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Wednesday 23 April 2014


(Man working hard - please interrupt at once)

Jobs are beckoning in the garden and the remaining member of 'the heavy mob' will soon arise from his inactivity and from the ashes to tackle some much needed  renovations, screaming at him whenever he passes them by. With the warmer weather coming it will be a pleasure to venture outside again and do some destructive and creative work. I'm not sure which I prefer, destructive or creative, but I do like using that power kango breaker.  I will post some of these projects as they arise.  

Also I have a major project at my daughter's and son-in-law's house in Bath to share with his mother, also a recent widow, just three months after my loss which was equally tragic. We have a large hedge to demolish and some extensive gardening alterations which we can share. Perhaps we should clone ourselves into a small army - boy, don't we need them!

On Saturday 26 April a year will have passed since my darling wife, Maria, was taken from me. We had been married for 40 years.  During her illness and when she passed I felt as if  I had been hit with a sledge hammer, and still do sometimes, but the distressing flashbacks are becoming less frequent.  Quite frankly, I did not feel like doing anything right up until now, since my heart was not in gardening or extensive house cleaning or in anything, barring the absolute essentials of life. Gradually I am getting my life together and I hope things will become a little easier once the first anniversary has passed.  But life is very lonely.

Last year was very difficult and I dreaded being in the house by myself, but fortunately something told me to contact our local Dial-A-Ride service last July, just two months after Maria's death.  I had worked there four years ago for a while and I was astounded when the manager said the day before a paid driver had walked out and would I be interested in a six week contract.  I said, "Yes, when do you want me to start?".  He said, "Tomorrow, four days a week!".  It was as if Maria had been bossing the angels about because I had been prompted to approach Dial-A-Ride at exactly the right  moment.  

Further, my son secured a job without even having to try!  He had been looking for menial work for about three weeks, with no success and he was getting a bit depressed.  He wanted something to earn some money while he studied for his Open University Degree. Out of the blue, my next door neighbour, who runs a computer company, approached him and offered him more than a job, in fact a career!  He loves the work and it is entirely complimentary with his degree work.  He is doing very well there and they are all pleased with him. Strange - I wonder if Maria somehow had a hand in that?  Also, the other day I was looking for a new shower curtain and couldn't find one.  Something prompted me to open a cupboard door and when I opened it guess what fell out all by itself and landed on the floor? Yes, a new shower curtain! Isn't that amazing! I would not have been surprised if  her handwritten note was attached to it saying, "What took you so long? . . . . . and here is a list of things you need to do!"

Anyway, that Dial-A-Ride job lasted much longer than 6 weeks.  In fact they wanted me for 5 months and I loved it!  It got me out of the house and gave me a focus and you will imagine what fun I had with the passengers.  They miss me dreadfully. because regrettably, there is not sufficient resource available for me to continue there as a regular paid driver.  Two ladies cried!  Several complained I was leaving!  But I still drive for them as a volunteer every Friday and I always look forward to that. It was rather similar to my Ambulance days with the interaction of patients which was nice.  Always I loved making them laugh. I am looking around for something to keep me out of trouble for about 2 days a week.

In October I was blessed with the birth of my first grandchild, Peter, who is now six months old and doing very well. He started life at 7 lbs and now he is 17 lbs and growing fast.  Hasn't he got beautiful big blue eyes?  He is so alert, lively and inquisitive and likes giving big, sloppy wet kisses - Aww! dribble, dribble!  He had his first piano lesson the other day, walking up and down the keys! What a horrible noise.  I can see he is going to break a few hearts later, can you?

It is such a shame that Maria did not see him - she was so looking forward to the grands. Yet somehow I think she is smiling as she looks down from Heaven.

So, hopefully I can soon start to enjoy life again to the full, and give it a TEN out of TEN

 Until the next time!

Saturday 19 April 2014


I posted this on 2 April 2010 and felt inspired to re-post this year.  Regrettably, I should have done it yesterday but it is not too late!  The message is still relevant - it always will be, whatever day or hour it might be posted.  This is a message of victory over darkness, of good over evil, of joy over sadness, of hope over utter despair . . . . and the joy of Easter Sunday lives on for ever.

This superb drawing of Jesus hangs in my bedroom. It is Our Lord, beaten so cruelly by soldiers after experiencing several unjust trials and then mocked and ridiculed before finally giving his life for us at his crucifixion.

