Jul 17, 2008


The Anti-Virus program on this computer is behaving more like the viruses it is supposed to be protecting me from! Not content with suddenly flashing red warnings every time I try downloading a new website - and then 'stopping the computer till I solve the problem' - it is now chucking me off the web each time I try downloading anything from the ‘favourites’ folder!

The last (and third) time I logged on today, before being unceremoniously turfed out again, I found two thirds of the ‘favourites’ contents removed and a message telling me that if I wish to alter this state of affairs, I should go to ‘Internet Options’…. Not only that but that crazy, mad Anti-Virus is whisking every bit of mail into the spam folder – including the invoice from my Internet Provider and the latest online photos of the Grandkids… grrr..
I can forgive it chucking invoices in the bin - but don’t mess wiv de family!

I appear to have a Trojan horse virus in quarantine but that has always been there (like a stray animal that wanders in and stays) and is low risk – so why is Anti-Virus behaving like this…?
Hmm… I see that the AV subscription is due for renewal next month, so perhaps this is its unsubtle way of reminding me? If so, it is biting its viral nose off to spite it’s invisible face, because all this annoying behaviour is doing, is tempting me to buy a completely new Anti-Virus system altogether. DID YOU HEAR THAT YOU MANIPULATIVE GREMLIN??

On the other hand, I did manage (when Anti-Virus was busy attacking something else in ‘Settings and Network Connections’ and not watching me) to secretly download info’ and read up on how difficult and messy it will be to attempt to remove the thing; entailing all kinds of ‘clean up wizard’ downloads, as well as a Masters in computer programming - because it would appear that AV has wormed its insidious way into every nook and cranny of my comp’ and taken it thoroughly hostage.

Ok, Ok, I give in! I promise to renew you! Are you reading this Most Superiour Anti-Viral being?? Will you now please let me remove myself safely from ‘Word’ and log back onto the Internet long enough to sign into my blog and post this? NO? All right then…grr…I admit it, you are cleverer than me; I am a mere mortal; a nothing; you are the brain…. I grovel before you….
Sob! Please let me back in – and stop chucking me off every time I click on ‘favourites’!! I promise to have no more favourites. You will be my only one. My favourite (choke) Anti-Virus program…forever....


Jul 14, 2008


I don’t know what it is – and maybe it is nothing more than coincidence or fate – but every time I seriously consider somewhere as a potential holiday destination, whether the country of my dreams is near or far, something very unhealthy happens there!

Sudden riots, crippling strikes, terror acts, a spate of tourist kidnappings, or some kind of natural catastrophe, have all taken place within the last few years in countries on my holiday list. Now while I don’t blame myself for these happenings, it has sort of unnerved me. So my next holiday destination will remain a strict secret. In fact, even to myself I shall only refer to it as ‘that holiday place I am not going to until I get there’.

O.K. so now I am being silly – and am also surprising myself at how superstitious (and paranoid) I sound! Still, this time I am not taking any chances. So shhh… ! All I will say is that it is a volunteer project in a very faraway from Europe land and will take me a couple more years to save for the ticket (to that holiday place I am not going to…)

In the meantime, I don’t know about the rest of Europe but the sun has actually condescended to shine its haughty face on us water logged Dutch and so I shall remove the bright yellow cling film that I put on my windows and sunglasses last week to cheer myself up - and toddle off to the shops!
Happy holidays to everyone, wherever you are – and I promise not to come and join you!

Jul 11, 2008


02:37 a.m. and still wide awake. Have decided to bore myself to sleep with this:-

The sound of jelly

Sounds a bit like water at first but livens up around the 2 minute mark, if you can wait that long. If not, just cheat and push the cursor-knob-thingy along a bit.....

ZZZZZ.... Aha! Did you see that? Sleep typing! I actually dropped off. Either that or this is a dream and I'll wake up in a minute with my ear stuck to something really nasty.

Just have another listen.....Eeouw (!) that is really odd......thwack...thwack....dithery whack....

Yup... it's definately jelly and I think it might be doing the trick....zzz....

G'night all!

P.S. Oh lor' I do hope I don't dream about the horrible wobbly stuff. Puts me in mind of an ancient Tommy Cooper joke:
'Dreamed I was eating a ten pound marshmallow last night - woke up this morning and my pillow was gone!' *b'dum b'dum!*
(Can't imagine what I might find missing, dreaming about jelly......)?

