Saturday 17 July 2021

A Beautiful Day In Wadhurst

 My sister and I were so lucky to have such beautiful weather yesterday. We spent the morning at Bewl Water and had a lovely long walk around the water's edge. When I say around, we walked for just over two hours, walking for an hour then turning round to walk back. The walk around the water is 12 miles and I would love to walk the whole walk one day. I'm going to try and build up my fitness to this level over the year and walk the whole route. I enjoy a challenge, the only problem is at the moment I have a bit of a niggling pain in one heel and ankle, that I'm not quite sure what it is. It isn't constant and when I am walking it is a bit better, it's when I stop it hurts and I end up having to take painkillers which I hate doing. I'm trying to decide whether it is worth going to the doctors or it may just go as things often do. 

After our walk we drove into Wadhurst to have a pub lunch. We sat in the garden with Cassie who just loves being out all on her own with us. Youngest son says she has "little dog status" as she is so easy to take places the other two can't go as easily. We had such a delicious lunch sitting in the sunshine and the lovely young waitress brought Cassie a bowl of water and two dog biscuits on a tray! I couldn't fault it, I really must take the time to write a review as I feel often only the people who have had bad experiences, fuelled by anger, seem to make the effort. You can see how much she enjoyed herself!

After we had eaten our lunch we went for a walk around Wadhurst which is a really pretty little village. The only fault I could find was that in very narrow streets there as quite a lot of traffic but I suppose that is everywhere at the moment. We even found an independent book shop to browse around who welcomed Cassie which was a added bonus to the afternoon.  We walked around the beautiful graveyard in the local church, that had the most perfect views towards Bewl Water, certainly a very pretty final resting place.

We sat for a while on a carved bench in the church porch. It was ever so moving the inscription read "In Loving Memory Of Annora Violet Watson Smyth Of This Parish Born October 23 1901 Died April 29 1912. These Seats Her Own Wish. Given By Her Mother" There were two identical seats on either side of the porch with the carving of a little girls face on the sides. Little Annora, immortalised for ever in the pretty village she lived her short life in. It was a beautiful place to sit for a rest and end such a nice day. 

It's another sunny day today and the weather forecast is for very hot later. Tom is on and early and when he gets in after a short sleep we are going to go to the caravan for a few days. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and enjoys this sunny weather if you are lucky enough to be able to enjoy it. Back soon. xx

Friday 16 July 2021

Happily Plodding Or High Flying

 Scarlett was so full of her two days at school when she came yesterday. A few of her friends from nursery are starting with her so it has made her more confident. Typically of Scarlett she has entered into it all with such enthusiasm. "Hands up!" has become her favourite expression "Hand's up who wants tomatoes at lunch, hand's up who want's to go for a walk!" I had to join in of course and even Cassie was expected to hold up her paw before we went for a walk! Eldest daughter is so beautifully organised and has written out a date list of every day I will have to pick her up from school right through to next March, when her partner is being transferred to a new job so his shift patterns will change. I'm going to have a few dummy runs during the school holidays to get the timing just right. It has taken me back to when my children started school and even when I started school. It all seems so much more relaxed and easy going. I keep thinking how lucky Scarlett is but I can't help but have these nagging worries in the back of my mind. 

Even primary schools now have resident psychologists, I know a very nice family, who work so hard to give their children the best life yet both of the children are seeing a psychologist regularly for "low self esteem." The news loves to give us statistics all the time about how many percent of children now have mental health problems and how much up that is from previous years. If it all seems so much more happy and relaxed than in my days of starting school why has this happened? I was terribly shy at school, maybe today I would have been sent to a psychologist for having "low self esteem". Has the modern world really changed children so much or is it just experts are so quick to put labels on people now.

I have lots of old school photos in my collection, the top two are the 1950s to the two photos at the bottom from around 1910.

I look at all those little faces and wonder if life was really easier and less stressful or was it just a different kind of stress. We talk in our small group of old school friends all the time about it wondering why we all seemed so much happier as children than children today. In days before league tables, targets and constant testing. we just seemed to have fun, or are we just looking back at life in a rosy nostalgic way. I don't have the answers and probably I may be "overthinking" I'm sure an expert would tell me so. I've always been a bit of a happy plodder in life, never a high flyer and I think that was always my personality even in childhood. I'm just glad I was born in a time when that was acceptable to be. 

It's a lovely sunny day today and I am going with my sister to our caravan for the day and having a walk around the local area. We are only taking Cassie so at least she is nicely trimmed for our long walk and pub lunch. Have a lovely day everyone and I hope the sun shines for you. xx

Thursday 15 July 2021

Grooming Dogs And Special Friends

 I was busy all day yesterday, working, weeding and washing. Oh and walking, there is always a dog to walk! There seems to be so much to do all the time, I don't really mind as I do love to be busy but I can't help but miss that feeling at the caravan when we have nothing to do. I often set to cleaning it and polishing dogs nose marks off the windows but the hole van takes half an hour. There is a lot to be said for downsizing! In the afternoon I started a job I hadn't been looking forward to and if Cassie had an inkling of it she wouldn't have been looking forward to it either.

Last weekend when we were at the caravan I decided she must have another trim. It was so muddy when we were out walking and as she is so low to the ground she got covered. It was so hard to get the mud off her legs when we got back to the caravan with limited water and I had to brush the dried mud off later which she absolutely hated. Cassie always hated the groomers. I took her a few times and she did look lovely but the woman was very off with me and told me she had been very naughty, and wouldn't stand still. She developed a fear of my Mum's fan oven hating the noise as they used a hot air drying cage. I decided enough was enough, what was the point of scaring her like this. I bought some clippers and I trim her myself. She still doesn't like it much and she often looks a bit rough around the edges, but she is happy which is the most important thing.

It really reminded me of an incident that happened with my Mum in the 1970s. We had a lovely little Yorkshire Terrier, just like Cassie, called Dougal, who we got on my 11th birthday. In those days Yorkshire Terriers weren't really trimmed, they had long flowing hair and walked along like Dougal in the Magic Roundabout which is why we called him his name. We were watching an episode of The Generation Game and Bruce Forsyth brought his little Yorkie on at the end. It had had a short clip and looked lovely, My Mum was so taken with it she phoned the BBC to ask where he had got it clipped. A few hours later a man from the BBC phoned back and said "Mr Forsyth say's to tell you his Yorkie was trimmed at ..." and gave an address in London. Can you imagine that happening now! My Mum and Dad duly took him to be clipped and next to the groomers was a restaurant. They decided to have lunch there while he was being trimmed. After this every time they took Dougal they would go in for lunch. Years after Dougal was dead and gone they would still go to the restaurant all the time and built up a lifelong friendship with the head waiter and his family until his death a few years ago. He was such a special friend to them. Isn't life funny, I often think this, one chance phone call led to such a long friendship. I was going to post a photo of trimmed Cassie, but she is still sulking a bit and won't look at the camera so here is a photo of Dougal, one of the most special little dogs I have ever been lucky enough to have in my life.

Scarlett is here today so we will busy all day but have lots of nice things planned to do. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Bravery And Gardening For Life

 It turned into a lovely day yesterday, warm, sunny and thankfully dry. I went into the garden to feed the birds in the morning and there, they were two fox cubs sitting together in the flower bed! They both looked very pleased with themselves and quite happy in the sunshine, probably feeling just like me, relieved that the heavy rain has gone. The other sight that met me when I went to the aviary was little Todd the pigeon happily swinging on the cockatiel's swing in the sunshine. He's lost his fluffy look now and his face is looking more adult. He manages fine now, feeding and drinking in fact when I fill up the food bowls he's first in. It's decision time I think.

