Friday 29 January 2010

Cold cure

This morning was much brighter, and the sun was shining while we had breakfast. My cold was much worse, so bad in fact I thought it time for desperate measures. Mason's father had a remedy which I thought I would try although it seems very gross, to put it as Mas describes it.

Basically you have to suck up some tepid salty water with your nose using one nostril while shutting the other one, and spit it out when the water comes down the back of your throat, then you do it with the other nostril. You keep doing this until you have used up a mug full of saline, being careful not to swallow by mistake. ( It is essential to do this while completely alone)

Although this took some doing, I felt immediately better afterwards. I did this two more times during the day and am convinced I have almost killed the cold.

In the evening we watched a rerun of Pie in the Sky, and an episode of An Island Parish which I really enjoy. It is set in the Scilly Isles showing the islanders going about their lives. While this sounds boring it is not in fact it is very interesting and endearingly funny sometimes too. It is so refreshing to watch something informative that is not as formulaic as most things have become.

Thursday 28 January 2010

A morning tea party

While we were having a very late breakfast Maheena called in to ask us to come to her house at 11am for tea. I mentioned that I had a bad cold, but this was brushed aside in a Que Serra Serra manner. After rushing about briefly we went to her home and found that Margaret and John were there too. We chatted and ate interesting snacks that Maheena had produced, and drank Indian tea made with milk and spices which was really nice. After a few hours we left as Mas was expecting a phone call.

Going to our house we saw Ben and chatted for a moment, me keeping my distance as my virus was probably feeling friendly; I really hope I have not passed it onto any of my friends.

While washing up later I saw a new cat in our garden sharpening his claws on a tree. It was a smallish pretty tabby cat and I noticed he was wearing a magnet on his collar. It is good our cat door will now only let Salty in otherwise I could envisage a team of cats romping through the house at night.

We watched a Jackie Chan video called Tuxedo in the evening. We are looking at lots of videos as Barry has given them to us as he is trying to make space in his house. We will pass them on to Margaret and John later.

Wednesday 27 January 2010


I felt ill all day, coughing and sneezing with a bad cold, it is a pig, but luckily not a swine. Monika phoned briefly to touch bases which was nice. I read most of the day, clutching a hot water bottle. We watched a Sherlock Holmes, with Jeremy Irons, which is always worth watching because of his characterisation. We started a dismal film called The Sin Eater with Heath Ledger, but I soon gave up on this and went off to read instead.

On Tuesday still feeling like a zombie I made myself go for a walk, and changed my library books. Walking back I came across an attractive long haired, thin faced dog who followed me for a while. I thought he might be lost and tried to read what was on his collar, but he would not let me touch him. Thinking he was probably not lost at this point I walked away from him, and he remained sitting on the pavement. A car sped past, and the driver waved at the dog (who took no notice), and I thought it was funny he should wave at an unknown dog and ignore a human, but on reflection though why not?

In the evening we watched another video called Hope Floats with Sandra Bullock in it, who did a robust job of acting, but I did not like this film either. I seem to be getting very hard to please.

The next day passed in a sniffling sneezing blur.

Sunday 24 January 2010

Walking and watching

The weather is still grey and depressing, but I thought I would go for a walk to oxygenate my brain. I walked around on the Harrow side of Edgware looking at the different architectural styles of the houses, eventually I came out in Canons Drive by the small lake. There were ducks of various kinds swimming around and black coots, which I don't remember seeing before. The black coots were diving, submerging and popping out of the lake like champagne corks.

I also read, on the notice board, the history of the house at the end of the Drive. This house eventually became a school, but had originally belonged to the Duke of Chandos. I went to this school for a year, and that is where I met my friend Diane.

Once home again Ben telephoned Mas to say that our cat was meowing and wanted to get indoors. This made us laugh as he can do this independently, but when Mas called him he came in, but it probably was not him making such a ruckus outside.

