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Thursday, 24 December 2015


Christmas seems to come round so quickly these days, and here we are, another one is due in half an hour.  Time seems to be travelling much faster in recent years.

I hope Santa is well organised and his reindeer are all fuelled up with carrots.  Little Peter has left some out for them when they visit him, and there is a mince pie and a glass of sherry for Santa.  I'm not sure how Santa is going to gain access to their little flat because there is no chimney, but I am sure he has a contingency plan.  Santa must consume an enormous number of mince pies, numbering several million, during the course of his evening's work . . . and I hope he does not lose his driving licence after all those alcoholic drinks, and is able to fly in a straight line  . . . perhaps he should have said, "No! No! No!", and abstained.  He must have a continuous toilet problem in addition to having time to deliver all those presents in such a short time, getting stuck up chimneys and kissing Mummies under the mistletoe.

Well, it remains for me to wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope you have a very enjoyable Christmas holiday.  I did not have time to grow a beard so I used shaving cream, just in case you didn't notice.

I am enjoying my Christmas tree this year.  Thank you Peter for helping me put it up.  Perhaps in a couple of years Rosa may be able to help out as well.

Sunday, 6 December 2015


This Christmas is the first I'm able
To erect my tree upon a table.
I have not done this for two years
Without my wife ~ I want no tears.

This year I had my little boy
My grandson, Peter ~ so much joy.
At home he'd helped his Mum and Dad
To get their tree up at their pad.

I got to thinking it would be great
If we did it here without a wait
The tree was in boxes in the attic
And felt good about it ~ quite ecstatic. 

When Peter came to visit me
I said, "Will you help me with my tree?"
His little face broke into huge broad smiles
From ear to ear, and as wide as miles.

"Grandpa, tree, up in roof, you get it . . . get it,
Me help . . put up , me, me . . . . don't forget it!"
I got the ladder out and ascended
And got the boxes down, how splendid.

We got a little table ready
So tree would rest there, nice and steady.
We put the tree up together there
And found the lights, plus a new pair.

When we turned them on, as a test
His little face beamed, I was so blessed.
We put the lights onto the tree
He wanted to do it and said, "Me, me, me!"

We found the baubles waiting there
And Peter hung some up, without a care.
We added some nice Christmas things
A crib, angels and a bell which rings.

I think next year I'll delegate
And let him do it all . . . lol . . . bless him.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


I have been under the weather lately with a sore throat, high temperature, bad cough and general 'yuckiness' ~ I am feeling a little better now but not quite right yet . . . 

This photo of Baby Rosa, received today, cheered me up.

She is a happy bunny these days and she smiles, squeals with delight and gurgles away very merrily.  All is well provided she gets enough feed and boy she is a hungry little thing.

She has more than doubled her weight.

I remember last year receiving a Christmas card from my daughter and son-in-law saying something like, "Happy Christmas Dad, love from Selina, Matt and ?"  I missed the significance of the '?' until Selina said, "Read it again, Dad!"

I jumped for joy.

Her Nana Sue, Matt's mother, was far more observant and she jumped for joy too, without any prompting.

Our lives are all the richer for having her and I can say I have never seen her mother happier in her whole life.  It is wonderful to see her like that.

Peter loves her to bits already.

I am having him to look after on Thursday and Friday and I am going to decorate the Christmas tree with him, which I know he will enjoy.  He helped his mum and dad at his house and as far as I can tell he has not knocked it over yet.  I have bought some new fairy lights for the occasion. 

This is the first time I have felt like putting the tree up since I lost Maria in April 2013.  Life is much easier now.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Autumn Leaves

I have been a little busy of late but managed to get a few shots of beautiful Autumn Leaves.  Reminds me of the song my daughter used to sing.

Two weeks ago I drove a party of elderly people from a nursing home to Slimbridge, a bird sanctuary founded by Sir Peter Scott in 1946.  He was the son of Captain Robert Falcon Scott who died of frostbite at the South Pole in 1912, beaten there by Amundsen who survived with his party.   

It was a delightful day at Slimbridge and all the residents and staff enjoyed their day out.  Sir Peter Scott's statue stands amongst them in this photo.

The Flamingos seem happy as always:

. . . .  . and a couple of shots with beautiful Autumn Leaves took my fancy:

When I returned back to the Residential Care Home, where my wife worked for 12 years, and owned by my very good friend Pat, she informed me that our priest was visiting the cemetery the next Monday with some parishioners to bless the graves and would I like Maria's blessed.  I attended and brought Peter with me since I was looking after him that day . . . so we blessed Maria's grave and I sprinkled some Holy Water. Bless you my darling.

