Friday, 1 November 2019

Beautiful Autumn Days

Thank you so much to everyone who left comments on my last post. They were all so thoughtful and kind, they really lifted me on what was a down day. Bud seems a bit brighter today and we are aiming for small targets at a time with him and intend to make each day as happy and comfortable as possible.
 I went out walking with Tess and Cassie yesterday and it was such a sunny day. The colours are so beautiful at this time of the year. We are so lucky to have so many mature trees around us and I never take them for granted. Our area is named after the beech trees around us so they must have been a feature for years. I collect old photos and they were regularly photographed 120 years ago.

 I think I'm lucky to live in a place named after trees. When I was walking my boots were crunching on all the beech nuts on the ground and I have thought I'm going to look into growing my own beech tree from one of these trees around me. I'm sure I can find a video on Youtube about it! One day if we move I can plant it and watch it grow and remember the lovely walks I have had around here.

 I hope everyone has a lovely day and gets to enjoy some autumn sunshine or spring sunshine if you are lucky enough to be enjoying that at the moment. xx

Thursday, 31 October 2019

We Have Walked Miles and Miles

Yesterday was such a lovely sunny day. We like taking all the dogs in the back of the car and they have a run through the woods not far from us. However a few times a week we take them individually for a walk. Especially for the two youngsters it is important they walk on the lead with good manners and they still need lots of practise. I took out Tess for a nice long walk and Tom took Layla. We went in different directions as they are terrible for concentrating on each other and not us.
 Before lunch I took out Bud our thirteen year old Border Collie. We were walking along and I could tell he was just doing it to please me. He has suddenly aged so much. In the summer he was walking two miles easily but it has got harder and harder. We had promised ourselves that when he got to this age we would not allow him to be pulled around by vets in his last months. We had a terrible experience with an old beagle once who was operated on twice and had so many tests at the vets all to prolong his life by two months that I'm sure were misery for him and I still feel guilty about it. Vets seem very happy to do this to old dogs but we have decided it is not happening to Bud.
    I looked down at Bud walking next to me so loyally. To me he is the best dog in the world. He looked up at me with his eyes now cloudy but still so filled with love and I knew from all my experience owning dogs all my life he has not much longer to live. "We've walked miles and miles together haven't we Bud." I said and he wagged his tail. "Haven't we had fun?" I just walked to the end of the road and back home where I settled him on his folded duvet near the heater. We are giving him his favourite foods and going to take him for short walks if he can manage it. He will be loved and cared for and  we will keep him with us looking after him until the end. It is what he deserves after all he has given to us in thirteen years which is immeasurable.


Wednesday, 30 October 2019

For The Love Of Poodles!

    Yesterday I travelled over to meet my sister and we went to see my Dad as he had a doctor's appointment which showed everything is still improving. After the appointment we took my dad shopping. It is very hard to watch how much the stroke has affected his mobility but it is improving so we have to stay as upbeat as possible about it all. I'm really getting to find my way around Marks and Spencer food now. We rarely buy food from Marks and Spencer as it is expensive but one thing that has really struck me about this store near my Dad is how much they reduce the food after about 4pm. I had to travel home on the train so couldn't buy too much but I got two delicious looking stuffed peppers for 70p and an enormous tray baked chocolate cake that was £6.50 reduced to £1.50. They will be past their sell by dates when we are still eating them but that never bothers us as long as the food looks fine.
  One thing I have noticed a lot where my Dad lives is how many beautiful little poodle mix dogs there are. It's strange how dogs come in fashions and dog ownership has changed. In the 1960s I remember that dogs were all called names like Whisky, Brandy, Rex and even Rover. Non of the gender specific dog names of today. Dogs often wandered about all day and then returned home to their owners in the evening. I don't think dog wardens existed and the lack of traffic on the roads mean't that they were relatively safe to wander. Our little poodle Whisky however was far to precious to us to allow her to wander about. She was the original pampered pooch.
    In the 1960s poodles were everywhere! There were poodle ornaments, poodle china, poodle toys, plastic poodles and even poodle headscarves. All clipped in different cuts, there was a poodle parlours in every town. Whisky was as pretty as a poodle could possibly be with her little "lion cut". I was so proud as a child walking her about. She would go on all our holidays with us at a time when dogs were allowed to go in so many more places than now. Every holiday snap has her little face looking up at the camera. I took this photo with a little Box Brownie camera that used to belong to my Mum. We were on holiday in Devon at the time, obviously with not a single car on the road.

