A Shattering Experience & The Gas Man Cometh Again

Sunday. Between 6.30 am and 7.30 am I made good headway with my post. I went for breakfast, fed the fish, took my drugs and filled the kettle for Mike as he thinks the coffee from the Tassimo is too strong though I don’t give him the Costa. As I finished in the kitchen and made my own drink there was no sign of movement so I carried on with my post. By 8.30 it was clear but there were a couple of other things I could do until Mike woke. By 9.00 am I’d run out of patience so I went to check he was still breathing and then made his coffee and took it through. I tried a bright and breezy ” Mornin’ Bro. Coffee’s up” then walked back to my room to refresh the post. I was astounded not to have received any grunts but even more astounded to hear him padding through to the lounge moments later. I left the computer and followed him through. Amazing, his eyes were open as he lit his first cigarette from the right end.

Mike drank half his coffee and then visited he loo for the first time.It was almost 10.00 am when he returned to drink the other half. A bit of a delay again then he told me he was just going to have another coffee then he’d get dressed and see what I wanted to do with the rest of the morning. I stifled a laugh. He made a coffee after I’d drawn  a map of how to find the kitchen then we chatted as he drank it. When he decided to go to the loo and then get dressed I nipped through to refresh my mail and catch up again as much as possible. It was possible to catch up all the way. We decided to call in at Abakhan where they have a gift shop as Mike is looking for a broach in the shape of the Welsh Dragon for a friend in the Midlands. Accordingly we left the house knowing how I was going to spend the rest of the morning. It was 11.45 am.

It was a beautiful day and Mike put the top down on the car. The three hairs I have left after losing the internet last week blew in the wind. If my hair hadn’t been cut a few weeks ago I’d have been whipped to death the speed Mike drives. We weren’t lucky with the broach but the gift shop was a pleasant stop.We got back in the car and headed off for lunch. Tariq and Angie were pleased to see us as his day had been a disaster with the lights behind the counter blowing out. He managed to fix them. He’s a real   Jack of all trades. While we were there he showed me a machine he has for cutting out letter to use on signs or maybe teeshirts, and also an A3 printer since I’d expressed interest. We’d had a conversation recently about me doing teeshirt prints recently and ironing them on ad he suggested a press which I’d said was far too expensive. It turns out since I last looked they’re only about £100 now. I used to enjoy doing either humorous of photographic teeshirts. After lunch we said our long goodbyes and I partly lost the usual argument when Tariq said he wanted to treat us to the puddings ( lemon meringue for me, apple pie for Mike).

We drove home where Mike dropped me off then packed his suitcase and left for his fathers.My first stop of course was the computer where I worked on mail until 6.00 pm then I watched part of a film until 7.30 when X-Men 2 came on and I decided to stay and watch. At 10.00 pm when it finished I sprinted through here to work.

Monday. My sleep pattern at the moment wouldn’t be one I’d recommend using to knit a jumper by.Today I didn’t raise my little head ( Oi, watch it you) until 6.55 am and I had to by pass the computer and make straight for the kitchen. I fed the fish before they had time to mount a sulk, took my tabs and put my coffee on while I nipped to the loo. It was ready when I got back, ready but cold. It would be quicker mounting an expedition to look for the Yeti than taking a pee these days. I took the virtual frappe through and turned the computer on. I hadn’t felt like breakfast this morning so I’d saved some time. With no attempts to con me I worked steadily till 9.10 am then rather than refresh I got dressed and walked to Pauline’s for some baps and my cigarettes. It was beautiful out and I managed without a jacket. 

When I came back and refreshed there was enough to keep me going until 11.00 am and then I decided to print off some photographs to put in the three frames I bought on Saturday. Since the printer is now working fine with the right inks in I might as well use it. By the time I’d done that and cut the pictures out to fit the frames it was lunchtime. A beef steak (without peppercorn sauce) with onion gravy, new Jersey potatoes and peas with carrots made a wonderful meal. After washing the pots I indulged in an antiques show before returning to work. A fellow author expressed interest in reading my first book so I sent her the pdf copy with the instruction not to read it out of politeness. I don’t want to go down in her estimation. Actually another author recently contacted me to say she’s enjoying every minute of it but the family did advise me she had sunstroke. I worked until 4.30 pm when I wanted to see another Antiques Road Trip which is really fun. I was enjoying it until about 5.10 when a huge flash of lightning turned the TV off.

As I turned the TV back on there was a huge clap of thunder and down came the rain. And how it came down. It didn’t even pause for breath until 8.30 pm but then it started moving away. At 5.15 pm I watched a quiz, at 6.00 pm I watched a quiz and at 6.30 pm an older repeat of a different Antiques Road Trip. Not that I’m single minded or anything but I do like antiques. As I came through to the bedroom later on I found myself getting quite frustrated at the problems between Chrome and WordPress. Sometimes I can’t get into a wordpress site at all from someone’s post. Sometimes I can get in but it won’t let me comment and when it does, it makes me sign into my own wordpress account first. I keep getting the message ‘data not received’ which I’m sure will be on my headstone to explain why I didn’t get to heaven. I’d tear my hair out if I had any left after last week. Anyway, I managed to keep calm enough to clear my post before starting on the blog.

Many of you may remember mention of my friend Lis and her wonderful daughter Charlie. You may remember recently I told you of Charlie’s friend who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer like Julia. I had hoped there might be some treatment for him but all they could offer was palliative care. Rob passed away on Sunday after getting married to his long time love the day before. my Best Wishes are with her in this most difficult of times. She hasn’t really had time to adjust to the news of the cancer before it’s parted them.

