Joys Of Getting Older


I am not yet a septuagenarian but I am a sexagenarian. The latter sounds like fun but don’t worry folks, I’m not going to regale you with risque tales of life with my old man!

I’m not that bothered about my age, not while I still have all my faculties. Well, most of them. I have near enough lost the ability to remember anybody’s name or even my own after a few glasses of wine and I grunt like a constipated pig every time I get out of a chair.

Apart from that, I feel pretty well, mentally and physically. But a quick poll of my friends revealed a litany of conditions that appear in old age, a few of which I already have and the rest I am galloping towards.

One I have noticed myself is the realisation that the middle-aged person walking towards me is that young person I used to baby-sit. The young whippersnapper is now a grandparent. How on earth did that happen?



The first time I realised I wasn’t getting any younger was back in my 40s. I had always prided myself on my excellent eyesight. Then suddenly my arms were too short to read my book. But lots of young people wear glasses, so I wasn’t that bothered. These days, though, I have reading glasses all over the house because as soon as I’ve put down a pair, I’ve lost them, although most of the time they’re pushed up onto my head.

One friend told me she now dreads invitations to late night events. So do I. After midnight I turn into a grumpy old Cinderella with one eye on the clock and a deep desire to get out of my shoes and put my slippers on. But I’ve always been like that as I’m a lark rather than an owl. Except in my teens and 20s when I could party all night - and frequently did.

Another thing I will admit to is the constant harping back to “the good old days” when everyone had more commonsense and was more self-sufficient. I’m always getting told off by the younger generation for my politically incorrect comments.

A friend joked that he took an age to climb a ladder and when he got to the top invariably found it was propped against the wrong wall. I took that one with a pinch of salt. That’s never happened to me, but I rarely climb ladders, leaving all that kind of thing to the old man!



I was hoping my friends would put a positive spin on ageing - you know, like being more wise, becoming more patient and getting more respect. Yeah, right… they all said.

Their long list of what I have to look forward to once I slip into septuagenarianism, included your back going out more than you do, your ears becoming hairier while your head becomes balder (that was a man friend - I sincerely hope he wasn’t referring to women!)and you and your teeth spending the night in separate rooms.

And I was sooo happy to learn that one of things I have to look forward to is peeing when I laugh or sneeze. That should be fun.


*      *       *      *       *       *       *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you, written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Before you leave:

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you can see, I have far too much to say for myself.
  • Please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you and will reply and visit your blog, if you have one, if I can. 

Those Confusing Pixies

I AM feeling a bit pixilated. I don’t mean a photograph of me has broken out into fuzzy squares – although many people would consider that an improvement – but I have been touched by the pixies and am feeling somewhat confused and bemused – no change there then.

I suppose I ought, in the interests of accuracy, to point out the slightly different spellings – I am pixilated whereas my photograph would be pixelated. (I'm sorry, once a sub-editor, always a sub-editor.)

I'm not sure if my non-British friends know what pixies are. They are little sprites that live in Devon and Cornwall in the South West of England and they get up to all kinds of mischievous s activities.

I was brought up on stories about the Dartmoor pixies. I was told to be careful because pixies disguise themselves and try to lure children away from home. That was one way, I suppose, of stopping your child going off with a stranger. Of course it’s a “fact” that pixies love singing and dancing and ride about on Dartmoor ponies.

They are often helpful but sometimes mischievous, and can confuse you in the blink of an eye.  If you don’t know whether you are coming or going, if you start feeling dizzy and strange and feel compelled to wander about aimlessly, you could well have been touched by the pixies.  But fear not, the antidote to being pixie-led is to turn your coat inside-out. That’ll do it.

The better half often claims to be pixie-led, usually when he’s late home from the pub. If only he remembered to turn his coat inside-out.

*       *       *       *      *       *       *       *

If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you, written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.



            

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Remedy For All the Ills of the World






I know there is no cure as yet for this coronavirus thingy that is sweeping the world but I'm sure if my parents were alive they would have all manner of remedies to keep the family safe. None of them would have worked...but they would have given it their best shot!

