Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Happy Birthday Blue Peter!

 This week my sister and I have been helping my Dad clear out some old boxes in his shed. We have found allsorts. One box was packed with old annuals and coincidentally, to coincide with their 60th birthday, we found a pile of Blue Peter annuals. What pleasure we got from them as children.

Looking through the pages I realised how much I had learned from them.  A few weeks ago I was bathing the dogs and having a moan. "Why is it always me who baths the dogs?" I asked. "Because you know just how to do it" replied youngest son and daughter. "I wasn't born knowing how to do it." I said" I read how to in my Blue Peter Annual!" The truth is I did and it has stuck in my mind all these years along with so many other interesting things.

   I loved every article and episode about dogs and can remember so clearly Petra's puppies. I loved Patch, John Noakes puppy and was heartbroken when he died, although I loved Shep the Border Collie, his next dog too.

   I remember all the old episodes with Christopher Trace, Valerie Singleton and John Noakes and the slightly later ones with Peter Purvis.

    Then there were all the things we made! Sugar mice, little pots to keep washing up brushes in and of course there was the Advent Crown. We struggled and struggled with our Advent Crown and it fell apart after one advent. Blue Peter presenters seemed to drag out their one for the next twenty years I'm sure they were just remaking it and pretending it was the same one!

    The item that was made on the programme I loved most was the farm. My Dad made one for me and I kept it and played with it for years. It brought me so much pleasure. I am trying to recreate it at the moment but that is a whole other story.

    I was obsessed with the programme, I collected for all the Christmas appeals, entered the competitions, bought the jig saws, wrote in asking for autographs and  managed to win a badge. I still have it somewhere! When my children were young I would watch it with them and incredibly the same format was cleverly adapted for those times. I just wish I had bought them annuals at the time and I may be getting some help bathing the dogs now! 
    I'm so glad the programme is still going strong for Scarlett to enjoy when she gets a bit older and as soon as she is I will definitely be watching it with her. For anyone who grew up loving Blue Peter, what ever age you are I hope you enjoy this video marking the 60th Birthday. It certainly brought a tear to my eye!

Monday, 15 October 2018

Back To The 1970s

When we bought our 1970s caravan I thought it would be fun to fill it with my 1970s collectables. I mean I have enough of them. Tom laughed at me but  as always just humours me! What fun we have had. I'm always looking out for more finds. My youngest daughter's boyfriend found an old 1970s cassette player in a skip and I found the most fantastic bright orange cassette storage case at a jumble sale for 50p. We scour jumble sales and car boot sales for old 1970s cassettes, which is not easy, where on earth have they all gone? Then in our caravan our evenings are spent listening to Motown, cooking meals on our little gas cooker, drinking wine and sighing about how beautiful the view is! From laughing at me in the beginning Tom loves it. It is the most peaceful and stress free experience.
  We have chosen very quiet caravan sites. The caravan club has lots of sites called Certified Locations which only have five caravan pitches. Some weekends we have been completely on our own. It has been Heaven.

   We are still hoping to get another couple of weekends away before winter sets in. I have a couple of new Diana Ross cassettes that I have to listen to!

