Wednesday, 16 April 2014

NHS Blood and Transplant Awards Presentation Lunch

That title sounds a bit of a mouthful, doesn't it?

Well, recently I was invited to lunch by none other than the NHS and the food they put on for us blood donors and guests was indeed a series of very tasty and succulent mouthfuls.

On 25th March I was proud to attend the award ceremony lunch, accompanied by a delightful lady as my guest.  This event was in recognition of my 100th blood donation. They didn't just put it on for me - no, there were many other donors invited to the presentation.

The afternoon was beautiful; sunny and warm.  The venue was at the Bath Racecourse, just outside Bath, and  I suppose about 100 people were present, plus officials.

When we arrived for registration and reception drinks a photographer was waiting to take photographs of each donor, holding his/her award.  For once I was quite pleased with the result of a photograph - the makeover from my previous post obviously paid off handsomely.

You can see if you look closely I am holding a crystal obelisk on which is inscribed, "Thank You 100 donations".  If you cannot see it there is a close up shot later.

A large marquee was the lunch venue and it was beautifully laid out for the event. We quickly made friends with people sitting at our table and I amused them by saying that my award for my 75th donation was a crystal plate which was soon earmarked as a plant stand in our conservatory.

After our delicious meal we were treated to two interesting speeches: the first by Head of Region for the West of England, followed by a lady blood recipient who would have died had she not received many blood donations - she was given not long to live by the medics who thought even if she recovered she might be permanently brain damaged after her horrific head on car accident.  Fortunately she made a full recovery and she was invited to make the presentations.  One by one we walked to the front for our awards, cued by some of our own words sent in earlier and read by a lovely lady holding a microphone.

Four donors, myself included, were recipients of Diamond awards for 100 donations and about 35 others, achieving 75 donations, collected their Emerald awards.

When it was my turn to walk to the front the lady read some words I had prepared earlier, something like:

"I started giving blood around 1485 when I was 18 and have been donating ever since.
When I reached 75 donations I thought I might be on for 100.  Now I've done it I realise my left arm is empty, so I'd better change arms, hadn't I if you want me to carry on?  I sometimes marvel that 100 donations equals blood for about 12-13 people and I am so pleased to have been able to help a few.  I will try to reach 125 if I can, and then I might require a transfusion myself!"

Needless to say this got a few laughs!

Isn't it flashy? - It now adorns my mantlepiece!

The Head of Region, in his speech said a single donation can save 3 lives.  He also said there is a shortage of blood, particularly type O negative (which a universal blood group) and type B negative.  Also just 4% of the population donate blood.

I am highlighting the official NHS Blood and Transplant website for those interested in further reading HERE

It makes one wonder why there is reluctance for most people becoming donors.  It is painless, apart from a prick now and then, and it is not debilitating in the slightest  way. I am due to visit Dracular's Castle to donate my103rd unit early in May. Then only another 22 to go to the magic 125 target.  There is no upper age limit here in UK for regular donors but 65 is the limit for new donors. So I should be able to do it!

Well the day was great and memorable

I wear my 100th donation badge with pride
and try not to prick myself - I hate the sight of blood you see ROFL (says he tongue in cheek)

. . . . .  and I have my certificate to remind me of the event:

My blood type is AB positive and they are not desperately short of that, although it is quite a rare blood type, AB negative being the rarest!

What blood group are you?

And as for organ transplants!  They can have what they want when I pop my clogs!
If it is any good to anyone, they might as well have the use of anything worth saving!  All a bit past it's sell date I am afraid LOL.  But they can't have anything just yet!

Well that's enough of all that - next time it's back to normal. Wonder what to write?

Perhaps I should put on my well known thinking hat again!
It has served me very well in the past - it's a little like Harry Potter's sorting hat - it's magic! - it always somehow stimulates an idea or two.

If any decent photographer is watching the photo is intentionally under-exposed because I am still "in the dark" at the moment about the subject of my next post and I await a "flash" of inspiration!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


I will get straight to the point - with no beating about the bush, whatsoever!!
Several of you ladies blatantly have come straight out with it - absolutely fearlessly and unreservedly.  

I have been informed in no uncertain terms I require a makeover!!
. . . . . .  and a radical one at that!

Of course you all insist you have my best interests at heart so I can enhance my appeal with the ladies, now I am single again.  Well, OK, I'll go along with the fact that some minor cosmetic improvements may well be desirable, but really, some of your suggestions!! - well I would never believe them possible! They are way over the top! Are they really necessary?

I shall spare your blushes, you culprits and others looking on and nodding and giggling quietly and I will be kind this time and refrain from revealing your identities

Shame on you!! lol

The first suggestion of a possible improvement to Eddie's appearance was revealed to me in June 2011 when I had that dreadful time with my telephone when I was cut off for days by TALKTALK, my then Service Provider, and I almost smashed my telephone with that large mallet in frustration.  Remember?

