Category Archives: General

A Day in the Life…

A very good evening, BBs (Beloved Believers) and FFs (Faithful Followers)! As you know, I have been playing the role of Florence Nightingale in recent weeks, looking after DOT, but now to be known as DODO (Dai Of Derby Only) since he is no longer in either Turkey or Tanzania and is only in Derby.

Caring Role

This caring role has involved much work, including, unfortunately, a great deal of COOKING! Now, as you know, whilst many may regard me as a Domestic Goddess, COOKING is not really one of my strengths unless it involves a kettle (for a Pot Noodle) or a microwave (for anything that is NOT a Pot Noodle). To this end, DODO and I decided to buy a second microwave, following TOFU’s (Trefor of ‘Ull) suggestion – he told us that he can cook peas and (frozen) mash in his two microwaves at the same time as he is warming his M&S ‘home cooked’ steak and onion pie in the oven. I was instantly convinced, Dearest Devotees and Ardent Admirers, and immediately rushed out to my nearest electrical store.

Microwaves

We are now the proud owners of not one, not two, but… THREE microwaves! We would not have acquired microwave no.3 if there had been nothing wrong with microwave no. 1 (i.e. it heats the food and pings when it’s supposed to) but it has gone rusty inside. (No, I’m not sure how a microwave gets rusty either, but we decided it probably wasn’t too hygienic.) There has only been one drawback so far with the acquisition of this third miracle item – I haven’t found where to put it because of all the unnecessary garbage I have collected over the years and which has been piling up next to microwave no. 1.

Clutter

This garbage includes a) a tin of tuna (to tempt the appetite of the now-departed Charlie), b) a roll of garden twine – what is that for? – and c) several cookery books – what are they for? Add to that Molly’s flea tablets, a bottle of out-of-date cat milk and a couple of envelopes containing flower seeds from the garden of an ex-boyfriend and you will realise that there is no space for much else. As a result, microwave no. 1 is still ‘in situ’ and has been joined by no. 2 while no. 3 remains in its box. Anyone in need of a tin of tuna, some garden twine and a couple of cookery books, one of which has a recipe for Welsh cakes and laver bread? Or even an ex-boyfriend? (Of course, I mean ‘in need of’ an ex-boyfriend, rather than a recipe for one, but hold that thought…)

Turkey or Torquay

I have to say that life with an invalid has afforded some lighter moments as well, such as when we went to the bank the other day. DODO had a query about transferring money from Turkey, so I wheeled him up to the Enquiries counter where a very nice lady listened very carefully to him explaining about having an account in Turkey and asking if there would be any problem transferring funds from there to his account in Derby because the funds were in Turkish Lira. The very nice lady looked quite concerned and called over another very nice lady to ask for her help and advice. ‘Oh dear,’ I thought, ‘this is going to be more complicated than we first imagined.’ DODO started explaining again about having an account in Turkey and the first very nice lady’s face suddenly brightened and she said in a relieved tone, ‘Oh, I thought you said TORQUAY!’ She had obviously been puzzling over why someone would have an account in Turkish Lira in Torquay – I giggled for the rest of the day over that!

An Extra Inch?

Following that spot of hilarity, we trotted off (well, wheeled off) to a well-known computer/electronics store to look for a new computer monitor so that DODO could add another screen to his collection (he now has four). As he studied the monitors on display, deciding between a 22” and a 23”, he explained the various pros and cons to me, not realising that there was a female customer standing right behind him as he said, ‘You don’t need to pay another £30 for an extra inch.’ I smiled sweetly at the female customer then wheeled him off as quickly as I could!
So there you have it, camp followers – life with an invalid can offer an infinite variety of experiences, rather than a life of doom and gloom! Remember: however long the tunnel may be, there is a light at the end of it; no matter how deep the mine, there could be gold at the bottom; life’s what you make it – a Pot Noodle is more instantly gratifying than a four-course meal that you have to wait hours for AND have to do the washing up afterwards.
Sleep well, AAs, BBs, DDs and FFs – I’m off to boil the kettle!

A New Career – Film Critic

I have decided to take up a new career as a film critic. Fear not – I shall still be the Lifestyle Support Guru, since this is a role that is given, not chosen. However, having seen two very different films within the space of three days, I feel that I am now well qualified to offer my considered opinion.
To aid me in my research, I was accompanied by BFG (Bazza the Friendly Geordie) and, for the first film, her husband, who shall remain anonymous, mainly because he’s quite shy (even though he, too, is a Geordie, and Geordies are not known for being backwards in coming forwards; however, he often has pithy comments to make, so we allow him to accompany us on occasion), so I shall refer to him as BSG (Bazza’s Shy Geordie).

Judy GarlandThe first film was ‘Meet Me in St Louis’, starring Judy Garland, and the screening was well attended – mainly by people who were old enough to have seen the film when it was originally shown in 1945.
Basically, the plot revolves around Judy Garland and her sisters who lead a lovely, comfortable, upper-middle class existence in St Louis at the turn of the 20th century in the year leading up to the World’s Fair to be held in 1904. (I assume the World’s Fair is rather like the World Series in baseball, where no one else other than the US takes part.) Judy and her elder sister have their eyes on two young men whom they hope to marry, although the young men in question know nothing of these plans. The story takes us through the seasons of 1903 from summer (sunny), through autumn (sunny but with fewer leaves on the trees) to winter (sunny but with snow) and eventually into spring of 1904 (sunny with lots of flowers). There are lots of parties and jolly japes, plus a rather creepy Halloween scenario where the youngest daughter proves to be a bit of a madam who throws flour into the face of a neighbour (she also likes burying dolls in the garden and chopping the heads off snowmen) and the local children, totally unaccompanied by any responsible adult, build a bonfire in the middle of the street.
There are some jolly songs, such as Meet Me in St Louis and The Trolley Song, as well as one called Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, sung whilst gazing wistfully out at a snowy garden (no sun, just the moon), which is rather miserable and may bring tears to your eyes. The film finishes with the Smith girls getting their men, against the backdrop of the World’s Fair being opened with a grand display of lights and fireworks which puts the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony in the shade.
To sum up, Judy Garland is a bit of a hussy who throws herself at the boy next door. It is a ‘feel-good’ film with a happy ending.

