Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The funeral will be held at Hutchcliffe wood crematorium millhouses/abbey lane
on monday 3rd december at 3 pm... all who knew my dad are more than welcome...
Rest in Peace DAD
you will me sorely missed by all

FRAN xxxx

Friday, November 23, 2007

With Deep Regret

It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that i have to inform you all that my dad passed away at 8 pm last night (22nd november). He went very suddenly with my mum,sister and myself at his bedside and holding my hand. He is now at peace and out of pain and suffering,and he battled til the end...

I will post a notice as to when and where the funeral will be held as soon as it as confirmed on monday.....

He doesnt want anyone to mourn him , but to have a drink and celebrate his life and remember him ...........

My dad and I had a very close bond, and I will be lost without him, we were always there for each other no matter what...but it was heart-wrenching to see him suffering so much, at least now his suffering and pain is at an end.............
God Bless you Dad

FRAN xxxxx

Monday, November 19, 2007

unforseen circumstances-update

A short note to update all readers on the health of my dad....
He went into a hospice on Friday 16th november,after speaking to the doctor we were informed he has a very short time left.
I have just returned from seeing him tonight and he is in a semi-coma,has not been responding to anything or anyone at all today. We have been been told to expect the worse over the next day or two at the most.I write this with a heavy heart, tears and sadness....
I will keep you informed asto what is happening....

As for Ruth...
what are you sorry for...... having him arrested and spending a night in the cells,at his age and in his bad state of health ..... or for putting the final nail in his coffin ( This is how his family feel) your poison has really worked this time.... hope your are proud of yourself after all he did for you and your family....

His loving daughter

ps ..... he has asked not to mourn him but to have a drink and celebrate his life
so please next time you have a drink raise your glass to a great remarkable man

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Unforseen circumstances

I am Fran, youngest daughter and am writing this on behalf of my father. As you all know he has been in and out of hospital for a while, recently he collapsed and was taken back into hospital, and sadly to say he will no longer be able to write on this blog again as he wont be coming home. He hasnt got long left and is going downhill and fading fast. He has asked me to write this notice as he cannot get in touch with people personally.
If he does leave the hospital he will be going to a hospice to see out what very little time he has left.... he doesn't want you feeling sorry for him, but to celebrate his good and sometimes over-indulgent lifestyle and have a few drinks for him and to toast and remember him.
He brought me his last present today, a new dog for me to love and be loved, as my old family dog i have had for 10 years had to be put to sleep earlier this week due to illness and severe pain..... he wished it was as quick and easy for him to end the pain he is in now....
if i get the chance i will keep updating his blog on his behalf and keep you all up-to-date on how he is..... But being honest and knowing my dad as i do ..... he wont be suffering for long, and will go with the dignity he wants and deserves....


Saturday, September 22, 2007

We made it!

Yesterday evening with family and friends, we celebrated our Golden Wedding! Yes folks, fifty years of married life and we managed to survive!
The dinner was held at a hotel on the outskirts of the city, Tapton Hall, and was organized by our elder daughter, Jane.
It wasn’t a huge affair with just 20 family members and a few close friends but it was a very enjoyable evening. It was originally supposed to be a quiet dinner party but younger daughter Fran and her friend Mandy had other ideas! They turned up in fancy dress; Fran as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and Mandy as the Wicked Witch of the West! They livened the place up no end!
I made a short speech recalling life in the fifties when we were first married and I spoke of the day when I stood next to Barbara and put a ring on her finger. Fifty years to that day, I put another ring on her finger; this time, an Eternity Ring of diamonds and sapphires. B was over the moon!
During our marriage, like most couples, we’ve had our ups and downs. We have seen times of struggle bringing up a family and times of ease when our financial position took a lift-off! As Barbara said, “Now we’re getting on a bit, we seem to have more money than time to spend it!!!”
Nevertheless, we still have a good few years left yet and if I can’t take it with me, I’m not going!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Back to Amber

Our little kitten hasn’t been featured for some time now so in response to those asking how she is, she’s here!Amber is now 21 weeks old and growing up really fast! She eats like a pig and torments poor old Tiffi something terrible!They are, however, coming to terms with each other and it’s a case of ‘Armed neutrality’ between them.

Amber is now every inch a kitten-cat. Isn't she adorable?

Amber in playful mode... Cheeky little bugger!!!

Amber and Tiffi munching away happily!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Simple pleasures

First of all, I must apologise for the huge delay in adding to my blog.
I have been indisposed for the last few weeks and have had no access to my PC. However, I reckon things are back to normal now.

All the time Iris and I were together, we were never bored. We didn’t have to be going out all the time to far-away places and expensive holidays. We found pleasure in all sorts of things and a lot of the pleasure on my part was to be able to tell Iris the history of various places and things on out travels.
Many were the times that she would ask about a building in town or a memorial she had seen. More often than not, I could tell her something about them. I’ve always possessed a brain choc-a-bloc with useless trivia and it became second nature to me. It wasn’t that Iris was thick; far from it. She’d had a reasonable education and even as a child, was quick to learn. It was just that in the past, she never had the opportunity to travel any distance. Her ignorance was merely due to the fact that she’d never been anywhere of note nor had she known anyone who could explain things to her.
However, she was an avid reader and could reel off information about things she had never seen but just read about.
Iris was no dummy when it came to work subjects. She was an expert shorthand typist and on the home front, she could use a sewing-machine like a qualified tailoress!
It became a standing joke among our friends when someone would ask about something and Iris would say, “Ok, Graeme, out with it!” As often as not, I could provide an answer.
If anyone had asked me to describe our lifestyle, I would have replied, “Idyllic.” That summed it up in just one word! We were as happy as pigs in muck!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

