Sunday, 29 May 2022


 It’s a grey morning, and wet.
Even though is almost summer, it feels like Autumn.
It feels like a back-to-school day.
I’m not making my bucket of coffee this morning. I will buy some on the drive through as a treat.
I’m working with new bank staff today.
We are short staffed again
Healthcare feels as though it’s gone tits up following the pandemic 
I was talking to Nu about it yesterday 
So many nurses have left, retired, resigned, moved on….burnt out and tired.
She worked in the big teaching hospitals in London
She knows.

Dorothy knows I’m going to work and is unhappy .
Thank god for Ewan ( Trendy Carol’s hubby) who will be collecting them soon.
Dorothy loves him too

Saturday, 28 May 2022


This is my favourite view of one of the roads into Trelawnyd
Cwm Road from the South.
My cottage is the at the end on the left
It’s heading towards dusk but is warm and peaceful 

I had a date today. 
Just a walk and a coffee along the prom.
There was no spark although Dorothy seemed to like him.

I thought about it all I walked up the lane towards home.
Animal helper Pat, stopped to chat .
So we laughed a bit and I forgot what I was thinking about
Nothing important


Catch Up

 Like the meaning of the song Send In The Clowns, I’ve always been baffled of just how untidy my cottage becomes when I am on a run of long shifts.

It looks like a midden.
I’ve just worked two long days and today is my day off between two more.
And so it’s  a cleaning day.
Doors and windows open
Music on
Tidying and cleaning is a repetitive, mindless and also mindful chore
Everything ordered 
Everything in its place
Albert’s snot marks on his window refuge gone
The sad underpants in the wash
And with the kitchen smelling magnificently of lemons and bleach 

Friday, 27 May 2022

Full Circle


60 Some Thoughts


I know it’s such a boring platitude but I have to say the words always said at these times…
Where does the time go?
I’m writing this at 5 am Albert and I are the only ones awake. Dorothy is gently chewing my pj bottoms, she’s dreaming she’s a puppy

Where did the time go?

I couldn’t tell you…I really can’t.

So , I have been reflecting …….like you do .
I’m reflecting until Wednesday when it actually hits me albeit gently ….square in the face
On the 1st , I’m working all day and we are short handed
I won’t have time to feel anything but fucked.

Here are just 20 thoughts, thoughts in the middle of the night just after Dawn 

1. Working where I do has made me realise that people who “hate getting old “ are idiots. 
You are allowed to hate becoming ill, becoming infirm , becoming depressed ….but don’t hate getting old.
I am lucky reaching 60 , I know that, and I am grateful.

2. Memory is a fickle friend. 

3. Strangely as it may seem sex is better now  than when I took it for granted ….however it is unfortunately more infrequent 
( refer to point 2!)

4. Certain memories last a lifetime and they will never leave you……I dip into a score as I lay in bed….
1968 Janet and I doing Tarzan impersonations out of our bedroom window. 1972 my grandmother smelling of love and cold cream 1973 my first viewing of The Poseidon Adventure 1980 a family party at Ann’s house. 1992 …..getting drunk with Nu in a Galway pub…… Dancing on a Sheffield hospital roof in the dark 1996 seeing New York City  from the air 
2002 meeting my first dog Finlay…..true love 
2015 getting married, 2016 Watching the cor de ballet in Giselle at the Royal Opera house 
Salsa dancing in Sheffield 

Happiness….a flash of realising I was happy, truly happy .

5. Being a nurse …and seeing people at their very best often when they are experiencing their very worst .
6  Now realising that when someone starts a conversation with “;I’m not being ……”; they always are

7 Actions always speak louder than fucking words

8 I miss not being a dad but I can now be a cool sort of uncle and grandadish …..a couple of weeks ago My “teenage” nephew Leo texted after a date and excitedly told me he’d just had his first kiss. 
It made me insanely happy.