When I was growing up this hardy pair basically had three treatments for all illnesses and complaints, which I wrote about here

To give you an example of their tender ministrations let me tell you about the time when at the age of  seven I succumbed to a bad cold. My parents felt my hot forehead, crushed up an aspirin in a spoonful of jam and sent me to bed. The next morning it was off to school as normal as nothing was allowed to keep us away apart from being in a coma on life support or possibly, depending on the severity, having multiple fractures.

I was still suffering by the time I returned home from school. My father again felt my fevered brow, shook his head and decided there was nothing for it but to give me his “patent cure-all”. Mother tried to persuade him it wasn’t a good idea but he was determined.

So out came the whisky bottle. To a generous shot of best Johnny Walker was added boiling water and a spoonful of sugar. I was ordered to glug it down. It was not unpleasant and it certainly helped me get to sleep. But…in the middle of the night I was violently sick. Now, in addition to having a bad cold I was projectile vomiting and my mother was shouting at my father, “I told you not to give her whisky!”

By morning I was still suffering so I had a rare day off school. The following day the hand-on–forehead test showed I was better so it was off to school with strict instructions to say nothing to my teacher about the Johnny Walker. 

But if giving whisky to a child is ill-advised and these days would be grounds for calling in social services, it’s not half as bad as some traditional Devonshire remedies I read about. 

Here's how to cure whooping cough. Bring a donkey to the door of your house and thrust a slice of new bread into its mouth. Then pass the sick child three times over and under the animal’s body. Cured. 

For a sore throat  get someone to read you Psalm 8 seven times for three mornings in succession. With all that reading your helper will no doubt develop a sore throat but it’s OK, yours will be fine.

But I think this is my favourite remedy:

To Cure Zweemy-Headedness - wet the head with plenty of old rum; the back and face with sour wine; wear flannel next to the skin, and carry a packet of salt in the left-hand pocket.

Mercifully I don’t suffer from zweemy-headedness all that often but I wish I’d known about it the morning after I’d drunk my father’s patent cure-all medicine.

*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you, written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Locked Down





We here in the UK are on "lockdown" at the moment, which means we can't go out except for essential tasks like shopping for basic necessities, a medical need and one form of exercise a day like walking, running or cycling. Everyone has been told to work from home if at all possible. Only people in essential occupations are allowed to go to work. Pubs, clubs, gyms etc have all closed.

As a consequence many people are stuck at home with kids and partners. These people they love but suddenly feel like throttling on a regular basis! 

The better half and I are muddling along quite happily. He's got a workshop so works there most days all on his own. But I get the impression from some of my friends that all is not well in paradise!  

Here's a video that is very British and is from 2010 so some of the issues are a bit obscure - but I think it's still relevant for everyone from all countries whose partner is driving them mad at the moment! For my non-British readers, Pam Ayres writes humorous poems and is something of a national treasure in the UK.



To all my readers, stay safe and stay strong. If you are ill, please get well soon. We will get through this.

*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            


Before you leave:

You can follow me on: FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. As you can see, I have far too much to say for myself.
  • Please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you and will reply and visit your blog, if you have one, if I can. 
  • You really don't want to miss my next post. It could be my best one ever (or not... who knows)! Enter your email address below and FeedBurner will tell you every time there's an update.


Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner







Life On The Ocean Wave




(This is updated, adapted and abridged from my regular column in Devon Life magazine)


Before this coronavirus thingy frightened the world half to death, the better half and I were turning our thoughts to holidays in sunny climes. Now our lives are to a certain extent on hold before the virus burns itself out and we can all get back to normal - but there's no harm in dreaming.

We don’t get abroad that often because of the ties of work but there he was enthusiastically reading out the details of a cruise advertised in the Sunday papers.

This trip went half way round the world and lasted over three months. The best cabins were a snip at around £50,000 ($60,000) per person. The word "cabin" is a bit misleading. It was in fact a 700sq ft suite and included, among a host of other facilities, a private veranda, a fully-stocked bar (ah, now I see why he was so interested), heated bathroom floor, personalised stationery and a butler and concierge on hand.