OK, I received a fair few relevant comments about the situation and all of you were sympathetic.  Yet I remember a certain individual, one gal who was so excited she emailed me right way, 

"Eddie! You look ten years younger! Have you had a makeover?  Come on, Eddie it's either a wig or you've had a rinse, like I've been telling you to do for months!  You've actually had it, haven't you??"

I wrote back and said, "I've had neither, my dear", to which she replied, "You must have - me and my friend are certain  you have - it's gotta be one or other!"

I was forced to do something radical to convince her that it was just the different lighting that had made the difference and the only thing I could think of was to send her an email something like this!


But there is no way Eddie with the hammer was wearing a wig!! - Right?
Nor had he had a rinse! . . . . nor did he have his hair spiked up like you constantly suggest he does!
Now to convince you, do you realise I have had a great deal of trouble getting that wig for the photo?  I had to borrow it form a lady I know.  I have never had to ask a lady if I could borrow her wig before and it was a trifle tricky and very embarrassing!  The things I do for you! She gave me a real funny look and asked me why I wanted it.  I said it was for personal reasons but I didn't want it for long and would return it within the hour!  So she gave me such a funny look again and I was relieved when she said, "OK, but make sure it is not damaged".  I put it in a plastic bag, got it home, put it on and got out my camera. I was laughing so darned hard I dropped the camera, the wig fell off and I sat on it!!  Panic stricken I examined it and fell on my knees thanking God it was OK.  Then I managed to take the snap before returning the wig, saying to the bewildered woman, "That's better! - thanks!"  

She gave me a long hard look like I belonged to the funny farm.

My girl blogging friend and her girlfriend were in hysterics for days and weeks after that and eventually said, "We surrender!  we surrender! You must be right!  It must have been  less light shining on the top of your head on the original photo, but we both still say you need that rinse and while you're at it go to the gym and have a series of workouts!  Boy you need them!!  And then you might resemble a hunk!" 

You see what friends I have, don't you!!

Well let's fast forward to last Sunday.  Another dear blogging lady sent me a video!!  
Yes, a complete video about this poor chap giving himself a very painful and stressful makeover so he could find the girl of his dreams - the poor sod!  She said that I should study the video in detail and follow this guy's example if and when I ever thought of contacting a dating agency and if I did so I would be rewarded for my efforts and perseverance.

Just take a look at this!!
It's really funny lol

Hope you enjoyed that!!

Well, this lady said she and some of her friends consider I should:

1. Use the typo correction fluid to give me sparkling white teeth.
2. Use the safely pins to take the wrinkles out of my face.
3. Use the electric shock to straighten me and make me taller.
4. Use the file
5. Use the glue

in fact use everything!!

. . . . . and they have warned me against selecting too young and ravishing a lady like that gorgeous girl in the movie, otherwise when she sneezes in the car her face might blow off.

Another said, "Eddie, I will buy you the tools and all the equipment, and if you do it I'll then give you my mobile number!"

Another was not so encouraging, suggesting if I am lucky I might attract someone like this:
Hope she's filthy rich!!

Well you asked me to start blogging again - so here I am!

Confession time!
1. The two blogging ladies are real and they are such great friends - thank you both.
2. I used a lot of creative writing licence here, of course!
3. I'm not saying anything about the wig!!! ROFL


I am grateful to Keith Smith at My Secret Journal for sending this video to my friend Betsy at My Five Men

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Mickey - The Love Sick Budgie

I have been asked to re-post this intriguing little story, since many of my blogging friends did not see it first time round.  I have added some more ‘rules’ for fun. He's a cute little fellow and melts a few hearts.

* * * * * * * *
By popular demand I am pleased to post the sequel to Mickey, the Celibate Budgie, since this little chap seems to have captured a fair number of hearts, mainly from the ladies – come on lads, where are your hearts? You've got them too you know!

I will not reiterate the sheer academic genius of this extraordinary little budgie, only to underline his vast repertoire and understanding of the English Language at the expense of great personal sacrifice, dealt with in detail in his first story.  He was classified as a 'budgie genius' because of his extremely high IQ - achieving 2 on the human scale, and that in budgie terms is massive.

Towards his autumn years we detected far less zeal in his behaviour. He became much quieter and far less eager to talk to us, and seemed to lose his enthusiasm to learn new words.

Yes, he still 'clouted' his plastic bird from time to time and sometimes attacked his cuttlefish and mirror like an out-of-control maniac, but generally he seemed far from happy.

