Sunday, 19 November 2017

Jobs Done

Islwyn ( pronouncing Trelawnyd) for a previous post

There was a small line of cars filling the lane as the Ikea lorry unloaded my kitchen.
I popped from one to another apologising for the wait, and everyone was good natured as they generally are on a weekend.
One chap who lives directly across the valley whistled through his teeth
"Dew......that was a big fire you had the other night" he said" I thought the entire village was alight!" 
I replied that I hadn't had a bonfire and enquired what night he had seen the blaze.
" bonfire night" the chap explained
One of the nights we were in New York.
I walked on the field to investigate and surprise surprise my bonfire that I had been building for a year now had vanished. The old sofa, four old hen houses, trees, garden waste and an arm chair had disappeared  Only a big black ring in the ground remained.
Village Elder Islwyn had been at work
Now every village needs an Islwyn.
He is someone that sees a job that needs doing and who does it, bugger red tape or procrastination.
After the recent storms, many of the churchyard trees were damaged or were felled and although the responsibility for the upkeep of the plot is the job of the community council, Islwyn and his brother cleared the trees themselves, sawed them into manageable chunks and added them to my bonfire before incinerating them on November the fifth!
Job done.
I saw Islwyn's brother tidying up the new graveyard last night. It was almost dark and I joked with him just how impressive the bonfire was to the residents across the valley who thought Trelawnyd was burning .
I also noted how neat the graveyard looked even in the murk of dusk.
" we wanted it tidy" he explained " we bury our mother next week"           

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Kitchen Porn

Ikea sent the kitchen on time and in 1000 boxes.
The cottage is crammed nose to nipple with flatbacks
We went out to Liverpool in order to get away from the clutter.
Walking into John Lewis' Kitchen Department, was like tiptoeing into a piece of heaven for me, and I walked round running my fingers over gleaming measuring jugs, shiny pans and oh-be-still-my-beating-heart a garlic press in the shape of a lobster to die for! 
My new kitchen reality is palpable!
The Prof bought me a new rolling pin just to get me to shut the fuck up ( he guessed quite rightly that it will match the new counter tops) 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Things Lost

I noted a photo of the Prof and I the other day.
It was taken perhaps a decade ago in Central Park in the snow and we had on winter hats
I tell you this because I miss that hat ! ( mine not the Prof's)
I lost it on the plane home I think

Im always losing, breaking  and  mislaying things
I'm terrible for it
There are so many well loved things I have let go over the years! And it bugs me
This evening , on the last dog walk I've thought about them

For example,
My signed  autograph photo  of Olivia deHavilland
A watercolour of a smiling tiger ( the first piece of art I ever bought)
A Charlotte Rhead vase! -Worth a small fortune,
My reply letters from the entire cast of Tenko ( I wrote to each one of the actresses in 1980 as I was such a fan)
A framed victorian photograph of a courtng couple from my grandmother's old house.
A multicoloured hand knitted jumper, ;a gift from my-mother) from 1978....I looked like a male prostitute in it( accorrding to my father!)
A scarf worm by my first male chrush ( A pupil from Ruthin School!)
A hand crafted crucifix made by a psychiatric patient of mine in York
An all encompassing wicker chair bought from an art shop in York
A photo of my sister Janet with her horse's foal Kelly from the 1970s
My first dog -Finlay's collar
A "book"I wrote when I was 18...a review on disaster movies
All of the cards my grandparents sent to me
Maureen mcgovern's " best of her hits " Album"
And finally a Christmas Card from the relative of a patient that died on my ward on spinal injuries!
It said " you made me laugh, when I thought I never would again  "
That moved me more than any of the others

A Thing Of The Past

I can't remember when I last received a real letter.
Hand written or typed, inside a stamped envelope and posted through the letter box to be snatched by William who adores baiting the postman.
Yesterday I received a short letter of thanks from The Trelawnyd School's " Eco Committee" for the Flower Show donation to their garden project area.
It rather amused me as it is clear that the Eco Committee consists of a group of small children.
Did we have " committees" in primary school?........shit it was fingers on lips and drink your milk at Penmorfa Primary!

Twenty minutes ago another thank you letter arrived! This time from the Village Friendship Group

Thursday, 16 November 2017


Twelve years is too long not to have seen old friends, and this afternoon it was lovely to catch up with two of the best.

It's all a bit shaky as we were balancing on the back of Dale's wheelchair/bike

Moving On

NMC Online Link

"Dear Mr John Gray
Your registration expires on 30/11/2017
We recently emailed you to advise you that your annual registration fee is due. According to our records you have not yet paid this fee. It is essential that you pay this fee now so that your registration can be updated on time. If you have not paid the fee before your registration expiry date, your registration will lapse."

Nurses have to pay £120 a year in order to work in clinical practice and regular as clockwork from 1986 I have begrudgingly paid my dues on time.
This time, and after much thought, I am going to let my registration lapse.
It is not a decision I have made lightly, as nursing has been an integral part of my identity since I was twenty years old, but now I am ready to let go of my last tie to a vocation that has served me well for so many years.

