Friday, 16 November 2018


Twelve years ago, almost to the day, I was busy painting and decorating the living room of the cottage
The previous owner preferred a somewhat minimalist palate, and so we were faced with a nasty laminate floor, Plain painted walls and a lonely log burner in an unadorned inglenook fireplace.
The place looked tired and soulless.
I found a carpenter of some note and had bespoke cabinets with glass doors designed and built either side of the chimney breast. These I painted a gentle green. A  old fashioned bannister rail was put in and I found an old kitchen door from a reclaimers yard in Penmaenmawr and hung it in the empty doorway to the kitchen. A new mantleshelf, I found in a local junk shop and an old neighbour wallpapered the walls with vintage Laura Ashley wallpaper.
I turned the look of the room from hard to a Miss Marple soft .
One morning, when I was painting the kitchen door a matching green, I heard Finlay ( our first Welsh Terrier) barking, I popped my head around the door and saw two old ladies peeping through the living room window.
They both jumped noticeably when I waved at them and did that surprised, hand wringing thing old ladies so often do when they are caught out at something.
The ladies were Olwenna Hughes and Gwyneth Jones, ladies well into their eighties.
I went to the door and introduced myself and asked them both to come in, I asked them to tell me a bit more about the cottage as I was sure their interest to see what I had done to the place stemmed from knowing about everything that went on the village.
Olwenna had been a small girl when she last entered the cottage. The cottage was owned by one of the few English families in Trelawnyd , and they ran a small coal merchants from the field opposite.Olwenna came regularly to learn piano from the daughter .
" What was the place like when you came , Can you remember it ?" I asked her and she remained quiet for a moment turning around the room stiffly with big swollen legs.
She pointed to our bookcase under the stairs and told me that that's where a small upright piano was situated " The rest of the room looks almost the same!" She mused " I remember the green cupboards well.... and the ticking clock and lots of little jugs up on the beams !" 
Olwenna craned her head upwards and pointed to a collection of my gaudy Welsh jugs just recently bought and placed, and smiled
By luck and design I had put back all of the original features of the room to its 1940 style...How weird was that?

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Lifestyle Blog

I'm needing to replace several items from the cottage and have to do it on a minuscule budget.
The kitchen needs a chair and I've been looking for one from eBay and Facebook for a while.
I found this one in nearby Holywell and it's hardly seen an arse . It only cost me 40£
I was cock a hoop.....even though I couldn't get it in Bluebell!
The woman selling it was clearing some stuff before a permanent move to Spain, so after She gave me tea and biscuits I'd also bought a hardly used microwave oven and a bread bin with a cartoon of a flamingo on it
Hey ho


Going Gently is seriously going off the boil ( some would say it never reached 100 degrees anyhow) all I seem to do recently is to kvetch about being suddenly single at the ripe old age of 56 or describe another vets trip with another sick animal.
I'm boring the tits off myself so bugger alone knows how you lot, dear readers are feeling.
So what little gem is the old fart going to share with us today? I hear you ask?
More whinging ? Another sorry tale of poor Mary's ear? ( btw we've been back to the vets this morning for more antibiotics and painkillers) more self indulgent emotional romps about feelings?
No dearhearts, I shall tell you a quick story about a young man in his early twenties from a rough part of town.
Last night I started to mentor a new Samaritan trainee who I will call Danny
Danny was keen and respectful and made his own notes as he listened to the callers' interactions with me. At one moment after we had discussed a particularly difficult call, we had a break and discussed when he would be free to complete his next shift.
Danny told me he had to juggle a few commitments but could do the shift I suggested. He explained that he held down two jobs as well as coping with a new baby at home but felt is important to continue his training.
With all of the bad press of just how young people of today behave here was a lad barely out of his teens who is going out of his way to do something worthwhile
As he explained
"You've just got to give something back in life"

Gypsophila and Mary's painkiller syringe

Wednesday, 14 November 2018


I know it smacks of nepotism but my fav neice ( in law ) is now a lifestyle coach and is, in my biased view , doing very well at it.
She has a blog here....if any of you fancy a look ( click below)
Link to Rebecca's Coaching Blog

Soul Wind

Our choir has a Christmas Concert to prepare for, and so our twelve year old choir master has given us all a CD each of our individual pieces so we can rehearse at home.
I haven't got a CD player at home so I have to practice in the car.

