Well my friends, my good intentions at the New Year have come to nought! I had hoped to write more posts this year, but time has not allowed. I am caring for my husband, and time is very limited. Apart from caring duties, this year I seem to have had a lot more administration tasks, on the phone constantly, usually to do with medical matters, and there have been many frustrations. Still, we have much to be thankful for, and I sincerely hope you are all staying safe and well with this terrible situation around the world.

As I look out at our back garden, which is rather overgrown but still bursting with spring life, and the

peony with raindrops
Peony on a rainy morning

sky is blue, the sun is shining, it’s hard to think of all the people suffering. It seems like a horror movie, and my heart goes out to all the families who have lost loved ones and others whose nearest and dearest are in hospital fighting for their lives. Who would have thought it, and after a year which started with floods in places and bush fires in Australia. Is there more to come, we wonder?

For some people who are isolated, it must be hard for them to keep their spirits up, especially with the unremitting news on all aspects of media, so I beg you to turn off the news sometimes and listen to music, read a good book, watch a comedy show or whatever you can to alleviate the gloom around the world. Here we’re still allowed out for some exercise once a day, which I use to take my dog Tarka for a walk. It’s fairly easy in our village to avoid other people, just by crossing the road, or going into a park nearby. For others, not so easy, but it’s important to keep exercising even if it’s indoors.


My thoughts are with you all. Keep smiling and sometime we will come out the other side of this.

Inventors Beware

New inventions can come with problems as well as advantages. Once unleashed into the world, they cannot be uninvented. If we had only known, for example, the results of plastic in the oceans and general environment, we would not have welcomed it so easily. Now we have to try to undo the damage it has done. It is very difficult not to use plastic, although many of us are now trying to do so wherever possible.

Likewise with many inventions; the recent problems at Gatwick Airport in the UK demonstrate how things can be used for good or for evil, sometimes accidentally, sometimes not. A drone in itself is not a bad thing, but people do not use things in a kind way necessarily. There will always be somebody who wants to spoil or damage people or the earth. It has been the same since time began.

We all know that the internet is another instance of something which is so useful, but also damaging to many people.

No doubt our ancestors didn’t know any more in advance than we know now . We just welcome a breakthrough in something new, but what a Pandora’s Box we have opened in so many ways.

Let us hope, as the year ends, that inventions are only used for good, and not to help terrorists and others in their selfish ways.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Just one reason to have your Eyes Tested



Of course, we all know that it’s wise to have an eye test regularly, but I found out recently how very important it is. I had some trouble with my left eye, nothing serious I thought, but had been back to the doctor and the optician as I had a symptom I felt was not right. It was only slight – a pain in my left eye, particularly when I closed my eyes. I almost ignored it, but on the last visit to the doctor, I was advised to return to the optician and ask the optometrist to measure the pressure in my eyes once more and check again all round the eye. This I did, and having told him the symptom he knew what to look for. He told me I may have narrow angle glaucoma, a serious condition. He immediately gave me a letter to take to the doctor, asking for an urgent referral to hospital. The doctor did his bit, and thought I would be sent for within a week! He was being optimistic. I’d already been told that a routine appointment wait is now up to a year, but didn’t know how long I’d need to wait for an urgent appointment. Within 2 days I received a letter, which stated that 2 of our nearest hospitals had waiting list just to be seen of over 100 days, and the nearest hospital was even worse and I needed to phone for an appointment.

This I did at the first opportunity, and was told the wait is between 15 and 20 weeks, by which time I could have lost my sight. At that point I decided my need was so great that I would pay for my treatment privately, although I could have some help with funding the initial appointment from a Mutual Society of which I am a member. Within 2 days I saw a consultant and on the same day had some laser treatment to try to prevent the loss of my sight. This will probably not be the end of it; due to my age I shall most likely need surgery on both eyes, similar to cataract surgery although I don’t have cataracts. If my sight can be saved I shall be so grateful. Without it, we will be in a difficult position at home. I am the only driver and carer for Mike, my husband, and getting him to hospital appointments, which are quite frequent will be difficult, but no doubt we shall overcome these problems.

I would urge everyone though to have regular check-ups and if you have any symptoms, however small, do not ignore them. It could change your life.

The photo this time is dear Tarka; I’ve warned her that if she’s not good, I’ll exchange her for a guide dog! Only joking of course. She’s such a wonderful friend and is looking good today as I took her to the grooming parlour for the complete works.


