Tuesday 30 June 2015

Drink up your greens

My son's solution to a non-greens-loving son: make a "milkshake" with (wait for it) spinach, banana and strawberries. His children loved it. It looks a bit like very dirty pond water, thickened with macerated pondweed and tadpoles.

If you'd like the recipe, I'm sure he'd be happy to oblige.As for me,  I think I'll give it a miss.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Telephonic ambulance-chasers

I have recently been besieged by a particularly nasty kind of cold call.

A year ago, I had a  horrible accident, knocking a woman off her bike. Neither John nor I saw her, and to this day, I have no idea how it happened. It was one of the worst moments of my life, as for a few long seconds, I really thought she was dead. But she was quite amazingly forgiving and nice about it, the police were kindness itself, and I had to go on a (very useful) Driver Awareness course. End of. Or so I thought.

Then the calls started to come, on both landline and mobile. I'd had an accident, hadn't   I? I might be due compensation. One text regularly specifies a sum of over £3000 which awaits me, if only I'd call them.

Quite apart from the small matter of confidentiality (who exactly leaked my details to these scumbags?), these calls are a real nuisance. But the other day. I did get my own back. Just a bit.

Yes. I said. I'd had a horrible accident. I'd lost both legs, and was in a very sorry state.

Ooooh! Both legs? The glee was audible. I was immediately passed on to someone higher up the chain. We discussed my terrible problem and then I told the man on the phone that it was quite untrue and that there was nothing wrong with me. He was enraged.

"It is very bad to tell these lies!" said he.
"Well, it's very bad to pursue people in this disgusting way," I told him, and rang off.

But the calls keep on coming. They are horrible and unsettling, and pander to the worst in everyone involved. I don't like being rude to cold callers (my preferred option is to tell them I'm dead. It works every time, and is at least not unkind). They have a living to earn. But these really are the pits.

Sunday 14 June 2015

Magpie 274

She was brooding upstairs in her bedroom,
Abandoned, depressed and alone,
But was roused by her mum
Shouting "hurry, dear! Come!
For here's Ivy for you, on the phone!"

(With thanks to Tess at Magpiel Tales for the picture)

Saturday 13 June 2015

The chamber pot and the truncheon

Cleaning out the fridge last week (unable to ride because of my very painful a**se, I've reached the bottom of the barrel where activities are concerned), I fell to thinking of my granny ( as you do).

For the last part of her life, Granny lived alone. Under her bed, there were two items: a truncheon and a chamber pot. The truncheon was for fighting off intruders, and the chamber pot was...a chamber pot (though while she used it I will never know, since the loo was a mere couple of yards from her bedroom).

At the time, I found this quite endearing; even  amusing. Now, I think: how sad. Here was this overweight 87-year-old, lonely, quite incapable of wielding a truncheon, but having it there anyway to "protect" her; a triumph of optimisim over reality.  She had never lived on her own before widowhood struck, and now she lived for the letters of which her busy, thoughtless family didn't send nearly enough. And our visits.

She used to take me for walks along the sea front to get "sea air", clutching me in one hand and holding onto her hat with the other, while winds lashed the hotel fronts and sensible people stayed indoors. She always burnt toast (to this day, the smell of burnt toast still reminds me of Granny). She read me old-fashioned moral tales; The cuckoo Clock, a Peep Behind the Scenes. Later on, I read her the novels of Jane Austen. 

She died a few months after being knocked over by a car, having walked the mile to the shops in the pouring rain. She had never been in hospital in her life, and she was terrified.

I did what I could, but I wish I had understood then what I do now. But sadly, it's too late.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Travelling in comfort

Instead of suffering the way we did on our last flight (post here), my two  youngest grandsons travelled last week in comfort, and could even catch up on a bit of work on the way.

Some people have all the luck.

Friday 5 June 2015

I have now been saved twice by this...

 If you haven't the time to see it, it's a kind of horse airbag. It's a thin gilet type jacket which inflates in a tenth of a second as you...er...leave the saddle. It's brilliant. This morning, I landed from a considerable height (the horse had leapt in the air) onto a hard gravel drive, and was protected like Michelin man. Okay, so it hurt, and I'm sore, but otherwise I'm fine. I wouldn't be without this.

And the horse? We're not speaking at the moment, so I wouldn't know.

Thursday 4 June 2015

What makes me weep

Last night, Texas executed a man of 67. He had been on death row for 31 years, and there was compelling evidence that he wasn't responsible for the crime of which he was accused. He maintained his innocence up to the end. He had endured the torture of facing execution seven times before, having had seven previous stays of execution,

This week, two of my latest letters to my own death row friend were returned to me, with no reason given. This man depends on my friendship, and will feel betrayed and let down. I rarely cry, but on this occasion, I did.

For anyone who believes in the death penalty, and those who don't, please take the time to follow this inspiring talk (link below) by a black lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, who has worked tirelessly to defend these people. He also defends children . Yes, children. The US imprisons for LIFE some children as young as 13.


Tuesday 2 June 2015

Magie 272

At her twenty week scan, my friend Sadie
Asked the doctor, "what sex is my baby?"
He replied, "what a shock!
Come, do have a look -
You're expecting a fully-grown lady!"

(With thanks to Tess at Magpie Tales for the photo)