How times have changed

Looking back on the early 1970s, I found there was a wealth of difference between then and now. Then, there were no mobile phones, no PCs, DVDs, or CDs.
On the other hand, there were plenty of provincial cinemas, scores of Working Men’s and Social Clubs. There was plenty of late night public transport and beer was only 15 pence a pint!
There was no shame in having an eight or ten year old car; petrol was around 60 pence per gallon and cigarettes were about 40 pence per packet. When you went to a dance, you actually got hold of your partner and not merely danced round her handbag at some stupid disco!
Iris and I could go out for the whole evening and spend less than £10 on drinks, cigs, and a meal before we came home around midnight.
I remember buying a made-to-measure suit for around £40 and Iris could dress herself from top to toe for much less. You could buy a decent second-hand car for £500 and have change out of £250 for a week’s holiday! There were no Sat-Navs to guide you through some remote farmyard and life was lived at an easier pace in those days. Television wasn’t given over to chat-shows, ‘Big Bother’, ‘Castaway’, ‘I’m a Celebrity’ and other such tripe! You went to the cinema to see a film and it wasn’t trying to drive a message down your throat as you watched it.

There was no such thing as ‘Political Correctness.’ (I still don’t really know what that means!) Mosques were virtually unheard of in this country and Christmas was still Christmas and not referred to as Winterval or other extreme leftist rubbish! “Elf and Safety” had yet to come and your kids could play with conkers without having to wear eye shields. They could play Cowboys and Indians with toy guns without an Armed Response Unit turning up!
On the club scene, you could tell jokes about pakis, jews and Irishmen. Club singers would entertain you with popular ballads and you could understand the words of the songs.
Milkmen would deliver milk to your door and it wouldn’t get stolen before you got up to bring it in.
You could go into a city centre pub and sit down at a table instead of having to lean on one of those abominable misèricord seats. Local pubs had a dart-board and there was no mega-TV screen blasting out non-stop football matches. The pubs usually just had a choice of a couple of beers and you were not faced with a battery of a dozen different ‘Real Ale’ pumps. Some nights of the week, the landlord’s wife would come round with fresh bread-cake and black pudding or some similar little delicacy. There were no such things as Quiz Nights or Karaoke; people made their own entertainment. These days, life in the 70s would appear dull and mundane but we enjoyed every minute of it.

The very best thing of all about the 70s, however, was that Iris was there beside me!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A very pleasant afternoon

For several weeks now, I’ve been chatting to a very nice lady on MSN. We soon discovered we shared a common interest which made our conversations all the more enjoyable. I first met the lady on a local forum where she went under the name of Miss Moonlight. It was she, oddly enough, who came up with the name, “Amber” for our new kitten. I think I mentioned that I sent her an amber pendant as well as sending one to the lady who suggested “Jasper” for the other ginger kittie.
The other day I decided to invite Miss Moonlight round for afternoon tea; an invitation that was most readily accepted.
I picked her up from the other side of the city and introduced her to Barbara who had prepared various snacks for her visit.
However, the first thing she did was to pick up Tiffi and give her a big hug as she was basking in the back garden. When she got settled in my “den”, she saw Amber and she was almost weeping with absolute joy at cuddling her!
A lot of the time was taken up by our common interest. Later, my daughter, Fran, joined us and they got on like a house on fire!
We chatted later this evening and we were of a mind that this would be the first of many future get-togethers. We have already planned a couple of days out in the near future and no prizes for guessing where one of them will lead!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Farewell to the ‘Flickering fire.’

I have explained before that Iris lived in an older type house that had been her mother’s home for some years before she died in 1971. After her death, the tenancy was transferred to Iris who had been living there since 1960. When I ‘moved in’ for four days a week, we decorated all the rooms and replaced the old furniture bit by bit. I wrote about this some time ago. (“A much-needed refurbishment,” April 1st 2006)
Iris was a little reluctant to get rid of the old coal fire as she said it always looked warm and inviting. I didn’t push the point because it would have cost an arm and a leg to pull it all out and replace it with either a gas or electric fire. The decision, however, was made for us by the local council who had a refurbishment project under way for such older property as this. Iris was offered a choice of either a new maisonette or a complete modernisation of her present house; she chose the latter.
The upgrade consisted of double-glazing, central heating and a new bathroom suite. There was nothing to pay, apart from a rent increase, which was understandable and we both agreed that it would be nice to have a constant heat source instead of having to lay a fire after a day’s work. The whole conversion would be done over a period of seven days and interruption would be at a minimum. (It was said!)

When the workmen arrived a couple of weeks later, they started on the house next door. We saw that their kitchen was out of action, there was no hot water, no heating and a film of dust covered every surface! We decided that when our turn came, we would leave them the keys and take ourselves off for a few days even if it meant digging into our annual holiday time.
Work started on a Thursday, if I remember correctly and we managed to live with the upset for the first couple of days but by the weekend, we realised we’d be better off out of it! We farmed Smoky out to some cat-loving friends and we spent a week in
London where Iris originally wanted to go before the Paris trip last Easter. She was absolutely fascinated by the Underground system and her first sight of Big Ben lit her face up! We spent the best part of a day in the Tower of London and I took great delight in telling her some of the history about it.
I told her, of course that ‘Big Ben’ was the name of the bell and not the tower and I recounted the story of how Sir Benjamin Hall had raised the question in Parliament as to what name should be given to the huge thirteen and a half ton bell. Someone suggested “Big Ben” after Sir Benjamin and the name stuck! I think that this was an apocryphal story as the incident was never recorded on the official minutes. (Hansard) The bell first rang out on May 31st 1859.

