Friday, 31 August 2012

Mountains, Laughter, And A Nice Cup Of Ty-phoo Tea.

Tricia and my extremely handsome son George are on the train. I have just dropped them off at the station. They are in for a seven or eight hour journey, as they head for Wales. George is going to climb Snowdon. When I say climb, what I mean is walk up it. I haven't been up it myself but I believe it is a well trodden path. Of course when he gets back home, he will have become quite the intrepid explorer, and the climb will be described as the most difficult and arduous thing that anyone has ever done in the history of mankind. I have no idea where he gets it from this tendency to exaggeration. Did I ever tell you about my trek to the summit of Everest, barefoot and wearing nothing but shorts and a T-shirt? Boy, that was some morning.

Yesterday when Sadie the German Shepherd took me for a walk, I got to thinking about my book. I have decided to write more about my innermost feelings on a certain episode from my childhood. It will add a few thousand more words. But I think it is necessary. In the book whenever anything has been too difficult to write about, I have adopted a third person technique, in which I disappear and become 'The Boy'. I leave it to the reader to decide if  'The Boy' is me. I believe it has given the book an extra interest.

Last night as I was trying to add a bit of structure to the book, I suddenly realised that what I have actually written is a series of vignettes about my childhood. To be honest I really do not think there is much structuring to be done. The way it reads is the way my thoughts developed as I wrote. I might leave it like that. The way it happened. It seems natural to me.

Thank you all so much for your encouragement. It means a lot to me. I hope the book measures up to expectations, and I hope you realise that some parts are very dark. So dark in fact that the humour may seem inappropriate at times. But laughter is how I have dealt with things all through my life. It has served me well. It has helped my survival. This may seem an odd statement to those who know me to be a miserable old git.

When I had finished the book and had printed it out yesterday morning, I made myself a cup of tea. Do you know that feeling when you are really ready for a cuppa? Well it was one of those moments. When I sat down to drink, it was at just the right temperature, and I drank in long draughts. It was wonderful. The best cup of tea I have ever had. My Mum introduced me to that particular brand of tea when I went to live with her in Scotland. Ty-phoo tea. Lovely. It really hits the spot.






Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Pondering.

Good morning to you my friends. It is early. A grey day. I have been awake sometime, lying in bed pondering the meaning of life. That's a lovely word don't you think? Pondering.

Any way after a good old ponder I finally came to the conclusion that life has no meaning. What it has I decided is purpose.

The purpose of life it would seem to me, is mainly to procreate. To perpetuate the species. This doesn't just apply to us humans of course. It applies to all of life. Everything has a purpose. A reason to be. Everything needs to procreate, and keep on procreating so that evolution can continue on it's inexorable path.

Eventually, going by the way things have evolved up to now, and bearing in mind, that instead of becoming more caring, we seem intent on finding more and more ways to kill each other, the human race will procreate it's way to total self destruction. But don't worry, it won't be for a while yet, because there are a lot of wars to be fought until someone more maniacal than all the rest sets off the real big one.

There is still a slight hope that it won't happen, but that depends on humanity finally learning that simplicity is the key to happiness, and adopting a more natural life style. One that doesn't require the need for more and more 'stuff '. It is a slight hope. So slight that it won't happen.

Oh well, what will be will be. The good thing is that procreation will still go on. Basically what that means is, you can have as much sex as you like. Which is a good thing, and as purposes go, a very enjoyable one. I wish I had the opportunity to do more of it.

Mind you the fact that I ain't getting any, could be a good thing. The way I see it is that it means I'm doing my bit to slow down the inevitable. I am doing my bit to save the world. As futile as that may be. However should I get the chance to do a bit of procreating again, I shall very likely take the opportunity, and let the worlds decline increase once more.

There is nothing I can do about the rest of the decline. Apart from sorting my rubbish into recycling bins, and to be honest I don't think that is going to help much.

I hope I haven't depressed you. Remember I'm not Albert Einstein. I'm just a bloke who lies in bed pondering.








Sunday, 26 August 2012

Following Some Invaluable Advice From A Lady.

