Thursday, 30 December 2010

To do no harm.

I don't tell lies. I'm aware of what they are. I'm sure I may have when I was younger, but though I've cleared up misunderstandings, a lie? Nope.

Common wisdom dictates that every does - otherwise known as 'white lies' and little deceptions to, ahum, keep the peace. I read somewhere that society would crumble without a supporting structure of misinformation.

Cobblers, rubbish, it's a crock.

Friends and Partners choose you. Their choice. Or not.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

This isn't a grumble :)

I have a relative, who I love lots. As I don't get out a lot, she often asks whether there's anything I need. If I do, I'll make her a little list, and give her the money. We're talking butter, a particular spice, black pepper maybe?

One teeny problem. I have to explain in detail why I need it. If I don't, I don't get it. I'll get a blank look, and my money back. I've tried to be gentle, and I've tried being blunt, and the result is always the same.

A quiet and dignified upset expression, and "well, I saw it, but I couldn't see why...". I've tried saying no, I don't need anything thanks, I've asked why, but I just get that upset look and a shrug. I'm at a loss here folks. Can someone offer me a solution please? Many thanks.


Update 30/12/2010.

Had a long chat with my friend yesterday, and she explained that she had a desire to protect me. But she also said that she's also had problems with her memory over the last few months that had been a worry to her, but was embarrassed to talk to her GP about it. She's in her early 40's.

It just happens, as she lives locally, we have the same GP, whom I have an excellent relationship with.
I have a GP appointment soon. I don't travel alone, and Bear normally accompanies me. But Bear made a quick call, and hey presto, one double appointment. Nice.

In case you've wondered, I showed Bear and my friend this post, and the comments, and they have no problems with it.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

A very happy Christmas

I've had a few drinks, and it's been busy busy, busy.

It's 17:50, and I still haven't finished cooking Christmas Dinner.

It's a man thing :) Tell you what, I've just tasted my 'make it up as I go along' gravy, and it's to die for.

It's hard work, but it's worth it. Have a very Merry Christmas :)

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Welcome to my world...

Won't you come on in.. :)

Mad, mad time. Even though technically it's just Bear, Tots and I, we get a steady stream of visitors, and I can't leave them empty handed or unfed.

Besides, it's a compliment, and though it's darn hard work, it's nice to get visitors, nice to see the fruits of your labours appreciated. In our house, Christmas lasts to just after new year.

But one has to be sensible. So simple and inexpensive ingredients are the order of the day, and maybe a little something special to take home. Just a little, not a lot.

Samosas go down well with visitors. It's a simple pastry case, forget the purists, of your favourite pastry rolled thin cut into half rounds, folded into triangles and filled with a spoonful of whatever veg you have available sautéd with a little oil and butter and a pinch of whatever spices you might have available in the cupboard.

To take home? Well, I'm an inveterate pickler. A 250 ml jar of home made chutney, piccalilli, chilli sauce, jelly, fruit jam or marmalade goes down well.

After the 25th? Anything they like, as long as it has turkey in it. That includes fruits, spices - and I love Moroccan stuff. :)

Why? because all those Christmas spices originate from the East, Africa.

And the Christmas story originates from the East. Those spices are a reminder.

In case I forget, have a good one.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


I've hit a really annoying problem with my little weather station

The indoor display - standalone, not computer connected - has one of those clocks that picks up a signal from the National Physics Laboratory a couple of times a night to keep itself accurate. Otherwise known as an 'atomic' clock. Only it isn't.

Over the last week it's been setting itself one hour ahead every night. I've emailed NPL, but had no reply. Meanwhile, I'm setting it back manually every morning.

Am I the only one with this problem?


I've joined twitter. It's oddly fascinating. You'll find me at @wheelieslug.

Why Wheelieslug? Ah, that's a long story......... :)

A winters tale

First lunar eclipse since the 1630's on winter solstice. I got The Bear out of bed at 07:20 to watch it and she absolutely loved. it.

She sat on a dining room chair transfixed looking from our window over the back garden. She said it made her day. It was rather spectacular.

The view we watched was absolutely marvellous as it turned
turned red and into a 'diamond ring' before it sunk over the hills, and it had an amazing 3D effect.