Incidentally, after two months, the bell cracked and had to be ’stitched’ and a lighter hammer replaced the original one. The result of the crack can be heard even now, every time the bell is rung on the hour just as the initial sound is fading.
We spent a couple of days in the
East End of the city with some friends of mine and Iris was highly amused at some of the characters she met.

We returned home to find new windows, a new central heating system, a new bathroom suite complete with a separate shower cubicle and a pot-plant left by the workmen in return for our leaving tea, sugar and cans of soup for them while they had been working.
Iris remarked that the shower cubicle looked big enough for two so that evening, we just had to try it. While it was big enough for two (just!) with a bit of a squeeze, there wasn’t a lot of room left for anything else other than washing! The only sad thing about the conversion was that there could be no more poems about making love in front of the “Flickering fire.” Several of my verses have mentioned it and it really was a romantic setting. However, having a spot of nookie in front of a radiator didn’t have the same ring to it somehow!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Downfall of a nationalist

The ex-leader of Sheffield BNP has fallen from grace and descended to an all-time low. Following his replacement as local organiser, he took up with a woman 20 years his junior and began an on-off relationship.Since then, he has completely changed. His daughter fled from home three days after her 16th birthday to escape from years of sexual abuse. He told everyone that she had stolen £1,000 from his bank account and left without saying a word. This was not true. Her father did indeed know she was going away and he even got her a suitcase out of the loft for her to use. The story of her theft of the money was utterly false! Since then, however, he has tried every way to get her back home, even to the extent of contacting the police, the FBI and the US Immigration Department.

His daughter, now 16, has every right to be free but he doesn’t see it that way. She is now happily settled with a caring loving family and has been accepted into the local community.
His new girl-friend suffered two pregnancies in four months; each time, he took her for an abortion. Some nationalist!
While she was recovering from her second termination, he went off on a ‘Gentleman’s holiday’ to
Thailand with some friends. It was there that he associated with transvestite prostitutes. (Ladyboys)
It was only through chance that his girl-friend, now his fiancée found out about it. This hardly cemented an already rocky partnership but she still moved in with him after all that!
Every shred of his nationalist principles has left him; every bit of decency he ever had has also gone. Below is the sort of creature that he was associating with on his
Thailand trip.

He is still, after all this time, trying his best to make his daughter's life a misery but he fails to understand that his control has completely slipped away and he has lost her forever. His daughter and her new family have proved once and for all that love will always defeat power and corruption!

And this was the man I once called a close and loyal friend!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back at last!

Hi folks...
Due to the crass stupidity of Talktalk, I've been off-line for about two weeks now.
I have several posts waiting to be published and I shall be putting them on the blog in due course.
Many thanks to Sarah for monitoring the blog while I was away.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I just thought that I would leave a posting to let all the readers of the blog know that Graeme is having internet trouble and does not know when he will be back online. I hope that it will be soon but that is down to his ISP. Please keep checking back to this blog, as I'm sure he'll post again as soon as he is back online.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Have you ever been to Bakewell?

Bakewell is one of the most beautiful market towns in Derbyshire nestling in the Peak District. It has a wealth of lore and legend and is famous for its Bakewell tarts; although they call them puddings there!
There is a plethora of “Olde Tea Shoppes” and antiques shops around and there are quite a few decent pubs in the town as well. There is a flourishing outdoor market with fresh produce on offer at very reasonable prices. All in all, it’s a very good place in which to spend a day out.
There is just one problem……. Parking!!!!!
Parking in Bakewell is nigh on impossible unless you use the public car-park across the river away from the town. It’s a good half-mile from the hub of things and takes all the pleasure out of going there. Besides, if I have to walk half a mile from the nearest parking slot, my interest in the place wanes immediately!
Traffic wardens in Bakewell have an inbuilt Radar system and will swoop out of nowhere to slap a ticket on any car that dares to park on the street. As far as private transport is concerned, Bakewell is a no-go area!
It’s a pity because I often go there to get meat from a purveyor in the market-place. The meat is of excellent quality and I usually get three or four large joints and a load of steak. I shall be going back there shortly to stock up on meat and also to get some nice tender liver for the cats. Tiffi goes crackers about liver and no doubt our little furry baby, Amber, will be just as keen once she’s tasted it. I shall be taking my younger daughter with me (Fran) so I suppose I’ll get stung into buying her lunch. She usually ends up getting a meal when I take her anywhere. Crafty lass, is our Fran!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

More Amber…

Amber is now starting to explore her surroundings and is taking an interesting all sorts of things. She has been wormed recently and this resulted in her not wanting to tish!

However, yesterday, I’m pleased to say that she had her first tish . Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the litter tray but under the table….. Guess who had to scrorm (lovely descriptive word) under the table to clean it up? Not to worry; that’s what kittens do.

More pics…

"I'm waiting for Graeme to come here."

"Wot's all this then?!

Hey, don't tell Tiffi but I'm in her place!!!"

