Monday, 28 July 2014

That's Life plus a Modern Miracle.

    Since my last post the world news has been dominated by conflict.With it has come inevitable destruction, horror, fear, terror Mankind has a great capacity to inflict pain and suffering. I am not clever enough to understand the reasons why. But I weep for those involved. All too often it is the innocent who suffer most.
A plane is shot down on the Russian border with Ukraine. Many die, none connected with the those responsible for the carnage caused. It is probable that the plane downed was not an intended target. No matter, missiles kill; boundaries, territory, possessions, how unimportant compared to the lives of innocents.
War continues to rage between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Who is in the right, in a way, again no matter. Those suffering most are so often women and children. No amount of protestations by either side can justify the sheer terror and desolation brought about by bullets and bombs; often in the name of religion.    
    Meanwhile life for others goes on. None of us chose to be born. Our little lives are lived out and then we die. So, as Mr Pepys did all those years ago, I put 'pen to paper', though not literally and record what has happened in Grumpys little life since my last blog post. ( have never been sure why I blog. They are a source of reflection as time passes. Plus at the back of my mind I like the idea that someone will keep these blogs; what did someone say, 'Chance is a fine thing'!)
   We are wandering through life at the moment minus a kitchen. Of mind bending importance to no-one but ourselves, Paulette and I. When it annoys us as it frequently does I think of the many people in  the world who have no roof over their heads, never mind the luxury of a kitchen.

    Our children and the well being of their families are important to us both. Daughter Sarah's dog ate the sofa very recently. Well not the complete sofa, but large enough chunks of it. A night in the vets, again, worry for all and hands in pocket time. This dog is literally mad, sadly and is incapable of learning from experience. Two days later it ate a soft toy on a key ring. Stolen from a work top, I might add; dogs, like many humans, never learn.   
    The love of daughter Alison's life is PCV 830Y, a battered but much loved Volkswagen  motorhome, circa 1982. Not the most reliable vehicle on the road but it tries. At least it tries our patience! Recently, very recently it occupied space, once again in a local garage. A probable cause of at least part of the problem was located. A nest of field mice had been living in the air filter; I kid you not! The nest was intact, the occupants had eaten some of the paper air filter but no sign of the mice themselves. They could in theory have been sucked through the carburettor but unlikely. How long had they been there no one knows. (Alison has had trouble with mice inside the motorhome for some time.) This may or may not have been the problem prior to this garage visit; the van is old and not new to garage visits. Only this time they couldn't fix it. Three days and much trying later it was low loaded back to its home here in Sunnyhill, Derby; at the moment a very sunny Sunnyhill.
    Now daughter Alison is a very popular young lady not least on account of her 'sunny' nature. ( goes with the territory methinks). Plus she knows an extraordinary number of people. (That is not to say daughter Sarah was ever without admirers. I can remember one such admirer fixing her car at the crack of dawn on the road in front of my house but that's another story. I was still in bed by the way!)
    Alison received several offers of help. James spent time at Alison's but the problem was beyond his comprehension and he is an expert. PCV 830Y was low loaded, again, to the garage premises of an 'old gentleman' the other side of town. (I wonder how old the gentleman is. I am seventy five next birthday, is he older than me I wonder. ) After many hours of examination with the aid of other 'experts' defeat was acknowledged. (Alison was due to go on a pre-booked short holiday this weekend but she was told 'no chance', somewhat inevitable I thought. Devastated by it all, not unconnected with the price of a reconditioned engine, she went out and bought a tent.

       Paulette's mother Francoise, referred to as Nana by Alison, Sarah and great grandchildren died in 2011 (see blog dated    ). Much loved by all her family, her presence is still felt at times by many, particularly so where Alison and her family are concerned. They 'talk' to her on occasion, very relevant, for Alison admits that the dilemma concerning PCV 830Y was the subject of 'discussion' with Francoise.  Now Francoise was everything to us in life, but never a mechanic!

    The old gentleman with the garage phoned to request the removal of PCV 830Y. Only to ring very soon afterwards. He was in a state of great excitement, ecstatic even. He had been disconsolate in the extreme that the problem had defeated him. Having had one last go prior to the vehicles removal he had turned over the engine and been amazed to hear the engine fire. A new battery was procured (this it was suggested was part, but only part of the problem), Alison was united with her pride and joy.         Gingerly driven home, loaded with the paraphernalia associated with the joys of camping with three children, new tent and a dog Alison left Saturday morning for a weeks 'camping' at or near Market Bosworth. (A place very important to the history of this country.)
    As I speak PCV 830Y is still running, albeit a somewhat stuttering, unconvincing 'running'. The grandchildren are enjoying it, plus Ted has had one near miss in the lake. I await their return with interest and not a little bated breath.

