Monday, 23 May 2016

Friday and Sunday. The alternative version


Friday

I just had to fill you all in with my version about my friend.

 On Friday I met her at the garden centre.  As I was pulling into the car park there was someone on a trundle truck.  She was going that fast her hair was stuck straight out at the back of her.  I looked again and realised that it was the crazy vicar.  Those trucks go about 8mph as I was soon to find out.  We started to look for plants but I couldn’t keep up with the vicar’s truck.  I lost her many times. Once she was talking to someone she knew.  I thought, “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” so I started chatting to a lady who was 84 years old.  I was telling her about some plants she had in her trolley.  She was very grateful that I was giving her some tips on the plants.  All of a sudden the trundle truck appeared from nowhere.  The lady was quite amused at the banter between me and the vicar.  Once again the vicar’s Boss must have been very happy as the lady went off with a big grin on her face.  We got two trolley loads of plants and two grow-bags for the tomatoes. We both enjoyed that hour immensely. 

Back at her house plans were made over a pot of tea.  I think when my time has come to meet The Boss he’ll be standing ready with a pot of tea and some plans for me.  I dug the garden over after pulling up the pansies.  I put loads of flowers in – and oh yes, broad beans go mixed into the flower beds.  I put veg plants in the raised beds, 3 tomatoes in one grow-bag and I planted a cucumber. 

It got to 1.30 and dinner was ready.  I’m always a bit wary of meals at the vicar’s.  She was at it again today.  We had thin bangers, new potatoes, mixed veg and bacon.  She did warn me the bacon was well done!  It was jet black, frazzled and rather crispy.  She was good enough to offer me dinner so I ate my bacon, smiled and told her there are a lot of black pigs about nowadays.  I think that put her mind at ease. 

While we were at the garden centre we had looked for a water feature to replace the one she’s got but we didn’t buy one.  Her’s has a very large and heavy stone which has to be carefully lowered over the fountain. Bless the vicar – she says I shouldn’t be lifting it now I am getting on in years.  She’s such a thoughtful person.  See, Vicar, I’ve said something nice about you for a change.  Anyway, while she was on her swing watching me she had a brainwave – leave the stone to one side and just have the fountain going.  It worked very well – really all she wants is the sound of the water splashing on the stones.  Great – no more lifting heavy stones for yours truly. 

It was now 3.30pm so it was time I was off.  I had my own raised beds to plant up – I have six.  My back garden is small but I have a big circular patio with a few stone figures including a garden gnome and a dog with its bum in the air.  All in all there’s plenty going on.   

When you read this I will have been to see the vicar working at her real job.  She’s always watching me work so it’s time the tables were turned.



SUNDAY

I went to see her doing her job and I have to admit she’s pretty good at it. 

On arrival at Melton Ross church I was welcomed most kindly by a lady who let me look round the ornate paintings on the ceiling which were similar to the Mosta dome in Malta.  I was truly amazed. 

Although the congregation was small we made up for that when we sang the hymns.  I am not a regular church-goer but I enjoyed the words the vicar was speaking.  After the service was over we all had a cup of tea and biscuits. 

I felt sorry for one brave elderly gentleman.  His house had been broken into and his son had just died.  The vicar was consoling him and giving words of comfort.  Don’t give up, Sir, The Boss will see you through. 

I won’t leave it as long before I speak to The Boss again.  Maybe he could arrange for me to have less hooks and black bacon.

Friday, 20 May 2016

An exchange of gifts

Jack is here!  He’s planning another post in which he will definitely be rude about me.  Probably about how fast I whizz around on my trundle truck when I go to the garden centre, how much running around he had to do and how hard he has been working since we got back and I’ve cracked the big whip to make sure my garden gets planted.  Oh, and maybe about the decorating he did yesterday and the furniture shifting he’s done as well but I’ll leave all that to him.

He gave me rather an usual present.   With poem attached.  I doubt if you can read the poem in the photograph so here you are.

Here is a very special gift
One you cannot see.
The reason it’s so special?
It’s a gift to you from me.

You never must undo it
Always leave the ribbon tied
You only have to touch the box
To feel the love inside.

Whenever you are lonely
Or feel a little blue
Hold this box next to your heart
To know I think of  you.


I gave Jack a present too.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Guess who!

Hi everyone!  I’m back and not a moment too soon judging by the lack of attention to some of the gardens and houses of the people I visit.  Before I went to see my vicar friend I blitzed my daughter’s garden, dug mine over (which was hard as rock) and put in a lot of geraniums.  I got blisters for my labours.

On Monday I went to see a lady who just won’t let her hubby in the garden. She’d just come out of hospital after a major operation.  She’s not allowed to do anything for at least two and a half months.

On Tuesday I came to see the vicar.  I have to go through a sleepy small town and between 8.30 and 9.30 it’s a pain to get through it.  It took me 25 minutes to cover one and a half miles.  I had to collect some compost from a garden centre for my friend.  I arrived a few minutes before 9am which is when it should open.  I waited with someone else until it opened at nearly five past nine. When I got to the tills no-one was manning them.  They obviously didn’t want any business so early!  The young man who I’d seen outside was going to load the bags of compost into my car came and staffed the till in the end.   Well done young fella!  The till people should be ashamed.

