Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Middle Finger Extension & Shirley’s Drunk!

Sunday 21st Dec 2014.

I was allowed to return to some kind of normality this morning with a 5.04 start. I think even the gods know when we mortals hold the upper hand. Push me too far and I’ll forget about them and they’ll ‘fizzle’ out of existence. Existence is about all they have at the moment since I certainly don’t worship the little perishers. If they want the next step I suggest they concentrate on my lottery numbers.

There was a fair bit of post this morning. I was in a good mood, but not good enough to open ‘Sexy Tina has tweeted you with a link’. I doubt my blood pressure could take it and my arteries would burst under the strain. Skirting round that one I carried on with the rest and worked until 7.00 am.  I walked through to the kitchen and flicking the light on the tank invited Big Al to do his worst. Perhaps remembering that they hadn’t been fed yesterday prompted a little discretion and they all just carried on as though they’d heard nothing. I opened the flap and fed them. As I closed the flap and started to turn away Big Al came up to the glass at the front and looked at me. The thing is, I couldn’t translate the look and I’m sure puzzlement must have run across my face. That was enough, he turned tail in glee and swam away. He knows which one of us is boss and it isn’t me.

I took my morning meds and made a coffee to take back through with me. Once there it was time to get washed and dressed and carry on with the mail until it’s time to wake Mike up. That’s what I did. About 8.50 am I was up to date and ready to make his coffee. I took it through dead on 9.00 am and called him “Time to rise and shine.” Very slowly a hand appeared from below the covers with middle finger extended. Well, at least I had his attention. “Coffee’s here,” I said. From my bedroom I was listening for movement but by about ten past I’d heard nothing and went back through. “Coffee’s going cold Mike.” I told him and he sat upright and said “Oh heck did I fall asleep, fall asleep, asleep again did I”? That was enough, and a couple of minutes later he was on the move. Since I was up top date again I joined him in the lounge. I didn’t bother telling him how heartbroken ( cough) I was about the finger as I’d just have got another one. While he drank his coffee I went and started bringing through the gifts we were taking through to MuJo this morning. ( or this afternoon if he didn’t get a move on). By the time he’d finished doing what he needed to do it was 10.00 am but we were actually going out the door.

It wasn’t too bad a run and took just about an hour to Cerrigydrudion and Ty Nant.We smoked our first cigarette in the new car on the way, every window open and freezing to death but it was worth it. MuJo had said they couldn’t meet us for lunch as their eldest daughter was coming up. We planned to stop for lunch on our way back. We had a coffee and mince pie with MuJo while Mike admired their 15 foot Christmas tree and the decorations. I placed their sacks by the tree ready for Christmas morning, and put Yvonne’s bag for them with it. Mike had also bought them some chocolates which joined the pile. By 12.30 we had to leave as Mike still had deliveries to do today before he went home.We wished MuJo goodbye and set off back stopping in Denbigh on the way back at a Morrison’s to try and get individual cereals ( the branch is too small) and Mike suggested lunch there. Normally it’s a good , filling meal. Today it was a disaster. We ordered lamb shanks with mash and peas as the alternative seemed to be turkey dinners.We got drinks and I took my pre-food tablet. It was then someone on the next table had a roast beef dinner delivered and there had been nothing to indicate this was an option. (Grrr) then after half an hour ours still hadn’t come so Mike went up to ask about it. Just being dished up he was told. It was hot at least from the microwave but the meat seemed very chewy and a bit dry like it had been done twice. The potatoes were pure stodge and Mike said he could still taste the powder in his. The peas were great though. I hope that’s not my only Christmas dinner this week.

We gladly got out of there and headed for home where Mike helped me wrap the Christmas presents for Ugo and Yvonne. That’s it now apart from two I have to wrap for Mike and no way was I asking for his help there. The car was loaded up with gifts for Yvonne’s family from MuJo which Mike was going to deliver on his way home for me so they had them for Christmas day. They’re not part of the boxing day opening. I waved goodbye to him a little after 4.00 pm. Then I almost scorched the carpet getting to my bedroom to see how bad the post was. 281 on the main mail service and that was to 2.57 pm. I daren’t refresh. The trouble was by about 6.00 pm my eyes were shutting and I had to go sit in the lounge and sleep for half an hour or so. 6.30 pm and it was back into battle though it seemed never ending by 11.05 I’d caught up. On the second service there were only 38 that weren’t duplicates so that wasn’t too bad. Now I’m cream-crackered and ready for bed and any new messages can wait for the morning.

Monday.

Despite it being a 1.00 am bed last night it was a much more expected time of rising this morning at 4.12 am. Perhaps I’m to be left alone now while the gods move on to pastures new. I did pinch myself to make sure I was awake in my own reality first. That’s a bruise owed to them now. There not having been a great deal of time before retiring and rising again I was able to take a more leisurely stroll to the loo this morning. I was really glad  not to be outside as the wind was really whistling through the grille above my front door and as it suddenly blew hard it cracked like the sound of a sheet being folded and flicked to remove creases. I’m pretty sure there was rain as well. It was grim but I was toastie inside. Time to look at the mail.

Having done so much last night the mail wasn’t too bad at all. And this early stretch had no stupid spam messages either for a change. There were some that required proper responses though and they took me some time so it was approaching 6.45 am when I was up to date. It was time to face the fish. Here was I expecting a big showdown and at first I got nothing. They just carried on like I wasn’t there until I put some food in the flap. Then there was a feeding frenzy and they were barging each other to get at the food.Even Morecambe and Wise who have no competition for the flake at the top of the tank were embroiled in the writhing mass at the bottom of the tank. It was as though they were desperate for food though that wasn’t the case. It took me a minute to realise Big Al was not part of the action and was lying on the bottom at the far side watching the goings on. It looked from his slight movements as though he disapproved and was tut-tutting. He swam forward in a very deliberate manner and found a pellet that had drifted further than the rest and started eating. I could see there were no problems for me today so shut the flap and turned to get my meds.

I took my coffee back to my room and saw the small box on one side that is one of Mike’s gifts. Now he’s out of the way and not due back until possibly late Thursday I could wrap it and take it through to the lounge where the other gifts are. I also needed to stop avoiding wrapping the very big box that contains his dragon lamp. I decided I might as well do everything at once. Obviously for the box I needed to use a roll of paper since the individual sheets wouldn’t do. That means unrolling and cutting to size in an approximation of a straight line. I managed it without wrapping myself or covering myself in sellotape. I also wrapped a gift for one of my nieces by marriage and then realised that I wouldn’t be able to deliver hers or my brother in laws before Christmas. I hate that but the sleigh is out of commission at the moment. The rest of the gifts I took through to the lounge ready for Christmas day and boxing day.

That messing around had passed a fair bit of time. I’d win no prizes for speed, tidyness or even legible handwriting these days.I went back to refresh my screen and catch up on the emails again. I need to keep on top of them all day today.I took a few minutes to get washed and dressed even though there was no chance of the cleaner turning up now. Since no-one has phoned to say she’s been taken ill I can only imagine I’ve been abandoned now. I’ll have to start looking again in the new year. Once I was dressed though I decided to take some little gifts round to my neighbours. Some of them seemed to be out while others seemed anxious to chat. It isn’t that I don’t care, but I was freezing and the wind was quite bitter. I needed to get back home and get warm. Once back inside I carried on with the mail and before 11.00 am I was clear. I went to the lounge and turned the Christmas lights on and watched a film. To be more accurate I watched some of a film as I nodded off for half an hour and then had to go and start lunch. The film came to an end at 12.50 pm so I washed the pots and went back to work.

Things weren’t too bad by any means and there were still no spam messages, instead as I opened an email to see someone’s post I found myself mentioned and she had gifted me a new award. My friends are just so kind to me. I kept going steadily until 4.30 pm then went back to the lounge. None of my usual programmes were on TV but I found something to tide me over in the right spirit ie. Not a war film or a Cowboy. For tea I had some more rhubarb tart that Mike had forgotten while he was here ( so sorry bro’) and which because of that I obviously didn’t enjoy at all, cough. I decided to stay there until 8.00 pm and just catch up when I came through. When I finally made it back after studying my eyelids from the inside again until 8.45 pm there was a bit to catch up on. But, that seemed to be pretty much done by 11.00 pm. Anything else can wait till tomorrow.

Tuesday.

Sure enough, the anything else that can wait for tomorrow was waiting this morning when I got up. It proves there’s no such thing as an early night, just a lengthened next day. I got up at 5.08 this morning and as soon as I saw the emails waiting, I wished I’d just stayed in bed. It’s not that I’ve got any objection to work you understand, it’s just that if the guy on the late shift last night had done his job, my morning might be starting a bit better. I did have two ‘Your Natwest statement is ready’ which I could delete out of hand since I don’t have an account with them. Minutes later I also had a ‘Your Co-operative Bank statement is ready for viewing’ which went the same way for the same reason. Bear in mind that the odds are there ,spammers will strike lucky sometimes and get your bank right. If the message does not use your name then it’s fraudulent. If you have any doubts, then go into your bank account via your own links  and view any messages they have sent. Likelihood, they won’t have sent any. Bear in mind, Do not go into your account via any links in the email.

I had not caught up but seemed to come across a natural break when I could see four messages that could be deleted straight away. That was at 6.40 am. I decided to see to the fish and sort breakfast out early. As I turned the light on in the tank I could see all was not well. Everyone was congregating in one corner. Either Big Al had called a Union meeting again or they were at a carol concert. I noticed though that the air pump was pumping water into thin air as the water level had dropped without me realising how bad it was. I had to get the fish bucket and mix some ‘Water Safe’ with some fresh, slightly warm water, and top it up a bit. Once the flow of water was circulating into the tank from the pump the fish came over to play. A I opened the flap to feed them another snail came flying off the flap and caught the edge of my mouth, ugh, if my mouth had been open at that moment I could have been French. I moved away and went to get my meds.

I started with a pre-food tablet then moved onto my sprays then finally my main tablets. I got the five smaller ones in my mouth and took a drink of milk but couldn’t get the thought of the snail out of my head.  My throat constricted and I went into a gag reflex. The damned tablets were dissolving before I could force myself to swallow. I had to go through it again twice as I took the two large tablets. My throat was not co-operating. Eventually I was done. I lit a cigarette which is always the perfect timer for when to have food. As it came to an end I put two slices of bread in the toaster and put my cup in the machine and pressed for my drink. The toast and my coffee were ready together. After applying lashings of butter I ate my breakfast and took the two after food torpedoes with some coffee.

I took what remained of my drink back to my room and carried on working.It was 10.00 am before I saw daylight and another twenty minutes saw me virtually up to date. Going through to the lounge after I’d dropped my dirty mug off in the kitchen I sat in my chair and within moments my eyes were shut tight. Zzzzzzzzz. It was 11.10 am before I came to and none of the expected guilt was there. I turned the TV on to some innocuous Christmas film until it was time for lunch. Yet again it was pre-food tablet followed by smoking a timer then making lunch which was a bing meal, beef stew with dumplings. I washed up and at 1.00 pm nipped out to Pauline’s to deliver a card and to pick up cigarettes for myself and for Matt who would be here this evening. I returned home and went straight back to work and was up to date by 2.05 pm. My pop supplies having run out in the bedroom I went through to the kitchen and had a drink. I turned TV on again and came across the British version of Judge Judy. The judge was an odious little man who spread sarcasm with a broad knife. Trouble was it was fascinating. For some reason I glanced out of the window at 2.30 pm and saw Dil and Matt approaching. I thought I’d been to sleep and missed the afternoon but no, Dil had closed the firm at lunchtime and sent the staff home till January. He’d picked Matt up and come straight here for an early games night. While I made drinks Dil got caught up in the judge too and said it was terrible, but you had to see it out. TV stayed on until it finished at 2.00 pm.

We started with a game of Yahtzee which is six hands. I won just one. Things went rapidly downhill from there. Nomination- Dil won. Chase the Lady, Dil won. Cribbage, I won, YAY. Then Matt offered to teach me Poker (Texas hold ’em?). We all started off with plenty of money but all I could do was watch my ile dwindle and Dil’s get bigger until I was skint. We finished up with cribbage which I also managed to win after an early struggle. That brought us up to 9.20 pm and home time for the boys. We all wished each other a Happy Christmas and they left. I tidied up and went through to start work. I had to stop doing mail at 11.00 pm to deal with the blog so it looks like tomorrow’s mail is going to be bad. Oops.

R.I.P Joe Cocker.

Wednesday- Christmas Eve.

4.18 am Today. That’s a little over 3 hours again. I suspect Somnos has settled into a pattern now and may have give up the idea of me being Publicity Agent for the gods….though not for long probably. I don’t think gods are used to arguments and expect to get their own way. As any man with a sister is likely to tell you, it doesn’t work like that. We practice war from a very young age, especially if the sister is older. Maybe I didn’t win too often but I always fought a good fight. Getting up at that time didn’t seem too bad , as always it gave me chance to attack the mail which I did as soon as I came back from bladder duty. I’m in agony this morning though it actually started last night. Perhaps a reaction to losing at cards? It’s my right ankle. It’s swollen, red, the skin is very tight and the pain is continuous. It’s just below the pointy bit that sticks out on the outside of the foot that’s most tender. Very difficult to walk and I’m using my crutches indoors. It can’t be broken or a certain person in Australia has threatened not to forgive me and may not speak to me again. I think it’s gout, and before anyone asks, No, I haven’t been overindulging in port and stilton.

At 6.30 am I broke away from work to surprise the fish. That proved to be a flop as they obviously heard the crutches and the cursing as I walked to the kitchen that they were all lined up at the front of the tank like an audience. I dare say some of them enjoyed the spectacle of me walking like that but I noticed that Big Al wasn’t in the line up. Maybe he actually cared. I opened the food flap and found out how far that care went, Big Al had swum to the top which was very unusual. With just one flip of his tail he started downwards again, but that flip sent a spurt of water right into my glasses so I couldn’t see. I get the idea how the snails have been coming out like torpedoes now. I stood on my dignity, dropped some food in. lowered the flap and hopped away dejected.

I cleaned or rather wiped clean my glasses before taking my meds in case I took the wrong ones and sent myself loopy( who was that called ‘Short Journey then’?). I had a miniature packet of cornflakes and took my cuppa to start work again. It was heavy going still but by 9.15 am I was clear of the worst of it and able to get washed and dressed. At 10.15 am Yvonne sent me a text saying they were dropping in on someone and would come to me straight afterwards. She’d text again when they were leaving. I took the opportunity to refresh the screen, perform a silent scream and start reading again. The next text came at 10.40 am to say they were on their way. Since I hate shopping late and fear crowds I feared the worst. I managed to clear the work by 11.00 am, grabbed my coat, put my shoes on ( gently) grabbed some bags and went outside to wait. As I reached the end of the path they arrived. As we got to the first Supermarket we drew into a disabled bay. The car park was quite full but the shop wasn’t too bad at all. I got part of what I wanted but not all. Yvonne got most of what she wanted too and Reuben kept us entertained on the walk round with his antics. We headed off to the second Supermarket where again I got most of what I wanted but not all. I had to settle for what I could get. At the till a fight ensued between this woman and her aged father when he offered to pay for her shopping. The battle was short and sharp but I  he won.

Ugo had spent almost the entire time we were out on the phone to gas companies and debt collection agencies over a bill his mother had had, and paid. After 9 phone calls covering a lot of different people and companies he won the refund due and an apology. It was the first chance of a proper conversation with him and as usual it involved food. He said he’d take me anywhere to eat but after all the hassle and completely forgetting my frozen food, we settled on going to MuJo’s favourite Chippy. It was great as I was starving. Reuben just wanted a drink so his sausage and some fish from his dad just ended up decorating the floor. They always bring wet wipes so they can clean up after him. We went home and Yvonne helped me get my stuff inside. Ugo stayed in the car with Reuben as he was ready for a kip……Reuben was, not Ugo. I said my goodbyes and they left. I unpacked the shopping and put it away and then ploughed into my work as it was 2.30 pm. I got about half done when I realised how tired I was. Giving myself a break I parked myself in from of the TV with the original Scrooge. I couldn’t nod. This film just draws me in every time.

It was about 4.00 pm when there was a knock on the door. Scrooge was still on but I answered it anyway. It was Jonathan who you may remember from last year is a young man I used to work with. ( If not, why not, don’t you read the blog?). It may only be once a year but it’s ever a delight to see him. He told me he’s finished with college now and earned a First which is really no surprise. I remember him starting work at 18  and for some reason thought him about 25 now so it was a real shock to find out he’s now 32. Anyone about that age who’s after a non drinker, non smoker but who is the nicest of people, apply here. Not a bad bone in his body. He stayed until 8.00 pm at which time I had to rush back in here. Ouch, the mailbox was bowing under the weight. I haven’t left here since except to take meds at 10.00 pm. At this rate I’ll be up to chat with Santa while he has his mince pie………… if he’s coming of course.

Reuben settling down for Santa

Reuben settling down for Santa

Santa's gift for Reuben.

Santa’s gift for Reuben.

 

Thursday. Christmas Day.

I went to bed at 12.15 am and managed to read until 1.00 am. Matthew Shardlake, Lawyer is hot on the heels of a religious killer during the time of Henry VIII who has just proposed to Catherine Parr. Maybe the story was on my mind and I didn’t want to be the next target of this killer or maybe I was just excited about Christmas but the wake up today was at 2.34 am. The mince pie had gone from the plate but I’m sure I remember having it for supper.

For once the mail was laughable and I actually ended up hobbling down the passageway and looking for something on TV at 3.45 am. I even stayed there until 5.00 am then went to see if there was more mail. There was but it looks like most people are enjoying the break and the incoming is sporadic. At 6.00 am I went to give the fish an early morning wake-up and catch them unawares. I put two of the larger tablets in so there would be plenty for all, as well as a little flake for Morecambe and Wise who despite appearances are only supposed to eat that. Nobody bothered me and I was able to get on with my meds and making a coffee without problems. I manoeuvred  my crutches using an elbow on one to carry my coffee through to the lounge. I wasn’t going to try and reach the bedroom with it. The foot has swollen more and even my slipper feels tight now. I nodded off in my chair until 8.40 am, dropped my cup in the washing bowl then headed back to work. There was still very little to do. Since I’d be on my own I saw no point in getting dressed. It would be very uncomfortable.