On the way to my Dad's house I noticed that the mural had been finished at the station. I love the way our large fox population in the area is celebrated. I know many people don't like foxes but in our area of London people seem to love them, our local butcher tells me he does a roaring trade with people buying off cuts of meat to give to them, no wonder they all look so healthy, 

My sister and I got all the jobs done that we needed to for him and we still had plenty of time to sit and chat and catch up. I had taken a book about First World War Victoria Cross winners of mine to lend to him, so can read about our newly discovered distant cousin Geoffrey Vickers. I had been reading it while I was sitting on the train and I felt completely humbled by the bravery of these young men. I can't imagine what it must be like at such a young age, being put in such terrible situations and then showing such courage. I think it will be a really interesting read for my Dad who is so interested in military history. 

Dad's garden was looking absolutely lovely. He is out in it so much at this time of the year, cutting back, dead heading the roses and generally making it look so pretty. It keeps him going and gives pleasure to a lot of people. I remember reading once that "Gardeners Live Forever." I know no one lives forever but I do think gardening can give an old person a real reason to keep going. My Dad always wants to see how a particular plant or flower will do each season. It is a constant in life when so many other things at the moment seem completely out of our control.

Talking of gardening that is what I must try and catch up with today, we have been spending so much time at the caravan and with all this rain everything is getting very wild. Definitely some hard work needed. Have a lovely day everyone what ever your plans. xx

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Rain And Floods

It was rather a dull day yesterday. I worked and caught up with lots I had to do, the dogs slept and slept, exhausted after their weekend. While I worked the fox cub slept on the path in the garden too. Youngest son has built such a rapport with it while we have been away, it comes and sits by the fence and he opens his window and chats to it.

When I went out to feed the birds, it had moved to the side of the garden and was sitting watching me. I put some dog biscuits down for it and it sat munching on them while I was round and about. When I walked up to the aviary I was really surprised to see another cub sitting looking at me. It was about the same size as the cub that was in the garden eating the biscuits. I have never seen two cubs together this year, I really wonder if it could be a sibling I have just not seen or maybe a cub from another nearby pair of foxes. It was quite an exciting discovery.

While I was out in the garden the sky was getting darker and darker and I could hear plops of rain starting on the aviary roof. I had to dash in as it was getting heavier and within a few minutes it was absolutely pouring. It poured and poured, thunder and lightning, it was relentless. For the first time I was worried we were going to flood. There was a small river running down the path by our back door that was getting deeper and deeper. Since our neighbours have had their extension built the water really rises on our terrace with no where to drain to in heavy rain, it is quite a worry. 

I had some shopping to do at our local shops and I waited and waited but in the end decided I would just have to get on with it. All the shops were in chaos. Every shop I went in was mopping up from flood water that had come in through the back doors and one had water pouring in through the roof as well. I felt really sorry for them all. As the woman who works in the chemist said to me "This is all we need on a Monday!" I think the problem is our little area is on quite a steep hill and it just seems to rush downwards to the shops, the more houses and extensions that are built and the more front gardens that are paved over just seem to be making the problem worse and worse. 

At least the forecast is better today, but I hate to complain when I see the terribly high temperatures and wild fires some people in the world are having to deal with. I'm off to see my Dad today, hopefully I won't get soaked again, but I'm definitely not forgetting my umbrella. Have a lovely day everyone what ever the weather. xx

Monday 12 July 2021

Relaxation And Disappointment

 We had a really lovely few days at the caravan, we arrived in glorious sunshine and left in glorious sunshine. A few of the bits in the middle were a bit wet but we've adapted now to managing so it's not really a problem. The traffic was so clear on Friday we got there in no time and after setting up ate our lunch outside with just the sounds of the birds and the sheep in a nearby field. I think the hens were thrilled to see us back and actually ran across to greet us!

We took the dogs to a local park in Lamberhurst for a walk in the afternoon. We had seen it as we had driven by on previous stays and it always looks so nice and peaceful. It was a really nice walk, not to arduous, just a few circles round and the dogs had burned off so much energy, they were tired for the whole evening.

There is an airfield near where we are staying and we have become really used to the sound of the light aircraft going over. I think it is a lovely sound, a bit nostalgic like the sound of a steam train. While we were walking one flew over and did a perfect loop the loop in the air. I was disappointed I didn't manage to catch it on my phone as it added a really exciting moment to our walk.

It was so warm and sunny we sat and ate our evening meal outside. Tom and I commented how in tune with nature you quickly become when all the modern noises and devices are taken away. I start to recognise the sounds of different birds and even notice the smell of different flowers in the hedge People talk about sensory overload and I'm sure when you live a modern life in a town you suffer from it without realising. Even though we had a lot of rain on Saturday, to just sit and enjoy the sounds with the windows slightly open was so relaxing. It makes me realise how normally we are always in a rush, it is very sad.

Yesterday morning we walked to Bewl Water, even though it was busier on a Sunday than other visits we had a wonderful walk. There were lots of people out in boats fishing or just enjoying the water, the dogs love it there. Layla of course was filthy, I don't know why it is if she sees a muddy puddle she has to run right through it, the other two dogs look on in horror!

We drove home after lunch full of so much excitement for the evening. Well of course we all know how that ended. All I will say is that England have been fantastic this tournament, they should be so proud of how well they have done and I'm sure next year the country will be going into the World Cup with such high hopes again. It will be the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and we have been promised so many celebrations and holidays for that, can you imagine if England won the World Cup too. What a summer that could be. 

This morning poor Tom was up waiting for the staff bus to pick him up in the pouring rain at 4am. He looked about as miserable standing there as next door's England flags sadly flapping in the wet. Their children had put them up so excitedly I felt ever so sorry thinking how disappointed they must be. Oh well there's always next time! I have so much to catch up with today and it's raining, I think I'll just put the music on and get on with it, nothing like a trip back to the 1970s to lift my spirits. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Friday 9 July 2021

Lidl's Centre Aisle And That Perfect Garage

 We had a really fun day with Scarlett yesterday. We went to Lidl to get some food to take to the caravan this weekend and she loved it. Isn't it strange she went around the shop in amazement and at one point I heard her say "Look at that isn't it wonderful!" It did make me smile, simple new experiences are such fun for little ones and I think there was something about the mix of food and that enticing centre aisle of goodies in Lidl which she just loved. It's not just Scarlett though, Tom would spend ages browsing that tempting centre aisle and he keeps saying "This is such a bargain!" I always say "It's only a bargain if we need it!" Tool boxes, drills, packs of nuts and screws he could spend an hour going through them all. I remember my Mum used to laugh when she got back from Lidl with my Dad, without fail he had bought some "bargain" he didn't need. He always had some sort of gadget to give to me or the children, we still have an enormous telescope under our bed that is still in the box. I would love to use it but we are surrounded by trees and are far too close to other houses to set up a telescope in our bedroom window! Only the other day my sister and I had to get something out of the shed in his garden and we were climbing over discarded electrical items, you can't get into the back of his garage for electrical extension leads. If Tom didn't have me keeping an eye on him our shed would be the same and I suppose it's just as well we don't have a garage. "If we move house we must have a garage." Tom always says. I'm sure it would soon be full of as much rubbish as our loft. When we are out walking the dogs sometimes we see garages with their doors open and with screws and tools in perfect order on the walls. "That's how I would have a garage" Tom says as we pass. Somehow I'm not too sure. It would be the case of me saying "Shut the garage door! I don't want all the neighbours seeing what a mess it is!" This is Tom's idea of a perfect garage. I doubt it would be the reality! Does anyone have a garage like this!