Amber is now becoming really kittenish. She climbs up my knees and onto my lap then jumps across to Barbara. She is eating well and occasionally has been seen finishing off a few scraps that Tiffi has left!
B succeeded in getting both Tiffi and Amber together on her knee and a state of armed neutrality existed. They aren't exactly buddy-buddies yet but there's no real animosity. I reckon that time will smooth the differences.

More pics soon!

Friday, June 29, 2007

A different kind of cat!

Another little feline problem raised its head recently. A dear friend of mine now living in the US, asked me to do her a favour; naturally, I told her I would oblige.
I passed the request onto someone I know (or knew) thinking she would lend a sympathetic hand in helping me to do what I had been asked. All I wanted was for her to send me a pic of Monty, Sarah’s cat, that she had to leave behind when she fled home. Sarah really loved Monty and she was missing him. I just wanted a couple of photographs of him to send on to her. It wasn’t much to ask, surely!
Sadly, the help was not forthcoming; indeed, I never even got the courtesy of a reply. Unfortunately, without the aid of that person, I couldn’t fulfil my resolve to help.. It was no big deal and would only have taken a few minutes to accomplish. Instead, due to her insane hatred of Sarah, because she had the guts and determination to succeed after escaping a lifetime of abuse, the woman bombarded me with obnoxious posts, even to the extent of defaming the name of my late partner, Iris. She also complained to the police that I was harassing her!

Harassing her? She never complained about harassment when she came to me for money! She never complained when I was paying her bills for her and she never complained when I used to take her out for lunch when she said she’d not eaten that day as she had no food in the house!
In all honesty, I can say that I have never met such a vindictive and spitefully malicious creature in my life before.
May she descend into the pit and scream for all eternity!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Welcome home Amber!

The very first thing we did after our Scottish break was to look forward to picking up Amber from my daughter’s place. We had already got cat-litter trays and non-toxic wood-chip cat-lit. We had stocked up on kitten treats and we were going to get some special easily-digestible kitten milk. Unfortunately, on our return, due to torrential rain, many of the roads were flooded and consequently, we were late getting back. The roads were still impassable the next day so there was no chance of Amber coming.We were so looking forward to having her; it was a great disappointment when she couldn’t be with us. Tiffi, however, didn’t appear to be bothered about this. All she wanted was a cuddle and a treat after our absence. We hoped that the floods would abate and the roads would be clear very soon.

Today, Fran announced that the roads were now open and she’d be bringing Amber over this afternoon. Around 2.30pm, she walked in with a tiny ball of fluff in her hands and dumped it on my knee! Amber opened one eye, yawned and snuggled down on my chest She was home!

"What's in it for me?"

Fran with Amber

"This isn't the comfiest of places!"

These are the very first shots of Amber taken half an hour after she arrived. Don't worry folks, there'll be a lot more soon!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A nightmare journey!

Coming back from Scotland yesterday was really horrendous!
It was raining when we hit the M.90 around
Perth and continued while we navigated the labyrinthine ring-roads and by-passes of Edinburgh.
We had a break around Jedburgh where we had completed 200 miles and after that, the rain came down extremely heavy! The border at
Carter Bar on the A.68 was absolutely desolate; nobody wanted to stop to admire the view this day!
A big problem was the spray created by heavy traffic when we eventually reached the A1 north of Scotch Corner. We stayed for about half an hour at a ‘Little Chef’ pull-in for coffee and a rest.
When we eventually reached the outskirts of
Sheffield we found ourselves caught up in a three-mile long traffic jam due to some pile-up further ahead.
On entering the city, we were again held up for an hour due to excessive flooding of the roads. We never realised the seriousness of the situation until we got home and saw the news on TV. It made local and national prime coverage.

Even today, many roads in the city are impassable; schools are closed and public transport is badly affected. Meadowhall, one of the largest shopping complexes in Europe has been closed for two days due to excessive flooding.
Worst of all, my daughter lives in an area hit by the floods and she can’t get out to me and I can’t get over to see her so little Amber will not be here just yet.
Bugger it… I reckon I’m going to stay in and keep dry!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mandy Maureen Wright… (1962-1997)

Today I kept my promise to remember Sarah’s mum’s birthday and I placed a garland of twenty red carnations on her grave on behalf of Sarah; these were her favourite flowers. Sarah is strongly attached to her mother’s memory and it gives her much solace to know how much she loved her. I recorded the tragic death of Mandy earlier in my blog and Sarah has devoted a large portion of her forthcoming autobiography to her memory.

I know only too well what it’s like to lose a loved one; it leaves a gap that can never be filled. For them to be remembered down the years is one way of ensuring their immortality. May Mandy rest in peace knowing that she’s not forgotten.

On a lighter note, we shall be going up to Scotland for a few days tomorrow and I have made ample provision for the cats; both Tiffi and Amber. Tiffi will be cared for by a friendly neighbour who is as bonkers about cats as we are and Amber will be staying a little longer with her mum.
We shall be away from around the 20th to the 25th or 26th. When we get back, Amber will be ready to come to us! I can hardly wait!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Hi There,

I am just letting all the readers of this blog know that over the next hour or two I will be editing the background color of this page to make it easier on the eyes. I have already spoken to Graeme about this and he is happy with it. I thought I would warn you in case you came to visit the blog during the time of my formatting. The page may look rather strange until I am done.

Thank You for your Patience.

-- Sarah

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oi… Wot about me???

