A horse tale

Around the area that we now live there are 3 pubs, the nearest one is not to our taste, we made  a couple of ill advised sorties into the realms of ripped seating and sticky flooring among men who communicate by shouting at each other from a distance of a mere few feet.

The second pub is a good 10 minutes walk for Owl or 20 for me, it is a level higher than the first pub but has a bad reputation for fights, drugs and the like, I think I have braved it maybe 3 or 4 times during last summer.

But we much prefer the third pub, it is further away than the others and very quiet, apparently in years gone by it had a bad reputation. The couple who currently run it have been there for 3 or 4 years and have no trouble with the punters. They have a zero tolerance policy on drugs, swearing and fighting. They struggle to get back the numbers they should have but they don’t get any trouble there. The staff are very friendly and they often have live music or karaoke nights.

Last week as I drove past it, I noticed that the second pub is closed for major refurbishment. But I did have to laugh when I saw the sign on the fencing which promotes the imminent opening of a new “HUNGRY HORSE” ………..really ……..after what we have been reading and hearing about for the last couple of weeks this must surely be a joke.It’s

Cakes and dementia

I went to see mother today, following the sad news of Friday. As I said before I really should see more of her than I have done since moving away last summer. I took with me a card from myself, Owl and Skater, a bunch of pink tulips and a box of pecan and maple pastries (box = 2). Owl came with me for the drive but didn’t come to mother’s he went into town to watch the rugby 6 nations match so that mother and I could reminisce without worrying that Owl would not know who or what we were talking about.

When we reached town I parked up at the Tesco car park (I hadn’t yet bought the flowers or cakes). At the store entrance Owl and I went in our separate directions, he in search of beer and rugby, me in search of cake…….it seems ages since I bought cake, they don’t feature in my diet these days.

It didn’t take me long to collect my basket of goodies. When I paid for these the young lad at the check out asked me if I had a car in the car park downstairs. (This is one of the new modern versions of Tesco where the shop is built above the car park). Admittedly I have not used this store many times but I have never been asked this before. He handed me a voucher with a code number on it to punch into a machine at the car park entrance. They are trying to encourage non Tesco shoppers not to park in their car park. (It is close to the town and free).

I joined the short queue, but when it was my turn that’s when the trouble began. First I had to key in the last three letters of the car registration. I do know the registration number honest I do but could I remember which way round it was? Damn stupid thing I tried putting in the 3 digits but it didn’t like that so it asked me to put in the whole number. So I put in three letters followed by three numbers but it just didn’t look right. Then it occurred to me that I was using the letters from my poor departed Toyota that gave up the ghost in a cloud of smoke somewhere near Guildford whilst being driven by Prodigal last autumn(fall to you lot on the other side of the pond). I cancelled all together and took my purchases back to the car, checked the number plate realised where I had gone wrong and returned to the machine to try again. This Time I put in the T for the year followed by three numbers (I had got one of the three wrong first time around) followed by three letters …..almost the same as my original attempt but not quite, this time the machine showed me a photo of our chevrolet. Now I could enter the code on the ticket which now told me the time I arrived and the current time. I was now free to drive away. But where was the barrier that would have prevented me leaving?

Minutes later I arrived at mother’s with my gifts. Cakes and white tea consumed we chatted and chatted as we have a habit of doing when we are together. Obviously we chatted about James, but we also chatted about other family topics. Interspersed by various telephone calls. The last of which was from this lady, a relative of my late father. Having told Jill about my impending marriage, mother passed the phone to me. After discussing my good news we then moved on to the topic of Jill’s blog. As you will discover if you read her blog, her father has dementia. Jill is currently living with and caring for her father, her blog tells tales of the problems she has encountered and how she has overcome these problems. Her aim is to pass on her new found knowledge regarding information that carers of dementia patients need to know. Please take the time to visit this very worthwhile blog. Jill needs to increase her reader numbers before the newspaper which is sponsoring her decides to close her column.

Whilst chatting to Jill I heard the quacking of my mobile (I like to have a ring tone that I will instantly know as mine) to alert me that Owl was ready to be picked up and taken home.

In honour of James

Last night I went with Owl to our favourite local country pub. They have live music on Friday evenings, we have not been for a while as we are both tired at the end of the week. But we had agreed earlier in the week that we would go. The entertainment for the evening was Shep Woolley which we thoroughly enjoyed.

I had seen him once before when he was the after dinner speaker at one of the Rotary dinners I attended with my mother (probably 3 or 4 years ago).  If you have never seen him then you have missed out on a very entertaining evening. Not only does he sing and play guitar oh and also a ukulele and mouth organ to boot. But his anecdotes and impressions are hilarious.