Our concern grew regarding his depression so one day I attempted to cheer him up. I recalled a story of 'Whitey', my girl cousin and I visiting our local zoo while she was staying with us and Grandma. My grand mother called her Whitey because she could not remember her name but got the name from a white coat she was wearing. Whitey wore also an elaborate silver bracelet belonging to her mother.

We visited the bird house at Bristol Zoo and were attracted by a large former very naughty sea-faring red parrot, with a remarkable repertoire of extremely verbose and undesirable swear word adjectives. He was tethered with a chain around one leg and perched in the open so he had some free movement.  Suddenly, without warning and with utmost speed, whilst shrieking, "Silver! Silver, Silver!", he launched himself at Whitey's hand, grabbing her silver bracelet in his beak, ripping it off her wrist, laughing loudly, causing everyone to look round. He rolled the bracelet in his beak into a silver ball, completely ruining it, and would not let it go in spite of our serious attempts to retrieve it, triumphantly shouting, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”. Our battle was lost and so was the bracelet – lost for ever.

Alarmed and terrified of what her mother might do concerning the disappearance of the bracelet, Whitey decided her best option was simply to tell her mother she had mislaid it somewhere instead of telling her it being eaten by a parrot. A few weeks later, when she had returned home to the north of England, we sent her a photograph of that parrot, minus the silver ball of course, adding the caption, 'Telecarb Retae'. It sounds quite a plausible Latin type name for a parrot, doesn't it? However, reading backwards it reads 'Bracelet Eater'.  You see, Eddie's sense of humour was rife, even all those years ago.

Her mother never 'cottoned on' and neither did Whitey, without the 'enigma' machine to crack the code.

Mickey thought this story very funny and nodded his head violently whilst squawking for a couple of minutes before eventually reverting to his former sadness.

I decided to have it out with him once and for all. I called him over and he flew onto my outstretched finger. I asked him what was the matter and he became sheepish and a little embarrassed.

Perched on my finger he proceeded to tell me he was a love-sick bird. He was regretting his life of celibacy and wished he had experienced some female company, like normal birds. Further, he knew he was way past his prime and therefore would have a great problem attracting a hot hen even if he had the chance. He was 'sweet sixty five and never been kissed’ and he thought he might be a candidate for the Guinness Book of Records. He imagined what it would be like to 'bill and coo' like other normal budgies. Also he was worried he would be at a loss to know what to say and what to do to develop any meaningful relationship with a delightful member of the opposite sex.

After some thought I said I would have a word with our local pet shop owner and explain the situation. I must stress he was not the infamous pet shop owner from Bolton or Ipswich of Python Parrot Sketch notoriety. The man I knew was honest and perhaps he might agree for Mickey to visit some hens in a large cage in the shop for a while. It was quickly agreed and Mickey was so excited he recited all his favourite sayings at the top of his voice, with a new spring in his step.

A day before his little holiday he got really nervous about what he should say and do when actually meeting an attractive member of the opposite sex and how he could subtly get the message across of his honourable (or maybe dishonourable) intentions to her. After all he had missed so much of life's experiences he thought he deserved a little flutter.

I thought it time to lay it on the line for him to get a firm grasp of the 'art of flirting' so natural and essential in our complex world where it is essential to at least try to understand the sometimes unfathomable workings of the female mind.

I found my little book entitled, "How to tell if a girl fancies you" which I thought would do nicely to explain both acceptable and unacceptable approaches to young ladies. Yes, it would have to be modified somewhat for the 'birds of the air' but I thought perhaps it might help him.

"OK! Mickey, rule number one - Smarten up, have a good preen and when you see a hen you like keep your mouth firmly shut. At this stage it's not about what you say, it's all about body language and chemistry. You have to create attraction and then escalate it into something really meaningful.  If you can do that successfully you will always be surrounded by a bevy of beautiful chicks wherever you go and all the other guys will wonder what you've got and they haven't and why they can't ‘pull’ birds like you can.

It's all about 90% generating unspoken attraction, and just 10% what you say.  If she likes the 90% it does not matter at this stage what you say, within reason, for the remaining 10%. If she does not find you attractive you can say what you like for as long as you like and you will be banging your head against a brick wall.  Nothing will work so, remember, you have to create attraction first. If she is not attracted to you then there is nothing you can do about it and nothing she can do about it, except invite you into her 'just be friends' box as Mr Nice Guy. You see if she is attracted to someone then there is nothing she can do about that either - even if he is the biggest jerk in the universe! In fact the more arrogant a guy is and the bigger the jerk, it seems the more attracted some hens are to him, even though the chick may moan like crazy to the nice guys, in their just friends box , and complain how awful this guy is and how badly he is treating her. And when the nice guys say she should show him the door, they NEVER do so and his car remains on her drive for weeks, for months and sometimes for years.  I know, this is all highly illogical but that's the way most chicks' minds work. But remember also, you will never win them all - even George Clooney and Brad Pitt will be rejected by some - so if it happens, take it on the chin and move on to the next – it might just be that it is destined that way and you might find someone even nicer.