Hi folks, I’m Tiffi
For the past twelve years, I’ve looked after Graeme and Barbara. I’ve always let them share my home and I have tried to make their friends welcome whenever they call round.
it hasn’t been easy. I’m expected to be picked up and dumped on some stranger’s knee while they make stupid cooing noises at me and tickling me under my chin! I’m also expected to chase my ass off jumping up and down for a piece of string or playing hide-and-seek under a chair.
When visitors bring their little brats with them, I have to suffer the indignities of having my tail pulled, being wrapped up in a
scarf or put in a dolls’ pram.
A few days ago, I heard that there is another cat coming to share my
home. This is a very young kitten and I suppose it will be spoilt bloody rotten! I can just see it now; saucers of flaked chicken, special goats’ milk, a comfy little basket and endless silly baby-talk like “Oosaboofuls?” and “Gizzakiss.” It’s enough to make you puke!

I know exactly what will happen; the little pest will start clambering all over me thinking I’m its mum and expecting to be washed and groomed every few minutes. Anyway, this little pillock isn’t going to think it can do what it likes.
I’ll still expect my bit of space on the hearthrug and I don’t want the little horror trying to climb upstairs to sleep on my corner of Graeme’s bed. Furthermore, my usual place on the top of his printer is sacrosanct when I want to watch him on his computer. However, I presume I’ll have to make a few concessions but I’m still gonna be the boss and that’s that!
Gawwddd… It’s enough to send a cat out on the tiles all bloody night!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cat-lit... The new menace?

This was sent to me by an old friend who has always been a firm supporter of environmental issues. It provides food for thought about a problem that few of us ever considered.
Thanks, Bev, for bringing this to our attention.

"Re cat litter - I don't know what kind you use/have picked but an RVT (reg. vet tech) on-line friend of mine in the US is passing this onto everyone she knows who has cats. The DVM she works for apparently has inside information to back this up and she will be passing this on when she has permission. I have her permission to cross-post.
Not only is cat litter unsafe for the environment; according to the Bureau of Waste Management, approximately 8 billion pounds of kitty litter is dumped into landfill sites every year! Apparently that is over twice the amount of disposable diapers! Not only this! Clay cat litter is made from silicon particles which explains why there is dust produced with clay litter. Silicon particles, as we know, are a known carcinogenic and that means breathing in these particles can not only cause cancer, but also respiratory diseases. This is according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

When your cat goes to cover his waste, the dust is kicked about everywhere; the dust becomes an invasive intruder. Research has shown that silicon particles do indeed cause cancer-like symptoms in laboratory rats but so far, there is no data available to say if it does the same in cats. However, there does exist evidence that silicon causes problems in humans. Case studies have also shown that cats with respiratory problems have 6 times the amount of silica in their lungs than healthy cats. If this is what’s happening to cats then just imagine what it’s doing to humans who have twice the lung capacity. The studies are overshadowed by the needs of cat owners and the availability and ease of using cat litter. It has also been shown that kittens, because they lay down in the litter, are more at risk. Also because kittens then lick themselves clean."

On the face of it, this information is very disturbing. My own view is that although the amount of cat-lit dumped on landfill sites is a serious problem, my immediate concern is for the cats! I shall most certainly look for an alternative to kitty-training even if I have to replace the cat-lit in the tray with old newspapers until she is old enough to use the garden.
Comments please.

Friday, June 08, 2007

I was right!

Yup, no sooner had this posting been published then up pops Ruth with a plethora of abuse and hate-mail.
I accept that the woman is mentally unbalanced but surely even she must realise that her puerile messages get immediately deleted upon receipt.
Not to worry, my back is broad enough to take it and I even have the scars there from last time!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A very big thank you!

Quite a lot of interest has been shown about the new kittens on our local forum. It is now running to several pages in length.
I had quite a few suggestions for names for the kittens and two stood out from the rest. Both were very apt names..

I decided to show my appreciation to the two ladies who came up with the names and I sent them each a pendant. One was an amber pendant and the other was Jasper.
There was even a bonus in it… Both the ladies are charming and intelligent so I’ve made two new friends into the bargain!

I have no doubt in my mind that a certain reader of my blog will bust a gut trying to spread the poison around about this.

Go on, Ruth… Make my day!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Six weeks old today!

The little kittens are now six weeks old and are starting to grow up. They are lapping milk, eating a little solid food and learning to use the sh…. Sorry, litter tray!
I think that after another couple of weeks, we shall be welcoming one of the furry kits into our family and no doubt she’ll be smothered with cuddles and affection.
We have already bought her a basket, a litter tray, tins of kitten food and a few toys. (Are we crackers or what?)
It’s a long time since we had a tiny kitten to look after so we will be relying on past memory and good advice. I’ll keep you posted about Amber’s progress with plenty of pics

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A wedding

It was in June 1976 when Andrea dropped a bombshell.
Andrea, as readers will doubtlessly know, was my secretary, Girl Friday, second mother and close friend. I had inherited her from her previous boss about five years before and she was my right arm. She was a divorcee in her early forties and worth her weight in diamonds!
She came to me one morning and announced she was getting married again. This didn’t come as a surprise as I knew she had been thinking about it for some time. Now that her boy-friend had recently got his decree absolute, there was nothing to stop them.
I suppose it was selfish of me to think that they wouldn’t be starting a family and thereby losing Andrea but I was very relieved when she said that she wouldn’t be leaving.

