Am I lucky, or what? This is a Montezuma chocolate easter egg. Montezuma make some of the very best chocolate in the whole world! Lovely, lovely, dark velvety-rich, not-too-sweet yumminess.

Here’s what it looked like a very short while later.


And guess what? It’s even smaller now.

Happy Easter!


There seems to be a new trend on social media. I believe it started with Twitter, which is a form of social media I have no truck with, so I didn’t see it until it arrived on Facebook. It seems to consist of women posting a ‘selfie’ of themselves with no make-up, and it’s supposed to raise awareness of cancer. Oh, and some men are getting into the act by posting a picture of themselves WITH make-up, which is interesting.

Raising awareness of cancer is a laudable aim, but there are two problems. One is that no mention is ever made of cancer when the pictures are posted, and the other seems to be that nobody is actually donating anything, either time or money, to any cancer charities, hospitals or individuals*. Nobody even seems to be dedicating their selfie to someone they know who has cancer.

My selfie is up there, taken with my Macbook Air. You won’t notice much difference between this selfie and any other photo you may have seen of me, because I very seldom wear make-up anyway (unless you count nail-varnish which I do wear when my nails are not broken and flaking), but there it is.

I’d like to dedicate this selfie to a very sweet woman who died recently of brain cancer, very young. I didn’t know her terribly well, because she was largely an internet friend, but her lovely, sparkly personality and infectious sense of humour made a huge impression when OH and I did meet her in person and we are both very saddened by her loss.

I’d also like to dedicate it to my sister-in-law’s brother who has recently been diagnosed with a brain tumour. He too is a lovely person. He has a wonderful, dry wit and is kind and gentle. I won’t ask why it is that both these lovely people were afflicted with this particular illness. It seems a cruel joke, but let’s face it, that’s life. It’s the luck of the draw.

These are not the only people in my life with cancer. I have a cousin with some type of Hodgkins – or non-Hodgkins, I can never remember – lymphoma, at least two relatives who’ve had breast cancer, and I’ve lost a brother-in-law with cancer of the prostate which ended up in his liver, and a friend of the family with lung cancer. OH and I have both had treatment for cancers of differing types. A friend’s father is being treated for melanoma.

My point is, surely these days we all know someone who has, or has had cancer – or at least know of someone? Surely there is no point is saying ‘let’s all be aware that cancer is here and can strike at any time’ without also saying ‘… and here’s what you can do to help’?

So how about this: Let’s begin to change this fairly meaningless meme into something which has a point.

If you have read this or seen a ‘selfie for cancer’ or two, why not donate something? It doesn’t have to be much, and it doesn’t matter which cancer charity you donate to. Or you could donate your time to visit someone with cancer, either just to chat or to help with shopping, cooking, transport or gardening. It doesn’t even have to be human cancer, because all animals can get cancer. Go sit with a friend’s dog who has recently had surgery so they can go shopping or something.

Drop a pound into a charity tin when you see one. Write a card to someone who is in hospital, a hospice, or simply home alone recovering. Do anything … but don’t just post a picture and forget it.

*Babs tells me that there should indeed be a link to donate with each selfie, which makes so much more sense! She tells me that the information which should be included is: Text SELFIE to 70330 for a £3 donation.

In the absence of this knowledge, I donated to the Marie Curie Foundation.


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?


Go on, take a good look.

This is a machine called a Tefal Quick Cup. It is a hot/cold water dispenser with a filter in the water reservoir, so no matter if you want a cup of tea or a mouthful of room temperature water, you can have one free of nasties such as the chloramine they use round here to disinfect the water supply.

I started using this after we returned from Italy, where my acid reflux had been SO much better than it normally is in England. I figured that one of the things which was different was the water supply, and in fact, I believe it has helped a lot. Certainly, when the first filter ran out on this thing, I began tasting acid again.

Anyway. Here’s how it works: you stick a mug under the tap and press a button, upon which it will dispense a measured amount of water and stop automatically. Red for hot, black for cold. Simple, right? And I did that, using the mug you see in the photo, but then I walked off and did something else while it was dispensing.

Look carefully at that mug, and you will see that it is upside down.

I came back to find no hot water in the mug at all … but plenty swimming around on the worksurface!


Did you spot that? Because at the time I clearly didn’t.