Denial of our Lifestyles.

Temptation is hard to resist!

Oh dear 83% of middle aged people are in denial over their lifestyles. Health Officials have determined that many drink and eat too much!

This reminded me of the results of a  visit to BUPA for an annual Health Check in the early seventies. A couple of weeks later I received a call from my GP, asking me to visit him the next day. Naturally very concerned I went in expecting to be told it was the Big C. ” Tell me the worst please.” I said holding my over sized breasts.” Oh No nothing like that, but still very serious.” he said. “I will start my diet next week” I continued. “No no my dear -Tell me, how much have you had to drink today?”

Quizzically I answered “Nothing?” He looked frustrated and said “OK tell me how much you drank last night? Again I answered “Nothing” His tone changed as he questioned once more ” I am here to help you but cannot unless you are open with me. Tell me when you last had an alcoholic drink and how much?” I couldn’t remember as I very rarely drank. It took time to recall a delicious meal I had had three weeks previously at The Savoy. He listened, intently,  about a glass of delicious wine and then a Tia Maria! He did not believe me!

These are not Industrial Chemicals! Are they?

This consultation lasted over half an hour with me thinking “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” How can I convince this caring doctor that I only have about six drinks a year?  I asked what the concern was and what had been identified in the test. He explained my liver was completely ruined by drink! But I don’t drink! We discussed the possibility that I was using certain industrial chemicals. I only used ink for a fountain pen and nail varnish and acetone to clean my nails! No that would not damage a liver.

My punishment was to be sent to Kings Cross Hospital for a liver biopsy under the guidance of a Dr. Williams. I was welcomed by nurses and then basically locked into a single room with a window in the door. Yes! For two days I was being monitored! All expected me to start the shakes!

Egypt 1954

The painful procedure was done. Then the team asked if  I had had Hepatitis? I didn’t know what that was so said “no”!  Had I ever been ill? No not really! Had I ever been yellow? No, but my mother had been when we lived in Egypt. Yep that was my problem!  I had obviously had hepatitis  when a child.

Cairo 1954

I had not buried my head in the sand. The problem was to convince a professional. That took a long time! My weight? Well may be? No because over the years I have lost over 42 stone! Yes 2017 will be the year of yet another diet!

A Happy New year to all!


“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.”

Ellen DeGeneres



Mince Pies – And That Pudding!

OK the pastry was not that difficult!
Success thanks to Granddaughters!


” Christmas Pudding and Mince Pies are so easy to  make!” A great friend of mine said when I indicated that I was hopeless with pastry. After one attempt she believed me! Fortunately, this year, with four Granddaughters I am able to hand the making of Mince Pies to them! I can  make the Old English Trifle with homemade custard etc. for all the Festivities looming.

Exactly a month after my wedding, in the mid sixties, I attempted to make my first Christmas Pudding! Oh dear!  Hubby was so polite! But his face said it all! It was not as his mother made! The following year he suggested that we went to London and he took me to Fortnum & Mason! Wow! I was reminded, immediately, of my favourite food store, Pernet, in Gstaad.

View of Saanen and Gstaad in the distance 1961

I was so fortunate to have spent much of my teenage years living in that magical village as it was then. There was virtually no traffic and everyone knew everyone!

Skis were pretty heavy!

Our doors were never locked. My sister and I walked everywhere in the dark without a care in the world. Skiing every  Winter and Spring school holiday!

Skating in Gstaad 1961

So, to my husband’s relief, for the next forty years we, as a family, had an F&M Christmas Pudding

Our Favourite Christmas Pudding

without the pressure of ‘Will it be OK on the day?’ A few  years ago my daughter-in-law made the most delicious Christmas Pudding and I was hooked. It was absolutely delicious!  Sadly the family opted to go back to a new mixing bowl every year!!

The best mixing Bowls!

Not sure it makes sense! But hey we all enjoy a great pudding without taking hours mixing it!

Have a fantastic Christmas everyone. Enjoy whatever you are doing.





“It is a problem certainly, that Christmas plum pudding. There is here something that I do not understand at all.”

Hercule Poirot in ‘The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding’ by Agatha Christie (1925)






Carol Service & Those Cards!

A Magical Sunrise
Come visit me!

The other day I went to the most beautiful Carol Service. On a walk early in the morning  as the sun rose it shone on a tiny little church in the middle of nowhere.  I was so attracted that I decided to go to the service there later in the day.

As I entered I knew no one. We were handed these lovely little candles. I had already been to a Christingle service with a granddaughter earlier in the week. Then I noticed all these people, who knew each other and obviously met quite frequently, handing out Christmas cards. Surely if you see people and can actually say Merry Christmas that is enough?

