About Me

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Worcester, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
Born in the year of the Coronation, I'm a Baby Boomer. In April of this year I decided I too would have a Diamond Jubilee celebration and completely change my life and that of my Husband's in the process

Friday, 29 September 2006

Autumn Show & Memories

I’m late with this entry and I know why, I’ve been putting it off because I find part of it hard to write.

My Journal is a true record of the events of my life that have caused some sort of emotion, be it happy or sad, during the week. I don’t write about everything but the bits that stick in my mind.


Last Sunday I went to the Malvern Autumn Show at the Three Counties Showground. In my opinion the best of their three Big Shows. It’s mostly about what people have produced during the year and is like a giant Harvest Festival.


I met friends Sue & John there and had a pleasant time wandering around with them, drinking some delicious Wood’s ‘Shopshire Lad’ Bitter. We Ohh’d & Ahh’d and laughed at some of the exhibits in the Harvest Marquee.


Mike was working all day in the Food Theatre and did two cooking sessions with Anthony Worrall Thompson. I watched the first session and was surprised (or not) how little he actually did, his Home Economist did most of it. It was an entertaining hour and he did well to not lose his temper, as the microphone kept cutting out for the first 20 minutes, due to a lightning strike earlier in the morning. I’ve met and dined with celebrities and VIP’s over the years, many of whomhave been much nicer than I expected, having now met Mr WT all I’m prepared to say is, I haven’t changed my opinion of him.



        Mike waiting to be of assistance .




The lovely Lisa does all the work. AWT keeps his hands clean.



         Mike doing a bit of fiddling with AWT's

        rear end, hence the surprised look, Mike   

         was trying to sort out the microphone.


         AWT beats a hasty retreat when he adds

         too much Calvados to the Pears.


        Mike's just been told he gets to take 

        some of this home!!



After I left Sue and John to do their own thing I went to see the son of friends of ours.

I knew he was working on one of the stands and that he wanted to see me.


I hadn’t seen him for four years, the last time was at his 21st Birthday. His parents were still together then.


Rewind 20 years. We became great friends with this couple who had two sons, one James, the same age as my Simon and Richard, who was two years younger. We spent so many weekends with them and even met up on holiday. The children played together and Catherine learnt to ride on one of their ponies. They were known as James the First and Richard the Second because Mike always got their names muddled, although they were like chalk & cheese. James, tall, blonde, cautious and dreamy, while Richard was short, dark, cheeky and dare devil.


Then the family moved to a farm in Devon and we moved to Cardiff. But we still went to stay with them in Devon. Then they moved to Eire to another farm where they wanted to breed horses and continue their horse transport business. We moved back to Worcester.


One February morning I was just making the toast for breakfast, when the phone rang. It was James’s grandmother to say that James hadbeen killed the day before ,when a car hit him as he crossed the road from behind the school bus. He was 14 years old. His body was hit 70 metres up the road. His dad ran out from the farm and cradled him in his arms but knew from his injuries that if he weren’t already, he very soon would be dead.


I’d like to say our friendship stood up through this difficult time and I suppose it did through the early days but then there was brittleness to the relationship. James would be mentioned but not really talked about and that wonderful, easy, friendship was gone. I think there were too many memories of the four children together, we just couldn’t work through there being three and of course my Simon was there constantly being the age that James would have been. Richard felt he had to try to be both sons to his parents and the toll on a 12-year-old boy was terrible. We all grew apart.


Eventually their marriage became another casualty to that fateful day.


And now Richard wanted me to go and see him, which I would but I didn’t want us to be seeing James in the back of each other’s eyes, in a look, the acknowledgement of the pain, the guilt that he is the survivor, and I still have my son, I just didn’t want it to be like that.


I approached a group of salesmen on his stand andone asked if he could help. I said, “Yes, I’m looking for a young man” and the one nearest turned round and said “Hello Beautiful”. We kissed and then it turned into a rib-breaking hug, it was as if those seconds of contact put it all to rest. There was no awkwardness now, in that hug was the silent agreement that there was no need for sadness, we’d put that behind us. We then laughed and chatted and caught up with all the family gossip, James slipped in and out of our conversation just as easily as all the other family names. I’m so glad I saw Richard but dear god, how like his father he looks and he always used to call me Beautiful.


