Saturday, 31 May 2008

Britain's Got Talent

Having watched most of the semi-finals, this evening I watched the final of Britain's Got Talent. And indeed it has. There were some wonderful acts. But I voted for George Sampson not only because I thought his performance was best, but because of what the prize would do for him and his mum, living as they do in some poverty in Warrington. And here is his performance.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Amro change of staff

This evening we went out for a meal to mark Charnelle's last day at Amro. She heads back to New Zealand with boyfriend Russell. It is a great pity. She has been an excellent employee and will be missed.

But we had a good meal and a good evening at Number 32 in Hitchin.

Monday, 26 May 2008

A Wet Bank Holiday

If only I had gone to Scotland - where the weather was warm and sunny. Here in London it was cold, windy and wet. Very wet. And so I rather let Sunday and Monday slip by without doing much of note. On Saturday I watched the farce that is called the Eurovision Song Contest. On Monday I watched 'Britain's Got Talent.' In between, I should have been more productive. I really don't have the energy these days to get on with things. Yet I have so many things to get on with - most notably getting my flat into a fit state to be put on the market.

But I am working every day this week, I am in Stratford next week and Scotland the week after. So I have rather let opportunity slip by for at least three weeks.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Yesterday's Birthday

The service was a bit aggressive, but the food was superb and the evening was generally enjoyable. Certainly I would return to Albannich again to eat the food. And I would hope that the staff would be slightly less touchy every time we made a request. And hopefully the music would be less loud.

It was good to See Steve and Tom again and, as always, to see Alan. I enjoyed the evening and am generally looking forward to the year ahead.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Yes, another one - another year gone. There won't be any wild celebrations today - I'm too old for that. But I am looking forward to seeing a few friends this evening and having a meal at Albennach, a Scottish restaurant near Trafalgar Square.

But of course there was no card from my Mum - and won't be a phone call from her either. I still haven't quite come to terms with that.

Today, of course, is the first day or the rest of my life. Time to move on and look forward.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Mannings Heath

I was deeply disappointed with my golf, but I enjoyed the day anyway. Anne, at Georgia Tourism, was an excellent host, the guys who had flown over from Atlanta or Savannah were very friendly - and it didn't rain.

If only I hadn't kept missing short putts.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Gone With The Wind

This evening I was invited by Geogria Tourism to a performance of Gone With The Wind in London's West End. I was slightly apprehensive. The show lasts for over 3 hours and has had some dire reviews.

Actually it was not at all bad. Darius Danesh, in particular, was excellent as Rhett Butler. And the hospitality of Georgia Tourism was great, and much appreciated.

On Friday I take advantage once again of their hospitality at a golf day at Mannings Heath.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

32 points

Not bad, I guess. Today I played in a Stableford competition at the Shire and scored 32 points. I certainly played much better than I had done yesterday.

The first hole, a par 3 over water, was a strange one. My drive landed in the water. So there was a penalty shot. And then I pitched straight into the hole for a par 3.

I was also pleased with my approach to the 18th. After two shots, I was about 130 yards from the green and with a tree in front of me. I needed to pitch over the tree, over two lots of water and stop the ball on the green so that it did not roll into the third lot of water at the back. This I managed to do and escaped with a 5.

The weather was glorious, hot and sunny. All in all, a good day.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


Today's trip was to Foresterhill for my Dad to have his second injection in his eye as part of his treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration, which is the commonest cause of blindness in the UK. The best we can hope for is that the treatment stops the deterioration. It will not restore the sight to its previous level.

My Aunt, made the day easier by giving us lunch. The weather in her back garden was glorious.

And it is just a well I was up in Scotland. Otherwise my Dad would have been ex-pected to make the two-hour bus journey to the eye clinic and back. Hardly very fair for treatment for loss of sight.

Monday, 5 May 2008


At the end what had been a really good day, I was driving back to Keith with my Dad. I was keen not to add to his stress and had been worried about his driving, but that was okay because I was at the wheel. I was on a quiet road just past Tomintoul, so nothing could go wrong.

I was following a large campervan with Swiss numberplates. There was a tractor coming the other way, so the campervan stopped to let it pass. I stopped behind the campervan. When the tractor had passed I waited for the campervan to continue on its way. Suddenly it want into reverse. I had no time to react. There was a sickening crunch as it hit the front of our car.

The drive as apologetic - she could hardly be otherwise. She had seen a pheasant in the field and decided to reverse to get a photograph. She didn't see our car behind.

I have been driving for 38 years and this is the first time I have been involved in an accident. And of course my Dad is now stressed by this incident, made worse by the fact that my Sister is due to come up in a couple of weeks to drive the car back to her home in Totnes.

Three weeks ago my Mother died. And now, on its first outing since, her car is involved in a crash. To put it mildly, it is something we could have done without.


I am back up here in Scotland for a few days. This morning my father asked if we could go to Crathie on Deeside. I was slightly apprehensive because this is where my mother was born, there my Dad met her and where they got married. The memories were going to be overwhelming. On the other hand, I was keen to get my Dad out of the house. And the sun was shining. So off we went.

In fact it worked out very well. The drive across was wonderful - I just love that view from just past the Lecht as you look down to Corgarff and over the huge expanse of hills beyond.

Our first stopping point, inevitably, was Crathie churchyard. Here are buried my grandparents, great-grandparents, assorted great-uncles, great-aunts and other members of my mothers family. And it is here in July that we shall return to scatter my mother's ashes and hopefully arrange for recognition of her on a plaque in the churchyard.

We then visited my mothers cousin in the old post office. I am not sure if I have ever met him or his wife. But I am glad we saw them. They were very welcoming.

There was a quick visit to Crathie Church, venue for many services with the Royals and venue in June 1951 on the wedding of my Mum and Dad.

Lunch was taken in Ballater, and after the obligatory view of the golf course, we took the South Deeside road back to Crathie and to Lochnagar distillery where my Grandfather was manager and where my mother was born in 1928. I took a stroll up to the top dam - a place I had only ever been to with my Mother, so a place which had bitter-sweet memories.

Of course during the day it was impossible not to recollect all those previous visits with my Mum and Dad, but it was also cathartic to go over there and to remember those occasions with pleasure.


We went in to Elgin. We have applied to get my Dad into sheltered housing and now have been told that he doesn't have enough points to take him near the top of the waiting list. He is 91, poor eyesight, prostate cancer, is hard of hearing, has difficulty walking and has just lost his wife. But he doesn't have enough points. Who then, I have to ask, does?

We also had the car appraised for insurance purposes - new bonnet, new lights, new grille, new bumper. At least the garage will collect it and deliver it back once the work takes place. I just hope this will be before my Sister comes up to drive the car back south. Meanwhile it is another hassle my Dad could do without.