It's hopeless, I can't stay away any longer. I miss you guys. Miss you guys means everyone, not just the men. It's modern. The term guys is all inclusive. Even though the female guy is more attractive. In most cases that is. I did meet a bloke a couple of weeks ago, who had a most disarming smile. Here I go again, rambling on.

This is a good time for me to pop back to Blogland, because my best selling book is now at, 30,000 words, which means only 10,000 more to go and I shall have a book on my hands, although I suspect it could go beyond that number. At this stage I would like to thank Valerie allsortsforallsorts.blogspot.co.uk  for an e-mail she sent, when she realised I was struggling with certain aspects of book writing. She gave me some invaluable advice which I have followed for the last five days, and Valerie, it has worked a treat. I have those words pinned up beside me, and they shall stay until the project is completed.
Some time ago Valerie also made a comment after she read a short passage from my book which I posted on here. It was to do with the use of swear words. She considers them unnecessary. I'm not sure why they were in the narrative, but they may have erupted from my mind, because I was punching the words in angrily at the time. On reading through certain bits I now agree with Valerie's opinion. They are unnecessary. Not only that but I think they actually interrupt the flow of words. Mind you there are still swear words in certain parts, because this is a story of real life and in real life they do occur. Anyway thank you again Valerie, and God bless the Women's Institute.



Here are a couple of photo's of me wearing my new glasses. Yes I know what you are thinking ladies, and I agree, I do look good, but I am sorry, there is a queue. Besides I am far too busy writing my best selling book, to accept any invitations to dinner and the inevitable invitation for a nightcap at your place!







Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A Short Break But I Will Be Back Soon.

This best selling book I am writing, has caused me to be somewhat neglectful of you my blogging friends. My sincere apologies.

It is all consuming, this being an author. Even when not sat here typing away, I find myself constantly constructing sentences in my mind, or planning the next section. Or thinking should I move that here and this here.

There is the issue of self doubt too. Who wants to read this anyway I think to myself, especially when a bad memory needs to be faced head on, in a way that I have never previously allowed myself to do.


Grammar and punctuation issues keep confronting me also. I may appear a confident writer but I can assure you I am not. How I wish I had finished my education. Do you know I never passed a single exam? I am indeed a self taught man, and it is beginning to show. Mind you I suppose that is where the editors and proof readers come into their own. At least I am hoping they will, should I be fortunate enough to reach that stage of proceedings.

I still struggle with the word processor. It is mighty complicated. I have had to call for assistance a few times. Last week I could not access the manuscript at all, and believe me I was in despair. Two nights ago, I could not shut the programme down for some odd reason. A sign popped up warning me that all data would be lost if I switched off manually, but I was tired, and refused to believe it. I lost two thousand or more words because of my stupidity, and in this case they were lost truly nowhere to be found.

Thank you Paul for coming out late at night to help me in my hour of need. Thank you Steve for never failing to help too, and not complaining when I interrupt your dinner. If this book ever gets published, your two names shall be acknowledged.

One positive though from Paul coming to help, was that he asked to read a chapter or two. He couldn't stop reading. In the end I had to tell him to wait for the book to come out. Now that is promising, don't you think?

I am going to take a short blogging break now, and concentrate solely on the book for a few days. It is a good job I have Sadie the German Shepherd to take out walking, or else I would be glued to this chair permanently.

I will be back soon. Take care.






Monday, 20 August 2012

What Is Your Best Position For Doing It?

I am going to be honest here and tell you that it has been quite a long time since I last did it. The last time I tried was about six weeks ago, and I'm ashamed to say I never managed it. So disappointing. Anyway last night I decided to give it another try.

What a carry on! You should have heard all the moaning and groaning. I tried it in as many positions as it is possible to get into at my age, but still  no luck.

At one stage I got a bit hopeful though. I had one foot on the floor and the other one on the bed, and got quite excited when I very nearly did it, but in the end I had to give up again. It was beginning to hurt and I was getting short of breath.