At 9.30 am I’d been patient long enough and went through to open my Christmas presents. All kinds of beautiful things. A book from a friend in Germany, a mind puzzle from ‘young’ Jonathan, scarf and my special biscuits from my friend Lis, a card shuffler and some special chocolate from Dil and family, some really special and unusual chocolate from Lee and Jen. My nephew David and family sent hair products and a photograph of their daughter. MuJo sent a book on collectible watches, a beautiful candle stand and a dragon wine bottle rest. I’ve been thoroughly spoiled and have to go through it again tomorrow with Yvonne and my nieces. I spent the morning between the bedroom and the lounge trying to work and trying to rest. Relief was hard to find. I had a ‘bing’ roast beef dinner at lunchtime which wasn’t too bad. Early in the afternoon Mike sent me a text to say he was going to Manchester to take his Dad for an x-ray because he’s hurt his wrist in a fall. It could be very late tonight before he’s here. That’s OK but a shame about his Christmas dinner.

At about 4.00 pm I had another text to say he’s on his way here. It took him just an hour from Manchester. The wrist was bruised but not broken and his Dad was OK. We sat and exchanged gifts, I received some wonderful old money in notes which were wonderful. I also got some cigarettes which will prove very useful, a fantastic cardigan and a silver broach with the Welsh Dragon on it. Mike seemed equally happy with his stocking giifts and his dragon lamp as well as his Welsh Gold ring of the Prince of Wales feathers. He lived so long in Wales, he talks of it as home and is an honorary Welshman. I felt very guilty that I couldn’t make his dinner but I did have all the makings and stood in thee kitchen with him while he made it. I had a couple of very small pork pies for my tea at the same time. Afterwards Mike did the washing up and let me catch up on emails before joining him again in the lounge. Getting between the two rooms is hell and I stumbled against the alarm, the sound catching Mike unawares. He helped me up  and Mike had to explain what had happened when they answered it.

Once I’d caught up again which took half an hour we sat and watched TV together. He set a stool and cushion for me to place my leg on and to be honest it did help….. at least until I moved. At 10.00 pm I left him watching an old b & w movie, The Lady Vanishes ,as I came and caught up again and also did the blog. Let’s see what tomorrow brings with the foot and whether or not I can get it into a shoe.

I’m not a religious person but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good song. After all, they say the Devil writes the best tunes. Anyway this seems to fit the bill for being appropriate for the day and also to allow the golden tonsils of Harry Belafonte to let rip.

Friday. Boxing Day.

It’s a 4.34 am day which I didn’t think was too bad despite having not turned my light off until 1.00 am. When I swung myself out of bed the pain in my ankle wasn’t as bad and testing my foot gingerly on the floor it seemed I might be able to put a bit of weight on it. I shuffled to the loo and shuffled back again. It hurt but it could be done. Once back the computer went on and I dealt with my emails.2 cons this morning both claiming to be from my phone/isp provider and both saying they’d had a problem with my payment his months. Even though I knew that couldn’t be true as I pay by direct debit, the fact I wasn’t named would have been warning enough.

By 6.10 am I was up to date and I went through to feed the fish. Today it was Big Al waiting at the drop off point. Because it was the small pellets he didn’t seem to know what to grab first. Both Morecambe and Wise came to the bottom again and it was odd to see Wise swimming about with a pellet stuck in her mouth while Big Al was still scrabbling to find the now settled pieces. I left him to it and went to take my meds. Sprays first and then the morning tablets. Next I took a pre-food tablet and went through to get my meds draw to renew the week’s supply in the case. Once I’d done that I was able to have some breakfast- cereal today- and take the post-food tablets. I went back to work for a while.

At 8.00 am Mike’s alarm went off so I knew he wanted to go out. I shuffled to the kitchen and made a drink which I took through to him. I told him it was there and he acknowledged me in his own way.”Uh, yes, OK”. As expected I was there again at 8.15 am. A little louder I told him not to forget his coffee. “YessorryOK, I’m having trouble with Shirley being drunk” he told me. “Wuh” I replied, “which Shirley?” “You know” he said pausing, “that one.” None the wiser I packed in asking. At 8.30 am I was just about to go through and say Shirley was waiting with a coffee when I heard him get up. Fair play he made up for the reluctance to leave his bed by really getting a move on and we ended up being ready to leave at 9.00 am. He brought the car up towards the door and we loaded in all the sacks of gifts. We were at the ASDA sale by 9.30 am. It would be fair to say that  compared to the web site I was very disappointed. There were Christmas jumpers and cardies for men at good prices but very few shirts and not one pair of jeans or chinos. I managed to get a bargain with some bedding but that was it. The only other thing I bought were some gift boxes which are always useful. Mike had a look to see if he could find a clothes steamer but had no luck. We went to a self service pay point and coughed up for the goods then went towards the cafe. The queue there was longer than at the sales so we had to bypass it and head for the car.

It was raining outside and Mike made some comment about snow being due soon. I said yes, they’d predicted it for today but they’ve been wrong every other time. We got in the car and Mike decided to break the no smoking rule this time. As he headed out of the car park I sent Yvonne a text saying we’d be there in half an hour and to get the kettle on. She texted back she would. When we finally got there, Ugo and Reuben were just arriving home from the shops and my two nieces were parking up. We had so much stuff we parked on the pavement to unload then Mike went to find a parking space. Jo put the bags for her boyfriend Mike, who wasn’t joining us, and my brother in law whose gifts she was delivering on the way home straight into her car. Reuben was in his Dad’s arms smiling and pointing at me, or laughing at me, I’m not sure yet. We went inside and found Yvonne hard at work in the kitchen. Jo made Mike and I a cup of coffee. The lounge seemed the best place to sit so we all congregated in there as soon as Yvonne put the bread in the oven. Since it was still so early we decided to open gifts. As I’d got there I’d given Reuben a little barrel in which was a toy.  It turned out to be a Dragon in 3 pieces which brought it up to a nice size. When it came to opening prezzies we decided to start with him. He tugged at the paper on the first couple and then plonked his botton down in the chair Karen and Jo had bought him and played with the dragon. No sign of interest in anything else.

Everyone else took their turns more or less and we were all thrilled with our gifts. I got some blue desert boots, a Welsh Dragon onesie a lovely jumper and so much more. There was so much stuff Mike had to go and load the bags back into the car to give us room. When he came back we all went through to eat. Loading up at the buffet and then to out assigned places in the dining room. Reuben had gone ( been taken) upstairs for a nap. The food was lovely and very plentiful but I paced myself to make sure I’d have room at the end. Some silly things happened before that point like Jo asked if she could have some beetroot jelly followed by Mike asking her if he could have it after her. Ridiculous, like I’m ever going to share it and if I did, like Jo would have any left. They were so sulky I actually left a spot at the bottom of the bowl and got a fresh one. I had trifle to follow.

Afterwards I stepped out for a cigarette before going to have a game Yvonne had bought me which she said she’d heard good things about. The gift tag to me had read for nasty people to play so I was able to make her feel guilty. Well, the room got very warm. One person ‘A Tsar’ asks a question and everyone else put’s in a car from a selection they draw which gives a funny response to the question. Some of the answers were downright dirty, not just near the knuckle but actually perched on it. Everyone else took pleasure in saying “You never bought THIS game for your Dad”? She carried a permanent blush and kept trying to stutter an excuse about not knowing. Eventually we had to declare Karen the runaway winner. It was time to pack up and take our leave. I had work to do and I wanted a shower Reuben was back downstairs by this time and was falling all over my bad foot. I sounded like a timber wolf howling. He was as good as gold at waving goodbye tonight.

We hadn’t got very far into the journey when the rain changed to snow. Great big flakes that were sticking. The speed of all the traffic went right down and Mike’s BP went right up. We got home safely eventually but it was getting thicker. We were glad to get all the stuff indoors again. I worked from a while then had a shower about 6.00 pm. watched TV with Mike till 7.00 pm then came back to work. There wasn’t much chance of catching up but I needed to do the best I could. I needed another break about 10.00 pm so went back through till 11.00 pm then came to do the blog before going back for a last go at the mail.

Present Opening

Present Opening

On Train.

 

 

Saturday.

After finishing the blog last night I headed back through to talktalk to have another go at emails only to find the site down for updates. Because of that I let out a silent cheer and went to gmail where I deleted most things to deal with wen talktalk is back, and concentrated on the items which come through to gmail alone. I was finished there by 11.30 pm and settled on an early night. First I had to find my bed under the layer of bags containing presents from the last two days. That was no fun, storage being at a premium unless I start filling the loft again. I got to bed at 11.45 pm and read until 12.15 am. Out went my light. Out went I as soon as I found a comfortable spot for my foot.Heaven forfend I find my night disturbed, yet t’was so. I don’t know how far into sleep I was before I was made to travel. I found myself in a field of green with stone walls criss-crossing it. Perched on one wall was a large almost man-sized figure with what appeared to be an adult look. It took me a moment or two to recognise Somnos. He greeted me with a nod. “Well met” he said.                                                                                                                                                            “Hello Somnos” said I, always ready with the witty retort, ” where’s your compadre Porcinus?” I asked.                                                                                                                             “Alas he is diminished at the moment” he answered, “but belief in me grows and I age and grow accordingly, I suppose I have you to thank for that.”  Not wishing to accept I’d played a part in his creation or growth I changed the subject. “What brings you here now, or perhaps I should ask what brings me here now since it seems I’m the one to travel?” I asked.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ” I really must have an answer to my question about you becoming my our publicist. I acknowledge you’ve made a fine start with me but I require that someone promote belief in my brother Porcinus and in my other brother Jake.I require their assistance.”                                                                                                                                                                                               ” Wow , what a pantheon ” I said. “Somnos, Porcinus and Jake. OK ” said I growing weary, “I accept, but you must leave me to do it in my own way and my own time.” At that point I felt the flight of my return to bed and the reality of snow outside my door. I slept. I woke, it was 4.18 am Hours later writing this blog I am forced to say there are three gods by name of Somnos, Porcinus ( of the pigs and goats) and My Brother Jake of who knows what. I have fulfilled my part of the bargain and hope to be left alone now.

I woke at 4.18 am and paid my first visit of the day to the loo. Then I logged on to the computer and found that talktalk is still down for maintenance and nothing fresh has been able to hit my gmail account because of this. Even an early start doesn’t help me keep up to date it seems. I spent until about 6.45 am playing on Ancestry.co.uk updating ‘hints’ on some very obscure relatives. I’m sure there was Count Vald the Implier in Transylvania who went round dropping vague hints about people all the time. Strange people. Actually I was getting hints about Ju’s family after heaven knows how many years. I have two separate trees for us and when it sends me a hint it tells me it’s from me but a different me????????? Not that I wouldn’t be different if I could of course. I went through and took my meds and then made myself a coffee.  I also boiled the kettle up in case Mike had decided to put his alarm on with the intent of going out. I turned round to get his mug ready and realised I hadn’t done he light in the tank. I qulickly corrected that mistake with loads of apologies though I didn’t once face the tank while I made them and gave nothing to eat. I picked up Mike’s mug and turned back to the kettle.

Just then the alarm rang which coincided nicely with the kettle boiling. I made a drink and took it through. “Coffee’s here bro” I called, expecting the usual grunt.      “Is the weather fit for going out ?” I heard and looked round to see who’d spoken. I confirmed the snow had been driven back and that though it was in fact wet outside, shopping could still go ahead as planned. I went to start getting dressed, Mike went back to sleep. Ten minutes later the alarm repeated. I can’t repeat what I heard but he got up. Needless to say it was not a usual morning and by the time he’d grunted, farted ( ‘scuse my bum), coughed and drunk his coffee then finally got dressed it was nigh on 8.30 am. As i didn’t want much in the way of food due to the skint diet we weren’t going to our usual supermarket but heading for Broughton Park so we could look for a clothes steamer and a 10″ tablet for him. We made our way there withnthe rain and sleet beating down on us but still made good time as the roads were relatively quiet. We parked outside Tesco’d and went upstairs to look at the gents clothing sale ( one waistcoat in the whole lot and it wouldn’t close round one of my thighs) then went for coffee. You have to start an outing off right don’t you.

We went downstairs and shopped for the little food on my list then as Mike took the bags to the car I had a cigarette outside. Next door is a British Home Stores where I used to be able to use a store card from another shop. After hearing the card backers wouldn’t be running the cards again late last year and I didn’t believe a big group would do without a store card I thought I’d better ask. No problem I was told so I picked a few thing out I wanted including a clothes steamer and took them to the counter. The card was rejected 3 times. So embarrassing. Mike said leave the stuff and come away but I couldn’t do that and paid cash instead. Next move was to take a walk round the complex to the shop whose card it is to ask questions where I find the card has been replaced by a credit card based on the group. Very annoying, but I signed up for it. It was granted straight away by their backers over the phone. Since coming away from their I’ve decided I probably won’t use it and will just pay the little I owe on the existing store card and forget them. We walked a little further and went round another store where we had our next coffee and thn on to a last store where I wasn’t impressed with their sale prices at all. £11 for a box of chocolates that contained 8.

On the way  home we stopped for lunch as it was getting on for 2.00 pm and I was overdue on the tablets. I had quite a nice roast beef dinner while Mike had lamb. On the way out my crutches slid on some of the snow still hanging about and I jarred my groin trying to keep my balance. I must have made an Oops sound because Mike turned round and grasped one of my arms pulling me upright. He was trying to tell me to get my eight on my left leg but was laughing too much. He hoped maybe I could repeat it with him looking this time. Instead I just made my way to the car walking like John Wayne, one strained groin and one ‘gouted’ ankle.       Then to home where we unpacked and while Mike did Ju’s flowers I came to work. There was a lot since I had to do everything I’d missed since last night but at least I was back up again. I worked from 3.00 pm until almost 6.00 pm hen I needed a break and Mike needed annoying company.  We watched the box until 7.00 pm then made some tea. At 7.30 pm I returned to work while Mike kindly washed the pots. By 9.00 pm I was up to date ( without refreshing) and went to watch a bit of The Hunger Games in case I ever have to compete. By 10.30 pm much as I wanted to stay I knew I needed to keep on top of the post and also deal with the blog.

New Driver

New Driver

 

 

Trio of Foodies.

Trio of Foodies.

 

May I take this chance to thank you all for your help in the last year and for all your kindnesses. I hope you all have Fantastic starts to the New Year and only go upwards from there. I consider myself honoured to know you and count many of you as friends.

 

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Jo Robinson’s Echoes Tour

It’s not often I get the pleasure of hosting someone who is not only the complete professional as a writer. But someone who has proved to be most generous in the help she offers to others. The delightful Jo Robinson has proved to be a great personal friend and I had no hesitation in offering to host the new book……. 

Echoes of Narcissus in the Gardens of Delight.

Donna thought there was something wrong with her. That she was suffering from a mental illness that has caused her husband to despise her, distance himself from her, and cheat on her. She blames herself for the desolate, miserable thing that is her marriage and her life. Then she comes across a book that will change everything for her, and reading it, she discovers that there’s nothing wrong with her mind at all, but that there is something very wrong with her husband instead. Marco, she realises, is a malignant narcissist. A text book case. He has a real and documented mental disorder, and that he’s been controlling, manipulating, and abusing her for decades. The sudden full knowledge of all that he’s purposely done to her enrages her. Not sure how to leave after thirty years of what she finally knows has been intentional mental and emotional abuse from him, and believing that she has nowhere to turn, being so physically isolated, she bides her time.

Then she meets and befriends a group of unusual people who share her passion for gardening, and so begins her journey to escape. She joins her new friends in their project to assist elderly people in old age homes care for their small gardens, as well as secretly supplying those suffering from painful and terminal illnesses with medicinal herb and plant remedies, including illegal plants such as cannabis. As weeks go by, she delves into her memories, relearns what it is to be respected, liked, and loved again, and slowly she formulates a plan to safely leave her dangerous husband. But unbeknownst to Donna, Marco is in serious trouble, and has desperate plans of his own, and absolutely no regard for her safety.

 This is a work of fiction, but malignant narcissists really do exist, and it is a recognised mental illness. Unfortunately, many people never realise that they are involved with a narcissist, because their actions are so demonically bad as to be unimaginable and unbelievable, and so they spend their lives in misery, depression, fear, and isolation. If only by the accidental reading of a fictional story, I hope that this book will help even one person, unknowingly suffering narcissistic abuse, to realise that they don’t have to, and that it’s never too late to start over, be happy, be fulfilled, to love and care for yourself, and be truly loved and respected by others.</em>

narc12349n1t-2

Available now from http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00RBRYMD6/p300-fwd-20

Jo Robinson very recently returned to her homeland, South Africa, after having lived in rural Zimbabwe for eighteen years. Her obsessive affection for the African continent, most humans, and all creatures feathered and furred are what inspire her writing. She is the author of African Me & Satellite TV, the science-fiction/fantasy series Shadow People, and a couple of short stories, which will be free to download from Amazon from 26 to 30 December,                                    http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B009GDHVUE                and                             http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B009DX4JDY

Fly Birdie

 

 

The Visitation

 

To win eBook copies of Shadow People and African Me & Satellite TV, send Jo a message from https://africolonialstories.wordpress.com/contact-me/

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http://www.amazon.com/Jo-Robinson/e/B009JB6IAW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

http://www.goodreads.com/JoRobinson

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/103285650930471596244/posts/p/pub

https://www.facebook.com/pages/J-C-Robinson/405248799532723?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/jorobinson176

http://africolonialstories.wordpress.com

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The Most Watched Afternoon Video 2014 and Written Kindness Award to David M Prosser

A video that shows true affection and an award that knocked my socks off.