To be fair, if you were one of the cruising plebs you could get an inside cabin, a snip at about £15,000 ($18,000) per person. As the better half works full time and is self-employed I'm not sure how he thought he would be able to take three months off for this life on the ocean wave. And I refrained from raining on his parade, currently taking place in la-la land, to point out that we had slightly less than £60,000 to spend on a holiday, Slightly? I mean considerably, take two noughts off and you would be nearer the mark.




 In any case I'm not sure I'm cut out for the high life. I showed little interest as he read out all the amenities on board this deluxe liner - 10 bars, casino, two theatres, restaurants, swimming pool, spa, nightly top class entertainment. Library.

 My ears pricked up. "A library? How brilliant!"

 "You sad person," the man said witheringly. "You may as well buy a tent and spend three months camping in Exeter Library." Sounds like heaven to me.

 Maybe I am a sad person. I'm sure a high falutin' cruise would be just dandy. I have friends and family who have been on cruises and they have all loved the experience.  Had I several thousand to spare, I might consider it. But, if truth were told, I don't think I could get that excited about being stuck on a floating hotel, no matter how plush, although I'd love the opportunity to be proved wrong.

 I'm not sure what I expect of a posh cruise, my ideas of life on the high seas having been gleaned solely from films like Titanic, the Poseidon Adventure, Doctor at Sea and Carry On Cruising. I half expect to hit a iceberg upside down while shouting, "Oooo, matron!"

 I imagine some nubile young lovely's bra pinging off as she plays quoits on deck while a Leslie Phillips-alike says: "I say, ding, dong ..." in a suggestive voice and I, with my rug tucked firmly around my legs, sit in a deckchair reading War and Peace which I have borrowed from the library, tut-tutting at the antics of the younger generation.




 I imagine dinner at the captain's table, dressed up to the nines, kicking the better half under the table as he slurps his soup and saying things like, "Of course, at home we dine off Royal Doulton china every day and outside we have room for a pony."

Afterwards I expect to be herded with cattle prods to the ship's cabaret to listen to a balding man on an organ singing My Way very badly while a group of former members of Hot Gossip twirl and bedazzle us with their glittery costumes, sequins flying off at every angle.

 In steerage will be the "common people" who are all living it up doing Irish jigs and drinking copious amounts of whisky while we posh people are treated to a lecture on The Danger of Streptococci In Pea Soup by James Robertson Justice.

 I fear having to make a stampede for insufficient lifeboats while a man with a gun shouts, "Women and children first!" At least I know my better half wouldn't slip into my best frock and high heels in an attempt to jump the queue - not unless he was already in them..... (that was a joke, by the way. Cerise is just not his colour).

No, I'm not really bothered about a posh cruise.

 Not unless there's a library.

*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            


Before you leave:

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you can see, I have far too much to say for myself.
  • Please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you and will reply and visit your blog, if you have one, if I can. 
  • You really don't want to miss my next post. It could be my best one ever (or not... who knows)! Enter your email address below and FeedBurner will tell you every time there's an update.


Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner







I'm Surveying The Situation



I think I must be caught up in some strange "cookie" world. I don't mean those rather nice sweet things we Brits call biscuits but those nefarious internet things that ensure I keep seeing adverts for weight loss products and wrinkle creams. I can cope with those by convincing myself they must have got me muddled up with someone else much older and fatter. Yes, that would be it...

But I also get links to lots of surveys. I'm not sure why. Maybe if I ignored them they wouldn't keep appearing but I can't resist seeing what piece of daft research has been occupying the best brains in society.

Ninety-nine per cent of them tell you something you already knew or something so obscure that you pray to get the five minutes of life back that you wasted on reading them. This week the ones that have been appearing have been mind-blowingly inconsequential.

First, there was the astonishing news that rock stars, on average, die younger than, say, chartered surveyors. You don't say.

Then I had one that told me that people tend to put on weight while on holiday. Really? And there was me under the impression that copious amounts of sangria or tequila slammers washing down five course dinners after a day spark out on the beach was slimming.

Then there was one that has discovered that if you feed kids crap, they'll feel like shit. Shovel vast quantities of additive-filled sugary or salty snacks into their ever-open little gobs, and they are going to behave badly.Well, I'll go the foot of our stairs. There's a surprise.

What I want to know is how much someone was paid to find out these blindingly obvious facts. They could have saved their money and come and asked me.

