A brief encounter

Probably just a handful of you know how gregarious I am that person who talks to strangers on the train, in the supermarket queue or as yesterday in the street.

So walking Flora half a mile from home and heading for town, I slowed to discreetly see why an elderly lady and and a young man were standing in the middle of the road. Out came a phone in the hands of another young man, just as good looking as the first. Meanwhile, the lady straightened her sari and responded to my smile with one of her own.I stepped closer to hear her saying ’35 years’35 since I’ve been here’.

Now I had to rein in my list of questions,

Where have you been, what brought you here originally, are you moving back here?

Now her English wasn’t too strong, but it was the house where we stood, right on the corner at the top of the road, in Newtown, where the family had a shop, ‘right there, right there’!

I would have liked to sweep them home with me and chat for the day, but I could see that her sons were in a bit of a hurry, it was was day two of their trip, down from Manchester, a tedious motorway drive.

I learnt that they were Sikh and originally from India, her sons had barely any memory of Exeter, but they had a bit of a look around and liked it here.

I guess the photos are for the family history , and I would so like to have heard more. We parted with a mix of tears and smiles

Do YOU talk to strangers and can you get them to tell you their stories?

WordPress problems

Is anyone else having problems with WordPress? I have to jump through hoops to log in and see my own dashboard and I can’t open my reader at all on my laptop. I’m out of time now, but I’ve discovered that I can get to my reader on my tablet. Hopefully I’ll still be able to tomorrow.  My laptop is getting a bit old and slow, but I’m stalling replacing it because of the work that will involve.

Arrggh, I am not a happy G!

Off to edit a travel piece for writing group tomorrow. I’ll catch up as soon as I can.


and a very Happy New Year to all of you.

For various reasons I haven’t been around for several weeks, I’ve missed you, and  I’m sure you’ve all had a busy time as well. My time has been happy and also very sad, but I hope to be back to normal now.

Here are a few images from recent weeks.

I expect I’ll post a Wordless Wednesday tomorrow, it may even be wordy, and I’m finishing a poem. I’m anticipating some aches, pains and bruises tomorrow, because with the help of Flora and George, I slipped on the rocks at Sidmouth beach today. It was one of those slow motion moments where I thought I’d saved myself, but no, thought I’d saved myself a second time, but no, back I  went, my skull missing rock by an inch. I could only laugh!

Pups and poems

I seem to be having a bit of a blogging slow down at present. It’s been a busy few weeks, with a christening, quite a few hours of Saturdays spent driving and a failed sandal and summer clothes shopping trip. Two of my friends have been struggling with health problems and of course there’s work . . .

Add to that an eleven month puppy boy, who needed to become  bit less boy!

George has been house bound for a week, with a plastic collar to stop him licking his wound, and almost constant surveillance to stop him jumping around like the crazy adolescent he is. The problem  is that Flora is very keen to help lick him better, so sometimes she’s been wearing a collar too.

He’s allowed a 5 minute walk a day now. He doesn’t reckon much to walks, he likes a drive to the river or valley park, around 10 miles running to my 3 mile walk and when he’s a little tired he’ll walk back to the car. Flora is more than happy to walk on her own and behaves beautifully while he mopes and howls at home. One more week and he should be back to normal.

I’m sorry if I haven’t visited you for a few days. When I have opened my reader, all I’ve seen is the six most recent posts and a white question mark in a blue circle, has anyone else had that problem?

I’ve just remembered i should be asking Meg’s permission to use her photo. Meg can I print your photo to A4 size please nicely? I’ll credit you of course. I’m reading two poems at this thing on Saturday evening, or more likely, I’ll persuade my friend to read them because I’m shy.  Both poems were inspired by a photo, one Meg’s and one mine, so I’d like to be able show them. Before you ask, the poems are already on this site somewhere, before the most recent edits!