But the pictures I took were so wobbly as to be unusable. Luckily, Look North, broadcast live from Leeds, was cool. So I took a picture of the TV screen. So there :)

Monday, 20 December 2010

If the zombie dog incident showed me one thing, it was that when instinct takes over, it's amazing what one can do. I have fairly steep steps into my back garden, that day to day, I prefer not to use, because it's so darn difficult. I have no rail there, as the social services fitted one and a 'monkey swing handle' to the front door.

As I can get out of the front door thanks to the adaptations, and get into the back garden through a gate from there, the mobility services said a back rail was unnecessary. Cost cutting, limited resources, and all that. Yet when Sigma was in bother, I have no idea how I found myself with him.

And there's the dilemma. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to say to people with wonky bits like me, who have asked advice about claiming for help with their needs because they've had to appeal.

"No, you're telling Works and Pensions how wonderfully you manage, how well you do overcoming adversity, how you've struggled to 'be normal' and how you've succeeded, with a little loving help."

"They don't want to know that. They want to know, in a nutshell, 'what will it take for you to live as normal a life as possible, describe the problems you have' ". They've always looked a little crushed and crestfallen, and rightly so, because they and their carers have worked damn hard to appear and manage like people without wonky bits do, and frequently succeed. For a little time. And the hard work start over again.

Of course it's a matter of degree. If you can manage 90% of the time, you probably don't need that much help. And there's the problem I anticipate in the new, streamlined system. Yes, it will weed out those who have played the system for what they can get in a 20/30 minute interview.

But my worry is for the rightly proud, the scrappers, battlers, the courageous, who want to demonstrate how well they can deal with their disability. Who don't want to be a burden, but, through no fault of their own, will be, once those thirty minutes are over.

Everyone has the right to reach or regain their potential, that's the story of humanity. When it comes to disability, there will be those who, if properly supported, can contribute to society or increase their contribution. For others, support gives them the right to life. Government should recognise that.

Ye small gods, I'm starting to sound like a disability activist.......


Five days to go :)

Tree up, lights up, lights up on the windows, check.
Presents under the tree, check.
Turkey bought, check.

Ginger cake, check.
Christmas Pudding, check.
Christmas cake (yeh, I know it supposed to mature, but it'll disappear in 5 mins), check.
Chilli sauce, prezzie's, check.
Likewise Sweet Chilli Jam, check.

Pickled Onions, Betroot, Chutney, home made Branston Pickle and Tomato Sauce, check.
Oranges and lemons, Stocking fillers,

Ingredients for the stuffing and Roasties, the veg and herbs, yup.

Wife and daughters nipping down to sons place to put him up a Christmas tree, oh yes.

Now then. Only Treacle Toffee, Peanut brittle, Toffee chews, Lemon Drops, Old Fashioned Humbugs, Fudge, and Glacé fruits to make. Phew!

I hope my lass remembers to put a nice 25 year old single malt to the shopping list

Sunday, 19 December 2010


Plonk. I'm sat at the keyboard, minding my own business.

Plonk. Another whatever-it-is hit the back of my head.

Now, as any experienced father will tell you, being a parent is an occupational hazard. After a few years of it, nothing surprises you, particularly when you have a mischievous 13 year old daughter.

PLONK. Hmm. That was heavier. I doggedly ignored it, until I heard the faintest hint of a giggle.

"Gee-or Tots" I muttered nonchalantly. That normally works with missy 'don't call me Tots I'm nearly 14 now y'know'

Kerplunk !!.

Ow, and I mean, Ow. I'm not going to look. It's a matter of pride. I'm not even going rub the sore spot on the back of my head, even though I'm getting a bit of a nervous twitch. "Onwards and upwards" I thought, glaring fixedly, teeth gritted, at the screen.

The giggle degenerated into a sound that I imagine a demented cat might make if it got it's head stuck in a bowl of snotty porridge, followed by some rather laboured gasping. No way was I going to give in.

THUD. I swung round "Why you little tw......"

