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Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas.



This year has been such a blessing for me with the grandchildren.

Peter is 3 now and growing up fast but he still enjoys a cuddle with his Grandpa . . . .



. . .  when he is not firefighting . . 



. . . . riding bare back . . . . 



. . . or building things . . . 



Rosa is 16 months . . . . . and doing well.  She comes to visit her Grampa every Tuesday.



She loves riding Peter's old car . . . 



. . . and taking Elleru for a walk in his buggy.

But perhaps my favourite photo of her was taken back in the summer.




Peter loves his little cousin.



I shall be spending Christmas Day with Rosa and Boxing Day with Peter. Aren't I the lucky Grampa?

Here's to 2017.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Christmas Present Wrapping Tutorial

Saw this hilarious youtube on Christmas present wrapping.

I laughed and laughed and laughed ~ so funny.

Hope you like it.

Thanks Bernie for introducing it to me.




Monday, 7 November 2016

AMBULANCE STORY ~ DEAR DORIS

It has been quite some time since I posted. I have been very busy with various aspects of quite a crammed packed life and also I have taken a long blog break, always intending to return.

Whilst driving a bus for Dial-a-Ride today I was telling some passengers about some of my ambulance experiences and this dear little story came to mind when one of my passengers mentioned a Nursing Home south of Bristol. It was the same Nursing Home where one of my former patients lived. 



About 7 years ago I was scheduled to pick up a 99 year old lady called Doris from the Nursing Home and arrived to find a very friendly and quite active lady who greeted me with a huge smile. She asked me how old I thought she was and playing politics I said, "Oh, maybe early 80s!". A triumphant look dominated her face and she said, "I am 99 and I am going for my annual health check at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. Next time you come for me next year I shall be 100!"

I had to smile, bless her, and we walked to the ambulance and I helped her into it and we proceeded on our way, chatting and having quite a conversation.  

I was passing through my home town and I slowed down and pointed to a cottage alongside a hill we were climbing. I said, "Doris, see that cottage, my Great Grandfather lived there!".

She said, "Fancy that! Is he still alive?"

lol

I said, "Er, no Doris, if he was still alive he would be 169. He died in 1905."

She said, "Well I thought he might have lasted a bit longer than that!.

The dear lady, apart from that was as sharp as a razor.
I often think of former patients.  I have met some interesting personalities.

I hope to resume posting soon, including a large project I am making. I am building a tree bench and I am looking forward to telling you all about it.


Thursday, 2 June 2016

A TEXT TO GLADDEN MY HEART


I received a text message this morning and it changed my day. It was such a peasant surprise.

The Blood Transfusion Service wrote to me concerning my donation to them last week. Nothing unusual about the donation ~ I do it every three months and have been donating on and off for the last 50 years and done so well over 100 times.  The text message was to thank me for my donation and to inform me that my blood has been sent to Birmingham Children's Hospital, and that every donation counts.  

This is the first time I have had any feedback as to where my blood went and whom was/were the recipients, and I realise that it is illegal for them to provide any information other than in general terms. 

It gladdens my heart that in some way I have helped a little child, although of course I would greatly prefer that the child was not ill or in hospital in the first place.  

I am going to keep donating for as long as I am able.

If you feel you are able to donate please consider doing so . . a pint donated can save three lives and there is nothing more precious we can give someone than our own living blood and in a way breathe life into them.  Thank you. . . . :)




Saturday, 30 April 2016

AIRCRAFT AFTERNOON

DUPLO AEROPLANES



I had Peter over again yesterday and his dad joined us in the afternoon because he was on holiday.  The weather was a bit disappointing so we stayed at home and entered the plane making profession.  We started designing and manufacturing aeroplanes using Duplo, one of Peter's favourite building toys, and competed vociferously for available building material. 

It appeared that young Peter thought he was the chief Quality Control Manager because he exacted very harsh and severe treatment to all our designs and smashed almost all the 'brain childs' of his dad and grandpa.  Very few of our creations were allowed their tests and maiden flights and destined for recycling.