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Surreal Sunday & Thoughtful Thursday.

Sunday 14 th December 2014.

My plans to have the gods annihilate themselves in a series of plots against one another have been temporarily shelved. I got to bed so late, so tired and still unfinished ( my work, not me personally) left me dreading a wake up call before the first bird of the day has even farted, but I found myself lying in until 5.57 am. Practically unheard of.It’s possible that maybe I underestimated Somnos’  aptitude for kindness. I was able to unburden the bladder which was in crisis after the much appreciated rest and then come back to my room and turn the computer on. There were a lot of messages on there but I felt more inclined and better able to face them rested as I was. I know I dealt with the fist two but suddenly I was coming round and it was 7.00 am. Just two messages done in an hour and I slept again? I just don’t remember nodding off or being tired.

It was time to feed the fish, or rather not feed the fish but turn their light on. Today I decided was their day of abstention. Obviously I wasn’t going to eat in front of them either so I was going to be abstemious too. I switched on the light and found myself face to face with Big Al.Then the oddest thing happened, he smiled at me and swam away. Puzzled and not a little suspicious I turned for my meds and made a coffee. Back at my desk a few minutes later I started in on the mail again. I know I managed quite a few and actually cleared the rest of last night’s. So, it was time to do battle with today’s. It was gone 7.30 am and there were a few messages on there but only up to 6.05 when I’d logged on. Against all Odds (Thanks Phil Collins) I cleared them by 9.00 am. I was pretty sure I was safe for a while yet as I could hear Mike snoring in his room. I refreshed.Oh Hell, why did I do that? I got that far ,then nothing.

I came to at 9.35 am and Mike was still in bed, still snoring and the mail was still in my box bar one which I must have opened as I fell asleep.

I am Mr Tom Crist the Calgary Max Lotto Winner of 40 Million

You have been selected to recieve the sum of $ 1 Mill^ion as I have decided to give all of my winnings to charity in honor of my late wife Jan who died of cancer  ,see link for more information http://www.today.com/news/canadian-lottery-winner-donates-40-million-jackpot-charity-2D11777987 kindly Forward Name, Age, Telephone Number, for more info
The same message as last week except for the wording. I’m really angry at these people building up the hopes of others and also for not caring who they write to, as in people like me who lost a wife to cancer. Very cruel. I wished I hadn’t opened that but deleted it straight away. I managed to force myself to do a few more included in which were one to tell me my phone bill hadn’t been paid because they had a problem with my bank, and one which informed me my agreement with Paypal was coming to an end and my bank details needed updating in order to extend it. I hope no-one a little less cynical than me gets these this weekend.

I had to break off just before 10.00 am to wake Mike with a drink. No, not by spilling it on him. He went through to the lounge and I joined him but only after checking to see how much mail was left Just 37. He was cracking the whip this morning so after he’d been to the loo and then finished his coffee we started wrapping presents. We did it until midday then we realised  with the gifts we bought yesterday there just weren’t enough bags. Time to get dressed and then hotfoot it over to Prestatyn. If I go to that shop any more they’ll be charging me ground rent. We got what we needed and also called into Tesco’s or Joe Cohen’s as we call it. I needed some tins and boxes of sweets to go with the presents for The Ivy and Temptations, one for here too. Then it was time to eat. Mike point blank refused to go into M&S after last week’s disaster and he didn’t want Tesco’s because they serve Costa coffee. We took a walk up the High Street. The two places we knew were both closed for some reason so we ended up in a chain Pub for a meal. It was very welcome as the day was bitter and Mike even enjoyed the coffee. There was another reason he didn’t want to look further, SKY TV were showing a match between Man.Utd and Liverpool.

I almost choked when United first scored and Mike cheered. Luckily so did most of the pub as I wouldn’t want to explain his response to a group of Liverpool supporters and I couldn’t run that fast. Once my meal was finished I went out for a walk while Mike watched till half time. I was a way up the road looking at shop windows when Mike’s roar told me United had scored again. At half time he came out and we headed home. We got back at 3.00 pm and I was itching to start my work. I’d hardly been able to keep my eyes open in the car but I felt fine now. Mike set us back on wrapping and putting things in the bags I’d just bought. We did a few and I called a halt with just 5 to go. They nay be the worst but I have a week now ( to find another sucker). I said I’d start work and Mike said he’d do the flowers and then head home. Walking round holding the bunch of flowers must have been just the right amount of subtlety for him. I looked at the inbox and wept LOUDLY another 218 added since 10.00 am. That kept me going until 9.00 pm then I refreshed another 59 which wasn’t too bad. Once this is finished I shall go back and see if I can finish all today’s and give myself a better start in the morning. I think I need to thank Somnos for all the extra sleep for I’m sure it’s he doing it. Am I a cynic in thinking there must be a reason?

I was tempted to go for Tears of a Clown or Tracks of my Tears but I think this one deserved an outing. Smokey rules!

Monday.

It was a 3.34 am morning following another 1.00 am night. It’s OK though, I’ll probably nap later I thought. So, I got out of bed and went to the loo. On my eventual return I kickstarted the computer or should that be started it with a kick in the hopes it might fix the fan? The messages weren’t at all bad and I knew I could take them steady. However there is one I’d like to share since I’m  being honoured.

Attention Dear.

I Hon ambassador Raymond Johnson, The chief Security officer, Interpol law
enforcement Agency.  I here by passing this information to you that
The Member of Parliament is looking for God fearing person who can be
The Ambassador to the African refugee. The meeting was held yesterday
in the united nation head office in New York. I can stand by it. So
that you can be the
Ambassador to African Refugee.

I want you to forward all your details to me so that united nation Can
put your name in the registration Book, Many  Beneficiary are very
Much interested in this position.

I wait to Hear from you.

Hon. Ambassador Raymond Johnson
the Chief Security Officer.
Interpol law enforcement Agency
New York Office

Unaccustomed as I am, and I never expected this. just let me read from my prepared speech…….       Pray tell me just what these idiots gain by sending out this drivel. I have a few awards from over the years of which I’m quite proud but I don’t think this one will be added to the pile. I worked my way through everything else, did a refresh, opened my second box and by 6.40 am was up to date. I went through to the kitchen. I missed the main light and went straight to the tank and using my hand felt for the switch. Whoosh, the lights were on. Moecambe and Wise came rushing to the front and hearing my dulcet tones hovered around where I was. I could see to plecs but no-one else. Then I opened the hatch. Morecambe and Wise changed position and stationed themselves under it at the top of the tank  while Sharkey did the same at the bottom of the tank. He was quickly joined by Little Al who came flying out of the shipwreck. I glanced through the side of the tank for a better view and could see Big Al poised to leap from the inside of the amphora.I dropped in food for all and closed the lid. As I moved away I saw Big Al dart over and barge Sharkey out of the way to nibble on a pellet.

I went to take my meds. and make myself a cup of coffee. As I wasn’t intending to go out today I didn’t bother having breakfast, I could have (high)tea instead. When I went back to my room I decided to get dressed though to give Pauline the impression that I do sometimes and don’r spend all day in a dressing gown. Then I settled back down to work for a short while but was finished by 8.00 am. I’d tried very hard to take my time to avoid anything else but I couldn’t put it off longer. I had to go wrapping again. First off I did my ex-brother in laws Christmas gift then went to find appropriate paper to wrap his Birthday gift for Boxing Day. Ju and I always felt sorry that as a child he very often got one gift to cover both days from lots of people. Next I chose a difficult one and started wrapping Reuben’s. This was where I made my big decision that next year everyone gets vouchers or at the very least I’m only buying things in easy to wrap boxes. It’s awful when my hands shake and I tear giftwrap just as I’m about to finish. I noticed it was 8.45 am as I was working and Pauline was late. As a matter of fact she still is since she didn’t arrive at all.

Once I’d finished Reuben’s one great big parcel as I got so fed up I had backache and decided to return to my desk. It was 9.30 am and no doubt there would be more post now. There was, and quite a bit. Like yesterday I was doing one message and then the next thing I knew it was 10.15 am and I was awake. It’s like narcolepsy. I so wanted to say catalepsy since anything with cats must be worse right. There’s no awareness of nodding and of tiredness, you’re just gone. I carried on with the mail. This is the next one to greet me and I had it three times today.

Dear Account Holder:

 Your NatWest Account security validation has expired, this maybe as a result of wrong or incomplete data

entered during the last update.

It’s strongly required that you should validate your Account Ownership Security on the link below.                                                                                                                                       If I was elderly or didn’t have my faculties I’m sure this would panic me. In fact it still might if I wasn’t aware I don’t have an account with them. If you get mails like this and send them to the bank’s spamming site they can trace them and shut them down. I know they’ll open up again but they have to create new email addresses for that and eventually they’ll be caught.

At 11.30 I stopped ready to do my lunch. To relax I turned TV on to  a Christmas film and sat down. I was gone again, no warning. It was only for just over half an hour and I was fully awake though a little confused. I made my lunch and had just finished when I had a text to ask if I was in. It was my friend Lis so of course I was in. She was there in about 5 minutes as she’d been heading back from Flint in my direction so had I been out she could have continued home. I was so glad we’d done the wrapping yesterday and bought some bags. Her gifts, Charlie’s gifts and one for Lis’s son Huw were all ready.I had a lovely kiss and a huge hug when she came in. It quite made my day. I made her coffee and we sat and chatted for an hour or so before she was due to a carol concert with her grandson. Another hug and kiss on departure and I was even ready to return to work. I had limited time, It was 1.20 pm and I wanted to watch a programme at 2.15 pm. I refreshed the screen, did one message and zonked for the third time and only came round at 2.20 pm. At this rate I should finish the post by next week. At 3.15 pm I returned determined to make a breakthrough.

By 5.15 I was getting up to date and went for some tea which just for Mike’s sake I’ll admit was the rest of the rhubarb pie with some custard. It would only have gone off otherwise. I saw there was an early film that sounded quite good at 6.50 pm so once I’d eaten I didn’t wait to watch my quiz shows. I managed to get to see the film which starred Channing Tatum who for some reason I thought was a woman. It was quite good. When it ended at 9.00 pm I took my meds and turned everything off at that end and cam back through. So far I’ve managed to stay unzonked. The mail has built up a lot so I’ve done some and then taken a break to do this and will then return to the mail. I’m hoping not to leave much of today’s for the morning as I’m going out to see Yvonne and there will be mounds when I get back.

Tuesday.

I was allowed a 3.42 am day. I’m choosing to believe that it wasn’t to ensure just over 2 hours sleep last night but that it’s Somnos’s way of mollifying me by making sure I had adequate time to deal with messages before I went out. Being of a more logical frame of mind I thought it might be better to allow me to lie-in until say 6.00 am after having had a wee word in the ear of the god of the WWW to ensure that no message that doesn’t need an answer, all cons, all adverts and any horoscope vendors take a long walk off a short pier. Still. we have to make the best of what we can get. So, I made the best by going to make liquid offering to the gods. Once back the computer went on straight away. It was certainly not as bad as I feared, less than 100 all told and I could see straight away two were to tell me another non-existent account has been suspended pending me losing all my marbles and confirming all my details for them. I’m fairly sure that the speed with which I disposed of those two makes me the fastest draw around.

At 6.15 am I ‘d cleared them all though I hadn’t refreshed the box. I thought I’d get the kitchen out of the way and then get dressed and see how much time I had left. Looking at the tank with the kitchen light on all looked completely normal. I turned on the tank light and opened the hatch. As I did , something sailed past me. Thinking it might be one of the fish I scrabbled about on the floor until I howled in pain after kneeling on a small hard snail. I don’t understand it. Was the snail going up the glass at a rate of knots and didn’t meet a barrier or has Big Al got the others producing ballista now? I’d crushed the snail so in the bin it went. I limped to the tank to feed them and caught sight of Big Al with his back to me going into the amphora and I’m sure he was laughing. Morecambe and Wise played innocent and came to be fed while Sharkey hovered  a short way away, his raspberry tinge making him look embarrassed. Of little Al there was no sign and the plecs are just inscrutable  ( I do have an ointment for them though).

I took my meds ( don’t worry missus, I’m calm again now) and decided since I didn’t know what would happen today, I’d have breakfast before going out. I had the pre-food tab, lit a cigarette and sat in the lounge for a few minutes out of the way of any more missiles. Time up, I had some cereal and a slice of toast. I had the two after food tablets , washed the pots and went back to my room with a coffee. Before settling again I got washed and dressed. There was three quarters of an hour before I needed to go for the bus so there was time to drink my coffee and see to a few more messages. I refreshed. A mere 29, brilliant. I’d done those, washed my mug and got my coat on in nice time. I collected the bag I was taking with me of Christmas bedding I’d bought Yvonne for a laugh and her birthday present from MuJo plus some books I’d got for Reuben. It wasn’t raining too badly as I locked up and set off so that was a good sign. It was a few minutes before the bus was due so I had to walk all the way to the bus stop this time. I was gasping by the time I got there.It doesn’t look like much of a hill but it’s quite deceiving.

I’d just about made it when the bus arrived and I climbed aboard before the rain came down in earnest ( a town a few miles away). I had an hour now to compose myself and catch a few Zzz’s if possible. I didn’t see most of the journey today as I had my eyes shut and I was glad of it since the bus got very crowded and someone was sitting toe to toe with  me. When I felt her move There was a terrible waft that overcame her perfume and I deduced a bad stomach ( Alimentary my Dear Holmes) I opened my eyes and we were in Chester. I just had to strap the crutches on , ignore the people scrunching up their faces as they went past me, pick up my bag and leave. I was in a particular hurry as I was still holding my breath. Yvonne and Reuben were waiting. His pushchair was surrounded by pigeons and he was feeding them something. As soon as he saw me he dropped whatever it was and pointed. I hoped he wasn’t pointing at the foul air that still hung round me.

Our usual cafe wasn’t open yet so as usual we paid a visit to the £1 shop to pickup wet wipes and things of that ilk before going for a drink. The cafe is inside a clothing store so we went up in the lift where we let Reuben out of his trolley and he and I walked had in hand to a table while Yvonne went up and ordered. They were having breakfast of toast and jam and since I refused she got me a latte in the super giant economy size which meant by the end I needed the loo and was pushing little old ladies out of the way with my crutches. While they finished up at the table I had a wander down to the gents section and found a dressing gown for Ugo in a Star Wars theme. I picked up something I knew Yvonne wanted to get and made her write me an IOU before letting her have it. We left there and made our way to a different £1 shop that had some decorations she wanted and which also sells my favourite (of the moment) sweets, we seemed to have armfuls of stuff and I found it quite difficult to barge her out of the way at the counter so I could pay. The usual moans, I’ll never understand that girl.

Next on the list was a bit of a walk away and was the new B&M store, usually known as bum bargains near the market. We had a fine time in there but she wouldn’t let me pay. I did buy her a dressing gown too though. It took us a long time going round that particular shop as it’s quite large so kit was approaching lunch time. I gave her the option of going home now and I’d catch my bus or of going for a drink and some lunch and I’d catch the next one. She chose the latter so I suggested the cafe within the market. Roobs didn’t seem keen on this choice and set his siren going, even when I put him standing on my knees. I know he wanted the freedom to run around but the place was crowded so we entertained each other with mouth noises. I had bacon, chips and beans and Yvonne chose something between them which he just wasn’t interested in. To be fair , he wasn’t interested in mine either though my tablets appealed to him. I was mean and refused him. He even threw chocolate on the floor which caused Yvonne to faint- nearly anyway. In there Yvonne sorted the bags into mine and hers. It was laughable. I had two small ones, and one of those she’d brought with her for me. She had the rest. They were on the arm of the pushchair which when she let go to put her hat on, tipped up in the air. That entertained Reuben but she couldn’t do it all the way home. I made her depart and go home rather than wait with me because she had so much stuff. She turned it into an argument about coming to see me on Christmas day and I said no, I’d see her boxing day. “I’m waiting with you now then” she said. “No”, “Yes” it went. In the end I said I had to go to the loo anyway so she might as well go.

I caught my bus and was at home not long after 2.00 pm. I let her know I was back safely and she opened hostilities via text now. “Yes”, “No” I think I’ll go out somewhere that day.They’re off to Birmingham to see Ugo’s Ma and family and I’m in totally the wrong direction. I’ll see them all the following day. And if you’re reading this, That’s That !! Finito.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There was no chance I could see my afternoon play so I just ploughed into the work. Almost 200 emails in my queue. Thanks for that. It took me till 5.30 pm tp make real headway and then I had a break for tea until 6.30 pm and back at it with the new ones that had arrived. That saw me through until 9.00 pm and I took a break till 10.15 pm when I came to do this post. Now it’s back to the mail again and hopes of a pre-midnight bedtime.

Nature Trail

Nature Trail

 

More Nature trail

More Nature trail

Wednesday.

I dreamed last night. Its not often that happens. I knew it must be a dream because I was walking through the grass in bare feet and they weren’t getting wet from the dew. As I suspected there was Porcinus sitting on a low wall whistling. I walked over and stopped in front of him. “Well Porky, who are you running messages for today? Let me guess, it’s still that little  beggar Somnos.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “You know full well my name is Porcinus David, and as a god I don’t run messages for anyone. But, I am here on behalf of my brother , yes. he wonders, we wonder if you’ve given thought to our proposition. There are thousand of people ready to jump at the opportunity if you don’t.”                                                                                           “I want to ask you a question and would appreciate an honest answer. How many people turned you down before you came to me?”                                                                    “Erm, I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but a few.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “Doesn’t that give you the impression that maybe people don’t want to be the advertising executive of the gods because they don’t want gods?”                                            “Oh I’m sure that couldn’t possibly be true. I think they were all just very busy at the time whereas we know you’re not busy these days.”                                                        “Ouch, that one hurt. Thousands of years you’ve been here and can you name one good thing you’ve done? As far as I can see the gods squabble a lot and in the old days your followers made war on someone else’s followers causing mayhem.”                                                                                                                                                                                  “Oh no, our followers have never fought anyone else’s. We’re quite new and still small which is why we need the publicity. Followers make us grow. At the moment I only have two, an old swineherd in Mongolia and a young girl who daydreams a lot.”                                                                                                                                                                     ” Well,  nice talking to you Porky, I don’t think you need get much bigger and have to create priests and temples. I’ll be heading back to bed now, say Hi to Somnos for me.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                “So I can tell him you’re still thinking about it then? Can you still hear me David, goodnight?