Eh? Tots was on the couch, waving her legs in the air, writhing, red as beetroot, hand over her mouth, vainly trying her darnest not to laugh. The other arm was flopping like a fish, waving vaguely to the floor beside her.

Thump! A rather large, hard rubber ball hit me right, smack, between the eyes.

WOOF! That's when I noticed, through a vague haze, my Wheels and I were surrounded by dog biscuits, and a wild-eyed woofler was sitting head cocked to one side, tongue hanging out, panting.
WOOF! He dived, tail wagging, on a biscuit, picked it up in his jaws, and with a flick of his head, flung it at my forehead. To much hysterical merriment from the family.

Just for good measure, he repeated the trick with his ball at 100 mph into my lap. I'm not sure which hurt most...

I don't know who taught him that trick, and I don't care. I'm going contact the England Cricket Team, and next time they want to bring the Ashes home, Sigma, aka The Idiot Dog, is going with them.

For a fee, of course.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Stay with me

Had a really good discussion with some of my neighbours who popped round last night with a few beers. They do that :)

They'd noticed that a lot of my friends, male and female, are homosexual. It was a robust discussion, with a lot of blunt and straightforward questions, that I was happy to answer. Not one of them, by the way, had any religious affiliations.

It isn't complicated for me. A friend, is a friend, is a friend. The thing that seemed to bother them most is what other people got up to in their bedrooms. Eh? Chuff off! Who's business is that?

Love is. I've been married to the same lady for over 25 years, and we're very much in love. I can't see why that should be different for anyone else, whatever their gender.


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Well Preserved

Note to self :- if I really have to chop 16 oz / 450 g of medium chilli's for part of this Christmas's batch of chilli jellys, chutneys and chilli sauce /preserve, I must wear something a little more substantial than surgical gloves. That chilli juice gets everywhere. Ow, ow, ow :)

'Orders' are rolling in - a bit late this year, but it's up to the recipients if they want to wait - most of the recipes I've used over the years benefit for being left to mature. Unless asked now, I make (quite a lot really) for family use. We've started on a piccalilli that's just over a year old, which is fine, but to be on the safe side, I'm uncomfortable giving something that mature to anyone else.

If the requests pile up any more, I'm going to have to think about charging or barter. That sounds cool, but at this time of year I'm not in the mood for one of those "Is there anything we can do to help sir?" letters from the tax-man.

Monday, 13 December 2010


Not too well at the mo. Not that I'm complaining - I get to hog the really comfy couch, and the TV remote, and get mollycoddled. More than usual, that it :)

Bizarre. Basically, Bear and I were dog sitting Marco, who is a year older than our woofler, Sigma, 9 months, but has the same mother . They get on wonderfully, and Sigma loves Marco's visits.

Like all mammalian brothers, they love a to play fight, their favourite game being to drag each other around by their collars. So when they started skittering around the living room, as usual, I chucked them out into the back garden while I got on making some Chilli Jelly.

A few minutes later, I heard the most unholy yelping. Not the usual play-growling.

I dunno. Instinct just took over. One minute, I was in the kitchen, the next I found myself next to two dogs in the snow. Marco the elder was yelping and panicking, and Sigma was prostrate, eyes closed.

Marco's bottom jaw canine teeth were hooked underneath Sigma's collar, and couldn't get free. How the heck he'd managed that, I've no idea, it was so unbelievably tight. So tight, that Sigma was being chocked. I tried my darnest to free the collar from the teeth, but had no success.

Meanwhile, my hands were slick with blood from Marco's gums, and I couldn't get a grip on Sigma's collar to undo it. Meanwhile, poor Sigma was breathing, eyes closed and unconscious, and the only way I could even hope to undo the buckle was to pull even tighter.

I shouted The Bear, and for what seemed an age, we alternated between one of us trying to free the thick leather from Marco's canines, and undoing the buckle on Sigma's collar. In reality, it couldn't have been more than a couple of minutes. Somehow, we managed it.

Marco ran into the house, and poor Sigma was laid lifeless in the snow. Poor Bear was absolutely distraught. Crying and shaking "I've lost my dog, I've lost my dog" :(

It seems in our attempts to get him free, I'd had to pull it even tighter to get the peg out of the buckle.
I checked his breathing and heartbeat, and it was zero. bear was right.

