Thursday, 6 January 2022

Sexing Camilla ( a revisit)

 No news. On night shift so I will post an old post from way back in 2013

Sexing Camilla

My profession (aka. Paid job) is as a wildlife ecologist,so I can finally offer you some professional advice John! Since Canada geese are not sexually dimorphic (they have the same plumage), in order to tell the sex of the bird you have to get up close and personal with them. This entails grabbing the goose, putting it on its back between your legs on the ground with the head tucked under your body and pressing hard with your thumbs on either side of the vent/cloacal opening. If it is a gander, a corkscrew shaped appendage will pop out. If not, you have a female. On goose banding days we do hundreds of them at a go. We also do bag checks of duck hunters and it is much easier sexing a dead goose than a live one!

So said the delightful Sherry from Spinners End Farm and this morning I took her advice, grabbed Camilla/ Charles ( delete when appropriate) when I let the animals out of their houses and in one swift movement popped the goose on his back and straddled him.
Everything was going swimmingly, even though Camilla was honking like an express train, and I was just about to flex the old thumbs around the aforementioned cloacal opening when all hell let loose.

I had just had time to turn my head to the right when I was hit in the face by a flurry of claws, beak and red feathers.
No doubt spurred on by Camilla's distress calls, Eric the diminutive cockerel had suddenly decided to go all super hero and batter the shit out of me, and luckily for him I was in an ideal position ( with my hands busy) not to be able to defend myself.
Eric got several more karate chops in before I made a run for it.
Camilla remains unsexed
And I got my arse well and truly kicked by a six inch high cockerel

Wednesday, 5 January 2022



It took a great deal of self control but I have just placed the last two F&M scotch eggs in the freezer.
Out of sight, out of mind.
I’m back on nights for three, then I’m on holiday
It’s back to healthy eating and health lifestyle from today.
I made a huge batch of spiced coleslaw which will keep for a week as it is sloshed in lemon juice and made a massive Korean noodle chicken salad with lashings of coriander which can be eaten hot or cold over the next few days.
I haven’t left the cottage , except to walk the dogs and missed Mona from Ochr Y Gop’s funeral which annoyed me greatly. 
Too bloody full of myself with London to find out! 
Hey ho
No other news to report. 
I’ve chased up the heating engineers , the weather has turned colder and this morning I lamented my usual forgetful nature when needing  my gloves whilst out.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

London II

Slightly hungover this morning.
So after an extra long hot shower, I ambled in the rain and the deserted London streets across Chinatown, down to Piccadilly. 
Fortum&Mason’s restaurant 45 Jermyn Street is a very elegant place indeed and Nu was sitting waiting for me when I got there. 
It was lovely to catch up in person and I felt very decadent eating kedgeree and sipping very strong coffee in one of the red leather booths.

Following breakfast, I left Nu to go to Pilates and did some book shopping, before hiding in from the rain in a coffee shop before meeting Steve from
Who was charming and funny and allowed me to monopolise the conversation with typical Southern politeness.

On the way home x
( I treated myself to two F&M scotch eggs for tea………bloody nectar truffle scotch eggs 19£ for four)

Monday, 3 January 2022

British Film Institute Bar

 Too many beers , lots of film talk


 It’s just past 2 pm and already I feel I’ve done lots.
My favourite sushi place Tobiko on Garrick Street is closed so I’ve ordered take out from sushisamba  in Covent Garden and am eating it outside my hotel before going to meet my friend Alex
As it happened my decision to come to London was sort of governed by a vague invite to attend an old friend’s celebratory memorial which took place at noon today in a knackered old church hall in South Camden. 
My friend who died back in December was an old medical colleague who got back in touch with me through Facebook three years ago. 
He was quite seriously ill, back then and our correspondence through messenger, had become quite regular, at times profound, and sometimes, oh his part, regretful.
I’m not saying anything more about this , except I was glad I attended. The celebrant, galvanised the small and very eclectic “ congregation” quite wonderfully and minutes after 1pm, I was walking past the British Museum 
Quick shower then out to the South Bank where the book stalls are all out and busy with browsers 

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Rita Moreno - Somewhere

I predict Moreno will win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the same filmed story 50 years apart.