(We have had problems with Blogger for some time. I would expect to lose readers over time but hopefully not nearly all! We (my wife and I) have had to change email address etc. We are not sure we've done everything right. Would one or two kind souls 'visit' and to see that we have no further problems. One or two comments would also reassure us that we've done everything right as Blogger has requested/demanded.  Thanks!)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Rambling, Preambling Bumbling and Mumbling! Using What's Left of the Brain Cel!s.

    Firstly please note, I've caught up and completed outstanding comments! Thanks for your patience. Is it me or is it becoming technically difficult to 'merely' comment on kind people's encouragement. Never mind, it indirectly gives me yet another chance to view modern technology in all its glory. But first an aside, an old man's senile prerogative. (Stand up, that boy who whispered 'Silly old ****!)
    My sister-in-law, forever young at heart has treated herself to a classy, very sporty 2009 BMW Z4. She looks very Princess Grace of Monacco like complete with headscarf and 'shades'. (Look how I know the modern terminology, aren't you impressed!) To complete the image I suggested she look for a 'HRH' private number plate. ( 'Her Royal Highness" to our overseas friends.) Ever helpful I found on the internet details of the sale of such aforesaid plates. HRH 1 was sold a year or two back. It fetched £90.000 plus in DVLA auctions, well over £100,000 in total. But HRH 4 is to be sold, presumably in the none too distant future; suggested price £250,000! (Being a Derby County supporter, my own vehicle number plate is 0009 RAM and no, it didn't QUITE cost £250, 000!)
    I noticed in the week the all new Formula One E racing car practices were open to the public for three days at Donington recently. Coupled with the teachers on strike (Grumpy being an ex-teacher I remember them well. Happy days!) so I thought I'd better further my grandchildren's extra curricular education. So off we went, not knowing what to expect; Ted, aged five, Tommy, eight, Angelina, twelve, grandma and granddad, both a 'mite' bit older!
    Situated not far from my home, Donington Racetrack was famous for its motor racing before the Second World War. Dominated by German cars, particularly Mercedes. Before my time, honest; I was brought up with tales of the mighty German racers 'as a lad'. Post war, after mixed fortunes, it is up and running again as a racetrack and home to Formula 1E. Make no mistake, you are going to hear a lot about these cars in the future. Remember, I'd never heard of electric racing cars until one week ago, so what does this 'old codger' make of it all that is, if I've got it right!
    Made at Donington, all the cars are the same specification, then 'tweaked' by individual team mechanics. Each team has two cars; round Donington a car will do approximately twelve laps before it runs out of 'umph' and is immediately replaced by the second team car. The batteries evidently get very hot, the teams are 'owned' by some famous names (example Alan Prost and Richard Branson, two of the drivers are ladies, the first 'real' race is in Bejing in September and thats about all I know.
    Right or not, we all enjoyed ourselves. We mixed with enthusiastic people who obviously 'live and die' motor sport. We watched in awe these twenty first century beasts of the motoring world. We marvelled at the strange phenomena offered for our delight and bemusement. These cars are not silent, but emit a strange sound as they hurtle round the track; whistle like, a whining, indescribable sound. Plus they are beautifully presented; shiny, metallic, all the colours of the rainbow; you could not help but be impressed.
    I think we all enjoyed our visit in our own way. My wife enjoyed being with the grandchildren, and with me I hope! the children too enjoyed it in their own way, including Ted's daisy collecting. I was particularly pleased to be involved at the very beginning of this new motor sport venture. None of us enjoyed the picnic; because there wasn't one! Paulette left all the food on the kitchen table! (In fairness nobody else remembered either.) So we, or should I say Paulette found crisps, malteses, and
jaffa cakes in a shop at the circuit. Fortunately we had bottles of water in the car so who cares if the 'picnic' was a little unusual!
    A hot summer's day; a trip in a modern motor to see history in the making. Enjoyable but so, so different to my boyhood trips up the fields with a bottle of water and some bread. Mind you, I don't EVER remember forgetting the food!
  






Thursday, 3 July 2014

We All Have Our Idols.