There is a strange and even worse twist to this tale and I can’t think of James without remembering Mike.


Almost a year to the day after James’s death a party of friends went from Wales to watch a Rugby International in Ireland. They were returning to the Rosslare Ferry in the early hours of the morning when their minibus skidded on ice and overturned. No one was hurt except Mike who was killed, instantly, on the same stretch of road where James had been killed a year earlier. Mike had been a very dear friend, who I worked with in Cardiff. He was a loveable clown and his claim to fame was once being on the Krypton Factor. I couldn’t go to his funeral, as my father was taken ill and died the day before.


All of this was a very difficult time to get through and I think it does me good from time to time, to open up the wound and have a good poke around. Sorry if there is anyone reading this and they’ve been depressed by it. Don’t be,I had enough depression for everyone.


But, back to the Autumn Show.I had a lovely day and I think the photos capture some of the colour.


During the day you can buy displays in the Flower Tent, which you can collect at 5pm. I saw this lovely Michaelmas Daisy display that I wanted, it was  £10. Unfortunately it had already been sold and they only had the £15 size left. Only by now I had my heart set on some flowers. So I paid for a £15 one.


At 5pm I realised just how many flowers it contained and there was no way I’d get the display in the car. So I, along with others, had to have it dismantled and put into bunches. The stallholders were so busy that I offered to break down my own. A couple of ladies walked up and mistaking me for the stallholder asked if they could buy some. The stallholder heard and said, “Sorry, they were all sold earlier”.They were obviously disappointed and walked away saying they had wanted some for some graves. Well, I now realised I have neither the house nor number of vases to accommodate all these flowers, So I quickly wrapped a huge bunch and ran after them and said it was a present. They were so pleased they came back a few minutes later to thank me again.


Then I decided we would call in on Sue on the way home and give her a bunch ,as a memento of the Show. Then we got home and my next thought was Rachel, who lives nearby and was widowed earlier in the summer. She was out, so I pushed a note through her door saying to come round when she got home. I then set too getting the rest into vases.


After I’d finished Rachel called round, saying she was intrigued as to what I had got for her. She was thrilled with the flowers but the really nice thing was, she stayed and shared a bottle of wine with us and didn’t go home until 10.30. We had a lovely chat and I’m sure it did her good as she is finding life very lonely without her beloved John.


So how much happiness can £15 buy? Well, as it turns out……lots.


School has been manic and we had the official opening of our new school. A conjoined Primary rather than separate Infant & Junior. The Mayor came to plant a tree, it rained, we got wet, but what the hell.


A Year 5 boy went and asked the Mayor for his autograph and handed him a sheet of paper and a pencil. The boy had just been picking his nose and the paper was attractively decorated with a green bogey!!!!!


I was marking some Reading tests yesterday, in which the children have to select a word from a list and put it into a sentence. This shows their understanding of similar looking words, or ones you would connect with the subject of the sentence. I don’t laugh AT the children but I really can’t help laughing at some of the sentences they make.


The children were asked not to trinket in their seats.

Michael got a job dealing newspapers.

He had dinner left after his wallet was stolen.

She played the medal on the flute.

The shop sold vicious flavours of ice cream.

Another word for a time of rest and play is childhood.

A partly rounded shape like the new moon is called a convalescent.

The puppets were laminated with great skill.

The fancy dress pencil drew a large crowd. (I think this is my favourite.)

The shop sold varicose flavours of ice cream.

People who think only of themselves are said to be shellfish.


And on that happy note………….








Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Not Again!

I apologise to anyone that has me on their Alerts, I don't usually do this many entries in a week, my computer seems to be taking me over.


Debbie (Essex Girl) sent me this quiz and as it's the first I've done and probably the last, I thought I'd post it in my Journal as I was brutally honest with my answers and then when I read them back decided I should probably get some  counselling, or something.


This Journal is here primarily for me , although I don't mind who reads, or comments on it. I want to have a look back at this, when I haven't spent all day on a Maths Course and see if my answers are still the same, although hopefully I may have changed my clothes by then. For some reason these school courses always leave me feeling depressed.



2. MIDDLE NAME Gillian

4. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? September 11th.