Also, she has to be unattached and actually in the market for a suitor - if not she will reject your advances as unwanted.  So recognize her signals and don't make a nuisance of yourself.

Rule number two - At your age, even if you like the look of a young bird don't waste your time unless you can discern they want an older, more experienced guy.  And remember they don't want a decrepit clapped out old man, or someone with no experience.  Usually, they want the fast talking, handsome and virile young male birds who think they’re God's gift to every budgie on the planet, and therefore you do not stand a chance. So pick someone slightly older who might be a divorcee or a widow or maybe a spinster. They are rarer and harder to find but you might still find a good looking hen out there who might actually be looking for a suitor. You may be just what she wants. You never know.

Rule number three - Make eye contact first, but careful, do not stare too conspicuously - it might put her off. Remember our eyes are the windows of our soul and are very important for romantic communication - she can see right into your soul and you can see into hers, so use this natural window effectively.  When your eyes meet smile at her confidently, not meekly or she'll hate it and think you a wimp. If she smiles back you should be encouraged. If she looks away and then looks back and smiles again, you have ruffled her feathers and she likes you.

Smile back at her with a cheeky half grin to signal you like her and to create some sexual tension. If she does the equivalent in budgie of flicking her hair and grooming herself to look smart and looks a little flustered, then she is keen – definitely!  If you are a bit thick and cannot recognize ANY of her positive signals and she likes you then she will take the initiative. She will walk past you and maybe graze your wing or fly or walk close to you for any reason she can invent so she can just catch your attention. She will occasionally look you in the eye and smile at you and maybe sigh. (I’m not sure how to recognize a smile in the budgie world, or how you detect a sigh for that matter).

Rule number four - If when you are quite close you notice her feet pointing towards you then she definitely fancies you. If they are pointing elsewhere and she has this vacant look on her face and her eyes are pointing skywards, she doesn't find you attractive in the least and is prepared for a quick get away as soon as she musters the courage to tell you to get lost.

Rule number five - Assuming she likes you it is time for you to pluck up courage to walk up to her. Maintain eye contact, again without staring too obviously, look from one eye to the other and introduce yourself, something in a confident low slow voice like, "Hello, I'm Mickey".  If she likes you she will tell you her name . . . . .  remember it and pay attention otherwise if you forget it she'll think you are a bit thick.

If she is a smoking 9 or 10 chick remember she will be 'hit on' all night by guys wanting her telephone number and you won't get anywhere if you act just like them - you have to be different and stand out from the crowd and above all don't be a wimp - she wants a real man, not a wussie – so convey it and be confident - she wants to be swept off her feet by someone different to all those boring guys approaching her all night long. At this stage don't overdo the compliments or else she will think you are needy – they hate that and it is a huge turn off for them.  Be a bit cheeky and tease her a bit – that's what they really like and none of this, I must do this and that for her to please her and then she might like me – all the nice guys do that and get no-where!

Now stop right there!  If she is an older bird or even a younger hot 9 or 10 she will be very familiar with all those corny and over-used chat up lines young inexperienced birds who think they are God's gifts to budgies, use like, 'Where have I been all your life?' or 'Your place or mine baby?'

Horrible! You have to be a lot more refined for older ladies and very attractive ones, something like, 'Hello, I'm Mickey. I noticed you as soon as I came in and YOU are just the lady I am looking for.  I hope you don't think I'm being forward but I would love a bit of company. What flavour cuttlefish do you like, peppermint or marzipan?"

Now stop! Wait for a reply. If she likes you she will accept you and you can sit besides her – if not she will tell you to 'shove off'.  But remember, this is a woman you are talking to and she may not actually mean she wants you to shove off.  Women are very strange creatures because what they say and what they really want are often very different and YOU have to recognize that, even though it appears confusing.  Remember they do not function on logic - with them it is emotions.  If she smiles but does tell you to shove off,  she really does not mean it!  Remember she is just testing you and really wants you to overcome her rejection and convince her you are a confident male budgie who is strong and dominant and can handle her.  Just overcome her objection by laughing it off with a silly reply and you will pass the test and she will be fine.  But if she doesn't smile and tells you to shove off then she does mean it and its game over and move on to the next.

Rule number six - If she responds positively to your verbal overtures, keep it up, talk to her and listen to what she is saying and converse with her freely and naturally, all the time gazing into her eyes. Stroke her hair or budgie equivalent, and move in closer smiling with your voice gradually lowering and whisper something nice in her ear. If her pupils dilate she is beginning to really like you. You will be sending her the same unconscious signals during this time. If she looks at your eyes then looks down to your beak and then back to your eyes she wants you to kiss her. Don't disappoint her, do it and go for the kiss, but you must always be a gentleman and don't get too enthusiastic too soon.  And NEVER ask permission!! . . . or apologize!

