Posted on September 30, 2013 in Life, the Universe and Everything, The Home Front by Jay24 Comments »


‘Happily ever after’ sometimes doesn’t actually work out like that, does it?

These are my Mum’s wedding and engagement rings from the early 1940s.  I have them now because my mother passed away a few years ago.

When those rings were bought, as my father prepared to go to war and my mother entered nursing school as her part of the War Effort, happily ever after was what was intended.

I don’t mean that my parents weren’t happy together, because they were.

There was a lot of fun and a lot of laughter along with the hard work and the scrimping and saving.  My Dad was a very straightforward, pillar-of-society type; with a deep sense of responsibility and commitment to any task he set himself to, and I can honestly say I have never met anyone with more integrity and innate honesty.  Mum was a warm, loving, big-hearted, and very hard-working person, very clever with all kinds of knitting and sewing and baking.  She was a country girl who hated living in London but who did so because that’s where the work was.  Mum and Dad had their faults (as all people on this earth do) and their differences (as all couples do) and there were some sharp words at times, but overall it was a happy marriage as far as I could see. They loved to go out together to dinner or dancing or parties when we kids were older, and they had a huge social circle and some very good friends.

So why not ‘happily ever after’?

Because one day in the 1970s, my father had his first heart attack.  Mum tried very hard to improve his lifestyle and diet, but to no avail.  A second followed, and then a third, and he left us in the middle of one spring night while still in hospital recovering from that one.  If it had happened these days, no doubt he’d still be with us, but it’s no use thinking like that, is it?

They’d had 34 years together.

A few years later, Mum married again – a lovely man, but not my father.  He would never be my father in any way since I’d left home by then, but I was very fond of him.  Then, about fifteen years later, he died too, leaving Mum alone again.

I’ve always thought it was a bit cruel of fate to leave my mother alone twice.  Many people do well on their own, but my Mum was a very sociable person who loved people.  She loved visitors, and she loved to talk.  She could, as the saying goes, talk the hind leg off a donkey.   Ah well.  She managed perfectly well in her little bungalow, still working as a nurse until she retired.  She went to her knitting club, she gardened, she kept everyone up to date with everything that was going on in the family, and she organised all the neighbours in her little road – years later, in her late eighties she was referring to them as ‘the little old man on the corner’, or ‘the poor old lady at the end’ as if she herself was no more than a spring chicken.

Now Mum is gone too, and I suppose I’m technically an orphan.  It feels strange.

Me, I have my own little bit of ‘happy ever after’ right here since OH and I have been married since 1976, and we are still each other’s best friend.

He drives me nuts sometimes, and I’m sure I drive him nuts too, but there you go.

This ain’t no fairytale we’re all living, this is real life!  And you know what?  ‘Happy ever after’ actually requires all those things which my father taught me so long ago by his own example: honesty, integrity, commitment and a sense of responsibility.

And love.  We mustn’t forget love, because that’s what ‘happily ever after’ is about, in the end, isn’t it?

I’m sure Ziva and Mike will have more cheerful posts for you. Go take a look!

Posted on September 30, 2013 in Life, the Universe and Everything, Oddities by Jay2 Comments »


Oh, you’re going to have fun with this one, I just know you are!

I snapped this while OH and I were out one day.  It was just begging to be made into a Macro Monday puzzle, so I did.  Colourful, ain’t it?  And puzzling?  Oh goodie!

This is something that many, many people have.  There are lots of different styles, and lots of different colours.  This one belongs to OH.  It’s quite unusual for these things to be seen in quite such bright colours, but it’s one of the things he loves about it, and it’s certainly unlikely to be mistaken for anyone else’s … um … thingie.

You actually have all the information you need in this picture, believe it or not. Well, except maybe size and proportion, but that’s macro puzzles for you.  We aim to mislead and misdirect and confuse.  Are you confused yet?  Oh goodie!

I’ve seen these used in many parts of the world, and in many situations.  Some people don’t like using them, but it’s a necessity of life for most of us.

Well, there you go, that’s all you’re getting from me. Take a guess and put your answer in the comments, and I’ll be back (like the eponymous Arnie) tomorrow night at around 10pm UK time to add the answer in the form of a picture link.

Happy guessing!  And when you’re tired of puzzling, take a break and visit the other Macro Monday bloggers and see what they have posted for your delectation!

Well, it seems that maybe Macro Monday has had its day. Only two guessers for me this week.  Neither of you were correct, I’m afraid, and I hesitate to say who was closer because your guesses were both quite reasonable!. Go  here to see the solution – and thank you so much for playing!  Time to bow out, methinks.


And the word for today is … well, let’s see those who are not taking part in this challenge can guess.

This is not a literal representation of the prompt word – there are plenty of those around. I have three of them on my person right now, in fact, plus one by my side and one over on the windowsill. No, those are too easy!

I’m coming at this sideways.

Greyhounds, are, like all dogs (both domestic and wild), hunters at heart. Greyhounds more than many breeds, actually, although even your tiny little toy poodle or your shih tzu, or your pekingese have it buried deep (and sometimes not so deep) in their hearts and souls.

In the wild, dogs run down weaker animals for their survival: rabbits, hares and even pigeons being some of the easier prey, but the larger, swifter breeds will take deer in this country, and some, given half the chance would bring down a lamb.

I have simply cut out the middleman, and made life easier for Sid, the cantankerous old fart poor old disabled guy.   He’s eating a chunk of raw lamb for his breakfast.

Sid himself is prey to fleas and internal parasites at times, and if he were living wild in Africa … well, he probably wouldn’t survive long before he was eaten by a pack of hyenas, if not a passing cheetah or a pride of lions.

Anyway.  The sheep eat the grass, which has been nourished by the earth, which contains living organisms necessary for plant growth.  The dog eats the sheep (or another creature which has fed on the grass or other plants), and when the dog dies, his body returns to the earth to nourish the life in the soil.

And that, my friends, is the circle of life.

This Photo Challenge, created by Ziva and Mike, is nearly at an end, for which I am profoundly grateful.  It has become a thorn in my side.

And I didn’t even join in until the eighteenth day!

Posted on September 28, 2013 in Life, the Universe and Everything, The Home Front by Jay17 Comments »


This may be slightly tenuous for some of you, but this was my lunch today.

Some will recognise it as an Insalata Caprese, or Caprese salad: sliced, ripe tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil torn into pieces. In Italy – famous as the land of lovers – they serve it with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of good, aceto balsamico di Modena. Insalata Caprese is somewhat of a national dish, since it is composed of all the colours of the Italian flag: green, white and red.

I skipped that balsamic vinegar and the oil today because my acid reflux is playing up a tad, but otherwise it’s authentic.

It’s a starter dish which I often choose in Italy, even when it’s not actually on the menu, because it’s simple, and I know I can eat it, unlike some of the fancy concoctions they are apt to serve, like delicate ravioli (contains egg), or gamberoni (which I’m always nervous about because although I can eat shellfish I worry that it’s been stored next to fish I can’t eat, or cooked in the same oil), or various culinary delights of a spicy nature.

Luckily for me, I am a lover of simple dishes like this, especially when they contain cheese and basil.

Go see Ziva or Mike for more!