He seemed to approve of the WW1 biplane, shown in the photograph, and it somehow survived all his belligerence, so he loaded two plastic passengers aboard.  He made a hasty take off to an unknown destination across the room, and caused his pilot to make a very rough and bumpy landing. His flight attendants lacked decorum when he ordered the passengers off the plane, shouting a loud, "Get out!" . . . lol. 

Tut tut, you'd never hear that from a British Airways or Virgin Atlantic crew.  Jonathan and I were in hysterics.    

In the photo the background shows our family 'rogues gallery' and in the foreground is my Freddie Flintstone coffee mug, which can be seen quite clearly.

The red table and chairs are over 30 years old and belonged to my daughter, Selina, when she was little. During the morning I was sewing my jeans in the next room and I heard a few noises and was amazed to see that Peter had moved the table, chair and heavy box of duplo all by himself near my chair.  I was summoned into the room by a "Grandpa, come . . . build bricks with me . . . now!"  . . . oh he is so impetuous . . lol

When they had gone home I had the bricks all to myself and proceeded to start building a very large jumbo jet . . . . lol

I must finish it and show him next time he comes.  I expect it's working life will be extremely short . . lol

Thursday, 28 April 2016

MY LITTLE HELPER


Two Henry's are better than one!

Peter, my little helper arrived this morning together with his vacuum cleaner, a fully working Henry, who was delighted to meet his big green brother . . they got on famously . . lol. The little red one has it's own batteries and really sucks up dust.


"Grandpa! me work big one . . . it works better . . you have mine!"


. . . and he then proceeded to clean under the table.


I had to have a little chuckle.

It reminded me of his wanting to help me cut the lawn a while ago, and wants to do everything himself.  

He always insists on emptying the grass clippings:


On Saturday his Mummy and Daddy bought him a playhouse and we have been busy painting it . . . hopefully we can get it assembled at the weekend.


We'll get him a little table and chair to go inside, and finish off the roof with some felt roof tiles.




Tuesday, 26 April 2016

SWEET MEMORIES


3 years, darling.
Miss you so much!

Cherished memories of 40+ years together. Thank you.

Until we meet again, Maria . . . . . X




Tuesday, 22 March 2016

TWO HELPING HANDS WITH A DIY REPAIR


"Grandpa, Grandpa . . . stair rail broken . . . me fix, now!"
And with that my dear little grandson, Peter, fetched his tools . . . 



. . . . proceeded up the stairs . . . .



. . . .  and laid them carefully in a row when he reached the top.



The problem was well known to me. For as long as I can remember the top fixing bracket of the stair rail had come away from the wall and the rail was flapping about.  I had tried several times to repair it with larger fixings . . . to no avail, and I had always meant to do something more drastic to fix it.  So I thought no better time than the present, and we could make it into an interesting little project.

We had been watching Bob The Builder on TV and, being a favourite of Peter's, I quoted Bob, saying, "Can we fix it?" . . . and together we laughed and said, "Yes we can!"

I said we needed some stronger tools so I got my drill and drill bits and I asked Peter if he would like to unscrew the top stair rail bracket from the rail and from the wall, and without hesitation he did ~ no problem. He already had a good appreciation of screws, screw drivers and which direction to turn for screwing in and screwing out, so it came quite naturally for his 2.5 years.



It looks as though he is left handed like his mum and dad, but I am not so sure.  Anyhow, it took him a while but he got all five screws out and then we took the fixing bracket away and kept it safe with the screws.  The wall was very soft and crumbling so I cut out all the loose stuff and removed a lot of very soft and quite useless cement.  I got a large drill bit ready and fitted it into my electric drill and Peter passed it to me:



Fortunately we did not need anything as big as this . . . lol



 Peter was watching, wide eyed and taking it all in.



I drilled it out deeply ready for filling with a special paste which sets rock hard like concrete after 24 hours.

There was quite mess so I asked Peter to fetch the vacuum cleaner which was in my bedroom, just across the landing.  He brought the attachments and then pulled the hoover, unwound it and plugged it in then switched it on and then used the nozzle to clean out the holes  ~ all by himself.  Then he hoovered the stairs clean.







"Good boy, good job!"  He looked as proud as punch to be helping.  Then he switched the hoover off, switched off at the wall, unplugged it and wound in the cord again. He did it all in the right order.