Isn't it beautiful ~ nothing but the best for her.
There's a little room for a few words for me later . . . :) . .  . and at the foot shall read Reunited For Ever.

While we were there I asked the priest if he would bless my Great Grandfather's grave who died in 1905.  I found out and was shocked that he had committed suicide by hanging himself whilst at work.  He moved to the south west 60 years before we did from Liverpool and I found him whilst researching my family tree.  I found him on the 1901 census and was amazed to discover he lived in my home town. I found his house, his workplace where he was factory manager, and his grave and to my horror discovered through death certificates ordered that he AND his father had both taken their own lives, his father, John a few months before James was born.

I made a little wooden cross for him a few years ago and had an inscription plaque made.  In those days it was frowned on by the church for people to take their own lives and they were buried at the edge of the cemeteries in unmarked graves.  I had a few services said for them both and the priest gladly blessed his grave and said a powerful prayer for them both and this was all against a delightful carpet of autumn leaves beneath our feet and I sprinkled Holy Water on his grave.  Young Peter was there, James' Great Great Great Grandson.

For those interested this story about my Great Grandfather I wrote a post and it is a fascinating read ~ my second post I wrote.  It is eerie in places and full of incredible coincidences and I feel in some way I was meant to discover James and unearth the story and in some way set him free and I feel both he and his father are now fully at peace.  It is very strange also that Maria's and later my grave will be only 40 yards from James.  I might get a headstone made for him soon.  The full story is HERE 

It was Remembrance Sunday last Sunday and I remember those brave young men in all the wars who fought and lost their lives striving to make this a better place for us to live.  Thank you guys.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Out Of The Darkness Comes Welcome Light

We, my family, were hoping for a ray of sunshine to chase away a dark cloud hanging over us, but yesterday a flood of light returned to our lives.

Many will know that my family has been blighted with cancer problems in recent years, and we have lost some much loved family members.

First, my dear wife Maria in April 2013 after a 16 year battle with breast cancer.

Then, six months later my daughter's father-in-law was struck down quickly with cancer of the oesophagus, six weeks after diagnosis.

Then my sister's husband, Harry, who passed away recently after his 15 year battle with prostate cancer.

My dear sister, Maggie May, at Nuts In May, also suffered two vicious cancer attacks, first in 2009 when a secondary cancer appeared like lightning and the primary was not evident anywhere so the oncology people did not know for certain what they were dealing with. Fortunately they picked the correct chemotherapy and that stopped it in it's tracks.  They did say without this treatment she would not have survived more than a few months and not seen her 70th birthday.  She enjoyed a short period of remission but it returned with vengeance in 2011 to her lower back and she had to undergo 30 blasts of radiotherapy.  Her and Harry seemed to be taking it in turns to undergo chemo and radiotherapies for their cancers.  

Maggie's treatment seemed to have done the trick and she has been in remission, or hopefully cancer free ever since. The doctors said the chances of a complete cure were very slim and checked her periodically.  Yet to everyone's surprise she remained cancer free and they regarded her somewhat as a walking miracle.

Then she had to undergo all the stress of Harry's illness which weighed very heavily on her physical health and recently she detected something was far from right with her and feared the return of cancer.  She could not get herself sorted out because she was too busy lovingly looking after Harry and visiting him in hospital, and latterly in a nursing home.  In addition to all this she had to battle with the medical authorities and the nursing home to make sure Harry received the best care possible.

After Harry's passing she had a consultation at the oncology centre and they detected something was wrong and ordered a CT scan and a biopsy. That was last week and we were sweating ever since, fearing the results which came at her consultation yesterday.  She was quite convinced the news would be bad and everyone was rather doubtful.

People have been praying for her all over the world ~ wonderful blogging friends of her's and mine, with one lady adding her on no fewer than three church prayer lists.

The consultation to discuss the results was yesterday and the news was better than any of us dared to imagine.  Maggie is completely clear of cancer and can resume a normal life, which she so deserves so much after losing her husband. 

The culprit is fibrous tissue about the size of a golf ball and a haematoma, both which can be completely cured, plus a hairline fracture of her pelvis which is healing well.  She must have got that during one of Harry's falls.