A Chance to Take some Photos

In recent times, I’ve had little opportunity to take the camera out, but at the end of May we managed to have a five-night cruise over to France and up the River Seine. MIst rising on River Seine2

The first morning, we awoke to this view. While it was a shame not to be able to see much, I felt that the view was quite atmospheric. Also we were in luck as the mist cleared quite soon in the morning.shrine to Joan of Arc2.jpg

The shrine is to the memory of St Joan of Arc in Rouen. Everywhere we looked there were memorials to her, from the shrine to a church and a museum. We also had a good look at the Cathedral in Rouen, which Monet loved to paint. He evidently painted it about 30 times.

The ship was moored for 2 nights at Rouen, before sailing back down to the coast to our other destination – Honfleur. This is a very pretty port, much loved by impressionist painters. Before we arrived there we enjoyed the views of the banks of the Seine from the ship.


It was soon back to reality, but we had enjoyed our break. For us it’s the only way we can travel now, transport directly from home to the port – Southampton – help for Mike to embark, and once settled in, he didn’t need to go ashore if his pain levels were too high. He needed to  rest for the second day in Rouen. We didn’t go ashore at all that day, so I managed a short swim in the swimming pool on board.

National Health Service in Britain

Even I find it hard to believe that it’s over 4 months since I wrote a blog post. Time certainly travels very quickly and my writing and photography have not been used much. I’ve managed to write a short article and have some others in the pipeline, but progress is slow. Too many other things I have to do.

There is much in the press at the moment about the NHS, as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. I can remember, just, the days before it came into being. In fact, I was a patient before it started, but have no idea how any consultations or treatment was paid for by my parents.

When Mike, my husband, and I visited Poole Hospital at the end of last year many of those memories came back to me. This was mainly because, in the hours we spent there, I had time to peruse photographs on the wall, telling of the early days in that hospital. How old-fashioned the nurses looked compared to how they are dressed now. There were photographs of the children’s ward in the early 1950s – obviously by this time run by the NHS. I studied them well in case I should find myself in one of them, but no. I was an out-patient from about 1948 onward, for the next 15 years, and a few times since. I was also an in-patient on at least two occasions, once for surgery and once for observation and tests. Strangely, I liked being there; the nurses were lovely and caring, and the doctors and other staff. I had my own make-believe uniform and stethoscope, and used to follow nurses around the ward.

One bad memory of my time in the hospital exists. When I was due to go for surgery, a young nurse gave me a cup of tea. I had no idea that I was ‘nil by mouth’ and drank it. When it was discovered, I needed my stomach pumped – not a pleasant experience. I just hope the poor nurse was not in too much trouble for an innocent mistake. The other thing which I didn’t enjoy was the smell of the rubber mask as I was being anaesthetised.

Later I returned to the hospital to work there, which I did for 7 years before moving to another part of the UK.

How the NHS has changed over the years. Their medical expertise means that more of us live longer, plus there are so many people in our country. Every aspect of the NHS is under pressure; let’s hope it can survive and thrive, and we should all do our bit to not exploit it in any way and not demand too much of it.

There are certain things which can trigger memories, even sometimes in dementia patients. Things such as aromas and melodies, but especially photographs. These days we often take photographs for creative reasons, but in those days, it was more snapshots of the time. Maybe we should all take more snapshots of our time here, for future generations to be able to see how things were in our days.


Tarka and the Daffodils

Sometimes our pets give us a real scare. This happened recently with Tarka.Tarka

I had a bunch of daffodils in a vase – one of the first signs of spring I hoped! daffodils wpWhen the daffodils were past their best, I threw them into a bag which I placed on our patio ready to take to the local tip when next we were that way.

While I was busy one Saturday preparing lunch, Mike informed me that Tarka had taken the daffodils out of the bag and was eating them. I knew that daffodil bulbs are poisonous to dogs, but I wasn’t sure about the flowers and stalks. Sure enough, within minutes Tarka was throwing up – 5 times in all, with froth making up the most part. I phoned the veterinary surgery, which was by this time closed for the weekend, but thankfully they provided an emergency number. I phoned this number and was advised that all they would do in these circumstances would be to make her sick, which she’d done herself. The vet advised me to watch over her to make sure she was okay. She stressed that it would have been far more serious if it had been the bulbs, but I knew it wasn’t. It really scared me though, and any further cut flowers are now kept firmly out of her reach. Strange that she is not at all interested in the daffodils growing in the garden as that would be a big problem. I was impressed that the vet phoned me back that evening to check that all was well.