I’m hoping for a peaceful weekend, a three day one as well because Monday is Mayday bank holiday, hooray. We may even get a little hint of summer, so I’d better try again with the sandals, oh the troubles big feet bring.

Have fun my lovelies.






A bit of a sepia day

I don’t often get gloomy, but right now I’m in a bit of a low mood.  Several of the people in my world have been struggling with things for a while and today they are on my mind. 

This time last year was a period of loss, and we all know that anniversary’s are powerful.

I took this photo on this morning’s walk by the river, and the sun came out soon after. The good thing is a slight rise in temperature has improved my energy level, so I expect I’ll bounce back tomorrow.

Have a good week everyone.


Did you have a Parker?

Pen that is? If you grew up in the times when neat cursive handwriting was a must is school, you probably had a Parker pen. You might have had ink in a little bottle, or if you’re getting on a bit, those old ink wells in desks might have been filled by the school.

Visiting Sherri the other day, she reminisces and mourns the loss of those days. Of course you didn’t get to use an ink pen in the beginning, it was something to aspire to when your writing skills with a pencil were deemed acceptable. Luckily mine was very neat and my progress to ink was swift and only very occasionally marred with a tiny splash or smudge of blue.

A few years ago I was browsing in a big chain office supply store, when I came across Parker again. Fancying the idea of writing with one, I splashed out around a tenner. This is what I bought.

Remember the Quink?

I was hoping that my handwriting would return to the prize winning standard of the 8 year old G. Alas no, there’s no hope, unless . . . perhaps if I treated myself to a seriously posh expensive one. What do you think? No laughing in the back there please.

Cake and corsets

It’s strange isn’t it, how memories are triggered?

The other day I was talking to my friend at work, about our battles with weight. In the six or so years we’ve known each other, we’ve both dieted a few times, with some success and some failure. I’ve often said that our office makes us fat, because there are around 16 people, birthdays happen around 16 times a year – now that’s a surprise.  Each one of those means a cake day, and regular visits from outside agencies like auditors, also bring cake, chocolates, biscuits or all three. At Christmas, the quantity is obscene and it lives on a table at my end of the room! I can resist some of it, but home-made cake beats me. And there are occasional fund raising days where the more charitable slave away over a hot stove, so that we can indulge while feeling generous.

So, the lovely M was browsing the internet during her lunch break, looking rather pleased with herself. She’s a bit of a minx and I asked her what mischief she was making. ‘I’ve just ordered something’ she said, ‘to sort this out’ she rubbed her midriff, ‘I’ve got to do something about this bulge’.

I laughed and she went on to say that she’d ordered a corset. ‘Ooo-er, a saucy little number for Valentines? With laces?’I asked.

‘Na, here it is’, she took out her phone, ‘I’ll lose weight with this one’. The photo was a bizarre looking thing that seemed to be in two pieces, a tight bit underneath a vest shape bit.

‘What are you on about, lose weight, it’ll just squash up your insides, just like Spanx, really uncomfortable’ I said.

‘It’s supposed to make me sweat because it’s tight, and that will make me lose weight’. Now M is always hot, I’ll have a chunky jumper on top of a vest, with a scarf around my neck and shoulders, while I’m sat at my desk, and she’ll be in a thin sleeveless blouse. I reminded her that she suffers from the heat as it is.

And then the half-formed memory burst out.

When I was a little girl my grandmother was a bit plump, as ladies of a certain age often are. The best grandmothers are plumptious, but mine was quite short, so couldn’t get away with it as well as some. I remember her ordering herself a rather expensive corset, that was also supposed to help her lose weight, by making her sweat. Funny how things go around. It arrived from the Traffords mail order catalogue, and she was so excited when she opened it. Made of skin coloured rubber, rather like swimming caps were made from, and with hooks and eyes that I had to help her do up. It was incredibly tight, but she hoped for a miracle.

She had a few of these corsets

, they had a tendency to tear, and she would get very angry and curse the manufacturers for selling ‘a pig in a poke’.