Jul 9, 2008


Insomnia is a terrible affliction and I must have tried every remedy and trick in the book... sigh... to get a good nights sleep. Everything except sleeping pills that is, which I am scared will have the same effect as the terrifying sleep paralysis I also occasionally suffer from - and warm milk, which is an abomination..!

The strange thing is, I can easily fall asleep on the settee with the telly blaring away - but once my head hits the pillow the eyes fly open and stay that way till after dawn. Every once in a while, when really overtired, I’ll drop into a coma around 4.a.m and sleep till past noon. It’s dreadful when this happens, because waking up feels as though I’m fighting my way out of a clinging, foggy syrup…where monsters hold me down in a vice like grip and sit on my chest till I can’t breathe… then at the very last moment, when I’m turning blue… they release me and let me wake up…WHEEZE…(!) shaking and sweating, to find I’ve slept half the day away. Bah!

But apparently all the evil spawn of insomnia, such as irritability, headache, forgetfulness and clumsiness - can now be beaten! An article dated 23 June 2008, in Times Online, under the title: ‘Elderly dehydrated in care homes’, is waxing lyrical at how 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, is proving a rejuvenating miracle for elderly folk!

Quoting from the article: Gary Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Action on Elder Abuse said:

“It is amazing that something as simple and straightforward as water could have such wide benefits for care home residents, including a reduction in falls, better sleeping patterns and less agitation…..”

He also said a lot more but this was the bit that got my attention and so I decided to try it – and hal-ay-loo-ya it really is a miracle! Sloshing to the W.C. 30 times a day and night has worn me out entirely!

On the downside though, I am now frantically searching the web for articles on combating water intoxication and water retention – cuz, oo-eee, excuse me - if I suddenly laugh or sneeze….

Jul 6, 2008


I am standing outside my front door chatting to a neighbour, when the clatter of horses’ hooves draws our attention to two magnificent police horses turning into our street. Whether by accident or design the horses are a matching sandy brown and their riders sit high and haughty in the saddles, resplendent in their blue police uniforms.

‘Now that’s a fine sight…’ I begin, but as they draw abreast of us the nearest horse is obviously agitated, tossing his head and rolling a baleful eye.
‘He’s gonna crap!’ Yells my neighbour’s young son, jumping up and down with glee - and sure enough as the horse strolls past, he lets fly with endless dollops of thick, smelly yellow manure.

My neighbour clicks her tongue in disgust and shooing her delighted progeny before her, picks her way through the piles of steaming poo to their house across the road, leaving me staring after the horses. In my mind I am five years old again and back in England at my grandparent’s house. The coal man’s horse has just passed by and the cry has gone out: Horse muck! Horse muck! And at every house in the immediate vicinity, kids are scrambling to grab buckets and spades and be the first to collect the inevitable booty left by this hard working animal.

‘Just what my roses need.’ Laughs granddad, egging my cousin and I on.
‘A penny each for a bucketful!’
As the youngest by two years, I would hold the bucket, while my cousin shovelled frantically. The kids who lived next door were about our ages and competition was fierce! Still, there always seemed enough to go round and my cousin and I would struggle back to granddad with our bucket of steaming bounty, to collect our reward. A penny in those days would fill the whole of a child’s palm and I would stare down at my huge, hard earned copper coin with satisfaction. A sherbet dab, pink sugar mouse, gobstopper, thin chocolate bar wrapped in tin foil… the mouth-watering treats this coin would buy were endless!

A passing car jerks me from my reverie. There are still no children anywhere to be seen and my neighbour across the road is calling me over for a cup of tea. As we sit in her back garden my eyes are drawn to a bag of fertilizer pellets standing next to her rose bushes. Clean, efficient, no pungent odour… and the only bucket and spade to be seen are the brightly coloured plastic ones in her child’s sandpit.

As I return home the horse manure is still there but almost completely flattened and crisscrossed with the tire treads of passing cars. But all is not wasted – a couple of magpies are pecking animatedly in the remains.
‘Ah well’, I mutter. ‘Peck away. After the street sweeper car has been tomorrow there will be no trace of it at all. That’s progress for you; a clean and sanitized world – but not half as much fun!’

