next time Prince Charles gets married, somebody warn the Pope!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Tuesday 6th July, 2010 - The Lot - Parvt 2

You'll maybe notice the date confusion!  This was supposed to appear your best!

If I wasn't so idle this would have been on Monday's posting!.To continue - the last little bit about me hols..

First off I told a fib.  We didn't got to Monkey World on Wednesday, it was Tuesday.  On Wednesday we wenr to Winchester, which was once the capital of England (not a lot of people know that). and the first place we went there, after the  Tourist Information, was of course the Cathedral.  I have wanted to visit here for ages.  Unfortunately we reckoned without about 50 million schoolkids on class trips- it's almost thr end of term isn't it?  Blimey, you couldn't hear yourself think in there.  I always thought that the very loudest you spoke in a cathedral was a hushed stage whisper.  Oh well, we'll have a better look next time
 A thousand years of history, faith and worship are within these walls.  Its many treasures include the 12th century Winchester Bible, contemporary sculpture by Anthony Gormley and the grave of Jane Austen.. Heard of her?  Pride and Prejudice ,,,,,,Mansfield Park .....Sense and Sensibility.....?  Poor old Jane never quite made it as an author in her lifetime.  Even her funeral in the cathedral (1817) had to be got out of the way early before the main morning service began so as not to get in anyone's way.    If only they'd known.....!

On Thursday we went to Petersfield, the nearest market town.  Mistake again!  Market Day was Wednesday! It was a nice town though and itself had a pretty church - St. Peter's would you believe..  The Market Square is a lovely place to sit and have coffee (and cake) on an English summer's day.  And that's just what we did on this, the last day of our holiday.  We sat and watched the world go by.

There was so much we didn't have time for, we'll just have to go back.  You know, I often wonder why, apart from the weather, English people want to spend so much time abroad.  In the British Isles we've got a little potted history of a fair bit of the world.  We owe it to ourselves to see some of it.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Wednesday 7th July 2010 - In days of yore............

Come on, out you come, you're quite safe;  I haven't got any photos!  I don't think I have anyway.  

All this talking about my hols has had its usual effect - it set me thinking about how different hols are now from how they were when we were kids.  My German friend,  - it's all her fault really.  She just happened to mention that she and her mum and 17-year-old son had just paid a nostalgic visit to a place where family holidays were spent in a caravan during the 70's.  In all the years I've known Heike, I never knew that.  And having known her late father I couldn't imagine him in a caravan at all, let alone one shared with 4 females (wife and 3 daughters).  I was completely swept away on a wave of nostalgia.

My dad would rent a caravan in Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast for two weeks each summer.  This was in the days when a caravan was just that, a place that was really meant to be dragged along behind a car.  It had Calor gas mantels for lighting, a Calor gas stove,  no heating and bare linoleum on the floor.   Almost everything you needed had tro be taken along from home - bed linen, blankets, pillows, towels and so on..  Where we went cutlery, pots and pans  and such were already there  but I know some were not so lucky..   Goodness knows how people managed who had to go by train, and some did!

It was the time of year (usually 'stop fortnight' on the steelworks when production stopped so maintenance could be done) when my dad - just like Heike's I suppose - got stuck into all kinds of things that dad's of the time didn't usually do, not working class dads like mine anyway.  I never remember him peeling potatoes (spud bashing)at home or doing the dishes. He did in later years or else mimuther wouldn't let him go to the pub, but not then.  Not that he overdid it, like..  Neither did us kids.   But there was men's work and women's work and the two didn't mix - unless it was mimuther going out tatey picking to help the family finances..

It can't have been much of a holiday for mimuther because she srtill had to do everything she did at home but in a much smaller space.  Some of it was self-inflicted.  I shouldn't think anyone actually SAID she had to sweep the place and dust every day but I suppose it passed the time away while she was waiting for the spuds to boil!  There was another thing:  she cooked every single day.  I don't remember eating out or hacing dfish and chips.  We must have done surely but I think it wqas so rare I've forgotten.

Ooh, one year we had a change and went to Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast  instead. They hired a bungalow but still had to take sheets, towels etc.  Dad's brother and mother came too I remember.  It was a great adventure for us kids because we'd never been in a bungalow before.  And we had neighbours, just like at home.  They were on holiday too and we never saw them again after that but I remember we were all very close for 2 weeks.  Maybe the fact that they were just 2 parents and child and we were 2 parents, 3 kids, uncle and Grandma had something to do with it. It must have been a bit squashed up in dad's car after all.  

