Saturday, 13 September 2014


Well, just look at this little chap!!!

The apple of his Grandpa's eye!!

10.5 months old and almost 21 lbs of muscle, bone and sinew . . . . with a voracious appetite and a lot to say for himself . . . . albeit in baby language.

He doesn't seem that bothered at the moment about sitting in a girl's pink high chair, borrowed from a good friend.  He knows he is one of the boys and enjoyed the joke Grandpa told him . . . . but shhh!  . . . don't tell Mummy!

Lisa, his mummy, has started a one year Post Graduate Certificate in Education and I was asked if I would look after Peter for Thursdays and Fridays, and her mother will do the same for Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

Well, I have just done my first two days and as you can see from the photo Peter says I have passed my test with flying colours.


Peter arrived on the doorstep at 7.30 am on Thursday and beamed as soon as he saw me and held his little hands out to greet me.  Lisa handed him over and brought a few baby things inside, including nappies (diapers), wipes, and lots of baby toys and several baby books.  My house looks like a nursery now . . . . lol.  

He promptly dismissed his mum and waved her goodbye and I carried him back to the front door, banged the door knocker and said, "Wake up Grandpa . . . . . wake up!  . . . Peter is here!!!  He had not a clue what I was saying but proceeded to bang the door knocker and squealed for joy.   I had decided to make his days total fun . . . and to teach him things, stimulate him and make him laugh.

Peter is no stranger to me . . . in previous weeks I had looked after him just for a few hours so he could get used to being with just me and there was never the slightest problem.

I carried him to the hall mirror and said, "Who's that?  And he laughed when he saw the reflection of us.  

Into the kitchen/diner area where Maria's rocking chair is situated.  He just loved that and managed to rock it himself under supervision, surrounded by all his toys which soon ended on the floor:

On a worktop is a stereo radio and I taught him to switch it on and out came a glorious rendition of a J.S.Bach Brandenburg Concerto - he loved it and started bouncing up and down to the music and waving his arms like an eccentric conductor.  He quickly learned the words 'Radio', 'Clock' and 'Lights' . . . and always pointed to the right one.  He then promptly learned where Grandpa's nose is and he 'bopped' me a few times on it.

It was then time for breakfast and boy, did he 'knock' some food back - I have never seen anything like it:

Two whole Weetabix soaked in whole milk . . . . He was still hungry . . . . . A full piece of toast with low salt butter and Marmite with the crusts cut off . . . . demolished!!   Still hungry . . . . . cheese cubes . . . . yum yum!  . . . then some blueberries which he loves.  All washed down with water.

And I was rewarded with what . . . . . . a dirty nappy . . . . gee thanks Peter!
The first one I had dealt with for 22 years yet he was considerate for it was not too offensive . . . lol

Then playtime with Grandpa for an hour and I saw him getting tired.  I have a travel cot in my lounge (living room) but I thought I would sit with him in the rocking chair and sing some nursery songs to him.  No-one has every rocked him to sleep but I wanted to because it is a new place for him and I wanted him to be totally secure.  I held him close and rocked the rocking chair and sang the nursery songs in the most boring tone and way I could which did sent him off to sleep and almost me as well.

I transferred him to his cot and his eyes opened but closed them again and he rolled over on his side with his sleep doll and he stayed asleep for almost 2 hours.


Then play and book reading and having fun . . . . into the high chair and help Grandpa eat his belated breakfast and for Peter to drink some formula .

A right little bookworm he is turning out to be . . . . 

Ooops!  . . . .  perhaps not a good  idea to eat it . . . 

It's time to go for a walk . . . .  so into the buggy and off we go. 

"Come on Grandpa . . . . show me off to some of your friends."

And so I did.  We walked (or I walked) for miles and he was gurgling all the way and we stopped in the park to look at the ducks.  "Quack!  Quack!"

Result and reward for Grandpa when we got home !!!!  . . . . one of the most offensive nappies I have ever had the misfortune to come across - much worse than his dad's . . . .  . . .  . it must have been those Weetabix . . . lol.

That serves you right! Grandpa!  

I'll tell you about Friday soon. 

For Peter fans . . . I have another post on him HERE

I am having a rest from the Weekend Quotations but will return to them in due course, plus more ambulance stories to come soon.  

Also, I have not had time to get round to your blogs lately - hope to do so soon.

Friday, 5 September 2014


Another week - another Magpie Tale

MAG 235 from a prompt set by Tess.