So I thought, it's worked with people (other stories for another time) so I asked Bear to tuck his tongue in, hold his mouth shut, and blow through his nose when I asked, while I pumped on his rib-cage like crazy.

Within gods only know how long, he coughed, was sick, so I scooped him up, carried him indoors, rubbed him with a towel, and wrapped him in one of Bears jumpers and a blanket , and bless him, he slept on the couch with Bear by his side for 12 hours. He's back to his demanding yappy old self.

Me? It would seem I was bitten and scratched during our endeavours, and lost a few fingernails. Which means I've got some unwelcome 'bugs' in my system. Meh.

The moral of this story is? The skills that we pick up as parents never, ever, let you down.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


May I direct your attention to This Blog that discusses the changes the ConLib Coalition has planned for disability benefits.

It's worth noting the author is disabled, employed, and receives Disability Living Allowance, as DLA, unlike Employment & Support Allowance (ESA - the new name for Incapacity Benefit) is not means tested.

I know I keep repeating this, but DLA isn't granted for specific medical conditions. It's a support to enable those with disabilities to live a normal life as possible. I'll resist rattling on, because Bendy Girl describes the forthcoming changes much more eloquently than I can. It's a bit of a worry - not because of the money, which is sadly inadequate anyway, but the money is an enabler.

Apparently, I'm a Grandad again. Twice in a year. Blimey. Another girl. This one is in Chicago, US of A. Won't get to see my Grand daughter for a long while, because of UK border immigration controls :(

I'm too young to be a Grandad. Honest.

Monday, 6 December 2010


After a sudden flash of inspiration, a little part of some of the odd happenings may be close to being solved.

To recap, since the 1st November,

1) Mystery doctor's appointment being made in my name.
2) Mystery nutcase shouting at me at me on my doorstep.
3) Mystery woman telephoning about 'disability allowance' - and the DWP denying it.
4) Autograph hunter.
5) Lots of number-withheld hang-ups.

It seemed logical that the GP Surgery covers the local area.

It's my experience that people share a forename within a generation. My surname is reasonably common, (though thankfully, not Smith. That would broaden the data range far too much).

My forename is very common, though my middle name isn't in the least :) I'm normally known by a variation of my middle name, particularly by my GP Practice, which covers roughly 3,000 people.

Conclusion? That there was someone out there with a similar name to me at the same GP, in the same area.

So I've asked. They told me that they aren't really allowed to say, due to patient confidentiality and data protection laws. However, they could say that it wouldn't be a surprise if a Couple with remarkably similar names wasn't on their list, though perhaps older, considering the size of their list.

A Couple? That'll do me :)

Doesn't resolve everything. We don't know of a couple of similar names, and we are ex-directory. But I intend to find out. And I intend to find out where Mr. Shouty got our address from, as I can guarantee that unlike most people in the universe, we aren't on any commercial databases. I don't want or need Credit.

I opted out of the electoral roll years ago.

Sunday, 5 December 2010


"Take yer eye out, that will"


Miles away I was. In a revere, as they say. I was busy trying to think of caption to a quick 'toon I'd just done of Bear shovelling 6" of ice off the front path. Love to see a good strong Yorkshire woman wield a shovel. Nowt better. Ahum.

She'd gone bonkers because I'd had a 'hello floor' moment on the path while trying to get Siggy The Idiot Dog in. Shovel, ripple, chuck, curse. Shovel, ripple, chuck, curse.

Ye small gods, she ain't 'alf sexy when she's mad......"I SAID, TAKE YER EYE OUT"

Ouch. Errrr.. Tried the 'puppy eyes'. Well, as close as you can when your in your fifties. I probably looked like I was about to have a nasty personal accident.

It works for the dog, dammit. "Yes dear?"

I realised why it was so cold. The front door was open. Its minus 2 C. She was in next doors garden. From their eves, 20 feet up, hangs a gynourmous 6 foot icicle. Underneath, was an indignant Bear, Paddington hat on, hands on hips, glaring upwards.

