News & Tips

Ann’s natter

Hello.  How are you? Hope you managed to get through what is hopefully the last of the winter months without too many problems.  Starting with ‘leftovers’ from March, I had two family birthdays to celebrate – my son’s on 29th and my grandson’s on the 30th.  These occasions are always such happy times and the large cake portions are welcome – well, it would be rude to decline, wouldn’t it? It’s also a tradition that my children and grandchildren have a photo taken with me on these special days; it’s now something of a family joke as well as agony for the grandchildren but they try to tolerate it with good grace.

I’ve seen another sign that spring really is here; the heron on the roof of my neighbour’s house, eye the possible fish locations in the area.  I did wait for him to make his decision – so graceful in flight.  I hope he enjoyed his breakfast. When it’s cold and dank, there isn’t the incentive to have work done on the house.  I know I just want to get inside and get that hot drink.  However, the season of getting things done has arrived and I had the front of my house completely altered at the beginning of the month.  I know there’s an argument about people having their gardens tarmacked over but they don’t have to do the gardening.  I now have a lovely area where my cherry tree has been resited and it’s been such fun choosing the pots and plants which are my ‘green’ contribution.  And what good timing it was. My daughter’s car broke down on the motorway and it came back here on a low loader because the engineer lives in the village and there was plenty of room on the drive, not only for the car but the low loader as well.

It’s also been a really neighbourly month. I bought a Karcher pressure washer which for me was really exciting (sad, isn’t it?) and my neighbour Dave set it up for me. I had the pleasure of seeing the original colour of my patio revealed within minutes. Can’t stop now and the garden furniture and car are next in line. Then while I was typing the first draft of the Natter, the screen went blue and had a mad fit.  So next door again where Dave’s son was visiting. He’s a computer expert and had solved the mystery within minutes.  Apparently, two anti-viruses were trying to destroy each other. I just nodded wisely and he had sorted it within half an hour. I’m really none the wiser but I’m back up and running.  Unfortunately, I had lost all my work, so fingers crossed this time.  I do love all the electronics and see the benefits but sometimes I do think how much I miss my typewriter! And finally, I was involved in solving the mystery of what I believed was a lost dog.  Another neighbour and I did a bit of detective work and solved the mystery.  Lee is a dog walker and knows all the dogs in the area who meet on walks in the local woods; I was pleased to be with Lee.  He’s a policeman and not worried about knocking on people’s doors.  We must have looked an odd site, he and I in gardening clothes with the lovely golden labrador Honey trotting beside us, especially as I’m just 5 ft. and Lee is over 6ft.  Anyway, it didn’t matter because it had a happy ending and the dog was reunited with his owner.  All this on one day!!

I’m busy racking my brains and looking for inspiration for my next Creative Writing project which is to write a short story for 10 to 14 year olds.  My first jaundiced thought was to wonder whether children still read books but there will always probably always be a desire to read and keep up with friends and the latest trends. Personally, I can’t see the Harry Potter attraction but I suppose it comes under the heading of the generation gap.

Now for the magic of the month.  I’ve had my second cataract operation.  Yes, I know I was in a very sophisticated operating theatre with what looked like Jodrell Bank equipment and a very skilled and charming surgeon, but the result is that I can now see with crystal clear vision – I only need reading glasses and having worn contact lenses or glasses for 30 years, I really have to believe that some kind of magic went on in the hospital that day.  Of course, my first question after the op was to check how soon I could wear eye make-up.  It’s surprising how my glasses hid a multitude of sins!!  Officially, it’s 4 weeks but I have a feeling that there are nearby future events which will require the full works so I’ve promised myself a complete renewal and change of all make-up. It was a good excuse to take my daughter and friend to a country pub the next day to celebrate the new “me”. Watch this space!

I always look for something a little different for my choice of Awareness Day.  There are always so many worthy causes concerning health issues and I suppose this one does come under that heading. 15th May is The Silver Line Day which is a helpline for older people.  The number is 0800 470 8090.  This is Esther Rantzen’s latest project. So many people live on their own and it could be just on one day, a bit of a chat to someone might fit the bill.  I know there are other telephone helplines but this one is targeting a special need and it’s a very good idea.  Of course, there’s a massive difference between living alone and being lonely; there I speak from experience.

Ending on a high note, in spite of all the madness in the world, it was wonderful   again to watch the London Marathon. Of course, I admire the professional runners who are so dedicated and work endlessly to achieve their personal best times but for me it was the 45 thousand who took on that challenge – mainly for charity.  The highlight of course was the drama near the finishing line with one runner collapsing and another, forgetting about his own personal best time, stopping to support the other so that he could finish.  I think one came from Chorlton and the other from Swansea – they didn’t know each other previously. Now there’s surely a friendship for life; the human spirit at its best.  So, my friends, that’s goodbye to April and a smiley hallo to May.

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