I want to thank everyone who prayed for her and for all your good wishes. I have lost too many friends and loved ones and now I still have my sister.

Please visit Maggie if you have the time ~ she has written a short post herself . . . HERE

Light indeed has returned to our family.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


Gosh this looks like a huge bundle of laughs, doesn't it?  !!!

Doesn't it conjure all sorts of grisly possibilities about what might be going on inside ~ the mind boggles!!

I was inspired to take this photo as I walked past the building recently in my home town.  I thought that to the uninitiated it might sound rather strange and a little funny.

Here, where I live, we take the name for granted  . .  and as completely harmless and in fact with affection . . . 

In fact the full name for this building is The JN Fear Institute.  It is a charity, founded in April 1937 and financed in his will by a prominent local businessman, John Nelson Fear, and built 20 years after his death for local clubs and societies from the proceeds of a wise investment of his legacy. Inside is a large hall to seat 120 people and a stage where would be actors can perform. Various craft groups and societies meet there, including our local chess and bridge meetings.

One of it's users is The Keyford Dancing School where young ladies learn the art of ballet, modern dancing and tap dancing and it is where my darling daughter learned all three disciplines about 25 years ago.  I videoed all my daughter's dancing medal performances all those years ago.  I still have them and I am in the process of getting them transferred to DVD.

I met Selina's dancing teacher and owner of the school recently and she recognised me straight away and we had a lovely chat.  She remembers me well and also my daughter; she has helped very many young ladies to gain poise and deportment which they will carry through their entire lives.

So for me there is no fear whatsoever attached to this building ~ just fond memories.

Thursday, 8 October 2015


I had a pleasant surprise tonight to receive this photo of a smiling and almost laughing Rosa, my dear grand daughter.  Well done Selina and Matt ~ all the hard work seems to be paying off.

It is almost as though her little "awareness" switch has been activated.  I have a suspicion that a little sense of humour is developing . . . 

. . . . and it wasn't a response to one of my jokes either . . :)

I am so happy that she is more settled and isn't she doing well?

Friday, 25 September 2015


Against the backdrop of a sad day there were some wonderful moments.

It was Harry's funeral and the service was beautiful and incorporated into it was a reading by his youngest grandson, a poem read by his eldest granddaughter, a solo saxophone performance of Elgar's Chanson de Matin by another granddaughter, and a duet by his youngest granddaughter, played with her mother.  Quite a talented family, and Peter was very good and quiet throughout, and listened attentively to the music, or so it seemed.

My thoughts and feelings went out to my sister, Maggie May, and her two children and grandchildren.

The day was a gathering of friends and relations, and the icing on the cake was the meeting of my two grandchildren, Peter and Rosa, with their parents.

Dear little Rosa seemed quite pleased to meet her big cousin Peter . . . . 

. . . . . and Peter seemed very attentive towards his new little cousin.

It was so nice to see them together . . . . 

After the memorable service drinks, cakes and nibbles were served in the church hall and after we had circulated for a while it was time for us to to say our goodbyes and head back south through Bristol to my home where I treated us all to fish and chips.

I am so pleased Selina, Matt and Rosa could come to join Jon, Lisa and Peter  . . . and myself.

After our meal we all took it in turns to have a cuddle with Rosa and, hallelujah, she actually smiled at me . . . or was it the wind?  . . lol.

Monday, 14 September 2015


Well doesn't time fly when you are a baby?  4 weeks old already.

Rosa has had initial feeding problems but that is ok now ~ in fact now she has a voracious appetite but suffers from colic sometimes. That problem seems to be managed well with drops.

The main difficulty now is that she doesn't want to settle and wants to be cuddled all the time and poor mummy and daddy are very tired.  With her dad returning to work today after paternity leave I called in to see Selina and Rosa this afternoon.  Her Nanna Sue had already arrived and had taken Rosa for a walk in her pram.  Baby and Nanna arrived home a while later and Rose was fast asleep and by then so was Selina ~ so while Nanna did some ironing I kept rocking the pram gently and she slept like a top for a couple more hours, as by then we took it in turns to rock the pram.  

She looks quite content here doesn't she?

Let's take a closer look to make sure she's ok . . . 

That's my girl. . . . bless her little cotton socks . . . :)

On Wednesday afternoon I am taking her out for a walk in her pram to give her mum a rest.  Anyone care to join me?

Sunday, 6 September 2015


It is with deep regret I announce the passing of Harry, my brother-in-law, early this morning.  