That weekend, she and her fiancé held a small party for work friends and naturally, Iris and I were invited. The party was held in a pub we had all been to before and it was a very lively affair.
Andrea said that they were to be married in September, just three months away. In the meantime, they were buying a house and completely redecorating it.
Andrea had two sons; one newly-married and the other engaged but still at university. See blog March 2006) Her husband-to-be was an old friend of mine with no offspring and I was really glad they were finally tying the knot.
The wedding day dawned; it was bright and sunny. Iris and I were there to see them married and we watched as they drove away to a honeymoon in
Italy. Iris was a little weepy but that could have been expected. She was very happy for Andrea but couldn’t help feeling a little sad; weddings often do that to women.
Later that night, we went out for dinner. Iris wore the same costume as she had done for the wedding; she looked lovely and I told her so. She said she felt just as much married as Andrea was. She knew I loved her and that was all that mattered. This was typical of her; unselfish and devoted.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A very welcome reunion

A few weeks ago in early March, I literally bumped into an old friend I hadn’t seen for over five years. The lady, Vanessa, was a fellow-member of my Boat Club and we spent many a weekend together swanning up and down the Trent and the Humber. I have mentioned this lady in passing in my blog. (“A one-off” Jan. 22nd 2006)

We had both changed a bit since then but we are still close friends. I’ve always had a soft spot for Nessie, as she was known in the club, and it’s really good to be seeing her again. I first met her in 1987 when she and her husband had a boat moored near mine. Being members of the same club, it was only natural that we spent weekends together either in the clubhouse or on board our boats. A few years later she got divorced but continued her club membership even though hubby had got the boat and she settled for the house.
Nessie would join us on board for an odd weekend. She was a very useful crew member as she could navigate and man the VHF radio while Barbara was preparing meals, etc.
Shortly afterwards, she left the area to work in
Reading and I never saw her again until recently. We had kept in touch by the odd letter and phone call but it was a most pleasant surprise to meet her again.

Nessie has most certainly spiced up my life quite a bit as we share a common interest in things I am heavily absorbed in at the moment. She is delightful company and we celebrated our reunion with a dinner date. Where did we go? To the Pack, of course!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A slight little (furry) problem…

I’ve just realised that I’m going to be faced with a problem. In a few weeks’ time when we shall be going on holiday, there will be a very tiny kitten to look after. How we’re going to get round that one, God knows!
We always look after our daughter’s cats when they are away but it is quite easy for us as we have plenty of time and not restricted by regular working hours. My daughter and husband are in full-time work which makes it difficult for them to reciprocate when having to make a fifty mile round trip every time.
Normally, our immediate next-door neighbours look after Tiffi but they have moved recently and the house is now occupied by students. Whether or not they will oblige, I don’t know. Somehow, they don’t look the type to be concerned with domestic animal welfare. Tiffi, however, is no problem; she will wander up the lane to another neighbour three doors away, who will feed her and keep an eye on her. She will be able to come and go as she pleases via the cat-flap. The real problem will concern the little newcomer. The suggestion of a cattery for such a young kitten is totally unthinkable; as I said, I have a problem!

Any suggestions?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

To those who said she’d never make it!

When Sarah fled her home three days after her sixteenth birthday, the consensus of opinion was that she would be back within a month. She would be clamouring to return home, a sadder but wiser girl. Over six months have passed and although a lot wiser, sadness has never come into it!Sarah has bonded with her new family and is an accepted and respected member of her community.

There is a small selection of pics here to give you an idea of Sarah’s present lifestyle.
Eat your heart out!!!!

Sarah busy on her estate!

Planting out in her herb garden

Target practice!

Below is Sarah's pet snake

Don’t tread on me! Christopher Gadsden 1724-1805)

"And don't tread on me either!" (Sarah Cain 1990-?)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The long-awaited pics...

The kittens are not yet a month old and these are the very first shots of them.
They are still a little wobbly on their legs but they are so very, very, adorable!

This is Jet

Jasper, Jet and Amber

Here they are again!


Can you imagine anything more beautiful? I can't wait until Amber is old enough to leave her mum.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sarah… A happy outcome

At several points in my blog, I have made reference to a young friend who suffered greatly from abuse at the hands of her guardians. I never went into great detail and I never mentioned her name.
She had a very miserable childhood but for all that, she possessed a degree of intelligence that made her virtually a child prodigy.

She built her own PC at thirteen and was an acclaimed public speaker on the nationalist scene as a member of the Young B.N.P. Behind the facade, however, was a frightened bullied girl who was subjected to evil mind-control by an Internet paedophile. Sadly it came to a situation where she couldn’t bear her present environment any longer and three days after her sixteenth birthday, she ran away from home to a new life in the U.S.
She crept out of the house in the very early hours of the morning. (already having obtained flight tickets) got a taxi to the station, went to
Manchester Airport, boarded a flight to New York, changed airlines and flew to her new home in the Southern States. A valiant achievement for one so young!
Now, six months later, despite pathetic attempts from her father to disrupt her life, she’s a totally different person. Gone are the fears, gone are the nightmares and she is now settled with a loving and caring family.

