Posted on 1:00pm Friday 22nd May 2015
There are various eras in one's life and I cam to the end of one last week as I approached my 74th birthday feeling distinctly exhausted. I love working outside but the time has come to ease back the throttle.
Posted on 8:56am Friday 22nd May 2015
Columns a tad longer than usual this week so you might want an extra-large cuppa? I’ve sat for over an hour trying to find the right words to start; but there are no right words. Something happened that has changed my families life forever. I’m uncomfortable talking about it so publicly, but I’ve always been honest with you by sharing the good, the bad and uglies of daily life, I’d just never bargained on my brothers death being part of that honesty…….
I think selling at a car boot sale signifies a reluctance to accept you have collected absolute junk
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 15th May 2015
Car boot sales go by a different name in France, which means Empty Attic. This principle remains the same although even when you are asking half a euro for something, they still attempt to knock down the price.
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 8th May 2015
Some old timers try Sudoku or crossroads to keep their minds active. John and I, at 75 and soon to be 74 respectively, keep our brains active by a form of memory-tennis.
Posted on 8:23pm Monday 4th May 2015
I "wasted" £109 on a back-up flight back to the UK in case the air-traffic controllers walked out again. They didn't and so I tried to change the flight for a later date. That was a shock when I tackled the Ryanair website and found it far from helpful.
Posted on 8:11am Friday 1st May 2015
So what’s your idea of local? Pub? make mine a large one, don’t mind if I do, thank-you very much.? There was a time Local meant things were practically on your doorstep, but even a marathon runner would have trouble keeping up by todays standards……..
Posted on 12:50pm Friday 24th April 2015
Anyone who has had a dog, particularly for a number of years, will know the hole it leaves when you have to part with him. But do dog feel a similar loss?
Posted on 8:16am Friday 24th April 2015
Have you been enjoying the heat? We Brits never seem to be satisfied do we? It’s too hot, too cold, the heat gives us a headache & the cold plays havoc with our bladder? Talking of which, were you getting bladdered & slaying dragons yesterday in honour of St Georges Day?....Did you even remember or care?.......
Posted on 12:50pm Friday 17th April 2015
Do dogs have a similar outlook on the essentials of life as do humans? What do they do when we are out? What do they dream about and what causes when to semi-bark and whine in their sleep? As a dog owner you have theories but they cannot be any more than that.
Posted on 7:34am Friday 17th April 2015
Its been a week Of Super, Super NOT, Super Brilliant and Super Ouch!....oh and not forgetting Super Sunny. There’s nothing like exposing your bits in the prospect of some Vitamin D …….However there are those that shouldn’t expose the amount of bits that they do, puts me right off my lunch…..Milk of magnesia anyone?.......
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 10th April 2015
Why did we feel rested and relaxed after a two-week break in Spain? After all, we are retired, so where is the strain? However, our trip did not get off to the bets of starts.
Posted on 8:06am Friday 10th April 2015
If you’re sat comfy with your coffee and cornflakes I’ll begin?...although please try to crunch quietly. So, it’s been an eventful week, well, for someone with ME that is. Having uploaded my latest track TEARS to the BBC I had an email a few days later from producer Ollie Bayliss inviting me as music artist Mama Chill on to Nesta McGregors Sunday night show…
Posted on 9:00am Sunday 5th April 2015
Why did he go? Who caused the rift? Can Harry Styles and the rest continue without him? Will Perrie go through with the marriage? And what will Zayn do next?
Please NatWest, can I spend my own money? After all I had told you twice before that I intended to do so.
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 3rd April 2015
We know security is vital when dealing with banks but when, you inform them of your intentions to transfer a few thousand pounds in order to pay for a car, and tell two departments twice, you do not expect the transfer to be halted 24 hours later because of fears over fraud.
Posted on 8:19am Friday 3rd April 2015
Due to the pain & stiffness of my earth vehicle ie: body, it takes a while to get everything moving in the morning before I’m able to get out of bed, so while I lie there doing my best Frankenstein impression I often amuse myself with random life questions like, while people tuck into their chocolate eggs I wonder how many know Why Good Friday was called Good Friday & not Ruuuuubish Friday Or Mediocre Friday? ..........
