Droopy revisited

I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again, I am an Anglo-Saxon. I am certain my roots are from the north rather than the south and by that I mean temperate climes. I am not designed for life in the heat so when it gets too hot I suffer, I droop, I lose energy and wish it was cooler. I suppose my ideal temperature is eighteen degrees Celsius with a relative humidity of fifty percent. Not too much to ask in the country in which I was born and raised, England but often it gets far warmer than that here and far colder too. I could write a book about the English weather as could many who live here. It is Monday (28) as I write this and the day has been very warm and sticky, well for me anyway. The actual temperature outdoor rose to 23 or 24 deg. though in the direct sunshine on the patio it was far greater than that. My early morning duty to water the two gardens kept me occupied for a couple of hours. At this moment in time I am having to water both gardens twice each day because we have had very little rain save for a few hours a day or so ago. It looks as though it will be Friday before it rains again if we are lucky. As I am retired it doesn’t matter that I have to look after the gardens so closely for I now have the time to do it. I don’t much like being uncomfortable in the heat without having somewhere I can escape from it whilst being able to stay outdoors. I had put up the parasol on the patio so I could keep out of the sun but there is another place, a quiet place where I can sit if it gets too hot and it stays cool there throughout the year. I am referring to the rear of the garage nearest the patio where there is a stone bench, the one I built last year. 

The sun never reaches that area close to the garage wall so it remains cool all the time. It has views over the raised flowerbed looking toward the patio so isn’t a boring place.Late in the afternoon E and I planted out fourteen of the beetroot seedlings. We put them in the three raised beds on the patio amongst the plants already there. The remaining plants we will place in the flowerbed in front of the greenhouses amongst the flowers and shrubs. As we have potato and rhubarb growing in the dedicated raised bed between the greenhouses there is nowhere else we can grow them. It was after six o’clock when E and I finally went indoors for the day and into a cooler place.

Shirley Anne



Last of the summer wine?

The most famous of the Last of the Summer Wine...
The most famous of the Last of the Summer Wine trios: From left to right: Peter Sallis as Norman Clegg, Brian Wilde as “Foggy” Dewhurst and Bill Owen as “Compo” Simmonite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wonder how many of my UK readers will remember the series on television about the escapades and shenanigans of three retired men friends living in and around Holmfirth in West Yorkshire? The characters were in the Autumn of their lives enjoying the last pleasures in life, hence the title. I have to add at this point that unlike the characters, I behave myself! I am also in the Autumn of my life and according to Scripture have almost reached the three score and ten years said to be the life-span for us. Naturally some live well beyond this age and some far less. I have no idea how long I have left to live, no-one does unless they are suffering from an incurable ailment and have been told they have little time left. Sometimes the medical professionals get it wrong though and sometimes people far outlive their expected date of departure or by a miracle become cured. Autumn is the season for dying where some plants are concerned and we are fast approaching that season now. There is a chill in the air. I went for a walk late on Sunday morning and wore a coat but had to leave it open half-way through my walk as it had become quite warm in the bright sunshine. After lunch E and I were sitting out on the patio enjoying one of the last days of summer sunshine and although the slight breeze was from the south it wasn’t that warm, it was bearable. With shielding from the wind and a southerly aspect summer can be prolonged. It was nice to just sit there and chat for a while and admire the new flowerbed. Eventually though she had to go indoors as the clouds had blocked the sun and she was feeling chilly. I was surprised she sat there at all as she was wearing only a tee-shirt. Normally she would have worn something warmer. I stayed out to give the plants some watering and whilst I was doing it the sun came out again but when I had finished I too went back indoors. One day I guess I won’t be able to go outside and enjoy the sunshine or the rain or anything else therefore I make the most of it whilst I can, the last of the summer wine.