I'm going to write to Oxford University and suggest they set up a Stating The Bleeding Obvious research chair for me. I can envisage my day's work. Start at 9am with a brainstorming session with three comatose students.

"Well, guys and gals, what shall we research this week?"

"Duh, dunno."

"Thank you for that input, Wayne. Anyone else?"

"How 'bout finding out wevah if you drive blindfolded, right, you have, right, y'know, more accidents or sumfink?"

"Good idea, Chardonnay, but Cambridge University has already done that one."

Alfaromeo wipes the sleep from his eyes and pipes up: "Hey, I have a wizard idea. Let's find out, OK?, if you lie in the sun in Barbados, OK?, you get a tan quicker than if you, like, lie in the sun in Alaska in the winter. Yah?"

"Brilliant, Alf. You and I can do our research in Barbados for three months and Wayne and Chardonnay can hop over to Alaska."

Now that's sorted, I must go out and buy a new swimming cozzie in "large". I've heard you can put on weight while you're on holiday.

*      *      *      *      *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            

Before you leave:

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you can see, I have far too much to say for myself.
  • Please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you and will reply and visit your blog, if you have one, if I can. 
  • You really don't want to miss my next post. It could be my best one ever (or not... who knows)! Enter your email address below and FeedBurner will tell you every time there's an update.

Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner




Valentine's Day Commandments



[This is a republished post from some years ago now. Sadly, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. 😂😂😂]

THIS evening my friends and I talked about Valentine's Day and how unromantic most of our "better" halves were. So here are my 10 commandments for my very own dearly beloved.

1. Thou shalt worship no other woman except me, even if she is 18 with the body of an athlete and her father owns a brewery.

2. Thou shalt not take my name in vain and will lie through your teeth in the pub to give the impression I am a softly-spoken goddess with the milk of human kindness running through my veins.

3. Thou shalt remember it's Valentine's Day and keep it holy with a multitude of sacrifices including chocolates, flowers, champagne and expensive jewellery.

4. Thou shalt honour my family and ignore the fact that half of them are barking mad.

5. Thou shalt remember the Sabbath and take me out to Sunday lunch so that I do not have to have to do unspeakable things to you with a roast parsnip.

6. Thou shalt not commit adultery unless thou desirest to spend the rest of your life talking in a high voice and wearing women's clothes.

7. Thou shalt not murder multitude pints of beer on a Saturday night and then come home and try to convince me you are sex on legs.

8. Thou shalt not steal my chocolate unless thou desirest to spend the rest of your life without hands.

9.Thou shalt not covet our neighbour's ass, even if it is half the size of mine and perched on top of endless legs

10. Thou shalt realise that even if I change my mind from one second to the next, I am always right and you are always wrong.

Before you leave:

You can follow me on: FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. As you can see, I have far too much to say for myself.

Please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you and will reply and visit your blog, if you have one, if I can.
  • You really don't want to miss my next post. It could be my best one ever (or not... who knows)! Enter your email address top right and FeedBurner will tell you every time there's an update.


Amazon's best kept secret

  

Food Glorious Food



Something unrecognisable in aspic

My friend and I were reminiscing about eating out when we were kids. Many moons ago when I was a child, the height of sophistication was a pub meal of chicken or scampi in a basket followed by rum baba. Does anyone these days serve anything in a basket? I've eaten food on slates and wooden slabs but I am no longer served anything in a basket. 

Later every meal seemed to consist of prawn cocktail, rump steak and apple pie. Actually, I still love all those things!

The men downed beer, stout or whisky and the women drank port and lemon, Babycham or schooners of sherry. We kids had bottles of pop with straws.  Few people drank wine then but by the end of the 1960s we were feeling very up-market, quaffing our Blue Nun, Chianti and Mateus Rosé in its distinctively-shaped bottle. I lost count of the number of parties I went to in the early 70s with candles stuck in the top of Mateus Rosé bottles.


