Thursday, 23 November 2017

Scarred for life.......


Thankfully I'm here to write "scarred for life", it could so easily have been different!

Although I've never really been content with my shape (perhaps one day I'll grow to 7ft 10in and be the ideal weight) I do try to see the permanent marks as signs of my history....my body blog I guess.

You'll be relieved to know there's no photos hahaha.

I'm not sure if I was pre-school age or infants but remember being quite small when out with my sisters I ran straight into a lamppost, they all laughed as apparently I just sat back stunned like a clown while blood poured down my face. It was nothing serious but I do still have a small scar on my forehead. I must have chipped the bone because in later years I grew a bit of a lump which I was told was bone that had been over enthusiastic when repairing itself. It's high and on the side so always covered by my fringe. Now had it been in the middle I'd have shown it off, unicorns are magical right?

There's a scar across my right knee, barely visible now really.  When I was still in junior school we were playing the game where one person turns round and round while we all run to catch their hand and the next runner latched onto number two, next to three etc, well I was never a fast runner so often joined the line when it was already long so having to run very fast or be dragged round. This day I slipped and was dragged and ended up with lots of gravel in my knee and remember the sight of a doctor with long forceps poking around to get the bits out. Ouch!

No outside scar from having my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was 10, but just before that hospital stay and in that same year my appendix burst and an urgent removal caused a scar but saved me from being poisoned to death.

Our two beautiful babies were both born by Caesarean Section when I was 26 and 28. One scar over the other that will actually twinge even now if my children are hurting in any way!

On the back of my left hand I've a couple of hot glue gun scars when going back to work part time at a factory to fit in with school hours. I was early 30s.

I seem to easily develop lumps after nasty insect bites have gone, they are scar tissue. There are three on my legs that I can mostly ignore, however there was a large lump on the back of my left upper arm which always looked red and angry so it was removed by my GP in the surgery and (as warned) it has left a reasonable size scar but it's also stopped me worrying about it. Very rarely I don't seem to have kept my own record of this so can't tell you how old I was.

Around my 60th birthday a very large tumour was discovered having taken up residence in my right kidney. Thankfully it was completely contained and removal of the tumour wrapped in my kidney was enough to cure me of cancer. A major op done by keyhole surgery so I'm left with three puncture and one small incision scars.

Now at 64 I've just removed the dressing a week after yet another major surgical procedure, this time to remove a small tumour from my lonely left kidney. The surgeon couldn't do this keyhole as open surgery meant they could be quicker and more accurately remove the whole tumour while leaving me with as much live kidney as possible. So another five inch scar. Hopefully I'll feel fully recovered soon.

So yes I'm proud to be able to write about them all, because the alternative could have given you very little to read about.
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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Theatre: Wait Until Dark.....


The Original Theatre Company in association with Eastbourne Theatres present

     From the hand of Frederick Knott, author of Dial M Murder, and the producers behind Night Must Fall and Birdsong, comes a major revival of the classic, edge of your seat, thriller Wait Until Dark.
     Set amidst the social turbulence of 60’s London the play follows the story of Suzy, a blind woman who left alone in her apartment becomes embroiled with a group of conmen hatching an elaborate scam. As the tension notches up, Suzy is left to fend for herself but with the phone line cut dead and the house plunged into darkness, can Suzy outwit the murderous visitors?
     Wait Until Dark, made into a film starring Audrey Hepburn in 1967, is often ranked as one of the top 100 scariest films of all time and this exciting new production reclaims it for the stage.

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Not sure how I should review this. 

It wasn't awful like my theatre companions vehemently complained but it wasn't good either. It's a classic thriller but done badly. Even in the theatre advert above it says "phone line cut dead" which it wasn't so misleading. It also says the film was "often ranked as one of the top 100 scariest" however what should have been the scariest bits were done so badly they were almost laugh-out-loud worthy.

The set had a long strip of neon light around the living room ceiling which kept coming on for no apparent reason. I can only assume it was meant to be so bright that it would temporarily dazzle the audience so the lights-out sequences would seem even darker.....but that didn't really work either! 

But just to balance this out I have to say...
Karina Jones played the blind Suzy and is actually the first blind actress to play a blind lead character, and she was very good.
Shannon Rewcroft also played her stroppy young girl Gloria really well. 

So not one I'd necessarily recommend.
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Saturday, 21 October 2017

Theatre: Oxy and the Morons.....