I woke up not long after that. It was 4.41 am Fair play, I had to give the little man credit for trying but he’s on a hiding to nothing if he thinks I’ll help introduce new gods to the world. We seem to have enough problems between the followers of the ones we’ve got already, even though some say it’s the same chap with different names. I started on my mail and worked till 6.45 am then went and saw to the fish. Now their god is the most reasonable of men, definitely not a god of war though sometimes a god of defence when Big Al is in a mood. He was in a mood this morning. I don’t know what had upset him but he was at the far end of the tank looking in the reflective glass and chunnering to himself. As far as is possible with a fish he even seemed to have his shoulders hunched. At least it wasn’t me this time.

After feeding the fish I took my meds, had some breakfast and made my coffee. I took it back through and got dressed. As soon as the first lot of messages were done at 9.30 am I went to Pauline’s. When I got back there were a couple of parcels I needed to wrap for Yvonne. A bloody cone shape she gave me to wrap, how clever is she getting out of that one. Once I’d bagged those I needed to do a couple more for my own benefit and then came back to work. I regretted refreshing the screen straight away but there was nothing for it, the work had to be done. It took me until 11.50 am to clear than last batch and suddenly it was lunchtime. I treated myself to some bacon sandwiches and watched Bargain Hunt. I found I wanted to fall asleep before the auction but I persevered as I wanted to catch the new Australian show at 2.15 am. I think I was on the point of nodding off when someone posted something through the letterbox. A card from a neighbour I’ve never met. It woke me enough to start work and I kept going until it was time to break again. At 3.15 am I was back but knew it was only until 5.00 pm as I haven’t had a message to say Lee isn’t coming. At least I managed to clear the backlog by then.

I was sitting in the lounge when I saw what I thought was a very fat fly crawling on the radiator, then fall down behind it. I was surprised to still see flies at this time of year. Lee arrive and brought a gift for under my tree. We chatted about his work, his wife (my Jen) and the family when suddenly he saw near him the same creature I’d seen only it was a very fat wasp. I’m even more surprised now. He caught it in a cup and set it down in the garden. Like me he doesn’t care to kill things. Not long after that Dil and Matt arrived so it was time to set up the table. They dealt with their hello’s and news while I made drinks then for a change I got the Scrabble out.Two games we had, in my case two unmitigated disasters I struggled even to come last in one. This is not how things are meant to be. We were about to start on Nomination when for some reason I thought of Chase the Lady ( Hearts on a computer). We had two games of that too. Considering Dil and I are past masters at this we were thrashed in the first game and I only came third, I think Matt won but the second game I won. Hallelujah, the night was not a total washout.

They left at 9.30 pm and I tidied up and washed the pots as usual before coming through. It took me till 11.00 pm to finish the first batch of mail then I refreshed and let out a girlie scream when I saw the numbers. I carried on for half an hour then broke off to do the blog. It’s now 12.20 am and as soon as I’m done here I’ll go back to the mail to leave a clear run for the morning.

Exhausted- all shopped out.

Exhausted- all shopped out.

Thursday.

It’s possible that maybe I was a little hard on Porcinus in yesterday’s dream. If so, it appeared I was to pay for it now. I’d turned my light off a 1.15 am thi morning and there I was waking up with a desperate need to pass water ( no, not the stream over the road) at 2.30 am. Even I thought it was a bit much. Returning from the loo I’d declined to sign on the computer but slipped back into a still warm bed and managed to fall back into sleep. Maybe Porcinus had a few regrets too since I slept until 5.56 am.I haven’t slept like that in ages. Since I didn’t need the loo just yet, the computer didn’t have to wait. Joy of joys, there weren’t even too many messages. I worked till 7.00 am and took a break.

I turned the kitchen light on first before approaching the tank to give them chance to adjust to my being there. On went the tank light and all of the fish moved to congregate round Big Al who was at the front of the tank. He seemed to be directing thinks with his gills. It took me a moment to realise what the cheeky beggar was doing, he was usurping my authority, claiming to be me, the Bringer of Light and Food. Under the thumb I might be but no way was I having that. While he was still in  full flow I turned the light back out. For the next 15 minutes taking my meds and getting some breakfast occupied my attention. As soon as that was done I started brewing my coffee and stepped back over to the tank. Big Al had moved away to his favourite corner but the rest were still fairly close to the front. I brought my face down level with the front so I could be clearly see then turned the light back on. While they were still giving me a little attention I opened the hatch and dropped food in. Let’s see him  equal that one. I took my coffee back to my room. I remembered to check last night’s lottery. Nada. Then it was time to get dressed. I’d no intention of setting foot outdoors until I go for new lottery tickets tomorrow morning, but if anyone called I didn’t  want them to think me completely idle. By 10.00 am the mail was cleared. I felt like nodding off but that would be too easy. The postman knocked and brought a parcel which comprised a gift for under the tree from a friend in South Wales. It reminded me of those that still needed to be wrapped so I tied heading in the opposite direction. It didn’t work so I buckled down and wrapped the gifts for my nieces Karen and Jo. That leaves just two to go now so maybe if the mail is as good tomorrow……….

At 11.00 am I came back through and refreshed the screen. Still only 35. I knocked those out by 11.50 am and decided to have lunch. By the time everything was ready it was time for Bargain Hunt so I settled down to watch. Amazingly I was still awake at the end. I went back to work. I wanted to be free by 2.15 pm so I rushed through the new batch of mail and made it easily. I’ve never had a day like this. I watched my programme in comfort and never worried once about a backlog. When I returned to the screen things were much the same. Post had come in but nothing excessive . Maybe the Christmas spirit is keeping people away from the computer, ah, but what happens when they sober up? The work was done again and there was time to watch some of my quizzes so I went through at 5.30 pm. I don’t want to be too greedy as the new Big Bang episode is on at 8.30 pm I thought.Just at that point Mike sent me a text to say he was on his way. I shall have to make sure I work a tad harder to make sure I’m free for about 8.00 pm to prepare his mug for when he walks in so we can both see it. He walked in at 7.30 pm.  I swear he’s trying to catch me smuggle a woman out. Heck, most of them run out screaming.

I did his coffee and we sat chatting about his week, then horror of horrors I found there was no Big Bang Theory it having been taken off in favour of a Transformers Movie. Sacre Bleu! If I were King this would be grounds for a charge of Treason. Instead we watched a make-over programme called DIY S.O.S. which is always well done and in a good cause. This time it was in Wales and closer to my heart. I must get the fires checked for fumes tomorrow as towards the end both Mike and I found our eyes leaking. I decided to take some more time and we watched a programme on Richard II, the most vicious of the Plantagenet Kings. He  was probably a pussy cat next to me though. At 10.00 pm I had to call a halt to all the jollity and stop skiving. Back through here and nose to the grindstone because 3 hours post had built up. By 11.00 pm I’d not quite done half so decided to break off to start the blog and bring the music choice of the day to you before Friday gets here.

Friday.

I turned my light off at 12.45 am last night an settled down. I don’t think it took long to go to sleep but when I did I’m sure it was deep. When I woke I wasn’t sure I felt ready to get up and one glance at the clock soon gave birth to the reason for that , it was 1.28 am. There was the hint of a snigger in the air. I sat on the edge of the bed and smoked a cigarette hoping somebody other than me would choke before I tried going back to bed. The minor victory of seeing me discomfited must have been enough for when I tried again I was allowed an extra 3 hours until 4.28 am. It was so much easier to get up the second time. There was the usual trip to the loo when I thought I was losing so much fluid I was in danger of dehydrating, and of turning to dust like Dorian Gray. I could feel the ridges forming on my face until I remembered that was age. Back in my room I gave the wondrous power of electricity to my computer and it came to  life like one of Frankenstein’s experiments. Withing the first ten messages there were two telling me of disruptions to talktalk and warning me it had caused problems with my personal information which needed checking. Naturally they supplied a link. In the next ten I had notice that a bank account was suspended because my info had been corrupted. One more a little further was from paypal to say I’d received a payment. If I didn’t claim it now it would be returned. I had a real warm glow knowing I was responsible for keeping so many people in employment.

I worked until 6.30 am a it’s the day for doing my weekly drugs. First job, the fish.When I turned the light on they were in a frenzy. They were zipping every which way with the exception of my big plec which was just working it’s way up the front glass cleaning as it went. Whatever appeared to have affected the others it clearly hadn’t touched him at all. That he didn’t have a calming effect, especially on the other two plecs led me to think this was some ploy of Big Al’s though I had no idea what he’d gain from it unless he thought I would panic. I have learned from my grandson though the beneficial effects of bribery and opened the hatch to drop food in. As the first pieces dropped the motion seemed to waver then slow. By the time the rest was in there was only Big Al still moving. Other than jaws that is.

I moved over to take my tablets and sprays and prepared my cup for coffee. Now the tablet container was empty and ready to receive I went to get my meds drawer from one of the units in the lounge. As I was filling the container I was marking a repeat prescription of the drugs I needed next week. I usually have a new batch every other week for a month at a time half the drugs one request and half the drugs the other. I’d hate to  strain the delivery man. As soon as I’d done that I made a drink and went to get dressed.At 8.50 am I went back through to prepare Mike’s mug and once the kettle had boiled I made him a coffee and took it through. It took two calls to get through to him but when I heard him say “You’re good to me you are” I actually thought he was awake and left him. It was time to get my shoes and coat on and go for my lottery plus I needed fresh bread and some milk. As I moved towards the front door I could see he hadn’t moved so I called again to remind him the drink was there and I wouldn’t be out long. I left. By the time I had what I needed and returned Mike was up and in the lounge. I’d wanted him up so he’d be on the way to his Dad’s early since he’d mentioned a few problems this week.

Mike left at 10.00 am and I went back to work. Things were quite steady up till almost midday when I stopped for lunch. The fact that it was Friday had escaped me and it was lucky I’d finished eating when one of the wardens arrived. I asked if there was any chance of getting out early for good behaviour but she didn’t seem very sympathetic to my cause. We sat and wagged our chins a bit then I gave her a box of chocolates as she left. Maybe she’d put in a good work for me with the parole board. I had the last few minutes of Bargain Hunt then returned to work. I wanted to be free by 2.15 pm and  I was, with fifteen minutes to spare. I think that was the last episode of the Australian serial I’ve been watching. Once I’d gone back to keep up with the mail I found it easy going and when I got a surprise text from Mike at 3.30 pm to say he was setting off I knew I’d be free for him coming in. I stopped at 5.15 pm and went to put the kettle on. I had a quick bowl of cereal then turned TV on for my quiz. Mike came in at just after 5.30 pm and sat telling me about his day before we watched Eggheads together. Then it was Big Bang Theory albeit an old one. At 7.00 pm Mike washed my hair and I took a shower. After an episode of Mastermind I came back through knowing the last 3 hours wouldn’t have been as kind as earlier in the day. I regret to say I was right . But with so much headway throughout the day I wasn’t worried. Early night tonight, early shopping in the morning.

Saturday.

I’m in a cleft stick today. I want to complain bitterly that I was left in bed so late this morning with so much mail coming through, but, one sly smirk and a look of innocence followed by a treacle voice saying “But I wanted to treat you to a lie-in David, You work such long hours.” would have me blowing my top and probably spending the next 50 years with my eyelids stitched open. Mmm, 50 more years, would it be worth it?

6.16 am when I  woke up and swung my legs out of bed. I was not a happy bunny. By the time I’d been for a morning pee I had time to do only 3 pieces of post before it was time to dress, go through to the kitchen, completely forget the fish, put the kettle on to make Mike a drink, have my morning meds and make myself a drink. By the time my coffee was ready the kettle had boiled and I took a drink through to Mike to coincide with his alarm going off. I made sure that I got his attention by repeating myself with just a small gap between then went back to the kitchen. Moments later the shuffle of feet told me that I was either suffering a zombie invasion or Mike was up. As I hadn’t unlocked the front door, Mike seemed the most likely though I wasn’t sure how I’d tell. If I went back through to work, Mike would sit here forever. If I stayed sitting here too long I’d get into a bigger panic about the work. I did the only thing I could, get sarcastic. Nothing wakes him quicker. He nipped to the loo, came back and finished his drink on the run and then went to get dressed. I gathered the recycling bags ready to take them out. We’d emptied the main bin and the food waste last night in readiness.

Once I’d got my coat on I went back towards the kitchen to collect the shopping bags and the gifts we were taking out with us. Mike just stood there and asked ” Not bothering with the fish today then?” My stomach sank, I was 40 minutes late. I walked in backwards, felt for the switch to the tank, pressed it and walked out again.  “You rank coward, aren’t you feeding them?” he asked. “No” I replied, “this is their fast day.” As we left we dragged all the refuse to the end of the path and carried on to the car. It was really bitterly cold this morning. We managed the trip in time to get to the supermarket for 8.00 am. I got money from the machine while Mike got a trolley and then poor soul had a coughing fit. Once he’d recovered we headed inside where it was warmer even in the freezer aisles. The trolley seemed to get more filled than usual despite there being no clothes or gifts in it this time and Mike held me up when the woman announced it came to over £10 this week. Wen she said how much more my knees didn’t want to work. Luckily after we’d bought cigarettes, Mike let me sit down with a coffee. An iced one.

From there we took our usual route to Flint and got a couple of things from Home Bargains before making our way to Temptations. My they were busy this morning. There was a long queue which I joined while Mike nipped to the loo. Kyle and one of the new young ladies were on the counter but Ceri came downstairs from the sandwich making part before I reached the front. As she filled the order I passed the bag with staff gifts over and their chocolates. Mike and I sat down with a drink and waited for the teasted toecakes.  As the queue disappeared there was a lot of joking going on (what’s new) which obviously surrounded Christmas. Ceri made a remark about wondering what Santa would bring her this year and I suggested she look in the bag. She asked if it was OK to open it and when we said it was up to her, she did. There was a squeal of delight at the bracelet we’d got her. Great, I was so glad she liked it. We left there knowing Ceri would give out the other gifts and headed for one more shop where Mike found himself a very swish jacket. There was one I liked too which claimed to be a 46 that wouldn’t go anywhere near me.        ( One more comment like that and I’m coming for you) Mike made some remark about me being bigger than I’ll admit and for a minute the air turned blue. I suggested he try it and he’s a 42″ chest. He couldn’t get it on either and had to eat some words. Obviously some things are European marked sizes.

The time was getting on as I left there and we decided to carry straight on for lunch before going home so set sail for the Ivy. The car park  was quite full and when we got in both our usual seats were occupied. Horror. We went to the counter to complain and Angie leaned over to give us a kiss each then young Rob passed behind us and kindly squeezed my shoulder.Mike passed the bag of gifts over and the sweets. Angie set Rob to making the drinks while Mike and I found a new seat. I had to badger him to decide what he wanted to eat and while he was faffing both Shella and Tariq passed behind us and said hello. Tariq stopping for his usual hug of course. Once I had Mike’s order I went and made the request so I could take my pre-food tab and then go for a cigarette. Mike joined me. When we’d gone back in and settled, lunch came and I asked Tariq if he’d play Santa with the gifts so that everyone had the chance to decide whether they wanted to open them today or at Christmas. He did that and all voted to take it home for under their tree. When lunch was over I paid and got hugs and kisses from all as did Mike before Tariq showed us his new computer and printer set-up for doing prints, T-shirts and photographs etc. Very impressive. He said if I ever want to come and sit there all day I’m welcome. We came home.

From about 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm when Mike called me I was solidly trying to hack away at the accrued post of the day, over 200. I made some headway but couldn’t quite finish. I could only stay with him until 8.00 pm before my nerve broke and I had to come back through. By 9.45 pm I was almost there then I made the mistake of refreshing. Oh well. only myself to blame. I had a break at 11.00 pm to do the blog and if there are lots of errors it’s because I’m typing with my fingers crossed that everyone stops posting tonight. Tomorrow we venture into MuJo territory to deliver gifts.

Have a Great New Week.

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The Eighth Day of Christmas with a Lord David Prosser and Lady Teagan Geneviene

You’re the reason I love to spend so much time at the computer Sally, and people like you of course. Nicer people I couldn’t hope to meet and in who’s company I’d rather be. Thank you for taking me into your home and bringing me such superb company today, I’ve taken you into my heart. xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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The 1st Day of Christmas & Cleavage Tea Rest.

Sunday. 

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a foolproof way to bump off a god and not get caught. Convince another god that the first god is trying to inhume him and let him do the job for you. At least that’s how my thoughts ran at 4.49 am this morning when I woke. I’d no intention of getting up at that time but of course all they had to do was prompt my bladder and the choice was out of my hands. There was a muted muttering under the breath on the return trip as Mike was still sleeping of course. When I reached my room I turned on the computer and checked the lottery before I tried to concentrate on the mail. You’d think Somnos, Porcinus or one of their ilk or even the older gods might feel I was owed a debt but no, a resounding NO, not even a number. The mail started out no better for me. There were comments on last night’s blog which were kind but nothing that suggested it was as funny or funnier than usual and I’d built up such hopes. As with many writers I lack some confidence so to write something that actually pleased me was rare but now it seemed my deflation was due.