7. KIDS? 2 of my own and 2 step-children.
8. WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I’d probably be too busy.
9. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? More than one.
10. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Not much now.
12. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Oh Yes, after you skinned me alive and pulled all my teeth out. (I lied about the sarcasm!)
14. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?  Yes but I only have trainers with laces.

15. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I have to be.

16. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? One you can get in Cornwall made with blackcurrants (whole) and fresh cream.
17. SHOE SIZE? Ever increasing, now an 8!
18. RED OR PINK? Ever the tart….Red.
19. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?  Where shall I start? My personality probably, then my looks, my insecurity….everything really.

20. WHOM DO YOU MISS THE MOST?  Auntie Dorothy. Change the crying answer to now.

21. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU?  I’m not sending this in email as my select band of friends(the few that will have me) might find it an intrusion and that would worry me, so am posting it in my Blog for anyone that wants to use it. But would be happy to receive anyone’s answers by email.
22. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES YOU ARE WEARING? I assume this means trousers? Black. If it means pants, then also black. I’m barefoot, I usually am at home.

23. LAST THING YOU ATE? An apple from my garden.

24. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Birdsong and the wind in the trees.

26. FAVORITE SMELL?  Warm, fresh, hay.
28. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO?  Something you can’t see, I think you might call it their aura.
29. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?  Yes but we’ve never actually met.
31. FAVORITE SPORT?  Formula One racing.
32. HAIR COLOR? . According to my hairdresser a natural warm dark blonde. According to me pooh coloured.

33. EYE COLOR?  Hazel


37. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Burnt Orange jumper.
38. FAVORITE DESSERT? Crème Brulee.
39. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Not doing the email thing.

41. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? Don’t have the time at present.

42. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Tigger and Pooh, I stole it from my son. 

43. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV?   Afterlife recorded on Saturday.

44. FAVORITE SOUNDS? My granddaughter gurgling down the phone at me (she’s a baby!)
I don't know what happened to 47 and 48!!
49. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Yes. Putting my foot in it.

50. WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN?  Mary Stevens Maternity Home, Stourbridge, Worcestershire. Strangely enough, on my birthday.


Tuesday, 19 September 2006

An Experiment with Chickens.

This is just an experiment, me talking to my chickens, slightly more interesting than watching paint dry! Click on the button to view.

More English Tradition

If I don’t do this extra entry I won’t remember all the things I did this week at the weekend, when I do my usual entry.


Sunday I went to meet my cousin Colin ,at the 21st Annual Netherton Boat Festival. I bet most people don’t know Netherton, as proved by the fact I am writing this in Word and it thinks it’s a spelling mistake!


Netherton was a small village, in the heart of the Black Country, near to where my ancestors lived for centuries. It has a huge industrial heritage, mining and the iron trade being at the forefront, which explains why the area is criss crossed with canals. On a canal interchange is where the festival takes place.



            Yes that really is the name.


I went for the first time last year and wrote about it in my Journal then. This year I decided to take photos, it's a colourful event and again I was blessed with beautiful weather .



Hard to imagine this is so near to the centre of Birmingham and even harder, what a filthy dirty place this would have been 100years ago.



A lovely couple who really entered into the spirit of things, they had come on their own Narrowboat from Stourbridge.



Some of the local ladies eager to show off traditional Black Country dancing..... Joke!! Not sure what Belly Dancing had to do with it but they were very good.


I still haven’t been in the loft to find the video ‘Howard’s End’ I have watched it but not since I found out Colin had a very small speaking part in it. I must brave the cobwebs and dust soon before the VCR gets pensioned off.



Sunday night I had a call from Catherine. She was expecting my Mum & Wilf to fly into Cologne at 10pm. Flo had already set off to collect them, it’s and hour and a half drive. Mum had phoned to say the flight had been delayed 2 hours. Two hours later I had another call to say the flight was not now leaving until Midnight and poor Flo hadn’t got to Cologne yet as they were having a huge thunderstorm , the water on the roads was up to the number plate.


Flo finally dropped them at their hotel at 5am, exactly 12 hours after they arrived at Birmingham Airport for a one-hour flight.


I’ve spoken to both Catherine and Mum on the phone.


Catherine says Mum keeps crying at her great granddaughter, as she is choked with emotion.