    A face has appeared in the news for the past week. Fame is non existent for most of us, and often fleeting at best for others. Noteriety, infamy, now there's something very different. As Max  Bygraves would say,' Let me tell you a story'.
    "When I were a lad', as we used to say, I stood out in all weathers after a football match at the Baseball Ground, collecting autographs of the players. Our heroes, my heroes, heroically defying the Baseball Ground mud to thrill us with their footballing prowess. Only the prowess of the Derby players was not always present. At one stage we descended to the Third Division of the Football League, only to rise again like the Phoenix in later years. Ah happy, cash strapped austere days. And my little autograph albums contains the names of many, some famous, others less so. I, little Kenneth, did not fully appreciate what I was seeing; three names, for instance Tommy Lawton, Len Shackleton and Wilf Mannion.
    Some say Tommy Lawton was the best centre forward in Britain in the 20th century. Finished his career at Notts County in the lower divisions, and suffered financial difficulties, footballers wages being unexceptional in the Forties and Fifties. Tommy died 6th November, 1996.
    Len Shackleton, rebel extraordinary but a genius where football was concerned. Played for Sunderland amongst others and later wrote a book entitled 'Clown Prince of Soccer'. One chapter is entitled 'The Average Directors Knowledge of Football' and consists of a blank page! Len died 27th November, 2000.
    Wilf Mannion, played mainly for Middlesborough. At one stage regarded as 'The Golden Boy' of British soccer. Played twenty five times for England yet after his football career ended he worked as a labourer and lived in a council house.
    In later years I had the honour of meeting Mr Mannion in a smokey working man's club in Staithes, East Yorkshire if memory served me right. An unassuming, frail gentleman, he eagerly asked me how the likes of Jack Stamps and Chick Musson were fairing. (ex Derby County footballers). Also, they, and others of whom he enquired had long since died. Not long afterwards Wilf died, 14th April 2000.
 
    Many years later, in the 1990's, having retired from teaching, I tested whether I had any brain cells still working. After months of extreme meticulous effort, though not as hard as teaching I devised a 'Birthday Certificate' which gave very detailed information as to any individuals date of birth. I sent these certificates to many famous people over the years and received many letters in return. Some did not reply, their prerogative of course but I was intrigued by those who did. There are still some lovely people in the world. Don't let people tell you otherwise. (Sadly the details concerning certificate production have since been lost.)
Roger Lloyd Pack, forever remembered as Trigger in 'Only Fools and Horses' sent me a delightful note on Garrick Club notepaper. Can you imagine, Trigger sipping posh drinks in the Garrick Club! Bill Owen, Compo of 'Last of The Summer Wine' fame, real name William John Owen Rowbotham,  also approved of his certificate whilst Stanley Matthews 'Much appreciated' his, sending me a delightful note on Stoke City notepaper. It may be of course that 'professionals' worth their salt see it as their duty to keep their fans happy. Fair enough, but some go over the simple limits of their 'professional duty'. Let me tell you 'A story within a story.'
    James Galway, the famous flutist suffers from nystagmus, a serious eye condition, as does my granddaughter, the delightful Helena. I happened to mention this fact when I sent Mr Galway a certificate. A short while later my wife the industrious, nay illustrious Paulette came into the room with the news that there was 'a Mr James Galway on the phone, ringing from Switzerland'! It was indeed flutist extrordinaire Mr Galway and he gave me valuable information concerning nystagmus. What a generous, thoughtful gesture, a gentleman indeed!
    So many famous persons gave of their time, though their place in posterity was not necessarily assured in a way they had probably expected, for as as I suggested at the beginning of this post  'Fame is a funny thing.
    Andy Gray, footballer turned Sky Sports commentator was a popular figure on our televisions. He wished me good luck on receiving a certificate. I wished him likewise, that is until his unacceptable views on the 'weaker sex' met with widespread disapproval and banishment to the nether regions, at least where television viewing is concerned.
    I have a letter starting 'Hi Ken, signed by a man whose fall from grace is complete; a man of whom  I can find no-one who now says 'I always liked him'; strange but true. I had completely forgotten I had ever made contact with the unfortunate, sad individual until I found the letter I had written all those years ago. A face that has adorned many a newspaper recently, be they 'eyebrow or gutter press.' (The equally sad Rolf Harris has dominated press and media alike most recently. an unfortunate figure I never made contact with, though I was amused by him, like so many others in his early days on the all consuming 'goggle box'.) I refer of course to Jimmy Savile, whose exploits were horrific beyond comprehension. He was, honestly, no hero of mine, though I had never an inkling of the sheer depravity of the man.
    We are all influenced by others as we grow us. It is a part of life, an important part of life I suggest. Who were your heroes my friends. Any of them affected your life for good or bad, for better or worse?