We're off to the caravan this morning for a few days but will be back in plenty of time to watch the match on Sunday. We can't risk not getting a reception on the TV for that one! Have a lovely day and weekend everyone. Back soon. xx

Thursday 8 July 2021

Exciting Times

 I was out in the garden early yesterday checking the birds and Todd is looking very happy. He still can only fly up to a low branch and then gradually make it up to a higher one but he spends a lot of time walking around on the floor of the aviary eating the seed I have put down there for him but surprisingly he has really taken to Dottie our rescue dove. He tries to sit next to her all the time and flaps his little wings hopefully, quite clearly thinking she may be able to feed him. She tolerates him sitting next to her but looks a bit bored by the whole thing. It has made me wonder if we have made a mistake and she isn't actually a white dove but a white pigeon. Apparently they are specially bred for release at weddings and funerals but still many of them never make it home. We have always commented that she and Del, the dove we bought to keep her company just ignore each other, both seem very happy, they just don't interact. What ever the ins and outs of pigeon or dove breeds, and I am amazed at how many different breeds of domestic pigeons there are when you look into it, Dottie is definitely giving Todd more confidence as he gets used to being independent so that has to be a good thing. 

I had my telephone consultation with the Royal Marsden yesterday morning and the thyroglobulin levels from my blood test hadn't come back yet. This is the marker to shows if there are any thyroid cancer cells circulating in the body. All the other results were normal and the doctor told me they have no reason to believe there will be anything wrong but I will just have to wait a little while longer to know for sure all is OK. 

Of course there is one other exciting piece of news. England won! They are through to the final on Sunday playing Italy. I'm not quite sure how that will play out in eldest daughters home as her partner is Italian but it should be a brilliant game! I could hear the little girl and boy next door singing "Football's Coming Home" all evening before the match and I felt so happy for them. Eldest son was only four and in the nursery part of the school in the Euros of 96 when the song came out and he says he can still remember the excitement of singing it with his friends. I remember so clearly the World Cup final in 1966 and the excitement of everyone in the country. I had a little World Cup Willie toy I loved. I wonder where that is now, it's probably worth a fortune! Win or lose what happy memories are being made for children all around the country. It has given everyone a real lift after such a bad 18 months.

Scarlett is coming this morning and I'm looking forward to hearing all about her day at school and as Tom is off too he will be able to spend some time with her. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday 7 July 2021

The Song Of The Day

 Singing songs about sunshine didn't really work yesterday, there was heavy rain on and off all day. I'm still trying not to put the television on in the morning though, just five or ten minutes to get the main new points, then switch it off and music comes on. I don't even listen to the radio just my Spotify play lists and it has made a real difference to my mood. I find myself singing away as I'm tidying up and it is so much nicer than the constant stream of stress and misery on the news. I have often said music was always so much a part of my life when I was growing up and I wonder if it could have been part of the reason everything always felt so cheerful. 

Yesterday I went to meet my sister to go to my Dad's house. I really wanted to share this beautiful piece of art work being painted at our local station by a young artist. She has managed to bring in so much local life, the ducks on the ponds, the lavender, the beech trees and even the local foxes. I think it really brightens up the station.

 Despite the rain, my sister and I managed to get all the jobs at my Dad's house sorted out. I had told him a really interesting piece of information I had found out while studying the family tree. Someone had shared a photo of a portrait of the sister of my 4x Great Grandfather on Ancestry. I saved it to our family tree and sent the original uploader a message thanking him for taking the trouble to upload it as it had been so interesting to see it. He messaged me back to say he couldn't really take credit as it had been given to them by his wife's late 2nd cousin and my 3rd cousin Geoffrey Vickers, with a link to a Wikipedia page. Geoffrey was the great grandson of my 4x Great Aunt (I'm glad Ancestry worked out my relationship to him as I wouldn't be able to!) Geoffrey Vickers is a famous First World War Victoria Cross winner I have studied and copied photos of for my First World War website. Vickers is a name in our family that is used all the time as a middle name through the generations and I had never made the connection between the two families. Geoffrey Vickers lived until the 1980s which was an incredibly long life for a First World War veteran. Dad is so thrilled to have someone so brave as a relative, if a rather distant one and my sister has sent him some links to pages to read all about his exploits, which we left him happily doing. I have a feeling he will be sharing this tale with every person who talks to him outside the house for weeks!

There is a big match on tonight of course, Tom is working late again which he is ever so upset about but at least he'll be able to watch the highlights when he gets in. I know exactly what song I will be singing all day today, it's the song my children would sing all the time in 1996 and children are singing it in schools all over England today. What fun for them, win or lose they will have happy memories to look back on all their lives. Here is a wonderful rendition of the song by the Coldstream Guards outside Clarence House yesterday. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. Good luck England. xx

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Taking Steps To A Normal Life

 So all the restrictions are being lifted on the 19th July. I'm not quite sure what I feel about it, one thing for sure I'm glad I'm not making the decisions. Everyone, depending on what your life is has a different view. If your sitting at home watching your business slowly fall apart you want everything to get back to normal. I have an old school friend who is a musician, he has had a lifetime of making money singing and playing at pubs and small venues. Never a fortune, but a lovely relaxed life of paying his own way his entire life. He has not had a penny of his own earnings since the beginning of the last lockdown so of course he wants everything to get back to normal. At the other end of the balance a friend of youngest daughter is recovering from cancer surgery and looks after two elderly parents and would like restrictions to stay high. Of course she is worried and who can blame her. There are always going to be completely different view points on this one. One thing I do think is if we don't relax them now but hold on a few more months we will be relaxing them going into winter which doesn't seem very sensible, so do we hold on until next spring? That will be what some people will be saying this in the autumn I'm sure and it is not a nice thought at all for so many people who are just hanging on to their jobs. As I said I'm very glad I'm not making the decisions.

One thing I made a decision about yesterday and then worried non stop was my plans for little Todd the pigeon. I took him out into the aviary for a practice fly around. He is not very good at flying at all yet, he managed to make it to a low branch and then sat there wobbling. I left him for the afternoon and he just walked up and down the perch a bit. In the evening I was going to bring him back in but after much thought decided if I am going to let him free in the park in the next few weeks he needs to get used to being outside at night. I checked him just before it was dark and he looked perfectly happy but I barely slept all night worrying as I lay there listening to the rain battering down. It was ridiculous really as there is a roof on the aviary and if he was out in the wild he would just be getting wet but I still worried. This morning he is fine and was happily sitting in one of the food bowls eating away. All the other birds are ignoring him and just getting on with their morning as usual. I said to Tom, who had been at work so not part of the decision making "I decided to take a chance, I know something may go wrong, but he can't stay in a cage his whole life." I suddenly realised it was very like our own situation at the moment. I hope both of the choices that have been made go well! 

I'm off to meet my sister to go and see my Dad today. It's raining heavily here but hopefully it will dry up a bit later on. I've started an experiment of not putting the TV on in the morning but listening to music when I get up so am slightly unsure what the weather is going to do but never mind I'll just put an umbrella in my bag, hope for the best and sing songs about sunshine. Here's one to get me started! Have a lovely day everyone what ever the weather. xx

Monday 5 July 2021

The Turns Of Fate In Life And Links To South Africa

 Tom was working on another late shift last night and in the evening I settled down to watch the film Yesterday. It was about of a young man who is an aspiring singer song writer, was involved in an accident and woke up to find no one could remember The Beatles. It was funny and sad in places and I really enjoyed it. I loved the John Lennon twist which I won't give away but it set me thinking. Fate is a very funny thing, choices we make in our lives alter the course of life for everyone. Not just the course of lives now but for generations, forever. It is a bit of a scary thought really. 