This state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. I have decided to swallow my pride and seek help. I know of a very nice woman in the village who specialises in this sort of problem. I have asked her to call round. She is not a professional, but my mate Barry, who was having the same problem as me, is very satisfied with her.

She is coming tomorrow morning at 11 o`clock. I can't wait. It will be such a relief to finally get my toenails cut!

It is a lack of suppleness that is my main problem. Well that and being ever so slightly overweight. I am going to start taking Limbo lessons. I read recently of a man who has done Limbo all his life, and at 105 years old he can still get both feet behind his neck. Remarkable! I would like to be able to do that. I mean around my neck, not his. That would be silly.

Not Limbo. I mean Yoga. What am I like?






Friday, 17 August 2012

A Wee Dram. A 'Drap 'O The Hard Stuff'.

My extremely handsome son George, is not a lover of alcoholic beverages. I was trying to explain the delicate subtle flavours of a single malt whisky to him. I must have made a good job of describing it, because to my surprise he decided to have a small taster. I had my camera ready to record the historic moment that he was introduced to this wonderful drop of his Scottish heritage.


First taste of a delicious single malt

"Urgh! That is disgusting!"


Spitting it out.

Almost recovered.
Then he rinsed his mouth out with water. Absolute sacrilege!

Please don't be concerned, I managed to grab the glass before he dropped it. Never spilled a drop!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

An Intelligent Fool.

This best selling book writing is a cathartic process. There's no doubt in my mind about that. But I'm not certain that is why I'm writing it. I have always been fairly open with my thoughts. Fairly honest. Not just on this blog either. Seems to me, I began the healing process a long time ago.

I can quite happily talk openly about my past. Well most of it. The bad times as well as the good. There is no bitterness. No feeling sorry for myself. I'm not looking for sympathy. Some people in this so called civilised world have it really tough. Let us save our compassion for them.

I no longer feel the need to apologise for the way things were once upon another lifetime. It's my life, and that is just the way things panned out. I did, as you know if you have read this blog for a while, act badly enough to get into real trouble with the law. I took my punishment without complaint. I'm not unintelligent. I know that it was myself to blame. I had free choice, and I took the wrong road a few times. I was an intelligent idiot.

Writing my best selling book.
There is one truth I am content with though, and I know it might sound strange, but the thing is, that no matter how badly I may have behaved in the past, I was never a bad person. As I say, it does sound odd, but I know it to be true and I hold that truth to me at all times. It could be the key to what kept me relatively mentally sound.

You may have noticed that I used the words, fairly open, fairly honest. That's because I did find some things too painful to talk about. In this book I'm writing though, I am being brutally honest. I am writing of bad things that happened in my childhood. Some real bad things. Some real bad people.

For some people this best seller might not be an easy book to read. I'm pretty certain that it will stir a few emotions though. If it ever gets published that is. Who knows? It is early days.

I will not be going down the self publishing route. I couldn't afford that, and anyway I would want it to stand or fall on it's own merits. I need to write a synopsis and get it sent off to some publishers. Funnily enough, I can write a book, but when it comes to writing a synopsis I'm stuck. Weird.

Based on the average novel length, by my reckoning it is about halfway written. Not bad going, considering that I haven't really applied myself to it these last two weeks.







Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Foster Parents.

I am back into writing my best selling book again. Here is a bit of unedited rambling. I am not sure if what I have to say on this particular subject has any value, but these things are in my head and I want to write them down. I am still struggling to find humour in my childhood situation, but it was there. I remember using humour as a defence mechanism. Make 'em laugh and maybe they won't hit you. Where is it? I shall keep looking.