(To all who have so kindly commented on my posts in the past weeks. Apologies, I read every comment. I have not got round to replying. I will EVENTUALLY,  honest! Thanks for your interest, comments are valuable to me.)


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Old, Me, Who's Told You That!

    We went to see friends recently. Paulette fixed their 'smart' television, which was set up all wrong then she corrected the computer. Evidently it wasn't talking to the printer, whatever that means. My wife is very good with these things; no training but very good indeed. I'm quite envious but quite proud on the quiet. I can use a remote for 'on and off', change channels (I often muck that up) and that's my lot. Smart televisions, I think they mean 'smart-arsed'! And it set me thinking how technology has come on, and, probably more important, how fast it moves on. How the hell do they expect us old codgers to cope.
    I remember my old granny when she first had a television all those years ago. Up would come 'Normal Service will be resumed as soon as possible.' Off she would trot to next door to ask them if it was on their television too! One channel, only on for so many hours a day, black and white; as Mary Hopkins used to sing, 'Those were the days, my friend.'
    We used to go scrumping; no problem usually, except the owner might have a dog. No real problem, most of them were daft enough to like the odd bones we 'secreted on our persons'. More scary if an orchard had geese loose. I've had a less than friendly 'peck' on the back of my leg and it doesn't half come keen! But nowadays CCTV's rule the world. Have you never wondered how many times a day you are 'on camera'. Not sure if our anonymous existence wasn't better.
    Keeping up to date with the incredible pace of things today is nigh on impossible for us geriatrics. I understand emails, just, but always do them wrong without 'the wife' being present. Twitter, can't cope with it; and I never did understand hash-tags. Face-Book, not for me, looks far too difficult. Am I giving up too easily. Social life without all the technical paraphernalia, seemingly impossible. Believe it or not, I don't have a mobile phone. How many of you, including 'senior citizens' dare admit they could not envisage ' life without their mobiles'! Am I missing one of the  essentials of modern technology?
    I think most people are afraid of 'losing it'. More important, many imagine they HAVE lost it on occasion. Do you check whether you have locked the door more than once. How many of you 'lose' your mobile phone and have to use another phone to locate their 'lost' mobile? Amusing provided its not you, but a long way from dementia I suspect. I've done daft things all my life. I once went to town on my bike and came home on the bus; plus I regularly used to leave my football boots on the bus into school. Childhood aberrations admitted. But I've got no better with age. On a family 'do' I used the urinal in the toilet. Posh pub, notices ordering you to 'Now wash your hands'. Only when I used the 'blower' to dry hands I was less than impressed. I cursed it as being a letdown in a 'posh' pub until  I realised the error of my ways. Peering closely at the 'dryer' (I had left my glasses in the bar) I read 'Contraceptives, All colours, three for five pounds'.                            
    Am I a dinosaur; is there no hope! Are you all 'with it' individuals who embrace  modern life with all its challenges! What aspects of life do YOU find most challenging. Is it only me that is sent a might bit 'doolally'  by it all!




Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Boo Hoo.