Posted on 7:00am Sunday 29th March 2015
I had a call last week from a Mrs Jo Beale, mum to Grace, four, and Emma, ten, who has special needs
A weekend reminder that away from the frantic, everyday life, you can escape and relax in the Cotswolds
Posted on 1:50pm Friday 27th March 2015
We flew back to England for a friend's birthday celebration. She chose to enjoy a weekend in the Cotswolds, hired a seen-bedroom house and we chewed the cud, drank a lot of wine. We also walked across country for lunch and a few pints of real ale and sampled the leisurely life UK-style.
Posted on 8:28am Friday 27th March 2015
It’s Friday already, grab the chocolate digestives, and pull up a chair. There seems to be an enormous amount of doom and gloom around at the moment so with that in mind, I thought I would concentrate this weeks main feature on something light hearted that will hopefully raise a few smiles and lift spirits if only for a short while.....
Posted on 9:37am Wednesday 25th March 2015
This was a horrible attack, but there are those who are seeking to turn this into something else - into a sign football has sunk back into its violent old ways.
Please monsieur will you insure our car? Peut-etre was about as good as we got: just a casual almost reluctant maybe.
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 20th March 2015
French bureaucracy is unwieldy at best and if your put business their way, they love it if it straightforward. Any complication and really, they would rather not bother. It took 12 or more phone calls to insure a car and most of them involved chasing them up because they had not bothered to phone back.
Posted on 8:08am Friday 20th March 2015
Good Morning, grab your hard hat and I’ll begin. As some of you will know, when it comes to the council and their choice of contractors, competence is something that’s often missing. From past experience lack of training, lack of understanding English, lack of a brain or all three have resulted in floods, walls knocked down, damaged property to name but a few, so it will come as no surprise that the news they want to come & fit a new boiler is filling me with trepidation.........
Posted on 12:00pm Friday 13th March 2015
The vista looking across The Pond towards Monmouth House was one of the few things to savour from yesteryear. However, Town Hall planners, having spoilt it back in the early 70s, have gone a step further and at what cost. Soon they will achieve what is presumably the ultimate ideal: make Watford look anonymous.
Posted on 7:56am Friday 13th March 2015
So after last weeks flippant comment that I just had a simple cold…..karma waved it’s magic wand and turned it into flu , anyone would think I had shares in kitchen towel, it shouldn’t be possible for a nose to run THAT much. Unfortunately being the caring sharing daughter I am, my mother has also joined me in the world of flu-dom..... .
Posted on 9:00am Saturday 7th March 2015
If you drive a car, the chances are pretty much certain you've broken the law at some point
I love old photographs, particularly of south west Herts in days gone by but last week we unearthed a couple of personal gems
Posted on 11:30am Friday 6th March 2015
Our house was derelict for 40 years but a builder from Banbury bought it, stating he did not watch TV, read books or use a computer. Instead he just worked on another room, day and evening, converting the old shell into a modern house. Then we found photographs of the house in days gone by.
Posted on 7:52am Friday 6th March 2015
This week both me and my mother have been laid low with a cold…and while its absolutely awful because we’re coughing as though we’re auditioning for an anti-smoking advert and have legs as wobbly as jelly, it’s still just a cold. But have you noticed how due to the dramas of social media nobody seems to suffer colds anymore? It’s flu, pneumonia or bubonic plague........
Posted on 7:00pm Tuesday 3rd March 2015
I say privilege, because when the dead person was old and had a good life, such occasions are actually a time to celebrate their achievements and qualities.
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 27th February 2015
A local journalist left the West Herts Post and launched a concept that would catch on and become the bible of rock and pop. His name was Maurice Kinn; he purchased the new Musical Express and introduced this list called The Top Twenty.
