Monday, January 28, 2013


London Eye

Heights. That is one of my big fears. This photo was taken from the Thames Clipper service when we left the London Marathon last year. About 10 years ago, I was persuaded to go on the London eye. That was when it was £7.80 (it's now £31.50) a ride and fairly new, a staff member travelled with us and I  had to sit down as we climbed higher and higher. The boats on the Thames below looked about 6 inches long. I asked the guy how we would get out if we got stuck up there as I eyed a trap door in the floor suspiciously. He told me I didn't want to know, but actually I did, I had to know, he told me and then I hoped we wouldn't get stuck. While all my friends oohed and ahhhed at the view of London from god knows what height, I sat on the bench in the middle, struggling off an impending panic attack. My legs felt like jelly and I was breathing rapidly, but as we reached the top and started the slow descent I began to relax and stood up to look out. Slowly slowly the ground came towards us and it was with a huge sigh of relief, I stepped off onto terra firma. I have never been on it since.

Fast forward a few years, and a conference at the BT Tower in Euston. The conference lasted all day, and was really quite interesting. Afterwards, 'a treat'. A buffet supper up in the revolving restaurant. Waiting for the lift was agony. As it came down the shaft to the ground floor, it was like a tube train coming into the station. The doors rattled and a loud whooshing noise came from under the doors. On the way up I had to grip my managers hand. At the top it took all my will to step out into the restaurant with it's floor to ceiling windows. It felt unnatural, I was standing in a revolving room that dangled at the top of a stick. Supper went untouched as I felt too sick to eat. I drank water, although, on reflexion, I shoud have drunk wine. I was very happy when the manager suggested we leave. Stepping into the lift, which, surprisingly, didn't flip your stomach, I was sure the brakes would fail and we would plunge to the ground.  We didn't.

Fast forward a year, to Jamaica. I was determined I was going to go parasailing. Everyday I asked the parasailing man a question. How high being the most important. He promised me that as I was so scared he would get them to winch me out half way. Finally, after a lot of goading, me and my friends sister went out on the parasailing boat. I had to go first or I would never have done it. I was harnessed in and winched out, below me was sea, it held no fear for me and it was so quiet up in the sky. They winched me out the full amount and the boat below looked 2 inches long!! I really loved it and when I landed back on the boat was very proud of myself for doing it. Sadly it didn't cure my fear of heights. I will walk across a high lock gate, but I don't like it.

My next challenge is the cable car across the Thames. My grandchildren want to go, so, so must I


I have all my holidays planned this year. A week on the Trent and Mersey in March courtesy of Aqua. Boating for my birthday seems to be a theme, then in August I am off to Wales for 2 weeks in August and back again there for a week in October.

The 2 week holiday in Wales is spent with my friend and her husband. He is a keen fishermen,  I go in my car so that Sue and I can go out and about. This will be the 3rd time we have stayed in Wyeside Barn. I really love it there. Last year we went to Rhaydar where they have a series of reservoirs, the scenery was fantastic and we were treated to a low level flight of the new Eurofighter, we also took a trip to Aberystwyth. Last year whilst there, we were watching a local program about tourists and I did have to laugh. An American tourist was raving about Wales and saying how 'Wales was the prettiest place in England' LOL

I usually go over the mountains to visit family too, as my Mum was born in a small mining villiage called Caerau, quite close to Maesteg. I still have an aunt and an uncle there and at least 30 cousins living in the area

I am just not inclined to go abroad anymore, it's not the money, because holidaying in Britain is not cheap, I could certainly get an all inclusive in the Carribean for the cost of the four weeks above have amounted to, but the cost is shared and I really think there are some gorgeous places to visit here. Besides, I am not a fan of all inclusive and that seems to be the way of things these days. Also, the last flight I 'endured' with Virgin really put me off of
A, Flying with Virgin
B. Flying long haul
C. Flying full stop!!

I am thinking of getting away for a few days on my own too. I love living with my Dad but I never get any 'me' time and I desperately need some. A nice short break somewhere quiet would be great.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cat Emergency

We have a cat, Sylvester. He was passed onto us by my niece, who had moved into a flat. That cat knows what he wants. 6am he mews outside the bedroom door, his cat version of 'Feed me!! Feed me now!' The last week or so he has been very subdued. I could see no visible marks, he wasn't limping or seemed to be in any discomfort, he was just really lethargic.

He hates using a litter tray. At times he will run up and down the passage making it very obvious that he needs the toilet and would rather be let out first than be fed. He is a very clean cat, so when I got up yesterday and saw him asleep in the litter tray I was somewhat alarmed. My Dad was already up and for Sylvester not  to have followed him downstairs for food was not the norm. I called him and he managed to get to his feet. He stepped out of the litter tray and stopped, I could see he had no energy, so I lifted him up and I could feel he was very hot. He managed a miniscule amount of food. I called the vet and he told me to bring him in.

