Thursday, 28 April 2011


No new achievements yet, but after a lovely relaxed day at Wisley RHS garden with Emma & "Little Amy" (8/12), E gave me "The Count of Monte Cristo" to read as a New Thing as she'd enjoyed it so much (it will count when I've finished it). Many thanks, much better than plastering ceilings! I had considered starting on some improving classics, although 60 in a year is a bit of a tall order. Little A achieved a New Thing, she learnt to wave at Roger, but she'll get many more than 60 this year.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Number 12 plastering, Haiku 13-16

Where's the week gone? The garden's a bit less jungly, & after a bit of a builder disaster (gone into a black hole)  I gave up, & plastered Amy's kitchen walls & ceiling, will be good after a 2nd coat. The walls worked rather better.

More Haiku, who remembers the swaying near-crawl, just before the real thing leads to freedom&escape? Wait for it Clare!
Most of this group came when walking in Dorset last weekend, brain in receptive free-wheel mode.
Some of the next few borrow words or form from proper poets, add a comment when you identify one!

Haiku 13
so close to escape
hesitant stick-insect sway
to free babycrawl

Haiku 14
spirit of freedom,
blithe acrobat speck

Haiku 15
leaf-red creature-trap
infinitesimal death,
sweet-fatal dew drops

Haiku 16
  autumn     when
silvered cobwebs gentle glow
catches low sunbeams

Monday, 18 April 2011

Number 11 Penguins at Birdworld

Today was a completely New Experience, feeding the Humboldt penguins at Birdworld, then a chance to hold & stroke one, a strange mixture of soft&leathery-not-quite-feathery to make them waterproof.
 Then after a fantastic day, I came away with a gift bag of cuddly penguin, mug & fridge magnet, and a smart certificate to prove it all.
 This was L&A's Mother's day present and included a picnic-feast with sushi, strawberries&raspberries&cream.

 What a wonderful day!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Number 10 National coastwatch station

On a Dorset coastal walk we visited the Coastwatch Station at St Alban's/Anselm's/Adhelm's Head. I'm not sure why the variants on the name, will have to research this. They told us of their work logging the passage of all boats, as many coastguard stations no longer have good views of the sea. If a vessel goes missing this gives a record of  last known position & when. The radar showed the Eastwards & Westwards Channel shipping lanes, hectically busy. Many vessels are in effect electronically tagged so a signal tells Coastwatch who, speed, size & other safety vital information. We had a look thorough his mega-binoculars, & could see two people fishing in a small boat a couple of hundred feet below, well enough to see they were pouring coffee out of a Thermos, detracts a bit from my super-duper 24x telephoto!  He also explained why the "texture" of the sea changed so suddenly off the point; there's a small mountain range under the sea, so it suddenly halves in depth & therefore waves get bigger, with the difference being easily visible. All of this will be old knowledge to seasoned sailors, but I found it fascinating

Friday, 15 April 2011

DofE, House

I feel bad that in spite of being retired & in theory having time, I've not posted for 10 days, so here's my excuse: I have been working on Amy's house, a battered ex-housing association one, needing much renovation. We've had a series of people, plumber, electrician, builder &c, but we're doing the simple stuff & decorating ourselves. This will give me a few more new things.
I've also been on a Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award practice expedition in the Lake District, a wonderful area & hugely worthwhile scheme. Photos will follow.
Now off to Swanage for the normal walking club weekend, with an extra 2nd Birthday & Retirement party.
Maybe I'll get to see the garden next week!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Number 9: last 15 medical school

Sleepless nights with the fear of a new life outside the protection I was used to, then finding it was OK
Meeting Pat&Jan on my first day, they'd been at school together & are still friends
Self-catering, learning basic skills very fast, vowing to teach my children sooner
The smell of the exotic shop on the way from Clifton, incense, leather shoes, Indian clothes and a variety of jewellery which I still have.
Doughnuts on the hoof for for breakfast
Nasty pub meat-pies for lunch, never hot enough, but the nearest place.
The smell of formalin, and the surprise of how soft and warm a living body is
My first patient, Mr Cox who died after an amputation for complications of diabetes
Discovering caving, the other-world-appearance of the formations, then changing out of a coldwetmuddy home-made wetsuit in a blizzard on the roadside by Longwood
Delivering a baby, Mother's delight & the weird almost turquoise blue of the cord
The kindness of a few consultants, & some who took a delight in embarrassing students
Knowing a child had Henoch-Schoenlein purpura, I'd seen a friend's son with it
Another student who was "not at medical school to take blood" . They had to be done, so I got very good
One houseman's superhuman feat of knowing every patient's blood results from the last few days
Cider (I was in Bristol) some pubs wouldn't let girls have pints

more good party thoughts!

My Great Nephew was a huge hit, obviously delighted by all the attention. A life of food, sleep & admiration, who needs anything else?

Monday, 4 April 2011

Birthday, Ukulele

Well, yesterday has to be a world record! A big crowd but sorry Gail & Teresa were both ill. We'll have to have yet another party, particularly as I seemed to end up with more bottles of bubbles than I started with.
Thanks so much everyone, especially the cooks & washers-up. Sue&Tim gave me a bright pink ukulele, they've haven't heard heard me sing yet. I also have a sheaf of RHS gift vouchers.
 I'll take up Clare's ( of 60 BTs, those will be 2, a wonderful reason to go to Wisley & browse the garden centre.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

birthday, Number8, 2more

Does being 60 count as a "New Challenge" or just the inexorable? I'll count it as number 8, I can do anything on my Birthday!
 Laura & Amy have organised 9 & 10, feeding penguins at Birdworld and Tea at the Savoy, both coming soon so I'll update you all.