The chaos of writing cards!

I was then reminded of our  family debate! Does one send Christmas Cards anymore? Some say “yes” and others say “no” The latter say “With the advent of email and e cards why spend all that time writing by hand to individuals when you can just zap an e card to all on your email list?” Fair comment, especially for those you see during the year. But even then for me, impersonal. I love sending cards, with a hand written note on the events of the year, in particular to those I rarely see or talk to.


Or do we go back and send by Pigeon?
Perhaps the phone?

So what is the best way to send those heartfelt messages to the people you genuinely care about? This last sentence has made me think! How many cards have I sent over the years just because it was done? People I honestly would never meet again. I know not the answer, which is unforgivable. But then I think of this last year! To my surprise, as a result of my diligent card writing, I have met up with so many old friends.  Some I hadn’t seen for twenty years.

To receive cards from afar is always such a pleasure! So for me I will try and continue to communicate with a Christmas card. Despite the pressure of writing them in time for the post! At the same time I appreciate it may not make sense in this modern world!


A Very Merry Christmas to you ALL!



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw


Illustrious, Courageous & Glorious



This morning the picture of HMS Illustrious sailing into the sunset reminded me of some amazing photos I have of my Father’s and Father-in-law’s. They served on HMS Courageous and HMS Glorious in the mid 1930s respectively.

HMS Courageous
HMS Courageous
Card to Father-in-law on HMS Glorious
Postcard to Father-in-law on Glorious 1936

Both loved the flying  but  were quite critical of the planning by the powers that be!


HMS Glorious


Father was sent out to the Mediterranean to go and fight in the Abyssinian War. As an officer he was put on the luxury liner RMS Orsova.  Just after passing Gibraltar all passengers were bemused by a big vessel approaching. They all thought it must be HMS Glorious but no it was HMS Courageous, which father was supposed to join in Egypt, on its way home!  Nonsense!

Shark in Egypt 1936

On arrival in Egypt chaos reigned ! The war was virtually over! However, they kept their hand in with some practice off HMS Glorious.

Near the Great Pyramid 1936

Time off involved a visit to The Great Pyramid.

“The Spring Cruise” of 1937 included Courageous, Glorious and Furious plus many other well known ships from the Home Fleet and Mediterranean Fleet! Many adventures were had but the most scary was the landing of a great friend of Father.

Oops coming in to land on Courageous 1937!
This was not expected! No one hurt. HMS Courageous 1937









When my brother and I built the first man-carrying flying machine we thought that we were introducing into the world an invention which would make further wars practically impossible.

— Orville Wright, 1917




Granny Manners versus Etiquette

Which is Which?
Which is Which?

Manners to me, are respect to others and consideration for their feelings. Etiquette is a book of rules that have been decided by different cultures. Many of these rules I have often found to be ludicrous!

To forget the butter knife was a punishable offence!
Gloves were a must!









My education was simple! Learn to curtsy, put on my gloves correctly, always shake hands, with glove off, lay the table correctly, roll my rrrrs  and find myself a suitable husband!  Fortunately the latter I did and was extremely lucky! As for the rest well………….!

The other day I was having supper with a granddaughter. It was a pizza. img_2232 To my horror she was eating with her fingers! For my old fashioned habits, it should have been sliced with a knife and fork and then gently enter the mouth by fork! I have always been critical of children’s manners, so was about to berate her. Then I remembered one of my Aunts saying that Good Manners do not offend where Etiquette is a load of  rules. Sometimes over a hundred years old! So I decided not to correct, because  eating a slice of Pizza with her hand was no different from eating a slice of bread. She was consuming her supper elegantly!

As a child I had to curtsy to all adults! That was etiquette and at the time people would say how well mannered. But today all I expect, and enjoy, when meeting people is a nice firm handshake with eye to eye contact. It can be so disconcerting when people drop their head, as if in shame, when spoken to. Perhaps that is Bad Manners?  It certainly makes one feel uncomfortable.

Likewise it repulses me when people eat with a knife and fork held in the air! It is threatening! So I put that into the category of Bad Manners!

So pretty and welcoming!

Etiquette dictates certain ways to lay a table. But  whichever way it is laid, as long as it is welcoming, I no longer cringe because that is the way the host likes it and it is not offensive. Is it such a crime to forget the butter knife or the milk jug? img_2235

I did however have a go at my grandchild for not using a napkin! Why you may ask? Because it saves mess and allows one to wipe the face without using the cuff of a brand new jersey!





“The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”

Oscar Wilde