Jaqui's Daily Blog

We pulled the curtains very early this afternoon. It wasn't all that dark but it was very, very gloomy so shutting out the weather and pretending it was later than it actually was seemed A Good Plan.

It did mean that I was no longer able to keep a watchful eye on next door's black and white cat who has been prowling round the bushes looking for any birds silly enough to leave the safety of the high branches. I always have my armchair in the perfect position for a good view of the garden and all that is going on out there. In the sweet days of spring, the sultry days of summer, the fruitful days of autumn this puts me firmly in pole position. Like Nico Rosberg, except that it didn't do him too much good today (of which more later.) Sadly the view from my armchair on wet wintry days like today is, like, wet, wet, wet. Like the pop group but less tuneful.

Incidentally, why would anyone call a pop group Wet, Wet, Wet? Do you think it's meant to be ironic? I've never been too good at irony myself (or ironing for that matter but I do need to keep to the subject before I lose my train of thought so please forgive me for leaving this hanging in the air, a particularly annoying non sequitur.) This is the reason I don't resort to the use of irony in the Daily Blog. Or, if I do, it is purely coincidental.

To return to the weather. Do I have to? It really has been a shocking day. Mr B headed manfully off to Tesco's and returned wet, wet, wet and, no, he wasn't singing. He was not a Happy Bunny. Still, all was not lost because this has been a great day for televised sport, mostly from sunnier climes, hence bringing a bit of welcome warmth into our day.

I was particularly interested in the Grand Prix from Abu Dhabi but for all the wrong reasons. Regular readers will remember that last week I was watching the rugby in the hope of seeing some good pictures of the Gamesmakers' Choir. I love the way these volunteers from the 2012 Olympics have been keeping the spirit of the Games alive through song. Today I was watching the build-up to the Grand Prix in the hope that there might be a mention of another British team of world beaters - that's Team Colossus, a team of students from Robert May's School based in Odiham, Hampshire, the worthy winners of the F1 in the World Schools Championships. The youngsters were out in Abu Dhabi today, watching Lewis Hamilton take the title. I know Our Lewis was the main story but I do think the programme makers missed a good story about the bright future for British F1 if Team Colossus have anything to do with it.

Team Colossus is a pretty good name, don't you think? Better than Wet, Wet, Wet any day. Possibly one for a future team on The Apprentice to adopt. I shall write to Lord Sugar and suggest it. Along with suggesting that the pupils from Team Colossus might be a better investment than his latest crop of would-be entrepreneurs. I should perhaps explain that my interest is because two of my grandkids, while not part of Team Colossus, are former or current pupils at Robert May's School. Even grandparents are entitled to feel proud by association, don't you know?

Once I realised that there was not going to be any mention of Team Colossus I didn't sulk for long. I decided to watch through till the end, in between making up my knitted reindeer. If the stitches are a little uneven in places, this marks the exciting moments in the race. I always forget how long it takes to make up one of my knitted characters. Our Lewis crossed the finishing line to a display of fireworks which completely overshadowed the chequered flag while I was still stuffing antlers. If you have never stuffed a knitted antler - and I suspect not many of you have - then you need to know it requires enormous patience and judicious use of a knitting needle to tease the stuffing inside the long, narrow opening.


The televised sport goes on and on. We are now watching Hull versus Spurs. If Spurs don't pull back from the jaws of defeat, then Mr B will be miserable all evening so Something Needs To Happen. Hull are down to ten men which may help. This is, I admit, unsporting in the extreme but my whole evening depends on Spurs winning. You can't really blame me, can you? Unless, of course, you are a Hull supporter, in which case I send you my grovelling apologies.

All is well in the world. Spurs have won, not quite in the style of Lewis Hamilton or Team Colossus but a win's a win for a' that. Did you like the way I seamlessly segued into Scots dialect? I have been trying for ages to (i) use Scottish dialect and (ii) somehow introduce the verb segue into the blog. Whatever the state of my stuffed antlers (and to be honest they look a bit wonky, even before I attach them to the reindeer's woolly head) I have succeeded in something.

What is more - tomorrow is undoubtedly another day. As Annie (of Annie fame) put it so very well: "The sun will come out tomorrow....just you wait and see!"

Bless you, Annie. I am with you all the way!


Before my "Get Up and Go" inexplicably got up and went, I was a busy, busy bee. Far too busy, Mr B used to grumble as I set off on the Pulse bus for yet another adventure. How are the mighty (or, should I say, the busy) fallen!