Posted on 8:05am Friday 27th February 2015
Are we all gathered? Malted milk biscuits ready for dunking? And so I’ll begin…….. Way back when I was a child….yeah ok, way way waaaaaay back, charities appeared very different from what they do today, better or worse? I’ll leave that up to you. But from personal experience I find the hard sell “Gis ya money” a turn off. We can’t seem to switch on the telly without someone trying to daily guilt trip us with an advert. There seems to be an endless menagerie, child, donkey, puppy, all looking sadly up at the camera while quivering their bottom lip, Just £3 a month just £6 a month just….just….just
Posted on 7:00am Sunday 22nd February 2015
My 86-year old father has just spent several days in hospital, initially in Watford General, before being transferred to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage
Posted on 8:00am Saturday 21st February 2015
I was hosting friends from Lyons, reputed to be the culinary capital of France, and I found all my latent passive-aggression, not to say sheer bloody minded competitiveness, came to the fore, as I did my utmost not to be outdone by the kings of cuisine
Posted on 7:10am Friday 20th February 2015
During half-term week we entertained a family of five from Chorleywood’s twin town of Dardilly just outside Lyons, and it has been a wonderful way to get to visit places we didn’t know ourselves
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 20th February 2015
Do the kids of today get the same thrill when it is served on a plate, compared to back in those far-off days when you had to work hard to hear "The Devil's Music"
Posted on 8:14am Friday 20th February 2015
I don’t know about you but I have a love /loathe relationship with social media? It’s like a soap opera with all its riddles, twists, and attention seeking turns, and boy did it kick off yesterday with what a let-down the Eastenders conclusion was, did anyone else notice the similarities between Bobby and Damien from the Omen?. Social media is like the Jeremy Kyle show, and there’s us sat at our screens either the guests or addicted spectators……just one more look eh? ......
Posted on 6:30am Saturday 14th February 2015
It is half term holiday, which must mean a trip to the Harry Potter studios at Leavesden, pictured, which now include a recreation of Platform 9 ¾ and the original Hogwarts Express steam engine
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 13th February 2015
I was unaware that the restriction in the choice of names is pretty well worldwide although when you look at some of the American choices, perhaps that is just as well.
Posted on 8:20am Friday 13th February 2015
Turning into my road on the way back from the Osteopaths last week I froze at the police presence. As someone who suffers with Policeophobia (fear of clowns) I broke out in a sweat, there was even one on my doorstep. Thinking that maybe one of you sneaky readers had phoned them in a bid to help my mother break out from her under floorboard dwelling I approached cautiously.......
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 6th February 2015
The Nanny State is nothing new. The French have been limited in the number of first names they can choose, for many, many years and there are still limitations as some couples found out.
Posted on 8:08am Friday 6th February 2015
“Growing old is Compulsory, growing up is Optional” so said comedian Bob Monkhouse and I’m so glad to have grown up in the generation that I did. There was no benefit system, no washing machines or dish washers and owning a car was a luxury, and from the media to the street there was discipline and boundaries that gave daily life some order & some goodness. There were no weapons when it came to fighting, you just fought with your fists and the worst anyone walked away with was dented pride at a bleeding lip or the impending black eye, If someone went down the fight stopped til they were back on their feet, anyone that continued was seen as a coward and all respect was lost......
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 30th January 2015
Hiring a car is becoming more complicated. Many hire-car firms add extra fees when you pass 70 and, while I have found one that accepts me because I am under 75, they forgot to charge the extra when I presented myself to the desk at the airport.
Posted on 7:46am Friday 30th January 2015
ME? Talk about doing what it says on the can, I am literally runnin on empty at the moment, it feels like all the stuffing has been knocked out of me & I can’t think straight. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to produce the column this week or even if I wanted to. I thrive on humour & positivity not some sad jumbled ramble that it could turn out to be, but then life isn't always chocolate cheesecake, I've always been honest with readers in the past so it felt like a cop out not go ahead this week just because life has served me up another huge dollop of spotted dick.....
Posted on 9:00am Saturday 24th January 2015
There was no mistaking it; the words "sex" and "tape" were written in large red capitals all over it and naturally my immediate concern was how I was going to explain this to my teenage children and what would the postie think?
Back in the days when the White Men really did speak with forked tongues. Is it any different today?
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 23rd January 2015
After a month in the USA you become familiar with the differences but really those moments of pure Americana help to spice up the day. They are invariably trivial, but are worthwhile. And just to add to the ambience I asked my wife what was the connection between Lennox Lewis and Wyatt Earp, and perhaps even ultimately, Anthony Joshua?
Posted on 7:57am Friday 23rd January 2015
It’s nothing short of a miracle that I've arrived this Friday with all my bits intact. It’s all down to Cognitive problems causing memory loss, confusion, inability to concentrate & something that’s often referred to in M.E circles as brain fog or as I prefer to call it Marshmallow head, either way it means we need Ninja skills to get through the week unscathed......
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 16th January 2015
They say you should never go back but we have been thinking in terms of going back and visiting some old as well as new vistas in the USA. However, since having ruled out including Arizona as being a journey too far, we have been haunted by our happy memories of our previous visits there.