Rule number seven - If the chick you really like and is giving you 'the eye' and is seated with other female friends then when you go over to speak with her, even if you have never seen her before say, "Hi, how have you been?"  That conveys to the others that you know her and therefore it is quite in order for you to introduce yourself to them also. Select the chattiest one and pay her a huge compliment and give her a hug whilst ignoring the one you really want and giving her the least attention of them all.  Females are strange creatures and behave very jealously because the one you like will know she is the best looking and will wonder why you are not making advances to her when you are to the others and she MUST do something about it. No-one EVER does this to her and it is a huge turn on for her and therefore she will start making advances to you, which is exactly what you wanted in the first place.  So you haven't had to do a thing and you now have an adorable chick drooling over you and she will do anything to hang on to you.

Rule number eight - You have to make it perfectly clear that you don't want to be just in her friend zone, even though a lot of chicks want you there.  Never get in it unless you want to be just friends because it takes a lot of effort to get out of it, although not impossible.  But it is also nice to have a lot of platonic female friends.

Rule number nine -  Get her mobile number!!  Just hand her your phone and ask her to key in her number then ring it, hand it to her and say, "There's an important call for you!" They ALL love fun! with a bit of cockiness, but not too much!!  It makes YOU irresistible to them!  But never be too enthusiastic to ring her like all the other guys do - make her wait a few days.  There is a good reason for this! You have to convey to her that you are a high value guy and not a needy wussie!  Believe me if you play hard to get then THEY will ring you!! . . . . .  if, and only if you have generated attraction.  If you haven't they will not! . . . .  and they won't respond to your calls either.

Now that's enough I think or you will get confused. The rest is up to you."

With those ground rules in play and a game plan in his mind, Mickey was taken to the pet shop and introduced into the cage with hens. Nothing obvious happened for a while but Mickey seemed to pluck up courage and concentrate on one of the ladies. I did not want to embarrass him so I left him alone and went home. Next day I had a call from the pet shop owner to say Mickey was causing such a commotion that he thought I should collect him and take him home.

When I got to the pet shop I noticed feathers all over the floor and poor Mickey was sitting alone on one side of the cage while the hens were nattering away to each other.

When we got home my crest fallen Mickey was sulking in the corner of his cage. He said, "Women! why did I want to bother with them? They all ganged up against me and really clipped my wings - did you see all my feathers in the cage?"

Later Mickey told me what had occurred. Trust him to choose a young lady who from his description of her behaviour I can liken only to Miss Elizabeth Bennet from that marvellous book, Pride and Prejudice. Lady Catherine de Burg was quite correct in her description of Miss Bennet being a 'head strong young lady'. This bird promptly rejected all 'Mr Darcy's' advances, remarking that Mickey reminded her of a much older and uglier version of Mr Collins, whom she had rejected outright in the book. Mickey quickly tired of Miss Bennet's insistence of embarking on an intellectual sparring match to Elizabethan music, without even the sexual overtones of the original book, particularly after she informed him in no uncertain terms that ’nothing on this earth would induce her to marry him even if he was the last budgie on earth’.

With that bombshell in his pipe, which was smoking profusely he turned his attention to a nice yellow hen, an older bird, who seemed at first to respond nicely to his initial courtship overtures – his eye contact and body language seemed to work well up to a point, but he floundered dramatically when he opened his mouth, thus ruining all his hard preparatory work. He boldly approached her to strike up conversation and it all seemed to go wrong.

"What did you say to her?", I enquired.

Mickey replied, "I went up to her boldly and said, "Who's a pretty, pretty, pretty boy then?"

"Oh Mickey you might have known that saying things like that would not exactly 'ring her chimes'. She wanted to hear something much more romantic like, 'What a lovely smile you have, I noticed you straight away when I entered the cage', or 'Now we are alone together I must say you have such lovely eyes; I am sorry if I appear to be staring a little too much but I find you so attractive I cannot help it'.

That's what all women like to hear - they want to be flattered and not have some idiot coming over to them and flouting himself as God's gift to every budgie hen walking planet Earth. Did you talk to her in English or Budgie?"

"Budgie!" was the reply, "I took great care as well to do a literal translation."

"What did she say?"

"She said I was a self opinionated old fart who was old enough to be her grandfather and she thought me an extremely arrogant male chauvinist pig!" Further she went on to say I was no Brad Pitt of the budgie world either. My word, didn't she slap my face?"

"The next one I liked was even older but still quite nice but I messed that one up as well."