Tuesday. I shall cease complaining about my change of routine. I shall cease being smug about getting a lie in. It was 4.05 am this morning and I wasn’t ready. The winning lottery numbers for tonight’s draw were just about to appear and some joker decides I should be awake. I’d cleared the first batch by 6.00 am and the second batch by 6.30 am so the fish got lucky again. I  had some breakfast preparatory to going out, made myself a coffee and came back to get washed and dressed. There was even time to refresh the mail again and do a few more before 7.20 an when I needed to prepare. I’d checked the local weather forecasts for the day for both my postcode and for Yvonne’s. I was due to have rain about noon and Chester about 2.00 pm. Right, in case we’re still outside I’m wearing my long country ‘duster’ coat. I slung the haversack over my shoulders that contained the photographs I’d framed, carried the bag with Reuben’s new clothes in my right hand, put my gloves on, grabbed my crutches and locked the door.I unlocked it, went out and locked it again. My timing was perfect as the bus reached the stop just before I did.

My usual nod to the driver I went to the seat at the front. I leaned my sticks down and brought the bag of my back. Smash, the triple picture frame I’d done for Yvonne came free of the bag somehow leaving behind the bubble wrap and smashed on the floor of the bus. I put the bag with the other pictures on the seat. screamed ‘Why Me’ at the sky ( or the roof of the bus) and bent down to clean up. A lovely lady came out of her seat to help and using the back of the frame collected all the glass. The driver got out of his seat and instead of the anger I expected asked If I’d like the glass in the bin by the bus stop. I was very touched. He came back and handed me the frame. The very kind passenger asked if I’d like a carrier bag but without the weight of the glass I knew it would be safe back in my bag again. I managed to thank her and sat down. I found I was quite tired and was thinking of nodding off but the fates hadn’t finished with me yet. The bus pulled in at Holywell and I could hear raised voices. A young child got on the bus and was followed by a woman pulling a young boy, probably about 6 or 7 years old. He was in full tantrum mode and was screaming he wanted his crisps. His mother told the driver she’d just had to chase him round the square as he’d run off and she wasn’t too pleased. He sat in a small seat enear the front screaming, kicking the seat and banging on the window. She sat behind me and occasionally told him to stop.

Take my word for it, Flint is a long way away when you have that racket though it’s only about 6 miles taking the bus route. They got off in Flint. I was pleased. Passing by me the mother said “Kids eh?”. As the bus started again I closed my eyes and was gently nodding when I felt some pressure on my foot. Nothing terrible but enough to bring me round. The driver had stopped and a young woman with a twin buggy had got on and parked the buggy on my foot. I moved myself until nothing was jutting out ( Oi, keep it clean back there) and closed my eyes again. The rest of the journey was OK. When we drew into Chester the sun was shining so I opened my coat, held the haversack and Reuben’s bag in my hand and walked to Costa to meet them. Yvonne had my coffee and some fresh toast waiting on the table for me. I got a smile from Reuben but not for long as he was demolishing his own toast. When we’d finished Yvonne cleaned him up and I was able to have him on my knee. He showed his versatility by doing part of the Feet of Flames routine in my groin. We headed up to the market to find something for Yvonne ad to see if there was a shop selling frames. No joy. We went to the precinct where I’d bought the original. A very helpful young man told me they no longer sold them but he had some similar in the stockroom. It was a problem as he was on his own in the shop. If I could give him 15 mins he’d go down when his assistant arrived. We went for another coffee. After half an hour we headed back and true to his word the young man brought me 3 styles, one was very similar to the original but there was one I liked better. I bought it and only now do I feel guilty at not buying more after he’d got them. I could have always found a use.

We went to get some shoes for poor Yvonne as her current ones were pinching then it was time to change a smelly nappy ( No, not mine) and while there we found some nice outfits for Reuben at Buy One, Get One Half Price so I got him two and so did Yvonne. Then lunch was upon us. I had sausage, chips and beans while Yvonne starved as sh had soup at home for the diet. About 12.45 pm we finished and I was so hot in the sunshine that it looked like a tap dripping from my head. I was so uncomfortable I decided to leave early and go home. They walked me to the bus stop and I did my journey in reverse.

Back home I piled into the waiting messages and worked till 4.30 when the Antiques Road Trip came on.More work then a quiz, then a quiz then more work until 8.00 pm when Endeavour was on which is the young version of Morse. That brings us to 10.00 pm when I came through to start again until I knock off. It’s 11.45 pm now so when I finish this I’ve just time to do one last email check.

Wednesday. I woke, swung my legs out of bed and looked at the clock. 3.55 am. It was a matter of a microsecond of thought and my legs were swung back. I gripped my pillow tight and said “Not a cat in hell’s chance.” I managed to doze off again and the next  thing I knew it was 6.04 am, much better. Computer on, a trip to the loo and then work till 7.00 am. I had 32 left to do but they could wait till the fish were happy and I’d had some breakfast. When I got back there with my coffee I found an email from Amazon advising me they had some books I may like on Prime. Two of the first three books on the list were A Presence in Russell County by S.J. Sprague and  The Mulberry by yes, you’ve guessed it, S.J.Sprague. I was delighted to see these books being advertised as the author is a good friend and having read the first book I know how well she writes. What surprised me was why Amazon bothered advertising them to me since it was from Amazon I got them and it was on Amazon I left my review. Still, I hope they advertise far and wide for all of us and create sales.