Shirley Anne


English: Whitesand Bay Although the weather is...
English: Whitesand Bay Although the weather is dull at least it’s not raining so the beach and the car park are packed on August Bank Holiday weekend. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many folk will have gone abroad for a couple of weeks for their annual vacation, somewhere warm and sunny, perhaps by a beach. The English climate cannot always guarantee good weather so it is understandable that people should do that. Many however will be staying at home perhaps either funds this year are scarce or they simply wish to take a holiday somewhere in the British Isles for a change. Well those who have stayed at home recently will be glad that the weather lately has been quite perfect for a holiday. It probably won’t last too long however and the rain will return eventually. The hottest months of the year for us are usually July and August so hopefully there will be plenty of more hot and sunny days to come yet. This hasn’t always been the case in previous years and some years have been extraordinarily wet, windy and cool throughout the summer months. It is difficult to predict the weather months ahead of course so when booking a holiday it is touch and go as to whether you will be fortunate to have good weather if holidaying in this country. This is why many folk choose a holiday abroad in countries where the weather can be more predictable and almost guaranteed to be hot and sunny. I’ve done it myself on many occasions. A couple of times E and I have chosen to remain in this country for a holiday but that has been due to a lack of funds when we were buying a house or when the children were babies. The holidays we took in this country on those occasions were all reasonably favourable simply because we took them at the height of the season in either the months of July or August but even so we still had rain. E and I don’t take beach holidays nowadays or haven’t done for years but when we do go somewhere we don’t like it to be raining every day. At the moment it is great being at home, all conveniences to hand and great weather too. Only one problem with being at home, we tend to find jobs to do every day and do them instead of relaxing. We have to discipline ourselves to do nothing or we end up doing something. ‘Staycations’ might seem to be a good idea but ‘Stay at homecations’ may not.

Shirley Anne

Not following

Football with Flag of Uruguay

I like football, that is watching the game but not all of the time, in fact I get bored if I watch too much. I haven’t been following the world cup games just as I didn’t take an interest in the qualifying games. I couldn’t even tell you when they took place either. However I did watch the England match against Uruguay, a match they needed desperately to win. Six of the players taking part all play for Liverpool but the only one Liverpool player on their side (Suarez) scored the winning goal! In fact he scored the first goal of the match. I watched as Uruguay scored that first goal which happened in the first half of the game. In the second half England pulled one back through a Manchester United player (Rooney) but soon afterward Uruguay scored again and despite trying hard to score another equalizer England failed. I knew in my heart they would. A few days ago I told E that they didn’t have the capability to get far in the competition. It’s not that they haven’t got good players or a good team but for me I just don’t think they are good enough and there are many other better teams in the world. I was accused of being too pessimistic but I was just being honest. I would have loved them to do better and to go on to even win the trophy but I had to be realistic and honest about it. At this point in the proceedings England now have to rely on the results of the other teams in their group being favourable for them to remain in the competition. I think that isn’t good enough. No team should have to rely on the results and failures of others. Life’s like that, we are all responsible for our successes or failures, we cannot blame others for our own deficiencies. So I haven’t been following the games but will still keep an eye on England’s performance, good or bad. At the end of the day it is only a game. Now it is Friday evening and the England football team will be returning home having being knocked out of the competition by the Costa Rica and Italy result where Costa Rica won the game. Oh well, there’s always 2018 to look forward to!