We only went to Mablethorpe that once so it must either have been too expensive or the grown-ups didn't like it or, most likely, the caravan at Brid was booked out.  Mind you,  Keith and I have been there twice for single days (in 38 years) and the place still holds no charm except (aww go on, just one photo...)
 Love to all,

Monday, 5 July 2010

Monday July 5th 2010 - Now you get the lot!!

Yes Peeps, here we are.  a run-down on my hols.  By the way, that's water in that glass.

As my friend, Joan, rightly commented we were indeed near Winchester, England.  We hired a cottage for a week at the little village of West Meon in Hampshire which, for the uninitiated, is in the south of England.  Now we have only rarely visited the south - northerners don't, you know.  They're not like us down there (tee hee - that'll get 'em at it!).  They think we're all flat caps and whippets.  We think they're unfriendly to a man and earn wads of cash.  Maybe that evens up the score a bit - we were all wrong!

We could hardly believe our luck when the sun came out.  And when we had to get the sunglasses out and switch on the car's aircon we knew the rumours must be true.  We were in for some decent weather.  Mentally I was totting up how many more t-shirts I could have packed if I had left out the woolies.

When we eventually found it, the place we stayed at was a beautiful converted stables, all open-plan inside, with plenty of space for me and my turbo wheels, a kind of 'wrap-around stone patio and as much as we liked of a HUGE lawned garden
.It was an idyllic place, miles from anywhere - almost - and on the edge of the beautiful rolling Hampshire countryside of the South Downs.  Just what English people abroad come to remember when they think of England, and what other countries are taught IS England. A 'green and pleasant land'.  I wonder what they think when they see the completely different but equally beautiful scenery of Yorkshire?

On the following day we found that in the nearby village of Bramdean a village fete was being held.  Well we had to go to that didn't we?  Can't get much more English than the village fete.
On Sunday we decided to have lunch at a local pub that we had heard great things of - and we were not disappointed.  We had a superb meal in the sunny back garden.  Mein host(ess) pulled a table into the shade for us and we enjoyed a wonderful meal cooked by a chef who really knew his way around!  It was quite expensive but it was worth it..

The Thomas Lord (that was the name of the pub) was named after the founder of Lord's cricket ground in London and I must say I thought he must be a son on West Meon.  Not so:  he was a Yorkshireman - a northerner - from Thirsk.  But he spent the last few years of his life at West  Meon and is buried in their churchyard so we'll let them have that one!
 On Monday we thought a little train trip on the Watercress Line which runs from nearby New Alresford would be nice.  Shame it doesn't run on Mondays!  Heh heh, now you  above isn't my own photo don't you!  It is the real train though

Well we thought that was as far as that expedition would go but we did stay longer in Alresford than we first thought.  It was a lovely little town - well a middle-sized one maybe.  Apparently there used to be some controversy as to the correct spelling and pronunciation of the name.  It was alleged to be a spelling mistake by the compilers of the Doomsday Book (see?  they did typos then too!) and was properly spelled "Arlesford" and pronounced 'Ahlsford".  Now if anyone who happens to know the place is having a good old "she's been had" chortle at this, apply to me for a punch on the nose!

 Now this, Monkey World, is a place I have long wanted to visit, ever since there was a TV documentary series about it and on Wednesday off we went.  I know they are trying to do their bit towards protecting endangered primates and providing safe havens for abused apes and monkeys, but as a tourist venue I was not altogether impressed.   There were plenty of excellent animal enclosures but not much in the way of monkeys to be seen.  Me being seated didn't help of course but neither did the steepness and awkwardness of some of the slopes that had to be navigated to get near where you could view.  I was so involved in safely navigating very uneveni inclines that I probably missed things I might otherwise have seen.  Does anyone remember those little cardboard periscope affairs that kids used to have at one time?  What a good idea if they wqere available at places like this for the use of little people.  I won't say any more because as far as I know it's a popular attraction..

OK, I think I'll have to leave the rest until tomorrow as this is getting a bit long and I'm going cross-eyed looking at the screen.

Oh, by the way, Marie, our lovely lass at A Year From Oak Cottage, who is away in Canada on her hols, sends her love to everyone.  I had a text from her at the weekend and she is thrilled to bits to be seeing her family again.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Reporting back - 4 july 2010

Here I am again - reporting back after my hols.  Now I'm going to tell you all about it, but I need to finish sorting out my photos first.  I always have to do that while it's still fresh in my mind where it's a picture of - and more importantly why I took it!  Do you find that?  You get to loading your pictures and wondering "Now why did I take THAT?"  So now I.m quite definite about tagging and captioning.  It does take more time though but here's a little taster:

There are no end of clues here - where did we go?

Back soon!