At 9.30 am I went out to Pauline’s for some milk, cigarettes and my TV Magazine for next week. It’s hot enough for a tee shirt today again.The rain seems to have disappeared. I hope it stays that way over the weekend. I half expected the milk to turn to yoghurt on the way home but we made it. I had a spoon in my pocket just in case. On returning home, I worked till just before 11.00 am and found myself free. I did a quick check on Ebay then went through to the lounge where the sun had me nodding off in my chair. It was 12.15 pm when I woke up to see to lunch. After the strain of opening and closing the microwave door I needed another nap after lunch and didn’t get back to the mail until 1.30 pm. It had mounted up but I was on top form and got myself up to date. I was back and forth all afternoon keeping an eye as I wanted to be free to catch the next episode of my Antiques Road Trip. I made it no problems and without even taking another nap in the chair.  It was 5.15 pm and the quiz I often watch was about to start when I saw a familiar figure pass the window, my nephew Lee back from his travels in the Orient and ready to join his father and brother gaming when they arrive. I greeted him and poured a drink of water when he told me that Dil and Matt were also here but outside on the phone. Matt walked in moments later and I made him a coffee. I was shocked t see him there so early as he an his dad usually arrive about 5.45 pm. Then Dil came in , he’d finished work early to see the doctor as he’s got gout- (Dil, not the doctor). Poor soul I felt for him. It’s very painful .

Drinks done, TV off and the table out we went into battle.The first scrabble was a tight game despite me getting a 7 letter word as my first go in turn, but which scored me a piddling 77 points. End result a draw between Dil and myself. In the second Dil fared better and won outright. When it came to the Nomination Whist I was unstoppable and romped home to victory. After this Lee had to take his leave which was a shame but I remembered to give him his birthday card and present for tomorrow.  Dil dealt for Crazy 8’s which proved to be a disaster for me and left Matt with a big grin across his face as they got up to leave. After waving them goodbye and wishing the wounded warrior well I tidied up as usual, washed the pots and came through to get on with however many messages I had. It’s a lot. I’m stroking the chin of midnight before I’m able to get on with the blog and the chance of a decent read is a diminishing possibility.

Thursday. I managed a read until about 1.00 am but still found myself up at 5.31 am. I wasn’t feeling right but couldn’t put my finger on it, though I’m not sure if that’s legal anymore anyway. It’s been years since I’ve seen it never mind put my finger on it. Ridiculous as the time was, it did mean that I had the mail under control by 7.00 am when it was time to go visit with the fish and get my breakfast.  I  sauntered knowing how well I was doing but was halfway through breakfast when I suddenly started retching. It was all I could do to hop to the bathroom and kneel head bent over the loo feeling very sorry for myself. The feeling eventually subsided and I returned to the kitchen, made a coffee and started back in on the mail. I had a headache and realised I’d quite forgotten my meds last night but didn’t know if that had any bearing on how I felt then.

As I brought the lavel way down I decided to nip to Ebay to see if I could get any inspiration for a gift. The first thing that greeted me was a message that I should change my password since their system had been hacked though they were quite sure nothing had been compromised. This is a tedious job owing to a mistake I made years ago when registering, I didn’t use my own email address. Eventually I was able to do it and started my search. The gift is for a good friend who doesn’t  live in the UK so either I have to buy a present from his home country and have it delivered direct or I have to be careful of weight if buying here because of postal costs. But, while I was there I found two teeshirts which I think would be perfect for Mike and his wonderful sense of humour.

From Ebay

From Ebay


From Ebay.

From Ebay.

They really appealed to me. Whether he’ll agree with me remains to be seen as he will assure me the second one is right in the first line. I got dressed about 9.15 am ready to go and get my lottery tickets. No win last night so if I want a holiday this year it’ll mean a long swim. It was a mechanics dream outside pouring Datsun cogs as it was so I had to wear a coat. Hood up I looked like a demented friar taking long hops with the crutches to get there and back quickly. I was just approaching home when I saw a car pulling away but I didn’t recognise it and wasn’t expecting anyone. I went inside to see if any note had been left but while I was checking the floor someone knocked on the door. The small man standing there wished me good morning and said he had an appointment to read the meter. “I have no appointments” I responded. He explained he’d been asked to come but that he had tried to ring first. I didn’t think that constituted an appointment and wasn’t too chuffed anyway as it’s Yvonne that’s supposed to get the call so she can contact me and prepare me. He was getting wet so I let him in. Before he could read the meter I had to clear a path to it which is what I was supposed to avoid having to do in a hurry, hence the reason for the advance notice. He told me they must be considering putting a smart meter in which left me confused because surely that was the decision that had been made by the last man to come? He got his reading and left as I collapsed on the bed with my nitrolingual spray. Ouch ouch ouch. On came the fresh headache that always arrives after using the nitro but luckily I was able to fall asleep.

I woke about 10.30 am and slowly got up to see how the mail was doing. There were three messages returning mail to me as undeliverable which was quite amazing since I hadn’t sent any of them in the first place, didn’t recognise the messages and didn’t know the addressees. I think they were spam but how they’d come from my machine I don’t know as I’m supposed to be protected….’Something for the Weekend Sir?’. I finished quite quickly and retired to the lounge where I started watching a programme where thieves are caught red-handed. I realised just how evil some people are when they’d rather steal someone else’s goods than work for their own. One couple had their safe stolen which held photographs and momentos of their daughter who’d died very young and were irreplaceable.  A couple of nasty gunmen trying to rob a jewellers got a surprise when the owner and his wife managed to trap them in the shop until the police arrived. The idiots made things worse for themselves by unlocking the inner door of the shop , going out and before they could open the outer door the inner one closed thus keeping them secure in like an airlock. If theft is a job these days these two deserved the sack. They won’t be working again for 12 and 10 years respectively.

After lunch I had allowed my eyes to close a little while I inspected my eyelids from inside. It took some time so it was 1.45 pm before I was back on the job again.  (Mail not theft I mean). I was up and down all afternoon trying to keep up so I have my Thursday evening free for Big Bang Theory and the last two episodes of Person of Interest. This blog was written between 8.30- 10.00 pm and then finished after 11.55 pm. I hope you appreciate the dedication.

