Sunday, 30 June 2013

Call me old fashioned...

The last day of June has been glorious.

We nipped down to Harwich to see the 1953 flood exhibition in the Guildhall. It was very interesting and looking at the old photos and newspaper reports was incredibly moving. I’ve blogged before about what happened to my own family in the flood here.

If you're down that way, the exhibition will be open again next weekend 6th/7th July between 2.30 and 4.30 pm and it's free to go in.

Wish I’d taken a photo of the lovely ladies in their 1950s dresses! You’ll have to take my word for it how pretty they all looked.

Passed the fish and chip shop afterwards and….

Well you’ve got to haven’t you? And we sat on the seafront to eat them.

And had a look at the piano on the beach.

It’s all part of the Harwich Festival of the Arts and you can read more about it here and here.

Now call me old fashioned, but when I heard they’d put a piano on the beach to be left at the mercy of the elements I was appalled. I thought it was an awful idea. Musical instruments should be cherished and cared for, but…

There was something rather nice about sitting down there watching the boats in the sunshine while someone played the piano on the beach.

And while we were sitting there, a Spitfire flew right over us. If my fingers hadn't been so greasy I'd have taken a photo, but by the time I'd wiped them clean, it had gone.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Day 22...

In the Big Brother Indy House.

Fizz has had her first trip to the vet and her first set of vaccinations.

She was very brave I must say and didn’t make any fuss. In fact, she is a pretty steady young lady who doesn’t like the vacuum cleaner much (who does?) but isn’t afraid of anything else – except the catnip mouse which for some reason continues to terrify her.

Sometimes she sleeps on my pillow and likes to wake me up in the early hours by kicking the back of my head and eating my hair.

My legs are lacerated. I’m hoping she soon learns about sheathing her claws – although so far she’s been mostly gentle with everyone else, especially the Little People.

She likes watching telly and has tried to jump into it a couple of times. Is she embarrassed after she slithers down the screen and lands on the floor? No – she just goes round to look behind it to see why she couldn’t jump into it. She likes to try and catch the little blue light that goes round and round on the Sky box when we’re watching something we’ve recorded.

And she can – and does - get onto the dining table with ease.

She’s growing – I’m sure she’s doubled in size - and she trots round behind Indy like a little shadow.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Make Mine A Faux Pas

You get one word wrong and it can make all the difference. Doesn’t even have to be a bad word.

Yesterday we went to the Families’ Day at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire, marking 100 years of flying from the base. 

The Queen’s birthday flypast came over and there were various displays, but most special thing about the day was that it was my youngest granddaughter’s 3rd birthday.

It was for family of station personnel only, so there weren’t huge crowds and even the rain and grey skies didn’t spoil it.

I managed to embarrass myself a couple of times – I shan’t go into detail, but one time was walking all the way to the fire engine at the far end assuming it was part of the display and wondering why the firemen were all sitting inside.

I walked all round it and peered inside thinking my husband might be sitting in there with my 2 year old grandson! Yeah, I know – I’m going red just thinking about it. They were somewhere else, looking at cars. Who’d know?

The other thing I did - well I haven't even told my husband about that!

Earlier that day my 8 year old grandson looked at me and said “You look quite nice today.” It was the addition of that word “quite” that made us all laugh. Bless him.

When I was about his age, my grandad’s big sister, my formidable Great Aunt Olive came over from Australia on the Oriana. I rushed home from school, eager to meet her and all the way I practised what I was going to say.

“Good afternoon,” (cringe). “How does it feel to be back in England after all these years? Do you find it much changed?” (cringe cringe).

What I said when confronted with this old lady sitting on a dining chair by the window with her glass of beer was a very breathless, “Hello! How do you like England?”

Now my little mind has probably embroidered and exaggerated this over the years, but I remember her sitting very upright and speaking in a Miss Marple voice.

“My dear gel! I was born and raised in England! How do you think I like it? It is my home.”

Never mind that she’d left England in 1925! I felt completely told off.

She and her daughter, my mum’s lovely cousin Marie rented a flat for their stay. Needless to say by the time she had to leave to return to Australia, I had become very fond of her.

Olive is on the far left in this photo and her daughter, Marie on the far right.

Olive and Marie brought some wonderful gifts from around the world. I remember in particular a gold silk dressing gown with little Japanese ladies embroidered all over it. I wore it for years until the ends of the sleeves were up round my elbows and it was bursting at the seams – literally.

But what I remember most is that first meeting when I got my words ever so slightly wrong.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Liebster Award!

Thank you so much to lovely Debs at Debs Daydreams in the Potting Shed for the Liebster Award.

The rules of the Liebster Award are:

Thank your Liebster Blog Award nominator on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you;

Answer the eleven questions from the nominator;

List eleven random facts about yourself:

Present the Liebster Blog Award to up to eleven other blogs that you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen;

Pass on the eleven questions to your nominees, or create new ones;

Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.

1. What’s your favourite novel and what do you love about it?

I can’t choose just one, but I will read and reread books by Stephen King, Anne Tyler, Deric Longden, Bill Bryson and Colin Cotterill.

2. Do you have any pet peeves in fiction?

I’m probably guilty of this myself, but too many speech tags with ly in them. He said heartily, she said slowly, he said passionately, she said blithely. I don’t mind a few, but too many are distracting. I once tried to read a book which had them for every single bit of dialogue - and there was a lot of dialogue. It is the one time I have literally thrown a book in frustration.

3. What are you most proud of?

My children. They’ve all turned out pretty well considering they had the disadvantage of me as a parent!

4. Your most and least favourite people in history?


Wendy Valentine, founder of Redwings and later, Hillside Animal Sanctuary. Not really “history”, but all the same, she’s a favourite person.