A Brand New Punk Musical
By Paul Sirett, Mike Peters & Steve Allan Jones 

When a routine check-up leads to a startling diagnosis, Andy decides it’s time to put the band back together, to crank up the amps, and party like its 1978! Why not re-form the legendary Oxy & the Morons, who burned fiercely before exploding in a riot of rivalry, jealousy and bitter betrayal? Andy’s mission involves twisting arms, healing wounds and putting his family and friendships back together. But can that punk spirit of DIY defiance be rekindled over thirty years later? Can you still pogo when your knees go? Will they play their trademark punk take of It’s Not Unusual as an encore?

This brand new musical is fast, furious and very funny. Written by Paul Sirett (Reasons to be Cheerful, Mods and Rox), Mike Peters (The Alarm) and Steve Allan Jones, with a machine gun playlist of original songs, this affectionate look back at the days of teen spirit suggest we could all do with some of that garage band power right now.

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I didn't mind a little bit of punk back-in-the-day but was very unsure how I would manage a whole punk musical. Wow it was amazing! The first half told the current story by the band members 30+ years on and how they had moved on in good and bad ways, punctuated by flashbacks to the young band belting out the lyrics. In the second half the oldies perform their comeback gig punctuated by flashbacks to the young band members and what happened with their relationships with each other good and bad. 
Thoroughly enjoyed it. 
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Friday, 20 October 2017

Have they been there all along?.......


We've lived in this house 34 years and over time we have changed the garden around a bit in some places and a lot in other places and even had a gardener for some of those years. Even though I don't actually do a lot of the gardening I do mostly know what's in the garden and where.

At one far end of the garden where my view of it is restricted by a shed there are bushes against the fence. One of the very spiky bushes had had some sparse little fruit that looked knarled and spotty and I'd assumed they were inedible and mostly forgot they were even there.

This year I happened to be near them with Daughter and we both took a closer look and a good sniff, they smelt lovely, and cutting one in half for Internet identification we were convinced they were quince.

I forgot to take a photo of the few I picked (carefully) off the spiky bush and didn't bother with those that had already fallen under the bush. Below is an Internet photo and mine were all like the little yellow ones and not as many.


First I just placed them in a bowl on the table and they made the dining room smell really nice.

Of course I then Googled for recipes and had a go at quince jelly.

It was really easy to make, didn't take too long, and is delicious even though I tweeked the recipe so I'd get a reasonable quantity from so few fruit and reduced the sugar a lot because I don't like really sweet jam.

Maybe the bush hadn't been there all along, maybe a bird dropped seeds and it grew or maybe I'm just daft enough to have not noticed them in 34 years!
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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Crete holiday with family.....


Thursday 5th October
     Very early start tomorrow and also to save the cost of parking two cars at the airport sisterS and bilK came to us to sleep over. I'd been out all day at my monthly craft group and they were already here when I got home. Dinner was booked at the local pub. 

Friday 6th
     Alarm went off at 3am and we managed four of us through the bathroom, last minute sorting/zipping/weighing of cases, playing suitcase tetris in the boot and driving away from the house by 4am. Pleased to say Ipswich to Gatwick, parking, checking in, security, breakfast at the Lebanese restaurant (pleasantly uncrowded) and flight were all quite uneventful. Prearranged taxi at Chania airport to meet us and sisterS had the keys to let us into her friend's villa in Kokkino Chorio.

     First thing we noticed was no power, the owners had said it goes off sometimes and we could put the emersion on for hot water from the consumer unit upstairs, hiding under a picture, both men gave it deep and meaningful looks and flicked switches as men do and decided to wait and see! We opened shutters and brought our stuff in and generally had a look round and sat on the balcony to admire the view

     Cloudy but beautiful and so warm. That's when it was noticed that the pool was making noises so not all the power was off! So sisterS and I knocked next door and met the neighbours Margaret and Allen. They were so helpful and Allen fixed our problem by uncovering another consumer unit in the lounge (under another picture) easy when you know how.
     Seems Greek bugs of all kinds really find me tasty and having only been sitting on the balcony for a very short while my feet and ankles had at least a dozen very itchy bites!
     The owners had rented their car to us too, Hubby our driver, so we made use of it straight away for essentials at the nearby supermarket, milk, fruit and stuff for breakfast as we plan to eat out each day. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any shopping or eating places we can walk to but Hubby said he is happy to drive and limit his drinking.
     Going by the owners recommendations in their comments book it seems Kokkino Chorio only has one eating place and the next nearest village Plaka has a choice so that's where we went, tonight Taverna Takis. First we were served bread, butter, olives and dips (only €1 each on the bill for that) I was happy drinking the water provided and so was sisterS, large beer for K, small beer for Hubby and we ordered or main courses which were delicious. [I could mention what we each ate each night but I'm sure you'd find that really boring, I will say we all chose traditional Greek dishes and enjoyed something different every night]. Deciding we were all too full for dessert we asked for the bill but before that arrived another round of drinks on the house, more beers than we had ordered the first time, then cake arrived then a jug of Raki with four shot glasses all on the house hahaha.
     Before the night was done I'd gained lots more itchy bites and bilK was also complaining of insect bites. My afterbite stuff was passed around.