     Now all these years later I can't help but stop and talk to poodle owners when I'm out and about. These days pedigree poodles are not nearly as common as they were, they all seem to be poodle crosses ending in oodle or poo. I'd love another poodle one day but in the meantime I make do with poodle collectables from the 1960s. I bought this poodle print in the local charity saleroom. It reminded me so much of Whisky.

I couldn't resist this kitsch poodle ornament I found at a car boot sale. Any poodle lover out there would just love to own this! 

  Dogs certainly don't wander about now, which of course is much better and safer but around us the in thing is "doggy day care" ! I'm not sure if this is progress or not!
   It's a lovely sunny day here and Tom is off work. We have lots to get on with as I have planned a move around in the house. I love a good furniture move almost as good as a house move but without the stress. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Family Coincidences

It was a lovely sunny start to the day yesterday. Scarlett came over at 7 and it's so lovely now that she can tell me little things that have happened to her during the previous week. As the weather forecast said it was going to cloud over later, after breakfast we wrapped up and walked down to the ponds to feed the birds. It was very cold first thing and really felt like autumn was well and truly here.

  We cut through the cemetery on the way home, which was beautiful in the autumn colours. If there is another day of bright sunshine I think I may go back to take more photos before winter arrives.

   I have been tracing my family tree, but in the last few years because of lack of time it had ground to a halt a bit, until recent months. One of the most coincidental things I have found out is that my 4x Great Grandmother Judith was born in 1791 in the village we live in now. She was baptised in the church I walk past almost every day. The village now forms part of a London borough but in those days it must have been tiny. By 1812 at 20 years old Judith was an unmarried mother applying for relief from the parish and naming a local man Nicholas Mustilsillan as the father of her child. Now there's an alias if ever I heard one! The next reference I can find is 9 years later having left her young daughter in the care of her brother and his wife, she married a naval officer in South Africa who came from a very well to do family. How on earth did that happen? It is definitely her as in an obituary in a newspaper in Simonstown dated 1831 there is a reference to where she was born. 
   One of her sons settled in Liverpool many years later which is where my family are from. I doubt I will ever know what happened in those 9 years to cause her to travel to South Africa, but the other fact that has come to light in my research is that her grandparents, my 6x Great Grandparents are buried somewhere in this graveyard I cut through with Scarlett. I always found this a beautiful peaceful place and sometimes I wonder now if that is why. 
   I think it's going to be cloudy here today but hopefully no rain. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Monday, 28 October 2019

Retirement, Pensions And Happiness

 I had a brilliant time on Saturday night with my old school friends out on the South Bank. We talked and laughed non stop for hours. Reminiscing, talking about what we are doing, talking about families. We didn't stop. One thing that we talked about a lot was out plans for retirement which is fast approaching. We all have taken very different career paths and some of the group are much better off financially than others. I have never, ever bothered about whether people have more money than me. I am very happy with my lot in life so I don't care. The wealthiest most "successful" man there, who works in banking, was horrified at some of our retirement plans. I'm not retiring until I'm 65 he said "Can't afford to I've got too many outgoings and need to earn more for my pension pot." He looked pale, grey and old. I felt sad for him remembering the fun, bright youngster at school. He was advising some of the other men on ways to invest money for the best possible income. I could catch bits of the conversation "risky but high returns" kept cropping up. I felt like saying "Are you mad?".but felt it was far to rude to say to someone I only see a couple of times a year.
  At the end of the night, one of the men, who is probably one of the most cheerful people you could meet, and I caught the train home together as we live close by. He was full of his family, his grandson, his life and how happy he is. He told me he kept quiet in the pension conversation as he doesn't have a private pension. He laughed, as long as I pay off  my mortgage and I have my family I will be happy. Some people may think I have done things wrong but never mind. I looked at him and thought how could anyone think he has done things wrong.
  I know we all need to be able to survive, and poverty in old age is no fun, but will all that extra money above what we need to live realatively comfortably really bring that much more happiness? I suppose time will tell!
  It was a really lovely day yesterday and I took Tess to the park to clear my head after such a late night. It was a beautiful autumn day and I thought no amount of money could buy this sort of day.