Toby phoned, and Pete too as he will be off to Guernsey tomorrow, lucky thing!
In the evening we watched Slumdog Millionaire, which although a good film left me feeling depressed.

Saturday 23 January 2010

A few feasts

Yesterday we went to Borehamwood for some shopping and then went to out usual fish and chips cafe. We had a tasty lunch there, and our friendly waitress told us that her pet white ferret had run away, and now she has a little big cat, looking a bit puzzled she explained that it was young and little, but would grow into a very large cat.
As we were leaving she bought us a huge cooked cold fish that she had carefully wrapped up for Salty. Salty feasted on this for two days, and sent prayers of thankfulness up to cat heaven at each meal.

Today we went up to St. Albans and met Robert in the Waterend Barn, which is another excellent J. D. Weatherspoon pub. Tania joined us before long, and we had a nice chatty lunch during which I had two glasses of red wine. Later Mas drove us home as I was feeling vertiginous despite taking the new medication for it, and had a bad sore throat too. Once home I felt rather peculiar so rested and read for a while. Later I found that I should not drink alcohol while taking the medication, so drank lots of water in the hope that I would soon feel better.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Dog's dinner and tunnel vision required

Today I had arranged to meet Diane, after her appointment at The Royal Free Hospital. When I got to The George Pub she was already there waiting for me. We had a drink, then decided to have lunch at the pub. We ordered a platter of nachos, salsa, guacamole and melted cheese. We ate some of these rather tentatively as unusually the meal looked rather unappetising. The more of the limp nachos we ate the more the platter looked like a dogs dinner, or worse, so we abandoned it and went off to have a Costa coffee elsewhere and finish our catching up chat session.

Later I went back to Edgware, and had to call in at the doctors to see if they can give me anything to control the vertigo. Luckily he gave me some antihistamine based pills which will hopefully help. The vertigo is not too bad, and is bought about mostly by eye movements, so I will have to try not to roll my eyes too much otherwise I feel floaty and tend to lurch around. I am painting a mental picture of myself, and it is not pretty.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Cat conumdrums and virus mysteries

On Monday after breakfast, Poppy called, and we walked with Lilu in the park, then down to Edgware as I had to buy something from Rymans. Mas spent a lot of time fitting the cat door today. Poppy also gave us an unusual dessert she had made from rice, cinnamon and lots of saffron; it had an subtle and rather perfumed taste, and it is fun to try different things.

Today the cat would not come through the cat door, and we found it had somehow got jammed open with the tunnel partially blocked. Salty refused to go near it, so we had to remove the whole contraption and just leave him a clear tunnel to run through, and gradually he began to use it again. I think somehow the door had snapped onto him as he was going through before.

Joan sent this picture of a Sharp-Shinned Hawk, as he arrived in their tree so all the small birds wisely left; they must have known he thought they were breakfast.

I watched a Horizon programme about viruses on iplayer which I found fascinating. If they can be said to be both dead, and alive, when the conditions are right it sounds very much as if they have resurrections, and is it possible that they set up the life and death pattern that humans follow? Later Mas and I watched a Taggart together.

Sunday 17 January 2010

The London Art Fair

This morning I called in to see Barry to keep him company for a while, but Wynford was home too. We chatted for some time, and then I went home for a hasty lunch with Mas as we had decided to take the day off, and go to see the London Art Fair, which is held at the Business Design Centre.

We took the train to Angel, and having collected our complimentary tickets went in to see the exhibition. There was a lot of familiar work there, but these two pictures were my favourite ones. Sadly I cannot remember who painted the yellow one.

This picture was by Rebecca Hossack, the sale price was £13,000.

This picture was made with slices of burnt toast set in a resinous material to protect it.

The Sesame Gallery did a solo show for Henrijs Preiss in an installation called The Black Lodge, inspired by Twin Peaks. His work is full of symbolism of variuos kinds.

