Oh Dear! I see trouble ahead! Bikinis are banned!

  • When as a toddler I was one of many children who would run around the beach absolutely stark naked. No one took any notice, it was fun running over those tiny ripples of sea and burying ourselves in the sand! As I grew beyond the age of two I was put into a swimsuit and the boys into trunks. All so innocent.
Fun in the sun
Cover up or else!

Then came the age prudity (if there is such a word?) Children have to be covered from birth and of course now they are over protected so that they see no sun whatsoever. Sunscreening gone over the top me thinks.

But hey this all pales into insignificance when it comes to local authorities having the power to stop, without Judicial authority, people wearing Bikinis in their own home. This I learned only the other day. A lady who was once a model, now aged 81, has been banned from wearing a Bikini in her own home. Apparently this lady lives in a house close to a nursery school. Is society now saying that young children must not see old ladies in Bikinis? If so, will there be a ban on ladies of a certain age wearing bikinis anywhere?

Watch out someone is watching!
Cyprus 1953

This is serious because these CPNs (Community Protection Notices) can be issued by the whim of any council. You the public have no chance of defence and also if you breach this order you can be fined up to £2,500. With ASBOs (AntiSocial Behaviour Orders) they have to go through the courts.

For heavens sake! If I don’t deadhead my roses am I going to receive a CPN? (Community Protection Order)

Are we going to stop young children seeing old ladies growing old gracefully and some in Bikinis? I do hope not, for sanity’s sake!

Kyrenia 1953

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” 

Marcus Aurelius

School Uniforms!

Oh Dear what are we to do about School Uniforms?

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that a requirement by schools to wear School Uniforms does not violate The European Convention on Human Rights Act. So educational institutions can continue to insist on Regulatory School Uniforms. Or so I thought! The Court indicated also, that Students have the right to disregard these rules. What message does this send to youngsters who are looking to be guided to become responsible adults? How can they learn that rules should be obeyed? Now schools are complicating things even more.

As a child of a Serviceman it was a blessing that us three girls had to wear School Uniform. There was no competition. The jerseys were shop bought or hand me downs. At least we did not have to suffer the embarrassment of badly hand knitted ones by an old Aunt. Auntie Flo’s eyesight was failing and her cardigans were embarrassing! However, there were times when it was so cold and they came in very handy. Rationing was still in existence.

!959 Summer Uniform

For my family to this day School Uniforms are accepted without question. We wore our School Uniform with pride.
This is not the position in some schools. Last Summer a school in  Oxfordshire decided that boys had to wear either trousers or skirts in the heat; certainly not shorts. Exactly what is the reasoning behind this? I know there are suggestions that all pupils in some schools could be instructed to wear trousers to keep everything Gender Neutral. But does this help youngsters understand what to wear?

We wore shorts in the 50’s

So what do you think to the latest idea of one school which wants to have a School Uniform of just Hoodies and Tracksuits? The reason they give is that it takes too long for these little people to change into their PE kit! Does this really give children a chance to have pride in their appearance? I question personal hygiene. Is it really desirable to stay in smelly sweaty clothing after a good workout?

There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, ‘Do trousers matter?'”
“The mood will pass, sir.” 
 P.G. Wodehouse – The Code of the Woosters

Spotted Richard!!

When out to lunch the other day I was served a delicious pudding called Spotted Richard! After the first couple of mouthfuls I mentioned to my hosts that it is exactly as I remembered Spotted Dick!

Spotted Richard!

“No No! You must not call it that now.” they said! “Why” I asked? Choking with laughter, I learnt that The Houses of Parliament have resorted to calling this delicious steamed pudding Spotted Richard to save the blushes of MPs and their guests!

This posed a question about poor Richards with Acne! How are they going to react to being offered a Spotted Richard? Honestly this really does not make any sense to me! What is the world coming to?

After a little research I note that in the nineteenth century Puddings were called Puddicks! So I would imagine that  this particular Puddick, which was developed in 1840, was shortened to Spotted Dick?