"Er, well, sweets, darlin', petal, do you think it's a good idea to, um...." She ignored me. "That's bloody dangerous that is. That could come crashing down at any time, that could."

"Yeah" I said. "Do you think standing there is, um.."

Nope. Not interested. "I mean, if someone should walk into Christine's garden, and just happened to be standing underneath it, I mean, it would go straight through them, wunnit?"

"Ah, na'then, Bear now you menti...."

"What are you lookin' at me like that for? They should do something about that, they should. Can you reach it?"

It's Twenty.

"No petal". "Well, don't stand their looking like an idiot, put the kettle on. Some people."


A wise man has only one answer in circumstances like this. It's (but not aloud).

Yes miss.


Saturday, 4 December 2010

Bit of a mixed bag...

A dear friend had a tiny kitten, a little ball of fluff, that she doted on. She'd spent a small fortune on cat beds, climbing poles, toys.

She stacked her dryer, and left the door open.... upshot is, she was distracted by one of her children. Just for a couple of mins. Came back, shut the door, started the dryer, and a couple of mins later realised she couldn't find the kitten.... too late :(

Distraught, she phoned the RSPCA immediately for advice to revive it. They talked her through to no avail. Apparently, it's quite common. Poor little mite was just looking for somewhere warm, as kitty's do.

She isn't in any trouble, and she did all the right things, but the poor lass is utterly inconsolable. She keeps crying her heart out. Having two cats and a woofler myself, I can understand how she feels.

It's a sort of mark of respect for how well regarded she is that, because she's not really wanting to talk to anyone at the moment, that I've had 8 offers so far (word leaks out, I guess) of kittens, puppies to replace the kitty. I've said no, not yet. Bless her. Accidents happen.


I'm a bit fed up. I've had three guys I've kept in touch with since my churchy days some 13/14 years ago die this year. All lived alone. All smoked 'blow'. To explain. 'blow' is a generic name for cannabis.

20 years ago, it referred, in the UK, to an illegal, cheap oxo cube style mild stuff that left them a bit spaced out. Heck, often it was an oxo! Over the years, it became an insidiously cheap mix of a twenty times more powerful grass looking stuff called 'skank' or 'skunk' that they smoked mix with tobacco.

Don't give a cuss about the pro's and con's of legalisation. It kills. All the chaps were in their mid-forties.


Bear and Tots are off helping a neighbour put up their 8 foot Christmas tree. Ye small gods, where do you put a tree that size? And wow, how many ornaments does that take?

Chuckle! The important thing is that they've got together as a community - heart warming.

Catchya :

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Warning. Not for the sensitive. Time limited post :)

As you may know, I do a little fund raising for the Stroke Association.

This time of year, I get a bunch of Raffle Tickets. Which leaves me right open to blackmail.

A so-called friend has offered to buy £20 worth if I post somewhere on the net a couple of the most awful photos of myself. I'm notorious for hating having my photo taken.

Here seems to a good a place as any :)

A bit of haggling later, he lifted his stipulation that they should be recent, and paid up in advance.

Here goes - for 24 hours only (shudder !!)

And that's yer lot.

..............and there it is, gone. D'yknow, it's only just occurred to me, if I'd had thought on, I'd have charged per photo, darn it. Still, early doors yet :)

So far, £120 raised. To quote the bard - "'tis not as deep as well, or as wide as a church door, but 'tis enough".. ... Thank you to Dave for his contribution. You , you, person, you :)

Psst. 'tween you and me, I look exactly the same now. Which I'm not sure is a good thing :)

Dog-cicle !

It's totally crazy here on the Seven Hills. It's minus 2, a blizzard outside, and away from the shelter of my doorway, there's at least 18" of snow. The schools are shut, no buses are running, and the roads are deserted. It's so bad the gritters are having real problems getting out and about.

Despite that, Bear is battling down to the shops, normally 10 mins away, and she's arranged over Facebook with the local ladies to go sledging at a nearby steep field, known locally as 'Maggies'. It's a little unclear whether they intend to take the kids with them :)

Apparently it's the worse snow at this time of year for at least 17 years, and the snow and low temperatures are set to get much worse.

I love it :)

Ah, here we go.

Bear Feet !