I got the paste ready and worked it into the holes and said I would have to fill it in two or three goes because it was so deep.  He understood and said, looking at it, "Grandpa, wet, wet, don't touch!" . . . and then we went downstairs.

Two days later, after more filling and allowing to set rock hard, he came to help me again and we attached the bracket to the rail and piloted three new holes into the wall.  Then I drilled three new screw holes, knocked in the plastic fixings, and screwed the bracket firmly into the wall.

It has never been more secure ~ well done Peter.

I asked him if he was Bob the builder and he said, "No, Grandpa ~ you Bob!"  . . . bless him. 


Wednesday, 16 March 2016

MAIDEN SOLO PRAM VOYAGE WITH ROSA


I had an interesting afternoon with my granddaughter, Rosa and her mama, my daughter, Selina.

It followed an interesting morning gardening at The Rectory, where I work one half day a week with my good friends Sue and Fran.

When I arrived at my daughter's house little Rosa was playing in her baby rocker, situated in the kitchen, while mummy baked some cakes for daddy's birthday tomorrow.

Little Rosa was in fine form and voice ~ we were singing nursery rhymes and she was laughing and screeching joining in ~ I have never seen her so chirpy.  She sat on my knee and we played for an age and a little later her mummy fed her and then said she wanted to do some more work in the kitchen, so I said I would take her out for a walk in her pram.  She loved it and obviously felt totally at ease with me because she was laughing and gurgling like there was no tomorrow.  I was out with her for an hour and whilst walking I stopped and took a photo.



Then she really started laughing. It was almost as though she was imagining her saying, "Grandpa! please make me a pram which goes as fast as the one in the video!"  lol 

Then she fell asleep and I kept walking.
When we returned home she awoke and I handed her to her daddy who had just returned home from work.  

It was time to say goodbye since I had some shopping to do, and I was quite amazed that when I said goodbye to her she extended her little arms all by herself for me to pick her up and give her a little cuddle.


Thursday, 3 March 2016

PETER ENTERTAINS A YOUNG LADY


It is Thursday and I am with Grandpa for the day. We are entertaining two ladies this morning/afternoon ~ a little girl 6 months older than me and Nana Sue.

What is a boy to do while waiting to meet a young lady?
Blow bubbles of course. What a silly question.



Gosh Grandpa . . . what a beauty and it did not go pop straight away.

The door bell rang and so we go to the door and meet our visitors, Iris and Nana Sue.

It's not long before Grandpa gets out the cakes and makes the grown ups a cup of coffee.  Those cakes are yummy and Iris and I had two each and poor Grandpa and Nana Sue had just one. Of course in these photos I had already eaten mine.



Then it was play time. Grandpa 'wound us all up' (typical of him) and we chased around the house on my car and tricycle whilst being hotly pursued by a large Caterpillar. 

Grandpa managed to get just one action shot because we were going so fast and Nana Sue was pushing Iris.



The tricycle was my daddy's when he was a little boy and the caterpillar, which we call "Clatterpillar", was my Auntie Selina's, so it must be 30 years old at least.


Iris and I loved being chased by monsters (Grandpa and Nana Sue no less) and we shrieked and ran for cover.  

We both almost got the hang of riding the tricycle, but we need a bit more practice to get it right.

Things quietened down a bit and Grandpa let us play a duet on his piano.  






Later we changed sides so Iris could play the melody, while I played the bass line.

The time flew by so quickly and we noticed the weather was improving so we decided to visit a local farm where there are lots of animals to see, and then would have some lunch out.

Here am I with a sheep which lets you stroke it.



Iris wore a cow mask . . . 



We stayed around for a couple of hours, walking and seeing the animals but it was a bit muddy.

Then Iris started to cry and when we asked her what was wrong she said, "I want to go back to Peter's house and play monsters again!"

So off we went and continued our enjoyment for the afternoon and Iris loved playing with my toys. 



When it was time for them to go I gave Iris a little kiss and a hug. I hope I can see her again.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

THE COD ALMIGHTY

Voted Bristol's Number One Chippy 



I first posted the bones of this in 2009 when I was enjoying myself so much in the Ambulance Service.  I have had a bit of fun with it recently ~ in fact it has become rather addictive and cheered away the recent wintry blues.

