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Thursday, 25 December 2014


Hi Folks!

I have been away from BlogLand for a while but wanted to return tonight to wish you a very Happy Christmas.

Cheers to you and good health.  
I forget what that drink was but it tasted much better than it looks . . . lol  . . . either that or I was drunk . . 

I am blessed with a lovely family and I shall be visiting my daughter, Selina, and hubby, Matt, for Christmas Day.  He is doing the cooking ~ all three brothers are very good in the kitchen, taught by their mother, and the youngest, Richard, actually made the semi finals in a well known TV programme, "Professional Master Chef" last month.

On Boxing Day I shall be visiting my son, Jon, and his lady, Lisa and their son, baby Peter . . now 14 months.

Peter is a gift from God and most know I look after him 2 days a week:

He is watching with interest an animated Advent Calendar that a very kind bloggy friend gifted me . . x

He kept pointing at the computer screen and making an enthusiastic  "play more" noise.

I plan to return to BlogLand soon.

Enjoy your Christmas and don't eat too many mince pies . . . 

Friday, 31 October 2014


Who's this little chap coming to stay with his Grandpa?

Why it's baby Peter, who's come to play trick or treat . . . 

Actually he doesn't know any tricks yet but give him time !! 

"Guess what I am wearing, Grandpa!"

"I am a Happy Little Pumpkin, and my Mummy dressed me up in my brand new outfit !

. . . . . read me a story from my book, please Grandpa!"

"Here, take a closer look at my Pumpkin outfit!"

Well Peter was indeed a very happy little pumpkin all morning until his Mummy picked him up.  This afternoon he is meeting some other babies and apparently he is quite a little charmer.  He waves to other babies and talks to them . . . .  he is quite the little socialiser. 

Back to this morning, he played and pulled himself onto his feet and practised soft landings before he finally takes the plunge and starts walking.  Currently he propels himself around shuffle-bottoming although I expect it won't be long before he walks.  I doubt whether he will bother with crawling.  He is one year old, plus one week.

"Hold on Grandpa, I'm coming to stand up!"

"Heave! . . . just a bit further!"

"There . . . easy peasy!! 
Now I'll shuffle across to my high chair . . and pull myself up  again there."

"Now Grandpa show me that silly banana outfit you wear sometimes!"

"OK if you promise you won't eat me . .   I know you like bananas."

"Oh you are such a card, Grandpa!  No wonder you get such funny comments . . . "

My fears of being eaten might have been justified because for lunch he ate cheese on toast, a whole banana, a whole satsuma and half an apple . . . and he drank a beaker full of milk.

. . . and then he was most interested in sound and echo technology and experimented for a while making noises into this bottle . . . he thought it was so funny . . . and it was.

"Listen to this, Grandpa!"

"Listen to this tune . . . you hum it and I'll play it . . . . ok!"

Just look at those big blue eyes!
How can anyone refuse him anything?

As usual it was delightful day and  it was such a treat to have him, and he was so happy and well behaved . . . . good boy!


I've just remembered there is a rather peculiar nursery rhyme:

Peter, Peter,  pumpkin-eater
Had a wife and couldn't keep her.
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well.

Very strange how these nursery rhymes originate.

Saturday, 11 October 2014


It has been a while since I posted some quotations so without further ado let's see a few more:

Showman Phineas T. Barnum knew there were fortunes to be made in show business, since

"Every crowd has a silver lining."

Hollywood producer Sam Goldwin 

"Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined."


"What we want is a story that starts with an earthquake and works its way up to a climax."

Pianist and mordant Oscar Levant:

"Strip away the phoney tinsel of Hollywood and you find the real tinsel underneath."

Mae West in the 1930s, playing the bad girl:

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."


Girl: Goodness what beautiful diamonds you are wearing!
Mae West:  Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie!

Comedian Will Rogers:

"The movies are the only business where you can go out front and applaud yourself."

Errol Flynn, whose private life was expensively wild, confessed:

"My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income."

Mickey Rooney recognizes:

"I'm the only man who has a marriage licence made out 'To Whom It May Concern!'"

More next week

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


Following on from my first post, HERE, I am looking after my Grandson Peter for two days a week.

I am delighted to post some more pictures and to recall some highlights of his stays with me - and he is coming again tomorrow (Thursday) and again on Friday.

I have enjoyed every one of the six days he was with me.

And here is Peter himself, the 100% little Cutie Pie.

He arrives at 7.30 and from the moment he comes it is fun and games with learning, learning, learning, playing, playing, playing, sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, eating, eating, eating, and walking, walking, walking in his buggy.  

I really don't know who tries to imitate who the most.   Can you imagine me making loud gurgling noises replying to him in a busy supermarket - the looks I get sometimes.  It is sometimes so funny what women particularly say and what I reply . . . 

But I get a real buzz wheeling him around in his pushchair. 

The days commence with Peter switching on the radio and having a play with all his toys while I prepare his breakfast.

Here he is playing with his dad's old building tower which I fetched from the attic.  They did not stay on the high chair for long - he had a great time discovering Newton's Law of Gravity, as they crashed loudly onto the tiles below . . . 

Of course Linda and Betsy would post, "what is on the  menu today" - so I will tell you:

Breakfast:  2 Weetabix soaked in milk, followed by cheese cubes and a couple of peanut buttered thin slices of toast with the crusts cut off.

As I approached him with his Weetabix he started waving his little arms about furiously, which he always does, and he squealed loudly, literal translation being, "Get off your backside Grandpa and shovel it in - now !!!"