The ubiquitous prawn cocktail

If we were taken to the big city of Exeter (big to us, smallish in anyone else's eyes)  for a shopping trip, we visited a restaurant called Watty's. The waitresses were all impeccably dressed in black with white aprons and hats and there was strange cutlery like fish knives and soup spoons. It was the first place I ever saw, to my complete astonishment, chefs wearing those tall white hats called toques.  I remember the shock as if it were yesterday. We always had whatever the roast dinner of the day was with thick slices of meat and even thicker gravy – hardly the “jus” of modern chefs.

Much later we visited a Chinese restaurant. Just the once because my father was appalled that they had the temerity to put some kind of spicy sauce on his pork chop. SPICY SAUCE! Everyone knew you only had pork chop with chips and peas and maybe a very plain gravy if Mum was pushing the boat out. 


Mateus rosé bottles used as candleholders

In the 1970s, when we were feeling posh, we visited a Berni Inn where the meal was invariably rump steak with salad and chips or jacket potato, followed by cheese, ice cream or apple pie. In more upmarket restaurants chefs overdosed on aspic or set fire to the food.

Takeaways soon became a thing. There is now an endless variety of takeaway food from a Thai curry to a Turkish kebab...we never wavered from fish and chips. 

Then in the 1980s there was nouvelle cuisine with its big plates and tiny portions, not exactly to the liking of our farming family. When the waiter removed the huge cloche covering the food, we expected to see a big slab of meat and oodles of sauce, not a few shreds and a smear. We looked around in vain for the rest of the food and ate cheese on toast when we got home.

All this talk of food is making me feel hungry so I'll finish now and go to the kitchen to make myself a nice prawn cocktail. I'm feeling nostalgic.


Amazon's Best Kept Secret - Thousands of discounted items





Before you leave:

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you can see, I have far too much to say for myself.
  • Please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you and will reply and visit your blog, if you have one, if I can. 
  • You really don't want to miss my next post. It could be my best one ever (or not... who knows)! Enter your email address below and FeedBurner will tell you every time there's an update.


Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner







Doctor, Doctor




"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming: "Woo-hoo, what a ride!"  (Anon)

I AGREE with the above so I when it comes to my health I'm taking the advice of a Chinese internet doctor (let the word "internet" tip you off about the validity of this advice…but oh how I wish it was true)!

On exercise:  Your heart only good for so many beats, and that is it... Don't waste on exercise. Everything wear out eventually. Speeding up heart not make you live longer; it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster.  Want to live longer?  Take nap.

On alcohol:  There is no need to reduce alcohol consumption. Wine made from fruit.  Brandy is distilled wine, that mean they take water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way. Beer also made of grain.  Bottom up!

On fried food:  Food are fried these day in vegetable oil.  In fact, they permeated by it.  How could getting more vegetable be bad for you?!?

On sit-ups: When you exercise muscle, it get bigger.  You should only be doing sit-up if you want bigger stomach.

On chocolate:  Are you crazy?!?  HEL-LO-O!!  Cocoa bean!  Another vegetable!  It best feel-good food around!

On swimming:  If swimming good for your figure, explain whale to me..

Getting in shape: Hey!  'Round' is shape!

That sounds like a diet and exercise regime I can cope with!

Before you leave:

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you can see, I have far too much to say for myself.
  • Please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you and will reply and visit your blog, if you have one, if I can. 
  • You really don't want to miss my next post. It could be my best one ever (or not... who knows)! Enter your email address below and FeedBurner will tell you every time there's an update.


Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner


Amazon's Best Kept Secret

There, They're, Their





I spent most of my working life as a newspaper sub-editor so people think I'm a grammar and spelling Nazi, but I'm not. I couldn't care less if you don't know the difference between your and you're or its and it's - unless it's (not its) your (not you're) job to know.

My partner is a cabinet-maker. He's not brilliant at spelling but then, I couldn't knock up a beautiful Welsh dresser if you gave me all the state-of-the-art tools in the world and a year to finish it. Each to his own.

However… if you're (not your) a person who makes their (not there) living with the written word then you should be able to spell the damn word. It's a part of the skill-set. I don't expect a brain surgeon to tell me they are  darn good at their job, well, apart from the slight matter of being an alcoholic with the shakes.

I don't want my bankers to be innumerate, my roofer to be afraid of heights or my gardener to be allergic to plants.