This large blue picture was priced at £75,000, but of course who paints the picture makes all the difference.
After a while I began to feel the vertigo that I have, quite badly, and to get a bad headache. Sadly if I move my eyes too much it brings on the vertigo, and I had probably had my eyes on stalks for several hours.

We got a train easily, and when we arrived in Edgware it was dark and cold, so we thought to save time we would have something to eat at Nando's.

This restaurant is always busy, so we thought the food would be good. Admittedly I was already feeling quite nauseous, but when I looked around at the meals all I could see was piles of burned chicken carcasses hacked up. At this point I almost became a veggietotaler.
Toby called in the evening, and explained to me how to watch TV on iplayer which will be very useful as we are unable to programme our video recorder.

Friday 15 January 2010

Family gathering followed by a thaw

I wrote a few letters, and as I walked to post them, passed Barry and Wynford's house and saw that the family were home. I called in to see them briefly on the way back, and we talked for a while, and I had a chance to talk to Lynda who had travelled from Monaco for the funeral, and to Darran and Anita and see their lovely children. After a very large sherry I went home; it had been nice to see everyone, but sad it was in such circumstances.

Mas feeling somewhat better had been trying to sort out the new cat door which had arrived as a kit with two booklets of instructions that made my heart sink. Mas had been trying to assemble it and get it wired up. This took a lot of doing, and needed more patience than I possess.

Pete called briefly to talk of colours.

Today I woke up to the sound of rain, and gradually all the snow melted away. Mas continued with the cat door business, and he also had to enlarge the original cat door tunnel in the conservatory which meant that the place was soon covered in grey dust, and my mind seemed to be filled with it as well.

Thursday 14 January 2010

Glen' s funeral

As Mas was still unwell, and his cough rather exhausting I planned to go with Poppy to Glen's funeral at Hendon Crematorium. Ben hope he would be free of his commitments to go with us too.

I went across to Poppy's house at 3 pm, and we drove carefully off to the crematorium on the icy roads. We arrived rather early, but sat in the chapel as it was getting dark and very cold outside. We talked quietly as the organist practised. We talked of various religions, and Poppy explained some of the beliefs held by Zoroastrians, which I found that I also shared. The family and friends soon arrived. The touching short service was given by the Reverend Michael Clark and it bought some comfort to the sad and grieving family.

As we left the chapel everyone greeted each other and talked for a while. It looked rather sad and depressing as it was dark, there was still snow on the ground and there were plenty of fresh flowers around denoting lots of recent deaths. Eventually people started to leave, and Poppy and I drove home in stages.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Coffee and crumpets

We ventured off to Stanmore before the predicted snowfall, to get some shopping, and had a coffee while we were there to break the monotony, and this was the highlight of the day. I am beginning to feel stir crazy.

Today we awoke to the predicted fresh snow fall

We invited Poppy and Ben to come over for coffee and crumpets, and they did come over. We all chatted for a long time. We tried a different home made damson jam, and I suggested it should be called Park Jam as I had gathered the plums from the park. This was not considered a good idea generally. The jam itself was quite difficult to prise out of the jar as it had set rather too well. It was nice to have the cheerful company though.

In the evening we watched an episode of George Gently with Martin Shaw. We had seen this before, but it was a good story.

Sunday 10 January 2010

It's snow fun

Today was our day to go to St.Albans, but Robert phoned and said they would drive down to us, and we arranged to have a pub lunch together. Tania has somehow managed to keep working during this snowy and icy weather, visiting her clients during the evenings, and in one case she had to borrow a shovel from one of them to dig herself free of snow so that she could get home.

It was really nice to get out of the house for a while, and we had a really chatty fun meal together.

Joan sent this lovely picture from her Canadian forests.

Later in the day I got a really bad headache, but nevertheless watched an NCIS in the evening.

Today with the snow and ice still around I took the bus to Edgware and got some fruit and lots of cough sweets for Mas as his cough has got much worse. We watched 'Ello 'Ello, and Murder she Wrote and generally got rather bored, but kept warm indoors.