   I know lots of people may disagree with me but sometimes I think it's easy to be always striving for happiness in the future and not noticing it when it is right there every day. I hope everyone has a lovely day with a bit of brightness in it. xx

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Woolworth's Photo Booths - The Selfies Of The 1970s

 In all the photos I have in my old albums the ones that make me smile almost the most are ones from photo booths. There has been so much in the news about the way young people are always taking selfies. According to some people they are a sign of self obsession, vanity and even that they have nothing better to do with their lives. Poor teenagers all they are doing is trying to fit in with other young people as young people always have. I think the main problem lies with older people who have forgotten what it was like to be young. In the 1970s we had our own selfies, they were called the Woolworth's photo booth! 
  On Saturday mornings we would often head off to Woolworths in Epsom and have our photo taken. It was nearly always with a friend and we would share out the photos. 50p for a lifetime of memories! Some days there would be lots of us and we would jump in and out of the booth in the few seconds between flashes to change places. It would be the cause of much hysterical laughter and loud tutting from older people shopping in Woolies at the time. This is me and my friend Janet in 1974.

   We even had them taken on days out at the coast. Never mind photos on the beach at Brighton or Littlehampton we would head to the local Woolworths for memories of the day!
   I remember this colour photo so clearly. We had heard there was a brand new colour photo booth opened in Woolworths in Croydon. We set off on the old 470 London Country route to West Croydon which took about an hour, just to get our photos taken. I still have this precious photo although being at the back I'm not quite sure if it was worth the long journey!

 This final photo I have, I remember having taken to send to my new penpal and I eagerly awaited her photo in return. Much more fun than facebook! I remember I had got my hair cut and really wanted to look like Suzi Quatro. 

  So I say to young people, enjoy your selfies. One day in the future your descendants will be saying "Wasn't Great Granny lovely." Enjoy the moment in history.
   I'm off later today to meet my old school friends for an evening out no doubt for a bit more nostalgia about the 1970s. So if you're up near the Thames tonight and you see a group of 60 year olds (nearly!) acting like a crowd of 1970s teenagers that will be us. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. Back blogging Monday, xx

Friday, 25 October 2019

How Could I Have Made Such A Mistake?

 The weather yesterday was dreadful. Heavy rain, thunder, I didn't feel like going out at all. I only found time to have one cup of coffee all morning and was feeling very thirsty as I left straight after a quick sandwich for a very early lunch. I'll have a cup of tea as soon as I get to my Dads I thought. When I was waiting at the station I had a chat with the man who works there. We always have a little joke and he gives me a countdown to how long it is until he retires!
  We didn't have time for a cup of tea when I got to my Dad's so decided we would have one when we came back. The appointment dragged on and on. We were all worn out waiting around all afternoon. The stroke nurse was so lovely, thorough and kind. she was very pleased with my Dad who is making good progress. As it was nearing five when my sister and I dropped my Dad off there was no time for a drink again. Oh well, I'll be home soon I thought as I rushed for my train, very pleased I had managed to catch the train to London Bridge which goes directly to my station so no changing or running about.
  To my horror I went straight through my station. Never mind I thought I'll get off at Croydon and come back. Straight through Croydon. It was only then I studied the little message going round and round on the roof of the carriage. "This train stops at London Bridge only". I nearly cried at the thought of the long journey I had into London in the rush hour and then the journey all the way back when I was so tired and thirsty! It was awful. It took all my determination to think to myself I can do one of two things, cry all the way into London, or accept what has happened and make the best of it. I chose the latter but I was very nervous an inspector would get on the train and want to know why I was gallivanting around the capital with a £4.90 ticket. I took this photo to try and brighten my spirits. Sunset over Anerley. Wherever Anerley may be!

 At London Bridge, which was packed, I got off the train to see how to get back home. I realised it was on the train I had just got off, which looked as if a crowd from a football match had emptied onto it. I had to stand all the way home. By the time I got off the train after 7pm, as parched as a crisp, it felt like a week since I had chatted to the man who worked on the platform. I had missed saying goodbye to youngest daughter going away for the weekend and I was totally miserable.
  A bit later though, after Tom had kindly made my evening meal and I had drunk a few cups of tea, I started to feel a bit better. Typical of us we laughed and laughed. It all seemed so funny when I was sitting in our cosy little living room. How could I have made such a mistake? I managed to catch the one fast London Bridge train of the day. I have got the journey to do again today but this time I'm going to be a bit more careful.
  I hope everyone has a fantastic day today with no mishaps. xx
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