Hope she doesn’t go ‘Follicularly Challenged’ with her hair disappearing fast!

The coarse word of Dick was not referred to until the 1890s when it was supposedly used by our lads in the British Army.  So here we are in the modern and oh so virtuous world (when it wants to be!)  trying to change the name yet again of something so innocent.

After looking up a few PC alternatives I am appalled that people should not call me “Talkative” instead they should suggest I am “Abundantly Vocal”! Just to call me a Chatterbox I don’t mind but please not the PC words! I believe myself to have been a Housewife and loved every minute! Oh no I was a Domestic Engineer!!  And apparently my dear son is not going Bald. He will be delighted when I tell him he is just ‘Follicularly Challenged’! Now I cannot find that word with the ‘ly’ in the dictionary yet!! The list goes on!  Oh and just in case you think I am wrong then you should say I am ‘Differently Logical’!! Hubby always said I was illogical so at last Political Correctness has suddenly allowed me to be a logical thinker! Sorry that is absolute Nonsense!

These Wellingtonia trees are not ‘Tall’ trees they are ‘Vertically Enhanced’!


“The greatest enemy of clear language is insincerity.” 
 George Orwell

The Stress of Exams

The ruins in the grounds of my old school!

This morning I had to go for an annual assessment regarding some voluntarily work I do on a housing panel. Yes it felt like an exam. Oh The Stress of Exams!

Those nights sleeping in the bath to avoid detection while cramming everything I had been taught into two nights of reading!! That was uncomfortable enough! Then the desperate urge to go to the loo just as “Pick up your pens” was announced! No going back now! The shaking, the fear, and yes The Stress of Exams. It happened over sixty years ago also! In the thirties they had to pass all core subjects for Matriculation!

I have taken an exam only once since leaving school and the timing for that was not perfect! But hey it had to be done to allow me to continue working! That was at the ripe old age of sixty two! 

For all these years youngsters have done the same. Now, however, it has been suggested that GCSEs come at the wrong age for Teenagers! Apparently The Stress of Exams could leave many vulnerable to mental health problems.

Stressful? Crashing onto Courageous 1937.

Are we giving in to the media created stress? Encouraging youngsters to believe that they are being unfairly treated because they have to take exams really does not make sense to me.

Having spent over six months in an RAF hospital in a single room during 1956/7 when the country was in the grip of petrol rationing, not  one member of my family was able to visit me. Yes I hated that time but look back now and appreciate the experience. It helped me to empathize with those in pain but also to make the best of a bad situation. No one had time to give me any sympathy. Thinking back I am sure that was my saviour!

Does it really make sense to alleviate youngsters from all stress and to feed them with the notion that it is all bad? Does that prepare them for life?  Is it really any worse than that which many past generations have been through? Or is it the fact that media feeds the hysteria?

Going back to my hospital stay where I saw brave young men who were suffering from real stress after having been blown up  in Cyprus, Aden or Korea. Their courage and love of life gave me the strength to overcome any feelings of self pity.  Humour was the healer.

Kyrenia harbour 1953








“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”

 Leonard Bernstein


Tanzania 2018

Plastic everywhere we turn! Most people are complaining about Plastic ruining the world. But may I ask what is  everyone of us doing about it?

Serengeti 2018

There is little point in showing  photos of the destruction  plastic is having on our wild life.  They are too upsetting. There isn’t one species that has not been badly affected by our ‘Throw Away’ society. Its durability is punishing us all. The legacy of plastic will be one of the most disastrous in our history.  We have no idea of the number of animals it has killed to date but we now understand its destructive capabilities.  Yet here we are still being forced to use it by authorities when it is not necessary in so many areas of our everyday lives!

I remember as a child being petrified of plastic bags because children were being killed by them when put over one’s head. Obviously the next generation just didn’t do that because  plastic bags were no longer a novelty!  (Yes I appreciate holes were then invented!)

