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Ladies Who Lunch

A new experience for me today! I’ve been to a “Ladies” lunch held in a posh hotel in aid of the local Hospice.

As my normal attire is jeans, my first dilemma was to find something to wear. All of my skirts or dresses have been thrown out as they no longer fit, (going to the gym has it’s downside) so I bought some smart trousers and thought that would do. However, when I arrived it was clear that to the great and good ladies of the area this was an occasion for fancy dresses, tottering heels, beautifully coiffured hair, full makeup and plenty of bling. I was decidedly under-dressed!

Nothing I could do about it but hope that the lunch would be good.

Alas, it wasn’t the case! Overcooked salmon with three small new potatoes, and for some bizarre reason peas and mange tout! Peas & Peas? Dessert was supposed to be Eton Mess, but it was mostly cream; few strawberries, meringue that had disappeared and ice cream that had already melted!

Added to this the service was appalling, there were too few waiters to serve over a hundred people so one half of the tables had finished their course before the other half had been served which presumably contributed to the melted dessert.

The highlight of the occasion was an after lunch talk by Tricia Stewart, one of the original WI calendar girls from 12 years ago. She was a very good speaker with funny anecdotes that women of a certain age could easily relate to and it was interesting to find out that even after so many years later their initiative is still raising money for Leukaemia Research.

It is said that we should embrace new experiences! I’m glad that the event raised money for the hospice but now I’ve done the “Ladies who Lunch” thing I’m not looking to repeat this particular experience!

July 12, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | | 1 Comment

Fish & Chips

I haven’t had any fish & chips since I moved here nearly three years ago but yesterday I suddenly got an overwhelming desire to rectify the situation.

After a quick search on tinternet I set off with great anticipation. Saturday night is probably not the best time to buy fish & chips ‘cos when I arrived the place was heaving. The smell was as lovely as ever and the golden battered fish was all piled up in the hot boxes.

I got to the front of the queue eventually and asked for Haddock & Chips, only to be told they didn’t have any just the fish in the hot box. “What is it?” I asked and was told it was cod. I asked for that and then noticed that the board with the price list just said ‘FISH’!

I have to admit the fish was tasty but no way was it cod; no large white flakes and in fact it was as thin as plaice but not as expensive. So what was it?

I believe fish shops have been encouraged to stop selling cod because of the reduced stocks but surely they should be required to name the fish they are selling. Listing unidentified fish on the price list would seem to me to break all the rules of the food trading standards.

July 4, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | 2 Comments

Rant of the Week (so far)

Effing stupid surgery!

Just been to collect my prescription after having complied with the rules of putting in the request two days before you need it.

The receptionist shuffled through the box then said “What is your address?” Consulted the computer and asked “When did you put it in?” “Tuesday” I said. “Well, we haven’t received it. Do you need it today?”

I had to bite my tongue! “Yes”, I said but thought of course I bloody needed it today or I wouldn’t have asked for it and how can they not have ‘received’ it when I hand delivered it into their Prescription box.

“I’m sorry”, she said ” I don’t know what’s happened, can you call back later?”

She didn’t offer to investigate and get me one signed there and then just shrugged her shoulders and said come back later.

It’s already a pain that I have to get my repeat script every month instead of every two months as I did at my previous surgery but then to be told it’s not ready and to have to make another trip is ridiculous.

July 1, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | Leave a comment

The Election

In honour of the brave suffragettes who achieved emancipation for women, I’ve cast my vote in every general and local election since I was 21. This time I was so fed up with the major parties sniping at each other I was seriously considering giving it a miss.

I’ve had loads of bumf from the various party central offices but until yesterday I didn’t know who the local candidates were. I’d read that John Prescott’s son had stood as a prospective candidate but then heard he hadn’t won so I was pleased, yesterday, to get a leaflet from the winner, John Stockton, Labour candidate for Weaver Vale.

He listed a telephone number, a web site, e-mail address and amazingly he was on Twitter.

Great, I thought, someone who’s up with technology, I’ll be able to find out who he is and his ideas and plans for the local area. First I tried the website but Google couldn’t find it, then I put him on my Twitter list and sent him a message to this effect.

I received no response to my message so later in the day I went back and did another search on Google with the same result so I typed in the url and this time it worked, (btw Google still didn’t list his website this morning)

On a personal level, I found out he has been a local councillor, runs for charity and that’s about it! The rest of the information on the site was rehashed Labour policies and soundbites; nothing about who he really is what he wants to do locally for the constituency.

This morning I checked his Twitter feed and found he has tweeted three times (the first was March 28th) on the lines of ‘amazingly busy/long hard day visited etc etc  met lots of nice people etc etc’ What does this tell me about what he really thinks? Can I trust him to be honest and principled? Or, as it seems to me, he’ll be toeing the party line.

