Posted on April 11, 2014 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay8 Comments »


It appears that there is this challenge going around on Facebook called ‘100 Days of Happiness‘ Well. This reminded me of my own little ‘How to be happy’ mini-series I had going before things went crazy around here, so I went and had a little look.

I’m not sure I want to write something personal about me on Facebook every day, not when I could be posting it here and linking it.

So here we go: I am going to try, every day for 100 days, to post something that has made me happy – with a picture (if possible) to prove it. And today, what makes me happy is that I feel, at last, that I might be starting to get over this bug – I might be going to live, after all! Yay me!

And to prove it, I actually went out on the dog walk this morning. It was very short, and Sid was all for sniffing and moseying along quite gently so it was not too bad for my poor breathless self – and it was just so nice to be out of the house. Sid certainly thought so!

Later, I went out into the garden with my camera, which is something I really haven’t had the breath or the strength – or even, let’s face it, the will – to do for over a week.

It was delightful. The sun shone, and the air was warm and full of little winged creatures and the gentle scent of spring flowers. Beetles scurried along in the earth. Leaves burgeoned and seeds sprouted. There were even hyacinths! And that made me particularly happy, because I knew I’d planted six, but when I looked a week ago only four had come up, and here they are today, all present and correct!


One thing that made me especially happy was to see so many bees buzzing around in the apple blossom – honey bees, no less, so their numbers are recovering nicely. Heck, the apple blossom itself was so very pretty!


I saw a bee-fly, but couldn’t get a picture of him. And then I spotted a blue butterfly. The little blues seem to fly quicker than the larger types and I’ve seldom got a half-decent shot of one. But this one was feeling quite cooperative, which was nice.


Next door’s flowering cherry was a picture. It almost makes me want to plant one, but we are thinking of moving house, so that will have to wait. For now, I shall enjoy the one that rises above our fence and provides such a lovely contrast with the blue sky.


Of course, this evening I’m paying heavily for all this gadding about, but hopefully I’ll feel able to get out again tomorrow, and the next day, and of course, that’s how recovery happens, isn’t it?


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.


Posted on April 9, 2014 in Hounds by Jay10 Comments »


Posted on April 7, 2014 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay5 Comments »


The television news this evening was full of the death of Peaches Geldof.

I don’t often watch the news, but OH had put the TV on ready for our nightly dose of ‘Enterprise’ while cooking our dinner so I was a captive audience. As I listened, I felt very sad that a young woman was dead at only twenty-five years of age leaving two young children. The husband, poor guy, only got a brief mention some time into the coverage, and his name was hardly mentioned at all. There’s some kind of mystery about her death, so there will be an investigation, which is doubly hard for the family.

But as I listened, and the coverage went on, and on, and on* I began to get saddened, not just by the death of this young woman and the loss of her, particularly to her two children, but by the amount of time given to this one celebrity death.

As it continued (and started to repeat itself), and began dragging up her mother’s death and the tragedy which seems to stalk the Geldof family and the pictures that had been posted on Twitter, I went from saddened to irritated and finally arrived at angry.

How dare they? That’s what I was thinking.

How dare they devalue the grief and loss of every other person who has lost a loved one today? What is it that makes Paula Yates’ daughter more important that my friend Julie who died a short while ago, also a young woman? What makes her more important than my brother-in-law who died unexpectedly last week? What makes her more important than another friend’s mother who also passed away a few days ago? How DARE they profit from the quite scary emotional intensity of celebrity cultists to elevate one single young woman above countless beloved and worthy citizens who have passed away unsung today?

The news also broke today of the death of Mickey Rooney, who was also a celebrity and arguably contributed more to the entertainment world than Peaches Geldof-Cohen, but the coverage of his death was much lower-key, much less extensive and less wrought with emotion. Actually, I felt it was handled with a lot more respect.

OK, I hold up my hands in acknowledgement of the fact that this blog is titled ‘The Depp Effect’ in honour of one actor who is rather dear to me. Yes, I have rearranged my life at times to meet him, and to meet up with other fans in far-flung places, and I have a whole (bulging) drawer devoted to his movies, and posters all over the house, but let’s be honest: while he is indeed a handsome, charismatic and extremely talented actor who also happens to be sweet and generous and has given to the world truckloads of entertainment, he is still just one man who has his own failings and his own sadnesses, and his own family who have a right to privacy. Straight up, I would feel this type of news coverage was wrong whichever celebrity it was: Johnny Depp, Mickey Rooney, or your own old Grandpa.

Mickey Rooney was a child actor. He worked pretty much all of his life, crawling onto the stage at the age of fourteen months and landing his first proper role at the age of six years old. He served in the military, and was beloved by generations. He was one of the few silent movie actors who made it into film and TV with a long and illustrious career. Why didn’t he get more air-time today? Is it because he was in his nineties when he died? Does that make him of no account, and his family’s grief of no account?

My brother-in-law was a vicar with a quiet, wickedly dry sense of humour. My friend was a sweet, funny, charming and sparkly girl. My other friend’s mother .. well, I didn’t know her, and I don’t know how old she was, but she mattered, just the same. How do we measure one person’s importance against another?

I am not going to say that any of the other people mentioned in this post were worth more than Peaches Geldof-Cohen. I have absolutely no right to judge that, especially since I really know nothing about her. But what I do believe is that they weren’t worth any less.

And I also believe that media companies who cover celebrity deaths, doing their best to outdo each other in playing to the emotions of the scandal-obsessed public, should be ashamed of themselves.

Do they not realise – or do they not care – that in raking over the coals like this and making one celebrity the focus of the whole evening’s news that they are causing pain to countless grieving people whose loved ones also died today? And, by the way, probably intensifying the pain of the family concerned, who are now being mugged for interviews, information and snippets of scandal?

And they are also devaluing everything else of major importance going on in the wider world.

Look. By all means cover the death of anyone you like in the national news if you think it would be of public interest, but for discussion, speculation, wringing of hands, etc, would it not be more appropriate to run it as a ‘special’ – a programme devoted to the subject for those who were truly interested? Not as a half-hour long news segment. As far as I could see, the ‘news’ part was all over in the first ten minutes.

* We weren’t in at the start of the story and I can almost guarantee that it went on for at least an hour, if not more. We stopped watching after 20 minutes.