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Alive and Kicking

"I haven't written a blog post for months!" I said to me eldest daughter the other day. "They are going to think you have died" she replied. Oh no how dreadful. Imagine if someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer googles "Follicular Thyroid Cancer" and finds my blog, then comes to the same conclusion. It couldn't be further from the truth I'm very much alive and kicking! I remember those first days after diagnosis you feel so desperate and worried and cling to stories of people who have recovered and skim through the the other stories praying that won't be you.Well for any person who is in that situation I will tell you how things have been going.
    The last time I wrote about my thyroid cancer I was just starting the treatment at the Royal Marsden after my two operations. Luckily with thyroid cancer you don't usually need chemotherapy but have Radioactive Iodine Therapy. The hardest part for me was the diet I had to go on for two weeks before the treatment. No dairy or fish and as I don't eat meat anyway, I had to become totally vegan. No chocolate either at least I could drink wine!  I had to go to the Marsden for two days before admission for injections and in June I went in for the treatment.
  "How long will I be in solitary confinement?" I asked the doctor. He visibly flinched. "We like to call it isolation." he answered. I felt like saying I'm in a room on my own, with no visitors or staff members allowed in and my food is passed through a flap in the door, in my view that's solitary confinement! The treatment was fine though, I had a lovely little room with a TV and I took my laptop in even though it did have to be wrapped in cling film! I had a full body scan before I was discharged and had restrictions as to who I could be close to for five days.
   The worst day for me was going back to get the results of the scan two weeks later to see if the cancer had spread. In your life you imagine pictures of the future, weddings, grandchildren, family get togethers and in my mind I was there in the pictures as an old person. In the months after my diagnosis suddenly those pictures were hard to imagine. I may not be in them. As I sat waiting for the results I thought what ever happens I will try to make the best of it all, no point making a fuss, but I was very nervous and had wanted to be on my own, I didn't want to have to worry about anyone else's feelings but my own at that moment. When the doctor came in smiling and told me the scan was all clear it was incredible. Like Marty McFly in "Back To The Future" I could instantly see myself appearing back in the pictures!
   Being diagnosed with cancer has definitely been a positive experience for me. Every day I wake up and if I feel a bit down I think "Stop it. you are alive and have a life!" I enjoy every day now and think I always will. That has been the main reason I haven't been able to write my blog really. I have been doing everything I ever fancied doing! Weekends in our caravan, trips into London, Highclere Castle. meet ups with old friends and afternoon teas. I try not to waste any day. If it is just a quiet day working and pottering in the garden I  love it. I look at my little garden and the flowers and think how lucky I am. Oh and then there is the new puppy! What fun she has been. If there is anyone still hanging on in there with me, I will try over the next weeks to fill you in a bit on what has been going on. Here is a photo of our little 70's time warp caravan until the next post when I'll share some more photos of her.


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Dreaming Of White Horses!

Thank you for all the brilliant ideas about fixing my Robert's radio in the last post. My Dad has taken it to the little electrical shop near where he lives. It is the same electrical shop that sold our Ferguson radiogram all those years ago although it has changed hands about ten times. They have said they will look at it so I'm hoping they may be able to sort it out.
  Sooze made a comment saying how much she loved the song White Horses that was popular at the time. So did I, in fact I loved anything to do with horses or ponies as a child. Dreaming of White Horses was how I spent years in the 1960s.  I was pony mad and read every book I could about little girls owning ponies or pony care books for children. I knew every piece of equipment I would need ready for when the time finally came. If I wasn't reading about ponies I was galloping around the house or garden singing the theme from White Horses pretending I was actually riding one. I bought this Music For Pleasure Surprise Surprise childrens 7" single at the local newsagents with my pocket money and practically wore it out playing it over and over again.

   These children's 7" singles were quite popular at the time and many songs in the charts had cover versions (some pretty dreadful to be honest) which sold in local shops at pocket money prices. They had a colour in picture on the back which I had not coloured in, rather surprisingly, as I loved colouring. Maybe I was just too busy galloping about!

   Sadly the closest I got to owning a pony or horse was my Troll horse who I called Danny Boy. I wonder what happened to him? I played the White Horses record yesterday and all the memories came flooding back. I was singing it all day. I still haven't given up all hope of my pony, I just don't gallop about anymore when I think of it!  Just to put the song in the head of anyone else who remembers it you can listen to the theme of the White Horses programme here.

   There is something really reassuring about this song, it takes me back to summer holidays as a child when days seemed so carefree. I have an appointment at the Royal Marsden Hospital later today to discuss my treatment which starts next month and if I feel a bit stressed while I'm waiting I may just put my headphones in my phone, listen to it and gallop off on a white horse in my mind!

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Any Repair Shops Still Out There?