As regular readers will know, I spent a day in hospital this week, taking in blood like a Regular Vampire. I know quite a bit about vampires and werewolves and the like having been introduced to the genre of vampire fiction by my older grandchildren. It is perfectly possible, I must concede, that this is no longer the big deal it once was. Vampires may well be so last year. Whatever, there is no doubting the restorative powers of a good dose of O plus blood so God bless the blood donors, say I. The Eldest of the Darling Daughters and My Boy - both long-time blood donors with badges to prove it - are quietly happy that they are part of the band which helped out their "'Opeless' Mother".

My friend, the lovely Lucy, messages me to say that at least my sense of humour appears to be undamaged. Perhaps of all our senses, the sense of humour is the last to leave us. I am reminded of Spike Milligan who wanted the inscription on his gravestone to read: "I told you I was ill." What style! (The Lovely Lucy, by the way, is not to be confused with the Lovely Linda who runs the Birdy Group, bringing me together with a dozen binocular-wielding bird-lovers like Scottish Christine, Witty Jean and Tall Margaret. I am hoping that by now you are starting to recognise the rich cast of colourful characters who people the Daily Blog though I am prepared to accept that one day I should put together a glossary. I shall put it on my To Do list for when I am allowed to be busy again.

Now that I am well on the Road to Recovery, Mr B is reminding me that the Christmas Deadline is fast approaching. For all of you who imagine that the last day for seasonal purchases is Christmas Eve, I have to tell you that Mr B has his own personal deadline by which time he expects all our presents to be purchased and our Christmas cards written and ready for posting. This deadline - wait for it - is the end of November. Which is just ten days away. I wondered if it might be possible to squeeze out an extra day but recourse to that popular rhyme which starts: "Thirty days hath September...." confirmed my worst fears. Ten days it is.

One of the jobs I can do, which doesn't require too much energy, is to ask family members for lists of acceptable Christmas presents. Unfortunately most of them respond to say that it is only November 20th and they haven't even begun to think about Christmas so can I just stop hassling them, just because I haven't anything better to do with my time at the moment? OK, they don't actually say that, all of them being far too kind and generally fond of me, but I am pretty good at reading between the lines.

The exceptions to the rule are the oldest of the Not So Very Little Welsh Boys. At their After School Club a few days ago, they spent a happy time with their classmates drafting lengthy Christmas Gift Lists of quite magnificent proportions. However, in between the requests for I Pads and X Boxes and other Things Technological, doubtless influenced by their classmates, Young James had requested a puppy, while brother Sam had gone one better and asked for "a new baby brother."

Their father, My Boy, reading through both lists when he picked the lads up from school, told them in no uncertain terms that they had more chance of getting a puppy for Christmas than a new baby brother. At which, I am told, both boys went dashing down the road calling out to all their friends that they were getting a puppy for Christmas... I have no idea how (or if) My Boy wriggled out of that one.


Now if I wanted to be a really, really popular grandmother, I know just what I should buy them for Christmas. My Boy and the Darling Daughter in Law would, in all probability, never talk to me again.


I am sorry, Sam and James, but that really would be a Price Too High to Pay.



When Nanni came home from the hospital yesterday evening, I kind of assumed she would bring a couple of babies back home with her. It was a bit of a disappointment that she returned so very empty-handed.

This is Faris, by the way, aka Blogger Extraordinaire. Nanni is taking it easy today so the least I could do was to write the blog for her, despite my disappointment on the Baby Front. You can probably understand my position: three weeks today, my Mummy is going into hospital to fetch the Twins. Knowing that Nanni can't bear to miss out on anything, I rather thought when she said she was off to the hospital that she was going to do the same. I suppose it is possible that not all hospitals keep stocks of babies just for when people like Nanni turn up out of the blue and want one. Or - and the more I think about this, the more reasonable this seems - possibly Nanni has quite enough babies to be going on with, what with my cousin Morgan down in Wales and me, of course, not to mention the Twins. Between us, we're enough for anyone.

I wasn't allowed to go to the hospital with Nanni on account of the fact that I would be very likely to Create Havoc. Nobody is better at this than I am, especially when you consider that I am only 20 months old so haven't had much time to perfect the art. Indeed for the first few months of my life I played it pretty cool, quietly practising my Grab and Pull Technique on Monkey Monkey in the Rain Forest Gym. I just knew it would stand me in good stead when I grew up. At Nursery, I am a Leading Light in Toddler One where Creating Havoc is highly prized as a sign of individuality and independence. There's absolutely no way anyone in Toddler One is going to get the better of me - I reckon I could even hold my own in Toddler Two, if push came to shove. Push and shove being the operative words.