I was getting towards time to leave the room when my first message came through that the blog had left a friend laughing. Brilliant, but hang on, this is a friend now so are they saying it to make you feel better? And so the over thinking goes. I left the room and went straight to the kitchen where the star of his own show was waiting for me. I was almost expecting to be sacked as his manager but I remembered I’m the hand that feeds him too and you don’t cut off that hand. Actually he was lying atop the amphora and it seemed, giving forth. A soliloquy from Shakespeare maybe, I wasn’t sure if the plecs were enthralled, asleep or dead until I opened the hatch and put food in. Big Al turned and gave me a dirty-red eyed-look. As he turned back to show he was ignoring me both he and I noticed his audience had taken the opportunity to creep away. I’m guessing I’ll get the blame for that too.

Once I’d taken my meds and made a coffee I went back to my room.I did a few more messages then got washed and dressed. More emails were coming in so I concentrated on clearing as many as I could before it was time to wake Mike. I had no idea how many David would be bringing this morning and I didn’t want them confronted by Mike half dressed and not fully awake. They’d think I had a pet neanderthal. 9.00 am was as late as I dared leave it so at five minutes to I went and turned the kettle on. It took 3 calls before I could get him to acknowledge his coffee was there but eventually I succeeded and felt it safe to return to work. At some point I heard Mike get up and go to the lounge then leave the lounge and get dressed before returning there to finish or refresh his drink. I’d just gone through to say good morning when I heard him say they’re here. In order of arrival for the man who hates crowds came My nephew’s wife and my youngest great niece, David himself, his mother in law, my eldest great niece, her partner and my great grand nephew a little older than Reuben.There was a knock at the door which surprised me and I called “Come in” then remembered I might need to unlock the door first. I was so glad of my ‘wall of shame’ which some people stood to admire as it meant we could sit in shifts, exchanging places at the wall. Thanks heavens not everyone wanted hot drinks. Someone vacated a seat when David started pointing out who was who on the wall and I jumped at the opportunity to sit for a minute. There was no chance to hold a proper conversation but it sounds like David’s throat is OK for now and he’s started a new job albeit temporary.

When they left I had chance to hug Marissa and pass over some gifts to go under her Christmas tree. She does seem to have a nice little family group. Mike started to do Ju’s flowers so I retreated to my pit again and brought myself up to date. I’d remembered one more gift I needed to get so as soon as we’d both finished we got in the car and headed for Prestatyn. I bought a few decorative things for my tree then since Mike wouldn’t accompany me to a Costa I suggested we had a coffee in Marks and Spencers. It was about 1.00 pm now. When we found the cafe Mike saw they did meals and had quite a fancy for a curried dish they had on the menu. About the only thing on the menu for me was a baked potato with goulash mushrooms. We paid and took our drinks to a table. My fist mistake was in no asking for a single shot latte, this was very strong. My second mistake was in not asking how long the meal would be ( and I don’t mean about 8″ the same as the plate). I took my pre-food tablet expecting the meal would be no more than 15 minutes. It was 20 minutes before someone came to the table to say they’d run out of the curry would he accept something else? I’d have been ready to go at this point and head for a nice cafe in town but he did make another suggestion- also run out. He made a third suggestion and you could tell his patience was at an end. After nearly 40 minutes the meals arrived. I started mine and was pretty sure it had never been to Hungary but it was edible. Mike started his, first bite from the centre of his pie and it was cold. The manageress offered us 2 free coffees, an alternative meal for Mike after checking it was cold, it was, he refused, and a refund of his proportion of the bill. I felt guilty for carrying on eating but he waited. He brought back the refund but I made him keep it and buy something to eat elsewhere…he chose the motorway on the way home.

We headed for home where he loaded up the car and after a coffee left to start the long journey. I started work. It’s odd when he goes and there’s no-one to banter with. At 5.30 pm I had a half hour break for a  sandwich and some rhubarb pie. Then back to work until 8.30 pm when I had a TV break which also lasted half an hour. Since then I’ve been here battling constantly to get up to date. Off out tomorrow for Yvonne’s birthday.

My tree at the front window.

My tree at the front window.

Monday.

4.23 am this morning seemed to arrive a lot quicker than it was supposed to. It wasn’t very welcome though I should point out it hasn’t actually done anything to me, but I’m not best pleased with Kronos who may well be working hand in glove with Somnos whose parentage I still don’t know. Since I have to be out of the house at 7.30 am I daren’t ignore them and stay in bed seeking more sleep, that would just ensure I missed my bus.  I took a stroll to the loo and then powered up the computer when I returned. There was plenty of mail to go at but not enough to cause any worries, barring any sudden surges I’d be up to date when I left. At 6.00 am I got washed and dressed so there were no last minute panics if I forgot the time, I thought breakfast would be a good idea today too since I didn’t know when we’d stop to eat. After seeing to the fish ( I must have caught them half asleep this morning as none of them bothered with me at all) I took my meds and put some sliced rolls in the toaster.Once I’d eaten those I made sure I had foodie tabs to take out with me and returned to work.

7.30 am arrived soon enough and I was out the door, bags in hand, struggling to get to the bus stop in the intermittent hail and rain storms. Typically today it was a dead heat at the bus stop between the bus and myself. Once settled in my seat I closed my eyes to cut out the other passengers  and nodded off leaning on my crutches. I was rudely awoken a few times when the driver pulled up a little sharply, when one of our roads produced a pot hole we couldn’t miss and when my grip relaxed leaving my chin to come down on the armpiece of the crutch a little hard. I received a message from Yvonne telling me not to bring bags as she’d pick them up later when they dropped me off. DUH ! She also said they’d pick me up in town if I went to Cafe Nero. So, as the bus drew in at Chester the hail started and I was hammered all the way to the cafe. Once inside I could see it stopped.. I sat with a latte for a while and then deciding to have a cigarette I went outside to wait. Down came the hail again. I also got a text to sat they were on the way which I could barely read because of the hail melting on my right hand. I crossed the road to the bay where they would pull in, and they did.

We were at Blakemere Village at 9.45 am and went for coffee until the shops opened. Ugo must have ordered raisin teasted toecakes because the waitress came to the table to announce they only had a different one which he accepted for everyone bar me who had already had breakfast. While waiting, I gave Yvonne her birthday gifts, a tablet and a tablet case. She was thrilled. Mike had sent a silver chain with her birthstone on and she loved it immediately. There were a few smaller gifts for all of them which weren’t really Birthday related. The teacakes arrived and were eaten though I don’t think anyone was too impressed. By the time we’d done and Reuben was back in his pushchair the shops were well open. We walked round all of the Indonesian  wood craft shops and admired everything. Yvonne even made a small purchase. We went round the courtyard shops where Ugo bought a handcrafted birthday card for a friend and I got Reuben a T.Rex cuddly toy at which time the siren started. Nothing seemed to have set it off, and nothing would console him so we missed the next couple of shops and I mentioned the magic word- chocolate. A teddy bear consoled him after he’d bitten it’s head off and we were able to continue on the journey.

Somewhere between finishing the chocolate teddy bear and the next two shops Reuben fell asleep- he is his grandad’s grandson- so we stopped for a tea at a beautiful little teashop. From there we went to a toyshop and Reuben woke up. As he was in the pushchair and there were toys around he wanted OUT, and the siren started it’s distress signal until he was. Ugo held his hand while Reuben guided him round pointing at everything in wonder. The place was closing down so Yvonne was able to get some things with a 20% discount. Then we went to the pet and aquarium shop where both Reuben and I were thrilled to listen to the birds chattering away. He wanted out of the pushchair again so Ugo carried him for a while. By the time we caught the rabbits and guinea pigs Reuben was walking and following me round the fish section. I drooled at some of the fish and it was decided that my birthday present would be a couple of catfish. They had some stunning ones and also had a huge gibbiceps which was like an armoured tank. Snakes and lizards next which were very pretty but as we moved to the spider section I felt my toes curl up.

We left there and decided to return to the same cafe for lunch.  I read to Reuben as we waited for lunch to arrive and he made the appropriate growling noise as the monsters appeared.I had pie of the day with chips and mushy peas, Reuben had pizza, Yvonne had BLT’s with some of Reuben’s chips and I’ve no idea what Ugo had. It is safe to say now it’s not a meal I’d want to repeat. I think I’d prefer the other cafe that used to be on site but which is now a craft centre to throw pots and dip candles. After lunch as it seemed to early to go home Ugo drove us to the Wirral about half an hour away to a large wholesalers Yvonne likes for gifts. It was mainly given over to Christmas trees and decorations today. It was quite impressive. We still bought noting though Yvonne was very impressed by a 7 foot artificial tree.

They drove me home and the motion sent Reuben to sleep. They wouldn’t come in and risk waking him up so I just went inside to turn my Christmas lights on to show I was making an effort. I waved them off and then came inside to start work. It was 4.30 pm and quite dark so I left the lights on. Almost 200 emails since morning so I tried to make some headway. One of the best cons I’ve seen today though not one I believed. A charitable foundation in Canada set up by the $40m winner of a lottery. Wants me to have $1m to distribute to charities in my area in honour of his wife who died from cancer. The page was well set out and very professional for a change. The losing a wife from cancer hit home badly so they’d either struck lucky or had done their homework.

It took me until 11.45 am to get up to date with just a break for a piece (the last) of the rhubarb pie. I’d refreshed the screen about 10.30 am so I’d done quite a lot. That just left time for this before I was able to go to bed for a short read.

Breakfast with Pops 1Breakfast with Pops

Tuesday.

I woke at 3.17 am and all I had running round my head was ‘Publicist to the Gods’ as though there had been subliminal messaging running through my head as I slept. It was like the cinemas that used to turn the heat up and then stick secret messages behind the films telling you ice cream would be a good idea just before the interval. It looks like Somnos has gone for the subtle approach after the frontal assault didn’t work. After such a short sleep I doubt this approach will work either. A more direct approach in person is likely to result in a bloody nose and a whimpering god. Still when I started the mail I was cheered by ‘Sexy Sadie ‘has sent you a video. After the last one of these I didn’t need or want to click on it since, how shall I put it ahem, the more voluptuous woman is not my ideal. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I mean, I’ve got friends whose cleavage I could rest my mug of tea on and I love them but not in that way if you get my drift. It was sent quickly to the sin bin. Now if Katie Hepburn is out there somewhere and her guide dog doesn’t need a muzzle, I’m waiting.

I carried on with the mail, happily deleting blatant adverts until 6.30 am then went through to the kitchen. Two of the plecs were on the air pump which vibrates so I was wondering whether this was a medicinal thing with them or pleasurable. If the latter I hope Big Al gets a turn as his face wasn’t going to break into a grin anytime soon. Even little Al seemed to be quite cheery so maybe he’d already had a go. I had a look round the tank to be sure these weren’t distracting tactics while they dug the escape tunnel. I wonder if I could explain the concept of Christmas to Big Al? I fed them, took my meds and brought my coffee back to my desk.Before starting work again getting dressed seemed the best option to keep me warm since I can feel a draught this morning. I need to find the source soon.

By 9.30 am I was almost up to date  and decided to go out to the shops. First stop the chemist with a repeat prescription request and a box of Ferrero Rocher for the staff, then the Post Office, situated at the far end of the same shop where I needed to post a parcel off and hand over a box of chocolates for them. I get brilliant service and great help from both places and I appreciate it. Then to Pauline’s where I picked up my TV mag and also the 2 week Christmas issue which made me realise how close it is. A packet of bacon accidentally fell into my hand as did a Twix and 5 packs of cigarettes. OK, they weren’t accidental. I came home and put everything away then went back to work. By 11.00 am I was up to date again and so started wrapping a couple of presents. It made me realise just how much I hate this job. Buying them- no problem, wrapping them-Ugh. My hands shake so I’m more likely to sellotape me than the parcel.

That job took me up to lunchtime and my noon viewing. I had a shepherd’s pie and enjoyed Bargain Hunt, even the auction stages. I had to return to work at that point as I saw there was something I wanted to watch at 2.15 pm and if I’d fallen asleep at 1.00 pm I wouldn’t have dared skive off.  Busty Bertha had joined Sexy Sadie in the ‘Look at my Boobies’ stakes but I still wasn’t inclined to look. I remember taking a quick peek (accidentally, my finger slipped ) some years ago at one of these in my naivety and saw a woman with more muscles than Arnie in his body building heyday. Her neck was bigger than my thigh and her boobs had what looked like varicose veins. T’was not a pretty sight or site. Today it would have been a real Nightmare before Christmas. I carried on working, responding to mail, retweeting blogs and commenting on blogs as well as reading some of the adverts for Woucher etc. I thanked all those wonderful people who had retweeted for me and commented on my blog. What a patient bunch you are. At 2.15 pm I went to watch my programme. I stayed awake the whole hour and surprised myself. I knew my next break would be at 5.00 pm hen I had some tea.

The work wasn’t too arduous this afternoon, it was just constant. Keeping pace wasn’t a problem but I was secretly asking Kronos in my head what the chances were of me getting ahead of myself by answering the stuff that hadn’t reached me yet. That would mean I could take the time off at 5.00 pm and not come back to a new pile. I might even manage 40 or so winks. He wasn’t interested so I laboured on. At 4.50 pm I reached a balance again so went through to take a pre food tablet and make myself a sandwich- beef and beetroot, with a bag of quavers for my tea. I didn’t eat them until the 15 minutes was up but then followed them with my after food tabs and  small chocolate marshmallows. The first quiz was good and quite entertaining as the contestant ended up playing for £50,000 against an expert and only lost by one second. The expert ended looking harassed. Eggheads was also good but the contestants there fared no better at least for the first 15 minutes, after that my eyelids closed and the last 15 minutes I spent examining them from the inside. I woke up to find Come Dancing on but it had only been on moments and no-one knew so I was OK.

I came back through and the work had piled up in my absence but that was OK as I was here for the rest of the night now. Tomorrow no doubt you’ll hear my screams as MuJo are coming to take me out in the morning and then Dil will be round for games in the evening. If I’m very lucky I’ll get an hour between departure and arrival to clear some. Well, back to work now to see what else has arrived.

The Sanity Clause and his little helper.

The Sanity Clause and his little helper.

Wednesday.

Sing Hallelujah, this has been such a long day and so much post waiting for me at the end of it that you are to be offered a shortened post.

I was up at 4.27 am and after enjoying  the relief of Mafeking I started in on the emails with the intention of at least being up to  date before I went out. Between then and 10.10 am I managed to deal with the fish, take meds, have my coffee, get washed and dressed and yes, get up to date too. I even managed to wrap to small gifts before MuJo arrived at 10.30 am. I saw to drinks for them , gasped at the size of one of the Christmas packages they brought in ( a giant loo brush capable of coping with all the bends down as far as the sewer I’m told) and then sat chatting for 45 minutes.

We took a ride into town so John could look at the Charity shops and I was able to use the opportunity to nip to the jewellers. The job I needed was done for me withing a minute and at no charge which was a great display of Christmas spirit. We looked at a couple of shops that do decorations as John is very much a Christmas person. Then we went for lunch at the Bells in Holywell which they’re very fond of.  After lunch we went to Flint where we had a good trot round the shops before going to get a drink at Temptations. I made sure I picked up some chocolates  before we went in. A couple more shops after coffee and then we drove home. I felt awful that I hadn’t wrapped their gifts yet though I have got them in Christmas sacks ready. I id manage to give them a gift I’d picked up while we were out.  They left about 4.15 pm and I literally flew in here to start work.

182 messages waiting and an hour before Dil is due.!! I did work hard but was still well over the 100 mark when it was time for me to stop. Dil and Matt arrived at 5.30 pm. I made drinks, we watched the end of a TV quiz and then got the games table out. I’ve no choice but to admit the night was a total disaster.  In Yahtzee I won one leg out of six played. Dil three, Matt two. I Nomination Whist I might as well not have played at all as they both romped ahead of me with Matt finally beating Dil by 10 points. There was a lot of smirking going on in which I was not partaking. At last it was Crazy 8’s which is usually my game, but not tonight. Though I got Matt’s score up to being MUCH worse than mine, every time I tried to catch Dil it rebounded on me and they both laid pick up cards on me meaning Matt didn’t lose by much. Oh quelle horreur.  They left at 9.30 pm as usual and after the usual tidy up and washing of pots I retired to my room for the night. Mail now up to 188. At 11.30 pm I stopped to do the blog with about 40 to go and I hope to finish those before bed. Wish me luck.

Thursday.

I don’t know if I was hyped up, spaced out or just too stressed by the amount I’d got behind yesterday, but I do know that after turning my light out last night about 1.00 am I was back up and (sort of) raring to go at 2.28 am. Not what you’d call a great night’s sleep. Somehow though I’d cleared up the remnants of yesterday (by not liking/tweeting those people who never visit my blog and return the compliment) by 4.30 am. I suddenly realised it was quite cool and perhaps a wee kip was in order so I sidled sideways back into bed and woke again at 7.15 am. You might think that this could send me spiraling into guilt and fresh panic due to Big Al but last night at about 8.30 pm Matt had gone to the kitchen for a drink and found I’d forgotten to turn their light off. So, swings and roundabouts eh? Mind you, last night he’s almost put their lights out completely as I asked him if he’d do the honours to save me moving and he turned it off at the wall. That meant off went the filters and airpump too. It was only when I heard, well nothing, that I twigged and got it turned back on. So really Big Al should be treating me as a saviour today.

Oddly enough that didn’t seem to be Big Al’s take on the minor delay  when I got to the kitchen unless of course he was a bit peeved about last night. As I moved from the near end of the tank towards the middle to feed them all, Big Al moved with me. Never once breaking eye contact it was like a rabbit in the headlights and I could see the car hurtling towards me. If glaring was an art form he’d be Modigliani. I was going to say Rembrandt but I can’t spell it. He lived near a lot of water too. I dropped the food in the slot by feel alone and was so fortunate at that moment to stub my toe on the cupboard that I could escape before the Jag mk 1V hit me ( oh come on, I’m not being hit by anything less). I took my meds on the run using my coffee so all that was heard down the hallway was my gasp as I tried to swallow the hot drink. Opening and closing my mouth in an attempt to cool it I must have resembles one of Big Al’s tribe.