I asked Mum what she thought of her great granddaughter and she said, “Oh, she’s lovely and she keeps laughing at me”


Yes, that sounds like my family, crazy mixed up emotions!


Monday was my first time going with Year 4 for their swimming lesson. What a start to the week that’s going to be.


We are supposed to board the bus at 9.30 but some hadn’t brought their swimming kit, others still hadn’t brought in a signed permission for them to go. In the end we had to leave eight behind, as there wasn’t time, or spare kit to get them all sorted.


I don’t have to go in the water, thank god. I can’t believe all 52 of them manage to refrain from weeing in the water in a one hour lesson and anyway, I don’t show my cellulite off to just anyone these days.


At the end of the lesson we have to hurry them up as much as possible and help removing swimming hats etc.


We’d just got them all lined up to get back on the bus, when a child took a pair of underpants to the teacher.


“Who’s forgotten to put their underpants on?” she yelled.  Of course it was David, well it would be. So we all had to wait whilst he went and redressed himself. How can you not know that you haven’t put your pants on? Especially if you are a boy!


Monday afternoon Mike and I tried to return our jungle to a garden, I’m still too ashamed to take any photos. I shredded tons of branches and trimmings for my compost heaps. We also climbed ladders and picked all the James Grieves apples, which are huge this year.


When we finished Mike realised he’d started with his glasses on but finished without them. We’ve searched everywhere but it’s a big garden and they haven’t turned up yet.


For the second time that day I found myself asking, “How can you not notice?”……….Men!!


Saturday, 16 September 2006

The Horn Dance





Monday was a very sad day and I spent quite some time reading tributes to victims of 9/11, as well as writing one to my own namesake, who died on Flight 11.




But Monday was also an annual event that I have wanted to go to for ages. It was The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.


Abbots Bromley is in Staffordshire and just about an hour’s drive from my school. So, as it was a lovely day, at 12.45pm, Mike picked me up and we went straight there.


We had lunch first, well we would, wouldn’t we, we like our food .The Goats Head was our pub of choice from the five in the village, which was lovely; I had the fish pie, it had several types of fish in it and was topped with cheese. Mmmmm…..there goes my diet.




Outside the Goat's Head.


I thought I’d better wash it down with a pint of Real Ale, absolutely essential, if you are going to see Morris Dancing.


As soon as we sat down I spotted the farmer that showed us round his farm in Gloucestershire a couple of weeks ago. I knew he was thinking of going but fancy bumping into him and then we found ourselves sitting at the same table having tea in the church hall later on. I think our paths are meant to cross at present. He ‘s invited us to his Harvest Home next month….lots more Morris Dancing.


The tradition of the dance is recorded back in August 1226. Recently one of the horns had a piece broken off and it was sent for Carbon Dating.  (No, it wasn’t looking for a partner!) It was found to be from 1065, a year before the Norman Conquest and from the time before Reindeers became extinct in this country!




The Horns are kept in the local church and are collected at 8 in the morning, the dancing is then carried out at various venues throughout the day but even a casual observer will notice that the five village pubs feature largely in the progress through the day. If you want to see more follow the link below.


The Horn Dance


Its English Tradition at it’s most quirky and best, probably utterly meaningless but more than likely related to fertility. Long may it continue.


I had thought maybe after going to see ’The Horn’, I might get lucky but no. The fresh air had worked it’s magic and Mike was asleep before I got into bed.




First full week back at school,. Thank God I only do mornings! I’m exhausted. Each morning is 4 hours of non-stop activity.


The final hour each day is Maths and due to falling pupil numbers, we have now dropped from 3 classes per Year Group, to 2. This means that instead of having 3 sets for English and Maths, which would work out around 25 in the top set, 25 in the middle and10 in the less able, which worked very well, we now have 30 in each set. You don’t have to be too bright to work out that that just doesn’t work. The difference in ability in a group of 30 is vast.


There’s me and another TA in our year group and we have to support the teacher taking the less able half, in each subject. Ideally there would be a TA in each class but the less able group’s size now means it takes both of us.


I have four children, aged 8 that I take to a separate table and work with. I drew theshort straw and have the 4 least able of the entire year group. If you try to imagine teaching a barrow load of monkeys Maths, then you’re somewhere close.