For those who do not know it, my sister is Maggie May at Nuts In May and I saw her and some of the family today and this evening. 

Harry had been battling prostate cancer for over 15 years and over the last 18 months his health gradually declined and eventually he was taken by pneumonia. 

He was a charming and very kind man, a good husband to my sister, a good father and grandfather, and a good friend to me.  He was a very friendly man and never had an unkind word to say about anyone.

He was a brick layer and at his peak he laid 3000 bricks a day building houses.

He will be greatly missed ~ he was a devout Christian and he, like us, believe this is not the end for him but just the beginning of a life which will be everlasting and happy beyond measure and understanding.  Maggie and Harry will be reunited at the appointed hour, never to be parted again. 

No more pain, no more sorrow

I would like to think that my dear departed wife, Maria, came to meet him and take him by the hand to lead him into paradise. She was such a caring person, that is precisely the sort of thing she would do.

God bless Harry   R.I.P. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


I visited my grand daughter, Rosa Florence, this afternoon.
She is doing very well and is settling into a routine of feeding, sleeping and a fair amount of consciousness with her little eyes looking round at noises.  She has more than regained her birth weight.

She is 15 days old today:

. . .  . and here is baby Peter aged about 2 weeks.  By that time he already had his first photo shoot . . . 

. . . and another one with his eyes open . . . .  

Hello Buster

. . . . and Rosa with her eyes open . . 

. . . and here is Peter now at 23 months . . . .

I wonder what Rosa will look like at 23 months?

Peter, you'd better get the hang of that camera and by then we'll find out . . . 

Time will tell.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

BABY ROSA ~ 3 Days Old

Baby Rosa and Mum were able to go home from hospital on Day Three ~ and for a while the little family settled down together as a unit and all got a good night's sleep.

Nanna Sue visited and took some lovely shots:

Grandpa visited the next day and baby was having a little trouble feeding.  She kept falling asleep on the breast and it became a little frustrating for both mum and baby.

She was no nearly as happy here, was she?

Oh dear!

Last night I heard they returned to hospital because baby has now become slightly jaundiced and the hospital staff want to get to the bottom of the feeding problem.  I think they let mothers and babies out too quickly these days  . . .  but it is so busy and rather like a conveyor belt.

Babies are are all little miracles aren't they, and it is quite amazing how they develop into perfect little people.  Not long ago Rosa was developing inside her mummy before she became a noticeable baby bump: 

We hope Mother and baby can return home soon.  It's quite a worrying time for all of us until things settle down on the feeding front.


I have just heard that they are able to come home again.  Both parents are very quiet and they have been advised to be much noisier when baby is feeding so she stays awake.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


We are still on cloud 9 here . . . 

. . . a little life has entered the world . . . a life with some of our genes in her make-up, which will live on and on in future generations.  Quite a thought.

Today was Selina's and Matt's third wedding anniversary and boy what a present they almost had on it ~ this little bundle of joy arrived one day, but just 4 hours before it.

Let me introduce you to Rosa, one day old and practically perfect in every way . . 

And here is her Mum, Selina, who looks remarkably fit and well after the birth. She always was strong and fit was my girl.

. . . and the proud dad, Matt, a gentle man who will make a great father, as indeed will Selina be a fine mother.

. . . . . "Hey !!  . . . . let me have a cuddle ! Come to Grandpa!"

I managed to stop her crying and to rock her to sleep and the others were amused at me making baby noises . . . but Rosa seemed quite happy with Grandpa . . .  and didn't mind the 'pass the baby' game at all.

Matt's mother, Sue, came with me to see our grand daughter and we are so proud of her.

Nanna loved her to bits as soon as she saw her, as did Grandpa.

"Cuddle me some more please, Nanna" . .

"Nappy changing time, Daddy! . . . come on, do your stuff!"

Meanwhile Mummy has no baby so she has to make do with a teddy bear . . 

Grandpa suggested she should have had quads so we could have had one each . . . 

Almost time to go . . . . some parting shots.

"Hey Mum, my turn!"

"Well done girl, I am really very proud of you!"


And so ended a beautiful visit and first encounter with Rosa. Wonderful day.

Selina is staying a second night at the hospital so that she and baby get the breast feeding right ~ they are almost there. 

And as for you, little Rosa, I can't wait to see you again and to introduce you to toddler Peter.

I'll get back to the wedding subject next post.