At present, she is working on an autobiography of her young life. (warts and all!) When published, it will raise a few eyebrows! She is also speaking at local schools in the area on the subjects of Parental Abuse and Domestic Violence. She is well-equipped to speak as she has had a great deal of previous experience; it is only the subject matter that has changed. Her deliverance is as good as ever and she is now fast becoming recognised as a young counsellor for children who have suffered similar abuse that she did.
Sarah has picked up the threads of her life and woven a new rich pattern. She is living in a very beautiful surrounding and has taken to growing plants and herbs. She has also amassed a small menagerie comprising of a hamster, two doves, a dog, a cat and a rabbit. (Plus the occasional snake curled up in her rockery!)

From the frightened, abused girl that she was, has blossomed a young lady with confidence and the will and ability to enjoy life to the full. Very shortly, I shall be publishing a few pics of her in her new environment thus proving wrong, once and for all, the sceptics who said she would never make it!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tempus fugit!

This year seems to have flown! It’s the middle of May; another month and half the year will have gone! It’s time to think about holidays; where to go, what to see.
I have already planned to go back down to
Brighton and up to Scotland again. I love both these places although the Brighton journey via the M25 is a little boring and usually the road is choc-a-bloc with traffic. The Scotland run is quiet by comparison and there are several stopping-off places worth calling at.
I’m hoping for a trip back to
Germany if I can fit it in. I haven’t been there for about five or six years and I would love to see old friends again.

This first half of the year hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses but it certainly was an improvement on the previous year. To date, I’ve found a couple of old friends with whom I thought I’d lost contact.
One of them is an ex-member of the NF back in the early 70s and the other is a very charming lady I first met in the late 80s. I spent a very enjoyable weekend with Dave B and we reminisced about old times, old comrades and how things have changed so dramatically on the nationalist scene
I found the lady, Vanessa, (Nessie) as delightfully bubbly as ever and it was a great pleasure to see her again.
I have to plan the holidays with a little more thought this year. I have several prior engagements in June and July that I cannot defer so it will be a case of a few days here and a few days there, so to speak.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Missing you

.I haven’t published any poetry on here for some time now. Several readers have asked me to include some. I’m pleased that you like my verses so I shall oblige…

There was nothing as romantic as the nights we spent in front of the old coal fire on winter evenings. We would sit and stare into the flames and tell each other our dreams. They were warm, cosy nights and we were in love.
Recently, I happened upon a small country pub that had a cheerful fire burning in the grate. I hadn’t seen a coal fire for ages. I sat there in front of the fire with a drink in my hands and my mind slipped back thirty-odd years.
The flickering effect mesmerized me and I started thinking about those days so long ago. I just had to write about it.

Sitting by the fire…

I’m staring at the flames that dance before my eyes,
I’m gazing at the embers as they glow,
And I shed a tear or two as I remember you,
And I see you there as you were long ago.

I see you on a summer’s day; you’re looking up at me
And smiling, as I see you standing there.
I tell you how I miss those lips I used to kiss,
As the gentle breeze blows softly through your hair.

You’re in my heart, you’re in my dreams, forever by my side,
And thinking of you, turn to thoughts sublime,
And sitting by the fire, my heart fills with desire
To lie with you and love you one more time.

I look into those burning coals and think of times gone by,
When you and I did live and love as one.
And through the smoky haze, I can see those far-off days,
Alas, my love; they are forever gone!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Loved by all

When starting to write this account of Iris, I found myself in a quandary. Where do I begin? How can I explain why she was so very special? What did she possess that nobody else I had ever known have? Why was she so popular with all my friends and family? Why did they love her?
I have asked several people who are still around who knew her for their views.

To answer all these questions, I must start right at the beginning of our relationship when I first got to know Iris. At that time, she was just another girl whom one would pass in the street without so much as a second glance. She was a quiet mouse-like creature who hardly ever went out and for many years stayed at home looking after her idle semi-invalid mother who never worked in her entire life! However, for some reason I was instantly attracted to her; maybe it was because of her eyes. They were the most beautiful grey eyes I’d ever seen. I was mesmerized by them and from then on, I was smitten!
Iris wasn’t a dummy however. She was hard-working and held a responsible position as a shorthand typist with a commercial company in the city. She had studied shorthand at night-school after first joining the firm she worked for and soon became most proficient.
However, her social life was virtually non-existent before we met. I have explained this before in early posts in my blog, so regular readers will remember how it was.

At the time of our early relationship, the only people who knew about us were our very close friends; friends from work and social friends. Neither of our families was involved at this stage and it was over a year before they found out. Iris’s family were virtually non-existent and rarely contacted her. By that time, we were in a deep and lasting relationship.
I think the greatest quality of Iris was that she could readily adapt to any situation. This was a throwback from her childhood while in care. She realised from an early age that as a socially labelled ‘Deprived child’, she had to perform just that little bit better in her school work than the rest of her classmates. Fortunately for her, she was naturally intelligent and her school days were very happy even though she had been separated from her family. (see blog dated
Feb. 06th 2006, The early years)
When I first met Iris she was very withdrawn and not a good mixer. Apart from an unhappy on-off relationship that had lasted for around a year and fizzled out long before I met her, she never had a regular boyfriend. I remember the first few times we went out together; she was decidedly uncomfortable inasmuch that she wasn’t used to the attention she was being given. However, it wasn’t long before Iris blossomed out into an entirely different person who became instantly popular with my friends and acquaintances. A classic example was when my younger daughter first met Iris. She was immediately captivated by her even though it was long before she realised just how important she was in my life.