An excerpt from:
'ELBOWS OFF THE TABLE'
(copyright John Bain)


     These people who come sometimes and take me out for the day, are prospective foster parents. Usually I never see them again. Suits me anyway because my mum is coming to get me soon.
What they do is they take you out to see how you behave and then when they bring you back, they decide if they want you or not. Lots of them say not. They can be quite fussy about who they want. I think I was turned down once because my hair wouldn't stay flat.
Personally I think they are looking in the wrong place. None of us home kids is going to come without some kind of problem. Probably lots of problems. We are never going to be the perfect little angel they are looking for. We are never going to be as wonderful as their own kids.
What they don't seem to realise is that the little boy or girl they are considering for fostering is not the kid they are going to end up with. The truth is that most of us are on our best behaviour during these visits. Not necessarily because we are desperate to be chosen by them either, although a nice car or motorbike and a big house with our own room might sway us, and loads of money too, lets not forget that. No the reason we are so quiet and well mannered is because we are extremely nervous. We have not the slightest idea who you are. For all we know you could be taking us away to murder us. We might never be seen again. Sometimes too, people overdo the affection. Believe me, it is weird being cuddled by a complete stranger.
Incidentally if you decide not to take a particular child because he seems to spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on the toilet, that is down to being nervous too.
That's where the system was so wrong. What should have been happening was that we, the children should be making the decisions about who we want to go and live with. Not the prospective foster parents. That seems completely wrong thinking. Actually there is no seems about it. It is definitely wrong.
We kids are not a commodity, to be chosen and unchosen at some so called caring persons whim. Unless they are in it for the money of course, in that case a commodity is exactly what we are, and let's not kid ourselves, the money does attract a lot of people to the role of foster parent. The monthly cheque from the council comes in very useful. A couple of foster kids might be a bit of an intrusion, but think of it this way, there will soon be enough in the bank account, to buy a car, or for a deposit on a nice big house.
Nobody ever seemed to consider what the child wanted. We would be moved from pillar to post, without so much as a by your leave. I think I just got used to it in the end. Expected it. Never ever thought I would be in one place for long, and never was. Mind you, some of the people who rejected me, I ought to thank them. They did me a great big favour. Saved me from rejecting them first. Saved themselves and me a whole heap of trouble.
It was a good thing I never lost sight of the fact that one special day my real mum was going to come and take me away from it all. It is good to have a goal. A place, real or imagined to reach out for.
So having said all that. There are of course many decent, genuine people who foster. People who have made a genuine difference to an unhappy child. People who are able to take on the most troubled kid and give them hope. I had some good kind foster parents at times. I will never forget them.
The others? I wish I could forget them. But they just will not go away. Which just goes to show the everlasting effects of wrong choices. Choices not made by the child either.
Todays welfare system for kids must have improved, mustn't it? Mustn't it?









Tuesday, 14 August 2012

I Nearly Had A Private Pension.

Last week I received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions, informing me that they would be phoning me today between 10 am and midday. They wanted to ask me about any private pensions or annuities I might be in receipt of. Well that's all right I thought, no problem there, because the answer is none.

The phone call came at 10.20. It was a pleasant sounding young Scottish man name of Eddie. He asked me lots of questions about my income and any savings, and then he asked me did I have, or would I be receiving, a private pension of any kind.

Because I don't have a private pension, and so won't be getting one I answered no to that question. There was a noticeable silence on the other end of the phone. Then:

"Yes you do," he said.

"No," I said, "I don't have a private pension."

"According to the information I have here," he went on, "You are due to get a private pension from Friends Provident."

At this news I got a bit excited, "This is marvellous news," I said. "I had no idea about this. Can you tell me more about it?"

"So you say you are not receiving or about to receive a private pension from them?"

"I think there has been a mistake," I answered, " I doubt very much if I paid into a private pension scheme. I think I would remember if I had."

He then gave me a phone number for Friends Provident and asked me to phone them about it and get straight back to him with any information.

I phoned the number straight away. Told them what had happened and gave them all my details. They searched their records. It was as I suspected. Friends Provident had never heard of me.

I phoned back to Eddie at the Pensions Department - we were on first name terms by now - and told him I would not be getting a private pension from Friends Provident. He then gave me a phone number for Scottish Life, and told me to ask them the same questions, and then get back to him straight away. I phoned them too. They had never heard of me either.

So I phoned Eddie at the Pension Service, "Hello Eddie," I said, "It's John Bain here."

"Hallo John. Don't say anything yet. I just have to ask you some security questions."