Back at my desk I checked my bank to make sure I wasn’t in penury, had a quick look at ebay to make sure I wasn’t missing anything exciting and then started work again. There was early mail from Australia on one site that gave me great pleasure to answer since the banter is always good and a letter from a friend in Germany. I was on automatic pilot for a while as I sat thinking about how lucky I am in my friends. Some would say I have acquaintances since I haven’t met these internet friends, or virtual friends but I know differently. Yes, there are many who are just part of the social scene of being an author, reader, blogger but there are some who you know would be there through thick and thin. To be fair, most of them think in my case it’s thick. I worked until 8.30 am and though I had no intention of going out today, I got dressed. By 10.00 am I was up to date again and by prodding myself from behind with a penknife forced myself to take the path into Mike’s room and the wrapping of gifts. Next year I’m only buying things that come giftwrapped. This is a job I really don’t enjoy. Even square shaped things manage to tear the corners of the paper and trying to disentangle myself from the sellotape is worthy of the Keystone Cops.

It was wonderful when lunchtime approached and I was able to break away, not that many people agree lunchtime is 10.15 am. I just happen to be very slow at making it. In truth it was just past midday when I stopped and I was ready to eat. It was a corned beef hash today followed by a BFG mousse. Not bad, but I’ll save the second one for Mike. Bargain Hunt was quite eventful when one team went home with more than £200 which is an event as rare as hen’s teeth. I returned to my desk after lunch so that I would be free for 2.15 pm and the mystery series I’ve been enjoying. Today was no exception though it’s a bit annoying not having clues you can follow yourself to reach a who dun it conclusion. Yet again I returned to the desk after that to keep the mail down as much as possible in case Mike arrived. I was thrilled to receive an e card from my friend in Spain which goes well with the advent calendar I’m enjoying daily from Australia.

I took breaks from 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm and then worked hard so I’d be free for the new Big Bang Theory at 8.00 pm. Mike arrived at 8.45 pm and had a coffee thrust in his direction while I watched the newest episode but we managed to chunner a bit during one we’d seen before. He told me he’s coming on Boxing Day to stay for a week or so till the kids go back to school. That’s a shame, he’ll miss hanging up his stocking on Christmas eve now. I hope he’ll be here in time for the gathering of the clans on boxing day or I might have to eat all the trifle myself. At 9.30 pm I went to clear the wrapping materials off his bed before coming back for a final assault on tonight’s work.

Friday.

Do you ever get the feeling something’s brewing? No missus, I didn’t mean the tea. Something dark and dastardly that stinks faintly of unwashed hooves maybe.

I got to bed last night in time to have a short read. I’m at a vital part now and wanted to carry on to see if the escaped Templars now in Scotland, managed to buy ships from Genoa to make another journey. It was very cold last night and so I turned the light off about 1.00 am and snuggled down. I don’t know how long it took me to drift off but I know I was tired. I distinctly remember starting the 12 days of Christmas in my head at some stage. I got as far as 2 Turtle Doves before I woke up and heard a snigger. It was 3.09 am. Obviously I had to get up. put my dressing gown on and grab a thick stick to check the house with. Nothing in the lounge, the kitchen or the bathroom. Michael was lucky I remembered he was here or he might have woken to find himself dead and me throwing bedding into the washing machine. I found nothing. I went back to my room and was sure I saw something fade away from my office chair as I turned the light on. It occurred to  me that wearing my glasses might have helped and that possibly, just possibly I could have walked past a burglar and not seen him. I put my glasses on. I was wide awake but knew something was odd, oh yes, I hadn’t been to the loo yet. Odder still, I wasn’t ready to go.

There was a whiff of damp goat or something as I sat in my chair and turned on the machine. As it was loading an advert flashed across the screen, PUBLICISTS WANTED. APPLY NOW. I carried on and signed into my mail. The first message appeared to be my daily horoscope which was odd as I’m not signed up to one. Interesting to see what they say though. Capricorn. You may feel out of your comfort zone this week by the offer of a new job. If you have social skills ( and what Capricorn doesn’t) and an ability with social media, you should give it your full consideration. The rewards could be great. Refusal could be costly.

Smiling at the generality of these things I clicked to bin it.  it disappeared into the ether I was repaid by 25 more messages popping into my mail box without even refreshing it. I knew there must be a system error as every other one was a horoscope with some words emphasised… Refusal could be costly.  I deleted them and carried on with the rest of the mail. It must have been around 5.30 am when I caught up and since it was far too early for the fish I decided to go and sit in the lounge by the radiator. It didn’t take me long to nod off. It was a restless sleep in the chair and the whispering on  the edge of my consciousness kept bringing me back to the surface while I was hearing “No, no, let him sleep, it’s easier for him to think it’s his idea this way.”  I think  someone underestimated me and forgot just how lightly I always sleep. Things began to make much more sense and that feeling must have seeped through to my brain because I heard  “DRAT” and suddenly my head was clear. “Those conniving, illegitimate………” I thought, and woke up. It was 6.30 am, a good enough time to face the fish and to do my Friday drugs.

By 7.30 am I was back in my room with a coffee making inroads into the next batch of mail. Things went quite steadily but the computer was under union orders to go slow. As I clicked on a message to upload I was able to get dressed and dance a quick paso doble before it appeared. I managed about a dozen before 9.00 am but luckily there weren’t too many left. I made Mike a drink and called him twice to let him know it was on the bedside table. Then it was time to go to Pauline’s for some Milk and my new lottery tickets When I got back there had been no movement so I called loud enough for the street to hear that he mustn’t let it gi cold. He sat up startled, moved those little legs and went to the lounge. I joined him a few moments later. At 10.00 am he suggested he should get moving. DUH, that’s why I wake him, and by 10.15 am he was on his way to Manchester. I returned to my room and signed out of mail then signed back in to see if things had improved. They had except there was more mail again now. The real postman brought me some cards including a lovely one from friends in the Lone Star State. I grabbed a few minutes to put them up.

I worked until 11.00 am intending to do a little more wrapping but didn’t make it. Instead I nodded off in my chair again……peacefully this time. It wasn’t for long as my stomach suggested I fed it so I took my pre-food tab at 11.15 am and prepared to indulge in cottage pie. It was too early for Bargain Hunt so I started watching a Christmas film to pass the time and stayed with it until it finished at 1.15 pm. Since the new serial I’ve been enjoying is on at 2.15 pm it was a rush to do some work in order to justify another skive this afternoon. Whether or not it was justified I skived again until 3.15 pm but made up for it afterwards by not going to watch my usual programmes until 6.00 pm when eggheads came on. I made myself some beans on toast to enjoy while I watched it. Pushing my luck a little further I also watched an old Big Bang Theory before going for a shower. I’d expected Mike back before then but hoped he’d remember his keys if he came while I was in the shower as these days that door is locked. I can’t get used to the idea that a burglary could make me change so much. I only locked the front door if I was going out all day before. I never bothered for a trip to the shops.

After the shower I had a quick push at the mail until 8.00 pm whn Mastermind was on. Mike finally arrived home just before half past with a Chinese meal as he hadn’t eaten all day. He’d texted to see if I wanted anything but actually what I didn’t want was an increase in my waist size again. I’ll be in clown trousers soon. I stayed with Mike as there was a programme on about Queen at 9.00 pm. It hurt me but I had to disappear and come to work at 10.00 pm despite the second programme on Queen starting then. Naturally a lot of mail had accrued during my skives so it took me a long time to catch up and then get to the blog. Another bad day tomorrow when I go shopping. I wonder if I can employ some boy scouts or better yet girl guides to do my wrapping.

Saturday.

Before I’d gone to sleep last night Mike came through to ask whether I was OK. He was puzzled that I hadn’t spoken a few minutes before when I’d gone through to the lounge, stared at the TV then left. Perhaps he thought I was cross at the volume. The only problem with that scenario was that I hadn’t moved from my room and in fact had been wearing my headphones so hadn’t heard the TV. I had to get up and check the windows with him and just confirm the front door was locked. It won’t be the first time something odd has happened here. Many times I’m sure I’ve glanced things from the corner of my eye. Usually that beggar pinching one of my chocolates though he denies it.

I’m not quite sure exactly what time I woke up this morning but I did lie there for a couple of minutes. I slung my legs unwillingly into the frosty air at 4.35 am and I’m sure there was something small perched on top of my computer watching me. When I turned my head fully in that direction there was absolutely nothing there. I moved to turn the computer on before going to the loo.  As i got back and turned the main light on there was a piece of parchment lying on my desk with the word Contra written on it. I just couldn’t figure out what it could mean other than the Latin for ‘against’. In the bin it went and on I started with the mail.  There was quite a bit but it wasn’t unmanageable so that by 6.30 am I was up to date bar the last few minutes. I went through and gave the fish the pleasure of my company a little early. I can’t understand why Big Al never seems to appreciate it, I am the most obedient of servants. I fed them and left him glaring at the space I had last occupied as I moved towards taking my meds and some breakfast. The breakfast though would be a reward so first I went round and emptied the bin and brought them through to add to the main rubbish bin in the kitchen. I took all the household rubbish and the food waste to the appropriate bins and manoeuvred  them onto the path then added the recycling bags from inside. Anyone walking past would have had a fine sight of me in my red/black striped bathrobe, if their eyes could have penetrated the gloom that is.

Back inside I made my coffee and ate some cereal. I also put the kettle on to boil as it was coming up to time for Mike to rise. I took his coffee through just as his alarm went off for the first time so I actually caught him sitting up to turn the alarm off. His grunt of acknowledgement made me think maybe my timing had been perfect. Wrong ! He’d gone straight back to sleep.  Waiting a few extra minutes in case of delayed reaction I hovered round the lounge door. Nothing happened so I jut yelled “Don’t forget your coffee”. That got a reaction and within seconds Mike was sitting in the lounge. I however had gone to get dressed. When I had my thickest cardie on I went to join him and he started to tell me about his strange dreams. “Someone was trying to take blood without my permission and I ripped the canneloni out” he said “look, I’ve even damaged the back of my hand for real.” And he had. “Are you sure you don’t mean Canaletto?” I asked.

We eventually got out of the house for shopping at about 7.55 am and had to take the coast road this morning because parts of the A55 were under repair (what’s new?). At the Supermarket Mike got the trolley while I got some cash, I’m hoping they won’t be able to identify me with the mask on. Me, not them in the mask that is. First we picked up some gifts Mike needed before we started on the shopping.Once we’d picked up the few essentials then Mike had picked me up off the floor at the till we went for a coffee or at least Mike had a coffee and I had a cold drink, cold enough for brain freeze. It’s freezing and wet outside and I’m on cold drinks? Following that we left for Flint along the same route  we’d used earlier though in reverse naturally. No,the car was not going in reverse, the journey was. When we arrived and parked up we picked up a couple more items like some dog treats for Wilson my nephew’s dog. Eventually we went for coffee to see Ceri, Sian and Kyle on the counter in Temptations.Look, if you’re going to make up the story yourself, you don’t need me. They were working behind the counter I meant. Mike played his usual game of catch the double entendre with Ceri. There was no chance of her, or anyone else, missing them since they’re thrown so hard but she just laughs them off and agrees.

When we left there I was shocked to see it was almost midday. Mike suggested bypassing home and going straight for lunch. We needn’t eat straight away but he could pick up the t-shirts Tariq had done for him. Tariq was on the counter when we arrived and shot round to greet us properly. Moments later Angie came through and came for a kiss and a hug, I’mm just not sure how many restaurants this could happen in and I’m sure the natives are getting suspicious. Angie had Rob come and do the drinks for us and unusually Rob was less shy than usual and held a conversation with me. Maybe my bringing him round for a hug last time broke some ice. Tarq had taken the order through to Shella and Shirley so I went outside for a cigarette. Mike joined me. We were just finishing when Tariq stuck his head out to announce the meal was ready. We’d both gone for the roast dinner with honey glazed gammon and it was really nice. I had Mike’s carrots and he too my sprouts. We’d only just started when Shella came out with some stuffing she’d forgotten to put on the plated so we got to say hello.

Everything was great. Tariq came over and brought the t-shirts for Mike to see and we laughed. They were perfect. Then he was daft enough to apologise for having to spend less time talking to us recently. We both understood he was busy- or that Shella thought we led him astray. When we finished we did the ritual goodbyes only Mike was in a side room paying for the t-shirts so I was the one to get the hug and kiss from the two delicious women and not him. You can be sure I rubbed that in. We got home and put the shopping away. I really needed to have a look at the emails but I’d determined earlier I  WE would have to do some wrapping first. Unfortunately we decided to deal with the gifts for The Ivy and for Temptations so it was deciding who had what. how they would be boxed etc and it took forever before we could wrap and label them all. So, it was 4.30 before I could break away and come through. OMG hundreds, but what did I expect. I promised to go through at 6.00 pm and watch our usual quiz with Mike so I’d have to be quick. I stayed till 8.00 pm then came back through but was just overwhelmed. I went back to the lounge at 9.00 pm and declared I was watching a comedy with him. That finished at 11.00 pm. It was time to start the blog or forget it altogether this week. I felt like a truant. Once I finish this I’ll work on mail as long as I can and the rest will have to wait till tomorrow.

Mischief planned.

Mischief planned.

Now you see it, now you don't.

Now you see it, now you don’t.

 

 

Have a Great New week all.

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To all kind readers and bloggers, and some Christmas shopping:

It’s not too late to get that missing present from some wonderfully talented people. How about a book from any number of talented authors, like Olga Nunez Miret? I Love Your Cupcakes would be great .

Just Olga

Hi all:

I’ve been talking about books and recommendations for Christmas and intended to carry on giving you suggestions, just in case you’re getting stressed over the task of having to choose something for your loved ones.

A few of my blogger friends are very talented artists and I wanted to invite  you to visit their pages for inspiration and just the pure joy of contemplating their creations:

Janet Weight, with her magical hummingbirds and watercolours:

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk/

Vera Komnig, whose abstract art always manages to bring my spirits up with the colours and textures so vibrant. As she acknowledges that not all of us have huge walls, like in the art galleries, she has created a collection of smaller pieces that I believe would make incredible Christmas presents:

http://verakomnig.com/kunst-kaufen-buy-art-fur-den-der-schon-alles-hat-ausser-platz-an-der-wand-for-the-one-who-already-has-everything-except-wall-space/

My friend and sister in arms blogger, Sally Cronin, has been posting in her blog Smorgasbord over the last few weeks…

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The Swineherd & The Christmas List

Sunday 30.11.2014

Me. Wha! Where the hell am I?

Swineherd. Er, I’m not quite sure but we call it home my child.

Me. My child? You’re one of those godlings aren’t you. Couldn’t you do better than swineherd? Which one are you then?

Swineherd. I’m Porcinus and I don’t just have pigs, they gave me goats too. A little respect please.

MeHm, let’s see. It’s 5.01 am on a Sunday morning. I’m standing here in my dressing gown with a frost underfoot which is slowly spreading up my legs and you’re talking RESPECT. Why am I here and where’s that comedian Somnos?

Swineherd. I brought you here because I knew you’d want to thank us in person for the lie-in we allowed you today. Please don’t pet the pigs by the way, there was an unfortunate incident last week with a hand.

Me. Wha! Why didn’t you say that at the beginning?  I repeat, why am I here and where’s Somnos?

Swineherd. Well. They seemed to be relaxing you and I didn’t want to make you nervous. As to why you’re here, isn’t the fact you’ve been blessed by my presence enough?

MeListen sunbeam. In about three inches that frost will hit a point where I’ll start getting very defensive. Kicking your butt down this mountain might just warm me up a bit.

Swineherd. Well, no need to get uppity. Listen, you’re pretty good with the advertising, product recognition and putting a positive spin on things we thought you might like the job as our publicist. Carries a certain kudos, Publicist to the Gods don’t you think?

I woke up at that point feeling a decided chill in my nether regions and shivering. It was 5.01 am. Despite the frost there was still some fluid in circulation and I needed to get rid of it. Somehow I found myself already in my dressing gown so I just slipped on my slippers and made a dash for the bathroom. When I’d chiseled the icicles off and sighed with relief I came back to turn the computer on and deal with the mail. I have to say that things seemed to be working at a reasonable speed this morning but the fan sounds very loud. I hope that’s not on it’s way out.

There was a fair bit of post including some real cons today. In some cases they’re getting very clever and looking much slicker. Almost believable. You know something smells wrong but can’t tell what at first glance. It comes down to minute scrutiny to find spelling mistakes that shouldn’t be there to show you the problem. I’m not even sure it isn’t the gods trying to get information to copy me on twitter. Certainly the one that appeared to be from paypal was interested in twitter  and facebook accounts and asked for passwords. Yes, like I’m going to allow Somnos to call an 8 foot Amazon ‘Butch’ in my name. I’ve become quite fond of my kneecaps over the years.

At 7.00 am I stopped for long enough to feed the fish, mission accomplished without incident., take my morning meds and make myself a coffee. I carried on. I was quite shocked when Mike’s alarm went off at 8.00 am but not in the least shocked he turned it off straight away and carried on sleeping. I hope he remembers to reset the alarm when he gets home r the grandchildren are going to find themselves late to school on Monday. At 9.10 am I’d got up to date on both accounts and went through to the lounge to find Mike appearing as well. He did stop long enough to pick me up. I hadn’t broken anything so was able to make his coffee.He was not on top form this morning,coughing and short of breath ( not as short as I wanted to make him though). I asked why he either didn’t go back to bed or went home and went to bed. He said he’s rather stay on and annoy me, help me out.

We were due to meet up with the girls and with Ugo, Yvonne and Reuben at 12.30 pm to meet Jo’s boyfriend- another Mike but I don’t know if that’s a bad omen. There was time first to nip to Prestatyn and then Rhyl. We got dressed and set off. Naturally we waved at The Ivy as we went past and were soon in Prestatyn where we had a coffee while waiting for the shop we wanted to open at 10.30 am. As soon as it did we grabbed 4 boxes of Whitaker’s strawberry creams in dark chocolate. These are for Christmas but might last me till Friday with luck. Then on to Rhyl. I’d had an online offer for a Fisher-Price toy I wanted for Reuben and wanted to see if the shop had it. They didn’t, but I did find what I thought was a good alternative and we both had a good look round.We soon found it was time to leave.