So while Nanni was in the hospital, I went out for some Fresh Sea Air. (By the way, I feel sorry for people who don't have Seaside Grandparents, they are the best sort on account of the Fresh Sea Air. Obviously I don't boast about this to the other kids at nursery who aren't so lucky, I expect they are quite satisfied with their own grandparents, not knowing any better.) Daddy thought it was a good idea to get me out of the house where there are so many Havoc Creating Possibilities and down to the beach where there is plenty of wide, open space.

What else do you find on a beach? Sea-gulls! Nanni tells me that when my cousin Eleanor was little she used to call them E-gulls. Personally I think that shows individuality. Eleanor would probably do well in Toddler One with me. We would have SO much fun. Even if she might be a bit too tall to sit at the table when it came to tea-time.

From her hospital bed, Nanni sent Mummy a text. It read: "Tell Faris not to chase the sea-gulls!" Mummy had to tell her that the warning had come too late as I was already in my element chasing those e-gulls all over the beach. They didn't know which way to turn, I can tell you. Honestly, they strut about as if they own the beach when anyone could tell them that it belongs to everyone. That is what makes it so special.

When Nanni finally came home, we were eating dinner so I shared my rice with her. One spoon-full for me, one spoon-full for her. Every so often I forgot to turn the spoon round before it reached either my mouth or Nanni's and it went all over the high chair tray and the floor but Nanni said not to worry as it could easily be cleaned up. She said I was eating very well with my spoon. One day soon I will use a knife and fork. I can't wait - they look to be such very DANGEROUS implements.

Nanni let me take a teddy bear home with me. It made up for the fact that she hadn't brought any babies home from the hospital with her.

I guess I shall just have to wait till the Twins arrive.

Not long now!

I have always prided myself on my patience.

As my dear Mum used to quote whenever my Little Sister or I grew fractious: "Patience is a virtue, Possess it if you can, Seldom found in women / Never found in man." A somewhat sexist rhyme, that, as the Men in my Life would doubtless bitterly complain.

Patience is never more needed than in hospital which is where I found myself today. I am currently hooked up to the second of two blood transfusions in a brand new suite called the Acute Ambulatory Area which is for people like me who like, or are able, to amble about while undergoing their treatment. Because the suite is so new, there have been lots of dignitaries visiting to be shown around. None of them actually come to talk to us patients but perhaps they are afraid what we might say. Not that they need to fear because I am having as lovely a time as it is possible to have in the circumstances. The staff, however, say that though they like their new home in most respects, it's a bit like moving house in that you keep forgetting where things are and fearing that they are still in packing cases somewhere.

Ah, yes, the staff. They are unfailingly wonderful, even if it has taken me the best part of the day to work out who is who. It's the uniforms that confuse me. There are students and nurses and sisters, not to mention the kind person who comes round every so often with extremely welcome cups of coffee and the person with the mop and duster who attacks every surface with the same kind of zeal which I apply to my kitchen surfaces, now that I have cleared them. In the X Ray department which I visited this morning (in the interests of completeness) there were three more uniforms to be seen and analysed, involving smart white jackets with rather fancy epaulettes. I wonder whether they all had a choice of the uniform for their department? Was there a strict budget? Did some get a job lot from Uniforms R Us while others went bespoke?

The patients here in ACA come and go throughout the day as they are allocated beds in the main wards or sent home. Moreover, each and every one appears to have a different doctor (or two) which means there are a great many doctors wafting about the place. They are all in civvies, so it isn't immediately obvious whether they are patients, patients' family members or medical staff. I assume, when they sit themselves down at one of the two computer screens in the suite, that they are medical staff. Or else very nosey patients.

Nosiness. It's a problem in the ACA. As regular readers know, I am an avid eavesdropper, mostly in support of good blog material for your delectation and delight. I am quite sure I have occasionally made your day by recounting particularly riveting conversations on the Pulse bus - or so I like to think though you may, of course, beg to differ. Here in hospital where the screens shield you from sight but not from sound, one feels honour bound to zone out from intimate conversations about health matters going on around. If only because you hope nobody will be listening in on your own consultation.