Saturday 7th
     We were all sitting outside having breakfast that bilK cooked when we heard an enormous crash, so Hubby went to investigate and discovered a very large picture on the upstairs landing had fallen off the wall and glass was all down the marble stair case! Hubby made a great job of clearing it all up, took him ages and not enough space for us to help. We all agreed not to go barefoot at all. Seems the pin in the wall had snapped in half so not our fault and could have happened at any time. 
     We had decided today to visit Georgioupoli, unfortunately on the way there Hubby had a minor car accident, minor for us as we were totally unharmed as was the stationary lorry he just caught the back of but the poor car lost its door mirror which scratched all the side on its way to the ground uuuurrrrggghhhhh! What else could go wrong today?
     Thankfully Georgioupoli was beautiful and helped get us back into holiday mood. First stop at the beach was to see if we could replace the broken picture, but these were far too expensive.
     Lovely long walk along the beach up to a long rocky causeway leading to a small building, it was a little too uneven under foot for K and I so Hubby and S set off hand in hand.
     K has had a nasty reaction to his bites and they're all swollen and pussy and look very hot, think he could do with an antihistamine but he says he's fine. A whole day in shorts and Hubby now has lots of really bright red bites which he says don't really itch. So three of us have all reacted differently and sisterS hasn't been bitten at all.
     Back to the villa for a relax and the dreaded phone call to tell the owners what had happened, they are coming out two days after we leave so said they will deal with it all themselves, of course we said we will pay.  Then another taverna in Plaka for dinner and sure enough we were treated to all the free stuff again and more as S had drunk apple juice and K beer and wine and all were repeated, shame I'm only on water! We sat outside and the many scrounging cats that are always here were more of a problem especially bothering sisterS. Benefit of sitting outside though was when the young musician/beggars came around we could hear them and we did give them a few cents each time. 

Sunday 8th
     Really interesting trip out today to the Hellenistic and Roman ruins and baths and amphitheatre in Aptera




Only mishap of the day was Hubby banging his head on a very low ceiling ouch!
     We had lunch in Aptera where we just wanted a small snack. S&K ordered what looked to be starters off the board and Hubby and I asked for small Greek salad and with the complimentary loaf of bread etc it filled the table. We were brought complimentary plate of grapes and asked if we wanted Raki, but even K can't do that stuff lunchtime! We thought the place was called Tabepna but discovered that was just another word for Taverna. 
     Our two men in the front using satnav and the driving around these roads is always eventful and taking twice as long  as it should because of missed turns, zig-zagging mountains and roads too narrow to drive through. Apparently we were only about seven kilometres from home and it took nearly 25 minutes hahaha. 
     Evening meal back into Plaka. Coming back and a nightcap someone suggested playing a game but none in the cupboard were suitable, so I found some pub quiz trivia questions online and that proved popular enough to become our end of evening ritual before bed. 

Monday 9th
     First thing to do today was send a happy birthday message to our son.
     We took a drive into Chania and had a good walk around the market. Hubby had said he wanted a day not driving so we bought provisions for lunch for tomorrow, the cheese stall holder gave us lots to taste before we bought.

     A lovely lady at a clothes stall pulled me over to say, only in Greek, she had tops in my size and showed me one after another after another until actually there was one I really did like enough to buy. She gave me a big hug, business must be bad she seemed almost desperate that I bought, so I felt good about my new top and that I'd helped her if only in a very small way. 
     We walked back to the car to put our purchases in the boot then off in the opposite direction to find the old town and the old Venetian harbour. It was beautiful and stopped for lunch overlooking the posh boats docked there. According to my phone app we've walked nearly 10km here.




     We also came across a tiny synagogue built in the 1500's I think, now the only surviving remnant of a past Jewish community here on Crete.