The drive from Rhyl to St Asaph and the Plough is only about 20 minutes unless of course you’re a jet pilot. It doesn’t seem to have sunk in with Mike that he isn’t so all the laws of time. space and gravity pull over to the side of the road and let him pass. When we arrived we still had time for a cigarette before going in and still managed to be ten minutes early. Yvonne called us. She, Ugo and Reuben had arrived a few minutes before hand and found our table. We were able to get hello hugs from everyone. Reuben was in a god mood judging by the smile. The others arrived and introductions were made and we all sat down. Reuben then decided he was no longer happy. Jo and I went to the bar for drinks. The waitress took the order and said she’d deliver them so I took Reuben for a walk. Mike 1 and Jo followed to have a cigarette and I had one as I walked Reuben round the building, He stood on the windowsill to wave at his Ma, Pa and Auntie Karen inside before we resumed our walk. It was still cool out so we were glad to get back inside to the warm. I abandoned my grandson in favour of a menu and a few minutes later the waitress came to take our order. I have vests longer than her dress and I knew Mike 1 was wondering if he could have melons as a starter.( No, was the answer to that). I took my pre-lunch tablet.

Mike 2 was at the furthest end of the table away from me. I don’t know if that was on purpose so the patriarch couldn’t ask questions or not. He did seem a pleasant enough lad. I call him lad yet he has been married before and has 4 daughters ( poor man). I imagine they’re all quite young but it’s none of my beeswax. My niece Jo can make her own decisions and I trust her judgement-ish. I had an extra hug from Karen ( my Carrie-Ann) when I passed her some Marylin Monroe Mugs with chocolate and mallows I’d found. I gave Jo some boxes of chocolate popcorn and chocolate mallows also with Marilyn’s picture on the box. I gave Yvonne a box of chocolates and then she pointed out to all and sundry my lack of sense for doing so as in the same bag I’d passed some slimming patches. I suppose it might seem a little incongruous. When lunch was over we chatted for an age before deciding to ask for the bill. I tried to get my hands on it but Jo had already paid for herself, Karen and Mike 2. I asked for what was left and Yvonne and Mike were thrusting money at me straight away. I was thwarted.

The car park was full of goodbyes. I had a kiss and hug from Reuben but as soon as Yvonne said “Wave bye-bye to Pops”he burst into tears and I had to go back towards him. I told Mike it had been nice to meet him and he said “Stop playing silly buggers and get in the car.” We drove home. Mike left pretty soon after we’d got back and as usual I started work straight away. It was a couple of hours down the line I had a text from Mike. I thought he was home but it seems he’d had a slight lapse of memory at the garage and thought it was his old car. He’d put petrol in a diesel engine. Not only would it cost him £300 to sort but he had to wait for the privilege. I really felt for him, not well and that happening. Ouch.

Group shot.

Group shot.

Stolen  Hat

Stolen Hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday.

Me. What again? I thought we cleared up your little invitation yesterday. Nice goats by the way, lost any hands with them lately?

Porcinus. As a Capricorn I thought the goats were a nice touch for you. No, no hands missing though they are a bit partial to….clothing. Oops, I did try to warn you.

Me. Isn’t there some kind of insurance in place for here. Just what do you want anyway?

Porcinus. Now now, it’s only a little hole and look how contentedly he’s chewing. Actually the reason I asked you here is because I can’t seem to get hold of Somnos and wondered if you’d seen him.

Me. Look pal, it’s 5.24 am and pretty nippy, especially with a hole in my lounge pants. Isn’t it possible to ask these stupid questions at a more reasonable hour? Anyway, I thought that you and Somnos might be one and the same.

Porcinus. It’s a more reasonable hour than the one you complained about  yesterday. And no, we’re not the same. I suppose you could say he’s my brother.

Me. Oh, he ain’t heavy then? A reasonable hour is one in which I choose to visit you.

Porcinus. He ain’t heavy? What kind of language is that for a writer ? As to your latter point, you wouldn’t choose to would you?

Me. No, but that’s beside the point. At least I’d be choosing not to visit you at a reasonable hour. But, to get back to your point, I haven’t seen and nor do I wish to see your brother. He’s probably sleeping it off with Dionysus somewhere or gambling away some more of my sleep with another one of you gods. Now if you don’t mind, I was in the middle of a rather interesting dream involving a feather boa and a very naughty lady ( I hope ), perhaps you could return me to it.

I woke up at 5.24 am with the vague recollection of a goat, and why was I playing with a piece of string in my hands? It was like my birthday waking up this late but somehow I still felt cheated like I’d missed out on something important. Damn, I found a tear in the leg of my pants. I need to get these toenails cut again when I can find some industrial shears. Message to self… Turn the heating up, these mornings are getting colder.

After a visit to the loo I turned the computer on all fingers crossed and waited to see how things would be this morning. As regards the mail, things seemed not too bad. Regarding the computer itself, things started well but the fan was still noisy and as the day progressed things got a little slower. But first thing, all was hunky dory. The mail contained a spate of make a fortune working from home adverts which were annoying because you couldn’t see what they were until they were opened but at least they weren’t damaging. The nasty b*stards must have been out again last night though as Windows Defender had picked up two messages it had to remove a virus from. At least I didn’t need to open those at all. I was able to work my way through the rest without too many problems. As usual I stopped at 7.00 am to feed the fish. As I turned the light on all activity seemed to cease for the moment. It struck me as humorous wondering what went through the minds of these characters when the light suddenly appears followed by something gigantic ( only in their eyes before anyone suggests a diet) with a deep voice who issues food from the skies. The inactivity was only momentary though as they quickly resumed their tasks of seeking out escape tunnels or whatever they do. Naturally Big Al was the director of all this activity turning slowly at the centre of the tank while Little Al seemed to scurry backwards and forwards issuing royal commands.At least I was saved his attentions apart from a surreptitious glance he didn’t think I’d noticed. I placed the food in and walked away quite sure he’d issue rations when needed.

I went to take my meds and realised I’d forgotten to take last night’s. Because I’m anal about the box at least looking as though I’d had them, they got tipped into the bin as usual. I don’t have to show how forgetful I am now. I took this morning’s batch and then took a pre foodie, had a cigarette and made myself some toast. It was only because I’d succumbed to temptation and had a couple of chocolates while I was working. I took my coffee back to the bedroom office and started again. Before I knew it time had flown and I almost had a heart attack as Pauline came in at 8.40 am. I asked her how she was and then let her get on with it. The mail was going down well and all banging and clattering had ceased when I suddenly came over peculiar ( I’ve warned you Mike, don’t test me). The pain hit and I had to lie down. That must have been around half nine and the next thing I knew it was 10.25 am and Pauline was just packing up to go. I got up and went through to pay her. No matter how I try I can’t make that sentence sound any better. I returned to work.

11.45 am and both mail boxes were empty though I hadn’t refreshed them for a while. I went through to prepare lunch. As usual I enjoyed Bargain Hunt while I ate. Perhaps because of the enforced nap earlier I stayed awake right to the end. Glancing through the TV magazine I’d found a programme that looked interesting a little later in the afternoon and a fascinating one on the Hittites this evening. I determined I would watch them.  Work was planned around those two programmes even if it meant missing some of the usual ones. In the end I was lucky and I didn’t have to miss too much. At 9.00 pm after the one on the Hittites I came through and started work again and found not too much waiting which pleased me and left me a little more relaxed than usual. I’ve been able to do the blog and will still get an early night.

My Special Girls Yvonne, Karen & Jo

My Special Girls
Yvonne, Karen & Jo

Tuesday.

Judging by the 3.13 am start this morning it’s possible I may have upset someone. It’s a shame too as I was at the point in a dream where I was about to fill out my list for Santa.

Dear-Santa-424x600

It wouldn’t have been a complicated list. Perhaps a dozen ‘dinky’ Titterton’s pork pies, 10 medium and maybe a family one or perhaps 2. It’s also possible there might have been mention of a BFG and maybe even a lemon meringue just in case Mike is here , he’s got a very sweet tooth. I’d have made a point of telling Santa I’ve tried to be very good this year and any hiccup are generally animal instigated though maybe I shouldn’t mention  that because of his reindeer. I’ve tried to be nice to all Nigerian widows and orphans as well as polite to various bankers based in Nigeria, Burkino Faso and any place else. I’ve also tried hard to be patient with all the women with big, erm, assets who want to marry me or just teach me things and very patient with the various astrologers et al who want me to buy the knowledge of my future, I think being broke is the main  thing in my future if I do. All in all I think I’ve been quite good.  Of course in my dream I would have made the request and sent it off up the chimney to Santa. The min problem with reality is I have central heating in real life and no chimney so send it up.

There was quite a bit of mail when I signed in. It’s like everyone thought, “I know, I’ll do my Christmas list for Santa and then write a letter or post a blog while I’m here.” Not that they weren’t welcome nor interesting. They were, but it’s still a shock sometimes to see them all come at once. Still, thanks to being up so early it’s not like I was short of time. By 6.30 am I was feeling tired but I couldn’t go to sleep again without seeing to the fish so I decided to do them early. I went through to the kitchen and broke the pitch black by turning the overhead light on before turning the light on in the tank. I don’t know if the overhead light had set them off but I was mesmerised at the complicated water ballet being executed before me, and by executed I mean like the electric chair, as Morecambe and Wise were turning circles as though chasing each others magnificent tails while Big Al an Little Al we involved in a race doing full lengths of the tank, hitting their noses on the glass and racing back. Sharkey was nipping in and out of the amphora looking as though he’d lost something. In the midst of all this frenetic activity the plecs were just lying on the bottom without a care in the world. It was as though I’d fed them something a little controversial but I hadn’t fed them at all yet. I did so and things seemed to quiet down a bit. I turned away to take my morning meds and decided I was peckish so took a ‘foodie’ waited the 15 minutes ( with a cigarette) and had a small bowl of Shreddies.

I’d automatically made myself a coffee so no point in going to nod off in my chair and anyway, watching the fish had woken me up again. I went back to work. It must have been well after 9.00 am when I started to nod off over the keyboard when there was a knock on the door. I was expecting 2 deliveries today so I’d psyched myself up to answer the door. Not a delivery, instead there as a little old lady standing there who said “Do you want to buy any potatoes, various size bags”? I stuttered a “No thank you” and came in. No sooner had I sat down than another knock on the door. I could see the bright orange top that led me to think it was the postman so I answered. This time a tall young man with an orange jumper stood there. “Want to buy some potatoes”? he asked. I wasn’t sure if my first answer hadn’t been convincing enough but I repeated it with thanks.  Yet again I went to sit down at the computer when I heard a fumbling at the door. There was the same orange. I wanted to open the door and say go away but I’m glad I couldn’t as it was the postman with delivery number 1.

As this delivery was a gift I’d bought I decided to have a break from work and start organising myself. I got out the sacks I’d bought with Mike a couple of weeks ago and put names on them then placed them on Mike’s bed. I started going through my bags, boxes and parcels and placing things in the appropriate sacks so that when I’m ready I can just grab a sack and start wrapping. I’m not sure Mike is going to be too thrilled when he comes this weekend and can’t find his bed. I must put in some effort as my great niece, her boyfriend and my great grand nephew are coming up this weekend and I have something for them to take back for under their tree. That’s if they have a tree as currently they’re in a hotel after their house was flooded. I know she’s finding it a strain having to control her son when he wants to play which she wouldn’t have to do at home. All this work took me up to almost midday so I stopped for lunch and Bargain Hunt.Remarkably I stayed awake again and then couldn’t afford a nap as the next episode of the programme I’d watched yesterday was on at 2.15 pm and I wanted to see it. That left me just over an hour to make some headway with the post. I actually did quite well.

I quite enjoyed the programme but it’s obvious I’ve missed quite a lot by not seeing earlier episodes even though each one is a story in itself. If it comes around again I’ll make more of an effort. I started working again and at 4.10 pm as I was just nipping to the loo I saw a van draw up and someone coming down the path. I opened the door ready and it was my second delivery which is actually something Ugo wanted me to get.He’ll be pleased it’s here. I had to sign for it and how I hate those awful machines you have to write on with a plastic pen. My signature is indecipherable to me when I’ve use one. I thanked the driver, closed the door and continued on my now urgent journey. By 5.00 pm I was up to date. As I went through to watch a quiz I noticed a box of Christmas cards I’d left out ready to do the neighbours so I rattled a few off as I watched. Then I cut out some pictures to use in Christmas decorations with the lights I bought. A really industrious day. By 7.00 pm I’d seen all I wanted to see on the box so I had a couple of mince pies and came back to work. I’ve been answering mail and commenting on blogs ever since. I really feel like I’ve achieved something today and at last I’m reasonably happy with what I’ve bought.

redboy 6redboy 1

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwuHtbcvTh8

Wednesday.

Lat night went so well that I was able to go to bed, have a read and still turn my light off at 11.45 pm.  This morning was not the best start possible though. I woke and got up at 3.36 am  and for some reason wandered through to the kitchen after visiting the bathroom and turned the light on. I went straight to the tank and lit it up while wondering if they’d like some Christmas lights. All of them seemed a little stunned and after a short visit to the front of the tank to make sure it was really me, carried on swimming normally. I turned round to take my tablets, putting milk in my mug to do so, then for some strange reason took a pre- foodie tablet first. I realised straight away what I’d done but had no choice but to eat. It was then I checked my watch for the 15 minute delay and found it was just 2.50 am. Stunned but well able to hear the mocking laughter from the top of Mount Olympus, Valhalla or even the roof I lit a cigarette and sat in the darkened lounge to smoke it. When the timing was finished I returned to the kitchen and with a show of manly strength ripped open a small box of Rice Krispies and spent the next 5 minutes collecting as many as possible off the floor before eating some more carefully opened Rice Krispies from my supplies. I made a coffee and took it through to the office.

I turned the computer on and sent birthday greetings to my great-niece Marissa via Facebook, a place I rarely visit these days. While there I accepted two friend requests and answered a message. Before starting on the post I needed to visit the loo again. It was now 3.45 am and obviously still very dark so I turned the bathroom light on. You’ll have to take my word for it that I’m not vain but as you go in the bathroom there is a large mirror on the left. I just happened to glance into it and there I saw Oliver Cromwell. I had a huge wart on my chin.It was only on closer examination I found it was a rogue Rice Krispie poking through my beard. I think the mocking laughter would have been much harder if I’d gone to Pauline’s like that. I ate it, did what I needed to do and returned to work.

I worked through until 8.00 am then got dressed ready to confront the day with what I hoped would be dignity. Taking my empty cup through to the kitchen I was ready to return to work for a while but decided to wrap my daughter’s birthday present and also place the calendars I’d had made into envelopes. once addressed I placed them  in the bag with the gift ready for Ugo to deliver when he goes to see his Mum and his brother and sisters. That job had taken me beyond 9.00 am so it was opportunity to go to Pauline’s for some extra milk and my TV mag. Obviously the milk goes faster when I’m having cereal for breakfast. I picked up cigarettes for tomorrow while I was there so I needn’t go out again until Friday when I do the lottery. It seemed quite sunny out so I’d gone in just my cardigan ( you know what I mean so stop laughing, no coat). Whatever lies the sunshine told it was white on the ground and I was freezing outside. I was glad to get back.

After storing the milk in the fridge ( probably warmer than outside) I returned to work and concentrated on it for the rest of the morning until 11.45 am when I went to make lunch. I reminded myself to take a pre-food tablet when I reached the kitchen but must have been distracted. I’d put the sausages under the grill and had part cooked them before I started the mashed potatoes and once those were done, the beans. It was only as things were almost ready I remembered the tablet and was able to curse myself for such stupidity. There was no help for it though things were almost done. I added butter to the potatoes, creamed them and added them to my plate. I turned the grill off and added 6 (small) sausages to my plate then retrieved the beans from the microwave and added those over the top of my potatoes like the lava coming from Mt. Vesuvius. I really enjoyed my dinner and made doubly sure to take the after food tablets when finished. After washing up I sat back in the chair to enjoy the auction part of Bargain Hunt and fell asleep. It didn’t last long but I thought it had, Looking at my watch told me it was 2.10 pm and I thought my new programme was on in 5 minutes and I’d done no work.  Common sense kicked in when I realised it was still the news on TV so I rechecked my watch. It was 1.10 pm so I had plenty of time to work.

I started catching up again but found myself drifting off, drifting, drifted. This time it was 3.00 before I opened my eyes. I knew that because my head was bent at such an angle it was looking at my watch on my arm, in my lap.That meant I’d all but missed the programme and also that a load more mail had accrued.  I refreshed the screen  and almost fainted when I saw the new totals. Opening a new tin of Pepsi Max I hoped the caffeine would help keep me awake while I worked. It did, but it made me fidgety and my hands were jerking so that I was deleting mail before I’d done it and had to keep going to find it. At 4.30 pm I decided I needed a break before my opponents visitors arrive. I’d just managed to eat a cold sausage sandwich with some leftovers from lunchtime when Lee arrived. He’s fine and looking good too. What a great father he’s going to make. I asked if Jen is showing yet and his answer is “Not much”. Maybe she isn’t at that sensitive stage yet where her S.O.H takes a holiday if her size is mentioned in the wrong way ( in any way). I suggest he keeps some running shoes handy as he may be taking the dog out a lot. He was good enough to listen to my woes about the computer  and agreed I’d done all I could but he did have a look at the blasted search engine that comes up every day unwanted. I did say I’ve checked all the registries. He wasn’t able to fin it’s hiding place either but it’d not damaging anything now and I just delete it. I got him a glass of water and we sat chatting waiting for the others to arrive.