Got some strange looks in Tesco's car park today but I've practiced at the beach, on the hillside and outside fat club
The bass parts are not very sexy as you can hear...
Mary has been a bit depressed in her collar so I've taken it off just for the day.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018


I bought a fur lined fleece hoodie from Lidl yesterday
It's my favourite green and only cost £6.99
And I'm wearing it in bed right now
Albert is sat in the hood bit
And won't budge.....
why do cats like small spaces?
I want him to move cos I want to pull the hood over my head
I Took William to the vets again to review his ear polyp....he now  has a degree of heart failure
I had a serious talk to the vet about options given William's age
" You've been unlucky with your pets recently" the Spanish vet lisped
Never a truer word eh?
I bought him a hamburger all of his own on the way home
He bloody loved it

Bed early tonight.....I'm not very well....
I forgot to blog earlier and have just remembered
Hey ho

Monday, 12 November 2018

A New Walking Dead

New arrivals


The Walking Dead has moved on 6 years.
Subsequently everything and everyone has changed and suddenly we have a whole new show
A new group with its own backstory arrives, Judith Grimes has a friend in Neegan, Long haired super mom Carol is a complete bad ass when she needs to be and we even have a baby Rick in the making just before the undead start talking!
The show has a new spring in it's step and it's great


My mother before the twins were born ( with my brother Andrew)

I've never really nursed anyone who might of known my parents before.
The woman I was giving insulin to the other day certainly remembered my father and my uncle, even though she mixed their names up. She recalled memories of my father's electrical shop in Prestatyn and even mentioned my fraternal grandmother so it was with some surprise when I spoke of my mother my patient said with all of the innocence of pre senile dementia " She was a bit of a secret drinker!" 
Even at the age of 56, I blushed crimson with shame.
I had never , ever heard anyone outside of my family that  acknowledged that my mother was an alcoholic before and a long forgotten embarrassment roared forward like a rogue wave on a beach as I was suddenly twelve years old and standing in front of my mother who was " asleep" on the couch.
Only the children of an alcoholic will understand the mixed emotions of shame, guilt, embarrassment and concern which have been piled upon young shoulders.
All emotions that could not be verbalised in a1970s household which never spoke about anything important
Last year when I went to help Chris choose some new glasses, we chatted to the optician who as it turned out knew my father very well. I asked if he remembered my mother and Chris chipped in with a joke along the lines of  "most of the Off licences in our home town did".
It was a silly joke not meant to insult or hurt, and came on the back of a history of me always making light of something so very dark, but the comment, said in front of a stranger stung me to the point of angry tears and I had to leave the conversation tight lipped and furious.

I don't know just what is worse for a child to cope with. The uncertainty and emotional rollercoaster of having an alcoholic parent or the secrecy and shame which is often handed out silently to everyone involved.

I put away the needle from the insulin pen and rearranged my patient's clothing
" She was an unhappy lady for a long time " I answered and the patient nodded
" All very sad!" She replied absently

Sunday, 11 November 2018


At two thirty Winnie, Mary and I went to the rememberence service at the village war memorial. We were slightly late to stood quietly to one side as the vicar gave the service bilingually . 
There was the usual faces there, with representatives from the Community council as well as the likes of Mrs Trellis , Pat the animal helper, Woolly knickers and Alun who had spearheaded the rejuvenation of the memorial cross .and as usual it was all rather moving.
We got home at three and I had just enough time to wash my face before driving over to Chester for a bit of culture

There is something so well thought out about Chester's Storyhouse .Built in and around the old Art Deco cinema which stands alongside the town hall , the complex is part Community centre, part library, restaurant, bar, cinema and theatre and so much more All flowing gracefully into one mash that works so well
I love the place.
At 6pm on a Sunday night the place was buzzing, with the restaurant and cafe library filled with students at their laptops, and punters like me with their coffees and wine. Several tables were filled with geeks playing board games and the cinema, theatres and meeting rooms all seemed to be full..

Patrick Gale was quite a charming and entertaining man. Of course he was there to plug his latest novel, but he was wry and funny and rather sweet. He is the kind of guy you'd love to be invited to dinner by. 
I was surprised that there seemed to be so few gay men in the audience given his general subject matter.
There were perhaps 120 in the audience and as we left the auditorium I got a chance to thank him for his talk..." Have you read the book?" He asked me as I filed past and I had to say honestly " I've not read any of your books yet"
He laughed at that and sang out "How refreshing" 
Which I thought was nice

Moon River

Last night on Strictly

I deleted the previous post, I was getting mawkish. Moon River remains and will always remain the most perfect of film songs.
It's a miserable looking day and me and the troops have gone back to bed for an hour.
Think I shall go to the Storyhouse  in Chester today to hear a talk by the writer Patrick Gale who wrote Man in an orange Shirt
and I shall sit in a trendy cafe with a flat white.

