I was having a phone chat  with a very happy sounding lady called Kelly in the  telephone accounts department.  A couple of messages had attracted a surcharge as picture messages and I could not understand why. There was not a modicum of a picture in sight in either one, not even an emoticon.  I read the two messages to her and counted the digits in one of the them – fifty-five, (160 is the text limit).   Kelly just couldn’t understand it… I checked my settings, all okay there.

As I still had the messages and could account for what they were, she agreed a refund to my account, then added with a sigh;

I hate smart phones, they’re getting too smart for me!” 



Hi Folks,

Just been rather busy since November last year, though there was a lull for a few days over the Christmas break.  Just as well, because with the dire flood warnings, which sounded like they were near, or, at home, we cut into our break  and dashed back to see if everything was okay chez nous.

The busy business will continue for a bit.  It means I won’t have much time for posting, (though I will take any opportunity that presents itself).  However, I intend that all this busy stuff  will not get in the way of keeping in contact and commenting.

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.  This morning, I heard a very poignant story on the BBC Radio 4 Programme, ‘Midweek,’ about a sock that belonged to a survivor.

January is nearly over; we’re getting an extra hour or so of daylight now.




Fun day is when the festive lights are switched on. It is the day that most of the local shops put out treats for both little and big kids.  A number of shops will give shopping discounts. A raffle ticket may be on offer for something connected with the business, for no more than stepping over the threshold of the shop. I was offered a cup of coffee  and a sweet in an outdoor sports shop.

Reindeers were in a  pen with lots of straw at one end of the precinct. Children could have pictures taken with them. Encircling the pen were  very happy families in an orderly queue.


Many of the shop staff dress up to a theme. I didn’t guess the Strictly Come (acrobatic ballroom) Dancing  ‘competitors’ in the hardware store, even though one lady looked drop dead gorgeous in a sleek evening dress.


Cinderella, The Ugly Sisters, Prince Charming and The Fairy Godmother, appeared behind the baker shop counter.

“What can I get you?” asked the fairy godmother.

Me -“A glass slipper please“.

FG -looking  quite perplexed…….”What?”

Me- “A glass slipper please“.

FG -“You’ll have to get Cinderella over  for that…anything else?”

I pointed to a round wholemeal loaf, which FG wrapped in a small paper bag- I love bread wrapped in the good old fashioned paper bag -paid my dues and was offered a free raffle ticket for their draw.



The very best way to post about my December, thus far,is in Pictures.

The snow fell and fell in quantity. The garden remained pristine and the Leyandii were adorned in a thick white coat.

P1030455 copy neighbour's gdn

This bird became a regular visitor, with others, to the feeding post we provided.

P1030459 Robin copy

Our other neighbour, the farmer took feed to his livestock as the snow prevented the sheep from being able to feed on grass. The feed was grown on the farm, then baled by the farmer just a couple of months ago. (It has been a difficult growing year because of low temperatures).

P1030460 bales for livestock

Last Friday the 3rd December 2010, There was a buzz around the town.

P1030465 light sticks

we were ‘invaded’ by marauding Vikings who appeared out of the misty swirl of lights.

P1030468 copy marauders in the swirl

The fire torches suddenly lit up the dark night.

P1030479 lights up

The fire torch light procession stopped at the Viking Boat which was to be ‘sacrificed’ to the flames.

P1030490 copy Ritual Boat Burning

The next day, the 4th December was the town’s annual fun day, when many local shops put on a bit of a show and/or offer a small discount on purchases for the day.

A local pharmacy was ‘boarded’ and led by a pirate in full dress who did throw me a dastardly glare while I collected my photographic evidence of his take-over.

P1000007 FunDay Pharmacy copy

However, out at the front of house, a more genteel customer service was being offered by Minnie Mouse and Dorothy (from The Wizard of Oz).

P1000016 copy Fund Day Pharmacy

Meantime, in the menswear shop could it have been Drusilla I espied?

P1000019  fun men's shop copy

In the Gift wares/Do-It-Yourself store, Robin Hood and his merry men were busy. I was served by a buxom Friar Tuck, in the gift department, who was keeping the rest of Robin’s band under surveillance. In the DIY department, I discovered Maid Marian, Robin’s amour, all on her own.

P1000022 Maid Marian 2 copy

She was very obliging.

P1000025 Temptress Md Marian

The story of Robin Hood and his ‘merrinesses’ will never be the same again!


We decided to visit the County Town today to enjoy its Gala. Unfortunately, I didn’t study too closely the printed agenda in the local paper. It was hard enough finding the agenda amongst all the advertising, which undoubtedly pays something towards this rather mediocre local news provider and the printing of the agenda itself.

