You 'Um It Son, I'll Play It

We started a discussion today about some of our old favourite TV adverts.

This was one of mine.

It wouldn't be allowed these days I expect.


Moving house.  Stress .

Estate Agent shenanigans. Stress. Frustration.

Potentially selling to a friend's daughter.  Double stress.

Pass me the Valium.

Fish Bone

Friday's supper was baked cod.  As I swallowed my first mouthful I felt a small bone slide down my throat and get lodged halfway. 

Lots of coughing ensued but it stayed put. Then I remembered the last time this happened, many years ago now, when staying at a corporate hotel with a group of work colleagues for a conference . I had jumped up from the table and was about to rush out to the nearest Ladies' when the barman called me over and handed me a pint glass full of water. He ordered me to drink it all down in one without stopping.  I did so and miraculously the bone had gone.

I did the same last night and thankfully it worked again.

Just a sore throat now this morning.

Darned fish bones. They are sneaky little fellas.

Moving On?

We had a little chat yesterday and finally both of us have agreed that we should start planning our move to a smaller, more practical house now, while we are both still reasonably fit and able. rather than later when one of us at least is likely to be more decrepit.

A couple of people I follow in blogland have recently written about their decision to downsize, and one of our close neighbours has just put their house on the market, planning to downsize as the wife has a serious illness and they can no longer manage their large garden.

Unfortunately, our decision has coincided with a boom in property sales which means that, as soon as we see something suitable up for sale it seems to have been sold the next day.  Although we are not in any rush, we feel a little disheartened already before we have really begun the process.  The local property pool is not large so there is a shortage of properties that would suit us.

I think that we should probably wait until the Spring before putting our house up for sale, when the garden has woken up again.  We may have a large garden in a pretty, semi-rural area but the house itself is not exactly desirable.  It is not a charming 17th or 18th century period cottage, nor a glamorous, modern confection. It is just a boring 1920s bungalow with a small extension tacked onto the side and has not been updated for 25 years.  We both feel that any buyer is likely to want to demolish it in order to build something more contemporary in its place. 

I have registered with most of the local agencies and hope to receive details whenever a new property comes up for sale.

In the meantime, I shall begin the process of decluttering and tarting-up each room ready for when we take the plunge.

It will give me something to do anyway.

The Turnip Prize

I found something to cheer me up during all the doom and gloom.

I may be a little late to this one but have only just read about it.   According to the BBC  here ...

The Turnip Prize award, organised by a Somerset pub, is given to the person who has "created something they perceive to be crap art using the least amount of effort possible".  Winners of the competition receive a turnip attached to a wooden base.

Some of the current entries.....


Tribute to Bobby Ball

Back to the Fuchsia

Apparently last year's winner was rather rude, but very funny.  Read the BBC article if you want to know more.

Not Going Out


Following the damage to our drive in the storm earlier this year, the DoI gentlemen have arrived to dig out a trench across the top to divert future floodwater away and into the ditch beside our property boundary.

This has now been going on since last Thursday.  Those flashing, orange lights on top of the cones look quite festive at night.

I managed to manoeuvre the car out between the cones on Friday morning to get to my volunteering shift but P had to reverse it back in for me when I got home.  It involves a sort of S shaped wiggle to get through and although it was OK going forwards, my poor female brain just couldn't manage it backwards!

Anyway, the cones (big, heavy ones) and the half-covered trench are still there today.  A large sack of gravel has just been dropped off too, so I imagine that is to reinstate some of the washed away patches on the drive.  The workmen are nowhere to be seen, yet.

I may not bother going shopping tomorrow.

The Weekend Is Cancelled

 I am not going anywhere!!!

Becoming very windy,  giving gusts of 45-50 mph quite widely across the island. Top temperature 13°C.   The gale force south-southwesterly wind will ease slightly early tonight, however significant overtopping of sea water and debris is expected around high tide (~10:40pm), with some minor inner harbour flooding also possible in Douglas & Ramsey. Minimum temperature 9°C.


Rain will continue to affect the island tomorrow, becoming persistent and heavy at times and accompanied by a strong to near gale force south-westerly wind. Highest temperature around 10 or 11°C, but feeling colder in the wind.

Snortle And Puff

I am very tired today as I got very little sleep last night.  My fairly new "bounce-back" pillow seemed suddenly to have been hewn from a block of concrete and my down filled mattress topper had morphed into a sheet of corrugated iron.

Tossing and turning, checking the clock every hour to see how long I had been awake, I only managed a few short dozes here and there.

On the occasions when my fizzing brain eventually began to slow down and all those random, irrelevant thoughts stopped bouncing around and gradually merged into a foggy blur, I was inevitably launched back into full wakefulness by the arrival of my old friends, Snortle and Puff.