Shirley Anne

I could do if I was inclined

English: Widecombe in the Moor, England.
Widecombe in the Moor, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think I have reached that point in my life where I realise that I do not have to go anywhere to find contentment. Well I know I don’t. My days of gallivanting around the world or around this country are long since gone though I still travel about on occasion. I do this only rarely now for I have lost interest in going places just for the fun of it. I find I am just as contented being at home, sometimes more so but as I say I do like a break from it all once in a while. Some people’s lives are lived jumping from one place to another for whatever reason pleases them and no sooner they have returned home they are again looking toward their next excursion away. I sometimes wonder why they have a permanent home to go to at all as they are seldom there. There is a house a couple of hundred metres from my own that is almost never occupied. The curtains (drapes) are never open but there are lights that come on during the evening. I have never seen anyone there other than people doing some maintenance like painters or gardeners. I assume the owners are living out of the country perhaps on a kind of perpetual holiday and only keep the house as somewhere to live whenever they have business here in England. Who knows? I could sell up my house, with E’s permission of course for she owns it with me. We could downsize and live a life of luxury if we wished to do so but we both like living here and have no desire to move. I don’t think we would be any happier spending our lives on a beach in the hot sunshine all day in some foreign country, we would simply get bored with it all. It may be nice to do those things once in a while and we have done so on many occasions but we’ve always hankered to return home after a couple of weeks. So travelling no longer holds a fascination for me and although I do it sometimes I think I prefer to remain at home for the most part. I get told by people who travel a lot for pleasure that they do so because they like so see new scenery and places and to meet people. Well there is nothing wrong in that of course but my attitude now is that one place is just the same as another, they are only places, they serve only to satisfy the eyes. People are much the same wherever you go and there are just as many people to meet locally as elsewhere. True, there are many different cultures but basically we humans are all the same. No, I don’t have to travel all over the place just for the scenery or to meet people when I have these things close-by. I am no longer inclined to wander all over the world even though I could.

Shirley Anne

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Sad times but life goes on

English: Sefton Church, Sefton, Merseyside
English: Sefton Church, Sefton, Merseyside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday E and I went to the funeral of our next-door neighbour,
Derek, who had died nine days previously due to pancreatic failure so we were told by Pam and Craig his wife and son. As the hearse pulled up outside our gate together with the two vehicles to transport his wife, son and a couple of others to the crematorium a   council pick-up truck pulled up in front of them so that the two workmen could affix one of the many new road speed limit signs that have suddenly popped up in the last six months to the lamp post in front of our house. The cortege had to wait the few minutes it took to do that job but you would think that the workmen might have shown some respect and waited across the road until the funeral cars had moved on. In former days that would have been the normal thing to do but today there seems to be  less respect. We followed behind the cortege the two miles or so to the town crematorium to meet with the many other people who knew Derek or had worked alongside him and of course his relatives. The service lasted no more than twenty minutes and afterward we drove ahead to the pub/restaurant and waited for all the other guests to arrive. Amongst them were a few of the other neighbours who had joined with us at the ceremony. A cold buffet and hot drinks had been laid on for our refreshment and we spent time chatting with Pam and Craig and some of the guests. When everyone had departed around an hour and a half later E and I drove toward home but I suggested we go for a drive and go somewhere for a few drinks. We ended up ten miles or so away in an old pub, The Punch Bowl, which had some years ago been extended and turned into a restaurant. In some ways a vast improvement but in other ways a loss. It stands next to the oldest church building in Lancashire. Here is a brief history ……

Sefton is a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton in Merseyside, England. Located to the south west of Maghull and to the north east of Great Crosby, it is on the flood plain of the River Alt. The village is bisected by the B5422, Brickwall Lane, which cuts also through the site of the moat of Sefton Old Hall, a recognised National Monument. At the 2001 Census the population was recorded as 772.

Historically a part of Lancashire, the name Sefton is thought to be derived from the Old Norse sef, meaning “sedge” or “rushes” and tún meaning “farmstead”. In the past Sephton was an alternative spelling

The Parish Church of St Helen
(Church of England) – the only Grade I listed building in the Borough – was first built around 1170 as the private chapel of the Molyneux family.This village is home to Sefton Parish Church, Saint Helen‘s Well, a pre-Reformation shrine, a plague pot, the Grade II listed ‘Punch Bowl Inn’ and the site of Sefton Mill dating back to the Middle Ages. Local folklore has it that Sefton Hall, a loyalist stronghold, was the scene of a skirmish in the English Civil War. The Georgian Rectory to nearby Sefton Parish Church was demolished in the 1970s, however the gate piers still stand at the entrance to Glebe End. The curate’s house, Lunt House, was situated in the nearby hamlet of Lunt.