I have thought often when I've been researching my family tree how the action of one particular person, led to them meeting someone and marrying and having children. There is a line of real daredevils in our family. As a distant cousin I made contact with on Ancestry several years ago said "Our family were once seriously rich, but unfortunately we got the wayward son, who then went on to produce a line of wayward sons ever since!" Although I laughed it is true, chances and risks were taken all the way along but while researching I discovered the daring went back before this one wayward son. 

The "wayward son", who I will write about in a future post, was the son of a woman who I think changed our family history most, by one mistake she made, my 4x Great Grandmother Judith. Judith was born where I live now in 1791. She was Christened in the church I walk by all the time, five minutes walk from my house, and a ten minute walk from the hospital my four children were born in. When I moved here at 18 years old to start my nursing training I had no idea I had any links with the area at all. Part of a London borough now, it was a tiny village  in 1791. Judith's family were very comfortably off, her grandfather was a barber and wigmaker in the village with apprentices and her father owned a farm and had two homes. Carshalton ponds I take Scarlett to to feed the ducks were there then, maybe Judith and her eight brothers and sisters fed the ducks there too. Here is an engraving of the pond in 1806 when Judith would have been 15 years old. 

However when Judith was 20 something happened which changed her life forever. Although unmarried she became pregnant and gave birth to a little girl called Emma. Despite the family being quite well off she went to the parish and named a man from nearby Mitcham as the father to force him to pay upkeep. (Good for you Judith!) He was a much older man who was married with a son and his occupation was given as a fencing master, someone who taught fencing apparently, and a Captain in "His Majesty's Land Service". I suppose that must mean he was a Captain in the army. He sounds like a bit of a dashing character but seemed to totally abandon Judith with her little girl. At first I thought Judith's family must have abandoned her too but over the months I have discovered clues which point to the fact that they didn't. 

Somehow, and I think we may have found out how but that is another story, Judith ended up in Simons town South Africa and married a young naval officer, 6 years her junior, from a very well to do family from Nottingham, who was stationed there. My 4x Great Grandfather Samuel Rogers. She had five children, one dying in infancy and in that small British community it appears they were a happy young family. Sadly for poor Judith, although she had found happiness in the end, it was not to last. She died at the age of 39 leaving, a young husband and four young children, the youngest only four years old. An obituary in the local paper dated the 30th March 1831 hints at the sadness. "Died at Simon’s Town on the 12th March, my dear wife Judith Rogers (Born Sprules) aged 37. Respected and regretted by her friends, and leaving four children and myself to lament so afflicting a bereavement."

I really wanted to know what happened to Emma, her little daughter born in 1812 and was delighted to find there was a happy ending. Judith had a younger brother called James who married a young woman called Lucy. They appeared to not have had any children and took little Emma on as their own. When Emma married in 1839, James was listed as her father on her marriage certificate and he was witness at the wedding. Did she ever know James and Lucy were not her real parents, I wonder.  Emma and her husband emigrated to Australia in 1857 with five young children in tow, what a daring move that was! There are now generations of family in Australia, distant relatives, all living their lives, just as our family is, because of that one event in Judith's young life. If only she could have known. 

It's a lovely morning here today and although I have to work, later on when I walk the dogs I may take a stroll down to the church were Judith was Christened and spent so much of her young life and think of her. Have a wonderful day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Sunday 4 July 2021

No Need To Shout

 The weather wasn't as bad yesterday as predicted. There were a few really heavy downpours but by the evening it dried up and was quite mild too. I had booked a Too Good To Go bag to collect at 9pm as they are really good when Tom is on late shifts. There are always sandwiches or salad bowls that he can take with him as the canteen is shut in the evening. I decided if I went down at half time and picked it up on the dot of nine I would only miss five minutes of the second half. I felt so sorry for Tom missing it all at work and he is such a football fan too.  As the first half was going so well, I thought I would pop down to the Co op before I went down to the petrol station to buy a couple of bottles of beer for him when he got in. I was sure England were going to win and I thought at least he can enjoy the highlights a bit later on. 

Pop down! That was hopeful! The whole world and their wife had decided to dash out at half time. I queued up with all the young men buying their beer who were all incredibly happy and chatting to me. When I left the shop to quickly walk down the road I realised it was 9 o'clock already. It was as if everyone was suddenly spirited away. From the street being packed, every person disappeared. I was completely alone, it was very strange. All of a sudden I heard the loudest roar that spread across the houses and knew England had scored. I picked up the bag at the petrol station which was totally empty, except for one poor young Deliveroo driver waiting for his order. There was not a single car at the petrol pumps as I crossed the forecourt and as I did there was another loud roar. It seemed to spread right across all the houses all the way to Sutton and I could here singing in the distance "Football's coming home!" 

When I got home youngest son and daughter said "You've missed two goals." "I know!" I replied. At least they scored one more for me to enjoy. When Tom got in he enjoyed the highlights with his beer but was a bit fed up as he is on late a late shift  again for the semi final on Wednesday. They'll have to get through to the final now so he can watch on Sunday. One of the things about it all, I am most pleased about, is that mild mannered manager Gareth Southgate is having such success. It proves that you don't need to yell and shout to get results. Everyone would talk about the "Hairdryer treatment" Alex Ferguson would deal out yelling and shouting at the players at Manchester United. I always used to think that was nothing to be proud of. We must all be able to remember those few teachers at school that who got fantastic results and the class behaved perfectly yet they never even raised their voices. Well I think Gareth Southgate would be that sort of  teacher and because of that I am especially pleased the team have done so well. 

It is raining quite heavily this morning but there is a really peaceful feel around. I can hear Del in the aviary but there is also a lovely wild bird singing, I wonder what it is. There is a morning after the night before feeling!

Tom is working another late shift and I intend to stay in and catch up with work. I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday what ever you are doing. xx

Saturday 3 July 2021

A Lost Family

 I went to The Royal Marsden Hospital to have my routine six monthly blood test first thing yesterday morning. It is such a wonderful place and so perfectly run. When I first got my Royal Marsden letter three and a half years ago I left it on the coffee table unopened all day. I didn't want to open it, I didn't want to go there at all. When I finally did open it and of course go to my appointment I was so surprised at how different it was to what I expected. It almost didn't feel like a hospital it's so friendly. It's not just the feel of the place though, they dealt with each problem in such a matter of fact way and organised way. I really trust them and as soon as I walk in I feel as though I am among friends. Hopefully I will be told my blood results are fine when I have my appointment next week, but if they aren't I'm sure any problems will be dealt with in their usual professional way. 

It was quite a coincidence, as I mentioned a while ago a young woman had contacted me to say some family had found two large framed photos from around the 1920s in their loft when they moved into a house in Shirley near Croydon. They contacted the previous owners who weren't interested in them and a local history society who didn't want them either. After an internet search this young woman found my Photo Archive website and asked if I would like them. Of course I was thrilled, it is just the sort of thing I put on the website all the time, forgotten photos that no one knows what to do with. She emailed me this week to say she had an appointment nearby and would drop them off yesterday. When she arrived with them she told me she was on her way to The Royal Marsden, which is just up the road, to have chemotherapy which she was receiving for cancer she was diagnosed with last November. I told her I had been there that morning and we had a little chat about it all, she was so young and kind and I couldn't get over she was taking the trouble to bring these photos round while she was in the middle of her treatment. I wished her all the best with her treatment but told her in my experience she was being treated in the best place in the world. Sometimes fate can make you meet someone in your life, just fleetingly, but you feel all the better for having met them.