"Ok,ok,ok!  I'm coming!"

"Ready, Grandpa! I've got my bib on!"

"Well don't close your mouth until it is all in! - you could have had more if you had waited a little longer !!"

"That's better!"  - yum yum

"There, wash it all down with water and don't throw the beaker across the room this time!"

Ok time for playing while I have my breakfast and a coffee!

The more toys he has the better he likes it - he loves being surrounded by them . . . 

We stayed playing and talking for a while and I changed his nappy and made him squeal with delight when I pretended to eat his feet.  I have never seen a baby laugh so hard. Then I saw him rub his eyes and yawn so I picked him up and carried him to the rocking chair and sang some nursery rhymes to him.  They must have been incredibly boring because he fell asleep and we had a little cuddle.

I put him in his travel cot and he stayed there for over one hour asleep but woke bursting with energy and he presented me with another horrific nappy . . . . lol

After I changed him he decided to practise hauling himself up onto his feet but then shuffle bottoming across the floor, just like his Auntie Selina did.  He is not into crawling - "That's for babies," he said, "I'm going for it with walking and shuffle bottoming! That's much faster!"

Off with his jumper and let's get down to business.

What a technique! "Come on Peter, come on!"

Well he rest of the day went very well - I took him out for a walk into town to get one of his favourite treats - blueberries - he loves them.

Then back for lunch: thin slices of ham cut up and mixed vegetables which went down a treat - then a long play and some book reading:

Here he is playing Peek-a-Boo through a hole in his book and when I get closer and ask him where Grandpa's nosey is, he puts his hand through and bops me on the nose and laughs.

Inside the book there are various interesting shapes and colours and I am pretty certain he knows blue and red, for he always points to the right picture colour when I say blue or red - his Mum and Dad were rather flabbergasted. 

Then off for another walk - good exercise for Grandpa and into the park to feed the ducks - quack quack!

And I made his formula drink just when he returned home.  It did not take long for him to polish that off.

Then we heard a ring of the doorbell and is was Mummy calling to collect him.  This led to him playing a little game for us - he wanted to go to Lisa and when she took him he wanted to come back to me, then to her, then to me and he was laughing his head off.

More later . . . 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


It was a cold winter's day and overnight it had been snowing very hard and Bristol awoke under a thick blanket of snow.

Roads were deep in snow and driving was very difficult since the gritter lorries were caught completely unaware.  We knew it was going to be a very difficult day for our ambulance duties. I managed to drive to the station armed with a snow shovel and two 2 ft wide and 6 ft rolls of carpet so if we were to get stuck we could use the carpet to gain traction. I had used them before to good effect.

Mike and I were scheduled to drive an ambulance to Weston Super Mare General Hospital 25 miles away but collecting 6 patients situated in several small towns around our destination, which meant a 40 mile round trip to the renal dialysis unit.  These renal patients have to have this treatment three times a week to stay alive and to get them there was essential and we would do whatever it might take to do it.  The world of the renal patient cannot stop just for a bit of snow.  Normally I drove the journey myself but that day no-one went solo - an extra person was assigned to every job in case we ran into difficulties. 

We set off with me driving and we had loaded the carpet strips and shovel just in case.  The roads were very slippery but manageable.  However cars were sliding about all over the place and we hoped one would not crash into us because we did not want to be delayed because of the patients. 

Fortunately there was not an excessive number of vehicles on the road since a lot of people had stayed at home, wisely heeding warnings given by the met office over the local radio. Even so the roads were pretty congested. We managed to get onto the main Bristol road south and at first we made some headway.  Our progress was short-lived because as we rounded a bend we were alarmed to see an articulated lorry blocking the entire road in both directions - it must have just happened.  We stayed for a few minutes and could see the driver's efforts to reverse were futile.  There was no way round it so we had to backtrack all the way to Bristol.

Mike rang the police asking if they knew a way through but they said all routes were impassable.  I said to Mike. "Blow that! - I know a way!"

Clifton Suspension Bridge engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, opened 1864 

The snow conditions were much worse than this picture shows but for illustration purposes the road we wanted was a little further back to the left and across the river to the left.  It runs up the hill not too steeply and climbs 200 feet to the road we wanted.   I figured if we could make that hill we stood a good chance of getting round that lorry the long way.  

Fortunately there was nothing on the road and we did not meet anyone so I charged at the hill and was relieved when we maintained traction but skidding a little here and there. We could see the top of the hill but horror of horrors, a tree had come down and was three quarters blocking it so I had to go onto the wrong side of the road so we could maintain our speed. Fortunately nothing came the other way but by this time we were slipping all over the place but we just. and only just,  made it and from then on it was much easier.  We cut through and made our first pick up and managed to get the others one by one, with several adventures along the way.  I got Mike to ring the renal unit to say we were on our way and by the time we picked up the last patient we were only half an hour late, and forty minutes late at the unit, which was totally manageable for the nursing staff.

We got them all inside and were treated to a nice hot cup of tea and biscuits by our friends, the nurses who we knew well.

The return journey was much easier and when we got back to the station, control was very relieved to see us although we informed them of events from time to time during the day. Several of our ambulances had gone off the road and had to be towed back onto it but everyone was safe and most of the journeys were completed to plan . . . but not on time, which was entirely understandable.

Although our adrenalin was flowing pretty quickly I thoroughly enjoyed that day and felt a sense of achievement.

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.