Candidates have access to the internet and social networking sites which gives them the opportunity to reach people on a personal level and put over their thoughts and ideas. Writing a bland website, (or rather having one written) and signing up to Twitter without any idea of how it should be used is just paying lip service to technology and personally doesn’t encourage me to vote for them.

That having been said, I’ve received nothing from the local Tory or Lib Dem candidates so my decision to vote or not is still up in the air!

April 15, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | , , | 1 Comment

New Glasses

I’ve had been aware for some time that I was finding it increasingly difficult to read the small font on food labels so five weeks ago I finally went to the opticians.

Having my eyes tested is second only to the dentist on my list of most hated activities, so I didn’t go for the appointment with any joy. I hate them blowing air into my eyes while telling me not to blink, then the flashing lights of the peripheral vision test is enough to put me into a panic; I’m always sure I’ve missed some! Then it’s the red and green lights and the optician asking ‘better or worse’ as she flips the lenses in front of your eyes and while I’m trying to decide she flips them back again.

Next I have to decide on which frames I’m going to wear for the next two years and not end up hating after two months; then I hold my breath as the optometrist adds up the final cost of lenses and frames. Finally the torture is over and I can escape.

Two weeks later I went back to pick up the new glasses. As I was driving home I was aware that they didn’t seem right and reverted to my old ones. I put the new ones on when I got home and as I knew that I’d had a big change in the prescription for both distance and near vision I persevered wearing them throughout the day.

The next morning, I put the new glasses on again and suddenly became aware of a black line moving across the vision in my right eye as I moved from near to distance vision; on went the old glasses but it was still there. Sometimes it was a sharp line, sometimes a grey blur. It stayed all day and was there again the next morning. Very scary!

After the weekend I went back to the shop and after making a fuss with the ‘jobsworth’ receptionist I was finally told I could be seen by the optician.

The optician was very thorough and understanding of my fears; apparently I’m not going blind but have PVD, (Posterior Vitreous Detachment) the colloquial name of which is ‘ floater’. She said I have a large floater and it was a coincidence that it appeared at the same time as I got my new glasses.

I understand that about 75% of people over 65 have PVD and can take up to 6 months to settle down if ever! So here I am with black lines moving across my eye willy-nilly as a constant reminder of the passing of the years.

April 1, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | , , | Leave a comment

A Momentous Day

I’ve just heard that today, 4th February 2010, is a momentous day! My 7yr 9mth old grand-daughter has walked to school on her own for the very first time.

I have to admit that when my daughter told me, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. I can’t explain it, instead of applauding Mods newly found independence, my mind raced through all the things that could go wrong. What if she got distracted and ran into the road? What if she was led astray by some undesirable person?

Too ridiculous! it’s not far to school, many parents walk the same way and there’s only one road to cross which has a light controlled crossing. She asked to go on her own and a couple of children in her class who live on the same street have been walking on their own for some time. I know my daughter had some misgivings but Mods is a very sensible little girl and was so pleased to be allowed to do it, she went skipping down the street with a big grin on her face.

As parents our job is to bring up children to develop their independence as they grow into adulthood but as each stage is reached it means you are no longer in control; you have to come to terms with not being able to protect them all the time and they will begin to have a life that you know nothing about.

So on reflection, I think my initial reaction was really sadness that she is growing up and is no longer a baby.  I didn’t experience this with my, now 17yr old, grandson since his primary school wasn’t within walking distance but last week had to come to terms with his rapidly approaching adulthood when he passed his driving test.

So parent or grandparent it makes no difference, the feeling of having to let go is the same.


February 4, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | , , | 2 Comments

Junk Mail

All of us get unsolicited mail and more so since the Royal Mail contracted to deliver it. Normally I just chuck it into the recycling pile without reading it but yesterday I received a really posh envelope, correctly addressed and with no outside adverts.

Intrigued, I opened the envelope to find it was junk mail from a private school, Queen Ethelburga’s, in York offering me free fees for one term, free uniform or free laptop. There was also a mini prospectus for the school and a CD I assume, since I haven’t listened to it, listing the many and varied reasons why I should send my kids there.

As my kids are 40 and 37, I somehow don’t think they would appreciate being sent away to school, even if I could afford the enormous fees but it made me wonder why on earth I’d been sent all this stuff.

I always assumed that mailing lists were used by organisations to target people who might use/buy their services/products so why am I on a mailing list used by a poncy private school. I have tried to think of stuff I’ve bought that might have propelled me onto the independent schools list but apart from buying books and toys from Amazon for my grandkids, I can’t think of anything.

How many people have bought children’s goods from Amazon? Thousands I guess, so if that’s the source of the list it’s going to cost Queen Ethelburga’s a pretty penny to send out this expensive package to them all.

January 17, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | | 2 Comments

The Big Freeze

Bloody fed up with this freeze! The ice problems of the last post, when valiant efforts by J to do the council’s work allowed me to get out of my cul-de-sac, pale into insignificance compared to what we’ve got now.