My idea was inspired by my good friend David McMahon of authorblog, who sadly is no longer blogging.  I took the theme from his post, "Nearer, My Cod, To Thee", where he reports a fisherman finding a cellphone, still working, after being swallowed and inside the belly of a giant cod. Quite remarkable! One might be tempted to say that the cellphone had become temporally immobile.

Obviously, the fisherman must have cast his nets to the other side of his boat to land such a big fish. I wonder if the phone was ringing off it's hook, as the cod was caught. Of course one cannot but imagine the caller hearing an automated response, "I am sorry, the line is busy right now and it has not been possible to connect you; please try again later!"

Perhaps this fish was a distant descendant of another large fish which swallowed Jonah and, not liking his taste, either spat him out, or blew him ashore from his blow hole, causing him to land near Nineveh, and from there he went on to convert the whole city ~ not to Fish and chips, I might add. 

The cellphone incident occurred somewhere in the UK and there is the distinct possibility that, after the fish was gutted, boned, cleaned and cut up, these pieces of Cod, which passeth all understandingmay have turned up in a fish and chip shop, located in Bristol, called  . . wait for it . . . The Cod Almighty

Perhaps you may think this all a huge red herring and I do not wish to be an old trout about appearing too secretive of its location, so I will tell you exactly where it is 'plaiced'

You'll find it situated on Southmead Road, A4056, quite near Southmead Hospital, in north Bristol.  


And here it is, still there today I hasten to say, and there is not 'mushroom' inside because customers are packed in like sardines in a tin ~ no room at all for a single bloater.



We passed by regularly on our various ambulance duties, ferrying patients to and from Southmead Hospital, and often wider afield. 

Sometimes, if we had time and felt hungry, we stopped there for a bite to eat and I'll tell you now that the flavour of these 'chish and fips' was absolutely fabulous and second to none!

From across the road we could not see clearly whether the owner was the sole proprietor or not, but he was a nice chap called Raywho was a Fin and very friendly, but a bit 'stingy', so we nicknamed him Stingray. Yet he was quite reasonable to pensioners because for two portions he charged just six squid.

His assistant was Spike, who never showed his teeth in spite of his long snout.  Non of us doubted they would not dream of deliberately 'carping' anyone. We thought that neither would they ever, under any circumstance, contemplate telling anyone to sling their hooks or tell them 'you've had your chips, mate  . . . . cod off.'

If you looked closely inside you would have seen some people, mouths drooling, waiting patiently at the counter. Just round the corner inside, I once saw an elderly man 'perched' on a seat sound asleep. When I asked if there was a problem I was told, "Oh! that's Barrycuda'eel be ok ~  'e's fallen asleep after 'is dinner; 'e loves it 'ere ~ don't worry 'e's only a kipper and 'e's quite 'armless!".

There was a lot of activity taking 'plaice'; a lady doing the 'conger', a gambler throwing his 'dace' and a young lad wearing roller 'skates' . . .  oh! . . and a lady starting another 'roe' of knitting, and a man from the cobblers next door, where you get your boots 'soled and 'eeled'. A young girl kept us entertained by playing a 'tuna' for us on her mouth organ.  Her Koi rendition of 'Salmonchanted Evening' from 'Mouth Specific' upset one miserable old croaker who in a deep bass voice told her to stop it, so she promptly gave him a stickleback which firmly closed his loosejaw for good.

At The Cod Almighty there is no sign whatsoever of any overpowering 'stench' of fish, but just a mild mouth-watering whiff, which smelt a little bit funny, yet was guaranteed to excite one's salivary glands and stimulate the gizzard.

The haddock and mushy peas were great as well, as were the fish cakes, fish fingers, sausage rolls and pasties and snake and pigmy pies - all super and would make anyone 'bream' with delight.   This man certainly knew how to trawl for business and to catch any drifter and reel them in one by one. He was an expert 'hook, line and sinker' man.

But there was no sturgeon to be seen anywhere, and being a Royal fish, and thus attracting and belonging to royalty, Prince Charles, who lives nearby at Highgrove, in Tetbury, was highly conspicuous by his absence, much preferring Camilla to cook for him at home. However, she was in two minds, wondering, "Shall I give him baked beans on toast or 'shall-i-butter' him a nice slice of bread with some pilchards as a treat for him being a good boy.