(I thought long and hard before an idea came for this one, courtesy of my thinking hat)

Dark Harbor, 1943, N.C. Wyeth

It was a dreadful fishing day for us all.  We couldn't catch a crab between us let alone a single fish.  And then something weird happened to me and it all turned round on a sixpence. 

I see you guys were elsewhere and you didn't get a bite either. Here, have some of mine because my boat is almost overflowing.  I have never seen anything like it.

I was just about to call it a day and go home when I looked up and saw this man standing on the shore, literally ten paces from me.  He seemed kind of familiar and I felt a weird sensation as though I had somehow known him all my life.  The peace and serenity oozed from his every pore and I could see nothing but love directed at me from within the depths of his soul, through those bright blue eyes.  I felt totally happy and at peace, more so than I ever felt before, and I just did not want to interrupt our eye contact or have this moment end.  

He said ever so humbly, "Excuse me, I see you have caught nothing today and that is not right.  If I might make a small suggestion you will do fine.  You see I think you have been fishing on the wrong side of your boat. Cast your nets on the other side and you shall catch plenty."

I did as he said and there were so many fish I had such a battle to get them all aboard my nets broke with the strain.

I felt as though he had commanded those fish into the nets and had been chasing them away prior to his suggestion.  I felt also that whatever he commanded would be obeyed, even the wind and the waves could not refuse him.

He said, "Bring some fish and join me and we shall cook a few and eat together."

It was then I knew who he was and he knew I knew for I saw him beam just like he did when I knew him because he was always such fun to be with,  He said, "Dead men don't eat, do they?  See, Peter, put your hand in my side and feel my palms and see they have healed and see I have conquered death and I live.  I promise you anyone who believes in me shall have eternal life. 

Go, tell all you meet, for I want you to be fishers of men for me."


Thursday, 4 September 2014


Welcome to another story by Eddie, the eccentric ex-ambulance man.

This is a really weird story.  Once again I was driving the Sunshine Bus Ambulance, but this time my assignment was to pick up a lady patient, plus her helper, from a specialist unit at a hospital in Bristol, and take them home to Weston-Super-Mare, 25 miles away.

The worksheet described her as someone who suffers Narcolepsy, meaning liable to fall asleep at any moment, plus Apnoea, a condition where when asleep the patient can stop breathing for a while and then starts to do so - a condition which can prove fatal.  I thought it surprising that this lady had managed to survive at all let alone well into her adulthood.  

I knew there was a wheelchair involved, which was no problem since the ambulance had a ramp for wheelchair access.  The patient could either be transferred to a seat or remain in the wheelchair, strapped to the ambulance floor using special fixings and seat belt.

The specialist unit was in an unfamiliar part of the hospital, but I found it eventually and was surprised to see no lady in a wheelchair waiting.  

Instead I saw a rather frail lady pushing a wheelchair with a huge man seated.  She seemed a little excited and waved me over and said her name which matched the name on my worksheet.  Amazed, I told her I expected her, as the patient, to be in the wheelchair.  She said, "Oh! This is my husband.  I push him everywhere.  He has gone off his legs, you see! "

Slightly confused, I took over the wheelchair pushing and this guy was heavy - and I mean heavy.

We walked to the ambulance and I expressed some concern about her, the patient, pushing a heavy wheelchair.  She told me that the appointment had gone well and she was alright., but seemed more focused on her husband.  "The poor dear has gone off his legs and had a dreadful time recently with an attack of influenza."  The man was huge and I judged him to weigh over 20 stones (280 pounds).  I enquired about his health and he said he was much better, and we reached the ambulance with the ramp down all ready.  I pushed him up the ramp but he was heavy and as I did so he said, "I've lost a lot of weight recently, I used to be 25 stones (350 pounds) but now I am only 21 stones (294 pounds)."

My sense of humour surfaced and I said, "Thanks mate! That's made my job a bit easier!"

They both laughed and I strapped his wheelchair with him seated in it and we proceeded on our way.

I was mindful of her condition and did not want her to sleep and have the slightest chance of her stopping breathing so I kept talking to her all the way home and when we got almost there she said, "Just drop us off on the corner, our house is just a little way down the road."  

I got them out of the ambulance with him still in his wheelchair, and she insisted on taking over the wheelchair pushing, saying, "Oh, I often take him for a walk!  It's a lovely evening!"

And so we said our goodbyes and as they walked off into the sunset, and I stayed a while to make sure they got home safely.