"What did you say to her, then?"

"I recited, "Georgie Porgy, kissed the girls and made them cry!"

She looked at me very surprised and said, "Are you alright? You must be bonkers if you think that will 'turn my lights on'. I've heard better chat up lines in a mortuary! You certainly could not charm me out of a burning cage!"

The next hen Mickey tried he messed up as well. He asked her if she preferred Bach or Mozart to which she turned to him chewing a face full of millet, saying, "What mate! What a square!  Who let you in, granddad? I'm into 'punk' myself not all that Beethoven muck. Sling yer hook!"

His final attempt was with an ageing hen who had seen his miserable attempts at wooing the ladies. She said, chuckling to herself, "It's no good looking at me with those Mooney eyes, ducky. My candle went out years ago - never to be rekindled! You'd have to be superbird to relight them and you're not - sorry! You can give me a peck if you want, but it won't do anything to get my fire lit!"

Mickey realised he had blown it completely with all the hens and decided never to repeat the experience again. He resolved himself to bachelorhood, a state in which he accepted he would stay for the remainder of his life. He lived a couple of years more, no doubt often wondering how things might have been had he made a conquest, yet he became quite philosophical about the matter.

He became depressed again just before he died - one day he fell off his perch and was lost to the world for ever. Did he fall or did he jump, we often wonder?

I am honoured to receive Post Of The Week award from Hilary at The Smitten Image.  Thank you so much and I really enjoyed writing this one.  Poor little Mickey - don't you all feel sorry for him?

Thursday 27 March 2014

Thursday, 13 February 2014


The Miracles Of Modern Teaching Methods

It's been a while since I posted, although I have various ideas and subject matter in embryonic form swirling around my cerebral hemispheres.  I have been unable to get my digital pen to paper for a while . . . . . . . until NOW, courtesy of a very slick video presentation my daughter showed me last evening.

My daughter is a teacher, teaching 7-8 year old children in the school she actually attended some years ago.  She often says to them, "That is the desk I sat in when I was here."  and they look at her almost in disbelief.

When she moved to that school as a teacher 2 years ago, from another school where her mother attended as a child (another coincidence) she saw a pile of familiar maths books that had been sitting in a cupboard for about 25 years and low and behold the third one she examined revealed her name as its owner as a child, and she nearly flipped. Yet another a coincidence.

I can say right away, that book was very old fashioned and therefore did not feature such a riveting teaching method we are about to see now.  I would also mention that the lady teaching us is none other than the very same lady who taught various mathematics teaching approaches to my daughter during her University Studies before she graduated. Another coincidence - life is really full of them.

So, anyone fancy learning their 17 times table in 10 minutes flat?

You never know you might need it one day.
Well, come on then pull up a chair and let's get started.

Needless to say, the 17 times table does not feature in the children's curriculum but my daughter modifies the principle sometimes for the other tables, using the same idea of the counting stick..

In my day we did not have such luxuries and had to learn the lot parrot fashion, including the 13 times table to 12, the hard way by repetition - but I must say I have never forgotten them and I am surprised how often we need them on almost a daily basis.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Christmas Holiday Visitors

Hello Folks! Belated Christmas greetings to one and all and a Happy New Year.

Enough of the serious and sad stuff of late and about time my sense of humour was re-activated, actually it has never left me, but boy oh boy it was really activated today.

My sister Maggie May, her husband Harry and my niece and her two boys were invited to my humble abode to meet my daughter and her husband and my son and his fiance, plus my new and first grandson, Peter. Quite a house full. I was in the middle of a shave, with shaving cream all round my face, when the front door bell sounded once . . . . . then rapidly twice. I decided I would go and answer the door as I was because I knew it was Maggie because only she would ring like that twice in quick succession - impatient thing.

I decided to make the situation funny so I rapidly put on my Father Christmas hat, leaving the shaving cream on, just like this:
I opened the front door and there they all were, open mouthed, and I have never ever seen Maggie laugh so hard as I saw her today - they all were creased and laughing helplessly, even the shy young boys.  Well I explained I did not have time to grow a beard, did I?

Hey! what a good job it was them - it could have been the vicar!

Anyway we all had a great day and when the other guests arrived we showed them the photographs.

I am pleased also to show off my new grandson, Peter, who is now 10 weeks old and LOVES his grandpa.
Here he is, I am so proud of him and hey! . . . . . . . I remember all the little techniques for getting him to calm down and rock him to sleep, after having a long, long talk in baby language.  He was most interested in what I had to say! LOL

Isn't he lovely? . . . . . and the baby's not bad either!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Living Waters

He sees only the image of her face, now outside his time and space and lost to him in a dimension unknown to him – far beyond his universe. Yet this face remains so real to him, so treasured, so captivating and so fresh in his memory – but now so absent from his life and his lonely heart.