UK 2018

Certain Councils, including mine, are insisting that we use plastic bags to put our waste in  a black plastic bin. Why? Also food waste has to be put into a plastic bag. Admittedly that is biodegradable but its carbon footprint is questionable.  Why not just throw it into the green bin? It really is not difficult to swill out the bin after collection! A wooden nose peg may be required in this heat!

Some newspapers are still wrapping their magazines in plastic each weekend. Surely that can stop? If one is buying loose fruit and veg a paper bag can do the job! Much of the media has been caught up in the double wrapping debate. I see absolutely no reason for most of double wrapping.

In a shop yesterday I saw some beautiful tea towels. As I picked them up I noticed they were wrapped in plastic and laid on a similar tray!  No! I did not by them! I found some cheaper, just as beautiful, loose ones. No bag of any kind was needed!  Come on let’s stop this nonsense once and for all. Paper degrades. Trees can be grown! Let’s leave a green and pleasant land to future generations.  I am certainly not plastic free but am trying to avoid  products covered in the unmentionable product. At the same time I am using  my Grandmother’s shopping basket! She was born in 1870!

West Berkshire 2018



“If I’m a monster, mademoiselle, it’s because man’s cruelty has made me so.” 

Rachel L. Demeter 


Here we go again. With all the recent Advice on our life styles one has to question “Exactly how should we live?”

Yes we had to march often!


Puds are so delicious after a day of exercise!

Lets start with Coffee in pregnancy!  Apparently two cups a day will cause the babe to be obese by the age of eight.  I know of several Mums who could not drink coffee at all during pregnancy and yet some of their children tended to be overweight!

Exercise for my Aunt in 1918!

Then we have calls for puddings to be banned from school lunches. At school we consumed puddings every day. I cannot recall an obese pupil from the whole school! One thing we did  do was to run at least two miles before Breakfast. Excuses were not permitted! Yes up with the bell. Strip the bed and turn mattress. Then run. Back to dormitory to make bed with hospital corners and then straight to  bacon and egg with fried bread followed by a glass of whole milk.  Mid morning was dripping on bread with our second glass of milk of the day.

Now an orange a day is recommended!

For years the advice has been  no whole milk and very few eggs. All of a sudden it is suggested that Full Fat Milk could be good for the heart and eggs are an essential part of a diet!!! Fruit juice has been all the rage for years. Now at last sense prevails! Apparently “fruit juice with breakfast places children at higher risk of obesity”! It only makes sense. A whole orange is great and has juice in it and of course sugar. But a glass of juice has many oranges in it so a lot more sugar and virtually no fibre.

The World Health Organisation says modern life is making us sit too much!  Wow! How much did that information cost? I am sorry but surely Common Sense tells us to take more exercise?

I have suggested to the young that running on hard surfaces for miles is perhaps not the best way to keep fit. Guess what?  Headline the other day came up “Parks packed with jogging wounded”!

Oh please can we teach Common Sense so that people can think for themselves and  decide what is right for them?  Education and training is far better than all these questionable results on light and costly research.

The last laugh has to come from Vienna where some scientists suggest that fat people are twice as likely to survive serious infections because obesity can inflame the immune system! Forget heart, varicose veins and diabetes!


“I pass with relief from the tossing sea of Cause and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact.” 

Winston Churchill

Jewel in our Crown!

The NHS is our Jewel

There is absolutely no doubt, in my mind, that the NHS is the Jewel in our Crown!

Turbulent times in the NHS

My experience, and that of many friends, has been that the Paramedics have been fantastic and so good with the patient. The doctors and nurses in the hospitals very attentive in their care. The problem most have experienced is bad management.  Communication between different sectors can, at times, be non existent.

Why is this? It would appear that  non-medical management have much to answer for.

The other day I was speaking to a qualified recently retired Sister. She trained at  St Thomas’ London then moved to another city for many years.  She is sad that discipline on the wards has gone and that supervision, by qualified staff, is going out of fashion. Of course the days of Hattie Jacques in the Carry on Doctor Films are long gone! BUT a strict senior medically trained person who has the respect of their juniors makes for a smoothly run ward, in her opinion. Pride appears to have been sapped out of this amazing profession. Her last comment was  “Common Sense no longer exists”.

