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Thursday, 31 January 2019


that made me happy today. The big beaming smile of our little grand-daughter as soon as she sees me. The beauty of the trees in the frost. Having a very good coffee with DB in his favorite cafe after his hospital appointment. Being able to afford frozen fruit in Iceland as I felt too unwell to do my usual frugal shopping. Watching a girl sitting on a bench playing with her dog. Seeing my son, daughter-in-law, daughter and grand-daughter all getting on and chatting happily together.

They are only little things but it is these little things that seem very important especially when I remember not everybody has these little things.

Now I am wrapped up in a quilt in a nice warm house and will enjoy Winter Watch soon.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Looking forward

I've already looked back and now nearly a month into the new year am thinking ahead. Actually I've already started on the first goal which is to get my health back. Last year was hard as I have always been so well, had a healthy diet and could eat anything. Now I have such a restricted diet and its not really doing much good. The only result is that I think my immune system is suffering as since the end of September I have had 2 colds and now have something else. I have been coughing for 3 weeks and now feel shivery and ache all over.

My goal is to get to the root of what is wrong rather than have the symptoms treated. I can't fault the people treating me but their hands are tied as the NHS does not do a lot of tests. After a lot of research I contacted a private clinic, had a Skype consultation and was sent the equipment for a comprehensive stool test. The consultant was brilliant and dug deep into my history such as foreign travel and work etc. If nothing shows up at least I have ruled out fairly basic things. Then i can go down the next road.

My second big goal is to move to a smaller place but I can't do that until DD has her place and has moved out. I just want a simpler life to do more of the things that are important to me.

One thing is to spend more time with friends and family. We used to invite people back a lot but that has gone by the board last year so hopefully that will happen again.

A couple of years ago I had lots of days out using my bus pass and Oyster card and doing lots of walking and exploring new places not too far away. Hopefully that will happen again.

In the meantime we are grateful for our cozy warm home and the fact that we can rest when we feel unwell as being retired there is no worrying about work. Lots to be thankful for.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Another funeral

I went with my daughter to the funeral of a friend today. She's known him years through the greyhounds. He was often referred to as the greyhound man as over the years he had adopted 35 retired greyhounds. At one time he actually had 5 old boys as he called them. He always took the old dogs that nobody else wanted, mainly boys but also one or two girls.

He was brilliant with dogs but sadly not so good with people as he was so independent and rigid in his views. So he pushed people away and several times he fell out with DD as she wouldn't agree with him but I'm proud that she never held a grudge and could also see his good points. As he got so sick he realised that we all need other people and he became more patient.

He made his peace with his estranged daughter and in spite of past differences she arranged a funeral to do him proud. She wrote and read a beautiful poem. The neighbour who had known him since their teens gave a tribute and the celebrant read out a piece my daughter had written. Also at the end a humorous email which the deceased had sent to my daughter some while ago was read out.  One thing happened which I have never seen before at a funeral. One old lady turned up with a greyhound and said there had to be a greyhound at this funeral but she would just wait for the hearse to arrive and then she would go. During the service, the celebrant talking about the greyhounds mentioned how good that one was present. We all looked round and sure enough there in the back row was the old lady and the greyhound!

One thing in common at both the recent funerals I went to was that although they were non-religious, the Lord's prayer was said. I've not been to many non-religious funerals so maybe it was a coincidence but it seems that even non-believers have a spiritual side.

DD has inherited the last remaining old dog so he has settled in happily here.

Sunday, 20 January 2019


For a while now I have disciplined myself to focus on what is around me when I am walking anywhere instead of mulling over what I have to do or what problems have to be solved. I look at the trees, listen to the birds and notice seasonal changes.

On Saturday as I walked the mile to town I decided to see what colour there was. Mainly green and lots of brown and red leaves on the ground. Then I spied this

A few bright yellow berries which had escaped the birds. It is amazing what you notice when you are really focused and it is so relaxing.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019


I had to go to town for a few errands so popped into Iceland for some frozen blueberries and picked up a box of sushi half price for a pound. Then when I went to Asda for DB's prescription I had a quick look for any reduced items there and found a 7.5kg bag of potatoes reduced from £3.75 to £1. Also oranges on rollback from £1.25 to £1 so got two bags. I hesitated at the potatoes as I had walked up with my two wheeled trolley but didn't have much else so couldn't bear to leave that bargain.

It always gives me a kick to get a good bargain especially basic things like potatoes and fruit. The sushi is a treat and as it's frozen can be eaten gradually. I find a lot of things that are reduced or on coupons are not what I would eat especially at the moment on my restricted diet.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Elspeth Huxley

I love reading but don't get a chance to do much nowadays. On the cruise I borrowed a book from the library called Nellie, letters from Africa with a memoir by Elspeth Huxley. Christine told me that Nellie was played by Hayley Mills in the Flame Trees of Thika which I had never seen. I enjoyed the book but only managed to read half on the holiday. I found a copy on world books and bought it along with "Out in the Mid-day Sun also by Huxley which I still have to read. 

I have finished the book now and thought Nellie was amazing. She finally died at the age of 92 and right up to the last had projects going on. She lived through tremendous changes in Kenya which started as settlers beginning a farm and ended with the white settlers leaving. Nellie in her 80's left Kenya and settled in Portugal living like the locals and always finding new things to learn.

