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  • jullietwright 3:50 pm on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: nuts   

    10 January 2016
    Happy New Year to All

    What’s this with modern televisions? Where do we put the bowl of mixed nuts which has always sat on top of the set, untouched and gathering dust until March when it is thrown out during the spring clean? Is this a conspiracy to deprive us of a cherished tradition? I think we should be told about this as well.

  • jullietwright 2:47 pm on September 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    26th September 2015

    You Could Not make It Up

    My friend Elizabeth A. has been telling me about a Cat Enrichment Programme which has been set up in Somerset. Basically it involves playing with kittens. Not only that but participants are required to attend a training course before they are allowed access to the kittens. Is there a foundation level, with further study leading to a certificate in Advanced Playing With Kittens? I think we should be told.

  • jullietwright 10:55 am on September 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    16th September 2015

    Some Thoughts on Dental Health

    Dental check today with the new dentist. My previous one retired in the summer and I made a point of going to his farewell open day to tell him that he was being very inconsiderate to retire after 30+ years. I also picked up a small sample tube of toothpaste, handy for taking through airports. The new man, Dr. M., is a worthy successor to Mr. G who fixed me up with trouble-free crowns to replace my crumbling molars (and premolars). Many people are still anxious about visiting a dentist, probably because of unpleasant and painful childhood memories.
    Our dentist was called Mr. Robinson and his pracice was in Park Lane, Macclesfield. The approach of the six-month check-up caused increasing dread, reaching its climax in the waiting room as Mr. R. was always at least half an hour behind in his schedule. The fashion for removing all a young person’s teeth and replacing them with a nice set of NHS “piano keys” (a popular 21st birhtday present apparently), had given way to enthusiastic drilling, even when patients were conscientious in the use of the toothbrush. It was amazing how much work was needed even after a six-month interval and all without the use of pain relief. Added to that, denistry in the 1950s seemed to have attracted the most irritable and sadistic characters. Were they specially selected or was a life of inflicting pain to blame? I only once protested and was reprimanded in no uncertain terms; I never dared do it again! The 1960s brought a welcome change. Word went round that the new young dentist, Mr. H. was actually concerned about not hurting patients and would offer a shot of pain relief. Soon his appointment book was full to over-flowing.
    The life expectancy of the UK population continues to rise and there many reasons contributing to this welcome news, not least the Food Office orange juice and cod liver oil our generation were given. And, unlike our parents, most of us have kept our teeth – a triumph of modern dentistry. This means that we can chew our food thoroughly and digest it more efficiently, so there is no need to daily recourse to the Milk of Magnesia, senna pods, Bile Beans etc. Better nutrition leads to better health and fewer mouth infections means better circulation. So…. we can hang around for a long time annoying our grandchildren by pretending to be deaf.

  • jullietwright 10:19 am on September 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    16 th September 2015

    Farewell Faithful Friend

    It was a sad day saying good bye to my little Micra after 15 years. I remember driving it out of Benfield Motors and watching the wheels on the mileometer begin to turn from zero. And no, it is/was not just a heap of rusting metal! Norham Garage had warned me that it would not pass its MOT again, so a visit to Ken S. was indicated and, as always, he just what I needed – a three-door Micra, only five years old and shiny black. I still felt bad about abandoning the old Micra but comfort myself that someone had bid for it at auction; with only 29 000 miles on the clock, the engine could be a sort of motorised heart transplant. The latest one one now has some new mats (charcoal grey with pink trim, a bargain at £6.99 at B&M) and a sticker pledging support for Newcastle Falcons. The only problem is that it is slightly wider so driving in and out of the garage needs two of us so that I can actually get out of the car once it is in position.