So he asked me some questions about my identity. Full name, date of birth, that sort of thing. Then he asked me if I had any more information about my private pension.

"Nothing new to add Eddie," I said, "Scottish Life haven't heard of me either."

"That's OK John, I know that, I have been making inquiries too." Then he said, "Listen John, Don't worry about it. I'll sort things out at this end. Nice talking to you. Goodbye."

"Goodbye Eddie," and he was gone. Nice bloke.








Monday, 13 August 2012

A Twenty Pound Note Is Worth Much More Than It's Face Value.


Perhaps I made my extremely handsome son George sound a bit over indulged on yesterdays blog post. What with football boots and cash. He isn't though I promise you. He doesn't ask for much. In fact there are times when I wish I could give him more. He is not the type of teenager who has to have the latest fashions or modern gadgets. He is not one to be seduced by hype.

He goes to college, and there is a very small educational allowance. I have no idea what it is called. What I do know is that if his mum and I weren't earning, under the benefits system in this country he would be entitled to more money.

When he is not at college he works in the forest to help make ends meet, making fencing and sawmilling, that kind of thing. It is not particularly well paid, and it can be hard work when it is wet and cold. But he doesn't complain.

Maybe if his mum and I were wealthier, perhaps we would spoil him a bit. Well actually there is no maybe about it. We undoubtedly would. I cannot see anything wrong with giving such a helpful lad a bit of help as he starts out on the road to adulthood.

He knows how much we love him, and he also knows that love is more important than possessions. But if he needs anything he knows he can ask and if possible we will help. I am pleased that he has the confidence to ask.

I am aware that these things I am saying, are only what most loving parents would say or do, but I am coming at it from the perspective of someone who was shoved out entirely on his own at fifteen years old.

Anyway, as I say he doesn't need a lot or ask for much. He is not a slave to fashionable trainers or clothes. He is not into drinking or clubbing. His pleasures are in a game of football, or enjoying nature and wild camping. These things cost little or are free.

It is a real privilege to be his dad. Twenty pounds son? Yes of course, and if I had a million pounds I would give you that as well. It would of course only be a small down payment for all the love and happiness you have given me.






Sunday, 12 August 2012

A Week Of Living Frugally.

Did I ever mention that I am hopeless with money? I probably did. What with it being a major part of life. When I say hopeless with money I mean hopeless at trying not to spend any. Oh yes I am very good at spending it. I even manage to spend money I haven't actually got. They call it an overdraft. They being the bank. Somehow or other I manage to give them some back each month. Not all of it, but enough to keep them happy. I suppose I am the ideal bank customer in that respect. People like me who live just that little bit beyond their means are the main targets. We are the ones who pay the fat bankers salaries. In the grand scheme of things however, and knowing what I do about how much others around me owe, my overdraft is a piddling few hundred pounds.

Last week when I became a pensioner, I made a momentous decision: I would spend only the barest minimum amount necessary to sustain life, and I would do this for six weeks and at the end of that time I would be overdraft free. Easy peasy japaneasy.

Naturally I informed those people nearest and dearest to me - I shall name no names - about this plan. I told them that it would be pointless to ask me for any money, because I intended to stick rigidly to my decision not to spend, and furthermore I would not be swayed in any way from this endeavour. It was agreed that I was doing the absolutely right thing, and they would support me all the way.

The next day my extremely handsome son George told me his need for new football boots was quite urgent, and could he please have £50 for a new pair. I'm not one to deny my darling boy anything so I deviated from my intended frugal course and gave him the money. Well it was only fifty quid.

On the Tuesday I noticed that a new opticians had opened in the next village. Unbelievably I have never had a properly dispensed pair of glasses. Looking in the window at the display of glasses, I thought to myself what reasonable prices, and recalling that I was a pensioner and entitled to a free pair I went in and inquired. I was right too I could have a free eye test and a free pair of glasses up to a value of £65. Anything over £65 and I would have to make up the difference.

Anyway the upshot was that I ended up paying £240 for a free pair of glasses. Mind you I chose varifocal lenses and rimless frames. I pick them up in a few days. I don't know how that happened.