They caught me unawares at 5.30 pm and I had to nip to the kitchen to make drinks. Coffee for Matt and Tea for Dil. Drinks given I set up the table and pulled out the Balderdash. I didn’t get a look in during the first game and realised what accomplished liars we breed in this family. Hung by our own petards. I think Matt won the first one but in the second one my super powers of straight face, honest eyes came into play and I won easily. Oh, and naturally I was doing the scoring too which helps.I nipped into the kitchen to smoke a cigarette where the extractor fan is since neither Lee nor Dil smoke though Dil used to so he understands the need. While I did so, Matt drew up the chart for nomination whist and Dil dealt. It distresses me to say I wasn’t doing the scoring this time and so I lost. It was nip and tuck between Dil and myself most of the way with us changing position between first and second and leading by about half a dozen points. The last game he made sure I won one trick more than I wanted while he got his call and he beat me. At that point Lee had to leave us as he hadn’t seen Jen since breakfast  Since she works outside the home and has a fair way to travel it can be a long day.

Once Lee had gone Dil suggested reminding Matt how to play Chase the Lady ( what some of you will know as Hearts on your computers). It’s been months since we first showed him and it’s not an easy game to teach. He picked it up quite well but still hasn’t quite got the hang of it. We decided to play it through as though a real game and point out errors on the way. He didn’t seem to be making that many until someone started dumping the Queen of Spades on him at every opportunity after theb two of them stopped me lotting. That turned out to be Dil’s game as well. So, just one very small victory for me tonight, I’m devastated. As it was past 9.30 am it was time for them to depart. I tidied up, washed the pots and wished the fish goodnight. I’d just turned the mail back on when I remembered I needed to go back through and take my meds. There was mail going back to 3.30 pm when I must have last refreshed so I wasn’t best pleased. In order to go to bed by midnight, and I am tired tonight, I have had to leave a big chunk undone until the morning. It’s 11.50 pm now so I should just about make it.

Here is a picture of Mike’s new grandson Jacob Ryan born around 3.00 am this morning. Isn’t he bright eyed. Congratulation Lisa and Tony and the new grandad.

Jacob Ryan.

Thursday.

I made it to bed by midnight last night. After a read I settled down at about 1.00 am. After the last couple of days I was delighted when I opened my eyes and found the time was 4.53 am. I think some beings may have decided they’ve gone a bit too far this week. Things were OK as I laid into the mail on my talktalk account which is actually aol. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but it’s odd that there’s no facility for actually blocking an address you don’t want mail from but which keeps bombarding you. I could really have done with it this morning. So many adverts for winning laser eye treatment etc. Nothing interesting like winning your own weight in gold for instance.

7.00 am brought it’s usual torments when I went to feed the fish. I bent down to wish Good Morning to Morecambe  and Wise as they’re the ones usually at the upper level and hang around either because of my dulcet tones or because they want to be fed.  Instead I ended up in a staring contest with two red eyes which had they been able to speak would probably have had a very gruff Yorkshire accent and be calling me ‘lad’ as they gave me a bollocking. The pity of it is I have no idea what I’m supposed to have done wrong unless it’s because their light was turned off 5 minutes early last night. I also had the urge to laugh as Little Al swam into the picture and stayed behind the tail of Big Al and the tail seemed to be slapping his face. Laughing might not have been the best idea so I just said “Sorry” and moved away to take my meds. I needed breakfast this morning so I also took one of my pre-food tabs then lit a cigarette for timing and walked away to make myself useful. First a trip to my bedroom to find my Christmas gift wrap, then to Mike’s bedroom to create a space on top of the bed by taking a sack through ready for wrapping later.

The cigarette came to an end so a couple of pieces of bread went into the toaster and I started to make my coffee. As the toast came out it got lashings of butter and I was licking my lips for ages afterwards. I took my coffee back through with me and got myself washed and dressed before settling down to work again. As soon as 9.30 am came round I prepared to go to Pauline’s, the school rush would be over by then and I wouldn’t be trampled by a herd of wild mummies freed for the day. It was dry this morning with even a hint of sun but again there was no warmth coming through. I was prepared this time though and was so muffled in my coat I could hardly move and the cardie underneath made it look like I’d gained ten stone since the weekend, which in fairness to Whitaker’s dark chocolate mints and strawberry creams I might have. I picked up a small loaf and took it to the counter just as the last customer was leaving. I handed Pauline the list of lottery tickets and requested a winner. She promised to see what she could do. I also bought enough cigarettes to keep me going until Saturday (I hope).

Back at home it took me half an hour to unravel myself from all the extra clothing. It was like unwrapping a mummy from the sixth dynasty, I think that was the last series. I’m not sure what husband Joan Collins was on then. It was back to work after that and my oh my hadn’t it mounted up again. Yet again over the last two days there have been little groups of people following the blog so I’m constantly having to check out new blogs to see if I should be following back. I never quite see the logic of being followed by a travel company or a school supply business. Those are not groups most people would follow. At 12.00 pm I felt really tired and was going to lie down but remembered I needed to eat something so had a beef sandwich and a strawberry fool. I watched most of the antique programme and even saw the auction at the end. I came back through to work as I wanted to see something at 2.15 pm. I was keeping an eye on the clock (( very uncomfortable as it kept rolling off) and remember seeing 2.05 pm and thinking I needed to wind up. That was the last thing I remembered until I woke up at 2.55 pm when it was almost over. I was determined not to miss the Big Bang Theory at 8.00 pm.

About 4.30 ish I got up to date on emails and decided on a break. I cut myself some malt loaf and watched a quiz on TV until 6.00 pm when I decided it would pay me to keep the mail down ready for my next departure. Things went well and at 7.45 pm I was up to date on both accounts . I went through and found I’d forgotten the fish so without turning on the kitchen light crept quietly up to the tank and switched if off shouting “Time for bed guys, goodnight.” I even had time to wrap a couple of Christmas gifts for my great niece, her partner and my great grand nephew. I’d just put the sellotape away when Big Bang started.I settled in my chair, not that this episode was too important as it was a repeat of last weeks before the new one. I got about half way through and fell asleep again. It was almost 9.30 pm before I woke up. I’m beginning to think Somnos and Porcinus might have a new playmate who enjoys messing with my schedule. Let’s call him Digitus just so I know who I’m thumping when we meet.

Wearing my melancholy face and the quivering bottom lip that so upsets my beautiful daughter, I wandered back through to work.  Drying my eyes so the screen wouldn’t blur I set to work on the new messages which were coming in thick and fast, worse than a snow storm in Maine ( as described to me by that excellent writer S.J.Sprague). I was so involved in what I was doing I almost missed Mike coming through the door at 10.40 pm. Obviously like a little child he demanded my attention and if no coffee was forthcoming ( or even fifthcoming) he’d spit his dummy out. The coffee was forthcoming and we sat together talking about our week. Mine didn’t take long, stayed in all week except for the corner shop visits. His of course was much more interesting, in the hatched column his beautiful new grandson Jacob, in the dispatched column 6 of his fish which he was definitely most dischuffed about. His water ( sorry, the tank’s water) has been tested and found to be perfect so it seems likely either he’s bought some diseased fish or introduced something toxic to the tank and he swore he hasn’t sung to them so it must be an airline he put in last week.

We talked until quite late and I’ve now had to give up the idea of doing more emails until tomorrow since it’s well past the witching hour. I therefore wish you all goodnight. Bon nuit, nos da.

Disgruntled

GruntledDisgruntled                                                                                                                                                       Gruntled?

Serene in the face of danger

Serene in the face of danger

Friday.

I read until 1.00 am or maybe a little after. As I turned the light off and settled down I sent out a few warnings mentally about the price of sleep disturbances. I was afraid of being woken at some ridiculous hour with a request to vote for one of my new acquaintances as God of the Week or something equally as urgent. As it was, I had a nuisance free night and was able to lie in until 5.29 am. There was a desperate need for the loo when I swung my legs out so I made a quick dash trying to get my dressing gown on at the same time. That flailing of arms and flapping of material was not what was wanted at that time of day though. Either my are, sleeve or belt must have caught two empty pepsi tins on the edge of my desk waiting to go into the recycling bag. Down they came with a double clang worse than the chime of a grandfather clock in the dead of night. I expected light to go on around me, well everywhere except Mike’s room at least. For sure it made me wake up as I stood there shushing the cans like they could hear me and bounce quietly. I carried on to the loo and then picked them up on my way back. Without any thought I dropped them into the recycling bag only for them to clang again on the cans already in there.

I started in on the mail and my fears that there would be plenty of mail left from last night was proven right. Still, worrying about it wouldn’t help so I just panicked instead. It was, OMG, OMG, OMG what can I do? But I wasn’t sure what could be done except work or sit there and delete them all claiming some kind of divine retribution because I wouldn’t speak to Somnos. I knew that was unlikely to work so I bit the bullet ( don’t do that if you have fillings folks) and got on with it. I could only work until 6.30 am on this first batch as I had my drugs to see to this morning so at the appointed hour I went to the kitchen ready to look my nemesis in the face. It wasn’t to be as he was holding one of his Union meeting again where the tail flicked in my direction sometimes as if in indication. I can’t understand why we can’t get on. I opened the flap and dropped food in. Before I turned away I noticed Sharkey as well as Morecambe and Wise backing away from Big Al while pretending to listen. The food and I were winning hearts and stomachs. I left and went to take my morning meds.

Once the meds were taken and the pots empty I went to get the drawer where I keep my ‘stash’ and filled them all up again. It does take quite a while. Before doing it I”d taken a pre-food tablet knowing I’d be ready for breakfast once the meds were done. As soon as the drawer was back in place I put some bread in the toaster and made my drink. I enjoyed the toast, and after taking my post meal tabs I took the drink back and started on the mail which hadn’t disappeared while I was away. It’s funny sometimes to see just how many people are still working after you’ve gone to bed and seeing them say goodnight at various time zones on twitter. I wasn’t many short of completion of last night work when it was time to leave again. I’d no idea whether Mike has set an alarm last night an I knew he’d had a late night but he had to travel to his father’s this morning and I was determined to give him a head start. So, at 9.00 am I took him a coffee through, went to the lounge, put Frasier on and settled to wait. I woke up again around 9.30 am and Mike was in his chair enjoying the programme. At least I didn’t have to shout him again. Trouble is I expected him to get up and get ready and be out of the house by 10.00 am. No chance, he watched Frasier till 10.00 am and then got ready and left.

I carried on working all morning until there was a knock at the door about 11.45 am. It had slipped my mind about the warden coming and yet again I wasn’t dressed. She must wonder if I ever get dressed. ” You DO go out don’t you”? was one of her questions. It was during this visit I learned I am exactly one day older than she is. While she no doubt sat there thinking she wasn’t as wrecked as the man in front of her, I was thinking, What a difference a day makes. She’s quite a pleasant lady to speak to. After she’d gone I made myself pizza and chips for the sake of speed and watched Bargain Hunt. Yep, all the way to the end again. Then it was time to concentrate , preferably with my eyes open. I rapidly finished off last night stuff and started on this morning’s. by 5.00 I was more or less up to date and took a break. Time for a quiz then I planned to take a shower about 6.30 am and wondered if Mike would be back by then. I watched the quiz until 6.00 pm and then the start of the next one before falling asleep until 6.45 pm. Mike wasn’t back. I dashed ( ha, me dash !) to have a shower so I wouldn’t miss too much of Mastermind, and managed to get back only ten minutes into the programme.

At 7.30 pm there was football on TV so I decided to go and complete a little more work. I wouldn’t have been able to had Mike been here. He arrived back at 8.50 pm so it was time to stop work again and go see how his day had been and to spend some time with him. I stayed until 10.00 pm  having enjoyed Have I Got News For You and it’s lampooning of our lying politicians. Now it was time to be serious again amongst the conmen of a different continent. I was determined to clear as many messages as possible today with going out so early in the morning. I’ll never know why I chose a Saturday as the day I post the blog as it’s always the most stressful day of the week, losing so much time from the computer due to shopping. It’s playing catch up from the moment we get in.

Food Fun 1 -Empty

Food Fun 1 -Empty

Food Fun 2

Food Fun 2

 

Saturday.

Last night I made it to bed before midnight but as usual there was an overriding need to relax with a read. Having stopped writing seems to have increased my appetite for reading rather than dampening it. After quite a few late night this week and just a couple of late mornings I was hoping that maybe I’d get to lie abed until about 5.00 am again. Yes I know, the eternal optimist. It was 3.38 am but on the plus side there were no visits to Mt Olympus/ Snowdon/St Helens or somewhere to contend with first. I got out of bed a bit gingerly as it felt cool. I do keep the heating on and mentioned to Mike that it just never seemed to reach my room. There were a few non swear words in his explanation which seemed to be “Stop putting stuff in front of the radiator then you prannock.” Since he wasn’t up (ha ha ha) I didn’t have to hear that this morning. A quick run to the bathroom, a minute with the ice-axe and then back to start work. Quite a bit to do before 7.00 am but I’m confident it can be done.

I started by deleting everything I could see I didn’t need to work on or answer, just so the list looked smaller. Next it was dealing with the tweets and retweets which made the list smaller still. All that pratting about brought the end of the list much closer for me but gave me so much less time to concentrate on the things that mattered. I panicked. My hands started to shake which was quite good as it almost counteracted the usual shake so I didn’t light the tip of my nose when I had a cigarette. I’mm not sure the medical profession are ready to accept this as a breakthrough but I felt I’d made progress and my nose wasn’t as warm as usual. I actually managed to get up to date, including a refresh, by 6.45 am and went straight through to the kitchen in an unusually good mood. I put the tank light on and it was like a miracle. The food slot became the centre of all attention. Morecambe and Wise at the top of the tank, Sharkey was hovering around low middle and the rest on the gravel more or less in a circle surrounding Big Al so either he was leading the morning prayers or I’d just saved him from a mob. I dropped the flake in for M & W followed by a tablet of algae for the others. M & W ignored the flake and followed the algae tab to the bottom an started kissing it. Since it had dropped fairly close to Big Al, I wouldn’t give twopence for their chances if he saw them. Luckily Little Al was running around like he was demented and was occupying his attention momentarily. That also suited me, so whistling Que sere sera, I backed away to take my meds. I decided to have breakfast today so once the meds were taken I had a timer cigarette before putting some bread in to toast.

I’d just finished breakfast and made a drink when Mike’s alarm went off so I put the kettle on for him and while it was boiling started readying my bins. When I took the drink through I could tell it was going to be hard work. I had to call twice just to get a grunt in return. I took the bins and the bags out and when I’d finished came back in to find no movement even though it was possible the alarm had sounded and been ignored again. I called out “Don’t let your coffee get warm Michael” and went back to work by refreshing the screen.The words must have penetrated because I heard him move through to the lounge which didn’t necessarily mean he was awake.On a Pinterest board I saw a picture of some fish s I went to check if he was awake and asked him to look them up, it was written as batta fish, bata fish and also beta fish and they looked great. Mike came through to say they were just Siamese fighting fish but he had to agree these were spectacular. It turned out they had an odd name like semi circular or something and the tails were brilliant but it said they’re expensive. We’ll have to keep an eye open. OK, so I had him awake now but he was so hooked on the subject that I couldn’t get him to go get dressed.

Eventually we were on our way out but didn’t arrive at the store until 8.15 am.I thought we were able to make up some time as my list wasn’t too big but we had coffee at the normal time. From there we went to Flint and our usual shops for a few items and then our usual coffee and teasted toecakes with Ceri. There didn’t seem to be much banter today but that may be because it was quite crowded. Also I wasn’t on top form at all and wasn’t perhaps paying as much attention as usual. We went home and put the shopping away. Time was getting on and about 1.00 pm we went for lunch. We were disgusted when we ot there to see they’d allowed someone to sit at our table even though the place wan’t full. That will mean a written complaint to the management. Talking of whom, he was in the kitchen cooking today as Shella is off with the flu. Angie and Rob were front and centre today so Rob saw to the drinks and Angie took our food order for Tariq to cook. I decided to give him the letter of complaint after we’ve eaten. By the time we were due to leave we were the only customers left so Tariq and Shirley were able to come through from the kitchen. We had a few laughs as a group then received hugs including from Rob today.

At home I wanted to start work but Mike wasn’t happy with the way I looked. He told me to put a bag over my head to improve things. Swine ! We put some Chistmas lights up at the window and brought my permanent tree of LCD lights out to stand in front of the window. Once I’d hung a few ornaments on it everything felt quite Christmassy. I couldn’t go to Colwyn Bay to take gift to my great niece so I sent a text to David -my nephew-her father. They’ll come through in the morning which is nice. After that, I was able to come through and relax ( away from THE VOICE ” Stop doing that. put your arms down, take your spray) and do some work until 5.30 pm when he called me through to watch TV with him and relax properly. I stayed until 8.00 pm which being blog night is as late as I dared. I’m going to be on time with the blog but I’m not sure where I’ll be with the mails as I think it’s time to hit the sack as soon as I press publish.

cutie 3cat 2

Blowing kisses to Pops

Blowing kisses to Pops

And finally.

Just Kidding

Just Kidding

Have a wonderful week everyone.

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Some Stats that Fascinate Me.

I was looking at some of my stats this morning which is not something that usually occurs to me.  Since you, my readers and friends, are the stats I thought I’d share a few with you.

My flag counter tells me I’ve collected flags from 90 Countries so far which equates to 147 flags.

These range from Algeria to the Virgin Islands. I suppose it could be 92 if you separate the UK so that Scotland and Wales counted. There are some very unexpected places like Armenia, Curacao,Estonia, Belarus, Qatar, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Russia, Uganda and China. Even 4 visitors from South Korea.

I’ve had 3019 visitors from the U.S.A. which comprises 42.4% of the total visitors, the UK has provided 25.4 % with 1807 visitors while Russia has 0.5% and 37 visitors.

Thank you to each and everyone of you who’ve dropped in and liked or left a comment on the blog. I appreciate you all and try my best to follow,like and comment on as many blogs as I can.

WelshDragonFlag    Huge Hugs from Wales.  David. 😀

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