Saturday, 10 November 2018


I went to see the much lauded crime film Widows tonight, and although it wasn't quite what I expected, it proved to be a stylish thriller which relied heavily on the performance and presence of the actors involved rather than just plain action.
The main plot revolves around Veronica ( Viola Davis) the wife of an armed robber who had been killed alongside his henchmen after completing their final robbery. Caught up between the corruption within a black versus while Mayoral contest she conscripts two other of the gang's widows ( Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki ) and later a self assured babysitter single mom (Cynthia Ervio) to complete her husband's final planned heist .
The women all have different agendas in the operation and Director Steve McQueen tells their stories economically but incredibly effectively, with Davis' central performance being a standout. Rodriguez gives the quartet some dignity while Debicki 's second generation Polish moll is incredibly moving as she realises that she is worth more than just being a high class hooker, a job arranged for her by her mother. Coming late into the story is Ervio who says little but who provides a wonderfully physical performance as Belle, she's one to watch
There is some graphic violence and an incredibly evil turn by Danial Kaluuya as a grinning henchman.....oh and Colin Farrell and Robert Durvall turn up too ( a bit irritatingly for me) as father and son mayors....


I was reminded of the Welsh folktale about Gelert the loyal hound this morning.
His story is written on a stone monument in Bedgelert North Wales and goes thus:-

""In the 13th century Llewelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, ‘The Faithful Hound’, who was unaccountably absent.
On Llewelyn's return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son, and saw the infant's cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood.
The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound's side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog's dying yell was answered by a child's cry.
Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but nearby lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here".
The living room looked like a charnel house. Winnie, asleep in the armchair had blood all around her mouth, there was blood on the carpet and couch and Mary's cone of shame was rancid with it
No Winnie had not bitten off Mary's ear, she had only tried to lick off the blood after the stitches gave way........
Another trip to the vets, another cone of shame and another couple of stitches .

Friday, 9 November 2018

No Go Aisle

I try not to walk down one aisle in our local Tesco
It depresses me too much.
It's the aisle where the discounted food is piled up and it is the place that at times there seems to be a genuine scrum for food at knock down prices.
Sometimes there seems to be a genuine tension in their air as people jostle and push past each other, and I am fairly certain that it is a more recent phenomenon given the fact people seem poorer today then they did.
Money is a worry to us all.
I still haven't been paid as yet and my first shift was September 28th.
William's Meds alone are 59£ a month and Bluebell has chugged down the petrol like a cheap whore in a bar since Mary had her surgery. Surgery that has to be paid for by now rising insurance premiums
It's a worry all of us have, I guess juggling balls and paying bills.
But most of us are lucky....I thought this today when I was in Tesco buying cheap cocktail sausages ( £3 for 70!!!!!-btw the cocktail sausage is the ideal shape in which to hide painkillers antibiotics and allergy meds)
I was in the aisle of discount madness when one of the staff brought her trolley full of cheaper goods to the fridge shelf . Before she had even started to arrange the food two women started to jostle each other to the best bits, and that jostle turned to raised voices and even more pushing.
How worried, or desperate or unhappy or just skint do you have to be to start a fight over a packet of cheap beef?

Ps. You may note that my Trump post of the other day has been removed. As it can so often be, it was hijacked by different agendas and by an unwanted visitor and the ill feeling generated isn't something I need this week. 

Police Stop

I was stopped by the police on the way home from Samaritans an hour or so ago
It was just past midnight and I took the roundabout at Rhuddlan a little too fast in Bluebell 
The policeman was polite and workmanlike and of course I passed the breathalyser
It's the second time I've been tested driving home from the centre
I told him I had been on duty at Samaritans  and we chatted briefly about the lack of take up of support given to the police after rather difficult  cases.
I suggested that Rhyl Sams could support the local police department better than the existing protocol and he said it was probably a good idea....but he stopped short by adding " What do you think of Rick being kidnapped by Jadis?" 
I frowned feeling a bit lost but he pointed to my chest
I was wearing my BEST. Walking Dead T Shirt.!!!
Well it was in fact my second best Walking Dead T Shirt