Jul 3, 2008


The fully automated self-service supermarket has arrived! This remarkable new technology requires shoppers to scan the bar code on each item, before placing it onto an electronic surface, which then transports the item at high speed through strips of rubber curtain down a very long conveyor belt. Payment is made by PIN card at the beginning of the conveyor belt, in an adapted machine that also delivers a bar coded receipt. You are then free to hurry after your purchases and bag everything up in the five seconds before the next customer’s items start arriving and getting mixed up with your own! Once you are done, you can let yourself – sweating and panting - out of the area, by holding your receipt up to yet another scanner next to an electronic gate.

Long before that stage though, your blood pressure has reached danger level, because once you have scanned an item and it has gone through the rubber curtain, you can only see it if you stop what you are doing and peer around a large metal hood. The same goes for the customer facing you, on the other side of ‘your’ scanner. Both yours and their items are separated on the communal conveyor belt by a ten centimeter high divider and it is just not high enough! By the time all the items have piled up at the end of the conveyor belt, they are spilling over into each other’s side.

You and your ‘opponent’ inevitably end up in a feverish race to finish and get to the end of the conveyor belt first - but if you fumble an item, a beeper and flashing light goes off on the scanner, which means having to wait for an assistant to come and fiddle about with a key and reset it! Grrr… This only happens to you of course, never the other person (!) which means that they are out of sight and bagging their groceries before you are finished - leaving you frantically hoping they don’t pack up any of your stuff along with their own!

This happened to me only once. A packet of teabags I had scanned and paid for was gone from the end of the conveyor belt when I got there and nobody pinches my tea! I complained to the manager and I probably wasn’t the only one, because since then there have been two frazzled assistants on duty at the end of five double conveyor belts, rushing frantically backwards and forwards trying to separate and stack each customer’s purchases as they arrive.

Of course with two stackers replacing ten cashiers the supermarket is making a saving, which might help keep prices down a bit. So why am I secretly glad that the three other supermarkets in the area are still using ‘old fashioned’ cash registers? Well, shuffling along in a queue is much better for the old blood pressure and I don’t get that awful knot in the pit of my stomach. There is also the chance of a bit of conversation with other customers, whereas the only person who ever talks to me in the self-service supermarket is me (!) cursing under my breath from the moment I set foot in the place, till the moment I get to the electronic exit gate - and find I’ve packed my bar coded receipt at the bottom of the shopping bag!.... Howl!!

Jul 1, 2008


Gleefully, I rub my hands and hover over the lentil soup pan like a witch over a cauldron. Oh this is going to be great! A huge pan of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, bubbling away - and almost ready to reboot my ageing brain, into a quick firing neuronal miracle!

I read somewhere that Omega 3 and 6 are supposed to be good for the brain but until recently assumed they were only found in oily fish – which apparently it is not advisable to consume too much of, because of its mercury content. Now I have never eaten lentils in my life and don’t even know how I discovered that this particular foodstuff is rich in Omega fatty acids but apparently it is and I am thrilled (!) because I like vegetable soup.

One large carrot and onion, one diced potato and two vegetable bullion blocks have all been added to the mix and it is now three quarters of an hour later and my brain food is ready to taste! It is very green. All the other ingredients seem to have dissolved. Carefully, I ladle out a dishful and view it thoughtfully. It looks like dark green sludge – not aesthetically pleasing but it smells good – and what wonders it will perform! Eagerly I dip my spoon and raise it to my lips. Eyes closed – taste – savour – swallow…. not bad at all! I can almost feel those incumbent grey cells stirring….

Two dishes later and I contemplate another. It tastes all right but it is very filling… in fact, on second thoughts I decide not to eat a third dish. The other two are settling on my stomach rather like a block of cement. I also feel very thirsty and guzzle two glasses of water.

Another half hour has past and I am now feeling slightly queasy… Lord, I hope this stuff works quickly! I try a little brain exercise test: one times twelve is twelve…gurgle …, two times twelve is…burp… Ow! Really churning now. With some dismay, I glance over at the soup pan. It still contains enough green sludge for at least another ten meals…. Oh dear, a word to the wise, if you are thinking of making lentil soup, use a small pan!
Oh well, life is nothing if not suprising… at least I learned something new today....groan..