He sheds a tear or two as all his unbridled emotions choose to wound him, to hurt him and to deny him of all his wishes and his yearnings, now closed irrevocably to any further conversation or communication.  They haunt him unceasingly and flow endlessly from deep within his troubled heart and soul.

Immersed in grief he sits in agonizing solitude, dead to his world and unfocused totally on a myriad of omnipresent treasures, gifted so freely by creation, and surrounding him from every corner of his existence.  Each persistent miracle strives to speak to him of its endless wonders, each one vies competitively for his full attention, yet somehow all remain totally inconspicuous to him.

He simply ignores their carefully crafted tapestry, dripping so salubriously with its every interwoven colour, sketched and painted in exquisite detail by the artistic finger of creation, whilst orchestrated and directed by the might of heaven.

In unison, each of his sleeping senses fails utterly to imbibe any message of their presence, or their glory, for all their wasted conversation is excommunicated from those sad elusive windows of his troubled soul, and every enchanted melody, together with its delightful harmony, is refused any recognition by his tightly closed and muted ears.

He does not smell either the sweet fragrance of the countryside around him.  Neither does he feel the warmth, gifted freely by his sun, or savour the gentle breeze caressing his doleful face, etched so painfully with lines of recent sorrow.  

Instead, again he sees only her face and every ounce of him remains stubbornly transfixed upon the sole object of his tribulation, like an impossible burden pressing upon him far too heavily and weighing down his overloaded shoulders – thus smothering the very life from him.

The gently flowing stream beside him conveys nothing of its true beauty, majesty and cheerfulness, as its waters meander effortlessly in unending procession past the place where he is seated – he remains as if inanimate and in total ignorance of its presence.

Its enchantment fails utterly to impress any part of him as it shimmers, glistens and twinkles over the rocks, as if orchestrated by its every collision with whatever obstacle may interrupt its course – it just continues its journey and waves him goodbye, unheeded.  He does not hear either the comforting and therapeutic sounds of this persistent percolating watercourse, which should console him, even if just a little. 

He ignores also the accompanying sounds from a nearby weir as it breaks each fall of water into a million glistening fragments, in sharp contrast against the fluffy, slowly moving clouds and bright blue sky and their interwoven dancing shimmering rays of light – all commanded into view by their intricate reflections and all engineered by the dawning of a delightful day.  

Neither does he feel the warm and comforting sunshine kiss and caress his furrowed and crestfallen brow, nor does he hear the birds in discordant chorus debating the virtues of their lofty habitats. All these treasures, although well known to him, are but a distant memory and today they no longer exist in his world, for his mind has no room for them and he can stare only ahead, motionless and with vacant eyes.  He sees, hears and feels nothing of his external world, for all its grandeur and fascination are as dead to him.

Instead, from deep within his troubled being, he sees only treasured memories and pictures emerging from the darkness of his grief – these alone are permitted any stimulation to any facet of his consciousness.  He sees once more a flood of precious moments, punctuated by the sweet laughter of happier days, when torrents of cascading water, welling from within him, smiled and satisfied life’s thirst and provided the promise of everything he could ever wish for, as long as life remained his servant.

Yet now, appearing through the utter inward grief of his present, he sees again only her haunting face from his recent past and he knows this lady, hand-picked by God for him, is exiled so cruelly from his earthly future.  Yet all he sees in his awareness is her alluring smile and her beautiful eyes pouring out their love for him, and he remains transfixed just with the thought of her, with the memory of her, and with the loss of his dearest companion with whom he shared his life.  

He knows if he remained seated by that stream for a million years he could never, in his present state of mind, see it, or hear it, or touch it, just as he knows also the sheer impossibility of him ever erasing that gorgeous lady of his life from his wounded heart and mind – a lady whom he adores with all his being, and with whom he is totally captivated.

He cries himself to sleep, as he has done so many times – for he knows that only whilst sleeping may he ever hope to meet her, to be with her and to tell her how much he loves her – albeit only in his dreams, for he knows she is no longer a reality of his present life, just a sweet memory to cherish all his remaining days.

He prays to his God in heaven that his heavy loss may be just a passing nightmare and that a new day will dawn when his tomorrow may reveal her once again at his side and once more they may be permitted to walk a little further through life’s journey together, as one – for they were as one before that treasured part now missing was stolen from him by the jaws of death.   

Yet somehow, perhaps guided by the hand of his guardian angel, he sees a ray of hope shining through all his darkness.  He finds strength to cast his eyes forward into a new dimension, for he knows he shall never see her, speak to her or love her until he too passes through the gates of time and space, at his appointed hour.  