These are the noises that P makes in his sleep. He doesn't snore, but his constant nasal congestion (sorry, too much detail probably), means that his breathing is disturbed during sleep and results in sudden, random loud snorts when beathing in and then a heavy puff of air when exhaling.

Ah, but you are deaf, I hear you exclaim.  How can you hear it?

Well,  yes, I am extremely hard of hearing. Not totally deaf, I do have some residual hearing, and I can get by during the day if I wear my hearing aids. At night, without my hearing aids, I cannot hear sounds such as the ticking clock,  water running in the basin, rain on the window, the doorbell, smoke alarm or telephone etc but somehow those snortling, puffing noises seem to be able to get through and annoy the hell out of me when I am desperately trying to get to sleep.

I have tried putting cotton wool in my ears at night to block the sound but that doesn't seem to help.  Sometimes I think that I must be imagining it but that doesn't help me get to sleep.

Luckily, on those nights when I am not suffering from insomnia the noises don't bother me. 

At least I no longer have to get up early to go to work.

Tuesday Treat

We had planned to do our weekly food shop today but P suggested that we should have lunch out first, then do the shopping on the way home.  This was prompted by his itch to use the gift voucher for the Creek Inn that he had won after a recent race.

We parked at the supermarket on the edge of town and walked down to the quayside, arriving at the Creek just after they opened at midday.  Quite a few tables already had reserved stickers on them but we easily found a table for two by the window, with a view of Peel Hill.

I had a toasted sesame seed bagel from a local bakery with smoked salmon, prawns and Manx crab. P had his bagel with sausage, bacon and egg.   Lunch at a bargain price with P's voucher.

It started to rain just as we were ready to leave so, as we didn't fancy walking back up to the car in the rain, we ran across the road to the museum coffee shop and had a coffee, waiting until the sun came out again.

A leisurely stroll along the promenade then up to the supermarket for our shopping.

An exciting treat for us wrinklies.

Sunday's Walk On A Saturday

The weather forecast for this morning was not looking too promising so I decided to do my Sunday walk on Saturday instead; on my own as the others were busy.

P was going into Peel at midday to collect a friend as they were both taking part in one of the Winter Hill League races so he dropped me off at Peel Headlands, about 5 minutes drive away.

From there I walked along the coastal footpath and down onto the Promenade, then along to the swing bridge and across to the causeway, around the castle then back along the marina into town.

The sun had decided to put in an appearance by then, after about an hour, just as I was walking through the back streets of town to reach the coast road.

I turned off just as the housing estate ends at the edge of town and walked along the back lanes, to avoid all the busy Saturday traffic. It was very peaceful and I enjoyed the solitude.  Unfortunately, I had to return to the road for the last 15 minutes and endured the boy racers speeding past me with only an inch to spare, nearly toppling me into the ditch at one point.

A hot shower and a cup of tea were very welcome.

PS:  For northsider - a picture of the allotments...

Another Manx Dialect Poem

 From Culture Vannin this morning...

One of the Isle of Man's greatest poets was born on this day in 1904: Kathleen Faragher.
To mark the occasion, here is one of our favourite poems of hers:
by Kathleen Faragher
Yis! I was sayin’ to Mrs Crowe theer this mornin’,
That things isn’ a bit what they were;
For in my young days all of us childher
Had to say “Please” an’ “Thank yer,” an’ “Sir.”
But to-day all them youngsters of Alfie’s
Comes stormin’ right in through the dhure,
An’ “Hiya Gran!” they’re all shoutin’ – “Wha’s cookin’?”
As they stamp the mud over me flure.
Then out to the garden goes Bobby –
Fair clicky that boy is on flowers!
An’ he studies theer insides an’ outsides,
So theer’s norra word from that chile, not for hours!
An’ Meery’s jus’ as mad on her hist’ry,
With the book forever under her nose;
Though what good it’ll do her in some office
Typin’ testamints an’ wills, goodness knows!
Then theer’s Danny – the dead spit of his mother –
Makin’ a bee-line for them books on the shelf,
An’ his min’ is far out in the Wil’ Wes’!
So I’m lef’ theer to talk to meself!
An’ them knowin’ very well, the li’l divils,
That I’m wantin’ all the newses tha’s goin’;
But they’re not even hearin’ me vice, gel,
So I naver do git to know all tha’s doin’!
Though I asks about this wan an’ that wan,
An’ if theer’s anythin’ new in the town;
But I might jus’ as well save me win’ theer,
An’ git me carthans done upstairs an’ down!
All this learnin’ that goes awn in the schools now,
Why! the like wasn’ in in my day!
But whether they’re any batther for it all, gel,
Theer’s no tellin’ – tha’s jus’ what I say!
For they’ll talk about splittin’ the atom,
An’ a whole lorra poor things like that;
But would they split up that pile of owl firewood?
I can tell yer, me gel – they would not!
Why the three o’ them takes afther theer mother
Is more than a wise man would know!
For she’s a dhreamer if aver theer was wan!
It’s my Alfie tha’s got all the “go”!
Look who’s comin’! Why! it’s Meery an’ Danny!
An’ Bobby too! – Well! dun’t they look nice?
A rale credit to theer mother, all the lorra them!
Yis, they’re growin’ – an’ as sharp as li’l mice!
Aw ay! they’re good childher for all, though,
An’ smart awful, though I says it meself:
Wipe yer fate on the mat, yer young dirts, yer!
What’s that Danny? – Aw! “HIYA” yerself!