Wednesday I took back the lighting equipment that my friend had lent me for my party. While I was there he showed me a book he had printed of all my blog pages. He showed me the printer he had done it on too. A lovely little Dell laser printer it was. Really small and compact. Just right for me in this small space, and it was only £54. An absolute bargain. He actually let me borrow his computer and I ordered one straight away. It should arrive any day now.

Thursday I was feeling a bit hungry so I got some cash from the machine. Only £20. Well I have to eat, and so do Sadie the German Shepherd and Bonnie the cat. I spent £15 of the money on those two and also brought myself a couple of tins of baked beans and a packet of sausages, which I shall make last.

On Friday my car was running on fumes so I put £20 of fuel in the tank. When I got back from the filling station, George needed a lift to the station. He was off to stay with his friend in Eastbourne, along the coast a bit. Could I loan him £20, no £30, for a few days? Of course son. I can deny him nothing.

Next week though, just you watch me. I am so determined. I'm not going to spend anything. I really mean it. I do.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

He's Not Talking To Me.

"Hallo mate. How are you?" Comes the effusive greeting from behind me. I turn to answer. Remembering to switch on my number one smile. The dazzling teeth twinkler.

 "I'm fine thanks. How are you...?"

Suddenly I feel a right idiot. How embarrassing. The bloke isn't talking to me at all. There is no one else in the shop within earshot though. The familiar stance of hand glued to ear reveals the truth of the situation. He is talking on his mobile phone.

He gives me a look as if to say what the hell are you looking at, and continues his conversation. He talks at full volume as if he is talking to his deaf old granddad. Not that I know if he does have a granddad deaf or otherwise. Maybe his granddad isn't deaf. Maybe he doesn't have a granddad. Oh now I feel bad. Perhaps his granddad is dead. Maybe his granddad is dead because he was too deaf to hear the bus coming and it ran him over. No that isn't it. He called him mate. Do people call their granddad mate? I didn't. But I didn't have a granddad. Well obviously I did have a granddad. Two of them in fact, but I never knew them. Come to think of it, if I never knew them, I suppose I never had them. Granddads I mean.

Of course it is all supposition. I expect he was speaking to a work colleague, and called him mate, because he couldn't remember his name. Yes that's probably what it was. Phew, I'm glad I got that sorted out.

Utter madness!
....Unless it was his wife he was talking to. It's quite possible. I used to call my ex wife mate when I couldn't remember her name. I still have the scars to prove it. If I remember rightly, it came up in the divorce case. I denied it at the time, but her lawyer caught me out when he asked me in court what her name was. Most unfair. I was very tense and stressed at the time, because I thought the judge might not let the divorce go ahead.

Anyway, whoever the bloke was talking to, why so flipping loud? Why did he have to phone him when he was in the shop? And why did he have to make that call when he was standing right behind the only other customer, me?

It is not the first time it has happened either. It happens all the time these days. Not the same bloke of course. That would be too creepy.

How did people manage before the mobile phone was invented? These days people don't seem to be able to walk down the street without their phone clamped to their ear, and they are probably deep in conversation with someone they were with in person just a few minutes before. At full volume. Why this need to shout for the whole world to hear?

How often have you heard someone say on their phone, "I'll be there in five minutes." Well if you are going to be there in five minutes anyway, what's the point of the call? If you didn't bother with the call, you could probably get there in three minutes!

Have you been on a train lately? You would remember if you had, because all around you the shout will be going up, "I'M ON THE TRAIN." As people feel the need to tell the whole carriage, their loved ones, colleagues, and their deaf granddads, at full volume, that they have accomplished what they set out to do ten minutes earlier, and actually got on the train.

Well you mobile phone addicts had just better be careful and not embarrass me again, because now that I am an old age pensioner, and able to act like a miserable old git, I might just be inclined to grab that phone off you, and shove it right up your.... Oh blast I lost the signal!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Meanqueen Comes To The Party.