9 friends are life …but at 60 they start to leave you…please treasure them

10. The Walking Dead needs a Uk Version, and I soooooo want to be in it 

11. I no longer have to pretend to put up with bad behaviour , bad music, bad films or toxic people 

12. I Don’t expect good news coverage on breakfast tv. I say what I think more  when I deal with any services and I won’t put up with shitty management at work 

13. Never talk about politics, gun law or post a seemingly innocuous blog without thinking about it on line. And if I do, expect a load of shitty responses 

14 I now recognise that real friends are real in so much that they don’t rationalise affection or praise or support. They just accept you. 

15 sleep if you can in an afternoon….every afternoon.

16 what did we ever do without phones and internet ?

17. Don’t be unloyal to yourself . I’ve done  it for too many years now. Don’t do things you don’t want to do. Don’t be what you don’t want to be and don’t expect others to do the same 

18  Eat a scotch egg , when I bloody well want one 

19  if you love someone , tell them . Tell them as often as you can 

20  to now move forward into my 61st  year by embracing a new skill ( professional counselling ), a new career , and new experiences …..I realise that inkind of deserve it ….

Hey ho, I’m almost sixty 

And I’m off to work…….soon……
So wish me a happy birthday next Wednesday  , I’m shallow enough , to enjoy every single comment 

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Tidy Up

I’m working the next four out of five long days ( the hospice is getting the most of me before I go part time in four weeks) so I may not be blogging every day. We are so short staffed, a symptom of post covid too, me thinks ….so many nurses have left nursing after the last two years 

In health care masks are still to be worn and it’s playing havoc with my beard which has morphed from being a trimmed goatee to something like Father Christmas would be proud of,

Perhaps I will leave it and wear purple, and shout in the street…..I’m 60 on Wednesday


Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Herbivore & Benediction


The cafe in Chester’s Storyhouse doubles as a library and a study area. Consequently it is always busy with tables filled with students on their laptops and diners eating Trendy bites.
I found a table only frequented by one academic type at his computer and asked if I could share. He readily agreed and made room for me when I returned with my Americano. 
As I sat down the man pointed to my T-shirt and asked if I was being ironic
I told him that I was but added that most herbivores were big boned.
He laughed and said he wasn’t inferring anything.
The man was slim and smart and was in his forties. He looked Middle Eastern or perhaps Egyptian but had a crisp radio 4 accent.
I looked at my phone and I could feel him looking at me. 
We fell into an easy conversation .
He asked me what I did for a living and mentioned he had done some work in Chester’s Hospice collecting recorded thoughts and reflections from patients. I shared that I had done the same from older residents in Trelawnyd .
We discussed the use of memory boxes in hospice care ( they are boxes of memories some patients like to prepare for their loved ones to reflect upon after their death) and my companion shared that he’d often thought about videoing messages for his children to see after his death .
As I sipped my coffee, he looked at his watch and said he had to go.
“ You have a happy face” he said as he gathered his bag and I laughed in genuine surprise 
See you again in here” he said before leaving.
And he left me pleased and intrigued

The conversation was as refreshing to me as a very cold beer is to a tired man on a very hot day.

Jack Lowdon

I went to see the rather sad drama Benediction which is the story of the wartime poet Siegfried Sassoon from his invalided exit from the army, his subsequent unhappy relationships with Stephen Tennent and Ivor Novello, through an unhappy  marriage ending with his conversion to Catholicism as an older man .

The narrative, especially the ones of the wartime years, is told in a series of cinematic tableaux where music and poetry, photographs and live action build a picture of a man haunted and angered by the horrors of war but as the story moves towards Sassoon’s search for love the plot becomes a little more traditional.