I thought this was a very strange experience, but in that line of work nothing surprised us.


Saturday, 30 August 2014


Happy Weekend Folks

ABC Wednesday Link - G is for Gravestone Inscriptions

This week I continue with Hilarious Epitaphs:

A famous one:  Shakespeare's tomb at Stratford-on-Avon carries this solemn warning:

(I bet many a person wonders why he wrote this and what secret may lie below)

John Gibson Lockhart, Sir Walter Scott's biographer, for a clumsy would-be poet:

Here lies that peerless peer Lord Peter,
Who broke the laws of God and man and metre.

David Garrick, actor, on Oliver Goldsmith, great writer but inept conversationalist, nicknamed 'Noll' : 

Here lies Nolly Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll,
Who wrote like an angel but talked like poor Poll.

Matthew Prior, 18th century poet on himself,

Nobles and heralds by your leave,
Here lies what once was Matthew Prior;
The son of Adam and of Eve -
Can Bourbon or Nassau go higher?

18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume,

Within this circular idea
Called vulgarity a tomb,
The ideas and impressions lie
That constituted Hume.

On Nance Oldfield, a famous 18th century actress:

This we must own in justice to her shade,
'Tis the first bad exit Oldfield ever made.

W. C. Fields, comic, said that his epitaph should be:

On the whole I'd rather live in Philadelphia.

Groucho Marx had very definite ideas:

I want it known here and now that this is what I want on my tombstone. Here lies Groucho Marx, and Lies and Lies and Lies and Lies. P.S. He never kissed an ugly girl.

Lionel Barrymore, Hollywood actor, told a magazine his own epitaph should be:

Well, I've played everything but a harp.

Samuel Foote, 18th century actor and brilliant mimic, had two suggestions:

Foote from his earthly stage, alas! is hurled;
Death took him off, who took off all the world.


Here lies on Foote, whose death may thousands serve,
For death has now one foot within the grave.

The poet Keates proposed:

Here lies one whose name was writ in water.

Robert Ross, intimate friend of Oscar Wilde went one better:

Here lies one whose name was writ in hot water.

Anonymous gravestone inscription:

Cheerio, see you soon.

Anonymous graveyard inscription from the USA:

Once I wasn't,
Then I was
Now I ain't again.

A young person's tale:

Came in
Looked about
Didn't like it
Went out.

Silly but brief inscription:

Here lies Ann Mann;
She lived an old maid
And she died an Old Mann. 

And finally for this week

From a gravestone in Aberdeen:

Here lie the bones of Elizabeth Charlotte,
Born a virgin, died a harlot.
She was aye a virgin at seventeen,
A remarkable thing in Aberdeen.

(Amazing that some of these were inscribed)

More next week

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


Welcome to another story by Eddie, the eccentric ex-ambulance man.

"OMG", I said, "where are the keys?  I can't get into my ambulance, and this guy needs oxygen!"

Earlier, I had collected six renal patients and taken them to a General Hospital, near the sea for Renal Dialysis.  The idea was to wait four hours and then pick them up again, take the local ones home first and then those further afield.  

This vehicle we affectionately nicknamed "The Sunshine Bus" and I remember seeing the milometer clock through 100,000 miles on that inward journey. 

The delightful backdrop was my last port of call, a nursing home, where I collected "Tom" on our way to the Renal Unit. We did this three times a week.  Tom was a little backward and I gave him a job to do on the way in, to lookout for speed cameras, which he always remembered, and warned me about.  Dear Tom, I think I heard recently he has a new kidney transplant now, which is marvellous.

When I had finished delivering Tom, the last patient I received a call from 'control' to ask if I would go to the general departure lounge and take a gentleman in a wheelchair home. 

When I arrived I found the gentleman and noticed he was on oxygen which was no problem for me since I had all the equipment on board.  He said he could manage for a few minutes without oxygen while I pushed him in his wheelchair and fixed him up with oxygen in the ambulance. 

While I was doing something else a nurse transferred him from a chair to the wheelchair and I said goodbye and proceeded quickly to the ambulance.  

When I arrived I looked through my pockets for the keys, only to discover they were not there . . . . I searched again and to my horror they still were not there.  I said to the old boy I must have left my keys in the departure lounge and headed back and we quickly got him hooked up with oxygen again.  

I explained about the keys and looked everywhere retracing my steps and became concerned that I would not be able to get the six renal patients home.  I tried lost property, the reception desk - everywhere. 

