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Ann’s Natter

31 August 2017 natter

There’s always something different about August. Perhaps it’s holidays, hopefully the weather, time off work and school and do all the things you’ve planned.  Time to fix that shelf, clean that carpet and make the most of the last of the summer bank holidays. I like the more relaxed feeling but still miss my tap dancing, keep fit and volunteering at school.  And there’s always the suspense regarding the weather.  Will it, won’t it?  Should we be actioning plan A or B?  It wouldn’t be proper without weather conversation.  And what about the Bank Holiday weather eh? Hot and sunny – now there’s a novelty!!

Well, it’s hardly earth shattering news but I started the month with a bang. Not literally you understand but as part of the plan to keep my home in good order and to try and save money in the long term., I had a new boiler installed. If I believe the supplier, it will have paid for itself with a couple of years.  Although that must be an exaggeration, I know I’ll be saving gas.  We’re all being asked to save power for the good of the planet as well as our purses so I’m quite satisfied.  The boiler is behaving itself quite nicely which is more than can be said for my other purchase at the end of July. Mind you, I did panic a bit the next day when the water went off and a main fuse blew.  Fortunately it turned out to be just co-incidence.  I’m getting quite a dab hand at the fuse box and Severn Trent obliged within a couple of hours but what a relief – I had blamed the new boiler and/or the engineers!

It was time to replace my old mobile phone but over the first ten days of August, in all I spent a good 6 hours at the suppliers (who shall stay unnamed) and, having wrestled with the new technology, a faulty new phone and a network which didn’t work in this area, I am now happily getting to know my new phone which is too clever by half but I’m enjoying unravelling it’s mysteries.  It’s just another challenge to keep the grey matter moving (don’t want to lose that!).  Fortunately with three children and three grandchildren, there’s always an expert at hand to help.

Then there was the interesting day with Chris, the odd-job man from heaven who actually arrives at the time he says and can work miracles with most problems.  I do as many odd jobs as I can, and why not, but quite a long list seemed to have grown over the last year.  As summer (and I use the term loosely) is the best time to have to have doors and windows open, I’d got the repair bug having had the new boiler.

It’s been a really exciting month gardenwise.  Pounds of cherries picked, apples in the process of being made into jam and my Mirabelle plum tree groaning under the weight of the crop which was hardly surprising as I picked just about 7 lb. That, of course, doesn’t take account of all those I ate while I was up the tree!  I have a wonderful friend who spends hours making everyone’s produce into jams and pickles using every vegetable and fruit you can imagine. This is then all sold for charity.

Remember what I wrote last month about friends not often seen but always there?  I had a good example of that on 5th when two of my ex-work colleagues (I still call them ‘the girls’) came and we enjoyed a real afternoon tea with proper posh food.  It was such a treat and we spent hours talking about all sorts of things.  They left later than they intended which is always a good sign of a happy meeting. Not bad considering I retired 20 years ago.

I’m also fortunate in having good neighbours who I now regard as friends after 5 years and we have a perfect arrangement.  I look after their cat when they go on holiday.  Chuck spends as much time here as in his own home anyway, so it’s always a pleasure to see even more of him than usual.  You know what it’s like when you’re on holiday, spending hours walking round the shops wondering what on earth you can buy as a thank-you to someone at home, looking after a pet or watering the garden etc.  They buy quite a large quantity of cat food which I then donate to Cats Protection – one of my particular interests – so it makes everyone happy; my neighbours, me, the unfortunate cats in North Birmingham and all the volunteers who save them from terrible conditions.  OK, I know not everyone likes cats but cruelty is cruelty.

And more news about our Julie (well, of course she’s ours now!!).  She (and the whole Move It organisation) got second place and highly commended for Excellence in improving health and preventing illness from the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network.  Congratulations and well deserved Julie.  Her message is gaining pace and popularity.

As for my choice of an Awareness Day, it could hardly be anything else than September 29th, when the Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning takes place.   Of course, it has now become larger than just the one day.  I wonder just how much cake is consumed during the whole month.  If my intake is anything to go by, it must surely be some kind of world record and rightly so for this wonderful organisation which is always there and ready to help at such difficult times. This fundraiser started in 1990 and has so far raised £45.5 million for the organisation.  The charity was begun in 1911 by Douglas MacMillan who was so affected by his father’s death that he decided to do something positive to help patients and their relatives who were in need.  Surely he could never have imagined how his idea would grow.

So, the end of August signals changes which can’t be avoided. Perhaps we might have an extension to warm days but it’s the beginning of another season with fresh plans and beginnings to be made. I hope you’ve all got some happy days to come in September.

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