The snow came again on Sunday and this time we got the full  whack. The temperature hasn’t gone above zero and the road out from my house is covered in 6 inches of snow and ice so I haven’t been able to get out in the car and my normal activities have come to a full stop.

OK, so I haven’t been completely stuck in the house because I have to walk the dog twice a day but that in itself is a problem. My confidence was shattered in last year’s bad weather when I slipped and badly twisted my knee now each time I set off with the dog, I feel I’m taking my life in my hands (or my feet).

I go tottering out with my stick looking like I’m 106, just hoping the dog will do a poo quickly so I can totter home again. My son tells me it’s not slippy on the snow and it’s ‘all in my mind’!  For God’s sake, I know it’s all in my mind but telling me doesn’t help.

Now they say it could last another two weeks, I’ll be stir crazy by then if I haven’t broken a leg in the meantime!

January 7, 2010 Posted by | oldpeople | , | Leave a comment

Before Computers

I had one less stressor in my life before I had a computer, now my normal everyday stress is compounded by the mega stress generated by the computer. In fact the computer can generate a whole range of problems each guaranteed to cause maximum stress.

Switch it on and, on occasion, it will sit wondering whether to spring into life. This hanging around can also happen when trying to access a website, like it’s decided that, this time, it doesn’t want to go there. Each time while waiting for it to decide, I’m holding my breath hoping that the problem isn’t terminal.

Then there’s e-mail and the relentless arrival of messages telling me what bargains can be had if I just visit this or that website. I’ve tried the “to unsubscribe..click here” command but that’s just there to make you think you can actually do something about getting rid of them. Here’s a secret, they don’t really work!

Then there’s the doom laden e-mails, ‘There is a new virus. Beware all computers will be shut down. Forward this to as many people as possible’. Duh! The bad thing about these is that, although I know they are fake, it still makes me uneasy and more stressed.

Last night I had an e-mail from Twitter telling me my account had been compromised by some phishing attack and I should reset my password. Just click on the link it said. I did as instructed but all I got was an error message. I went back and tried a few more times with the same result. Finally, I got so fed up I forwarded the e-mail to J and went to bed.

This morning, J had sent an e-mail saying he had reset the password and I could get onto my Twitter web account, but by then my TweetDeck wasn’t working and although I reset the password on there it just kept telling me I wasn’t authorised.

Back to J again for some expertise; but Twitter was having fun, because, after a few attempts, it decided to ‘temporarily’ lock my account. So  bloody frustrating! “Chillax” it said and try again later. After I’d been ‘chillaxing’ for half an hour Twitter decided I’d had enough stress, relented, and J was able to finally sort it.

All of this messing around took the best part of an hour on and off during which time I was getting more and more fed up and wishing I’d never started the whole Twitter thing.  It seems to me that the more stuff I try to do on the computer the more stuff goes wrong and the more frustration, anger and stress I experience.

Was life easier when you read real newspapers and real letters, got proper bank statements and talked to real people on the telephone?

It was certainly slower and more insular; but, on reflection, I like being able to do my banking on-line, to read all the daily newspapers instead of just one, e-mails are less onerous to write than letters and, of course, I love tweeting,  I just wish my  computer was more person friendly so that when it plays up I can talk to it and ask it what the trouble is.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | oldpeople | , , | 1 Comment

Tomato Sitting

J and A went on holiday last Tuesday and left me in charge of their tomatoes. On the whole this was rather foolish, I felt, since everyone knows I don’t have green fingers, a fact supported by me managing to kill off their courgettes the last time they went away.

Apparently, the courgettes succumbed because I didn’t leave the greenhouse door open during the heatwave we had at that time. I was assured that they had every faith in me this time and all I had to do was water the plants and leave the greenhouse door open if it got hot.

So each morning I have gone round to the garden, watered the plants successfully apart from a mishap on the first day when I managed to water my trousers as well. The dilemma I’ve had was whether or not to leave the door open.

Alas, I have been singularly unsuccessful at gauging the weather despite checking on the BBC weather site each day. So I’ve left the door open when it’s been cold and closed it when it’s turned out hot, either way I’ve had to zoom back again to shut or open the door, each time expecting the plants to be on their last legs.

Thankfully J and A are back tomorrow so I took a picture this morning to prove that the plants are still alive today.


For someone who’s horticultural know how is zero, it’s been a big responsibility. I’ve been rewarded with some tomatoes which ripened during their absence and as you can see there will be some ready for their return tomorrow, assuming the little darlings don’t keel over during the night.

At the moment I’m happy but so relieved they had the sense not leave me in charge of the chickens as well since my knowledge of chicken rearing is even less than my knowledge of plants!

August 17, 2009 Posted by | oldpeople | 1 Comment