This drawing of 1941 originates from World War Two in Egypt. A Polish soldier drew it for my late dear wife's father, also a Polish soldier fighting for The Allies, and he brought it back with him safely to England through all the big battles, including Tobruk and El Alamein.  It has survived without blemish for 73 years.

So what does this picture depict? A fairy tale? - some may so.
I for one do not think so . . . . in fact I am certain, it is not so.

Earlier, in the Garden Of Gethsemane, when the tension of the situation was so great, he sweat great drops of blood from his forehead. In his humanity he knew the ordeals he would have to go through for the will of his father - not just the physical pain but also he knew he had to withstand the coming great spiritual battle.

Not only did he have so bear excrusiating physical pain on the cross but also he, the sinless sacrificial lamb without spot or blemish, would be burdened with the sins of the entire world; past, present and future. Not only this but he would also be subjected to the opposing total might of all the demonic forces of darkness, desperately trying to stop him, as they had strived to do throughout history.

In his divinity he had agreed long ago with the two other members of the Godhead that he would gladly do this for us to give us all a chance of Salvation.

However, the real almost unbearable pain for him was another spiritual one which many do not consider.

When he said, "My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?" people often wonder why he said, "My God" twice.

The answer is that at this dreaded hour when the sins of the world were put on his shoulders two members of the Godhead; God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and remember Jesus was the third member of the Trinity as God the Son, turned their backs on him for the first time from within eternity.  They had to do so because from that moment until his death he lost his absolute righteousness due to our sins and God the Father and God the Holy Spirit had to turn away from him. Jesus had never throughout all eternity been separated from them like this and it was almost too much to bear.  The pain and the spiritual warfare he could stand but this separation is what broke his heart.

At this point when Jesus was nearing the end of his battle and at the ninth hour, total darkness covered the whole world - everywhere!! God would not allow anyone to see his son when the sins of the whole world were on his shoulders on that cross - the time when he exchanged his righteousness for our sins.

This total darkness is a proven fact in secular history - there was indeed absolute darkness on the entire planet for three hours, an event which coincided with a switch on the cross between good and evil.

The darkness was universal - just as it will be just before he comes again at Second Advent. Then when he comes the whole universe will be filled with light and he really will be the light of the entire world - and we shall be with him.

No-one took his life from him - he gave it willingly as the ultimate sinless sacrifice. He could have come down from that cross any time he wanted and summoned legions of angels to help him but knew he had a job to do and chose to go through with it; for that is the reason he came into the world - for us!  Aren't we utterly blessed?

The frightened disciples did not know any of this - they were totally devastated and to them their world had come to an abrupt end until they came to know the real and full meaning of the Easter message.

When all his work was done and every single prophesy had been fulfilled Jesus chose to die and with a loud voice said, "It is finished".

A Roman soldier witnessing said, "Surely this man is the son of God". Why? - because he had seen countless men hanging on crosses in agony wanting to die but not able to so and lasting for days. Yet he recognised Jesus actually had the power to end his own life quickly which no man in the soldier's experience had been able to do until now - the others could not do so with both hands tied and in that position on the cross - utterly impossible, so they had to wait for days to die.

The robber, who chose to believe him, must have been given tremendous hope when he heard Jesus say to him with authority, "Today, you will be with me in paradise!"

Personally I am very grateful Jesus did this for us and I thank him for it more than words can say.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

NHS Blood and Transplant Awards Presentation Lunch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Needless to say this got a few laughs!

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

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

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

It makes one wonder why there is reluctance by most people to become donors.  Most I know hate needles and hate anything to do with blood and seem unpersuaded that it is quite painless, apart from a prick now and then, and it is not debilitating in the slightest  way. I am due to visit Dracular's Castle to donate my103rd unit early in May. Then only another 22 to go to the magic 125 target.  There is no upper age limit here in UK for regular donors but 65 is the limit for new donors. So I should be able to do it, if I eat all my greens and oranges!  Lots of iron - that's the secret!

I think the record in UK is currently 120 donations, so we shall see whether 'anno domino' kicks in to prevent it! 

Well the day was great and memorable

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

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

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

What blood group are you?

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 15 April 2014


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

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

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

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

Shame on you!! lol

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you enjoyed that!!

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

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

in fact use everything!!

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

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

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

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

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


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