    We've got over it, that game of football I wrote about last time. (Derby County v QPR). 'We wuz robbed' is what all supporters say when they lose and this time it's true. (And no, we haven't really got over it.) Irrespective of the financial importance of the result to Derby (around £160 million over several years), non football supporters I'm sure would be amazed how important it all is to so many people. Over forty thousand people travelled to Wembley to see Derby County,' their team'. Now that's a lot of people. I have never experienced so much collective gloom in all of my life. And it's this collective feeling, this joint 'togetherness' I'd like to explore.
    As I mentioned last time, we have many emotional experiences in life, some highs, some lows. But seldom involving so many people all at the same time. I know of no other experience (losing this football match) that has affected my whole existence, my whole well being to such a depth. And I'm seventy four years of age, for goodness sake! England in the World Cup in Brazil, I'm interested, but not particularly concerned either way. Nothing has affected me so deeply and for so long as the result of Derby County's demise. Now why is that so, I wonder.
    There are several factors involved here when you think about it.We need an identity, a sense of belonging. Something to show 'who we are'. An old lady I know who lives in North Derbyshire comes originally from Yorkshire. She flies in her small garden a ruddy great Yorkshire flag. Everyone in the village has an opinion regarding her actions but she doesn't care. Her flag signifies' who she is'.
    There's no doubt coming from certain parts of the country, never mind the world affects the way we live, think, behave. Essex, for instance has gained an image in post war Britain that is brash in the extreme. You have only to watch 'The Only Way is Essex' on television to gain an opinion, however accurate of Essex people and Essex life. All hair extensions and fake tans apparently. (TOWIE is a reality show; a caricature of 'real life, perhaps!)  Yorkshire is the BIGGEST county and often it shows, Yorkshire 'expats' so often feeling they have to show they're the 'biggest and the best'. (Not all of course but enough!) Little old Derbyshire seemingly has no 'identity' of note. Many people I've met on my motor home travels couldn't place Derbyshire on a map however hard they tried. The Derbyshire motto, by the way is 'Derbyshire born, Derbyshire bred. Strong in the arm, weak in the head.'!
    There's no doubt this identity thingumajig is important to a lot of people. Manchester United are followed by thousands of people; many attend their matches weekly; many more follow their progress and support 'their' team without ever attending a live match. How many children over the years have adopted Manchester United as 'their' team, seduced by the glamour of the Bobby Charlton's and George Bests.
    There's not always much to recommend living in Derby, or Nottingham for that matter and standing by a machine all day to earn the proverbial 'crust'. (Times are changing but many still lead hum-drum lives, many haven't even got the satisfaction of a job, however mundane.) Small wonder their local football team, often a traditional thing, is followed with passion and blinkered fervour, come rain or shine. To many it is the event of the week. (The cry often at Derby County matches is 'It you hate Forest, stand up'. Surely the word HATE is a misnomer; or is it?) So to many this football malarky is a traditional think. Forty thousand individuals converging on London to support a football team is impressive. Plus thousands more watching Derby on televisions around Derby itself is awesome. I have never experienced such gloom after the match in Derby. I watched with friends and the gloom was indescribable. And a thought occurred to me. Is the 'collective thing' the important thing here. Is it 'catching'; are we all victims of 'mass hysteria on a grand scale?
    I remember a year or two ago a young marching band performing, Mansfield way if I remember right. It was a sunny summer's day. One or two children began to suffer from the heat. And a trickle became a flood. More and more children succumbed to the heat. Afterwards the suggestion was that the children were victims of mass hysteria, auto suggestion if you like. Derby County supporters, myself included are victims too, I wouldn't wonder! Victims of collective doom and gloom on an epic scale.
    We humans are the ultimate animal. We have feelings and emotions. Dogs and cats cannot appreciate a cracking penalty save or a Beckhamesque pass all of forty yards. (Neither are they daft enough to sit in the freezing cold on a Saturday in January watching a soccer match. You don't sit in the garden in January. So why sit outside at a football match. Who's the clever one now!
    A final thought, courtesy of a friend. This lady suggests we all have a 'spiritual side' to our nature. What is happening, she suggests, is the spiritual side of many is channelled, not towards religion, but towards another outlet; in Derby football supporters case, Derby County. Makes sense, what was it the famous Bill Shankly once said, 'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much more important than that.

    What is your 'drug', greatest passion in life? Do tell! Now I'm going for a lie down. All this thinking is making me quite tired!

Friday, 23 May 2014

An Important Day for so Many.

    I am writing this post on Friday afternoon. Deliberately so before the big event, My mood tomorrow evening could be ecstatic, or perhaps suicidally depressed. Thirty seven thousand people are travelling from Derby to attend. Now that's a lot of people. And the big event? A religious gathering, in a way, yes. Derby County play Queens Park Rangers at Wembley in the Play Off final. The prize, a place in the Premier League of British Football. Said to be worth around £160 million pounds to the winners over five years.
    Now I don't expect everyone to love football. The same as I am not so keen on golf and golfers but I don't 'go on' about it. Not too often, anyway! But what gets 'right up my nose' are those people who rant and rave about football being 'oh so bad for us all'  yet never go themselves. Armchair experts, they drive me quite mad. We true supporters KNOW that too often we're watching overpaid prima donna's; and the clubs are often owned by filthy rich foreigners who know little about footballers but that's the world we live in. We, Derby County supporters have had an exciting season and witnessed some magical football. Nothing can that away from us. It won't be the end of the world tomorrow if we lose, but it might as well be!
    All this excitement in Derby, often dreary old Derby made me think. How many events in our little lives are truly exceptional. Perhaps when we were children life was full of wondrous experiences. Experiences LIVED, real, not viewed second hand via a fifty-five inch screen.
    I have lived over seventy years, so what are the events happenings that I remember most. VE Day,
people happy and relaxed, many swigging from tankards as they walked the village streets. The Coronation, in 1953, trestle tables laid out with food, glorious food. School trips, including one where  we saw, Little Johns grave. Plus a week at Mundesly where we slept on straw filled sacks in ex-army tents. Carefree days, all real, all experienced in childhood.
    Adult experiences seem less carefree, inevitable I suppose. Marriage is not to be taken lightly; the day remembered, the feelings experienced I cannot recall. The birth of children induces anxiety, and ecstatic joy. Death appears mores in the adult world; I remember death from childhood, though infrequently; or is this the mind playing tricks. Undoubtedly adulthood is a more serious business. 
So, when thirty thousand plus descend on London, all thought of adulthood flies out the window, be it train, coach or car.
     I won't be at We
mbley. So I shall miss that incredible heart stopping experience. (Neither of us, sadly, are fit enough to take part in the ultimate footballing experience.) But we know will enjoy the day with friends. For once hurrah for a fifty five inch screen! I view the next twenty six hours with  trepidation, but also hope. I don't expect everyone to understand.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Have You Made Your Mark?

