Having a clear out

The Spring clear out has started.  I’ve taken the executive decision that if I cannot read the print in a book, then it is for the high jump. I wonder what other criteria I can use?

  • If a book has not been opened in 5 yrs – seriously think of giving it away.
  • If clothing has not been worn for 2 year – pass it on.
  • How about if a teddy has not been cuddled?  Actually, I think I shall go round the house cuddling all the soft toys. (Don’t ask.)
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The phone rang early on this morning and I did not recognise the number on caller display so I answered it without knowing who was on the other end. It was an Indian-sounding lady who claimed to be called Angela, and it was obviously from a busy call centre. She informed me that my computer was “badly infected.” Regular readers will know that I don’t do mornings very well at all. However, having had a relative who worked in Direct Sales for a while, I did my best to be polite. I tried to get a word in edgeways, but had the distinct impression that “Angela” was working from a script and that nothing was going to get in the way of her working her way down the spiel she had in front of her.

First off I tried the, this-doesn’t-apply-to-me-as-I-am-a-Mac-user approach, but that simply meant her voice went up several decibels and she told me again that I was infected. I was going to tell her about my telephone preferential registration, but by then she was insisting I switch my computer on and she would tell me what site to go to. (All in a peremptory and aggressive style.)  I can only presume the next step would have been an instruction to type in passwords or other sensitive information, and as I was getting nowhere, I hung up.

My point is this. What if I had been someone who was not computer savvy? Someone who was only too ready to believe that somehow my computer was “infected” and ready to give away personal information? I have known cases where people have been taken in and ended up being taken for a ride.

By the way, if it had been “Lionel from Bolton” would it have been any less intrusive? No, not really, but it would not have been happening. As far as I can find out the Telephone Preferential Service registration only applies to this country, hence the reason for overseas sales centres taking on this type of work. Coupled with the daily onslaught of spurious and dastardly emails, it all goes to show that the online world needs a degree of scepticism just to survive.

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This is the littlest grandchild – amazing how she has grown and is such a feisty wee character. All her family and friends are calling her the “miracle baby” because things did not go smoothly for her whilst she was in the womb. And look at her now.

B2014 Hannah6weeks

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Ship to shore

Today’s excitement was a phone call from friends who are currently cruising in the Med. They were anchored off Corfu in balmy weather, and we chatted in real time as clearly as if they were phoning from home. Afterwards we looked up their position on AIS similar to google earth only for ships.

What an amazing world.

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It is here

And here is . . . . . . . .  the new fridge/freezer

B2014 Samsungopen

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Getting ready

The bookcase has been emptied, cleaned and moved. The build-up of dust has been vaccumed away, the washing has been taken down. All is ready for tomorrow’s scheduled delivery of the fridge. It’s so large that the hallway has to be cleared. I almost feel obliged to take a video and post it on  youtube – such has been the anticipation. As you can tell we don’t often go in for new furnishings or equipment, though the extra cold capacity will be welcome. It’s well seen that more items are stored in fridges these days than ever used to be. Most preserves etc have a recommendation to store in a refrigerator once opened.

My mind often jumps back into its recesses to dredge out images from the past. In particular I am thinking about pantries. (Special food storage cupboards.) They were large cupboards with shelves of different widths and heights to store food. There was often a marble slab on one of the shelves, and sometimes an air vent to the outside to take advantage of cooling draughts. The houses I lived in only had one, of course, unlike grander dwellings which had several each dedicated to a separate use.

There was something comforting about a well stocked pantry – it’s much more difficult to store packaged food in carousel cupboards, for example. I end up nearly standing on my head trying to find things, but that could be because there is too much in them. I was watching a cookery programme with Nigella a few years ago in which she claimed to be in her own kitchen. She went into the “pantry” for some flour and caster sugar . . . . . . Oh what a dream of a pantry. In reality it was a small room, nearly as big as a corner shop, with shelves stacked with all manner of groceries, staples and preserves. Imagine lusting after someone’s pantry when I am no longer the cook in our house – I just enjoy eating and watching other people cooking. I blame my indolence on too many years of cooking basic meals for a medium-large family.

All of these reminiscences make me want to  delve into the kitchen cupboards and have a spring-clean. That’s my trouble you see, I wake up when it is getting near bedtime, then in the morning I am useless until well on into the morning. (I really mean lunchtime.) It was ever thus but all the tablets I have to take have made it worse.

It occurs to me looking at this post, that I lead a very little and very ordinary life these days. And do you know what? It is rather lovely. A day can consist of such delights as frothy coffee mid-morning, catching up with facebook friends, a little light dusting, a phone call from someone special, news of one of the grandchildren, a walk with the dog and a sit in a sunny porch to watch the birds with HBTW. Bliss. . . . . . .

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Instant Joy

Had a forage round the garden yesterday – all part of getting back on my feet properly – and brought in some daffodils that had fallen in the wind. They make a wonderful bunch, so I thought, right a photo and wax lyrical about them, makes an ideal blog post instead of rabbiting on about health or lack of it. Then I realised it has been done before.

I wandered lonely as a cloud . . . . . . .

Here’s the photo anyway.

B2014 Daffodilsvase

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That fridge and other things

I hesitate to announce it to the world, but I am pleased to say that the delivery has now been scheduled for this coming Thursday. Of course I could just be tempting fate but it does at least mean we are not having to wait as long as I feared.

It has been a strange few days, I’ve not felt at all well and am struggling with a course of antibiotics that seem to be creating havoc with my system.  (Unless some of it is due to side effects of the Shingles vaccination I had ten days ago.) Medical matters have become so complex. It is no longer a case of going along to the doctor and saying, What is wrong with me? then coming away with a prescription. Patients are expected to enter fully into the diagnostic process and take responsibility for aspects of their own health and well-being. Part of me wants to say – Quite right too – but then I hanker after the cozy comfort of the GPs of yesteryear when they knew everything and we knew very little.

I guess that just means I stick to healthy eating, try to lose the weight and exercise regularly. It may sound boring, but it would be nice to enjoy my elderyears in good fettle. Margo MacDonald’s death at age 70 is salutary; her life was the political backdrop to my life and I admired her feisty nature and willingness to get stuck into all sorts of issues.

One of the first things we were asked to do in Practical Theology at Uni was to write our own obituaries. It is quite a hard thing to do, but a worthwhile exercise as it helps to put one’s priorities in order. Of course that was 25 years ago – nowadays it would be rather different. Hmmm . . . . . . . . .  perhaps it is not a good idea to go to bed thinking about one’s obit.

What would you like to be remembered for?


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A thought for today


I would love to live
like a river flows
carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding

John O’Donoghue

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For long enough I have been saying it would be nice to have a seat in the Glebe, one of our favourite local walks. This winter saw the demise of an old tree – all is not lost.

B2014 Glebetreeseat

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