In Darkness


In darkness you can hide and get lost and be invisible and be intimate.
You can be yourself without the glare of eyes, of judgements, of shame or of ridicule.
You can sit back in a darkened cinema and loose yourself.
You can disappear too and never be seen

Thirty years ago I danced with some friends on the top of a multi-storey hospital at night
A backdrop of lights worthy of Manhattan in South Yorkshire.
I’ve remembered it before. 
Without a care, 
without self consciousness 
Joyous silliness,
dancing shadows against the skyline

Three years ago in choir.
A hard song made easy by sudden darkness.
No awkward glances at each other, no worries about harmonies
Voices that lifted the beams of the village hall 
Worthy of anything seen on stage

Forty years of monthly night shifts, all possessing a different pace to days
Some bad, most ok.
Occasional sleepless nights of worry where the dark drags too long and too silently
A few family bedside vigils where silence whines.
Childhood nightmares, 
sick in plastic blue buckets.

Holiday views from balcony, windows and warm Spanish beaches.
Shadowing Fruit bats circling the Sydney Opera house like chattering eagles.
Last night a faint misting of rain on West Shore with the roar of an ink sea
Last week drinking coffee in the black of an afternoon cinema was bliss
Last millennium shy sex with the curtains shut    

Just a few thoughts last night 

Whilst driving to work …..
in the dark

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Letters after Your Name

 I slept from 9 until 1. 
Then a combination of bright sunshine through a chink in the curtains and bulldog restlessness woke me up, forcing me to take the dogs into the garden.
I spoke to Heulwen and Derek , Wendy and Mr B all enjoying the sun in the Lane 
I could tell Mr B was reading the words on my T shirt.
It was a Christmas gift from my nephew 

The Queen’s New Year honours list was out last night.with Chris Whitty,Dame Jenny Harris, Joanna Lumley, Daniel Craig 
Film director Paul Greengrass, Vanessa Redgrave and bloody Tony Blair amongst the recipients. 
For those who scoured the list of awardees, you may of overlooked one name Tim Walkden Williams who as it turns out is my brother in law.
He is now an M.B.E ! 
How good is that ? 

Back to bed xx

Happy 2022

 Just on midnight

Friday, 31 December 2021

Happy New Year

I’m not a fan of New Years Eve
This has not always been the case, but since 1989 and the death of a close friend in last throes of the year I have not really had the energy to revisit old festivities.
I think this is a shame , but it’s been done and dusted and out of choice I have always volunteered to work through New Years Eve.
Tonight is no different. I’m working nights tonight and tomorrow. 
Perhaps it’s almost time to revisit the evening albeit in a very different form.

And so what do I wish for 2022?

It’s not rocket science but all I want is a happier, less isolated time 

That’s not unique to me, so I should really add that I also want a healthier time…2021 has not been too great on that score, and I’m a little tired of negotiating medics through the veil of covid and tiptoeing my way through hospital corridors .

I also want to stop feeling sorry for myself at times
It’s easy to do this when you are single 
And I bang on about that too much.
I have to stop associating being single with being lonely. 

I am so lucky.
I have friends and family and lots of them. 
I just have to take advantage of things and of time more effectively
I guess that’s a resolution of sorts

So in that vein, and covid permitting I’ve decided that I’m going to London on Monday.
I’ve just booked my usual hotel. 
My friend Alex is in town and I’ve just had a message from Nu to say she can meet me too
The trains will be a nightmare but fuck it 

I’m starting the year as I mean to go on

Be nice to each other, be kind, be well……

….Happy New Year

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Sex And The City ( spoilers)


Episode 4 set the girls up with their new friends, oh and with Stanford’s ( clumsy) leaving so I was interested to see where episode 5 was going to go.