Three of my group are girls and theyare Travellers. Near our school is a Traveller Site; in the ‘Old Days’ they were called Gipsies, or worse. They tend not to move around the country so much these days. In fact they will probably only hitch up their vans and go off site for their summer holidays. So it’s not that they are away so much, they just don’t bother coming in all the time and mostly they skip the Nursery and Reception years, so they are always way behind the others.


They are undisciplined, talkative, cheeky, adorable children and they drive me to distraction.


Friday, as a nice wind down to the week we played Snakes and Ladders. It took ten minutes to actually get them to put all four counters on the board and stop hiding the dice before we could make a start.


The twins (identical) like hiding things in their lap and then asking where the items have gone, all ‘Butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth’. I’ve sussed that one out and make them stand up, so whatever it is falls to the floor.


They like to swap hair bands to try to fool us by swapping identity. But again I’m one step ahead, one has  some freckles on her nose, the other doesn’t. That has really given me some respect, as they can’t understand how I have got them worked out so quickly. In fact from the looks and mutterings, I can see that they’ve got me down as a Witch. Not a bad thing if I want to keep one step ahead of them. Anyway, as my children could tell them, I am a Witch and can sniff out skulduggery at ten paces, or even from the other end of the country!!


They like me and we have lots of fun when we finally get going and as long as I can keep my temper and their respect, we should get somewhere.



Wednesday I came home to find that, after a week since the completion of my Gas Mains renewal, the hole was still at the top of the drive. Mike can’t get his big car over the flimsy plates they put down to cover the hole and I’ve had to ask children to stop messing in the hole, which has exposed pipes.


I phoned the number on the letter I had and politely told them I thought a week was long enough and we had been told, by the hole diggers, it should have been filled in last Saturday. So why wasn’t it?


Within an hour two lorries arrived with a team of men and equipment and the hole was filled.




There's a hole at the top of my drive and the Gas Board are looking into it. Boom , Boom!


The next morning I saw the hole diggers walking up and down outside my house and one of them said “ Yes, it looks like it’s here”, pointing to my newly filled hole. When I returnedfrom school there were red paint marks either side of my nice new tarmac.  This is a bad sign and I have a feeling I’m about to be dug up again! Does anyone remember that old song by Flanders and Swan called The Gas Man Cometh? Hmmmmm!


Going back to quirky dancing, the thing that has amused me most this week is a video clip a friend sent to me. It’s of the Swedish Band, OK GO, dancing to their song ‘Here It Goes Again’. If you’ve never seen it do have a look. I just adore the two skinny guys doing the skating movements and the little bald guy, well, who dressed him? Follow the link and just click on the play button, bottom left. Treadmill at my gym was never this much fun!




PS. I forgot, I lost a pound. Must try harder, could do better, sounds like one of my school reprts! 











Sunday, 10 September 2006

Linda George, a victim of Flight 11.

I couldn't let this day pass without making some small tribute to those innocents who lost their lives on 11th September 2001. There is one person in particular I would like to mention, she has been in my thoughts for some time now.

First my memories of that day.

I will never forget that Tuesday afternoon. I was sitting at my desk at work and the phone rang. It was my daughter, Catherine, she was home watching the television. She said, “Mum, a plane’s crashed into the World Trade Centre.” She didn’t know any more at that time. I assumed it must be a light aircraft piloted by some drunk, or nutter, as the chance of a commercial flight hitting one of those towers seemed unlikely.

As the afternoon progressed she kept ringing back with more and more unbelievable information. I know for a fact very little work was done that afternoon.

One of the girls I worked with had a call from her partner. He worked shifts, arrived home after 2pm and put the television on for company while he ate his lunch. The first channel had some disaster movie on it, he changed channels, again and again. They were all showing the same disaster movie. He thought there was something wrong with the television but then realised, this wasn’t a disaster movie, this was real life. He was one of the many family members, who stayed on the phone for most of the afternoon. No one wanted to be on their own while this horror unfolded, they needed to be able to talk about it.

At 4.30 I finished work and went straight home, to see for myself the shocking news reports.Hoping that somehow it wasn’t as bad as I’d been hearing but of course it got worse.

