Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Empty Days

Blue skies, sunshine and freezing cold.  We walked to the doctor’s surgery to make an appointment for Paul’s blood tests;  I was completely dazzled by the low sun.  It’s such a lovely day I feel we ought to be doing something special instead of lazing around at home, although it’s rather nice to have an empty diary.  When we come back to England in the winter it’s always seems to be a never ending round of appointments with doctors, dentists, opticians, visiting relatives, etc.  condensed into a brief period of time.  Of course this then means we can enjoy a long and carefree summer in France.

Paul gets a bit bored in winter so I try to keep him occupied by demanding culinary delights.  Tonight he is cooking the Hairy Bikers version of kedgeree.  I usually serve smoked haddock with a simple sauce so this will make a nice change (I just have to do the washing up.)  His seed packets arrived this morning (complete with free gift storage tin) so he has been happily planning his planting schedule for the spring.  I guess it won’t be long before my minimalist sideboard is covered in seed potatoes. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Who's Scared of the Dentist?

Laurence Olivier, Marathon Man 1976

Today we went to Bath for a routine dental appointment.  I have been dreading the visit and for the last two days I was experiencing an awful sense of foreboding.  For several weeks I have been getting a sharp pain in my upper molar when I chewed on anything so I had already convinced myself that this visit was going to ultimately result in further appointments for root canals, fillings, etc.  I was filled with trepidation when we set off this morning.  (I kept thinking about poor Jennifer at Sparrow Tree Journal and her dental stories.)

Prior to seeing Mr Smiley I had to have my teeth cleaned by Beth, the hygienist.  I usually get a lecture about tea and red wine staining my teeth.  Sorry but I'm not going to give up my cups of tea.  Or my red wine. Although not painful this cleansing is akin to some medieval water torture.  She was very thorough as she attacked my plaque with the high pressure water jet.  Then she stopped.  A pause.  A nervous cough.  “Oh dear, some of your tooth has just broken off.  Never mind,” she added cheerfully, “you’re seeing the dentist next.”

Actually she had done me a favour.  Mr Smiley agreed that the pain was probably caused by the cracked tooth.  He has skilfully repaired it with some cement and glaze and now I’m as good as new.  No injections, no fillings. I felt like I was floating on air as we left the surgery.  

This is too good to be true.  I haven’t tried eating on that side of my mouth yet, I’m too nervous in case it still hurts!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Just a load of rubbish

Calne is well known for its piggy past – the Harris pork processing factory provided employment to locals until its closure in 1983.

I walked with Paul into town this morning to the post office, he was sending his DNA swabs off to Houston, Texas.  The post office is situated in the newsagent and we had to queue adjacent to shelves loaded with Cadbury's chocolate bars on sale.  I successfully resisted the temptation to buy any but I was drooling a bit by the time we got to the counter.  I was going to take some photos of the town (Calne) but it looked glum and depressing in the drizzle.  The bronze pig statue in the mall looked like he had a runny nose with the rain dripping off the end of his snout. 

Walking back home I was dismayed at the amount of rubbish littering the street.  Why don’t some people have any pride or consideration for their environment?  Occasionally I go out armed with my litter grabbing stick and a bag and gather old pizza boxes, cans and bottles from the verges.  It’s not much but at least I can look out of my window and enjoy a litter free neighbourhood.

In Sydney, on the other side of the world, Buddy and his humans take part in regular Sea Shepherd beach clean ups.  Last weekend they visited his favourite beach, Sirius Cove, where 60 volunteers collected an amazing 91 kgs of rubbish.  Well done Buddy, I need you in Calne.

Sunday, 15 January 2017


Rufus Sewell, also known as Roof

It's cold and grey, it's January.  So I'm going to curl up on the sofa, eat chocolate and watch The Man In the High Castle.  Nothing like a bit of Rufus Sewell to brighten my day.


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Who Does He Think He Is?

When this colourful box plopped through the letter box yesterday my first thoughts were “Ooh, chocolates”.  Alas no, unbeknownst to me Paul had sent away for a DNA kit from the USA.

I’ve had a lot of fun in recent months researching my family tree and managed to trace my ancestors right back to 1731.  Paul is also interested in geneology but only has a one-sided tree as his mother was adopted.  In fact very little is know about his mum’s early years.  Born out of wedlock in 1916 in Devon she was taken away from her mother at 17 months old and given to a woman who arranged adoptions.  During this time she was apparently kept in a small attic room (with only a dog for company) in the seaside town of Lymington until she was three years old.
letter disclaiming any claim to Constance by her mother

Paul’s childless grandparents, Mr and Mrs Harris, were deeply religious and members of the Plymouth Brethren.  While they were on holiday in Lymington they met the local doctor who told them about the child, Constance.  The wealthy Harris’s subsequently adopted Constance, re-named her Marjorie, and she became their cherished only daughter.  The adoption was never legal and this caused problems when she applied to be a nurse in the World War II because her birth certificate didn’t match her national registration name.
Mr & Mrs Harris

Paul is hoping his DNA test might shed some light on his mother’s birth family, particularly on the paternal side.  I just hope it doesn’t open up a can of worms.  Who knows what it might reveal?

Paul's mum, Marjorie (Constance) aged 24

Friday, 13 January 2017

Lowering the tone

We had a very light sprinkling of snow in Calne overnight.  I looked out of my bedroom window this morning and saw this...

Our new neighbours at number 39 are very nice but we used to have a better class of snowman with Steve and Hannah.

Dalek 2010

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Sussex by the Sea

A brief visit to the Sussex coast - I had forgotten how pebbly the beach is here at Goring-on-Sea.  We are pampering ourselves at a spa hotel at Little Horsted.  Our room is amazing, it's bigger than the flat.  Snow is forecast tomorrow, I wonder if we could get snowed in here.

view from hotel room