Episode 5 was a powerful piece all told…with more depth than many of the fluffy bunnies give it credit for.
The girls’ lunch  ( with Anthony acting as Samantha) was really joyous 
Carrie has hip problems, a fact that underlines that everyone is getting old and her  solid-as-a-rock relationship with a drunk Miranda is put to the test when Miranda has a dalliance with Che( Sara Rameriz)

Charlotte is dealing with her daughter’s gender identification as well as coping  with Carrie’s post op peeing, Miranda is suitably sexually confused, while Carrie is high on post on drugs and Anthony steals the show with his impersonation of Baby Jane Hudson 

The series is morphing into something more complicated and grounded now. With everyone older and slightly more flawed. The scene with Miranda orgasming with Che while poor Carrie has to pee in a bottle in the next room  underlines this beautifully and the subsequent interaction between Miranda and Carrie is incredibly moving 

It’s all a bit less frothy at times now but when we get older , don’t we all get less frothy ? 

Answers on a postcode please



The weather is atrocious today.
It’s wet and blustery and the village feels hunkered down underneath the protection of the Gop Hill to the north. 
It’s a day to pull up the drawbridge, which I have done.
My sister sent up a portion of casserole which is heating up on the stove.
I’ve made dumplings to add to it. 
Proper suet dumplings with lots of dried thyme and garlic .

I’ve read ( Alan Cumming’s  Baggage an excellent read) watched bits of  Les Miserables on stage, pottered with paperwork and walked dogs where we dodged the showers with some alacrity .

I’m going to make a few phone calls to friends later, watch SATC and get my feet licked to death

Ps Thank you Donell for you card and gift x 

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Llandudno 3 pm ish

 I was walking back to my car when I heard a sing song Welsh voice say “ Hello John!” behind me.
A woman pushing an expensive looking baby buggy had just crossed the road .
She looked familiar but I didn’t know who it was at first.

Initially, I thought she was a relative of a hospice patient, but I wasn’t sure
She was, in fact,  my divorce solicitor .
I hadn’t seen her for over two years.

She asked me how I was and I confirmed that I was fine, working full time and doing ok
“ How are your dogs ?” She asked “ The Scottie who was so poorly? “ 
I thought it strange that she had remembered George so well and I updated her briefly whilst keeping things light
“ Do you know that you worried me more than any other of my clients have ever done ” she admitted, suddenly serious. 
I laughed nervously and asked her why that was
You were so crushed when I first met you “ she said.  “all you were worried about was keeping all those dogs safe at home” 
And she squeezed my arm when I told her I had a “new” rescue bulldog 
I’m not surprised…..” she said, before we parted, “You do look so different now….so much lighter”

She didn’t resemble the “cut throat “ solicitor described by my mediator either.

This meeting caught me on the hop,so to speak…….to see yourself through someone else’s eyes, especially by someone who doesn’t really know you is always a tad emotional .

I shook her hand and said thank you.
And remembered that I had not managed to thank her before

My favourite photo of George, the year he died 

Day Out


I didn’t want to sit and read a book
I wanted some breeze on my face 
I wanted to see people.

I took myself off to the Mostyn Gallery which was holding an exhibition called The Ultimate Kiss by Jacqueline de Jong. 
I’m not a fan of avant-garde and so DeJong’s early work depicting erotic and violent scenes with hybrid monsters did bother me. But her later pop art work with its cheerful , jolly colours was eye catching, even to an art dunce like me.

I preferred the first one above, a more traditional piece….a self portrait.

I mooched around Waterstones and bought Alan Cummings’ autobiography then walked to the pier to buy a coffee, so I could sit and watch the world go by.

The light started to change and the temperature had started to drop when I walked back to Trinity Square. strangely I bumped into my divorce solicitor coming out of her sister office there. We had an odd conversation that I will share tomorrow 

I bought pulled pork and cauliflower cheese for supper

What To Do

 I’m at a loss of what to do today.
There is nothing interesting at any of the cinemas I usually go to.
Stage wise Oliver Twist is on in Chester’s Storyhouse  but the tickets are a bit too expensive and I’m not enamoured  enough to buy a ticket and drive the fifty mile round trip on such a grotty blustery day.
At Theatr Clwyd I see there are just Welsh kids’ stuff on offer and everything else seems shut.