Friday 8 January 2010

The sadness of the birds

Today was another day when we stayed indoors, and I spent some time half heartedly clearing up, but mostly filled with lassitude as the skies seem permanently grey.

Looking out of the window at Glen and Barry's bird table next door, and thinking how the birds used to come down daily for bread that had been put on it for them, and watching them hanging round the garden where there was not the usual food, it made me think how when someone dies there are all kinds of ripples that spread from the event, not only the effect that it has to the bereaved family and friends. In this case the birds were not being fed which on the scale of importance is rather low, but was important to them, and no one would even know.

It is still very cold, -18 in some places, but luckily not here. We spent the day indoors, and caught up with some correspondence. Manu phoned, joking about the weather and chatting for a while. Mas worked out what has been going wrong with our TV setup; the scart cables at the back had worked loose! Once they had been plugged back securely we were able to watch Ghost Whisperer and Silent Witness, and Mas felt more cheerful!

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Salty has had his chips

We have ordered a new microchip cat door from this company in Guernsey. It is expensive, but if only our cat is eating the cat food it will probably pay for itself eventually, and we will all have more peaceful nights as the only animal that can come in is the one whose chip number has been programmed in.

We went to Stanmore, and paid bills and got more provisions as the snow is coming! We had lunch at the Man in the Moon. Mason managed to get an appointment at the vets, so now Salty has a readable microchip.

I saw Wynford and chatted a while, and when walking down to the library met Poppy and Ben with Lilu, and we chatted before going off in different directions.

In the library somehow I lost my glasses, but just as I was going to panic the librarian luckily found them on the floor. I got several books out, including an Alexander McCall Smith book called The World According to Bertie, which I am looking forward to reading.

It began snowing in the evening, and snowed all night.

Monday 4 January 2010

Sunday, the weather still cold. Pete phoned, and I spoke to Lorraine too who liked the picture. Margaret phoned and chatted for a while, and both she and John are also feeling under the weather. I walked down to Edgware and got more medications for Mas, and marvelled at the shoppers out for a bargain still.

Monday, with frost thick like snow. Made a warming soup for lunch followed by a vitamin laden salad. I spoke to Diane for a while, and she was waiting at home for her radiator to be fixed. In the evening we watched a Poirot, but not a very good one as it did not have Captain Hastings or Miss Lemon in it, and it went on for too long. Mason also watched Michael Portillo talking about Guantanamo. The TV was being temperamental, losing sound, or not showing anything half way through a programme.

Salty has been going up the chimney again, and once more we have an attractive paw print pattern decorating the neutral carpets. Later noticed the paw print motif on the white dining room walls, no doubt Salty had been trying to catch the small rainbows thrown by the crystal hanging in the window.

Saturday 2 January 2010

The end of the year and new beginnings

The last day of the year, and emails from Jana and Joan, who sent this picture from Ontario of Toby and Dick walking in the snow, having cleared a pathway through it first.

It was very frosty today, and we stocked up with shopping before the snow comes. Mas also filled the car with petrol as the price is due to rise tomorrow. After this Mas began to cough more, and feel rather worse; both of us were feeling tired too. Despite that we stayed up till midnight and watched the firework display on TV, and local people were also setting off fireworks.

January 1st 2010!
A bright cold day, and a holiday. We stayed home all day as Mas had been coughing all night, and both of us still felt tired. To add to this Mason's keyboard stopped working, and we spent a long time charging up batteries without success, then the TV got stuck on one channel and the video and CD player would not work. Somehow it seems as if the programming needs to be reset.

January 2nd
We awoke to a thick frost, Mason feeling very under the weather with an incapacitating cough. I walked to Edgware and bought some batteries for his keyboard, and magically it worked again. Pete called while I was out. Having randomly pushed all the buttons on the three necessary TV remote controls the TV worked again until bedtime when it again gave up the ghost. Toby phoned during the evening which was cheering; they are back in Toronto again.