Today’s news that further funding is to be granted to the NHS is great! My hope is that people who understand the medical needs of the population are given the responsibility to determine the best use of these funds.

A friend who is in a bad way and has had to have carers in, at great cost, because she is virtually bedridden.   Unfortunately the carers had no understanding of her condition. They admitted they had only had the three days of mandatory training. One spent six hours with her and never spoke to her or even offered a cup of tea. He only gave her the lunch prepared by her husband, aged 86.

These are the same waters as above but running smoothly!

Now she is in a Nursing Home where the cost is not significantly more for 24 hour care. Guess what? They have a Matron who runs this Home with a rod of iron.  Patients and staff understand the rules.  I was so impressed and delighted that such a modern place like this exists. The most important fact is that my friend is getting the care and respect she deserves after having worked so hard all her life. She is as happy as can be.

Please let common sense prevail. Spend wisely.

Happy Seventeenth Birthday!




“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 



No Ageism here! This Centenarian talks to an enthusiastic young group on the publication of his last book!

Until yesterday I would not have said Ageism was a problem. But today is a different story. A few weeks ago a dear friend aged 81 fell and broke a leg, crushed her shoulder etc. She was whisked into Salisbury hospital where she was treated brilliantly by Paramedics, Doctors and fully qualified nurses. I have defended the NHS for years and never heard a personal complaint (More on that next week!)

Enjoying a day at the Races, one well over 90!

However, as she is healing but still needs medical attention she has been moved to another ward where the attitude towards the elderly has changed significantly. It is as if she was not wanted. Despite major discomfort she has been ignored.  This to me is Ageism.  Now this is a lady who, until she fell, was totally independent and still helping with taking grandchildren to school and driving all over the place. But now she is all of a sudden useless and the hospital is making sure she knows it! It is the attitude which is upsetting her so.  It is as if they want her to be old, lonely depressed and grumpy! Is this really what the younger generations expect will happen to them?

You tell them I am enjoying life!

We are more than content doing what we do!

On a recent trip to Cyprus I did a broadcast on a local radio. Over there they were thrilled to have this old codger relating stories etc. I loved every moment and would love to start broadcasting over here!! Ha Ha!  That is not to be. I am old and have not done it before. Sorry old thing there is not a chance!

I just love life. Although a widow I refuse to be lonely. My determination to explore and ENJOY is as great today as it was 70 years ago!  I remember one dear old gentleman I knew as a child. He taught me so much and I respected him until the day he died. He had escaped from a Russian Firing Squad in 1918.

So much respect for this man!

That was an amazing story. So dignified. Another Octogenarian gentleman I admired for his handwriting. I couldn’t see enough of him to help me perfect mine. He had learnt to play the piano at 75!   My own parents lived long lives to the full with my father publishing his last book on his 100th Birthday.

Mother enjoying her last few years!

Having always been a firm believer in positive thinking from age zero upwards I fear we are heading for negative brain washing. Please let us all enjoy every age and learn from all. We cannot allow this mentality of wanting to crush any age group. Life has its ups and downs but  everyone can contribute be they old or young. That is surely the sensible way to go!


It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“Thank You” letters

Oh how I remember having to sit down after Christmas to write all those “Thank You” letters! It was such a chore. The one to Santa was difficult because I did not know his family or house. So what could I say? Then the Birthday “Thank You” letters came during all the sports of Summer, which meant a hot sweaty hand creating smudges! Yes all letters had to be written with a fountain pen! Then each Sunday I had to write a letter home! That was censored by our Head Mistress so no truth was written! How I hated letter writing!

Many commentators have bemoaned  lazy parenting which has caused the demise of “Thank You” letters. I am not sure that is the case. I remember insisting upon my children writing a thank you after a sleep over only to be informed that the parents thought it odd for a child to be so polite!