Mike rang me at 5pm, he’d been out all afternoon doing something for the radio station and hadn’t had the car radio on. When he returned to the studio, he’d walked straight to his desk and phoned me, without speaking to anyone else. He said “Hi. Anything happened today”. I thought he must have been joking but replied ”Haven’t you heard?”  And as I started to tell him, he said “ I know, I can see it” he’d just started to realise what he was seeing on the tv monitors.  

It was really odd but I was angry that he didn’t know. I can’t explain that reaction.

There were hurried calls, as soon as we could get through, to all our relatives in Massachusetts. They were able to confirm they were all safe but one family member had got stuck in another part of America, as all flights were grounded. A minor inconvenience in comparison.

My sister’s partner’s son had been in New York at the weekend and I was worried for his safety but it turned out he had arrived back in Britain just before the planes hit. He had been at the top of the World Trade Centre during the weekend. What a strange thought for him, remembering that view and knowing two days later it was all gone.  

So those are my memories of that day.

The implications lived with me for longer. My son had just completed 8 months of his 4-year artifficer apprentiship, in the Royal Navy. At that point they are assigned to a ship for a year's practical training of engineering on board.

The ship he was assigned to was HMS Southampton, which was on its way for a nice safe training mission in the gulf. Of course, as things unfolded in the next few weeks this rapidly changed to a war footing with Bush and Blair chasing Bin Laden and his cronies.

By the time Simon was supposed to join his ship, he couldn’t. There were threats of attacks on the ships and so they couldn’t put into the normal ports. All their movements now had to be secret. Instead of going out on a commercial flight, He was to be flown out by the RAF to a secret location, from there they would be transported to wherever the ship could briefly stop to pick them up. It was November by the time he could go.

He rang my on his mobile to tell me they’d arrived safely and was being whisked through the desert somewhere to join his ship.

He was 21 and never been out of the country on his own before. Although he seemed OK, I know it was a worrying time for him. As for me I could be seen crying in the supermarket whenever I walked by the Christmas goodies, wondering if he would be home safe for Christmas the following year.

Of course he did come home but my feelings during his absence makes me feel even more for those who lost their loved ones on that horrific day. Fear and worry were my constant companions during those long, winter months. 

On this the fifth anniversary of those atrocities against humanity, i would like to remember one of the victims of flight 11.

I first found out about this young woman when i did a Google on my own name. I was shocked to find it in a list of the passengers of Flight 11.


Below is some of the information I found about Linda. I have also read postings on message boards and know she was a much loved young woman.

Linda George was 27 when she died. She was from Westboro, Massachusetts and was a buyer for TJX Cos., The off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions. She was on her way to California on a buying trip with a number of her colleagues. Her Father, Mother, Sister and Brother survive Linda.

She was engaged to be married within the month. She would have had a wonderful life before her.

Here is information about a memorial set up in her memory.

Linda George Memorial Scholarship

The Linda George Memorial Scholarship is awarded to students from St. Peter Marion High School who will be attending college. St. Peter Marion High School, Grove Street, Worcester, MA 01605.

Today Linda, 11th September 2006, another Linda George, in Worcester, England, will be saying a prayer for you and your loved ones.

Saturday, 9 September 2006

Body Parts and Holes in the Road!

It was back to school this week and after three days I'm still quite happy, so that's good. There are some really nice children in my class, I know this time last year I was ready to strangle a couple of them, so I'm fairly confident we have a better behaved bunch. Hopefully no condom modelling in the toilets!


At home it's been very annoying. The National Grid are replacing our gas mains. Now call me stupid but I thought the National Grid did the pylons that carried our Electricity........This could explain why they are making such a pig's ear of it.


I've had a large hole in the pavement outside my house for more than a week. This means some of the flowers in my garden have been flattened. I'm not too happy about that.


The men come for an hour or two and then they go away again. They say they are working on another job. Why? Wouldn't it be better to complete one job at a time, the work wasn't that urgent.


Then they dug a big hole at the top of my drive, about four feet deep, they have put two yellow plates over most of it but some of it is not covered. They assured me it was safe to drive over. I can assure you it isn't. Mike tried yesterday and the resulting cracking noise brought two of the  neighbours running out of their houses. His car is staying on the road now, I'm just thankful he's not been blown to smithereens because if the car had gone in there, onto the exposed gas pipe, I don't think the scenario would have been too good.