Tuesday 10th
     Having a lazy stay at home by the pool day to give Hubby a day off from driving, he's done lots already through some of the narrowest streets and most obscure directions both from the satnav and bilK.
     Beautiful weather so loungers by the pool and K actually went for a swim even though Hubby had put a foot in and said it was freezing, K is very brave! Had another quick chat with the neighbours who recommended a couple more places we should visit.
     Lunch on the balcony was an absolute feast.
     Hubby did drive into Plaka for our evening meal.

Wednesday 11th
     Vamos was recommended, mainly for an eating place for lunch I think, but we'd got there too soon after breakfast so just had a walk round. Not much there really, mostly residential but S and I popped into a tiny book shop and gallery to discover in a back room a craft workshop where a few people were making mosaic pictures and they were more than happy for us to chat and take photos of what they were creating.

     Our next stop Rethymnon, a wonderful mix of old and new and beautiful churches and the harbour.










     SisterS quite liked this hat

Thursday 12th
     Another busy day with lots to see, first Sauda Bay then the Allied War Cemetery, very humbling.

     We made another stop at Kalyvis beach and had a drink right on the sand, I even went in for a very brief paddle (I'll only ever get my toes wet hahaha). Then because of another recommendation we went in search of the Koumos Taverna. Not the easiest place to find but so worth it, totally unique, we had lunch there and spent ages wandering around and taking photos, it's all amazing







A small part of my face is in this ceiling as I noticed a tiny 
mirror embedded amongst the rocks so I lined myself up. 

     Our last evening meal was back in Elpis in Plaka as this was sisterS's favourite.

Friday 13th
     And all too soon it was time to pack up and head home. We had instructions on airport parking so the car would be in the right place for our hosts to collect on Sunday. We had replaced all we'd used in the villa and bought them a thank you gift. And thankfully another uneventful journey home apart from the traffic delays on the M25 which meant we didn't make it home to freshen up first but went straight to the booked pub for our dinner.

Saturday 14th
     After their final sleepover and Hubby cooking breakfast S&K loaded their car and set off for home.
     Another lovely holiday over, our last for 2017.
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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Spain Holiday with friends.......

Sunday 24 September started oh so early with the alarm going off at 3:30am. Think I'd had about four hours sleep.
     We were on the road at 4am allowing a bit extra time as the main road to Stansted has had road works over night for months and months....... actually it was all open so we got to the airport early.
     We'd already arranged between us for each couple to go through formalities as we arrived then all meet up in Wetherspoons for breakfast, which was a good idea saving any of us hanging around. Hubby and I weren't the first there as my case was selected for extra security which took another 20mins. We weren't the last either so when six of us were all together we had breakfast.
     After my bacon butty and cuppa we took the long walk to gate 48 and they were already boarding so straight on. Unfortunately the hand luggage quota had been met so four of our bags were put in the hold. Slight delay on the runway then a really easy flight and we were met by the booked taxi at Malaga airport.
     Always so lovely being in bfriendM's apartment and as six close friends we are going to have a great holiday.

The days between were a mixture of relaxed and busy and always quite hot, even the one rainy morning was grey but still hot. We were out every day, either local walking to the beach or supermarket or the fascinating Chinese hardware shop or getting the bus to Fuengorola for the market and a failed attempt to see the castle which was closed, and the market at La Cala.
     Late afternoons were siesta for all but me (makes me feel dreadful sleeping in the day). There was also some use of the pool in the community garden (that was without me too). And there was the afternoon beers and pre-evening drinks (also excluding me,  I'm sounding like a bit of a party pooper!). While they snoozed I read and when they woke it was lots of conversations and laughter. 
     Eating out every evening is delicious as bfriendM's local knowledge takes us to all the best places. On the beach for paella, Argentinean Steakhouse, Mama Nostra's Italian, La Plaza which is a bit classier and this week had a Rod Stewart tribute act who was very good and got us all up dancing.
     The men rounded off most evenings playing pool and made friends with a group from Norway who we saw various times, very friendly and very funny. Meanwhile we sat outside and both girls chatted to Jimmy's and the Asian lady who are regular sellers of bags and novelty items, yes they both bought stuff too. When we made it back to the apartment it was more drink and snacks out on the balcony with bedtime always after 1am, even on the last night when the plan was an early night.....I knew that wasn't going to happen hahaha

Friday 29 September and we are packed up and picked up by the booked taxi at 9am. Very crowded airport was the usual queuing and waiting around and was really busy, but it does the job of getting us from there to here so can't complain. Big goodbyes as we headed off to different car parks, but we'll see each other on our usual Wednesday night out. 

Great fun and great memories, so probably a good point to add photos.......







So now just seven days to unpack and process all the laundry and repack then off to Crete. 
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