Just for a moment, let me enlighten you about the page of advertisements amongst which the Gala agenda was lost. They are mostly local businesses who advertise once a year for Gala day, (it happens with our town’s Gala day too) trying to tempt shoppers in with little offers. A sign of the times, offers were not that visible this year. Any small manufacturing firms will announce themselves on the back of the annual celebration, a reminder to people they are still in business. It is easier to find a needle in a haystack than finding jobs in the paper; they are few and far between.

We arrived in the town to find colourful bunting fluttering in the breeze. A few stalls were functioning in the town square, a regular Saturday event. Apart from that, nothing seemed to be happening.

Refreshment time, you have a choice of two places for a coffee, one is not so welcoming just for a drink…you feel you have to buy an array of sandwiches or cakes. Wetherspoons, the pub chain, it had to be. Providing you specify what you want, the coffee can be very acceptable.

The pub was bustling with groups and families, all the kiddies were very well behaved. A short stout fellow wearing a wide pair of spotted trousers, a bright spotty shirt with his face made up as a clown, holding a half pint of shandy asked me what I was looking at. ‘Your spots of course‘. He’d been collecting donations for charity. He explained we were about three hours too early for the Gala itself! The clown advised his friends that as we came from the ‘other town’ he and they had to talk to us very slowly, so that we could understand what was going on.

As it was a pleasant afternoon, we went for a walk along the riverside instead, walking some distance up to the tidal marsh, exchanging greetings with dogs and their walkers.



It is Mother’s Day in the U.K. There are different dates around the world for celebrating mums, that is, in cultures where mums are venerated. I wonder how aware people are of this. June each year, wonderful bouquets appear at one lady’s door,which are ordered from Canada. She beams when explaining why they have appeared. I do wonder how she feels about the commemorations happening around her here in the UK on Mothering Sunday, 14th March, which will also be signalled in the church service she attends. I can’t help but think she does feel an emptiness. The lady won’t say.

I think about the people of all ages who have no mums to spoil, not even for a day. I feel for people who are recently bereaved. My mother died some years ago. There were two other very special ladies who have also gone. I think of all three regularly, not just on a nominated day. True, my mother has a different and extraordinary link that no-one else can step into or replace. That said, the three ladies in my life have all left indelible and marvellous memories. In their own distinctive manners, they greatly influenced my life.


Up with the lark, it would have been good if I could have seen it. Daylight started to dawn somewhere around 08.45.

Left a recorded message at a place, that according to its own beautiful booklet, should have been open at 10am. They must be keeping Winter time: a real voice spoke to me at 11.02am.

Computer Housekeeping:

Why the hell can’t I get my browsers (note plural) to find anything for me! Switched the router on and off, no change in behaviour….gave up.

Pleased with myself because I burnt an archive disk, the first of a few.

Scanned for malware – because of browsers malfunctioning, couldn’t update the programme. Mental note to do it later. Why is it, one malware programme finds nothing, the other finds two ‘not nice’ cookies. Proves its worth having them on board.

Out And About

Gathered stuff up for my favoured charity shop. I had to use one of my large shopping bags for some of it; it was heavy to lift.

Stopped off to spoil myself at one of the local hotels, for a coffee and my first Xmas mince pie this year. Read book, what a luxury not to be disturbed.

Why didn’t I check my prescription before I got to the dispensing counter at the pharmacy? Had to return to surgery so arrangements could be made for the correct item to be given to me.

Hacked off, I decided to buy myself a bowl of soup with a crusty roll, by which time, it was starting to get dark.

The town Christmas lights were in their glittering, colourful glory. The tree is draped in twinkling white lights and is surrounded by trees with blue curlicues of light. It is one of the prettiest decorated small towns. The wind was rising and there was underlying chill.

Shopping, must keep it to a minimum and only replace what I have used. If not, I’ll end up with more than I need. A couple of seasonal items have sold out. Did buy Xmas mince pies….better watch waistline!

Vigorous discussion tonight about dressing up an envelope returned by the post office, so it can be re-sent with the right address on it. You can never find an envelope the right size for a floating card.

Back to computer to finish off I.T. housekeeping. No problem with browsing tonight. Heaven only knows what was going on this morning in cyberspace. Oh, and I also did a disk defrag in no time at all, with the new programme I just downloaded.


As dull and wet as it was today, I visited some private gardens that were opened for the Scottish Open Gardens scheme. Funds raised go to charities. There were set fees with concessions. If wanted, for a princely sum of £2, I could have afternoon teas with home baking, as much as I could eat, I was told.

The hall was busy with afternoon tea takers. A coach, which arrived when I queued to obtain my garden visits ticket and gardens location map, disgorged another thirty plus people to swell their ranks. The best strategy, I decided, was to head off to the gardens, before the hordes finished their refreshment.

The first stop was Granny’s Garden;


Globules of rain water sat on plants and our feet squelched as we walked on the sodden ground.


Just the thing, at the next garden stop, a rocking break.


In another garden I spied an accidental rain water collector.


What a delicate flower, one that was ready to multiply;


Then…….ornamental rhubarb.P1010102