Meanqueen came to visit recently, taking me up on my party invitation. I am so glad she came and I hope we shall remain friends. http://meanqueen-lifeaftermoney.blogspot.co.uk

She actually arrived on the day before the party and pitched her tent in the paddock. I had to smile because she also brought a fold up bed with her, and a mattress, and her bedding from home. It was only a small tent but she made it very comfortable. At least it looked comfortable, I never got to try it out! As you know I am a true gentleman. Such a thing never crossed my mind. Until just now that is. Trying out the bed I mean. On my own obviously. Not with Meanqueen in it. Oh blimey, I think I shall shut up about the bed! Before I get myself into trouble.
Ilona writing her blog.

Her name isn't really Meanqueen. It's Ilona, but it doesn't sound like it looks, and I couldn't get it right. Not many people can apparently. So anyway I just called her 'Oi you' most of the time. No I didn't. That's me being silly again.

We went to an open mic event that night, and I was surprised when Ilona insisted on buying the drinks, because her blog is all about saving money and living as frugally as possible. Well not all about that, but it is the basis of her blog.

I follow her blog because I am absolutely hopeless at saving, always have been, but paradoxically I am interested in how to live frugally. Anyway she insisted on buying me a drink, and when I had recovered from my faint, I accepted her kind offer. Let me tell you drinks in pubs are not cheap.

The truth about her blog is that she does not like to live beyond her means, but she is not mean at all. She has a nice car and she treats herself to the things she really enjoys. But only when she can afford them. You can read all about it here http://meanqueen-lifeaftermoney.blogspot.co.uk.

Ilona chatting to me and Alan.
It is a strange feeling to meet a fellow blogger. Here comes this person that you have never met, and yet you feel as though they are an old friend. At least that is how it seems to me. Chatting to her is so easy and relaxed. Ilona is really such a lovely person, she is just as she is on the blog. There is no other side to her, what you get is what she is. It was the same when Paul visited from New Zealand. An instant rapport is established.

The pub we went to was noisy and it was difficult to talk properly but I was able to introduce her to one or two people who would be at my party. The next day I was preoccupied with party arrangements and we never had much time to talk then either, but she did come with me to the shop when I went to get party stuff. Despite her keep saying, "You don't need that" and "You don't need this." I did manage to buy what I wanted. But I noticed she was looking at prices very keenly.

And then it was the party. I was busy mingling, but I kept an eye on her and she seemed to be having a good time. He is married by the way Ilona, that tall chap you kept next to. Don't think I didn't notice.

The next day she had arranged to meet an old friend of hers, so it was time to say goodbye. I felt genuinely sad to see her go.

Waving goodbye.
But then unexpectedly, she decided to stay one more day and she came back and spent the afternoon with me. I expect what really happened was that she found me irresistible, couldn't stay away and decided to try her luck!

This time we chatted away like old friends for several hours. Well actually she nattered away and I occasionally managed to get a word in. But it was lovely, and now I know all about her. Don't worry Ilona, your secrets are safe with me!

I don't care who knows it, I think you are lovely. Definitely not mean.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Retired? Retired From What?

Perhaps I am still coming down to earth after my party (I promise you I didn't drink too much) but I am feeling kind of spaced out. Like I don't know what to do with myself. Oh I have plenty of plans in my head, for example the Ramshackle Gallery needs to be completed, and since I demolished my old studio I need to build another, and my workshop badly needs tidying. I should be taking advantage of the relatively nice weather to get out and do portraits in town. But none of these things have moved on since the weekend.

Today I plan an extra long walk with Sadie the German Shepherd. Several miles of walking and fresh air, perhaps that will clear my fuzzy head. That is if I actually do it.

I won't actually retire, because I have nothing to retire from. My life these past twenty years has not been a job as such, more a way of life and I don't want to retire from that.

A friend sent me the following, and I thought I would share it with you. I hope it makes you smile.


And They Ask:
Why Do I Like Retirement!

Question: How many days in a week?
Answer: 6  Saturdays, 1 Sunday

Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?
Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.

Question: How many retirees to change a light bulb?
Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.