Time to Pause for Thought

Fireside Kingston Lacy

As we move towards Christmas and the ‘Season of Goodwill’ I think it’s time to take stock of the world.

Social media has a lot to answer for. It’s a force for good or evil as so many things. What I find so hard to accept is the vitriol which pours out on some social media sites. Politicians are fair game to the people who want to comment, but they don’t know the politicians personally and are therefore in no position to hurl so much abuse at them.

What I would wish is that people could be kinder. That applies to us all – even a small act of kindness to a stranger could make the world a better place. There is far too much hatred, religious or otherwise and it is not necessary or desirable. A smile to a lonely person could even mean so much and costs us nothing.

Thankfully I’ve not come across any of this hatred on WordPress. Perhaps I’m just lucky there, but I do see it in the comments on Facebook. I don’t have a Twitter account any longer as I don’t have time to deal with any more social media. I find Facebook useful for keeping up with friends and relations scattered around the world. I would ask all those who use Facebook not to be so cruel if you have been guilty of this. Let’s all try to make the world a better place.

Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year.

Exploits from Tarka

With the advent of summer, bees buzzing around the garden and lots more insects doing what they do best, Tarka has decided that they are fair game. I’m doing my best to dissuade her from snapping at them, for her own good, and for theirs. After all, bees are suffering enough in this world of pesticides and other enemies. I’m really not sure how Tarka has reached this age without being stung so badly that she won’t do it again, but nothing seems to put her off.

Last month she had a really good haircut, and looked so gorgeous afterwards. I wasn’t sure about leaving her at the groomer’s for a lengthy time, but she absolutely loved being pampered. I’ve not had a dog who needed anything like this treatment before, and in general don’t like dogs to be too fussed over, but her fur was so long and it needed to be stripped out. I didn’t trust myself to do it, so left it to the experts. I was not disappointed.

Tarka looking gorgeous wp























Tarka’s favourite toy is a soft ‘donut’ which she carries everywhere and even sleeps with it in her bed. Here she is wearing it.Tarka with donut on head wp
























On the writing front, there is little progress, due to lack of time mainly. My caring duties mean that I have little time to myself, so although I have things in the pipeline, they are not making much headway. It can’t be helped; that’s life and I need to prioritise. Some of the work requires a fair bit of research, so I try to carry on with that in odd moments, and also write even just a sentence here and there.

Routine – Friend or Foe?

Some people believe that sticking to a routine stifles creativity. Maybe if everything is regimented it does. However, I think that when times are difficult, familiarity can be comforting. Things work better, leaving time for other thoughts. What do you think about it?

We all have to leave our comfort zones sometimes, but the everyday matters can be dealt with if we have a routine, so that they at least don’t worry us. It’s also good to leave your routines behind when you have a holiday or short break. Do something that you don’t normally do, and it gives you a lift.

Dogs and other animals thrive on routine. I know that my Tarka knows what time her food is due, when she should go for a walk, and anything out of the routine  can upset her until normality is restored.






On a different note, the blossom on our cherry tree has been glorious this year. A couple of years ago we feared that it was dying, but it’s now making up for it.

cherry blossom

Likewise the magnolia tree. These beautiful flowers really lift the spirits after the dullness of winter, letting us know that we are really into spring now.



Christmas season

Bill and Ellen's nativity scene

I make no apologies for posting this nativity scene again. The shops are full of brilliant lighting, tempting us in to spend money. The scenes are bright and cheerful, which we surely need at this time of the winter, when the weather is anything but bright. I’ve no objection to decorations, but where are the Nativity scenes? We should not forget why we celebrate this season.

A reason for not displaying Nativity scenes seems to be that we may offend somebody who is not a Christian. How can anyone be offended by being reminded how Christians want to live their lives? We’re not offended by the religious celebrations of other faiths,  and we should remember that this is a Christian nation basically. Of course these days there are many other religions groups within our land, and mainly we live in harmony, without offending each other. It would be such a shame if the young children of today grow up to think that Christmas is just about what Santa is going to bring them.

What we should be offended by, whatever our faith, or lack of faith, is the suffering going on around the world, places such as Aleppo in Syria, the Yemen, and many other places where people suffer.

The best present we could pass on to the young would be Peace in our world – a difficult thing to achieve, but we should all strive to pass on the message of Peace and harmony.

Just to show that I’m not a complete killjoy, I’ll pass on my wishes to you all for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with a photo to match.mincepiedisplay-wp