  • jullietwright 9:54 am on September 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    16 September 2015

    “There’s no one quite like Grandma”

    It was my birthday last month – 71 – and perhaps this is the year I shall turn into a sweet little old lady. “Sweet” is stretching it a bit as for the rest I shall just have to wait and see. We certainly need a new computer; this one is taking 15 minutes to take me where I want to go and then it collapses in exhaustion and I have to start again. Time to send for our wise man of all things computer-related, Ken.
    Payment is not going to be a problem as after years of allowing Littlewoods to extract small sums from his bank account, Keith won the pools – nearly £600! No, I didn’t think people still did the pools,either, but there it is. Over 40 years of patience have been rewarded. I am going to post this now in case the malevolent fairy inside this machine wakes up and I lose everything.

  • jullietwright 2:04 pm on March 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Lent   

    29 March 2015

    Palm Sunday already; only another week to go before Easter. Since Ash Wednesday, we have been encouraged to take on more – charitable works, study groups etc – and give up certain pleasures such as throwing stones at people and chocolate. How about throwing chocolate at people, does that count? Of course, the throwing stones isn’t literal, it means making malicious and/or spiteful remarks which aim to hurt people. The other side of the coin is how we should react when stones, or even small fragments of gravel,are thrown at us.
    On the matter of giving up chocolate and other sugar-laden treats, do you know that fig rolls are permitted in Lent? We were served these at a study group in the vicarage and Fr. Paul Scott told us that they are allowed. I doubt if this is actually enshrined in Canon Law, but fig rolls are a useful standby for the times we really crave something sweet.

  • jullietwright 6:17 pm on February 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rules for the care of the Domestic Short Hair 4 February 2015   

    1. On arrival, visitors must stroke The Cat’s back if it is more than three stairs above the hall floor.

    2. At least 2cm of milk is to be left in each cereal bowl after breakfast. The bowls are to be placed within easy reach of The Cat.

    3. No dried food containing vegetables of any kind is to be placed in The Cat’s feeding dishes.

    4. A new sachet of cat treats must be purchased before the old sachet is finished.

    5. Clean water must be provided before 11 pm (23.00hr).

    6. It is the responsibility of the carer to avoid stepping on a tail or other part of the feline anatomy stretched out on the stairs; not The Cat’s to remove itself.

    7. Dead prey animals are to remain untouched on the patio for at least four hours.

    8. Appropriate veterinary care must be provided 24/7 so that rat bites to the shoulder or other parts of The Cat can be treated immediately even at 9pm on a Saturday night. Staff at the facility are required to be lavish in their praise of The Cat.

    9. Sleeping arrangements are at The Cat’s discretion even where they cause inconvenience to the carers.

    10. All other cats are to be summarily ejected from The Cat’s residence, especially when attempting access through the cat flap.

    11. The Cat is not obliged to divulge where on earth it has been for the past 24 hours.

    12. A full packet of Dreamies cat treats should accompany The Cat on its visits to a cattery. The cattery should be one that includes “luxury” in its title.

  • jullietwright 1:08 pm on January 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: How to have a miserable January - and it's only the 10th.   

    If little green men from Mars visited us, what would they think? Christmas is obviously the time for buying cheap sofas, January is the season for diets, detoxes, exercise plans and other punishments for lounging on cheap sofas. Even in this secular age, we retain a puritan streak which could, ironically be responsible for those few extra inches on the waist. Those of us brought up during post-war austerity cannot stand waste – the last mince pie in the packet, the chocolates with the centres no one really likes, the remains of the bread sauce lurking at the back of the fridge, they would be better inside the bin than inside us but we just can’t do it. So ditch the guilt – we are the victims here.

    By the way, Stephen who runs St. Mark’s Coffee-Bingo is now recycling unwanted Christmas gifts.

  • jullietwright 12:54 pm on January 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Thoughts on Christmas and related topics   

    That’s Christmas over for another year and creme eggs are in the shops. Our turn to have the Crawley branch of the family for the festivities this year. Forget eating turkey into the New Year, we had to go out for fresh supplies on Boxing Day, supervised by Jem who, at nearly 10, shows all the signs of being an astute shopper. We took a jar of loose change with us and he watched with interest as the total mounted up on the machine – extra pocket money for him and his twin sister.