Aneurin “Nye” Bevan, Labour MP who fought tooth and nail to bring us the National Health Service without which neither of my parents would have survived my childhood – make of that what you may!


Matthew Hopkins (1620 – 1647 allegedly) Evil, just plain, downright evil and anyone who has persecuted others because of their race, religion, sex or whatever.

The massive scale of cruelty to animals that goes on every day - worldwide - to put meat on plates, eggs in egg cups and milk on cornflakes - so those people, who do and have done that. 

5. The country, city or other place you’d most like to visit?

Northumberland, particularly Seahouses - I don't know why, it's just somewhere I've always wanted to go.

6. Which five people would you like to meet (dead, alive, or fictional)?

My great grandmother, Isabella, who was widowed with 9 children and went to seek a better life in Canada and the USA in 1908, working as an exhibition cook.

Her husband, Charles, who died after he fell into the dry dock at Rotterdam.

My great uncle Laurie, son of the above, who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.  Laurie was a Company Sergeant Major and skilled signaller in the 1st Battalion of the Border Regiment. I would love to see a photo of him.

Ann Boleyn – just because.

Dr Siri Paiboun – hero of Colin Cotterill’s series of books about Laos’s only coroner – failing that, I’d like to meet his creator.

7. What makes you laugh the most?

Lots of things make me laugh, but there is one person who makes me cry with laughter and that is Peter Kay.

8. If you could know the future, what would you wish for?

Good health and happiness for my family and a future without fear or pain for all living things, human and otherwise.

9. If you won the lottery and could donate money to charity, which charity would you choose – and why?

Hillside Animal Sanctuary. They look after so many animals, plus they do investigations into animal cruelty. That must be the hardest thing in the world to do; to observe and film cruelty and not be able to intervene.
10. Do you suffer from any little phobias or superstitions?

Tractors, spiders and I hate the number 53 and associate it with bad luck.

11. What’s your favourite guilty pleasure?

Playing computer games.

Eleven random facts about me…

1. I met a proper gangster once when I worked for a solicitor and he said, “What’s a beautiful girl like you doing in a place like this?” Which I thought was wonderful! He bypassed the reception downstairs and came straight up to my office.

2. Also whilst working for the solicitor (bear in mind this is a small town) some Hari Krishna guys in their orange robes bypassed the reception and came up to my office. They gave me some incense sticks and left.

3. I stood next to Felix Bowness at the traffic lights waiting to cross the road. He struck me as being incredibly clean and smart. He was here filming Hi-de-Hi and my daughter was a child extra in the final series.

4. I have seen Big Movie Star Clive Owen around town doing his shopping – go me! He is patron of our local cinema The Electric Palace which I used to play in as a child before it was restored.

5. I cannot stop growing money plants (Chinese Jade plants). When a bit breaks off, I can’t bear to throw it away so I put it in water and it takes root. At the moment I have seven, but I have given lots away recently. Anyone like a money plant?

6. I got lost in Woolworths in Clacton when I was very small. My mum found me by following the screams.

7. Sometimes if a train ferry was in and I had to get across the railway line while they were shunting trucks, the shunters used to let me climb through the train to get past. My mum went mad when she found out.

8. Also as a child I went up to the top of the train ferry terminal with lovely Mr Calver who operated the ramp. It was very high and steep (well I was very small). He also used to get me a ticket to go on the Parkeston Quay outing to Butlins at Clacton on a coach which was fantastic fun.

9. I was expelled from Sunday school.

10. I was banned from the local library.

11. I am cripplingly shy. Yeah I know, who’d have thunk it eh? But I am and it really does impact on my life.

Sorry if I’ve already told you about any of these – there is so little to tell!

My nominees are: (please feel free not to take this up):

Joanne at A Zigzag Road

Joanna at Brightwriter60

All lovely writers with lovely blogs!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

One Week Later...

It’s been just over a week in the Big Brother Indy House and I have got them all pretty much trained.

Especially my Indy who is nice and warm.

And lets me cuddle his hairy legs.

I play hard and sleep lots.

I had a walk round the desks. And played in the dust.

Then I filed myself away with all the other important stuff.

I tried to step from one desk to another, but the hole was too big and I fell down like a cartoon cat, but lucky for me a hand saved me just in time.

So far I have found that I like food, cod, cups of tea, food, paper, hands, food, fur and being cleaned with warm, damp cotton wool. I like climbing up legs, curtains and stairs and biting human ears. I don’t like the scary cat nip mouse. I ran away from it. I don’t want to be nipped by no mouse.

Anyway my Indy takes care of me. He won't let no nasty mouse nip me.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Whizzy Fizzy!

We decided on Fizz in the end. Seems to suit her more than anything else.

She’s been getting closer and closer to Indy.

And she’s very vocal. It’s like having R2D2 running round with all the chirrups and squeaks and reminds me a lot of my lovely Gizzie whose welcoming chirrups I still miss after seven years.

They've been very curious about each other.

And it was only a matter of time before this happened...

I think he likes her. She runs round behind him chirruping and squeaking and when he snuggles down for a nap - she does too!

Oh and she's given up on the scratching posts! Legs are much more fun to climb - ouch!

Saturday, 1 June 2013


Well she doesn't have a name yet. 

She's not even the kitten I'd planned to bring home. I'd more or less decided on one or both of the little boy kittens, but this little girl won my heart when she snuggled up to me.

Indy doesn't mind her at all - but she's a little daunted by him as I don't think she's seen a dog before.

Would you believe Beloved stood there when I was choosing and said, "We could take the little black boy kitten as well..." Once I'd scraped my jaw up off the floor I said I'd rather not risk it!

They'd named her Buck's Fizz. Fizz suits her. But she hasn't decided what she wants to be called yet - you know how it is!