Monday 28 February 2022

Another loss

Last week we suffered another loss from our little group, again very sad news. This time it wasn´t Covid, she was very elderly and I understand it was her heart. Maria Helena was an excellent knitter, sewer, crocheter and cook, she had all the old-fashioned homemaker accomplishments. Despite her age she was bright as a button and loved discussing the latest world events.

I remember so well how kind she was to me a couple of years ago after two surgeries I had. When I was home from hospital she would pop round to bring me home-made treats, always refusing to come in as she didn´t want to disturb me. R.I.P. Maria Helena.

Thursday 24 February 2022


I´ve just heard on the news that masks will continue to be compulsory here until March 31st. This rule has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic and I am glad to say the vast majority comply without any trouble. If you are walking down the street, entering a shop or restaurant or any other business, even your own building, you have to wear a mask until you have closed your front door behind you.

Since most establishments have security guards it would be easy to enforce this rule, but I have never seen anyone objecting to wearing a mask or trying to enter a building without one. I must admit I find this most reassuring, being in the 'age risk' bracket myself. I know they are a pain...they´re hot, get damp with perspiration, make your ears stick out and fog up your glasses...but what the heck, it´s worth it. I´ve even got used to wearing one on the treadmill.

When we are eventually able to go out maskless I know it will feel very strange indeed. The other day I was at the pottery studio and temporarily removed my mask to blow my nose. A fellow potter started laughing and said "I´ve known you for nearly two years and this is the first time I´ve seen your face"!

 Photo by Anshu A on Unsplash

Monday 21 February 2022

Survival of the fittest

I was pondering on the theory of "survival of the fittest" - rightly or wrongly attributed to Darwin - while on the treadmill the other day. I like to ponder, it helps to pass the time at the gym while I clock up the miles. Listening to music or an audiobook doesn´t work for me as the background noise is too loud...

Anyway, as I was understanding of the theory is that nature ensures the fitter and brighter of each species survive in order to produce fit and bright offspring. Those less able to look after themselves will perish young, taking their poor genes with them. Thus each generation should be an improvement on the one before. A simplistic explanation but I think it captures the essence.

I just wonder why, given how long the human race has been around, we are still producing some specimens who seem to lack any commonsense whatsoever. Take for example the people who climb into wild animal enclosures and are then mauled. There are several cases every year on the news. Or those who fall while trying to take a selfie from a precarious place, or any other of the risky things people seem to do without thinking of the consequences. It´s as if their self-preservation gene is missing. Obviously I´m not talking about people who take calculated risks for adventure etc.

Food for thought, anyway!

Saturday 19 February 2022


 Oldest grandchild (27yrs), youngest grandchild (7 months)

Sunday 13 February 2022

Variety is the spice of life

Thinking back I have worked at a wide variety of jobs in my life, many of which I was totally unqualified for but managed to talk my way into. Just for fun I´ve decided to make a list of them to see how many there actually were. Let me see...

School secretary - the school was my mother´s, I don´t know what she was thinking as I was still at the school myself and knew nothing about office work

Teacher - see above, I was seventeen then.

Book shop assistant

Student nurse/nurse

Washer-upper in a Wimpy bar

Agency house cleaner - one of my clients was Denhom Elliot, the actor, another was Governor of the Bank of England

Trainee dental technician

Kitchen assistant

Cashier - Derry and Toms

Student psychiatric nurse

English language teacher - being able to speak English was the only requirement

Sales promoter for Oxfam cards

Secretary to the CEO of a multinational - I had no shorthand or proper typing skills, very stressful. I have no idea how I managed to get this job                                                     

Technical translator at multinational car manufacturer, again English only requirement, had my own secretary by then!

Advertising copywriter at same manufacturer

Radio car taxi driver

Portuguese teacher at Berlitz

Student dispensing technician


Pottery teacher

Doctor´s receptionist

Office assistant in various places

Clerk in Careers Service

English teacher again

Cashier in visa department at Consulate

Looking back at that list it is difficult to believe I did all those things, some for just a few weeks, some for months and some for years, in two countries. I moved around a lot which is one of the reasons I suppose, but in case anyone is wondering, I never got fired or dismissed from any of my jobs.

Wednesday 9 February 2022

Be still my beating heart!

Yesterday was my eldest granddaughter´s birthday, the one who lives in England and has come for a family visit. Her mother´s surprise birthday present to her was a parachute jump, not only that but mother was jumping too! I was invited along to watch my daughter and granddaughter jump out of a plane...dear lord!

The intrepid pair. All went well thank goodness but I was glad when it was over. I do wish this family was a bit less adventurous.

Monday 7 February 2022


I recently discovered a site called Librivox. They have a large catalogue of audiobooks which you can listen to for free. The books are read by volunteers (very well read - there is nothing amateurish about them) and are in the public domain which is why they are free. You can listen on your computer, lap-top or cellphone.

Being out of copyright means of course that they are older books but still very enjoyable nonetheless. There are many classics I am familiar with but have never read in their original version and it is interesting to listen to the full story. They are ideal for those boring chores like dusting or ironing or cooking when your brain is not engaged! I have just finished listening to Moby Dick and have started The Count of Monte Cristo. Who knows, I might even tackle War and Peace one day...

 Photo from Unsplash

Saturday 5 February 2022

Just my luck!

Well, I´m feeling pretty poorly at the moment - runny nose, constant sneezing, headache, temperature and a dry cough - no, it is not Covid, my test came back negative but I haven´t had such a heavy cold for years. 

The timing could not be worse as my granddaughter who lives in London arrived today for a two-week visit, one week of which she will be away at the beach. I haven´t seen her for a couple of years and was really looking forward to spending time together. I can´t risk giving her my cold and spoiling her holiday, especially as she had Covid just over a week ago so is a bit fragile herself. Hopefully I can spend the day with her on her birthday but all other plans are on hold.

Wednesday 2 February 2022

Getting it just right

Toby has always enjoyed fetching a toy thrown for him. As his eyesight deteriorated he could still chase after it by following the sound. Now his hearing is poor as well which has made things difficult. I think he can still see movement if the object is very large but that is about it.

This is his favourite toy, which he can´t see even if it is under his nose, but he still wants me to throw it for him. I have had to learn a new skill - rolling the toy along the floor so that it just bumps into him, whereupon he 'kills' it and brings it back for another go (he can keep this up for ages!). The trouble is my aim isn´t so good so sometimes it rolls past him and he stands there still waiting for me to throw it. I then have to flap a large pillow at him so he thinks I have thrown something, at which point he starts quartering the floor until he finds his toy. Poor old sausage, at least it keeps him active and entertained.