This principle doesn't seem to hold true in the world of the media. I can forgive the odd error - it might just be a typo and we all make mistakes when we're rushed or tired. But some of the media is littered with ungrammatical, badly spelled articles and postings. Even the Daily Mail website was wittering on about Jada Pinkett Smith getting a "desert" thrown in her face on a TV show. Which desert would that be; the Sahara, the Gobi, the Kalahari?




So what has brought on this rant? Two things. There is, as I write, someone on the Linkedin website who is advertising their services as an EDITER. I go to the foot of our stairs. Then I read that The Apostrophe Protection Society had been shut down because, said its chairman “ignorance and laziness” had won.



Before you leave:

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you can see, I have far too much to say for myself.
  • Please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you and will reply and visit your blog, if you have one, if I can. 
  • You really don't want to miss my next post. It could be my best one ever (or not... who knows)! Enter your email address below and FeedBurner will tell you every time there's an update.

Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner





Reduce, Reuse, Recycle



Who remembers August 2007? That was the month the big recession began, caused by the banking crisis. It was a worrying time. Lots of people were being made redundant and I feared for my job. The better half, who runs his own firm, was, rather nervously, telling this joke:  “How do you start a small business?” The reply,  “Buy a big one. And wait.”

I spent days with my calculator, number-crunching, to see if I could manage if I were made redundant. I worked out that if only I could live a frugal life and the dearly beloved would shove a few quid into my piggy bank every week, I could just about keep my head above water. Unfortunately, he was rather relying on my pension to keep him in his old age. I knew I should have married a rich man.

In the event, I kept my job. So, despite my dreams of living the frugal life at home tending my vegetable plot in my patchwork skirt, I was still on the work treadmill for the next few years. Even now, although officially retired, I still do a lot of paid writing work. And that patchwork skirt is still in the concept stage and on not on my body, which if you could see my body you would realise was a blessing.

During all that number-crunching, I was forced to confront the fact that I was a wasteful individual. Our house-keeping bill for two people (and one cat) was huge. I was a dreadful shopper, a sucker for a bargain or a buy-one-get-one-free offer (BOGOF). This sounds like a saving but in reality I bought too much of something I didn’t particularly want in the first place and either ended up giving it away or throwing it away.

Since then I have rather reformed my spending habits and have tried to embrace the "reuse, reduce, recycle" philosophy.

Even so, I am never going to produce a seven-course banquet for 12 with last night’s left-overs and a tin of peas. I could spend £50 a head and it would still taste like an average meal from a back street cafe. And I’m just not the type of person who is any good at knitting jumpers out of llama hair plucked from barbed wire or making furniture out of cans and discarded cardboard boxes.

I'm trying, though, and the other day for the first time in 20 years, I darned a pair of socks. I’m ashamed to say, I hardly knew how to begin. As you’ve probably guessed, my socks somehow metamorphosed into a pig’s ear,

I haven't given up, though. I am really trying to be more fiscally responsible and to embrace the "make do and mend" ethos. Now I have got to grips with darning (kind of) I will no longer throw away a pair of socks because they have one small hole. Good grief, last week I even mended a hem that was coming down. Not that everything has been a rip-roaring success. My attempt to make soup out of a chicken carcase and left-over vegetables tasted just like.... some tasteless concoction made out of a chicken carcase and left-over vegetables.


Before you leave:

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you can see, I have far too much to say for myself.
  • Please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you and will reply and visit your blog, if you have one, if I can. 
  • You really don't want to miss my next post. It could be my best one ever (or not... who knows)! Enter your email address below and FeedBurner will tell you every time there's an update.

Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner

Amazon's Best Kept Secret

Catwoman v Cat Lady


We caught the old Batman Returns film last night with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Of course I wasn't at all jealous of the svelte, beautiful, lithe, charismatic Ms Pfeiffer even though my dearly beloved sat there all evening with his tongue hanging out saying things like, "She can scratch my back any day."
Oh no, not jealous at all…
What compounded his felony was his comment, "You're more of a cat lady than Catwoman," followed by guffaws of laughter as if he had said something funny. 