Question: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
Answer: There is not enough time to get everything done.

Question: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
Answer: The term comes with a 10% discount.

Question: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?
Answer: Tied shoes.

Question: Why do retirees count pennies?
Answer: They are the only ones who have the time.

Question: What is the common term for someone who enjoys work and refuses to retire?
Answer: NUTS!

Question: Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic or garage?
Answer: They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store stuff there.

Question: What do retirees call a long lunch?
Answer: Normal .

Question: What is the best way to describe retirement?
Answer: The never ending Coffee Break.

Question: What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
Answer: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.

Question: Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people he used to work with?
Answer: He is too polite to tell the whole truth.

And, my very favorite...
QUESTION: What do you do all week?
Answer: Monday through Friday, NOTHING... Saturday and Sunday, I rest.

SERENITY

Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman:
'And what do you think is the best thing
About being 104?' the reporter asked...
She simply replied, 'No peer pressure.'

The nice thing about being senile is
You can hide your own Easter eggs
And have fun finding them.

I've sure gotten old!
I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement,
New knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes.
I'm half blind,
Can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine,
Take 40 different medications that
Make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts.
Have bouts with dementia.
Have poor circulation;
Hardly feel my hands and feet anymore.
Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92.
Have lost all my friends. But, thank God,
I still have my driver's license.

I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape,
So I got my doctor's permission to
Join a fitness club and start exercising.
I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors.
I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But,
By the time I got my leotards on,
The class was over.

Know how to prevent sagging?
Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.

It's scary when you start making the same noises
As your coffee maker.

These days about half the stuff
In my shopping cart says,
'For fast relief.'

THE SENILITY PRAYER :
Grant me the senility to forget the people
I never liked anyway,
The good fortune to run into the ones I do, and
The eyesight to tell the difference.

I think you're supposed to share this with 5 or 6, maybe 10 others. Oh heck, give it to a bunch of your friends if you can remember who they are!

Remember This Always :
You don't stop laughing because you grow old,
You grow old because you stop  laughing.


I think I will take that walk. "Come on Sadie. Come on girl. Where's your lead? Find it. Find your lead."

Monday, 6 August 2012

My 65th Party Video.

This is a link to the youtube video of my party made by my friend Vicki. It is about 10 minutes long. I hope you enjoy it and that it gives you some sense of the happy occasion of my 65th birthday bash. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Cxtbu1wq8U

I hope to be back to proper blogging soon. I have still to tell you about blogger Meanqueen's visit. I think I am almost back down to earth after my exciting weekend.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Such A Perfect Night For A Party..

I am genuinely exhausted. I was the last one standing after the party, finally got to bed at about 3.40 am. After everyone had left or gone to bed in tent or campervan. Sadie the German Shepherd and I sat quietly beside the dying embers of the campfire for a while. Sadie was emotional so I hugged her, and dried her tears. Then she did the same for me.

It was a great party. It could not have been better. Everything I hoped for and more. I did my best to mingle around everybody. Mingling at parties is so much easier when everyone there is a friend.
So much lovely music from so many talented performers. It went on all night and when the microphones and speakers were turned off, we all gathered round the fire playing acoustic guitar and singing. Everyone was so happy.

The weather! This being an outdoor event at night it was a worry but the good Lord answered all my prayers. It was a perfect evening and night, bearing in mind the amount of rainfall we have had here lately. But for my party the clouds disappeared. It was a clear starry and moonlit sky, and the temperature was just right. If anyone did feel a chill as the night went on the big campfire did a great job at warming them, and no wind made sure that the smoke went straight up and didn't disturb us at all. Truly a perfect night for a party.

Here are some photos of the event. I am sorry they are not in order. But I am too tired to sort them out tonight. I hope to have a video of the event soon, to give you more of the feel of the atmosphere.



























All the work which my extremely handsome son George and I had put into preparing for this special event certainly paid off.

Now if you will excuse me, I must away to my bed. I am so tired. Which is not surprising really because, I'm 65 you know, and us oldies tire quite easily.