    On Christmas Eve, we were at St. Mark’s for the Nativity Play and Christingle. All very noisy and festive. The Christmas tree had been comprhensively decorated by the Junior Church – well, not so much decorated as smothered in glittery stuff. Kitty was a shepherd (head dress courtesy of the Internet, tea towels are so last year) and Jem one of the kings. Each had a line of dialogue and the combination of Shiremoor and West Sussex accents was an interesting one.

    The pantomime at the Tyne Theatre was Cinderella. No actual pony for the coach (boo), but great fun with much enthusiastic shouting of “behind you” and “oh, no he isn’t”, not least by Grandma who thoroughly enjoys the whole spectacle.

    We had a break from putting the house to rights (K suggested making soup from the detritus under the table) for the New Year’s Day concert at the Sage. The programme was mainly Vienna-centred but included selections from the Nutcracker, and, of course finished with the Radetzky March. Who remembers the original General? I was reminded of a concert we attended on a barge on the Danube Canal. The Radetzky march was accompanied by much clapping, banging on tables and stamping of feet as is customary. Out of the corner of my eye, i caught sight of a party of Japanese tourists their faces frozen into horrified immobility at this sudden strange behaviour by these Westerners.

    Cultures may differ but friendship is universal and Christmas is a good time to make sure our friendships are in good repair. Wishing you all the best for 2015.

  • jullietwright 3:18 pm on November 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Ladies' Guide to the Game of Ruby Union   

    17 November 2014

    My friend, Mary, has been telling me that she enjoys watching rugby (union that is, rugby league is a whole different ball game) on television but has little idea of what is going on. Here then, are a few helpful hints.

    There are two teams of fifteen players each, one referee and two touch judges who run up and down the lines at the side of the pitch and wave a flag when the ball is kicked over a line; this is known as “being kicked into touch”. There is also the crowd of varying size depending on whether the match is an international at Twickenham or one between two obscure provincial clubs. The function, however, remains the same, i.e. to shout advice and encouragement to the players and question the parentage of the referee.

    If you attend a rugby match, do not, on any account, stand directly behind the goal, as you risk being mown down by a knot of muscular young men. The aim of the game is to score a “try” by exerting downward pressure on the ball behind the goal line. This is often done with balletic grace and gives the team five points; another player then attempts to kick the ball over the bar for two more points – “a converted try”. Johnny Wilkinson was well known for converting tries when he played for Newcastle Falcons. In this way, the score sheet can build up quite quickly in a way that does not happen in football. Sometimes a player takes a direct kick at goal; this is a “drop goal” and is worth three points. One important fact to remember is that that the ball may be carried forwards but may only be passed backwards. Players who forget this give penalties to the other side. Serious breaches of the laws may result in a trip to the “sin bin” for a few minutes – the grown-up version of the naughty step.

    Sometimes, players form themselves into a heap to resolve whose turn it is to play the ball. This means that a rugby team is very muddy by the end of the match, except for the full-back who does not get involved in such things. A more organised way of settling disputes is called a “scrum”. Only the forwards, numbers one to eight, take part in the scrum and the participants are big – really big. The players lock themselves together and push in an attempt to to gain possession of the ball which has been thrown into the space between the teams by a number nine or scrum half. In cold weather, steam can be seen rising from the scrum, a combination of body heat and passion for the game. The front row, the props and hooker, are often very adept at concealing from the referee what is happening to the ball once it enters the scrum. If the ball has been kicked into touch, a “line out” will take place at the spot where the ball went over the line. A nomber of players line up facing one of the hookers (number two) who calls out an obscure code and then throws the ball at the lines. One member from each side is lifted into the air (again like ballet but less graceful) in an attempt to take possession of the ball.

    A rugby match lasts 80 minutes and if there is, for example, an injury the clock is stopped so there is no extra time added on. However, the match does not end until the ball is out of play – over the try line or the touch line. In theory the match could go on for hours, but by that time, the players are thinking of a hot shower and a cool pint of beer so they tend not to hang around.

    Well, Mary, I hope this helps you and other ladies who have been puzzled by the goings-on on the rugby pitch. It’s a great game, a wonderful spectator sport.

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