He had not.
I wanted to argue but as I currently had a ginger cat draped around my neck purring loudly in my ear, I didn't feel it was quite the right time to utter a crushing rejoinder.



But his comment got me thinking about the differences between Catwoman and Cat Lady and came up with these:

  • Catwoman looks stunning in leather outfits with sexy boots and towering stiletto heels. Cat Lady has trousers with pulled threads where the cat has scratched her leg to try to get her attention. Every item she owns has a liberal covering of cat hair.
  • Catwoman wears expensive perfume that floats around her in a gentle sensual aroma. Cat Lady smells of stale tuna and Febreze.
  • Catwoman behaves like an animal in the bedroom. Cat Lady says, "Don't move around too much or you'll disturb Mittens."
  • Catwoman purrs her words in a seductive growl. Cat Lady is either shouting, "Get down from there, you'll break the vase Aunt Winnie gave us," screaming, "Get that mouse out of my house!" or yelling, "EW! I've just stepped in a pile of vomit."
  • Catwoman's house is state-of-the-art with every gadget imaginable. Cat Lady's house has scratched furniture, cat toys strewn around the floor, the occasional pile of cat vomit (see above) and dismembered remains of tiny animals under the sofa.
I'm sure there must be many more, but I haven't got time to think of them now, I must go and feed the cat, she's sitting by her bowl giving me a very straight look indeed. She doesn't like waiting. 

The Cat Lady picture, by the way, is Robert De Niro in a Saturday Night Live sketch. It is not me. I repeat, IT IS NOT ME. 

*     *     *     *     *     *    *

If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            

Before you leave:

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you can see, I have far too much to say for myself. 

Careering Along



The only careers advice I received as a teenager was to be a teacher or a nurse.

“But I can’t stand the sight of blood!” I squealed.

“Well, you can still be a teacher,” said the bored careers woman. And that was that. I was tempted to suggest that maybe she would have been better suited to being a cleaner, cook or cockle-gatherer, anything rather than a careers advisor but, uncharacteristically, I held my tongue.

Teaching and nursing are vocations,(i.e. a “calling”), something more noble than a half-formed idea that it might be something you could possibly do.

It transpired that nearly all the girls were advised to be teachers, nurses, secretaries or sales assistants. Yet the options for the boys covered the full spectrum of professions, from marine biologist to meteorologist and policeman to pilot.

This was just as bad for the boys as it was for the girls. There was never a suggestion that a young lad might be suited for a caring profession – they were advised to aim for the high-flying “manly ” jobs.




Confession time: I trained to be a teacher but after applying for dozens of jobs and not even getting an interview, I started a holiday job copytaking in my local newspaper – and realised that a newspaper office was exactly where I wanted to be. This means that generations of children have had a lucky escape.

My careers advice, which I should never have listened to, was over 40 years ago so I assumed times had changed.  I was, therefore, surprised to read that according to the OECD,  the international economics think tank, by  the age of SEVEN, children are already facing limits on their future aspirations in work because of ingrained stereotyping about social background, gender and race.

I was at a grammar school so at least my careers advice was for something aspirational. According to the OECD findings, girls in primary school from deprived backgrounds are expecting to go into hairdressing or shop work while boys from wealthier homes are more likely to expect to become lawyers or managers. Not that there's anything at all wrong with hairdressing or shop work, but young children should at least be aware that there are other occupations available.



The OECD says too often young people consider only the jobs that are already familiar to them, from friends and family.

"You can't be what you can't see. We're not saying seven-year-olds have to choose their careers now but we must fight to keep their horizons open," says Andreas Schleicher, the OECD's director of education and skills.

The OECD has announced plans to double to 100,000 the network of people who go into schools and talk about their jobs and career paths. At present there are more than 50,000 volunteers, representing jobs from "app designers to zoologists".

I wish the OECD had come into my school. Who knows I might now be the Prime Minister of Great Britain and none of our present political problems would exist. You never know...

Before you leave:

You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you can see, I have far too much to say for myself.
  • Please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you and will reply and visit your blog, if you have one, if I can. 
  • You really don't want to miss my next post. It could be my best one ever (or not... who knows)! Enter your email address top right and FeedBurner will tell you every time there's an update.

Amazon's Best Kept Secret