I spent an hour yesterday taking the backs of the photos and giving them a good clean. They are enormous! Sadly there is no way yet to identify the photos but the photographer was in Peckham. I love them! I think the family look almost theatrical, definitely different with lots of character. I copied them while they were out of their frames so I can add them to the website. 

It turned into such a lovely afternoon, I managed to get a few jobs done in the garden. The little fox cub was round and about again. It seems rather sad to see him on his own all the time, with no siblings. In the evening when I was putting things away, he (or she) was asleep on our neighbours shed, no doubt sleeping off his evening meal we had put out earlier.  

Of course there's another big game tonight. Poor Tom is on a late duty and will miss it all, driving an empty bus around all evening, in the rain apparently, while everyone else is watching it. Have a lovely day everyone what ever your plans and I hope you manage to avoid the rain. xx

Friday 2 July 2021

Getting Ready To Go Out Into The World

 I had a really busy day yesterday, catching up with work, giving the house a clean up and the garden a tidy up. It is lovely to be away but there is a lot to do when you return. Youngest son has been feeding the fox family and he really enjoys doing this. He is getting to know the different personalities as much as Tom and I do now. He says the cub has really been gaining in confidence while the dogs have been away and had been sitting near to the house too. I noticed while I was out in the garden yesterday it was getting closer and closer to me, looking really inquisitively to try and see what I was doing. It is a lovely little animal, just like a puppy with so many mannerisms the same. It certainly looks very healthy and I hope it's good food has given it the best start for it's life.

He has also been on baby pigeon duties and has obviously been doing such a good job, as little Todd has really grown and even learnt how to sit on the perch. I'm not going to bother weighing him again as I can see how much he has grown now. It's now the best way to get some safe flying practice for him before we set him free, that won't be for a few weeks. Youngest son walked the five miles home from work yesterday as he fancied the exercise, but stopped in the local park to have a breather. While he was sitting on the bench he noticed that while lots of people were feeding the ducks, lots of the pigeons were being fed too and that reminded me that when Scarlett and I go down to feed the ducks we always feed the flock of pigeons too, so maybe it would be a good place to set him free. Hopefully he could just follow the flock and with a bit of luck it won't be a place were someone will come along and decide a pigeon cull is a good idea. We want to give him the best chance possible.

Scarlett really enjoyed her half day at school yesterday. A few friends from her nursery were there which gave her more confidence. She's such a kind, sociable little girl I know she will be fine, but I feel quite nervous for her out in the big world now. In September I will be on picking up duties sometimes and it will be ever so strange to be standing at the school gates again. It really is standing at the gates as well as because of coronavirus no parents or carers are allowed in, they have to drop off and pick up all the children, even the tiny ones, at the gate. There has been no showing round the school for eldest daughter and her partner, everything has been done online, even the guided tour and meet the teacher. It has certainly been challenging for the school but I suppose Scarlett doesn't know anything different so will adapt fine.

I'm going to The Marsden this morning for a blood test, then on to Lidl do do some shopping for the weekend. I'm leaving early as there is rain forecast later and I've been soaked through enough this week! Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx 

Thursday 1 July 2021

Mud, Mud And More Mud

 It's a lovely sunny start to the day here today, not quite what we had while we were at the caravan. We drove in dreadful traffic on Tuesday morning, or rather didn't drive. It was one of those awful jams on the M25 when you just sit with your engine off, stationary trying to accept just being stuck and thanking God you're not the cause of the traffic jam. "Vehicle stranded" had been flashing at us on the bridges as the traffic gradually slowed down to a stop. We had to sit for half an hour listening to Cassie whining but at least we weren't the poor people in the van with the blown tyre which had caused all four lanes to be closed. We arrived at the caravan site later than we hoped and in the rain but we didn't care we were just glad to be there. It was such a relief to sit enjoying a cup of coffee.

Then of course that afternoon there was the time spent trying to get reception on our little television for the England match. It's incredible how much time Tom was willing to spend out in the pouring rain adjusting the aerial to make sure there was a good picture. His perseverance paid off and someone must have been looking down on us, as somehow the game was the only two hours we managed to get a picture on the TV in the whole two days. The picture did depend on us not moving and a dog not scratching but let's just say that added to the tension of the game! In the end it was all worth it of course and we drove off after it to look for a takeaway two very happy people. It was a lovely evening looking out at the rain, eating our extra large pizzas, but the problem of mud was mounting!

By the morning there was so much mud in our corner of the field Cassie nearly sank when she went outside. Each dog had to wiped down with baby wipes before they could come back into the caravan! Tom had been assessing and decided we should move up to the top corner of the field. I did warn that in my experience it may not be quite as easy as it sounded but anyway he asked the owner and with Tess and Layla safely in the car and me carrying Cassie the caravan was hitched back on to the car and off we went. About two feet then we were totally stuck in the mud! "We need cardboard under the wheels." I said remembering similar instances from my childhood rather unhelpfully as of course we didn't think to pack any. The owner trudged across the field and said "Don't worry I'll go and get the mule to get you out." While we stood waiting for an oversized donkey to come to our rescue (only joking) Tom and I stood in the rain with only Cassie looking more miserable than us. In the end over came "the mule" which was actually a sort of buggy with big fat wheels and a tow bar on the back. He hitched up our caravan and dragged it to the dry spot at the top of the hill and then unceremoniously dragged our poor car out of the mud too. Once we were all set up at the top of the hill, we were exhausted. The whole morning had passed and our plans for going for a nice long walk in the afternoon were replaced by a nice long sit in the caravan reading and admiring our new view. We set up a lovely picnic table that came with this pitch and the sun finally came out. As we sat eating our lunch outside we couldn't help but laugh. "It took me right back to childhood holidays in our caravan." I said. So other than me going round the whole caravan cleaning off splatters of mud with baby wipes, we just relaxed until the drive home in the evening. 

Scarlett isn't coming today as she has a half day at her new school. How exciting I can't wait to hear from her how she gets on. I've got loads of mud splattered washing to sort out today, so all I can say is thank goodness for our new washing machine. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Tuesday 29 June 2021

We're Still Here

 We're still  here. Tom spent so much of yesterday afternoon trying to get the washing machine sorted out he was really tired by the evening when I got back from my Dad's house, we decided it was best for him not to drive drive anymore. Brand new water pipe now in situ, the new (second hand) washing machine is working well. It looks lovely, has managed four loads of washing back to back and it's nice to know I can now put the washing machine on overnight without risking waking up everyone within a two mile radius! 

My sister and I did my Dad's shopping yesterday and incredibly by the time we arrived our wonderful roofer friend had fixed all my Dad's tiles that had slipped and even cleaned out all my Dad's gutters while he was up there. He charged literally a fraction of the price my Dad had been quoted by another company which goes to show you certainly shouldn't go with a first quote.

We're off now for a few days in the caravan. I didn't have time to do much shopping for us yesterday so we're going to explore the local takeaways for tonight's meal which will be fun in a different area. This is tonight's plan. Good Luck England, we may not be able to watch you but we will be with you in spirit. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Monday 28 June 2021

What Are We Allowed To Do?