This afternoon I spent an hour in Marks and Spencers trying to find ‘the right bra’. This always drives me crazy, as finding what I like and have it fit is never easy. I’ve reached an age when I know what I like; it has to conform to certain criteria.


First of all, I want the sheepdog effect….. you know, rounds them up and points them  in the right direction, so it has to be underwired. When I was younger and was a pert 34B I often didn’t bother wearing a bra and I most certainly looked better than Charlie Dymock, who put me off gardening shows forever.


After years of weight gain, followed by some weight loss, I seem to be stuck at a 36DD. My once pert boobs are now in need of support. But… there is a very important feature I now require in a bra. First of all I don’t want seams, as they spoil the look under tee shirts etc but what it really, really must have is light padding. I am a firm believer now that when you have reached the age of a matronly bosom, what you don’t want, on cold mornings, is for your chapel hat pegs to be standing to attention and visible to all.


I watched a TV programme a couple of weeks ago, it was about a local couple who wanted to move house but couldn’t find what they wanted. An irritating pair of presenters went round local estate agents to try and find the house of their dreams and then showed the couple what they had come up with. The woman, who was older than me did the whole programme looking like she had a couple of marbles in her bra, WHY didn’t someone tell her to change her top?


Anyway, I couldn’t find what I wanted in my size, so tried squeezing myself into some 36D’s. I looked like a badly poured pint of beer, instead of fitting in the glass with the head just coming nicely to the top, I was flowing everywhere, you wouldn’t think an extra D would make such a difference. Hardly any of their range was in a DD cup and those I had seen were unlined.


When I handed the bras back to one of the assistants I told her of my dilemma, her colleague said, what about that new range that came in this morning they do DD right up to GG. (I think we’re talking Jordan implants here) So off she went and returned with the bra I was looking for and I am sitting here now typing, with my boobs sitting nicely just below my chin and nota chapel hat peg in sight.


I remember my mother once asking me if the bra she was wearing was alright with the top she had on, You can’t see my middles? She queried. Life was like that in our house; bodily parts were not to be mentioned, not by their anatomical name, or any sort of pet name. They were to be skirted around with vague terms, as in middle, meaning nipple and my sister and I had front bottoms and back bottoms. Thank goodness she never had a boy, I’ve no idea what she would have called that, although I have a horrible recollection that she referred to my cousin’s as a tail! You see even now I have trouble saying the P word. 


 Life was a nightmare when I grew up and had to start going to the doctor’s on my own, I had no vocabulary to discuss intimate matters. Oh well, I got by but I think Mum would have a fit if she knew I’d mentioned nipples on the Internet.


This week Mike and I went to the farm I mentioned a few weeks ago, where I found his family were farming in the 1841 Census. The present owner is a delightful man who spent two hours showing us round. He’d dug out some paperwork which gave the date Mike’s 3 x great grandfather, Richard George had taken on the tenancy, which was in 1820, for an annual rent of £140. That was a heck of a lot of money in those days. 


They were still there until the 1851 Census but by 1861 Richard was retired and was living with his son William who was just an Agricultural Labourer. I don’t know why William didn’t take over the tenancy; it may be they were finding it difficult to make enough to pay the rent.


We had a lovely time there and the view from one of the fields must be just as it was when Richard George walked across those fields. Mike felt quite emotional and I felt a little envious, as all my family farms, even my bizarrely named Ramrod Hall, were demolished long ago.


These are two of the wonderful characters we met



This lovely chap is about 17 years old and is bigger than he looks. That fence top was my eye level and I'm 5 ft 7 tall. He had the biggest head I ever saw on a horse and I think he's a Belgian.


 This beauty is a Shire and they both have to have specially made shoes as they are soooo huge.


Below are some of the Gloucester cattle, now a very rare breed. They have distinctive white rumps and they are what the original Double Gloucester was made from (No, I'm not going back onto bra sizes!)





Don't be silly, the one in the foreground is the farm dog!!


This is the view everyone loves and we were no exception.




And finally, Mike reflecting on what might have been, if the farm had stayed in the family.




I've decided to defer my weigh in until next weekend as I know I've been very naughty this week, while I was still on holiday but I will definitely tell the truth, no matter how painful next weekend.