Thursday, July 06, 2006

Race For Life

I have just completed the 5km Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research, on a sweltering hot day in Blackheath, London, where temperatures reached 30 degrees and even my factor 25 sunscreen and several bottles of water seemed inadequate. Once again I was astounded to see the vast numbers of women taking part - this year there were over 9,000 of us. The organisation was brilliant, from the numerous portaloos, the welcome free drinks and the well earned medal and goodie bag at the end of the run. My time was 43 minutes, so much slower than previous years, but understandable considering the heat. I'd like to say a huge thank you to the organisers; the stewards who marshalled the run, and the teams of volunteers who all helped in their own way to make this an enjoyable event - and all in a good cause. Thanks also to my sponsors and the crowds who turned up to support us over the finishing line. See you all again next year.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Luke is missing

My friend Nicki's nineteen year old son, Luke, went missing after a night out in Ipswich on May 11th 2006. He has not been seen since despite nationwide publicity, posters and appeals on television, in the press and on the radio.
I cannot begin to imagine how Nicki must be feeling, or indeed, how any mother must feel when their child fails to come home, but I have a pretty good idea. It doesn't matter how old your children are - you never stop worrying about them.
A website has been set up by concerned relatives at http://findluke.com/
The messages received are both touching and poignant and I hope, offer some comfort to Nicki, in what can only be described as every mother's worst nightmare.
Let's hope she hears some good news soon.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The perfect cat litter tray

Don't you just love it - the blossom on the trees, the birds singing, the bulbs blooming - Spring has finally made a welcome arrival. I don't care if it rains (we need rain). I just love the longer, lighter evenings; the brighter mornings and the promise of more to come. Hence the reason I spent the weekend digging over the garden in readiness for all those little seedlings I'm going to transplant from their pots in the shed. The ground was mulched, manured and raked over in readiness - a brown blanket of nutrients and plant nourishing goodness - perfect.
The local neighbourhood cats thought so too. Here was the perfect cat litter tray, with its fine, crumbly soil, no awkward stones or clods of earth and no twigs or leaves to dig through - excellent.
Now I love cats, dogs and all manner of beasties, but not when they dig up my seedlings and scatter my tender plants into the vicinity of the lawn. I've tried pepper (it doesn't work), curry powder (it stinks) and black cotton thread (very fiddly). Has anyone got any better suggestions? Or shall I stick to hanging baskets instead.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Decorating with pets

As it's a bit cold to tidy up the garden, March seems the ideal month to do a spot of decorating. Except that when you've got animals in the house, its not always easy. I thought I was being clever by painting the banisters and skirting boards while our black cat was asleep on a bed upstairs. (He's not usually allowed in the bedrooms, but in this case, I made an exception). He would sleep all day, I thought, and the paint would probably be dry before he woke up. Wrong.
He was awake within the hour and standing poised on the landing ready to rub himself up and down the newly painted woodwork. I made a grab for him and carried him downstairs, relieved and pleased that I'd rescued him unscathed. It was only as he strolled off down the garden that I saw, with horror, the large white handprint I'd left on his fur. Needless to say, I had to resort to the scissors, (gloss paint is not the easiest thing to remove from long black fur) but what the heck - he's moulting now anyway. I'm sure it won't be long before he looks his handsome, well groomed self again. The stairs are looking pretty good too.

Monday, February 20, 2006

MP3's discovered.

I've recently become an MP3 convert, ever since I bought one for my son at Christmas on a 'buy one, get one free' offer. I'll never use that, I thought, (having only ever seen teenage hoodies wandering round the town with ear-phones in their ears, doing goodness knows what damage to their hearing.). Hubby said it might come in useful on the plane journey to New Zealand (it did), and thoughtfully recorded a few classics (Dire Straits, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, that sort of thing). Magic - I could listen to what I wanted, when I wanted, without bothering anyone else on the plane - or at least, that was the plan. The reality was that my daughter kept jabbing me in the ribs every time I started humming out loud, and gesticulating wildly at my ear phones each time I tried to talk to her in what I thought was a normal voice (it wasn't). However, I'm getting the hang of it now. I use it at the gym to try and counteract the pounding stuff they churn out over the loudspeakers, and it's brilliant for lightening the mood when doing the weekly supermarket shop. So next time you see a middle-aged woman with ear plugs in, don't assume she's an old dear who's hard of hearing (particularly if she starts humming at the check-out).
It might well be me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Reflections on the New Zealand possum

Isn't it funny how it's always the little things that stick in one's memory after visiting somewhere new. I mean, I could go on about the fantastic scenery and weather, the wonderful people and the stunning beaches of New Zealand. I could mention swimming with dolphins, or meeting a real live Kiwi (of the bird variety), or even attending a Maori hangi - all of which were fascinating and memorable, but no, it's the little things that intrigued me. For instance, why, when there's virtually no cars on the road, is there such an abundance of squashed possums? Talk about road-kill. And this is a country where you can drive for miles without seeing any other vehicle. Apparently New Zealanders class possums as noxious animals because they destroy native bush and kill off the kiwis. (Possum knitwear sells with the slogan - "buy this item and save a tree.") So either the locals are driving with the aim of hitting as many possums as they can, (I heard that rumour in a pub) or these short sighted beasties are actually leaping into the road with excitement when they see a car and accidentally getting squashed in the process. Who knows? Personally, I think they look quite cute. (Whole, not flattened, that is).

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Christmas Down Under

Well, it's been a funny old Christmas. I missed Christmas Day crossing the Date Line on a trip to New Zealand. Set off Christmas Eve, and arrived Boxing Day - most bizarre. Still, at least the sun was shining, and I missed the snow and ice forecast for Suffolk. I can't get the hang of Christmas lights and decorations on a blistering hot sunny day, though. It's a bit like someone forgot to take them down after twelfth night. New Year's Eve was even more surreal - watching fireworks at midnight on the beach, wearing shorts and sandals. Hmm. Still, there's a lot to be said for life 'down under'. The people are great and the scenery is spectacular. If I'm lucky I may even get to see a whale and swim with dolphins. Here's hoping.
Happy New Year to one and all.