I’ve walked the dogs, drank coffee and listened to radio 4 
I’m going to get in Bluebell and go somewhere
I’ll post the photos later

Tuesday, 28 December 2021


Well it’s a time for a change from Christmas Card Gate.
The cottage looks like the Wreck Of The Hesperus and I’m getting things ship shape again, with cards being wrapped up and put away, clothes washed and floors scrubbed clean
I’m also sorting out my Christmas gifts one of which is a lovely Lino cut of a wood, a gift from my twin sister. 
I’ve taken down a framed award I received on behalf of a ward team I once ran and swapped it for the linocut. 
I’m in the process of finding a place for the award and have been left musing about all of the teams I have been a part of over the years

Each team I have worked with has possessed it’s own strengths and weaknesses.
Of course this is governed in part by the type of leadership employed for and by each one and the mutual support systems set up between the individual members.

The massive Intensive Care Team was perhaps the most structured, technically astute and cohesive team whereas the  psychiatric ward team, by nature of the work was more lateral thinking, humorous and anarchic. 
I am conceited enough to think of the spinal injury team I once lead was one of the happiest but it was certainly the most eclectic given it’s teaching hospital status, speciality and situation in the melting pot that is Sheffield in South Yorkshire. 
Sheffield nurses, in my experience are much more vocal and militant than any others I have worked alongside.
Not a bad trait I think.
The hospice nurses in general  have a pace all of their own and remind me of the African nurses I have had the pleasure of working alongside with in Yorkshire . 
Nurses that glided but were never hurried

Teams run well where support and respect is mutual, management is fair, evident and consistent and humour is encouraged.  

A mixture of sexes, ages and lifestyles help too

Monday, 27 December 2021

it keeps on the windy side of care

God Almighty what a palava over frigging Christmas cards
Lighten up

Sunday, 26 December 2021

A Cheap Card, Hastily Written..


I usually take down my Christmas decorations and cards on Boxing Day night. If not then, the day after at the latest. After the 26th , to me the frippery, just looks, messy.
I’m working a long day again tomorrow , so just can’t be arsed collecting everything now.
My tired feet need a bulldog’s attention 
So I’m sat with almost both big toes in Dorothy’s mouth surveying the Christmas cards looped on string curves under the ceiling beams.
I am thinking about my mother.
I don’t think about her often.
I inherited my love of receiving cards from her as every year I would observe almost obsessional behaviour as she would carefully document each card as it was received in her much used Christmas Card Journal , ticking away in black in that year’s column . 
If, God forbid, no card was received ( especially if one have been sent ( this too was documented btw ) then a Red Cross would be entered into the year column .
Two consecutive red crosses would mean no card would be sent the following year.
She was ruthless
She was easily hurt 
And she was precise 

This year I was reminded of her. Sitting on her couch behind a heavily laden coffee table which was covered in carefully arranged piles of cards. Sheets of stamps, a selection of ball point pens a ruler and a very large gin and tonic. 
I remember her now, as resembling the old lady from the far side all be it as a wiry haired brunette and not a blonde………

I make light of this huge undertaking of hers, but it was quietly important to her and sometime in the late1970s, I remember her  sadly reviewing a card sent by someone she once was close to
The card was flimsy
A last one chosen from a box of fifty.
It had baubles on it and could hardly stand when it was placed on the sideboard
She was upset and hurt by it and her words have strangely remained with me to this day, 

As she showed the card to me she said sadly, in way of advice…..

“ A Cheap card, hastily written, should Never be sent” 

and…my mother was right 

Boxing Day

 6 am bucket of coffee time.
I’m waiting for my lateral flow test to complete
I have to test before every shift.

Saturday, 25 December 2021

Christmas Day ( Now Updated)

 I’ve just got back to Bwthyn Y Llan
I’ve seen my sisters and their husbands , my nephews, niece, and great nieces and it was a loud cacophony of Christmases missed.
I’ve had a lovely day, a bit of cry on the way home and have watched a pitch perfect Queen’s Speech with a nice cup of builder’s tea
The dogs have climbed aboard, as they always do
And just like that, Christmas is almost over