I did also watch Flame Trees of Thika and enjoyed it especially the scenery and the animals.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Melody Monkeys

Since little GD was a few months old, I have driven her and DDIL to the local family centre for baby time. This is a huge room with two helpers who put loads of toys and activities around plus a sensory room with lights and mirrors. GD loved it and it gave me a regular weekly time with her. Also DDIL hasn't driven since she's been in this country. She did drive an automatic in Canada where there are very wide roads and little traffic so our roads horrify her.

Anyway once GD was one year she was too old for baby time which was a shame as she loved it but I think it would have got too crowded without the restriction. We do take her to another play centre which has a soft play area open from 8am to 4pm week days and free. She loves that but DDIL wanted something a bit more structured so we found Melody Monkeys and Thursday was her first session. She absolutely loved it as she always jigs up and down to any music. There were shakers to shake and sticks and blocks to bang together plus dancing up and down and some other fun activities.

I was speaking to an old friend in her 80's and she marveled at facilities available for children now and said there were none when hers were young. I don't even remember them 40 odd years ago when my children were small. Ours had lots of fun outdoors rolling down grassy hills etc but when the weather was too bad, apart from the swimming pool, I can't remember any indoor activities for babies and tots. Perhaps it was just our location as we lived in a small village.

I'm so pleased I can enjoy GD while she is tiny and making lots of happy memories. I'm looking forward to having her on Saturday while mummy and daddy have a date night. I will enjoy it but be exhausted and happy to hand her back!

Sunday, 6 January 2019

The Waverly

When looking back over last year I realized I missed out one of my days out and I had not blogged about it either. This was a trip down the Thames from Tower Pier to Southend-on-sea at the end of September. I wanted to go last year but it clashed with the expected arrival of grand-daughter and then I hesitated to book this year as I only arrived back from the cruise 5 days previously and we had a get together with old friends the day before the trip. I'm glad I went though as it was a good experience.

The Waverly is the last sea-going passenger carrying paddle steamer in the world. Built and launched in 1946 she sailed between the Firth of Clyde and Loch Long until 1973. She was named after Sir Walter Scott's first novel. She was bought by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society and restored to her 1947 appearance and now operates passenger excursions around the British Isles.

I've walked beside quite a lot of the Thames and also had boat trips along parts of it but never between Gravesend and Southend so it was very interesting. The annoying thing though was a group of people near us who spent the entire voyage laughing and talking loudly, taking no notice of anything we were passing and completely blocking out the commentary. The ship was full so by the time we got going there was nowhere to move to.

Lynn leaving Tower Bridge then riverside dwellings

Thames Barrier

QEII Bridge

Tilbury Cruise Terminal

The Waverly Engine Room

Approaching Southend Pier

Lynn thinking of downsizing
It's a long pier so let the train take the strain - but we walked.

We finished up with fish and chips and some people watching until our coach collected us for the trip home.

When I sat and wrote my previous blog looking back at the past year I started out feeling negative about what I had accomplished but ended up happy and surprised to have so many good memories.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Looking back-1918

So what sort of year was it? Some good things and some not so good probably like most years excepting one or two which were like the Queen's Annus Horribilis.

January I managed to visit an old friend in the Lake District for a few days traveling on the overnight coach to Carlisle from Victoria.

Then February was fairly uneventful except for helping family members with various problems. I also started making another bag from my Amsterdam material. It turned out ok but not as good as the first one. I wasn't too good healthwise this month but managed to attend a good party although I had to sit out the country dancing due to severe vertigo. Of course there was the snow and dog walking.

March started snowy as well. Plenty of cuddles and fun with little grand-daughter. Health not good this month so quite low key. Finished the month with a colonoscopy and daughter moving in with me all on the same day. She hoped it would only be for a few months but the place she was after turned out not to be suitable so she is still here along with her possessions but it shouldn't be long now.

Some nice weather in April and did some gardening, nice local walks and sitting in the garden.

Some lovely hot weather in May and more gardening and walks. Finally getting some help with health. I'm grateful for the NHS but it works very slowly at times.

Started June with a bus ride with a friend to Burnham on Crouch for the day. It was lovely.

But then June became sad when one of daughter's greyhound's suddenly became very sick with kidney failure and had to be put to sleep.

July I had a lovely weekend on a coach trip with my sister to see Andre Rieu and his orchestra in Maastricht. it was a fantastic experience.

Then later in July off again with husband to Clacton for a week staying in an apartment right on the sea front so I was able to swim in the sea every day.

We had a beautiful summer and like most people made the most of it enjoying the garden, the river and our local park especially the free events like Glastobabies. Little grand daughter loved that.

September was the wonderful cruise to Holland and Norway with a friend visiting from US. We then had a few days together visiting interesting places locally.

October DIL's mother visited from Canada and we had lots of lovely days out all together.

November and December seemed to have flashed past while trying to get to grips with the low FODMAP elimination diet I am on. But I did manage to finish the year with another few days away visiting friends in Leicester which was lovely.

We also ended up with another dog which DD had been caring for in the owner's house while he was in hospital but he sadly died on Boxing day so Paddy came to finish his days with DD.

I didn't think I had accomplished much this year but it is good to look back and realize how much I have done. Certainly some lovely memories made along with the sad bits.