    Having done over four hundred blogs I have spells where new subjects prove difficult. Then, like buses, two come along together.dx
     I came across a photograph recently. It was in a box with others that belonged to Ida, mey aunt who died some time ago. Now most families 'inherit' boxes of belongings from deceased relations, close or otherwise; most common being photographs; car boots are full of them, discarded with little feeling. In Ida's box, photos of people long gone, and of trips made in Ida's time at least to 'not so far away places'. Family photos, nostalgic, unexceptional and unimportant. Friends through the ages, part of Ida's life, from the proverbial 'cradle to the grave'.
    I glanced through the collection, interested, but only up to a point. For, sadly we tend to be more interested in ourselves. Life moves on, taking us with it at an ever increasing pace.
    One photo intrigued me more than the rest. It took me a while to realise why. In every single photo I could recognise a 'connection', however tenuous; close family, distant family, friends ancient and modern; always a connection. But in one photo only, NOTHING. I do not recognise either person. No clue as to where, why or when. No writing on the back of the photo, nothing; a mystery indeed.
    A bride and groom; or is it 'father' and the bride. (My wife maintains people in old photos always look older than they are!) A wedding and a wedding day, surely. Taken in the 1920's? And that's about it. Presumable now deceased. Are there children or grandchildren around now; nearby or far away? Lost forever; to me and mine; never in fact 'found'. I wonder if they found happiness in their lives. Funny things, photos. Proof that we existed. Millions and millions of us. All passing through, so to speak. (Some cultures are not so keen on photos, 'a photo steals the soul' and all that.) The photo in mind is proof that this couple existed. And now they are gone. A simple truth, in the great 'history of the world'; how odd, how sad.  
Do you relate to all this. Is your life organised, complete, totally in order. Or does your life, like mine contain missing links. Will people know of your existence in a hundred years hence. Perhaps more important, do you care!
    Probably because I'm thinking of too many daft things and not looking what I'm doing I fell down! In the kitchen. After I'd been to the pub and no, I wasn't drunk! I'm very unstable still after my operation; plus the wrong footwear; old age and senility, whatever, in the blink of an eye I was on the floor, shaken, not stirred so to speak. I try to be positive in life ; in this case scenario, I realised nothing appeared seriously damaged, apart from my pride. My wife was alarmed, naturally I suppose. 'Cat' surveyed me with interest. He licked my face and fingers then decided to sit, obviously comfortably on my chest. (Fact, this cat NEVER sits merely on the floor, he sits on ANYTHING that is not mere floor. His history is unknown; where has he learnt this habit, I wonder.) 
    It's special, in a way lying on a floor. You can actually see where the draught you feel so often in the lounge comes from; under the kitchen door. You can see under the radiator: bits of toast, plenty of fluff, a dirty knife, fork and a a spoon; disgusting! All very interesting but not a patch on television. Plus I was on my way to the toilet. And at my age, when you've got to go, you've got to go!
   Now I can't get myself to the 'perpendicular' once I'm on the floor. And although I'm not particularly big my wife has no chance of lifting me. Could be awkward. Being incapacitated at times is chronically difficult. I do appreciate, though not enough the difficulties those living on their own
on a daily basis experience. I'm lucky, I live at number 29, Gurney Avenue. My six foot son-in-law Simon and family live at number 24! A quick phone call and within the blink of an eye Simon is gently hauling me to my feet. So here's to the next time. Life goes on; we make our mark in more ways than one. What will you be remembered for?