 Tom had an early start yesterday and said the roads were really busy. Sutton was apparently packed with people, no one is social distancing at all anymore. Inside shops I suppose people are encouraged to do so, at least whilst queuing, but apart from wearing masks it seems to be drifting back to normal despite the coronavirus figures going up. I think everyone is just weary of it all now and to be frank I can't remember exactly what the rules are anymore. It is obviously different if there is "an experiment" going on but how many people are allowed inside shops, what distance are we meant to be at and what rule of what ever are we following now. Rule of 6, rule of 10 or rule of 20,000 in a "controlled situation"  I have no idea!  The only rule we all know for sure at the moment in the "social distancing guidelines" is you're not allowed to snog your work colleagues! You can really see how people got "war weary", the poor soldiers in the First World War were still sitting in trenches while everyone at home had lost that patriotic, song singing feeling months before. It must be how NHS staff feel, still slogging on and everyone has lost interest. No clapping for carers, rainbow flags and free meals just people moaning about red, amber and green list countries for holidays. You can really see how it happens. When this is all over we say to each other. I don't think it is going to be all over one day as we imagined, it's going to fizzle out until we gradually forget all about it and the bits still left we just live with without really thinking. It's not really that depressing, just life with the good bits and bad bits.

One event that is back today, in I suppose a "covid secure" way is the tennis at Wimbledon. I don't follow Wimbledon quite as much as I did when I was young but it's still a lovely summer event that I am always pleased to see arrive. I loved Wimbledon when I was a teenager, but the best year I ever remember was 1976. I had finished my 'O' levels in June and was off for the whole of the summer. The longest, hottest summer on record, it was perfect. My friends and I decided we would go to Wimbledon, it was so easy in those days. It was the second week of the tournament and Bjorn Borg and Guillermo Villas were playing on No 1 court, as a 15 year old I thought they were two of the most handsome men in the world! My friends and I got the train to Wimbledon and then the bus and queued outside from about 8am. "Would you like Centre court or No 1 court?" the woman in the kiosk asked us. Can you imagine that today, people camp out all week for the chance of a ticket. Most of the tickets are already allocated to corporate events, no chance for a happy bunch of 15 year olds to enjoy the day anymore. 

We chose No 1 court as that is where Borg and Villas were playing and got seats quite near the front, and apart from a rather annoying pole in the way, had a really good view. No 1 court was small in those days before being totally rebuilt and a roof added. You felt as if you were part of the game it was so exciting. Borg won in straight sets I remember, he didn't drop a set the whole tournament and went on to win the Championship for the first of his five consecutive times. We felt we had been part of it, and that wonderful day is one that is so firmly etched in my memory that even though the sun never seems to shine on Wimbledon as it did in 1976 or even in all those years of my teenage memories, and it is a totally different sort of competition for spectators now, I always look on it fondly. Here are a couple of the photos I took of the game that day.

In present day Wimbledon style the weather is dreadful. It poured and poured overnight and is still raining lightly this morning. Tom is off for the next few days after today and we are planning to go back to our favourite caravan site. The lovely Carol on the BBC says the weather is going to be "a tad unsettled" I have a feeling that may be an understatement but we will still go. It's whether we go when Tom finishes work today or tomorrow morning, we have to decide when we see the forecast. I'm off to do my Dad's shopping today and a roofer who we know locally is going over to look at his roof as it needs some tiles replacing. It's not really the weather for working up on a roof though. Oh well we'll have to see how it turns out. Have a lovely day everyone what ever your plans and what ever your weather. I'll be back tomorrow or soon depending on the weather! xx

Sunday 27 June 2021

Welsh Roots and Curtain Planning

 When Tom got in from work yesterday we went straight to The British Heart Foundation shop and sadly they didn't have a single washing machine in stock. We were really surprised as we used to be spoilt for choice but one of the men who works there says they sell as soon as they come in now. I suppose it must be a sign of the times at the moment, everyone is looking for a bargain. There was a really lovely selection of fridges and freezers though, maybe as appliances they last longer. We went on to Emmaus and there was not a single one there either! Luckily though, a man who worked there showed us a Bosch machine in excellent condition at the back that had just arrived. It has to be checked by an electrician on Monday and then we can buy it. Our name has been put on it so at least if all goes well we will have a washing machine then. I don't know about other areas but we don't have a single Launderette left in this area. It's hand washing for me today!

After we left Emmaus we went to the garden centre to buy a hanging basket. I normally make up my own but this year my little plants I have grown from seed are very behind and there I don't think there is going to be much of a display, so with the money left over from the lights I bought with my Christmas gift voucher, I bought a really beautiful one. It is the largest hanging basket we have had for years and I'm really looking forward to it at it's best. "I may even paint the front door!" I told Tom. 

Another really exciting thing for Tom that happened yesterday was his Dad's birth certificate arrived. It meant I could fill in the first part of his family tree on Ancestry and all sorts of surprises have turned up already. His Dad was born in a place that despite my ongoing Welsh lessons I wouldn't even try to pronounce, called Mynyddislwyn  in Monmouthshire. His Grandmother was a widow, who's first husband was a soldier in The Monmouthshire Regiment killed on the Somme in the First World War. She had four children when she was widowed, three girls and one boy. Tom remembers visiting an Auntie when he was a child who was much older than his Dad but had no idea she was his half sister. He also knew his Dad had more sisters but had never met them. The surprise that  Tom had no idea at all about was his Dad had a half brother, 14 years older than his Dad. A sailor in the Second World War he was sadly killed in 1941 when HMS Bonaventure was sunk in enemy action. Tom has his same full names, so must have been named after him. His Grandmother was widowed again when Tom's Dad was a young child and she moved to Yorkshire to live near her eldest daughter, the one Tom remembers. It is so easy to see how family's can drift apart, particularly in times of war. We're looking forward to finding out more. 

Despite all Tom's enthusiastic support, Wales lost 4-0 last night and are sadly out of the Euros, so onward to look forward to the England match. A new curtain rail I ordered has arrived for the bedroom and today I'm really looking forward to sorting out some new curtains for in there. I have some old curtains that I may alter or I may just buy some material and make some. Decisions! I do love planning.

Little pigeon Todd is continuing to do quite well. I weighed him last night and he was 170g! He has put on 8g but also he is definitely more active and a bit brighter. He is practicing flapping his wings ready for what would be his fledging time. I think some safe flying lessons will have to be planned soon. Have a lovely Sunday everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Saturday 26 June 2021

Buying Second Hand

 Thank you for all your comments yesterday about telling strangers they look good. The consensus of opinion was that Scarlett should carry on saying nice comments to people and you know what you are all right. I shouldn't worry, I doubt there would be one person who would not be thrilled to receive a nice compliment. Interestingly though it has caused much discussion in our house. Youngest son said although he would love to say compliments he would be too afraid to in case women or even men thought he was "hitting on them." Youngest daughter is 6ft 1inches and is so stylish and pretty she gets remarks every where she goes, she has even had TV companies giving her cards to try and get her to apply for different reality shows when she is out and about, although she says she can't think of anything worse than taking part in some sort of tacky reality TV show! She get's fed up with all the comments but she said when one man wound down his window and shouted "Nice Style!" it made such a nice change from what she usually gets it made her day. Imagine if everyone was as nice as all you people in blogland, wouldn't the world be a happy place!