 Yesterday was a work all day, day. I have always tried to work six hours a day but some days in the last couple of years it has been hard to do this many, so I'm always doing mental arithmetic to make up to the total over the week. I think of it in two hour blocks and if I get up early I can fit in a two hour block between 6 and 8 am and other evenings I will work from 9 to 11 pm. No matter what happens in my week I juggle around these two hour slots until I have made up my time.  Yesterday I managed to bank a couple of extra two hour slots so I'm feeling quite pleased with myself.
   I didn't have much time spare for anything else but I did get out my old 1970s Roberts radio in the evening. I can look at this and remember those early episodes of Junior Choice with Ed "Stewpot" Stewart progressing to all those David Cassidy songs through my teenage years and then evenings struggling to keep the signal on Radio Luxembourg.
   Junior Choice! I had almost forgotten about it until I looked at this radio. It was full of sing a long songs and Sunday mornings were always spent listening to them on this little radio, I searched out a playlist from the show and Tom and I spent the evening singing songs I had forgotten all about (much to our youngest son and daughter's horror!). Ernie by Benny Hill, White Horses by Jackie, Morningtown Ride by The Seekers and Champion The Wonder Horse by Frankie Lane. They were all favourites on Junior Choice.
   I had thought for a while I must get my little 1970s Robert's radio fixed and buying our caravan has pushed me into trying. Are there any radio repair shops still out there? I'm determined to try and find one. Sadly it won't play music from those happy days but at least when I look at it I can remember!

    When I was walking back from the shops yesterday evening there was a sign in the charity shop window saying 50% of all bric a brac so I am off there this morning to see if I can find any good buys to sell on ebay. I hope everyone has a good day.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Busy Sunday

Tom was working all day yesterday so I got on with a lot of the things I have neglected in the last few days. I had to catch up with my work and there are always emails to answer and photos to copy and then there was all the boring washing and housework jobs that unfortunately just won't do themselves. After this both dogs were bathed (no stinky dogs allowed in our new caravan!) then the bathroom was cleaned from top to bottom. No matter how many times I say to Bud our border collie "Please don't shake" as I lift him out of the bath he can't control himself. He shakes from his head to the tip of his tail and that's that, the bathroom and me are soaked.
    In the afternoon I set to sorting out some items I bought at a recent jumble sale. Some things I put up for sale on ebay, some items I have decided I can use or would be perfect for our caravan and some toys or books I put aside for Scarlett. I was lucky enough to find some lovely retro fabric items at the last jumble sale and as the weather was so nice they have been washed and dried on the line. I'll photograph them in the next few days while I'm deciding whether to keep them or sell them but which ever I decide I was really pleased to have found them.
   Last week I had been thinking a lot about working in London in the 1970s and had been talking to my youngest daughter about it. When she was leaving for St James's Park on Saturday I told her we would spend all our lunch hours there in the summers of 1977 and 1978. One sunny day in 1977 my friend and I stood and watched the workmen cementing commemorative plaques into the pavement to celebrate the Queen's silver jubilee. My friend said "One day we can come back with our children and say we watched these being put in." My youngest daughter and her friends searched them out when she was there and they took photos of her standing next to them. She's so thoughtful, she knows exactly what makes me smile. Here is a photo of the plaque.

Queen's Jubilee 1977 Plaque The Mall London

   Another item I have found while sorting out the loft, in between a pile of old photos took me straight back to the 1970s in London. In 1978 I used to go to Toni & Guy to have my hair cut. I saw an advert in Miss London magazine that was handed out free in the underground stations and thought it looked like a really cool place. Toni used to cut my hair and he was funny. chatty and always kind. I was sad when I heard he had died in December 2017. I often think how could I have afforded it but finding this I think, I wish the prices were like this today.

Toni & Guy Price List 1978

  The weather looks good today around London today maybe with a few showers this afternoon and this evening, hopefully not when we are walking the dogs! I hope the weather is good wherever you are and your day goes well.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

....And So The Day Went Well

Well the sun shone and the royal couple pulled off the whole day flawlessly. Everyone celebrated diversity and love and that can only be good. Youngest daughter and her boyfriend had a day of fun and making memories, next door's party went well and the Chelsea Pensioners enjoyed their day.

   We collected our little caravan with no hitches, it didn't fly off on a tight bend and it is safely tucked away with a cover over it at our eldest son's yard. In a few days time we are going to take it to my Dad's house to clean it from top to bottom and take lots of photos. In the evening we walked the dogs to the park with the smell of barbecues all around in the air. We planned our trips and where we are going to visit as we walked. Yes the day certainly did go well.
   For anyone who would like to remember Harry and Meghan's day here is a lovely video to remember it with.