The second film is a recent release called The Unknown Girl, a Belgian-French drama which tells the story of a female doctor, Jenny Davin, who sets out to uncover the identity of an unknown young woman who is found dead after being refused entry to the good doctor’s surgery late one evening. The BSG decided to give this film a miss because, he said, he had had enough with ‘Meet Me in St Louis’, so he decided to do some wallpapering instead, in preparation for a gathering at their house in… April (this is called ‘planning ahead’ or ‘getting out of seeing a film you don’t fancy’). The film was attended by…two people – me and BFG. The film follows Jenny’s attempts to discover who the dead girl was: these include interrogating workmen at a building site, where Jenny is not even asked to wear a hard hat, and being threatened in her car by drug dealers (who were more or less totally irrelevant to the plot), one of whom hits her windscreen not once, but TWICE with a crowbar and doesn’t leave a mark! She also gets pushed into a big muddy hole on a different building site (again, she has no hard hat) but doesn’t get a spot of mud on her coat, which we think was welded onto her because she rarely removed it during the whole film. Throughout the film, we are shown Jenny treating a range of patients, all of whom have nothing to do with the story other than to demonstrate ‘gritty social realism’ because they are poor (although they seem to be able to cough up plenty of euros for her fees), and one guy tries to hang himself from the water pipes in the surgery. She deals with this very calmly, remembering to turn the water off at the stopcock first before asking him if he’s hurt himself.
To sum up, Jenny Davin is the complete opposite to Judy Garland’s character and I think she should have been the one to sing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ whilst gazing wistfully out of the window at the traffic streaming past on the expressway outside the surgery. She should also have considered putting in a Stannah stairlift because there were steps leading down to her surgery from the waiting room and some of her elderly patients had trouble negotiating them. This is a ‘feel-depressed’ film and yet… I enjoyed it in a strange sort of way, although I do think they could have livened it up a little by having Jenny’s car blow up or her being mugged when she returned to her surgery late at night.

Have yourselves a merry little Christmas!

Good Neighbour Bad Neighbour

Being a Good Neighbour
A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru. Tonight I wish to offer some useful advice on how to be a BAD neighbour or a GOOD neighbour. I have recently ‘acquired’ a new neighbour and I have learned rapidly from this experience just exactly what constitutes a BAD neighbour and felt that you may benefit from my advice so that you can be a GOOD neighbour.

Bad neighbour

Bad neighbour

To be a BAD neighbour, you must:
1. be blonde, slim and athletic-looking and wear fitted clothing that shows off your figure to advantage. This will ensure that your GOOD neighbour feels totally inadequate.
2. have cleared your garden of all weeds and long grass, installed a nice wooden garden bench, put up a new clothes line and scrubbed the wall at the bottom of the garden of its coat of peeling paint, all within the space of a few days. Again, this will create great feelings of inadequacy in your GOOD neighbour.
3. have a housewarming party which is not too noisy and finishes at 10.30 pm, so that the GOOD neighbour feels guilty for wondering at what time she will be able to complain to the police.
4. fill your bin (which is about four feet high) to overflowing with black bin liners, then, in one bound, leap athletically and lithely on top of the aforementioned bin liners and jump up and down on them in a graceful manner to make sure they fit in the bin. This should be done when the GOOD neighbour has just returned from a hard morning’s shopping and is loaded down with purchases; by now the GOOD neighbour will be contemplating moving to find a more congenial neighbour.
5. enjoy the early evening warmth by sitting on the garden bench with an attractive man and sip delicately from a bottle of water rather than the glass of wine which the GOOD neighbour is contemplating whilst looking up house prices in a more downmarket area.
To be a GOOD neighbour, you must:

Wild Life Friendly Garden

Wild Life Friendly Garden

1. be overweight, wear loose clothing as a disguise and have greying hair. In this way, you create no feelings of insecurity in any other neighbours.
2. maintain what is known as a ‘wildlife garden’, ensuring that there are plenty of flowering weeds which are, apparently, attractive to bees. Thus, you are helping the environment.
3. have no parties because you do not wish to disturb your neighbours (and it would mean cleaning and tidying up and the cats don’t like parties, anyway).
4. only leap up and down (athletically or otherwise) when you tread on one of the cats or the drawing pin you forgot to pick up several days ago.
5. enjoy the early evening warmth by going out to the pub where, as far as you know, they don’t sell water. Thus, you are helping the local economy.
You will have gathered from this that being a GOOD neighbour is far less tiring and requires much less effort than being a BAD neighbour. In addition, you are saving energy environmentally because less electricity will be used if you are in the pub rather than sitting at home; added to this, you will also have had some physical exercise because you walked to the pub, although probably not quite as much exercise as jumping up and down in a bin, but with a far more enjoyable outcome.
And now let’s finish with a short chorus of: “Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…”