Well I never! It’s not every day when I go shopping, my purchases on the check out belt generate laundry tips  from the check-out operator.  He had tried it himself, he said, and it worked.  A quick bit of advice on the amount to use as he handed me my change, and “only with clear vinegar mind, definitely not malt vinegar, ( perish the thought) and no detergent”;   “If you do it like I said, your cotton towels will come out of the wash nice and soft”.  It’s amazing what you learn at the checkouts, I said, as I was leaving.  Giving me a thumbs up sign, he assured me again it really worked.




With all that’s been going on, and very publicly, here and abroad, I have been at a loss to know what to think.  If I feel disempowered, how on earth must millions of other people feel.

Those that can, have grouped up and made their feelings known in public places around the world, often at personal cost to themselves. The amount of courage and positive human energy there is to care, is truly amazing.

I am not qualified to speak of what the security services at all levels do, or, what they do not do.  Like most people, I only know what morsels are given for public consumption. I am extraordinarily grateful to have been able to live a life that has been mostly safe and away from major conflicts. There are so many who cannot say this.  Every day we hear heart-rending stories, many of which are streamed into our visual consciousness to our homes. It does make us face the reality of the suffering that has been and is being endured.

With the current ruptures, of a type generally unknown to many of us in our lifetimes, our own comfort blankets are disappearing at speed.  The peace in Europe of the last seventy plus years is politically in the balance and it is also affected by major influences from other continents. There is a serious ramping up of aggressive rhetoric.  Where will it all lead?



Two friends with whom our families have grown up, are selling up and leaving the area. In one case it is primarily for work, though it will be an easier place for family to travel to, to meet up. The other friends want to be nearer transport links to family.  In both cases the children do not want to travel to a remote place – it’s not easy to get here – as many hours are spent on trains and buses, not ideal for a weekend trip.  When they are home for longer none of their friends are here; the ones they went to nursery with; then primary school and high school.  They’ve all moved on. I recognise this too, as I hear the same thing from sprog.  It hurts.  

This has been a lovely region of the country in which to bring up children, to give them freedom to play out, to have stop-overs, to go for walks with their friends, join in group activities,  and to learn all sorts of extra-curricular skills from the talented people who have lived here.  The children – now adults – are educationally and socially well-equipped and have moved on and out into the world.   I accept that is how it should be. We as parents have provided as best we can for our children’s futures, together with the teachers and a supportive community.

All that said, it grieves me to see friends disappear who have provided special links with a very important chunk of my life and my family life. It feels like I am losing close relatives.


The New Editor obviously disliked me playing around. I published a post via its portal and it immediately uploaded …surprise, surprise! Viewing the post was a another story: it definitely excluded me, its author, as not a word I had written was to be seen by me. It showed up as ‘For Friends Only’. I had left the post open to everyone to view.

How strange, odd and frustrating. The ‘new editor’ is obviously idiosyncratic.


I decided to take the plunge and not just look at the ‘new editor’ but, beta test it as well. I bravely selected the instruction to switch. It, the ‘new editor,’ (it’s been around a very long time to beta test) appeared. It had nice clean lines and few extra facilities. all good to look at, which, is, all I could do, look at it. The little beady blue circle, circled and circled and circled. I watched it for a while wondering how long it might take to get to where it was meant to go. Finally, I clicked on ‘return to old editor’……twice. It was not willing to do it. Right, I thought, if you won’t, I will. So, I did. I closed down out of BCUK and returned to the familiar sight of the old editor, relatively reliable and prepared to work. :DD

Let’s hope it doesn’t take forever to upload. :>


There’s been too much domestic technology this week. Certain parts of the UK are slowly being brought into the digital age. We decided to cave in and get a new TV just in time for switch on. Do we need an external aerial? Maybe not; best to wait till the two switch over dates have passed and see what happens, we were told. Okay, they’re very soon. Meantime, I am wondering if the new technology warms up to the full bloom of colour, (it does seem to) or if it’s hunting for brilliance. The bobbing from horizontal to stretch limousine style pictures I can temporarily live with, since I don’t watch much on the box, (ooh I can’t say that now, it’s not a box)….. Darn, that’s another change.

Our new router is ever so easy to set up, said the salesman. Are they ever! Not if you have some old technology in the house which stubbornly refuses to acknowledge anything except through a lovely yellow cable. A specialist arrived tonight to unknot the blocks. To work, the router’s new age security level had to be reduced a bit, but then the equipment had to be set on a slightly different technology footing as well. Either that or buy another new computer…. too expensive, so no, not for now. An obscure setting was causing bother as well. Oh, and just for good measure, the system password had to be modified to match the restyled arrangements.

I’m not sure why my old printer isn’t talking to my programmes. It’s probably kicking up because it’s competing with a new one. I haven’t got my head round it yet. It’s still got plenty ink in the cartridge, (its mono so no colour worries there) and I intend to use up the ink before the printer – wobbly on its metaphoric legs but usable – bites the dust.


Oh yes, it rained and rained. Then it stopped for a bit and then it rained again. It wasn’t an ordinary “heavy rain shower” or two like the weather forecasters described, it was curtains of constant waterfalls.

In town, by tea time today, many of the shops and cafés were sandbagged. There had already been a river running down the road and pavements, just like two weeks ago. As the shopkeepers were in their premises, they were able to get into action quickly and mop up before things got out of hand. With more waterfalls of the wet stuff expected tonight and overnight, there is some trepidation about how matters will stand in the morning. There will be plenty of sandbags in situ but will that be enough?


This evening I listened to a description of Portsmouth, (Hampshire, UK). Pictures flashed before me of areas mentioned, like Portsea and Southsea. I wondered if I would hear anything about North End. I think I did but it may have been merged with a general description of a wider area. There were one or two place names I had to think about. Recognition did come. Portsmouth was and still is a student city. It boasts a university.

The interviewee, an author of crime novels, lived in Portsmouth for about four years, the same sort of time period I lived there. He described this ‘island town’ as ‘rough and violent’ like its history, citing its naval roots as main cause for this disturbing picture. It also has tribal social connections in each of its distinctive areas, he said.

First, I would describe this interesting and varied coastal Port city as being just that. It is no more rough and violent than some of the major cities of the world. Sure, it has some districts that are not salubrious. That not unusual. There was poverty when I was there and there will be today. Poverty was either social, emotional, material or all three.

Portsmouth has a transient Royal Naval and student population. The naval presence will raise interesting interactions. I witnessed a few, set off by people who needed something with which to increase their working statistics. I am pleased to say, I was party to minimising at least one injustice and helping to resolve another. I also say, with sincerity, I found some really super people who were residents of Portsmouth

This author should keep his expansive literary descriptions to his books, as I presume Ian Rankin does with his Books, which are based in and on aspects Edinburgh. That is the nub, the writer has voiced ‘artistic’ aspects for his literature based in Portsmouth, which have been magnified in discussion as being totally real and everyday life in the city today.


Please revise your search criteria!  (Why?)

Do you mean… XYZ?  (No I don’t!)

You have too many parameters.  (I have?)

And at the end of fruitless hours searching on the web, with titles, subject matter, country, continent, incontinent language and anything else I can fling in for good measure, I am frustrated up to my eyeballs and beyond.