After all this publicity I had afforded The Cod Almighty, with my post in 2009, I expected next time I passed by that I would notice a huge queue of people standing in a long line, eagerly awaiting their meals.  And sure enough they came in multitudes, just like at the famous seven loaves and five fishes event when there was not a 'dorsal' left ~ it was all 'finished'.

If you are viewing, Mr Owner, please remember not to be a stingy old shark and stop twiddling your barbels because I am angling for a free cod and chips for this plug, which should boost your trade enormously, after all these extra people you have netted, thanks to me. Just think, mate, you are no longer a little minnow or small fry ~ you are a big fish and you have a brill business. Customers are coming to you in shoals

When I saw him again I suggested he gave me a freebie as a thank you, but he bristled under the gills and he said rather curtly, "No 'ruddy' way you flathead and silly pollock . . . . who do you think I am, a longnosed sucker?"   . .  and he promptly told me to 'cod off' and that he was a dab hand at this business without me and he was not a 'flipping 'charity'? 

"Oh!", I said, 'floundering', "I thought you were a nice guppy but now I can see you are no Angelfish, in fact you are a Devil Ray and I shall not be extending my 'filletitations' to you again.  I am so sorry to have 'encroached' on your time, I am sure, "You are rapidly becoming a rotten mackerel, you stingy old flatfish. For goodness hake, aren't you even going to 'mullet' over? . . . . your nasty comments are very 'misplaiced'.  Do you always batter your customers like this and rub salt and vinegar into their wounds?   I am wrapping this up right now and I shall not return for another serving, so there!" 

And with that we said our goodbyes and I have not seen him since.


Before our 'daceagreement' I took home some cod and chips for my son and just look what he did with the ketchup - what a mess! . . . and I was amazed because he actually prefers brown sauce.


That's youth of today for you. 

But I did the same to mine last week, didn't I?  . . . lol



Many apologies for all these 'in-tench-ional' and 'orfeful' puns. However, it is essential to use them all in order to convey my full message. Incidentally I had a whale of a time doing this!

A 'ruffe and ready' pun is good for the sole and somehow I 'haddock-ray-ving' to do it, and the 'op-perch-tuna-ty' presented itself very nicely.  It's hardly brain 'sturgeon' stuff but these fish puns are easy to follow any day of the week barramundi, but if you cannot follow them at all you might consider all this a 'load of pollacks', or to be more polite, a load of 'codswallop'.  

I have omitted to comment on several varieties of fish I hardly dare mention, including hugetits, a very buoyant species found in the Mediterranean Sea, or to expand further on what could be said on pike, crappee, pouting and halibut. There is no 'porpoise' in being rude, so my lips are sealed.

My big problem now is that I shall be thinking of this after posting and no doubt other fish words and sayings will spring to mind and swim to the surface, which I would have liked included . . . . haha

_______________________


The link to David's post is still there but I am including the short story below because it is so funny.  I am sure David would not mind. He left his blog open for anyone wanting to read it:



Ringing Endorsement



Nearer, My Cod, To Thee



A businessman in the UK, who lost his cellphone on a beach, was amazed when it turned up - in the belly of a giant cod.  A week after he lost it, his girlfriend's cellphone rang and it was a fisherman saying he'd found the phone in a 25lb (11.5 kg) fish.  The handset was returned, allowed to dry out - and it still works.


Footnote: In cod we trust



Thank you David

________________


Cod knows what I am going to post next week !!! 
I shall be like a fish out of water . . haha







RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS CHALLENGE 2016


WEEK 3

A Funny thing happened at the Fish and Chip Shop

This week I have not been in a position to help anyone so I am recalling a fairly recent and rather amusing incident, when I attempted to help a 'down and out'.  

I was on my way home after working in my daughter's garden and I felt very hungry, just as I frequently do.

I decided to buy some fish and chips in a town which is about half way home. Also, I needed to buy some groceries from a supermarket, nearby.  

I had just bought my fish and chips when I noticed a young lady sitting outside the supermarket.  She was an obvious 'down and out', and probably homeless. Fortunately it was a nice day, so she was not cold.