Jack Lowdon is impressive as the angry and eventual rather lost Sassoon. Mathew Tennyson is heartbreaking in his short but pivotal role as the gentle Wilfred Owen who Sassoon meets in the Scottish “neurological/ psychiatric” hospital and Ben Daniels gives the bleak first half some warmth as his role of Dr Rivers, a gay psychiatrist who sees the world with some welcomed benign pragmatism 

Terence Davies has produced an impressive but overwhelmingly sad film about failure, survivor guilt and sexual shame.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Tender Heart

I didn’t finish choir tonight. 
I was stood next to the village hall’s burning hot radiator and it set me coughing my post covid cough and made me feel quite faint.
We had finished the tricky Tender Heart so I sat outside listening to the singing before coming home. 
I only missed 20 minutes.
Heulwen from the tenors, called in this evening to check if I was ok. 
I had told fellow bass Brian I was taking some air but I’d forgotten he’s deaf in his right ear.

I bought a hydrangea and some bedding plants for Trendy Carol today as a thank you for dog sitting.
Tomorrow I’ve booked a ticket to see Benediction 
CBM measured the patio dimensions and will give me a quote for the new roof.
He liked how I’ve titivated the bathroom


The Ladies


Lady Eleanor Butler (1739-1829) & Sarah Ponsonby( 1755-1831) are well known in North Wales as the famous Ladies Of Llangollen. Famous just as much today as they were in the 1800s, these two recluse eccentrics moved to Wales from Ireland to set up a home together at Plas Newydd in what was always presumed ( but never really proved) in a lesbian relationship.

Last night I went to see the premier of Celebrated Virgins, a new play by Kati Elgin Salt . From the get go the play informed the audience that it was going to redress history by telling the true story of Eleanor and Sarah from their privileged Irish start to their goldfish bowl existence in the picturesque Welsh town of Llangollen .
I will try not to give much away but the play has two very differently paced halves. The first is set in Ireland and effectively sets up the meeting of these two amazing women where as the second , and lighter half looks at their lives in Wales. 
There is much marching around the stage by the cast , which is a bit distracting , but the love affair between Eleanor ( Victoria John) and Sarah( Heather Agyepong is rather movingly told to be honest but I must admit Emma Pallant steals the show with her duel handed role as Sarah’s adopted mother and as the Ladies’ foul mouthed personal Irish maid who kept the two women afloat financially when she died in service .Her asides to the audience provided the much needed humour of the play. 

It’s such a privilege seeing the opening night of a new play. 

I’ve already twitted my thanks to the actors involved and I hope it does well.

Two old broads with tiny feet

Monday, 23 May 2022

Borders Of White

 Almost overnight the lane outside the cottage has been bordered with wild flowers.
Predominately white at the moment but the red valerian is making a comeback in between the cow parsley and the aubretia which has survived some over zealous grass cutting by the council workmen.

The lane is softened by the white drifts of flowers and May into June is the best time for the garden too with eight types of aquilegia lifting the borders into pastels once again.
I got up early today walked the dogs then naughtily went back to bed at 10 am 
I’m now up and around and feel better for the catch up after working the weekend.
Tonight I’m meeting a friend for some historical lesbian drama at Theatre Clwyd
It’s about the famous Ladies Of Llangollen so I suspect there will be no bodice ripping in sight.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Chairs and Carpets


I was late home tonight.
I witnessed a road accident in Colwyn Bay and stopped to help.
The girl was ok in the bashed mini but I had quite a lot of blood on my hands from a laceration on her knuckles 
She told me I looked like her dad as we waited for the police 
She was in shock 

I needed the last of my Christmas gin when I got home.
The bats were out in force in the lane as the dogs returned 
My friend Nigel sent an email about his birthday gift to me 
We have the same birthday 
Under his message was one from a furniture company 
I bought a chair from them  a few months ago and they cheerfully told me that it should be delivered tomorrow
A friend had a similar one and I loved the way it felt when I sat in it 
I’m a sucker for nice chairs 

Just the living room carpet to change,
I’ve toyed with a hardwood floor
But you bloody well  can’t have slippy floors with bulldogs around……

They just can’t fucking corner