My mother, a stickler for family values also became very fond of her and accepted the fact that we were lovers despite her great affection for my wife. It was largely due to my mother that Iris became fashion-conscious. She had never really bothered about make-up and dressy clothes, as before we met, she never went out anywhere. After we became an ‘item’, she was mixing with my friends from work and with others and she gradually emerged from her shell. By the time mother and Iris met, (see blog May 20th 2006) she was taking great pride in her appearance and later, with mother’s help, she was encouraged to develop her social status; something she would never have dreamed of doing earlier. My mother wasn’t a snob in any way but she took Iris under her wing and introduced her to the ‘Coffee morning’ clique just as she had done with my wife several years earlier. I remember my mother taking her to be fitted for a smart costume. Iris had never worn anything like this before and she took to her new image like a duck to water! Mother was immensely proud of her ‘creation’ and they became firm friends until the day she died.
When eventually, my wife found out about Iris, it wasn’t long before she invited her to dinner and to join her in shopping expeditions. I once asked Barbara about how she felt towards Iris and she replied, “I can’t hate her or be jealous; she’s so very nice!” This was an opinion echoed by most of my friends who knew her.
Looking back, I realise I was so very lucky to have the three most important people in my life, my mother, wife and Iris in close harmony with each other.

Very soon after our relationship was cemented, every time I was invited out, it was always the same… “Will you be bringing Iris?” or if I went anywhere on my own, it was a case of “Where’s Iris?” We were accepted as a couple almost right from the start by all our friends
Iris was the first to help anyone in trouble. I suppose that this was due to her having had such a rough childhood herself. She was always there to lend an ear or to comfort. She was more than just a loving partner to me, more than just a good friend to others; she was a bloody saint!
Her funeral was attended by almost a hundred people; six from her family and all the rest were our close friends and work colleagues. This showed just how much she was loved.
Now, twenty-seven years after her death, she still lives on in my heart. I have a constant reminder of her in the form of a small photograph sitting on my desktop that I gaze at several times each day and I love her just as much now as I did all those years ago.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Kittens again!

When we finally get our new kitten, we shall have to remember how we coped the last time. We aren’t used to rearing kittens as most of our moggies adopted us when fully grown.
The only exception to this was over thirty years ago in 1975 when we took in a stray. It was in February of that year and I happened to notice a marmalade coloured cat sniffing round the back door one evening. This was when I was staying with Iris and neither of us had seen it before. It was obviously a stray as when we let it in (and who wouldn’t?) it gobbled virtually everything we fed it.
Iris told me that the cat looked as though it had been neglected for some time so we set about cleaning her up a little. It was then that Iris discovered she was heavily preggers! What were we to do? We had a cat already to look after, Smokie, who had been with us for about a year. She was used to being on her own during the day as we were both out at work but to take in another cat was going to be very difficult especially if she was going to give birth at any time.

Back at the family home, we had a large Newfoundland Labrador, as daft as a brush but no cats. I decided to take the newcomer home with me where it could be properly looked after.
I told a bit of a white lie to my wife saying I’d come across the cat near work and couldn’t leave it to wander about on its own. I omitted telling her of the suspected condition it was in! Barbara immediately fussed around the moggie and the dog,
Sheba, never batted an eyelid.
Surprise, surprise! Two days later after coming in from work, Barbara told me that the cat, now called Smudge, had given birth to four kittens! They were all various shades of ginger/black/white and the mother had taken them upstairs and kept them in the front bedroom in the ‘Walk-in’ wardrobe. (Some folks call it a clothes closet!) The kittens all survived and were visited every day by the dog, Sheba, who insisted on washing them until they looked like pieces of wet string!

To cut a long story short, we found homes for two of the kitties but the other two remained with us for the next twenty-odd years. I hope that our new kitten will enjoy life with us as much as they did! I dunno how Tiffi (our present moggie) will think about it but I reckon she will take it in good faith..
As soon as the kittens are old enough, I'll take some shots and post them on here

Friday, May 04, 2007

April in Paris Easter 1974 (Epilogue)

The mini-series has finally ended and I hope you enjoyed reading it.
That break was very memorable, as although it was only for a few days, we thoroughly enjoyed it. As I have said before, we had many holidays together and much longer ones but this one has always stood out as something special. I think that I got as much pleasure out of showing Iris the delights of the city as she got out of being there.
After our return, I did find a suitable venue where Iris could wear her beautiful scarlet dress for the first time and she looked an absolute picture! After her death, I took the dress away as I couldn’t bear to think of anyone else wearing it so I disposed of it in an incinerator along with several other items of her clothing. Mind you, after the ‘vultures’ had been round, there were precious few things left as I have mentioned before!

I have often been asked why Iris was so very special apart from the fact that she loved me so much.
I shall, in the course of the next few days, try to explain this ‘Special’ quality and the effect she had on my friends, my family and, of course, on me.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Kitten update...

I went to see the little kittens at my daughter’s place today. Only just over a week old and they have opened their eyes! They look absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait until they are old enough to leave their mother.
There are three of them; one black and two ginger. The black kitten and one of the gingers are toms. At present, there is no name for the black one but he already has a home waiting.
The ginger tom and queen will be called Jasper and Amber respectively. I think we shall finish up with Amber as my wife thinks a queen will get along better with Tiffi, our present cat.
I owe a big ‘Thank you’ to several people on our local forum for suggesting names. I have already chosen a couple of very suitable prezzies for the two who came up with 'Jasper' and 'Amber'.

Incidentally, this is the 200th blog I have posted since I opened it on New Year's Day 2006