We had a couple of coffees and soft drinks then later ordered a meal before heading off home. Incidentally, I was one of the two electricians involved in wiring that church for electric lighting during the late sixties and I remember we had to use grey cabling and hide it in the seams of the stonework wherever we could. Soon after we had arrived at home the doorbell rang and it was Pam who just wanted to thank us for our support and to present us with a small bunch of the deep red roses that had formed an enormous wreath supplied by the undertaker in memory of Derek. Pam seems to be more in control now than when we saw her earlier last week but the next few months are going to be a difficult time for her and her son. All we can do is be there for her and offer any support we can.

Today, Thursday, I am back at work again doing the first of five jobs I have scheduled for today and tomorrow. Life certainly goes on doesn’t it?

Shirley Anne

Hot weather at last we said

Wildhorse Lake
Wildhorse Lake (Photo credit: qousqous)

Winter dragged on and on, well into the months of Spring but last weekend and especially on Tuesday the weather improved enormously. Hot, dry and sunny was the order of the day but even so I remained home throughout as it was the May bank holiday. On Tuesday I worked at home installing some new floodlights. Now I am in Brighton for this weekend and the weather has turned cooler and wetter. I don’t mind that so much but it would have been nicer had it been as nice as it was last week. I like the idea of a short break as I don’t get the chance to be bored, anything too long and I am biting at the bit eager to get back home. I suppose it depends very much on where I go. When I visited America and Canada  four years ago I found I had moments of boredom even though there was plenty to see and do. I have been to many places in the world, all of them interesting in their own way but I feel being there for any length of time leads to boredom with me. Cities and towns are pretty much the same wherever one goes, they just have characters of their own. I remember staying over the weekend in Jillian’s house situated alongside one the very numerous lakes they have over in Quebec. The scenery was beautiful I have to admit but once I’d seen it, it became familiar, nothing special at all, just the same as any other house sitting by a lake. I was asked why I didn’t take a dip in the water so that I could claim to have swum in a Canadian lake. Apart from the fact that I hadn’t packed a swimsuit the inclination wasn’t there and I iterated that one lake is just the same as any other anywhere in the world, once you’ve swum in one you’ve swum in them all. I don’t think my remark was taken in the spirit in which it was given. That’s the way it is with me, I visit places to meet people, the scenery is of no real importance as it might be for others. I have come to Brighton specifically to meet with people, with a friend, not to admire the sights of the area, nice as they may be. In any case my mobility is rather restricted when I go places with E these days. It isn’t her fault but she cannot get about as quickly as she used to because of her disability. That aside, I wouldn’t wish to leave her just to go gallivanting by myself. Sunshine makes any place feel nice but to me it makes no difference. At least I am not here during the winter for I believe it gets rather cold and covered in snow and is probably not as inviting but that’s the same anywhere one goes! I wonder if I’ll feel the same about San Fransisco if I ever get there as I plan to do?

Shirley Anne


It’s too easy

The counties of England
The counties of England 

E does a lot of competitions and she is always winning something so it is no surprise to me when she occasionally asks out-of-the-ordinary questions. At the dinner table a few days ago she asked such a question but this time it had nothing to do with her competitions, it was something to do with a television program which was to start thirty minutes later. The program itself was one of those reality shows where people, usually a couple, are escorted to and shown around three houses with the prospect of perhaps buying one if it meets with their requirements. The question E put to me was this, ‘Which county in the UK is bordered by seven others’? I didn’t know the answer but took a guess at one which is in the Midlands, an obvious choice but nevertheless I got the answer wrong. I was now curious to know what the answer might be so i went to look for the map book I know we have somewhere in the bookshelves. Sadly I couldn’t quickly locate it so I picked up my tablet pc and browsed on-line for a map of England which showed all the counties and there was the answer, Warwickshire. It is evidently the only county in England which is bordered by seven others. This was where the television program was recorded for this particular episode. Afterwards I thought to myself how easy it is to get information about anything these days. My poor efforts in trying to locate a map book, though I know we possess one, were greatly surpassed by the speed of searching via The Internet. Books are becoming more and more obsolete as time passes, much to my horror I might add for I love sitting with a book and losing myself in its pages. I seldom do that now. I suppose there will always be books for reference purposes because storage of information electronically can be unreliable. I do hope that there will always be a place for books.