I didn't expect to be here. I hoped I would be spending this morning at an important meeting and this afternoon on the beach with Young Faris and his parents. But I have been very well looked after and it hasn't been at all boring, not for one like me who loves watching what's going on (even if I must close my ears on occasions.) Mr B came in with me first thing, to provide much needed moral support while the Middle of the Darling Daughters turned up in the mid afternoon to treat me to coffee and Jaffa cakes and conversation. She says it's quite good to sit and relax in the ambulatory area with me rather than trying to stop Faris chasing after the sea-gulls on the beach.

A kind gent pushing a trolley has just turned up offering leek and potato soup - one of my favourites. Southern Fried Chicken is on its way. Mr B will Wish He Was Here. In a little more than an hour I should be able to amble off to reception and await arrival of my Chariot with the Middle of the Darling Daughters at the wheel.

Welcoming as the Acute Ambulatory Area undoubtedly is, it will be SO good to be home.

Mr B is somewhat surprised when I ask him if we can watch the rugby on TV. My sudden interest in England versus South Africa at Twickenham (affectionately known, I am given to understand, as Twickers) has him puzzled.

Mr B loves it when I watch sporting events with him. Like the Ryder Cup - an event spread over several days so that I can find myself properly immersed in the triumphs and disasters being rolled out in front of me on the TV screen. I prefer my sporting events short and sweet, with regular intervals when I can sneak into the kitchen and put the kettle on. Mr B says that a cup of coffee is my Answer For Everything. He isn't far wrong there.

Some years ago, we went on a golfing holiday to Spain. Well, Mr B went golfing and I went along for the holiday. My fellow golf widow was a shopaholic who enticed me into every single shop on every single drag, in search of Lladro figurines to add to her already extensive collection. Sadly, she did not find the same enchantment in the beach so, despite staying in an area boasting one of the most beautiful beaches on the Costa del Sol, I never got to sunbathe or have so much as a paddle. Too many Lladro shops to be explored. In case you are thinking what a martyr I was, I did stipulate that a morning swim in the pool of our apartment block was my "non-negotiable." My friend took this well and every morning when I emerged from the pool after my requisite number of widths (lengths were out of the question for fear of going out of my depth - such a wimp I am!) she would have a hot cup of coffee and breakfast waiting for me, bless her.

One day we decided to accompany our fellas on their golfing trip. They were playing the famous golf course at Valderrama and we reckoned we would regret it if we didn't go along for the ride. As in golf buggy ride, which cost us an arm and a leg, as they say. Why DO together say that, by the way? Is there a hidden meaning of which I am unaware?


I have just checked it out and the favourite interpretation is that in the olden days portrait painters charged less for a head and shoulders picture of the subject in question, who would have to pay up a lot more to have his or her arms and legs included. Plausible though this appears, it is apparently Wrong, All Wrong, which is a pity because I would like to have been able to trot it out in conversations. In France, they talk about something costing "the eyes from your head" which is just scary, don't you think, while Bulgarians talk of "costing your mother and father." Don't you just love it when the Daily Blog comes over all educational?

I couldn't imagine how I would survive four or five hours in a golf buggy and pondered on which book or books I should take with me to while away the time. Amazingly, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience - perhaps the influence of the brooding Rock of Gibraltar? - and the hours flew by. Which just shows one should always be prepared to be surprised.

Which takes me back to the beginning of today's blog and my reasons for wanting to watch the rugby. These were nothing at all to do with the match but everything to do with the fact that my friend Margaret was singing with the Gamesmakers' Choir before the match. The members of this rather special choir, in case you don't know, were all volunteers - Gamesmakers - at the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. How thrilling to know that the Unfailingly Cheery Ones who made so many visitors' days are still inspiring people, now through song. Disapointingly, Sky TV for some reason focussed completely on the rugby players - how irritating is that? I could see the choir in the background, singing away merrily despite the rain, but they were too far out from the camera shot for me to scan their faces in search of my friend Margaret.

Still, you see, she was there, even if I couldn't see her. How special was that? And knowing Margaret, she will have been singing her heart out.

The rugby? Oh, yes, Mr B tells me England lost to South Africa.

Wasn't I supposed to be watching, he wanted to know?

Latest comments

Yesterday | 21:24

For once I have to disagree with you - Hull being my local club! Still I hope you are feeling much better - and will sacrifice a Hull win if it kept Mr B happy

18.11 | 21:21

Get well soon xxx

16.11 | 22:52

Aww. Thank you Jacq ui. This was a fab surprise!

04.11 | 07:33

Just love it Jacqui....what talented grandchildren you have.

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