She did lose weight sometimes, I remember her grapefruit diet, but invariably she regained it, as do I and my friend M.

It’s easy to lose, easier to regain and I hope my memory made you smile.


A bit of a week


So, I’ve had a pretty good week, but full on, when did I last have one that wasn’t? As far as I can remember Monday was fairly easy, except that I had a query mountain to sort out because I’d had annual leave on the Thursday and Friday.

Tuesday I met Sue in town after work. It was bitterly cold so we dashed into a couple of shops and I was finally able to buy a replacement for part of her Christmas present that never arrived. Success, followed by dinner at Turtle Bay. The food was mostly nice except the fried plantain that I’d really, really been looking forward to. It came too blackened, so I sent it back. They brought another portion five minutes later and it wasn’t quite as burnt, but still not good enough. I felt quite sorry for the embarrassed waitress, she offered me sweet potato fries instead, they were okay and I wasn’t charged.

Wednesday began well enough, a full work day and my friend Jackie picked me up from home at 5.15. We went to town to meet Sonja, we’ve all been friends since school, fifty years, and have a meal together once a month. Jackie and I were ten minutes early, Sonja was coming in by train, so I suggested a browse in Marks and Spencer while we waited.

We pootled around, trying hard, but failing, to see anything worth buying from their new seasons stock. Jackie was ahead of me looking at heels. Just as I was wondering how she manages to wear them, my own sensible flat Marks and Spencer ankle boots decided they no longer wanted to be between me and th floor, they much preferred to detach themselves with some kind of backwards gliding kick, as if they were ice skates. You know that moment when you think you’ve rescued yourself and wouldn’t fall flat on your face? Well I was right, I fell on both hands, my left knee and left hip instead. I yelped, Jackie turned as I scrambled up, hoping no one would see me. Luckily it as nearly closing time and not a soul to be seen. I was licking my wounds for several minutes before a member of staff noticed there was a problem. A first aider was called, she asked if she could do anything, took notes and promised to enter it in the accident book. There didn’t appear to be anything on the floor to make it slippery, but with hindsight, any damp patch was probably absorbed by my coat. We left for the restaurant, me stumbling along feeling like I’d been beaten up. Jackie and Sonja teased me, saying how once you start falling it’s the beginning of old age, but I’m the youngest of the three of us. We had a nice meal in The Stable, a pizza, pie and cider place, my pie was called Squishy Squashy, no prizes for guessing the ingredients.

This is the view from The Stable, lots of reflections, but you can see what a damp old night it was. I was home and in bed by 9pm, feeling decidedly sore all over and a bit tearful.

On Thursday I left the office at 3.45 for an appointment over in the hospital’s main building. My appointment was 4pm but they were running late, so I was called for my ultrasound at 4.30. The good news was that nothing abnormal was detected with my kidney. I arrived home to find another appointment waiting for me!

Thursday was supposed to be my writing group evening, but a third night out in a row, with bruises emerging just wasn’t a good idea.

By Friday I was feeling more myself, after work I put a coat of paint on the wall of the new conservatory and watched a bit of tv. The weekend, hooray!

Time for dog walking in the park, food shopping, two more coats of paint, and all the usual hodgepodge of jobs to do. I’ve even found time to blog, and in the space between, I’ve been crocheting again. Issy, you asked if I’d found a new project, because I was lost once I’d finished the last one. So this is what I began three weeks ago.

img_5117It’s about four feet square now, I’m getting faster but there’s a way to go yet!

So that was my week, how was yours?



Happy New Year

New Years Eve is here, time to get some special groceries, if you’re expecting guests.

Take the dog for the last walk of 2016.

Before it’s too dark.

Choose a recipe for dinner.

Tidy up the sitting room.

Get your glad rags on.

Before your friends arrive.

Christmas is nearly over, enjoy the lights while you can.

Settle down to sleep.

When you wake up it will be 2017, Happy New Year everyone!