Somehow he had dragged himself back up the stairs and was in the throes of using the dreaded litter tray. He started to hiss and snarl, so I got the travel box down, left the door to it open and came back downstairs to get some tough gardening gloves. When I returned to him, he had put himself in there.

We rushed him to the vet, we had been given half an hour to get him there or it would have to be a Monday appointment. The vet took a look, suddenly grabbed his neck and the next thing I knew, there was a lot of cat screaming and snarling and a lot of gunk all over the vets table. I was scared and really upset, because I thought all that nasty stuff had come from his bowel and thought he had had his chips for sure. The vet reassured us and told us that he had a nasty infected puss filled absess in the muscle of his back leg. Monday would have been too late as he was a very poorly cat. During the lancing, Sylvester had taken a nasty swipe at my Dads hand, and because my Dads skin is so thin, it opened up and started bleeding profusely. The vet treated him too.

Sylvester is on the mend, although he is not allowed out as the vet has left the wound open to drain. There is paper all over the house because he does love to lay on a newspaper. This morning, I went looking for him but he found me first, rubbing himself against my legs telling me 'Feed me!! Feed me now'

A recovering spoilt boy

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Case of the Missing Camera

I last used my camera in May 2012, then it went missing. I was particularly miffed as it contained an almost new 32gb SD card which I had purchased for a really good price. The camera itself, a Cannon, I wasn't too bothered about as dirt had got into the lens and for the price they wanted to charge me for cleaning it, I was better off buying a new one.

I searched every nook and cranny of the house, I also had a ruck sack missing so assumed that one was in the other. Then I searched every nook and cranny of my office. It had dissapeared without trace.

Along came Christmas. I had packed the Christmas tree after last Christmas  in 5 rubble sacks and stored it in a wardrobe. I took it out of the wardrobe, put it up and got on with Christmas. After Christmas, I went along to the cracking Westfield and found a lovely Panasonic Lumix Camera in the John Lewis sale. I took home my purchase, gave it a good once over, but lamented the loss of the old camera with the 32gb SD card. Dad said 'You'll find the old one now' But where?

New years day I dismantled the Christmas tree and packed it into a nice purpose built bag, dragged it up to the wardrobe, opened the door and there on the floor was my missing rucksack. Ah ha!! Yes the old camera was in it, but I know it wasn't in there when I took the tree out. It would have been under the Christmas tree which I had packed away in January 2012. I last used the camera in May 2012. I would have had to have taken the rucksack out if it had been stored on top of the tree. I swear it must have been the Christmas fairy. So Thank you Christmas Fairy, I no longer have to buy an expensive SD cards, plus I get my old pics back.

Some Pics from 2012


Last weekend, we had snow in London that settled. Kai and Sian came over and built Bob.
I stood as I was cooking dinner and watched from the kitchen window as they laboured away, it really left me smiling, because my grandchildren, along with their Mum and Dad live in a one bedroomed flat on the fifth floor. They don't go out to play much, like we used to as kids, because the playground downstairs is usually desserted and Christine feels that, although she can watch from the window, if anything untoward were to happen, she wouldn't be able to get down to them quick enough.
Usually, these two fight like cat and dog, but when they work together, it is a pleasure to see. They nearly always close the day, holding hands and are quite protective of one and other.                         

Bob is almost melted now, and it is ME who feels sad!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Father Bathbun

I often refer to my Dad on facebook, as Father Bathbun. I have no idea where the expression comes from, all I know is, that way back when I was a child (yesterday in my head, my body is a different story) when my Mum used to hear my Dad come in from work, she used to say 'Here comes Father Bathbun' so Father Bathbun it is, all my friends on facebook refer to him as Bathbun!

Bathbun will be 88 next week, and still gets about, albeit creakily. He seems to have sunk into a malais since my Mum died 4 years ago, but tries to keep going to the point of stubborness. His life revolves around Morrisons, the doctors, the hospital and cafe Mondo (where, he assures me, they do a fantastic spicy pizza!) In a lot of ways, I am luckier than a lot of other carers, in that he can get about, still has most of his marbles and eats anything I put in front of him.

Recently he has had to face, what to him, is an ordeal. Sorting out my Mums estate. My Mum wrote a do it yourself will and at the time of her death, I looked at it and it wasn't dated. No amount of me telling him about it would convince him it was invalid, so when he took it to a solicitor he was told again, rudely that it was worthless. A friends father died intestate and I sat down with her Mum helped her sort out the paperwork, and within 6 weeks everything was finalised. My dad decided to let the solicitor sort it out and then promptly left it. 3 years ago he got a reminder. He didn't want to face it, and although I understand why, it was frustrating as he was just avoiding the inevitable.

This week, the solicitor contacted my Dad again and I think he has turned that corner now where he accepts that avoidance will not bring my Mum back, he needs to sort stuff out and move on with life again. He is going to face it, I have offered to go with him, but it is something he wants to do alone. I hope when it is all done and dusted, he will buy himself a nice bottle of Pussers rum and toast her good health.

Father Bathbun