I still have this wretched virus*.  It’s got to the stage where I don’t feel too bad unless I try to do anything, but that includes speaking.  So I am bored, a dead weight requiring help with the stupidest things, and can’t even swear about it because if I try to use the thread of voice which is left to me, I break out into paroxysms of coughing and then my asthma kicks in.

OH has been very helpful and he’s doing pretty much everything around the house. He’s cooking, cleaning, walking the dogs, etc, but he does keep trying make me laugh. 

He was in the conservatory this afternoon, with the back door open when I heard the following one-sided conversation:

OH:  Control tower to bee .. control tower to bee … come in, please!

OH: Control tower to bee.  Come down twenty feet and plot a course due south.

OH: Control tower to bee … Come down …What are you doing, you daft bugger!

OH: Oh .. *sigh* .. suit yourself.

Once I’d got my breath back, I got it outside with the fishing net.  One can only assume its radio must’ve been broken.


* I was going to say ‘bug’ but I thought it might be confusing.



I’ve been revisiting my family genealogy this last week.

You know how it goes: when you’re researching your family history, you have intense flurries of activity followed by periods where you can’t seem to make any progress and you lay it aside for awhile. Then maybe a year later, something nudges you to pick it up again and off you go once more, delving into the family history sites and the family photographs etc and spending a fortune.

At first it doesn’t seem as if you’re getting anywhere at all, with those ‘brick walls’ still there in front of you, blocking any further progress. But then you stumble across a fragment of information – for instance, today, I found the marriage of one my great-great-great-great grandfathers in some newly published Bishop’s Transcripts. It was a wonderful moment, I can tell you! But then I thought I’d better just check that it was him for sure, and continued trawling through the Transcripts, just in case there was another bride and groom called Richard and Sophia in that tiny Norfolk village back at the dawn of the 19th century.

And lo! I did find another pair of them. But it turned out that it really was the same couple, which was bizarre because the marriage was two days later in a different church in a different village in remote 19th century Norfolk.


I told OH.

‘Hey, guess what?’ I called out. ‘I found Richard and Sophia’s marriage, only there’s two of them!’.

Not unnaturally, he was intrigued.

‘What do you mean, there’s two of them?’ he said. ‘Two couples called Richard and Sophia?’

‘No, no,’ I said. ‘It’s the same couple, with the same surnames and everything, only there are two marriages listed for them . I suppose it’s a transcription error’.

OH: ‘It might not be. Maybe they got married twice!’

Me: ‘That would be ridiculous … oh, wait! Look – here’s Sophia’s birth. AND her Christening! But … this is very odd’.

OH: ‘?’

Me: ‘Sophia was born in Stafford, but she was listed as living in Norfolk and that’s where she was Christened! That’s MILES away!’

OH: ‘I bet they weren’t married. Her mother was thrown out when she had the baby. They sent her far, far away where she couldn’t bring shame on the family’.

Me: ‘Well, no, because Sophia was with both of her parents when she got married to Richard’.

OH: ‘OK, they threw her out and he went with her!’

Me: ‘Hmm. Maybe. But then she went and married Richard twice, in different churches, two days apart!’

OH: ‘That is odd’.

Me: ‘Perhaps they were of different religious persuasions, and they had one ceremony for his family and one in a different place for hers?’

OH: ‘No, I’ll tell you what happened. They had the wedding all planned in the first church, and vicar booked it in and wrote it all down, then the church burned down and they had to reschedule’.

Me: ‘Or … maybe Richard found out that her parents weren’t married after the first ceremony and told them to get married quickly, so that he could marry her again when she wasn’t a bastard?’

OH: ‘ … only the vicar wouldn’t perform the marriage twice so they had to go and find a different one!’


*Much hysterical laughter*

Me: ‘Oh look! I hadn’t noticed before, but her parents were called Joseph and Mary! How funny!’

OH: ‘Well, there you go. That explains everything. I can just see it now: the vicar standing there saying ‘Oh, yeah, riiight!. Um, no, I’m sorry, I don’t believe this. I’ll need to see a utility bill or a bank statement before we can go ahead’ So they tootled along to the next parish!’

Once I thought researching the family history was a serious business, but it really isn’t.

I have publicans and shopkeepers, farmers and butchers and door-to-door salesmen and policemen, and career soldiers and domestic servants who dallied with grooms. Freemasons, illegitimacy, and wives who threw their husbands out while finding time to cause a public scandal by volunteering to go into the lion’s cage when the circus came to town. And others whose fathers ended up in the poorhouse while they lived quite comfortably. And I have a doozy of a letter from a son to his mother disowning both his parents in no uncertain terms and ending – if I remember correctly – with him recommending them both to rot. It’s all very entertaining.

I used to think I came from a fairly normal family, but there you go.

If you haven’t yet had a go at tracing your roots, I recommend it. Do it now while your parents or grandparents are still alive. You’ll get some great stories … unless of course, they too have something to hide.

Well, doesn’t every family have its skeletons?


We were in town the other day, and as on so many other occasions, we stood, indecisively, and wondered if there was anything else we had to do before we could give up and go home.

I thought for a minute.

‘Wilkinsons!’ I said. ‘I need more mealworms!’*

We looked up the street towards that distant emporium of wonders.

Me: ‘Do you want to come with me, or take this stuff to the car and meet me in Waitrose?’

OH: ‘I don’t mind coming with you. Providing you’re not in there for ages, that is?’