Ironically  an old nursing pal of mine contacted me out of the blue recently and this afternoon I am meeting up with her and her husband in Chester for lunch. Her husband was an old patient of mine from my Spinal Injury days so the meeting ( our first since I left Sheffield) will be timely and oh so nostalgic.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Posh Porn

The plumber returned to tinker away with all of the radiators this morning and Winnie, with her serious face on, shadowed his every move, her nose inches from his tinkering!
When he came downstairs he mentioned that he saw one of our original bits of art propped up in the Prof's office
" I like your bit of posh porn!" He quipped
I was  embarrassed and just smiled weakly

Man The Pumps!

Sandra, the village Hall's caretaker spied me down Byron Street and hurried over with her elderly Pug.
As my dogs surrounded him for multiple botty sniffs she gave me one of those I'm glad to have bumped into you moments and asked if I would help her with her Christmas Fair which is booked on the 2nd of December .
Could I Marshall the troops and man the kitchen?
Of course I said I could, Sandra is such a sweetheart

Ps Nice to see the Aussie's jumping on the ever growing bandwagon

Tuesday, 14 November 2017


The plumber seems like an old, safe pair of hands.
He arrived early with a slightly dim and very loud sidekick in order to remove an ancient radiator in the kitchen and to replace it with a shiny new one.

I find myself getting all " blokey" when in the company of practical men.
I call them " mate" and ask them technical questions that I have no way of understanding when answered.
It's the same phenomenon I used to see when my English sounding father used to talk to an old Welsh Farmer at the farm my sister kept her horse. My father always suddenly acquired a Welsh accent when they chatted, a fact he never had any insight into
It's the chameleon in us I guess

Anyhow I've never really been happy in an all male environment .
I once worked on an all male ward in psychiatry. Male staff, male patients, male domestics, male doctors.
It was a dreadful experience where too much testosterone, banter, crudeness and Micky taking ruled the day.
I was far too fey to have felt comfortable in that environment.
I never could fit in with it was a rehash of the misery of games at school.

Now, because I am more comfortable in my own skin, I can cope better with company which is out of my comfort zone so to speak.

And when all else fails the offer of a hot cup of tea and a large chocolate biscuit always seems to break the ice.

Dealing with workmen at home can be rather stressful!
What are your stories?
I'd be interested to know

Ps I've just furnished the guys with tea and kitkats and the testosterone filled apprentice has just asked where I got my bespoke cheese board from as he " absolutely loved it's design!

My sister Janet designed it !

Monday, 13 November 2017

" For Being Such A Cool Dude"

It's good to say this but The Walking Dead, after a somewhat shaky start, is now back on form.
During a tense fourth episode , King Ezekiel has lost most of his subjects in a surprise attack. carol is left to face the saviours alone and good, happy old Jerry (Cooper Andrews)comes  up trumps with his theatrical axe.
The episode has everything: a deposed king who is really a flim-flam man, a woman of fifty who can kick ass better than Sigourney Weaver and a sweet natured Polynesian who has suddenly become a firm fan favourite! Oh and Richk and Daryl kick some saviour ass and do some Bro bonding
Pity Shiva had to die but I suspect the CGI budget was probably well over what it ought to be .  


A very nice inspector for the RSPCA came around this morning as I was making parsnip soup. She had reports of an " umkempt goat" being dumped in a field.
After we popped over to the Ukrainian Village she was happy that Irene, was not unkempt, dumped or even a goat!
I have no problem with well meaning people worrying about animals, even though they don't understand Scottish sheep look scruffy when moulting
The inspector said she would try and help me find a field mate for Irene.

I always feel very guilty when I deal with officials in uniform.
I can resort to babbling when stopped by the police , (which has happened several times when I have driven home late after Samaritans ) it's a false guilty/ nervous kind of thing!
The RSPCA inspector was lovely and was busily kissing Winnie on the Forehead as the terriers crowded around her but I still found myself admitting to her that when I was eight I poured peppermint essence into our pond which killed all of my mother's goldfish!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Remembrance Sunday

I was reminded of this wonderful talking heads episode of the BBC series Queers today
Wonderfully moving...stick with's worth it


Kenneth Branagh makes a rather good Belgium detective in Murder on the Orient Express.
He has a certain twinkle in the eye and a steely kindness which was sadly lacking in Albert Finney's 1974 overblown creation . I liked him
The film is ok. It's not as good as the " original" but it passed muster with nice performances from Branagh and Michelle Pfeiffer as the wisecracking Mrs Hubbard. Unfortunately most of the cast don't have any time to flex their dramatic muscles and so the talents of Manuel Garcia Rulfo, Judi Dench and Olivia Coleman just stand around looking worried.
I found myself missing Ingrid Bergman and her " little brown babies!" 
Oh , and I hated that the closing credits featuring the magnificent train disappearing into the sunset was spoilt by the now obligatory modern day power ballad hoping it will win an oscar for best song.