Each week I write to my grandchildren with all my news. Slowly but surely they respond!   Receiving them is such a joy. It is just a matter of letting others experience that excitement, which will encourage them to write. It is all about people feeling appreciated. 

My father-in-law flew many dignitaries during the late twenties and thirties. I wonder if the Prime Minister, today,  writes to the pilot after each flight? No, time moves on and so will letters but a personal note after a delightful stay, dinner or present takes little time to send. The actual writing of said note shows great gratitude to the host or donor.

Does it make sense to criticize the young? Perhaps not.  Let all Grandparents rise to the challenge and show how letters can make such a difference to so many. Have a great week. Now I must start on my Christmas cards! Silly and old fashioned maybe. But I have kept in touch with so many dear friends! Sometimes not seeing them for fifteen years but that card says I am thinking of them!


“To write is human, to receive a letter: Devine!” 

Susan Lendroth

Maggots visit my Green Bin

Maggots -where are they?

During this Summer , which has been so busy, I had an unpleasant visit from maggots in my Green Waste Bin.

This bin is for Kitchen and Garden waste. My local Authority has a Website on which it says “You can recycle most kitchen waste, including: meat, fish, fruit,  vegetables, cheese, eggs, bread, pastries, uneaten food from plates,tea bags and coffee grounds.

So I do put all those items in plus garden waste, which basically consists of  weeds, some grass and leaves. In other words a good mixture! In the heat the food, if it has had flies near it, tends to encourage maggots! This particular week the heat was intense and I had left some food out by mistake including some raw beef. Naturally all went into the bin.

Fortunately this was eaten!

When I returned home on the day of bin collection I discovered it had not been collected. My conversation with the council was that they found a contaminant in it. “I know there are maggots” I said. No, I was informed that it was not the maggots but something else I had put in. So I explained the above had been put in. “Oh no you must NOT put raw meat in, that will contaminate the bin.  No No, you cannot put raw meat in.” Slightly confused I suggested that it would be wrong to put Steak Tartar in then? “Oh yes you can, that is different if it comes off the plate.”  I just thought there is little point in arguing.

Which Bin?

I was then informed that the lorries were equipped with  sophisticated technology to detect what was going onto the lorry.  “So where do I put raw meat?”  The reply came quick and sharp “In your black bin. You can put anything into your Black Bin.”

Just a minute! I thought the whole idea was to separate the wet waste from landfill. Who am I to argue?

The next day I called the Local Authority again. This time I asked why they indicate, on their website, that all food waste, except red meat bones, should go into the Green Bin?  “That is correct.  All food waste goes into the Green Bin”   came the reply. I then give details of  the conversation I had had the day before. “Of course raw meat can go in”.  “But I was told  the Waste Technician had detected contamination. What could it be? ” We went through everything and finally came up with the fact that perhaps a dog poo had been thrown in by mistake. That was it!  I then said that I was very impressed with their sophisticated technology to detect that. ” What do you mean? We don’t have any technology to detect anything” she said. By this time I was totally confused. No matter. There was no way they were going to empty my bin. The only way I could deal with it was to burn the whole content of the last two weeks! The smell was horrendous!! I found no evidence of dog poos but hey ho I could not be certain about that.

The Green Cone

So what should I do with my dog poos? Well this made me laugh! She told me about a product, which I had introduced to this country from Canada in 1990!! Sadly through it I lost a fortune! Local authorities failed to encourage people to use any form of segregation of food waste at that time! This product took all food waste including dog poos! It worked so well and did not need collecting. But the decision makers were not interested!

On my walks I have asked where the dog owners put their dogs’ poos. Some say the Green Bin others say Black Bin and some say down the drain in the street!

The question I have is that if it is imperative that animal faeces do not enter the composting material in Green Bins. How is it that so many people are still putting it in and are not being detected? It just does not make sense! I am convinced it was the awful maggots that frightened the bin people! Nothing to do with segregation of waste!

I enjoy uncollected waste!

“Thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste.” 

G.K Chesterton