And God in his mercy shows him the only route to reconciliation is by the forward arrow of his time, and he sees ahead just a distant glimmer and promise of unimaginable joy.  He realizes his earthly loneliness is but limited and insignificant in terms of his time and space against the far mightier backdrop of eternity, where these limiting dimensions are all irrelevant.  

He knows the day will come when she will live – and he knows with the passing of even half a lifetime here on Earth, a time in which he must live alone, those years are as nothing compared with all eternity, where he will live once more and be reunited with his heavenly queen, in total joy and glory. 

He knows at his allotted hour colour will return to his darkened world, manifested by the radiant light of hope – a light so pure it will transform his existence once again into true clarity and focus.  He sees before him the answer to all his prayers, all his longings, all his hopes, and all his fantasies – for they are all transformed before his eyes from mere imagination into startling reality.  

He sees her – she appears distinctly on his horizon, dressed in white as a bride and she is glorious and more beautiful than he ever remembered her.  She draws closer and as she does so she continues walking slowly towards him, stepping into breathtaking reality and radiating pure light and now in total perfection. 

His pulse quickens at her charismatic presence and she smiles at him once more, a beautiful loving smile, and with outstretched arms she welcomes him into her eternity.  

He sees nothing but love emanating from within those beautiful and affectionate eyes – love expressed so profoundly for him and pouring from her very soul, locked now onto his in perfect union.  She speaks unspoken words through those gorgeous windows of her soul – words of love now more meaningful than any language he had ever known, or could ever hope to comprehend.  

For now he sees clearly into her mind and heart, and as she slips her hand gently into his she smiles again so lovingly and without reservation she returns to him those precious keys to her heart and places them tenderly into his palm, then closes his hand around them. Together they walk in utter joy and happiness along the riverbank of eternity, filled with light and living waters, peace and promise  once more in harmony with all creation and all its wonders – this time for ever. 

Until we meet again, my love 

Copyright:  Eddie Bluelights
November 2nd 2013   

Sunday, 29 September 2013


He glances back at me - wistful and forlorn.  He looks again intently from within a sombre and totally unfamiliar perspective – a place where he does not want to be – a place where his preferred emotions of joy and happiness now cannot live.  These more welcome feelings are eclipsed in total by dark lingering shadows of despair, longing and sorrow, emanating and surfacing endlessly from his broken heart and orchestrated so cruelly by his tortured mind.

His face I know so well, yet somehow he is a stranger to me; for his expression now contradicts all known recognition. Our eyes meet once more and as they do so I see only a look of utter sadness and sorrow, written and etched deeply and emphatically upon his troubled face as if his very being is transfixed upon the object of his grief.

I sympathise and as I do so I realise his feelings are true and real for I know a mirror can never lie and that man’s grief is just a reflection of my own – feelings of deep loss, feelings of hopelessness and feelings of utter despair which threaten to haunt me for ever and tear the very heart from me and never leave me alone.

I look again and this time I notice a tear glisten in his eye, in sympathy with my own – a tear of love and longing for someone who is now absent from his life, yet remains the summit and focal point of his existence.  As I look again I see him pondering deep thoughts through his grief. Powerful and searching questions race across his wounded mind, as he contemplates the gravity, the magnitude and the implications of her absence and the shallow life he now has to live alone, as though part of him has been  ripped away, caused by her premature and cruel passing and stolen from him by the jaws of death.

His sad eyes look at me once more in earnest and plead for his lost identity, for that too died with her and now cannot be repaired.  His soul searches his darkened world for an unbroken but lost personality; a former self he knew long ago – a man he liked and with whom he was fully at peace, for he knows only then might he find an inner man strong enough to carry him through his sorrow.

Yet somewhere, dredged from deep within his heart, hope slowly promises a rescue mission for his troubled soul – a rescue from all those uncomfortable and sombre emotions, weighing so heavily upon his fragility.  His tear begins to fade for he knows a time will come when he and the lady of his life will be reunited - this time they will endure together in unimaginable eternal bliss, not for a mere 40 years of shared existence, here in this limited dimension.   

He holds on tightly to his lifeline of new-found embryonic hope which speaks and convinces that his former happiness is not lost for an eternity – just frozen for a while in time.  He realizes a new dawn will arise, this time filled with light, joy, laughter and colour and he himself at his appointed hour will pass through the gate of time and space to meet an angelic figure who will appear to him and greet him and welcome him into eternity with a smile so radiant his heart will burst with happiness. She will be young again and perfect in every way - no longer defiled by that vile and evil disease emanating straight from the pit of hell. Nothing and no-one will ever hurt her again and her laughter and joy will sing across the universe to the sound of running water, welling from the spring of life.   

copyright:  Eddie Bluelights September 2013

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I'm slowly emerging from the tunnel
Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers