Tuesday, 17 October 2017


Walking Back from the Flower Show Review meeting tonight the committee members all stopped to admire our new kitchen window on the lane  which no longer sports it's usual antique French lace curtain.
" You'll need to sort that out " said Pat the  animal helper
" I saw you in your underpants the other morning" she remarked dryly

Love 'n Death

Many years ago The Prof was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a faulty boiler.
He was alone in his flat and was only saved, literally from death, by a neighbour who heard him collapse against a mirror in the bathroom.
Fate, destiny, good fortune, luck was smiling on him that day.
Without that neighbour he would have died.
And I wouldn't be sat here writing this
I was thinking about this today after a farm lorry just skimmed me as it turned up the Marian. The driver had misjudged the gap between me and the trailer and as I picked up Mary before stepping into the hedgerow to give it room, I felt the whoosh of the metal body work an inch from my face.
I nearly drowned when I was ten.
It was in Lloret del mar and I slipped out of my rubber ring!
It was a near silent drowning and I never met the man who pulled me out at the last minute.
Without him, The Prof would be without a husband!

We never think that life can be so fickle and death so arbitrary
I've thought it today and it frightened me. 

Monday, 16 October 2017

The End Of The World

11am Trelawnyd

Ophelia hit West Wales harder than here in Trelawnyd so The Prof's University closed for business at midday. With him home with the car I was able to take William to the vets for his medication review.
The Spanish vet, with the sexy lisp saw us and she mentioned the strange phenenomen this morning when the sun went all red and the sudden darkness sent the bachelors scurrying back to their hen house.
" I heard it was Sand from the Sahara , pushed up into the atmosphere by Ophelia " I told her
" It was like the end of the world " she lisped seriously

Didn't Ophelia drown?

I had jobs planned today but with Ophelia sneaking up on us and with the prospect of the coastal trains being stopped the Prof has taken the car to work.
The sky is presently an odd shade of pale yellow and it feels somewhat strange outside so much so that two sets of passing walkers have already commented on it as they saw me cutting the last of the decent flowers in the garden.
It does feel that a storm is on its way

I am having one of my Jane Asher days today.
Cutting flowers, mowing the lawn,making banana bread, washing clothes, making a broccoli and broad bean tagine.
It's all go here. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Leadmill

Now apart from Diane M and YP, I suspect that not many people here will " get" this blog entry, but it was sparked by a photo Diane took which I have shameless nicked to illustrate this trip down memory lane.
In the 1990s nurses, as I am sure they do today, worked hard and played hard. Unofficially nurses from Lodge Moor Hospital went out en masse on a Thursday night and tanked up would all end up at Sheffield's famous Leadmill nightclub.
Now the leadmill had been going for years before I went to it, and indeed is still flourishing today and I am sure the inside of this former factory and works building situated a stone's throw from The Midland Railway station, has not changed very much from its original industrial form.
On Thursday nights there would be at least five or six young men in wheelchairs at the night club. Each one would be accompanied by a nurse and each one was still an inpatient at the city's Spinal Injury unit. The night club was a kind of rite of passage for many a patient who was physically and more important, psychologically adjusting to their paralysis.
Of course it was a chance to test the boundaries of their condition. Bladders no longer able to function properly were pushed to capacity by too much ale, spasms knocked unfeeling legs out of foot rests and negotiating a thousand or so drunken people all dancing to Abba when you want to get to the bar in a wheelchair is no mean feat.
The Leadmill management quickly Sussed that most of these patients were being accompanied by a nurse " carer" who pretended to push the patient into the club and therefore circumvented the long queue outside.
Only the most disabled ( and by that they ment patients who couldn't push themselves ) could have a nurse they said 
This was an easy rule to break. The patients just pretended to be helpless and the nurse carers pushed them in before a grumbling queue!
Of course there was the odd mishap. One lad, I remember got into a fist fight with  Barnsley thug and ended up on the head injury ward for his sins but most patients survived their late night rehab sessions at Sheffield's premier night spot.
That's more than many a student did.....after all.....students that mineswept drinks ( minesweeping for those that don't know is where you go round stealing drinks left by the dancers) often had a nasty surprise. For when a patient's urine leg bag was overfull of lager looking piss, it was common for the nurses to teach them to empty it into a pint glass which could be then left on the shelves at the side of the club for disposal !
Happy days

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Snowman

We went to see the serial killer movie The Snowman tonight, which was two hours I am not going to ever get back.
The Prof enjoyed the gratuitous shots of Michael Fassbender in his underpants though

" Not What I had wanted it to be...."

The upside of having a new phone is organisation.
It can do everything and it forgets nothing.
Yesterday I found myself going through an old notebook.
It was the sort that most of us have from time to time.
Scribbled notes, telephone numbers...names from the past.
I tiptoed through the pages, cherry picking the contacts I needed to store in my new shiny smart phone.
One name caught my eye. I shall call her Helen.
Helen and I were friends and colleagues in Sheffield and we worked very effectively together.
She was a consultant and I was the ward manager, and apart from sharing a respect and depth of knowledge in the field we found ourselves in, we shared a wicked sense of humour, similar emotional intelligence and benefited from liking  each other a great deal.
She moved away before I left Sheffield and as friends do sometimes when life gets in the way, we lost touch.
Yesterday I spied her old mobile number, hidden away in a corner of my notebook
It was twelve years old , so I doubted it would be current, but on impulse I messaged her.
The reply came back almost immediately and messages shot back and forth with gay abandon even though she was at work and couldn't really " speak"
We have arranged to meet up and even though texts are notoriously unemotional sometimes, something in the tone of it prompted me to ask "are you happy?"
The reply moved me with it's honesty
"Not very...no....my life isn't awful. Just not what I wanted it to be"

Friday, 13 October 2017

Before Albert ...there was Joan

Joan a day before she died three years after moving to Wales

Before Albert there was Joan
Joan was a true Yorkshire cat
She was vocal, opinionated and assertive
She stood no messing and she was quick to love.
Her and her sister Betty were my first pets in Sheffield.
Joan lived until she was 20 Betty died at 19
They were sisters with spunk!
I remember very well the first time Joan met our first dog Finlay
Finlay was a sweet natured Welsh Terrier pup.
He bounced up to her in our old dining room like a loon and was promptly battered within an inch of his life

Note to all!
Never Cross A Sheffield Lass with frivolous behaviour
Yorkshire Gals hate fuss


Albert in his kitten cardboard box

In the Autumn of 2008 on a whim I drove into the animal rescue centre at Dyserth and asked a remarkably wizened old lady with an unlit fag hanging out of her mouth if she had any cats who could hold their own against a quartet of terriers. She told me that she hadn't but took my telephone  number " just in case"
That very afternoon she rang me
" we've just had an older kitten brought in by a woman with two staffies" she rasped
" He's a feisty little bugger".
I called down to the shelter later that day and literally minutes after seeing him, I took possession of a tiny wide eyed black kitten with a sad history.
Albert was the only survivor of a littler of feral kittens . His mother had brought them up in a farm outbuilding next to a busy road and had herself been killed the day after Albert's brother had been knocked over by a milk lorry.  Albert and his sister had carried on in a fashion through the charity of one of the farm workers. It was the farm worker who had rescued him after Albert's sister was killed on the same patch of road.
It was the farm worker's wife who had re homed Albert after one of their staffie crosses had taken a dislike to the kitten.
The sob story was worthy of Walt Disney's BAMBI.
Albert arrived wide eyed yet remarkably calm, and set up home inside a cardboard box placed carefully on the dining room table. For six weeks he lived on the table and on the kitchen cabinets without once setting a foot on the floor ( even the cat littler was placed out of dog sniffing) and for six weeks he drove the dogs mad by remaining just that bit out of reach.
The resulting hysteria bubbled just under boiling point as the terriers lived in a permanent state of cat arousal
It was a long , long month and a half!

Then it all changed.
For one very cold night , he left the safety of the kitchen table and took his place in front of the fire with the other dogs as if he had been doing so for years
Apart from William raising a single eyebrow , nothing was ever said about this sudden assertion .

For nine years now Albert has been a true delight.
He's been knocked over by a car , breaking a leg, (which he still can't bend properly)
He has killed hundreds of rabbits, mice , small rats and birds
and he has gone out of his way to be an active  part of the cottage dog pack spending a few minutes every day head rubbing each dog in turn in happy recognition of a friend well loved.

Albert is a constant backdrop to the more boisterous animals at bwthyn y llan, and is necessary to the running of the place as oxygen

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The Wreck of The Hesperus

The workmen are ripping out the kitchen window which is proving to be a harder job than they anticipated. There is much noise, the smashing of glass and some colourful swearing.
The terriers are safely away in the back of the car. Winnie is watching everything from the garden and
Albert is sat with me, nervous that there are strangers around.
He is ruffling my hair and jumps after one of the workmen shouts " Bastard!" 

Shit, I look like the Wreck of The Hesperus!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Bits of news

  • The kitchen fitter comes tomorrow to check the new kitchen dimensions . A plumber is coming too in order to replace a radiator and to add to the mayhem the window chap is replacing the old kitchen window in the lane. Three workmen in one day! Winnie will be knocking out the orgasms like confetti.
  • Della from up the lane called in to tell me that she could hear me having a conversation on the phone when she rang her mother ..BT are investigating
  • Farmer Basil has a new sheepdog puppy. He's a bit bouncy 
  • Daphne and Meirion are off to Australia on holiday, we talked for ages about nice places to go in Sydney 
  • Polish Monika is working in the Crown ! 
  • The Flower Show review meeting has been booked for next Tuesday, we need to figure out what village initiatives we can financially support this year.
  • Teenage Boffin Cameron is taking a gap year off after school! 
  • The old farm house Bryn Teg, which is hidden away in the centre of the village has been sold, the new owner is doing it up nicely
  • Auntie Glad's house has not been sold as yet
  • The Prof is working away again.....I'm listening to Tom waits Fawn in the dark...it's strangely hypnotic

Pandora's Box

When the Harvey Weinstein furore first broke in the news, I was initially dreadfully confused as the thought of him sexually molesting any A list actress seemed awfully far fetched to me.
It was only then that I realised that I thought the press was talking about Harvey Fierstein the gay actor and not the slug like movie producer Weinstein .
Hey ho!

The abuse of power for sexual gratification, once again has been given centre stage by the media and although I suspect 90% of women at one time or another have been subjected to varying degrees of unwanted " attention" , either in the workplace or in education , the phenomenon is not purely confined to female victims and male protagonists.

When I was a student nurse I once was subjected to some low level sexual " horseplay" by two female enrolled nurses. It lasted for twelve weeks ( the length of a placement on the ward I had been allocated to) and it was an unpleasant, and upsetting time to live through.

The two women in question were  just a little older than I and they thought the whole thing was great fun, especially as I was a real shy blusher and they egged each other on.
The horseplay started with hair roughing and unwanted hugging, but as they saw that I was quietly flummoxed by it all, their actions graduated to unexpected groping, the dreadfully embarrassing " grabbing of the back of the underpants and pulling" moments and kisses on the back of the neck.

The thought it was in anyway abuse, never crossed my mind or the minds of the other staff who witnessed it but It was a truly awful time, and it made me miserable, even though way back then then it was chalked up to commonplace workplace " banter" which had to endured by the grunts.

Thank goodness, things have moved on from then
Worryingly in Hollywood that doesn't quite seem the case.


I shall leave you with this video which has nothing to do with sexual abuse  but which has everything to do with the general abuse of animals.
Chimpanzees that have been laboratory raised, see " freedom" for the first time
Watch this video without bawling

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Bake Off ( Beware Spoilers)

Yan, the big hearted, wise cracking Londoner was voted off Bake Off tonight, which was a real shame .I noticed that throughout the series she was the one that helped her fellow bakers the most, which underlined her innate good nature and humour!
Her family, friends and wife should be very proud of her! 


In comprehensive school in the 1970s the worst name one boy could call another was the word " poof!" 
As I recall the name was more concerned more with effeminacy rather than with overt homosexuality, but the definition, I guess was fluid and totally negative as poof was synonymous with weakness, an inability in sports ability and cowardice.
When I was a bit older I rather liked to reclaim the name! 
I refused to let the word make me feel in any way negative or second best

In Sheffield I had neighbours on one side that kept themselves to themselves. They were a bit common, and the mother of the household would constantly yell at her brood of useless teenage sons.
One Sunday morning the boys were all sat in their garden ( on an old sofa- how lovely) hidden from my view by a tall brick wall. Presumably they were all suffering from  hangovers as the mother prepared lunch and as I gardened around my neat little garden I heard the mother as she berated them
" you treat this place like a bleeding hotel!" She bellowed "Why can't you be like that old poof next door and keep the place tidy!!!" 
"LESS OF THE OLD!" I shouted back at her as the family dissolved into silence

When I joined the village community council I remarked to fellow councillor- the Red Faced Welsh Farmer- that it was about time that there was a poof on the committee. Of course I said it out of devilment and of course the red faced Welsh Farmer never so much twitched an eyebrow at the remark. 

I bought a pouffe yesterday. I've always wanted one and as the Prof climbed into the car he spied it on the back seat 
" oh two poofs in the car" he quipped