Usually when we go out I stick to drinking either orange juice or other fruit drinks, I am the only driver in this household at the moment. But last night I allowed myself to have a glass of merlot.

I had some sad news yesterday, a very close friend of my mother’s died, James had been moved into a nursing home last week. I knew he probably wouldn’t be with us for much longer but didn’t expect him to go quite so quickly. During the break in Shep’s routine I had phoned my mum to see how she was, I am concerned about her as she had been extremely close to James, at one point I wouldn’t have been suprised if they had married. I was telling Owl about various memories I have of James. He was in fact the master of ceremonies for the Rotary club up until about 18 months ago and so would have been at the time when Shep was entertaining us. It was James who at one of the many dinners/and other evening events I had attended had introduced me to drinking red wine. Until then I had preferred to drink white.

So it was in honour of James that I decided to have a glass of the red stuff.

You should know that……..

I wish I had never told him that now.

Owl often asks me about things I have no memory/knowledge or interest in. Then he says you should know that ……you were in the military. It could be anything from what bullets a certain gun uses, the type of camouflage that is being worn, various military vehicles.

I wish I had never told him that at the tender age of 20 I was a part time soldier.

No I don’t remember my service number. Yes I know that military personnel are supposed to remember their service number until the day they cease to exist in this world.

I am sorry that I do not remember these things.

I was in the Territorial Army (TA) for a whole 6 months (if that).

I remember the plain green uniform we wore, I remember the evenings spent partly in the drill hall and partly in classrooms.

I remember the pain of running in boots that were a size too large for my size 3 feet, being dragged across the line by the sgt who helped me pass the fitness run in basic training. I remember having to struggle out of a tent in the middle of the night for my stint at keeping watch while on a training camp. I remember the rations we ate. I remember the gas mask training and the resulting sore eyes.

So as you can see I do remember some things about my time in the military. I remember that my reason for joining up was the lure of the assault course.

But I don’t remember everything ………it was 30 years ago!!

Tables for 4

On Sunday I mentioned that we met friends for a drink. The pub we chose is in a village between our home and theirs. We know the pub well, Owl has been a regular for several years. We often pop in there on our way home form other places. It is one of those pubs that do a raring food trade.

We had arranged to meet at 12.30pm, we hadn’t been there since the new owners took over a couple of weeks ago but we didn’t expect much to have changed. We were not disappointed very few changes were evident other than the staff in the bar. After a chat with a few locals that Owl has known for sometime we found a table to wait for our friends. It was a table set for two with a bench seat and a stool so there was room for all four of us once our friends arrived. But it wasn’t very long before we were asked to move as the table was booked for 1.30pm for a couple who had just arrived.

But we could have the table in the corner until the 2.30pm party booked in for that table arrived. We had been at this second table for perhaps 15 minutes when the people at the next table left so we shifted along to our third table as there was slightly more room for all of us to sit. We had been discussing our arrangements for a day we will be spending together next week. When we were advised that our third table was now needed. By this time we had ordered food ourselves so another table at the other end of the bar was found for us.

Finally we were sat at our fourth and final table for the day. We enjoyed our food along with the fellas trying to outdo each other with their ‘Petrol head’ knowledge. I for one never knew that not only do cars have a model and possibly a trim name but also the engine itself has a name. I now know that the name of the engine used in Chevrolet Blazer is Polestar.

Sunny afternoons

Love is a Sunday evening listening to Owl reading extracts of Jeremy Clarkson’s book. Having spent the afternoon in a country pub with two friends.

It has been a great weekend. The sun has been good enough to keep me warm whilst wandering around in the not too fresh air.

We spent Saturday afternoon at our beach retreat (static caravan). We are now officially trailer trash (of the best kind). We found an unexpected sight when we arrived. Last summer a lot of work was done to improve the beach, building breakwaters and adding many tonnes of sand. We knew that the work had been completed during the summer so we were surprised to witness a barge pumping tonnes more sand onto the beach which was then moved by various heavy plant.

Anyway we enjoyed a quiet time in our van basking in the sun, followed by a walk not along the beach but just behind it. It was great to be walking around without a coat looking at the sea and sun dreaming of the summer to come.

Later we spent the evening (well the later part of it because Owl had been napping earlier) watching our new dvd. Last week trawling through the TV schedule we had settled on a program we didn’t know called ‘Strike Back’. Which when it ended had both of us wanting more. Checking online I discovered that it was a series from SKY TV back in 2010 and 2011. Using my Amazon skills I managed to obtain series one.

Sunday morning saw the sun again streaming through the window of our bedroom allowing us a bright but sleepy start to the day. Once up and about we drove over to visit my mother to put right her mini crisis over her curtain rail that had begun to come adrift. From there we headed off for our afternoon of laughter with friends.

Now we are about to watch the next part of Strike back.