I stopped and asked her if she was hungry and in broken English she replied that she was, so I gave her my fish and chips.

I returned to the fish and chip shop and asked for another portion. The lady serving looked at me rather strangely and remarked that I had just bought some and I replied that I liked them so much I was buying some more. She laughed and looked amazed, saying, "But you have not had time to eat the first lot!"

I joked that I was hungry and then I said, "Well, actually I gave them away to a 'down and out' girl just outside, so I am getting some more for myself.

She said, "Oh how kind, I shall charge you just half price!", and we both laughed.  She said, "What would you do if you saw another 'down and out' outside? Would you give them those too?"  

I said, "I would send them in here! ~ your turn!"  

She laughed and said, "I might not be as generous as you!" and we both laughed again.

On my way back to the car I saw the girl eating her fish and chips and she was alone.  I asked her if she was enjoying them, and she replied rather curtly, "There's no salt on them!"  . . . . lol

I said, "Well, the fish and chip shop is next door, go and ask them for some salt, and they might throw in some extra vinegar".

I thought . . . the ungrateful thing . . . but I smiled inwardly and thought it was all rather amusing.

When I got home I transferred my fish and chips onto a plate but boy, the lid flew off the ketchup and my fish got drenched and was swimming in a pool of ketchup! . . . . lol


No matter, it was delicious. I like ketchup.




Now doesn't that look appetising? . . lol


Now we are in the mood for fish and chips, please tune in for my next post in a few days when I recall a story from my ambulance days and a favourite Fish and Chip shop that my colleagues and I used to frequent regularly. 

Preview of coming attractions when I hope to get some new ambulance stories posted.


________________

I digressed ~ now back to topic.

This year the lovely Manu is hosting the RAK series, following our equally lovely Betsy who hosted during previous years.


We are always looking for additional stories to inspire others to try to make someone's day a little happier (or a lot if we can). 
So if you have any ideas and would like to participate in this very worthy cause then please contact Manu by clicking on the picture.



  There will be a full set of instructions explaining exactly what to do next.



Also, by clicking this link those interested in reading other participants' RAKs can do so.

Please join in if you can and help to spread the word about RAKs.






Friday, 12 February 2016

RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS CHALLENGE 2016


This year Manu is hosting the RAK Challenge following sterling work in previous years by the lovely Betsy at My Five Men (the greedy thing . . lol).

I am linking to Manu HERE where we can see other people participating.

The idea is to encourage spontaneous kindnesses and to make someone's day.

Well, my Grandson, Peter, made mine today and I do believe it was a genuine act of kindness on his part to his Grandpa. So this week the RAK was his to me.

We were having a bit of fun this morning playing hide and seek . . .



Now you see him . . . 



Now you don't . . . 

Later he spotted some dust in the bedroom and said, "Grandpa! . . clean, clean, hoover . . . now, get it, do it, me do it!"

I was so 'chuffed' to be motivated to do some cleaning by this little lad and we spent 3 hours thoroughly cleaning upstairs with a Spring Clean. He had a little feather duster and brush and was in his element helping Grandpa while I vacuumed.  

At two he is just beginning to string words together to convey his intentions and he said, "I come again and more, more!" . . . lol . . . so we shall certainly amuse ourselves with this activity while I look after him twice a week.

I am so grateful to him because he has inspired me to continue over the coming weekend so I can get the house 'spick and span' again. 

To be honest this is the first time I am really looking forward to doing it since my wife, Maria, died almost three years ago, when the stuffing was really knocked out of me.

So thank you Peter . . . you are a star.



We found his Daddy's remote controlled car which unfortunately no longer works but I have said I will buy him one. He proceeded to pretend to make an imaginary telephone call to his daddy to tell him the good news . . . 

As for me, this afternoon I donated my 106th pint of blood so, although this was not exactly a random or spontaneous activity, I am pleased to be able to help someone again in this way and will continue to do so 4 times a year.

Click on this picture link to see fellow participants' RAK activities.




  

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Rosa ~ almost 6 months


What more can I say other than she melts my heart.


She laughs and screeches with delight and we had a wonderful long conversation in "baby" yesterday.  My daughter was most touched by it.