 Today has been a very quiet day here.  Nothing important to do so just pottering, reading and slobbing out on the sofa, from where I have just watched a beautiful sunset.

My Samsung tablet's camera is not great but the colours were pure gold.


I had my hair cut last week at the local hairdressers.  This time I asked her not to take off too much as it had finally reached the length I prefer and I didn't want it to be too short.

As usual, it looked fine when I left the salon but now when I wash and dry it it just looks like "Lego Hair".

 This morning I decided to have a go at "texturising" it (a term I found online) and dug out our very old razor comb that we bought back in the 1980s (similar to this one shown here)  

I gingerly hacked away at some of the layers but panicked when I saw how much was being shaved off.  I think it looks OK, but I dread to think what my hairdresser will say when I go back in 5 weeks time.

In the meantime, it has been very foggy here this morning.

Someone has been busy outside our window...

Perking Up

 The weather has taken a turn for the better, at long last.

Gale force winds have eased off and the sun is shining in a pale blue sky. Still pretty cold though, with the temperature struggling to reach 8C.  I drove to the supermarket this morning and, as soon as my hands touched the steering wheel, I regretted not digging out my gloves from whichever drawer they are hiding in.

Still, it did my heart good to see the sea sparkling in the sunlight as I drove along the coast road.

The supermarket had a special deal on my favourite wine. Too good to ignore so I bought two cases!  The gentleman in the queue in front of me turned around as I placed the 12 bottles onto the belt and raised one eyebrow. "Having a party?" he asked.   I just smiled back and said "No, this is just to last me over the weekend". He did hesitate for a minute before finally chuckling.

In the garden our silver birch tree has lost most of its leaves now, all blown away by the gales.  I remember when we brought it back from the garden centre in the back of the car.  It wouldn't fit in there now.

Out on the patio, the callicarpa has also lost all its leaves now, but the beautiful dark mauve berries are a wonderful splash of colour against the white walls.

I had admired the display of callicarpa in the RHS Gardens in Wisley one autumn a few years ago when visiting my sister.  That Christmas, two plants arrived by courier courtesy of my lovely sister who had remembered that I liked the colour of the berries. She also sent me a liquidambar tree as I had also admired a specimen in the gardens.  

Sisters can really perk up a person.

Surprise Soup

 After several days of gale force winds and stormy weather, the ferries have not been sailing across the Irish Sea so our supermarket shelves are becoming a little "lacking" in fresh produce.

I decided to dredge the lower drawers of the freezer to see if there was anything interesting.. (in one of those plastic tubs that have been lurking there for a while).. that would be suitable for today's lunch.

There was one that looked promising, although the black marker pen label had faded  so it was not too clear what was inside. Anyway, I tipped the contents into a pan and reheated it.  It turned out to be some kind of leftover stew comprising mainly courgette, potato and cannellini beans in a beefy flavoured broth. I used the stick blender to turn it into a thick, hearty soup which we ate with some crusty sourdough bread.

Hopefully, our weather is set to improve over the next couple of days so we should be able to stock up on fresh fruit and veg again.  If not, there are still a few more plastic tubs at the bottom of the freezer.


 That's the word I uttered just now as I flopped down on the sofa.

I met up with the girls after breakfast for our usual Sunday morning walk. The rain had stopped but it was still very windy.

Today's walk was two hours, up and down a couple of pretty steep hills. I am not yet used to remembering to use my recently prescribed inhaler (it seems I do have asthma after all) so I struggled with my breathing on the steep sections.

Towards the end of the walk the rain returned so it was good to get to the coffee shop for coffee and cake.

Now back home, a cup of tea and a hot shower. I feel very sleepy.

We are supposed to be meeting friends at our local pub tonight for a meal.  Just hope that I can stay awake.