I reported the matter to control, 25 miles away, who said they had found a spare key and the only person who could bring it down was the managing director - oh dear.

It was then a magical picture appeared in my head.  The patient must be sitting on the keys in the wheelchair - it was the only pace they could be.  I got back to the departure lounge and got the patient to stand up . . . . . .  and there they were staring at me on the seat!!  What a relief.

So I was able to stop the MD coming dawn, get the elderly man home with oxygen, and then all the patients home safely.

The nurses were quite amused in the renal unit when I told them.

I must have subconsciously put the keys down whilst attending to something else and meanwhile the nurse sat the patient down onto the keys . . . . . 

That is something I made sure never happened again.

Saturday, 23 August 2014


Happy Weekend Folks

I'll have some more Alternative Meanings for you next week, but I thought we would have a change this week and look at some:

Hilarious Epitaphs

(Yes, I remember that well in 2002 - what a character Spike was)

An anonymous punster commemorated Dr John Potter, Archbishop of Canterbury:

Alack and well a-day
Potter himself is turned to clay.

Lord Byron savaged prime minister William Pitt the Younger, who is buried in Westminster Abbey:

With death doomed to grapple
Beneath this cold slab, he
Who lied in the chapel
Now lies in the Abbey.

The 'Welsh Wizard', David Lloyd George, suggested as epitaph for himself that might have been adopted by many other politicians:

Count not my broken pledges as a crime. 
I MEANT them, HOW I meant them at the time.

Wisecracking American writer Dorothy Parker proposed this simple tombstone inscription for herself:

Excuse my dust.

Dorothy Parker, suggested that this should be carved on an actress's tombstone:

Her name, cut clear upon this marble cross,
Shines, as it shone when she was still on earth,
While tenderly the mild, agreeable moss,
Obscures the figures of her date of birth.

Hilaire Belloc wrote of himself with the cheerful vanity of an author:

When I am dead, I hope it may be said
'His sins were scarlet but his books were read.'

John Gay, author of The Beggar's Opera, composed his own epitaph:

Life is a jest, and all things show it.
I thought so once; but now I know it.

The journalist, George Augustus Sala dealt a cruel posthumous blow to a colleague, John Camden Hotten:


William Blake, eccentric poet and painter, detested everything his highly successful fellow artist, Sir Joshua Reynolds, stood for, hence the verse:

When Sir Joshua Reynolds died
All Nature was degraded;
The King dropped a tear in the Queen's ear,
And all the pictures faded.

. . . . and now a few more embarrassing gaffs from those who should have know better:

Mr Milosevic has to be careful.
The calendar is tickingRichard Haas

A zebra doesn't change its spots - Al Gore

The crowd gave the players an arousing reception - Packie Bonner

I have a thermometer in my mouth and I'm listening to it all the time - Willie Whitelaw

I'm absolutely thrilled and over the world about it - Tessa Sanderson

We'll be heading for the deepening heights of recession - Economics spokesman

I would like to than the press from the heart of my bottom - Nick Faldo 

More next week

parting shot:

What message would you like on your tombstone?

Pat says: "I'll be coming to haunt you soon!" . . . . . . lol

. . . and Shadow says: "I'm never going to die!"

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


Another test of our flimsy cerebral hemispheres for Tess's weekly prompts for Magpie Tails.  This one MAG233 shows a lonely ship steaming out to sea.  What will this conjure, I wonder.  Will let you know when I start writing.

Yell Sounds, Shetland, 2014, by R.A.D. Stainforth

Steaming Somewhere

Shetland stationed ship 'sets sail', steaming silently seaward, steering south, skipping several submerged shipwreck sites, slicing smooth settled shimmering spacious salty seas. 

Stormy sunset skies shine serenely, shadowing shady sloping sun soaked shores, somehow silhouetting spectacular segmented silver sea/sky systems.

Surrounding shores, Sweinna Stack, Sim Skerry, Sand Skerry, Samphrey show stupendous scenery, speaking surreptitious secret sagas, saluting steaming ship.

Sunbeams scatter, screaming seagulls swoop, sea salmon shoals swim, self satisfied scruffy sailors sing, shrewd skipper steers ship safely, spying shingled saturated shellfish shores.

She sells sea shells on the sea shore.
The shells she sells are sea shore shells, I'm sure.

I was 'sunk' on this one for a long time!

Why not have a go at Magpie Tales . . . . it's fun, that's why I do it.  

But you may be a poet and don't know it.