Tastes better than food Ma.

Tastes better than food Ma.

Yes, you're right, I'm a scamp.

Yes, you’re right, I’m a scamp.


Friday. I was sort of ready to get up this morning. In fact I think my legs were on their way out of bed without the rest of me when I woke up. It was 5.31 am and my bladder said the timing was right. I’d had so many ice lollies yesterday it was coming out in icicles this morning and the outside temperature wasn’t helping as it seems Winter might be on the doorstep again, and the path, the garden and the road. It’s persisting down with rain too. A gloomy start to the day. I put the computer on and commenced work. One thing stood out as blindingly obvious today, the computer is behaving as normal, no Chrome v WordPress problems ( fingers crossed knock on wood). Every message seemed sensible bar one. A few days ago I tweeted a blog I’d read which I found funny. Someone retweeted it but kept my name there for some reason. A third person picked it up and must assume I’m the author and is taking swipes at me in his tweets.  Since the original blog wasn’t rude and my tweet of it wasn’t rude I don’t appreciate someone else’s rudeness. I was forced to tweet and tell him so and ask him to save his rude remarks for something I write that he hates. He came back later with an innocent ‘Who me?’ I’m just a commentator on politics blah blah screenwriter. Grrrrr.

At 7.00 am I went through to see to the fish and one of the ‘so called’ assassins was out. If he’s eaten anything it’s probably his partner and that’s why he’s been in hiding, digesting him. I just couldn’t be bothered with breakfast so after taking my meds and then doing a  new batch for the week I made a coffee and took it through with me.  I was delighted to read that a friend of mine who works all day every day on manuscripts for other people is actually going to take a three day weekend. It led me to thinking what a shame it is that I can’t meet some of the wonderful people I’ve met through the blog. Especially the ones in warmer climes today by coincidence of course. I think it must be a National holiday in Nigeria and Burkino Faso since none of them have written to me and maybe a power surge has shorted out a few crystal balls as well since none of the ‘seers’ has written to me in a while.

By 9.30 am I’d finished and rather than refresh and have to find a tissue for my eyes I got dressed, said a prayer to the patron saint of trench foot and went out. It had stopped raining ! I delivered my repeat prescription to the chemist and though I didn’t need anything decided to cross the road to the One Stop ( opposite Pauline’s) and just see what they’ve got in the six months since I was there last. I don’t know who’s stupid idea this was but I came out with a bag full and two rolls of kitchen paper towel under my arm. It’s just adding insult to injury that in Wales we have to pay for the carrier bags. I’m afraid there was nothing diabetic friendly in the bag either unless you count Maltesers. I struggled home. The minute I set foot on my step the rain came down again. Thank you St, Fungus.

Once in I unpacked then returned to the mail for a while, Toffee Crisp in hand. By 10.45 am I’d finished and decided to watch  a bit of TV coming up to lunch. People buying houses at auction and doing them up seemed favorite but after a short time my eyelids had other ideas and shut me down. I was awake for lunchtime and went through to see what was left. I’d got a minced beef hotpot. Wonderful….until I turned it over and found it wasn’t microwave suitable. Oops, I’d already taken my pre-lunch tablet and quickly had to make some cheese and coleslaw baps.I had a healthy yoghurt  to follow then a not so healthy 4 dark chocolate fingers. I’ve not heard anything from Mike to say whether he’s coming and I know the car is going in for repair today so I decide to keep attacking the mail as much as possible just in case. I have breaks for my antique programmes and for one of my quizzes but I’m pretty much on top now. I must have nodded a few minutes because on the second antiques programme they’re just heading for the auction where they sell everything then all of a sudden they’re taking food out of an oven. Oh wait, that’s somebody else completely with the food.

I was just on my way through to see how the mail was doing when I got a text message. I was excited for a moment until I saw it was my phone supplier reminding me to top up. I sat down at the computer and the phone beeped again. YAY, Mike’s on his way. It’s 7.55 pm so I have to give him 3 hours with the weather. So, I finish the mail and take a shower. I’ll go through to the TV and pretend I have company though I’ll keep popping through in the adverts.

It’s almost time for his arrival so I’m finishing this quickly so we have chance to speak. Though maybe this week I’ll have chance to speak to a human being instead of the TV and poor Mike can turn his hearing aid off an nod occasionally. Sometimes he nods and says Ah, or Yes, hoping they’re in the right place but I don’t really care.

This one’s for Mike.      

Saturday.  The was a noise last night as the door opened, something flew in, used the loo flushed and left again. I was left starting at a light on in the empty bathroom and a closed front door. Was it some random drunk from the local pub who couldn’t wait until he got home………. I put the kettle on just in case. Moments later the door opened again and in breezed a very relieved Mike who’s been at the end of his tether when he drew up and couldn’t wait to get has case from the boot ( trunk for my trans-Atlantic buddies). He threw his case on the bed and came to refill on coffee.It was my job to listen to his week because whenever he asks me how my week’s been I just tell him to read the blog! Every visitor counts. Which momentarily reminds me to mention my absolute surprise that people are still joining the blog. I had two new followers today alone. Welcome Newbies, you’ll soon learn the error of your ways. If I hadn’t been able to blackmail my regulars you’d be on your own here.

I didn’t get up until 6.30 am today but that’s OK. I went to the kitchen without turning the computer on and had a round of toast and made my coffee. I took all my tabs and sprays to waste time while I waited for Mike’s 7.00 am alarm. No joy. I went and turned the computer on and did a few messages. I had to decide whether to let the idle beggar poor tired fella sleep or grab a bucket of water. Any decision was futile as his alarm went off slightly before lunch at 7.30 am. I made a coffee and took it through.The alarm was off and the snoring was on. I was greeted by grunts when I told him in a voice loud enough to wake the dead his coffee was there. Then I returned to my emails. At 7.45 am the alarm went off again and it penetrated enough to get him up, well that and the fact I moved it out of reach. He took his drink through to the lounge and I followed him through. “Did my alarm go off at 7 am?” he asked. “No” I answered. “That explains it then.” he said but didn’t tell me what it explained. We had the usual loo visit just before which he thrust his mug at me for a refill. Would we get out before evening?

We eventually arrived at the supermarket when we’d usually be leaving. We managed to get round in quite good time and he wouldn’t let me have a coffee because I’d missed one thing from my list. He told me I could have a coffee in Flint and get my missing item there. We got to Flint and found my missing Loo Bloo then went to Temptations for a coffee. As usual I stood at the counter and chatted to Ceri as she made the order and Mike walked right past for the loo.I swear he’s like a dog marking his territory. As he came out I transferred the drinks to our table and ordered a teasted toecake for him before he started getting into his usual flirtatious conversation with Ceri himself. She was on her own this morning and quite busy. She also told us Daniel leaves at the end of next week which will be a loss . He’s also good fun on a Saturday morning and takes the teasing quite well.

We left and instead of going home headed for the Tweed Mill to see if we could find the broach Mike is looking for as  a gift. As I was afraid they didn’t have one but at least I got a cup of tea somewhere different. I suggested Afon Wen, the antiques centre which is where I got them previously. They did have one but it was a bit ‘spensive’ so it stayed in the cabinet. I’ve now suggested Ebay. We decided to go for lunch and set off across country to The Ivy where we found Angie very busy. The place was crowded. It was a while before Tariq appeared. He was serving and helping with the cooking but still had time for hugs. before going back to the kitchen. Shella was out doing a buffet so it was all hands to the pumps. When she returned he was able to come out a little more and chat though the crowds increased. After lunch I saw he was talking to a couple at the counter so I was able to go up behind them and just lay the money on the counter. By the time I’d got my coat on he was by my side arguing, as he was while I walked towards he door, opened it and got outside. Mike thought it was hilarious. We’ve never had anyone less anxious to take money from me before. At this rate he’ll be paying me to eat there.

Time to head home and unpack the shopping. That done I was desperate to get on to do my messages and Mike was going to deal with a phone his son, my nephew Anton had sent me. An HTC Wildfire, they’re trying to bring me out of the dark ages. There was moaning, groaning and cursing galore as he tried to set it up. He shouted to me, he visited me and interrupted me and then went back to cursing again.After continuous fiddling it was up and running by 10.30 pm. I’d done my mail, made our pre-tea pudding, watched a couple of programmes on TV, washed pots, watched TV, made tea, washed pots again, made more coffee all through the blue air of his swearing in the lounge session. Tomorrow my training starts in earnest ( if anyone knows where Earnest is please let me know) as I learn to allocate ring tones to specific people. Wish the world luck. After Mike found the episode of the Tomorrow People we missed earlier we watched that and I finally came through. I’m doing the blog before assaulting myself with the message catch-up again. Wishing you all a Fantastic Week.


Ready for Summer

Ready for Summer

Summer Raspberry

Summer Raspberry

Father & Son

Father & Son


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75 responses to “A Shattering Experience & The Gas Man Cometh Again

  1. Welcome back Mike! And thank you very much, David – the Baker Street video clip sent me off on an hour’s diversion, looking up Gerry Rafferty’s bio. Luckily the pics of Reuben [and Ugo] were so cute I decided to forgive you. 😀

    • Phew, I feel much safer under your forgiveness.I may not have slept again without it. Baker Street was a great song but Gerry was a great loss when he withdrew from music. Probably sensible though if he found it all too hard.
      It’s nice to have Mike back to insult again.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the pics. Some nice ones.
      xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  2. “Not a cat in hell’s chance.” < — I love this! Oh, the T-Shirts rock. So cool. David, referring to your video by Gordon Lightfoot, I've been to the upper peninsula in my state to a museum that hosts lots of information about the Edmund Fitzgerald. It's on Lake Superior and is very impressive. Many places around here do a lot of talks about it. But, I live in the Great Lake State and I'm surrounded by the Great Lakes. Have a great week.

    • Yet another Brit phrase to tickle you. I love the teeshirts and I know once Mike sees them he’ll want them. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald was his favourite song for so many years. I didn’t realise you were in the Great Lake State. It must be very beautiful.
      Have a wonderful week, xxx Hugs Galore xxx

  3. Oh… I’m so sorry for the sad loss you and your friend Charlie experienced.
    I hope your bad spell on Thursday didn’t continue any. Are you feeling okay now?

    • I’m feeling fine thanks Teagan, i a little tired this morning. Rob was very much Charlie’s friend and apparently a really nice person. I only know of him because it was the same cancer that took Ju. I’m so glad he managed to get married.
      Sending you Hugs Galore xxxxxxxxxx

  4. David, I have lost two friends to pancreatic cancer, and I am so very sorry for the loss of these special people in your life. The only balance for me was the pictures of Reuben, and I especially enjoyed the Father/Son picture…the continuity of life and joy.

    • Thanks so much Marylin, I’m sorry you’ve suffered losses with the same evil cancer. It’s one of the few that’s almost always terminal.
      I’m glad you found the pictures of Reuben a nice balance though I may just be in trouble for putting that on of his Dad online. Oops!!
      xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  5. carolewyer

    Simple Minds, some excellent t-shirts, a catch up with you and some beautiful photos of the adorable Reuben. Yep, Sunday has got off to a good start. Thank you, David. I’m sending you some of my biggest hugs xxx

  6. You made me laugh, David 🙂 Such stories, such t-shirts!
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  7. The t-shirts made me laugh too, well done.

  8. I wondered who watched all those antique progs that I discovered in hospital. Another fan of the T shirts. Except I prefer embroidered ones, not rubberised ones.

    • Ah, you caught me out. I’m glad you like the teeshirts too and I think they’d look great embroidered but the cost would put many people off.
      I hope the leg is getting better,
      xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  9. …splendid, splendid post … mucho enjoyable, that man 🙂

  10. Yes, sad news about Rob. I wish the best to his family.
    I loved the T-shirts though. I usually go looking for funny postcards but maybe I should take up T-shirts too. I also love the Antiques Road trip but usually tend to catch it either in re-runs (Yesterday channel sometimes) or sometimes in the i-player.
    I also had somebody come and read the counters this week. I hope it wasn’t the same person as it would have been a huge trek!
    Reuben looks happy the weather is getting warmer (although I agree with you that maybe the summer is already gone).
    Have a lovely week!

    • I’m sure Rob’s family are devastated. They haven’t had time to get used to the diagnosis let alone his death. I wish them well too.
      Teeshirts are great fun to have ( and to do too) if they’ve got humor running through them but a bit harder to keep than a postcard. My favorite at home says ‘Bank of Dad’.
      Reuben tends to be a Happy Chappie anyway so those smiles brighten my day. I hope there’s still some summer to come for trips to the beach though.
      xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  11. Oh, I didn’t know that you knew Rob too… he was a fantastic teacher and amazingly knowledgeable. There’s a nice tribute to him on the Vincent Wildlife Trust website: http://vwt.org.uk/about-us/tribute-to-rob-strachan
    He will be vary sadly missed
    xx hugs xx

    • I only knew of him after he became ill I’m afraid from my good friend Charlie who worked with him at the Environment Agency. He had the same cancer that Ju had and there were questions about treatment for pain she had that they wondered if he’s benefit from. Sadly he was diagnosed too late. What a loss.
      xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  12. Mike


  13. Love those T shirts. Forgot to watch BBang this week. Thanks for the reminder! (and the RT) xx

  14. Hey I just read it again. Had a feeling I’d missed a bit the first time round. And I had. About 3 pars. Liked the bit where you locked yourself in. I mean, I liked the way you wrote about it…x

    • I’m so glad you amended that thought. I’m practically a hermit as it is without you being pleased I’ve locked myself in. I’m glad you liked the way it was written. There are times I wonder about adding things like that as Mike takes great pleasure in checking my hair isn’t really blonde.
      xxx Mega Hugs xxx

  15. The world is a small place. We also like Antiques Roadshow – always repeats. The t-shirts are hilarious. I was getting hopeful when you suggested the weather was sunny but the downpour and news of your friend Charlie’s Rob disheartened me but then I thought that is life, sad but good with it. Reuben is the good, as is the picture frame man… and the writer of this blog. Ok, Mike too and all your other family and friends. So Good wins again.
    But enough of that blonde talk…. but hhhhhmmm… I’ve managed on occasion to think I’ve locked myself in… and other times actually locked myself out.

    • The world has become much smaller thanks to the internet and I’m glad, World peace is a possibility when you have people of the same minds in other countries. If not, well you can insult further and faster than before so it’s not all bad.
      As you say, Reuben is the good in my life as are family, friends and humorous teeshirts. The white hatters win again.
      Sounds as though we both share blonde moments. I confess I’m as thick as two short planks, what’s your excuse?
      xxx Mega Hugs xxx

  16. Long time I haven’t seen a mention of Bad Company. Ah, schooldays!

  17. Those T-shirts are fantastic and I so love that photo of father and son… delightful 🙂 xxx

  18. Time for me to chime in, David. I really like the musical options that I can play in the background while I read and laugh.
    Lemon meringue = yum!
    So sorry about the friend’s loss. I’m sure it brought up some sad memories of Julia’s illness and loss. Hugs and hoping the happy memories pulled you through.
    Also sorry about the picture glass. Glad the trip home was less eventful 🙂
    Reuben must be the best dressed scamp around. Love the side-by-side photos with his dad.
    Last comment, before I overstay my welcome: hahahahahahhahahaha—those t-shirts!1!
    Big hugs,

    • Hi Patti. Let me start by saying no way could you outstay your welcome. I love comments.
      I’m always glad to hear someone likes the musical choices. I can’t win on them all but I’m glad when a few hit home.
      Baps- soft bread rolls, quite big and usually used for sandwiches.
      Hearing about Rob did bring back memories of Ju but I know she’s OK and she knows I love her. I know Rob will be OK too.
      I was sorry to mess up the bus with glass and also to spoil Yvonne’s gift which I’d been telling her was coming. It was great to be able to replace the frame so easily and the pics weren’t damaged.
      Reuben was well dressed today and Ugo asked where the clothes came from. Yvonne answered “From his Pops, They all do”, I think I’d better slow down as I don’t remember buying them.
      T-shirts, Mike laughed when he saw them but he had to agree they’re true….except he says he has no dyslexia.
      xxx Massive Hugs to you. xxx

  19. Catherine Johnson

    Sorry to hear about Charlie’s friend. I’m glad you’re so busy then you haven’t got too much time to dwell on the sad stuff. I haven’t had a toffee crisp in ages – yum!

    • Thanks Catherine. I hope the sad stuff is behind me and it’s all nice memories now.
      It’s been a while since I had a Toffee Crisp too but as I bought a multi pack, I promise to eat the next one in your honour. You’ll enjoy it.
      xxx Sending Huge Hugs xxx

  20. laurie27wsmith

    Another great week here David. Haven’t seen it in years eh? I don’t envy you having to take the Nitro spray. I had to take it for a little while and boy doesn’t it knock yer block off. I’m gobsmacked that the Nigerians have left you alone this week, no seers, or demands. What have you done wrong? Good to see your printer’s up and running, bit of bad luck about the picture frame though. Sounds like the weather hasn’t changed much, although I’m not rubbing it in, it’s beautiful here today and I hope that you get some sensible weather over there. Mate, steak and vegies for lunch? Beats a ham sandwich any day. Ruben is growing and really takes after his Dad, when you think of it, that’s a good thing. 🙂 Is the gas board dicking you around intentionally or aren’t they talking to each other back at the office? I always leave the best till last, that’s why my reply is usually a day or so after I receive your mail. Well have a great week David, feed the fish and I hope there hasn’t been a falling out with the assassin. Keep Mike fuelled with coffee and get some closed eyelid time. Huge manly hugs from Laurie.

    • Not in more years than I care to mention Laurie.Though I refuse to say what IT is. Yes the nitro spray always gives me a massive headache so I’m not sure which is worse, chest or head.
      I think I’ve had most of Nigeria by now so maybe they’ve got the message.
      I decided the picture frame was bad luck but at least it wasn’t a mirror.
      Thanks for reminding me how nice your weather is….just what I needed. At least it’s not raining so far today. Roll on Summer.
      Steak and veg again today too since I’ve not been good this last few days.It’s been bacon and sausages with chips.
      I’m not sure the gas board know what they’re doing as I’m not sure this fella was definite about the change. No-one’s been in touch since then.
      I’ll keep feeding the fish and I actually saw an assassin today but I swear he’s eating fallen food from the tank floor instead of other snails. The floor is supposed to be his fall back. Trust me to buy a bloody vegetarian killer snail.
      Mike went home on Sunday as usual but I’m hoping to have the kettle on Thursday night this week. I’ll try for the shuteye.
      Keep well my friend. Manly Hugs.

      • laurie27wsmith

        We won’t talk about IT then David. 😉 I didn’t mean to rub it in about the weather, *nudge nudge* I only wanted to let you know that the sun was still in existence. Perhaps you should wheel the television over to the fish tank, put on a Japanese samurai movie and invite the assassin fish to watch it for some pointers. I like that, ‘Vegetarian killer snail.’ I hated that nitro spray, they only put me on it because they didn’t know if I had a heart or a lung problem. Keep that kettle on Mate, you don’t know who’ll turn up, manly hugs all round and we’ll speak soon.

      • For someone who doesn’t want to rub it in about the weather you’re not doing a great job. That’s the second time this morning. I now believe the sun exists but it emigrated to Oz.
        I wheeled the TV over as you suggested and had an angina attack, it was when I realised the TV table hasn’t got wheels! The snail took one look, said “Sayonara” and went into hiding.
        I guess they found it was a lung problem for you.Welcome to the world of COPD and all it’s sprays.
        Not expecting visitors until tomorrow night for cards but kettle will be on in case you feel the urge to escape the sun.
        Keep well Laurie. Manly Hugs.

      • laurie27wsmith

        Sorry David, the fact is our Queensland winters are usually extremely sunny and cool, with a week or so of brisk wind. Someone has to put up with it. Mate you’re so funny love the TV wheeling. There has to be something you can do with that snail Mate. Yes, being a non smoker I wasn’t too happy with the diagnosis. It come on top of asthma. I ended up with pneumonia and Influenza A too. Had the lungs pumped out, a big dose of antibiotics and now I’m not too bad. Get breathless easy but I’m on a small dose antibiotic to keep the fluid dried up. hate it but it’s better than the alternative. Big manly hugs right back David.

  21. The T-shirts are quite amusing. I love The Police. The weather has taken a turn for the worse here in London, and it is surprisingly cold. Can only imagine what it is like in North Wales at the moment.

    • Amusing but so appropriate for the person Guy. As with many groups it was a shame they broke up .I’ve never quite warmed to Sting since then.
      I’m sorry it’s turned nippy in London, it’s surprisingly mild here still and I’ve seen no showers so far today. We could do with full sunshine back though.

  22. Maggie Thom

    Sounds like an eventful week. So glad you got a hair cut so that no harm came to you while riding with Mike. 🙂 Sorry to hear about the frame, that’s frustrating. I hope your bout of not feeling well was short lived? Have a great week. Thank you for the smile. Hugs, hugs and more hugs. 😀

    • Always lovely to have you drop in Maggie. I was embarrassed about the frame but it shows I’m as cack-handed as they come. Soon replaced luckily.I’m as good as I’m going to get so no use complaining. No-one listens anyway.
      I hope your week is fantastic. If you had a smile you’re welcome.
      xxx Mega Hugs xxx

  23. Hi David, hope you well.
    Was sorry about your frame on the bus but I loved how you had little acts of random kindness from people helping you. Little things like that make me believe that there is some good in the world.
    The first t-shirt could be made just for my husband, oh and my Dad when I think about it! Very good.
    I always forget to take a carrier bag with me to the shops and end up getting a new one. The trouble is our cupboard under the stairs is full of carrier bags doing nothing!
    I do appreciate the dedication with you sharing your posts with us, I love reading every week and look forward to wonderful and caring comments you reply with every time I post too.
    You take care,

    • Hello Kim and family,
      I was grateful for the kindness showed by the passenger and the driver. I think those random acts are why my faith lies in people. They’re capable of so much.
      When Mike saw the t-shirts he laughed out loud and agreed they’re just him but he did say the first one should be on my back too. He must have thought I’m cold……
      I’m usually pretty good at taking a bag to the shops but sometimes I forget. The old carriers used to go as wastebin liners but ran out long ago so I try to get some when I cross the border where they’re still free.I don’t understand why though.
      I write my posts as it occupies me but am astounded as more and more people follow the blog and good friends like you comment so regularly. It’s nice to feel part of something.
      xxx Massive Hugs xxx.

  24. I left a comment earlier but it doesn’t appear to be here…bloody internet. I’ll wait awhile in case it’s me being flaky. That little man of yours is a lucky boy, to have you all loving him…he gets cuter every week. 🙂

    • The internet is fun isn’t it.I don’t know how many times I’ve posted and nothing’s appeared. Reuben is easy to love Maggie, he’s getting bigger and smilier all the time.
      Hope things are going OK for you and that you have a great year.
      xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  25. I love the T shirts too! Love your witty rapartee. I am deeply sorry for your friend’s loss to cancer. I hope she is abe to find joy in small things. They carry us through, don’t they?

    • The Tshirts appear to be the hit of the week. They really are funny though. Thanks so much for your comments. Yes, we take what we can get whn it comes to joy. The small things get us through the night.
      xxx Massive Hugs to you, wonderful Niamh xxx

  26. An up and down kind of week! I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend.

  27. So sorry to hear about the frame disaster. That is the kind of thing that finds me…disasters like that! I am a trouble magnet though. You are just a kind soul who least deserves that. Also very sorry about your friend. I just lost a friend yesterday (he was more like family) and I am numb today. That baby is sure cute! I hope you are feeling much better since you had that little spell with the retching. something didn’t sit well after you ate it? As to the shopping bags, they are trying to force us into using the so-called carriers, too, or charge us for the plastic (10cents each!) or 5cents each for paper bags. I wouldn’t mind paying if I actually believed the money would be used to clean up litter or whatever…but the money just gets wasted on other items we didn’t permit expenses for. Ecology my foot. Make sure you clean the reuseables! They have been found to harbor bacteria growth and mold. Stay well my dear friend.
    Biggest hugs, xxxXXX CJ and MousiexxxXXX

    • Don’t be sorry C.J. just tell me off for being so clumsy. I was really lucky to be able to replac it so quickly.
      I’m so sorry about your loss. It really hits hard when they’re close like that. The ones we can least afford to lose. They always say the good die young which says a lot for me doesn’t it.
      Reuben is cute, just watching him makes me smile- unless he’s trying to chew my hand with the 8 teeth he has now.One for each month.
      I’m fine now thanks, it’s rare food disagrees with me if that’s what it was.
      We pay 5p about 7c for plastic carriers and the money is supposed to go to charity. In England they still pay nothing so I always try to bring one home if I cross the border as a bin liner.Here I usually carry a cotton or man-made material one that doesn’t need replacing.
      Take care of yourself.Try and remember your friend in ways that keeps a smile on your face.
      xxx Massive Hugs xxx

      • Sounds like the little guy is about ready for a nice thick steak, eh, Grandpa? Just wait til he’s talking and walking…that’s about the same time that ‘attitude’ starts, too. And as far as the good dying young, I guess I’m doomed to be at least 99…ugh! I just turned the half-century mark on Monday. I told everybody to stop counting from this point forward…or start taking a year off and going to the reverse instead. I rather like that idea. I know, it’s only a number, right? WRONG! On the upside, I can now be a regular card-carrying member of AARP (American assoc of retired people…just “tired” in my case)They wasted no time at all sending me my welcome pack in the mail, buggers! ((((Hugs, CJ))))

      • I’ll see if I can arrange the steak for his birthday.Talking of which, Congratulations. Now stop moaning, that’s reserved for when you get to my age.And I’ll be here till I’m 11o the way things are going.Fifty’s a great age, you’re allowed to get away with more because anyone younger than thirty thinks you’re ancient now yet you can still glam up and go for a night on the town and have the young men yearning for you.
        I have the benefit at my age of a free bus pass so it’s not all bad provided I’ve the courage to use the bus.
        xxx Massive Huge xxx

  28. Sorry for the loss of your friend, David. The t-shirts made me laugh. Your weeks sound exhausting, but I like seeing your slices of life! We’ve been travelling along the coastal southern US for the past two weeks, enjoying the change of scenery and visiting family.

    • Thanks so much Madison. The t-shirts were really funny. It’s great that so much humour can be expressed so easily.The week was fine as usual, I’m just prone to exaggeration to get a bit of sympathy, though I’m glad you enjoy the pieces.
      I hope the trip is working well for you. I’m sure all the family are delighted t see you. It’s nice to have a change. I hope the weather is being kind.
      xxx Ginormous Hugs xxx

  29. Always enjoy reading about your week. What a great sense of humor you have! xo

  30. Yup…must have a cat in hell’s chance T-shirt… maybe even with schroedingers cat on it…

  31. Hello David, you are so busy and so witty. My brother-in-law died of pancreatic cancer in his mid thirties. It was very devastating for the entire family. Is it me, or are there more cases of pancreatic CA now than there ever were before? I’m sad for Rob. My condolences to his loved ones. At least he was able to marry the love of his life before leaving this world.
    I love the T-shirts, they’re hilarious.
    Reuben is adorable. Love the pictures. The one side by side with his dad is awesome. Brilliant idea. All the best to you my friend. *Hugs & Kisses*

    • Hello Vashti, thanks so much for the wonderful compliment.
      I haven’t decided yet whether there are more cases around or whether I just became more aware of pancreatic cancer when Julia was diagnosed. But Steve Jobs and Patrick Swayzee have brought it to my notice too. It certainly seems I’m reading it more often though.
      The marriage brought great comfort to Rob”s family.
      The tee-shirts were great fun. I recently did one for Mike based on Soft Kitty from the Big Bang Theory but I daren’t say how it went.
      Reuben is the little oil keeping my motor running.
      xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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