I had one very annoying thing happen yesterday, our washing machine has completely packed up. It has been making a very loud noise while it was spinning for a few weeks which was rather worrying and then in the last few days has made such an awful screeching noise youngest son came down to say surely the neighbours will be complaining or even worse calling the police! Yesterday it completely died the death. We have a routine with washing machines we have stuck to for years. When we moved into our previous house in 1995 I wanted a really lovely washing machine as with four young children it was on so much. We bought a machine at the top of our price range, didn't think we would need any insurance and then two years later it packed up. Out of guarantee it was sadly going to cost a fortune to fix, I know it was on a couple of times a day but it wasn't a very good advert for the make. One of eldest son's friends said his parents were selling their washing machine as they had a new integral one put in as part of a new kitchen and we bought it for £40. That wonderful Zanussi washing machine lasted for 9 years without a single problem and was the best washing machine we ever had. 

After that we completely changed the way we bought them. We have had two second hand washing machines since then and I'm sure it has saved us a fortune. On the last two occasions, we have bought from the British Heart Foundation shop so  they are checked by an electrician and give revenue for a really good charity too. I always think it is good to buy second hand if possible as it saves the world's resources. So that is where we are off to this afternoon when Tom gets in from work. I hope they have a nice one in stock. 

It's a lovely morning here today, the sun is shining and it makes it so much easier to get all the jobs done that need doing nice and early. I'm going to plant all my little geraniums out in the front garden I got free a few weeks ago. They are still quite small but if I don't put them out soon we won't get any benefit from them at all this summer. I'll walk one of the dogs this morning as we have a busy day ahead! We have to get our shopping done quickly when Tom comes in as he wants to be back in plenty of time for the Wales match. I'm not quite sure Cassie is in the mood for a walk yet though, it's a hard life being a dog!

So Good Luck Wales or should I say Pob Lwc! Have a lovely day everyone I hope the sun is shining on you a bit where ever you are. xx

Friday 25 June 2021

The Fragility Of Young Lives

 Yesterday Scarlett and I took Cassie for quite a long walk to our local park and beyond it. I have to choose our walk destination quite carefully as there  is only so far she can walk happily and then it starts to become a bit of a chore and I can see she's not enjoying it so much. Cassie is also happy to walk at her pace where as Tess and Layla start pulling and get fed up. On the way we were walking along and a young man of about 20 was walking behind us. I stood to the side and let him pass as we were walking quite slowly. We passed the usual pleasant comments you do as we passed and I noticed how smart he looked. He was wearing beige trousers a very smart shirt and a straw boater hat. He looked wonderful, just as if he had stepped out of the 1930s! Scarlett who has a loud clear voice and has not quite learned she shouldn't pass remarks said loudly "He is very handsome!" Such an old fashioned word! I saw his face brighten and there was definitely a spring in his step as he walked on down the pavement. When he had gone I said to her kindly that even though he did look very nice she shouldn't really pass comments to people like that. She looked so crestfallen and said "Mummy said I mustn't say unkind things to people only kind things." I was at a total loss as what to say really as she is right, but doesn't really understand yet that social restraints mean we can't really be shouting things like "You look nice!" to people in the street. It's a shame we can't though as I'm sure it may brighten people's days. 

We walked round the park and then all the way along the path that takes us almost to Sutton where the path ends so we have to turn round and walk back to the park. It was so full of wild flowers and the grass was so long it was a nice exciting walk for Scarlett and Cassie too. I think the path belongs to the rail company but they have extended the park into it to make a bit of a wildlife walk along the edge of the railway track. There is a chart to show how many different butterflies have been seen but sadly we couldn't see any.

When we got back to the park Scarlett wanted to sit on a bench for a while and she told me she wanted to go and sit on the bench she had seen something had been left on as we walked past. Off we went to find the bench and as we sat down I realised it was a memorial bench to a young 15 year old who had died in the most tragic circumstances in the park a few years ago. I don't usually walk on that side of the park so had never noticed it before. The item left on the bench was heart breaking "What is it?" asked Scarlett who's reading isn't good enough yet to know what it said. "It is something put here by someone who loves their brother very much." I said. That seemed to please her and we sat on the bench and chatted about the squirrels that were running about in the park but I suddenly felt ever so sad at the fragility of young life and wished we had never sat there. 

Next to his name on a plaque was added another plaque advertising Child Line and The Samaritans. Who knows what pushed him to that point but I couldn't help but think if maybe we didn't have some of our social restraints and people really could say things like "You look nice" to people in the street instead of negative things on social media which can hurt people so much, life might be a bit better for young people.

I worried all day yesterday about my friends son who had been knocked off his moped in a hit and run but last night found out although he is hospital with several broken bones he is doing well and hopefully should recover without and lasting effects. My friend is so kind and forgiving, he said the young man who drove off handed himself into police later in the day and he actually felt a bit sorry for him as he only just passed his test and had the car a few days. He said this young lad made a terrible mistake driving off and the lasting effects of that may actually be worse than for his own son as he is now facing so many serious charges. As my friend said "One really bad error of judgement can ruin your life forever." 

I have a day at home today with all the usual things to catch up on. Little Todd is still with us and gained 1g yesterday! I know that is a pitiful amount but at least he didn't lose weight! Eldest daughter looked at him and thought there would only be a 50/50 chance of him surviving and then it is very hard to release him after he has been fed by humans from such a young age. Oh well I'll deal with each problem as it comes along. Have a lovely day everyone what ever your plans. xx

Thursday 24 June 2021

Dottie Update And Keeping Up Fluid Intake

 I left for my Dad's first thing yesterday morning and he had already been seen by the nurse, had his bloods taken and his blood pressure checked. All seemed well, but the nurse reminded him to drink plenty of liquids in this hot weather. When my sister, my Dad and I were back drinking a cup of tea and chatting about how much we have to drink, my Dad said he doesn't feel thirsty. "I know why that is Dad" I said "I remember from my nursing days when you get older the part of your brain that tells you, you need to drink doesn't work as well." "I've got news for you" he said "as you get older the part of your brain that tells you what day it is doesn't work as well either!" Oh dear. Despite all this, Dad was in good spirits and we managed to get all his shopping and tablets sorted out and the sun was shining on all his beautiful roses which always lifts everyone's spirits.

The little pigeon, Todd is still with us and seems quite bright really. When I left the house yesterday I said to him "All you have to do while I am away is stay alive, can you do that." He blinked his little eyes as he sat in his cage and managed to do what had been asked of him. It is very sad he cheeps and flaps his little wings to try and call his Mum for food and then just sadly pecks in the food bowl. I have got the scales out I used to weigh the baby cockatiels on when I hand reared them so am now able to check if he gains any weight. He was 162 g yesterday so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed his weight goes up not down. 

The office staff at Tom's work are eagerly awaiting a photo of Dottie our dove after they looked after her for a day when Tom had found her. He asked me if I would take a photo of her when I was out feeding the aviary. She's a lovely big confident bird now and seems to be really enjoying her life in the sunshine.

Her favourite part of the day is splashing about in the bird bath. I was trying to get a photo of her enjoying her bath but sadly she wouldn't oblige. It wasn't until I was back in the house showing youngest daughter that she pointed out the fox cub to me!