Shirley Anne

It is getting better……honest!

English: Location of the Channel Islands
Location of the Channel Islands

A couple of days ago I was sitting at home writing one of my posts and mentioning something about the brilliant sunshine we were enjoying in our part of the country. That same day, Monday, I heard what the weather was like in the Channel Islands where they almost never get snow. They were experiencing one of the worst snow blizzards they have ever had the misfortune to get, in fact much of northern France and south-east England were having the same experience yet here along the coast in west Lancashire it was sunny with no snow. Later that day though we began to see fine snow descending as the sky grew darker and darker with approaching clouds from the east. By nightfall we had what you might call a ‘dusting’ of snow but only about a couple of millimetres.  However, because it was extremely cold it remained on the ground until morning. Tuesday started again with bright sunshine and clear blue skies and as the temperature rose the snow disappeared except in the very sheltered spots. The weather is getting better each day as Spring approaches. The main problem facing the country as far as the weather is concerned is the wind direction. Whilst it is blowing from the east we will continue with colder days. According to the forecast though the wind is beginning to veer from the north and gradually from the west, where we expect it to be coming from at this time of year. Most of my mornings are spent at home unless I have work to do and once it is afternoon I begin to think about going for bike rides or visiting the pub for a meal or going for a walk somewhere as by that time I don’t expect any calls on my phone requesting work that day. Most folk call me in the evenings unless it is something they think requires urgent attention. By mid afternoon I am not usually prepared to start work and always tend to defer jobs to be scheduled some other day and in the morning. Life is getting better for me as I begin to take things more easy and please myself. Now that the weather is seemingly improving I thought we might have gotten the chance to see something of the comet that paid the inner solar system a visit recently but alas I think we’ve missed it. Those in the southern hemisphere have enjoyed watching its progress as it swept toward the sun and we in the northern hemisphere should have still been able to see it after it had swung round the sun returning from whence it came. If it had been visible, it would have graced the western sky after sunset for a few more days. According to what I’ve read it would have been visible between 12th and 20th of this month. Later in the year however in November, we are informed that a much brighter comet will make an appearance and will be more prominent in the northern hemisphere for a change. We’ll see.

Shirley Anne

Dreaming again

English: Hackenthorpe Council Housing Estate, ...
English: Hackenthorpe Council Housing Estate, Woodhouse, , Great Britain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I dream quite a lot but never seem to remember the dreams after a couple of seconds. On two consecutive mornings recently however I was able to recall them. The first dream, which incidentally really only lasted a minute or two as they all do, was set in a council housing estate. I am not sure the reason I was there but it might have been something to do with my job. I found myself wandering around looking for something, some place or some person. Two women approached me, one seemingly the mother of the other but I couldn’t be sure. Now this might seem strange but I was wearing my nightdress (yes, I do wear a nightdress) when suddenly I found myself lying on a bank of grass which seemed to be prevalent in the estate. The older woman was peering down my dress and remarked, ‘You need to change it because the neckline is dirty’! Just then the younger woman began to look but she was more interested in my face, specifically my mouth and before I knew it was pressing her lips to mine. The older woman joined in with this sexual intrusion. I was struggling to free myself from their advances until I finally succeeded. I woke up wondering what it all meant.
In my second dream the following night, I was on a train in England travelling somewhere but I know not where. I remember pulling into a platform and watching through the window people coming and going. I remained on board and soon we were in open countryside but the scenery was no longer that of the English countryside. Mountains towered each side of the track and before I knew it we got lost, unable to turn back. No-one seemed to know why we couldn’t reverse and neither did they know where we were supposed to be going. I knew the people travelling with me but couldn’t remember their names. I wanted to get off the train and desperately looked for a door, fighting my way through the coach. As I stepped outside I woke up.

Shirley Anne