Search This Blog

Tuesday, 31 December 2013


For those who don't know, I have been in hospital since mid-September suffering with a bleed on my brain, in  effect a stroke. I hope to be home by Jan 6th. I continue to improve and may be  back to near normal later in 2014.

Never take "normality" for granted. I finally made it home, hopefully for good, on Friday Jan 3rd, although swallow, walking, speech and writing all still have a long way to go. I have to keep doing my exercises.

Friday, 13 September 2013

The UK and chemical weapons

OK, it was over 70 years ago, but in WW2 we were, it seems, quite happy to consider the use of chemical weapons against the enemy then, the people of Nazi Germany. See  In the event, these were not used, but clearly we had thought hard enough about using them to test them on a (not that) remote Scottish island.

It annoys me when the UK and USA behave so "high and mighty" against the use of chemical warfare when, even very recently, both nations actually used them in Iraq, Afghanistan and of course by the USA in Vietnam (Agent Orange).  Perhaps we learned that their use was a bad thing?

Friday, 6 September 2013

Carpets and stain protection

We recently bought a lot of new carpets for our new home from a major East Anglian supplier, Glasswells in Bury-St-Edmunds. All of these carpets had manufacturers stain protection or StainGard protection added before fitting.

Shortly after we moved in, we noticed a small mark on the lounge carpet so contacted the supplier to ask the best way to remove it: StainGard protection is supposed to allow easy removal of stains such as wine spills, coffee spills etc. Rather than advise how to treat the mark ourselves Glasswells arranged for the StainGard people to come out to take a look. This they did, and took several photos, but no action to remove the mark. A week or so later, Glasswells sent someone to look. Again, no attempt was made to clear the mark.

So, nearly a month after having the carpets fitted we have still to be told how to remove stains from our protected carpets. We have not even been given a leaflet telling us how to go about it!  Wouldn't you think that having spent many thousands of pounds on new carpets Glasswells would give us a leaflet on how to remove spills and stains and throw in a little carpet care kit too?  Instead, we have had 2 visits, no action, and no instructions after nearly a month. Unbelievable.

Further to this, I went to the shop recently to try to buy some material to make a bed throw that would match a couple of garden room chairs. On the phone, when checking with the supplier on the wholesale cost, I overheard "£8.60 a metre".  A moment later the salesman turned to me and said the price would be £17.99 a metre!

So, if you ask for discounts when buying a lot of carpets, furniture etc from a major supplier like Glasswells don't be embarrassed to ask for a LARGE discount. Oh, and don't forget to ask how to remove stains :-)

Overall, I am less than impressed.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

UK parliament votes AGAINST military action in Syria

Last night, the UK parliament voted AGAINST military action in Syria. This is excellent news.
This does not mean the UK should take no action. What it signals is that the UK people don't want to meet violence with yet more violence. Instead let us encourage effective diplomacy. Jaw jaw, not war war is, ultimately, the ONLY way. Can anyone really say that our past military action in Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere in the Middle East has ever done any long term good? No, what it has left is a trail of bitterness.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Syria and chemical warfare

So the UK and USA are considering a response to the use of chemical warfare in Syria. The likely response will be yet more violence in  the form of a clinical attack on something/someone.  Will we NEVER ever learn? What sort of message will that send?

The ONLY solutions to the problems in the Middle East depend on building trust and understanding on all sides. As we have seen in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the use of violence to counter violence destroys trust and creates yet more issues.

Jaw jaw, not war war, please.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Cricketing success

So England won the Ashes series after a thrilling day yesterday which saw the Australians thrashed.

The last 12 months have been good ones for UK sport for all the right reasons: a successful and happy Olympic Games last summer, success at Wimbledon for Andy Murray in the tennis and for England in the Tour de France cycling. 

Sport is good when it inspires people to strive for the impossible and succeed, although good sportsmanship is about trying to win and not winning at all costs including cheating, which serves no good.  It is sad that sports are so commercialised these days and that money matters so much.

Moving home - mixed emotions

We have lived in our family home, a modest semi-detached house on the edge of our village, for 37.5 happy years. Tomorrow we move to a bungalow next to our local windmill currently undergoing a large restoration. The new home is lovely: homely and spacious, and with a nice garden and at the end of  a quiet close.

As you can imagine, this evening we are feeling rather mixed emotions: our children grew up in this current home and it has been "our" place, with our stamp on it, for all those years. They have been, almost without exception, very happy years. Tonight the old house is devoid of personality with pictures off the walls and trappings of our life in boxes.

However, the new home is already taking on the feel of our current home with familiar photos and trappings already in place that make a home "our" home. No doubt it will take a few weeks to adjust, but overall we feel it is a good move: a bungalow is easier when one is getting on in years and mobility is likely to become more difficult. Nonetheless we will miss our old home so much.

Thank you home, you have been our friend for a long time and we'll miss you.