Scarlett is coming this morning and I'm hoping the rain may stay off for us to get out and about a bit. Our roses have been battered by the rain and need deadheading, I thought it would be a nice little gardening job to teach Scarlett and may start a life long love of roses too. I'm especially thinking of a friend of mine this morning who's son is in hospital after being knocked off his moped last night in a hit and run. He moved to London with his family to The Fens in Cambridgeshire for a safer life so it is very sad. Although he has lots of injuries he appears to be stable but it's a terrible thing to happen to a young man. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday 23 June 2021

A Busy Day Of Rescuing Birds And Neighbours

 Yesterday I  proved to myself exactly what I had written about yesterday. It's very hard to work from home without being distracted, at least it is in our house! I settled myself down at my desk to work.  I was slightly distracted as a friend of mine and his wife were hiking Helvellyn and along Striding Edge in the Lake District and he kept sharing the most stunning photos in our Whats App group, but as he seemed to only stop about every half an hour to send a photo for us to comment on and encourage him to keep going I kept quite focussed all morning. I caught up with a lot and was feeling very productive and pleased with myself by lunch time. A young woman in Croydon has contacted me asking if I would like some photos her parents have found in the loft of a house they have moved into in. Apparently the previous owners had lived there for decades and decades and although they have contacted them they are not interested in collecting the framed photos (can you imagine!) so the new owners have been trying to find a home for them. The local museum aren't interested either so after an internet search they have found my website and asked if I would like them. I'm not getting my hopes up too much as often people contact me and then nothing materialises, but I have offered to go and collect them so hopefully I will have a few more interesting photos to research soon. 

While I was sitting eating my sandwich and watching the news, Tom phoned and said he was on the way home with a baby pigeon he had found. His work garage had brought in pest control people over the weekend to kill all the pigeons who were roosting in the eaves. Tom had found this little pigeon sitting all alone under a bus which was parked in the corner of the garage. While he was finding a box so the office staff could keep an eye on it during the day until he came back to the garage one of the other drivers said "Just stamp on it, it's only a pigeon." The whole story made me feel so sad, as human beings why we feel we are so superior to animals and why some animals seem to be right at the bottom of the line of caring. The long suffering office staff, they are used to looking after waifs and strays for Tom, looked after the pigeon all morning, and then Tom bought him home on the bus. "How is the dove we looked after?" they asked. Tom promised to send them a photo of her living happily in our aviary. When Tom arrived home I had sorted the cage out and set it up for the poor little chap. He had called him Todd as he found him all alone. That's Todd Sloan which means alone for anyone not familiar with cockney rhyming slang!

I sent this photo of him to eldest daughter who before she became a police officer worked in the, now closed down, London Wildlife Hospital for two years so is quite an expert with this sort of thing. She says it is very borderline whether he will be able to feed himself as he still has some of his yellow baby feathers and will still have been fed by his mother but just learning to feed himself. I tried syringe feeding him as I have had lots of practice with hand rearing baby cockatiels but he just refused to open his beak, hand rearing really needs to start before about three weeks old to be successful, although I have had some successes older. In the end I tried him with softened oatmeal biscuit and later some warm scrambled egg which he did pick at a bit. He's still alive and picking at his food again this morning so I hope he will survive. He spent the evening sitting on my knee on an old towel watching the first half of the England match, so at least even if he doesn't survive he is warm and cared for, which is more than all his poor family. 

In between all this pigeon drama, our lovely jazz pianist neighbour came round as he had accidentally locked himself out of his house and asked if we could help him get in. His house is completely double glazed and it seemed like an impossible task, what an earth do people do in this situation, I had never really thought. In the end he asked Tom to smash the tiny little window in his front door and as Tom has long arms he managed to reach in and open the lock, of course then a glazier has to be found to make his house secure again and between all this and baby pigeon feeding the rest of the day passed by and I didn't get any more work done. While all this was going on my friend made it to the top of Striding Edge and I missed commenting on the dramatic photo of them posing with their dog in triumph! 

With baby pigeon Todd safely back in his cage, I was recounting all the days dramas to youngest daughter, who was sitting watching the second half with us. It was a nice end to the day even if not at all as I had planned. I suppose a life has been saved, our lovely neighbour was safely in his house and England won. I just had to share this photo of Tess and Layla watching youngest daughter eating crisps during the football match. You can see who gives the dogs unhealthy snacks in our house!

I'm off to my Dad's this morning. My sister is taking him for a blood test first thing this morning and then I am going round a little later and we will do his shopping and have lunch with him and then all the other little jobs we have to do. My six monthly blood test at the Royal Marsden is due this week so I will have to try and fit that it too at some point. At least the sun is shining. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Tuesday 22 June 2021

Working From Home And Surviving

 It was a really rainy day yesterday which wasn't very nice but I had so much work to catch up on, it made me feel a bit better about staying in most of the day. I haven't worked at all over the last couple of weeks and you can't work from home and just swan around all the time, so this week there is going to be a lot of catching up. All my income from my two work websites is from commission, so I'll have to find time to catch up over the next couple of weeks. I have worked at home for twenty years and apart from a few times when life has been really difficult with family or my own ill health, I work out a work plan for the day in two hour blocks and it  has all gone really well. Some days I work more than others and fit in around what I am doing that day but always try to work in my two hour blocks, and either work two, four or six hours in the day depending on what else is going on. I make enough money with Tom's wages to get along, and as we always look for ways to save money and aren't really interested in buying expensive items, have managed. I like being my own boss and there is only a few things I miss about going out to work. I am well aware I am rather vulnerable if I am ill but then again I don't have to worry about a company I work for not surviving in difficult times. Whether I sink or swim is really down to me and how I adapt my work over the years. I really enjoy that feeling of independence.

It is a way of life more and more people are having to adapt to. So many people are working from home I do wonder how many will manage as time goes on. I have a large family, which although I moan they distract me, I can't imagine what it would be like working from home all day with no one coming in, in the evening to share your day with. Even though eldest daughter is a police officer, her work is mainly office based now. The team she works on, have adapted to work phones and computers set up at home, online meetings and even court presentations online. Her kitchen is starting to resemble a police incident room! The trouble is sitting at a kitchen table on your own is hard after several months. If Scarlett is off nursery ill and wanting attention, an online meeting with a Detective Inspector and a magistrate takes on a whole new level of stress she hasn't had to deal with before! 

Eldest son and I talk about it all a lot and he often says to me "Human behaviour changes very quickly." He has the most wonderful business brain and I think he is right, there was an article on the news yesterday about the massive new warehouses being built to cope with the parcels waiting to be dispatched from all the online shopping we are now all doing. In a way it is very sad but in another way there are exciting new opportunities for people. I would say to anyone who is worrying about whether their job will survive or who are furloughed and don't know if they will have a job to go back to, to start their own business. There will be new ways forward I'm sure. If I was younger and not so close to our retirement plans (although they still involve another business!) as a dog lover I would start a really good dog boarding kennels. Everyone has gone puppy mad in the last year and many of these people are going to want foreign holidays in the coming years. They will soon discover how hard it is to find good kennels. I think there are lots of new ideas for businesses if you just look around at how life has changed and instead of feeling despair at how things are going maybe we should see it as a new challenge. Eldest son makes me smile, he has a motivational line for every occasion! This is one he often uses.

I'm still catching up with work today and hoping I will be a bit more on top of it all by the end of the day. Tom enjoyed being back at work yesterday though, he said it felt nice being back in the swing of it all, so I know working from home is definitely not for everyone. I'm desperate to get out in the garden to tidy up but I'm trying to be strong today. The snails have been causing havoc with all this wet weather. I managed to save a couple of little plants that I particularly want to make sure survive and have brought them into the kitchen window sill. One is a Tree Peony and the other is a little Silver Birch tree the only ones of them left that haven't been eaten by the snails. 

I only have a few dog walks planned to break up the day today but I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx
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