I arrived at my friend’s bungalow.  Over the usual cuppa plans were made.  I did all she asked of me and some more. Her boss decided I should get wet – rain was on the way!  I struggled on to finish my jobs but my friend had the audacity to clear off for the day!  It was just me with a hook and two meat sarnies wh9ich I made for myself.  You can go off people.

Talking of menus, someone called Blossom suggested in the comments that I could have nit and bolt stew.  Well, thank you very much for your input Blossom!  If I had that for my dinner I would go off my NUT, get in a STEWQ and BOLT off home!!  (I’m only joking – honest!)

I see several people from the USA comment.  Well, as you know Mrs Jack has gone to Florida for three weeks.  I hope the weather stays nice for them and your countrymen are kind and look after them all.  I shall be going to see my friend a few times while Mrs Jack is away.  Maybe she will redeem herself by serving hook salad again.

Well, I hope you are all in the best of health and keep sending comments to Frugally Challenged blogs.  See I’m picking up the jargon.

KEEP SMILING
 Smiling is infectious
You catch it like the ‘flu.
When someone smiled at me today
I started smiling too.

I passed around a corner
And someone saw my grin
When I looked and then I realised
I’d passed it on to him.

If you should feel a smile begin
Don’t leave it undetected
Let’s start an epidemic quick
And get the world infected.

Take care

Jack

(Alfred Lord Tennyson was from my county.  Maybe I will be Poet Laureate as well)


Saturday, 14 May 2016

Enhanced trundling

For the last eight years I've used a walking stick and for the last six I've used a mobility scooter usually known as my trundle truck.  Over the last six years I've made five applications for a Blue Badge and have always been refused.  Which is a pain.

I'm not sure whether the Blue Badge scheme is international so I'd better say that it's a scheme to allow parking concessions when a disabled person is using a car either as a driver or passenger.  Unfortunately it is often misused and Blue Badges are sometimes resented by able bodied people but the badge is needed it is invaluable.

But it has now been decided that I qualify and today the longed-for badge arrived.  The trundling will get even better!

Friday, 13 May 2016

It's the little things

Sometimes I feel a bit Pollyanna-ish when I write this blog as I always want to accentuate the positives and rarely report the negatives.  I feel there are enough unhappy people and enough unhappy news without my adding to life's misery.

I've been busy today doing a few of my unfavourite things - cleaning the oven and the fridge, scrubbing bins, tidying things away - but I seem to have had a smile on my face all day.

I've realised that much of my joy comes from the little things.  This morning as I was doing the ironing I added some lavender oil to my water spray and enjoyed the perfume.  I sprayed the pillowcases and know they will be extra lovely when I change the bed.  I scooped out soap powder and laundry bleach using coffee cups with pictures of Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore respectively.  There was a blackbird singing while I pegged out the washing.  Jack's handiwork is flourishing in my vegetable patch.

I could go on and on listing the little things which have enriched my day but many are very personal things which evoke memories and bring very personal pleasure.  The best thing though is that in retirement I have time to enjoy, to savour and yes, to give thanks.

My Sabbath is beginning.  I am truly blessed.  Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Hook cuisine returns

Some people have a really hard life.  Jack isn't one of them!

A week ago he and Mrs Jack came home after three months in Malta.  After two days at home they nipped off to their caravan at the coast for the best part of a week.

They're home now.  Mrs Jack is toddling off to the USA at the end of the week.  Jack has plans.  My suspicion is that while the cat is away (sorry Mrs Jack!) the mouse will be having a ball.  

However, Jack will be visiting me quite a lot so I had better be good.  He's been today.  he's mended the fence.  He's put a new handle and lock on the back door.  He's done a lot of weeding.  He's planted lots of veg.  

Transcription:  Yes I had hook sandwiches for lunch.  C U Jack
Watching him would exhaust me so I've been out!!!!

He still had hook cuisine for lunch.  He left me this note to tell me about it.

He has threatened  promised to write a post very soon.  He will tell you how wonderful he is.  I just wanted to get my version in first.

(I know he will be reading this so, Jack, it's lovely to have you home and it was wonderful to come home to a much tidier garden.  Thank you!)

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Changing Face of Small Town Life


Like many market towns, the centre of Caistor seems to have an almost timeless quality about it.  There's the old pump, the Georgian and Victorian buildings, the alleys inviting exploration and the old church.  True, what was once a big market square is a car park with cars barred from a tiny part on Wednesdays and Saturdays so the few stalls can stand and ply their trade but it still feels timeless.

But for those who have known it a while, there are many changes visible.  George Court, a development of rather nice flats stands on the site of the old George Inn and the Talbot Inn has been converted into a Co-op.  The old ironmonger’s shop is now an estate agent and Wilkinson’s grocers an antique shop.  During this last year we have lost our last independent butcher and our only bank and we are down to a single pub.

And it’s people like me who are part of the reason for the closure of those businesses.  I do most of my shopping on t’interweb.  Drinking and driving is out so the pubs don’t get the trade.  I do most of my banking on line.  I am like so many more.

But I still feel sad that I can no longer go to Roger’s and buy my single lamb chop whilst hearing the local news.  I can’t nip into The Talbot and have a quick G & T at the end of the day.  And I no longer have the option of face-to-face banking without a twenty mile round trip.

I have decided that I will support the market traders a lot more.