I assured him I only wanted mealworms, so off we set. When we arrived, OH looked a little disconsolately at the big glass doors and the heaving masses inside them, and then at a metal bench on the pavement outside. It was damp, and looked distinctly greasy.

‘If it was cleaner – and if it was warmer – I’d sit out here and wait for you’, he said.

He trailed behind me as I went inside. I located the mealworms fairly quickly, but then, it has to be said, I got a bit caught up in all the random stuff they have in there: strange, bizarre stuff, a lot of it. Lurid place mats, and doorstops shaped like foxes and huge wooden ampersands. I mean, who buys all this crap, I wondered, even as I secretly thought some of it looked kind of fun…

OH kept disappearing and reappearing. He looked tired and dispirited. I spotted a bench, and pointed to it: a clean one, inside the shop on the far side of the tills, no doubt put there for weary husbands to prevent them dragging their wives off home without spending any money. His face lit up and off he went, sinking onto it gratefully to wait for me.

When I had finished marvelling at all the stuff (and very nearly buying some of it), I took my mealworms to the till, paid for them, and walked up to OH on his bench. I thought I’d cheer him up a bit.

‘Haven’t you got a home to go to?’ I asked, quietly, bending down to him solicitously. ‘Would you like to come home with me?’

A couple of people sneaked sideways glances, but I ignored them.

OH looked up at me, suspicious but hopeful. ‘You do look nice,’ he said. ‘I dunno. Got any bourbons?’

‘No’, I said.

‘Not coming with you if you haven’t got any bourbons,’ he said, sulkily.

‘OK, suit yourself’, I said, and walked off.

I was almost out of the door before he caught up with me.

‘I thought you wanted bourbons!’ I asked, a touch frostily as we stepped out into the equally frosty air.

He grinned. ‘I thought I might persuade you to buy some!’

I laughed, and we proceeded the road, happy in the knowledge that some very confused people were probably watching us from Wilkinsons, convinced I’d picked up a strange, homeless person and walked off with him.

We had turned the corner towards the shopping centre and car park, when OH clutched at me.

‘Look at that bus!’ he said

I looked. It was going to Southend. ‘Yes?’ I asked.

‘Southend via Manchester!’ he said. ‘Do they actually know where either of those places are? You might as well say ‘London via Leeds!’

‘That is rather strange’ I said, puzzled. I opened my mouth to speak, but he got there first.

‘Got any bourbons?’ he asked, hopefully.

‘I have no bourbons’. I replied. ‘Perhaps you should go back to Wilkinsons. There’s a nice bench there, inside, out of the cold’.

We giggled, and went to Waitrose and did our shopping, and we went home, and I cooked some dinner. We watched an old episode of Boston Legal, and when it had finished, OH turned to me and said:

‘I could do with a bourbon or two right now’.

I sighed.

‘Sorry’ I replied. ‘I still don’t have any bourbons’.

There was a pause.

‘Oh, well, never mind’, he said. ‘This chair’s a lot more comfortable than that bench, anyway’.

It’s lovely to be able to make each other laugh and play silly games over nothing, don’t you think? But I often wonder; are we really peculiar, or do other people do this kind of thing, too?

And if they did, would they admit it?

* Wilkinson’s have the cheapest mealworms in town. We have so many ravenous starlings here that we get through buckets of the things during the winter. If I put enough out, the other birds get a fighting chance to pick up one or two.

Posted on May 18, 2013 in Conversations, Funny, Uncategorized, Wildlife by Jay8 Comments »


Yesterday we drove over to Spalding where OH dropped me off for a little shopping at the outlet centre, while he drove on to buy a small box trailer.  The plan is to sell the big motorhome, which we don’t use anymore, and still be able to get stuff to shows and things.

Anyway.  Springfields is a nice little shopping centre.  It has ducks!  They are always wandering around among the feet of shoppers, and yesterday one pair had brought their young family to show them where the best crumbs were to be found.

Not that the ducks are interested, but there a couple of art and craft shops and a Marks & Spencer outlet – oh, there are shoe shops and other stuff too, but those were the ones I was interested in.   I failed to buy the glue I wanted for my photo cards, but I did buy a lovely pair of yellow jeans, so I was happy.   And OH bought the trailer, which is going to be ready sooner than we thought, so he was happy, too.

On the way home, we chatted, as we usually do.  Suddenly, OH said:

‘Bloody fly!’

I looked, and there was one small and solitary fly, bashing itself frantically against the windscreen, and completely failing to understand why it couldn’t get anywhere.

OH: ‘It’s driving me nuts!’

Me: ‘I hadn’t noticed it, until you said!’

OH: ‘It’s been there this whole trip.  It won’t stop flying around!’

Me: ‘It’s a Spalding fly’.

OH: ‘Oh yeah – it’s probably trying to get home’

Me: ‘Yes – it’s saying ‘Help!  Help! I’m being kidnapped!’

OH: ‘Take me back to Spalding!’

Me: ‘That dance it’s doing probably isn’t a dance, it’s writing on the windscreen in Flyspeak: ‘Help – I’m being held prisoner!  I’m being kidnapped!  I need to get back to Spalding!”

OH: ‘I left my wife and children there .. and I’ve got the door key!’

Me: ‘Oh, now you’re just being silly!’

And of course, we both ended up choking with laughter, as we normally do

I don’t know what happened to the fly.  Apparently he managed to get out of the car, because we couldn’t find him.  I hope he managed to get home, but it’s a long, long way for a small insect.

Still, the by-pass is only half a mile away.  Maybe he managed to hitch a lift.

I’m sure the duck family would be happy to see him!