December 25, 2013
Filed Under (Anti-Social Behaviour, but not forgotten?, Unbelievable) by Keith on 25-12-2013


Since my partner died 10 years ago I have spent every Christmas, bar one, on my own despite having a lot of relatives who always have a get together every year, but I’m never included. Not even a phone call or email to check that I’m OK.

As far as I can remember I have never done anything to warrant this. I have often wondered why I’m shunned at this time of “goodwill-to-all-men”. I found the truth on the webpage of “The Huffington Post” and I quote some facts and figures from it below.

Half a million older people will spend Christmas alone this year as relatives and neighbours shun them in favour of smaller family gatherings and shopping, a charity has revealed.

The Friends of the Elderly charity said many older people will be isolated by younger generations, who said they were too busy to include them in their plans.

In a survey commissioned by the charity, nearly one in four people (24%) said they would not be inviting any elderly relatives or local residents to their Christmas celebrations.

Only 1% of those surveyed said Christmas was a time to help others, while well over half (60%) thought it meant spending time with family and friends. About 11% said “the birth of Christ” represented the meaning of Christmas – about the same number (9%) who plumped for “shopping”.

More people would volunteer to help animals (28%) than the elderly (26%), according to the survey. Nearly half (44%) of respondents said they did not have enough time to visit the elderly, while 13% said they did not want to and 11% said they thought the older people around them got “plenty of visits already”.

More than two-thirds (68%) agreed that the worst thing they could imagine at Christmas was being alone, but only 13% said that they would consider having a lonely older person spend Christmas Day with them.

The charity said that 500,000 older people will spend Christmas alone, based on ICM research for Help the Aged in 2007.

Richard Furze, the charity’s chief executive, said: “The effects of isolation on older people – including loneliness, depression, feelings of low self-worth, poor health and diet – can be devastating, with isolated individuals being less likely to obtain the services they need or seek help.

“Small things such as simply checking in on an older neighbour regularly, popping a card through their door or having a chat with an older person at the shops is enjoyable for both young and older people, only takes a moment and can make a real difference.”

“We understand that people are incredibly busy today, and especially at Christmas, but we urge people to get more involved with the older people around them – and not just at Christmas”.

Yeah, right. Guess what I’m going to do when Christmas is over . . . . . .

November 11, 2013
Filed Under (Calligraphy & Lettering, Handwriting) by Keith on 11-11-2013

VodafoneAfter a lot of pressure from my friend(?) and enemies I reluctantly bought a cell-phone, or mobile as some unenlightened folk would call it. I had been resisting buying one for a long time, because being an old “stick-in-mud” I value my privacy when I’m out and about. Nothing irritates me more than people around me having their ear (or fingers) permanently glued to that nasty piece of plastic, the scourge of modern day living!

Someone pointed out to me that perhaps it would be wise to have one at my incredible old age (Cheek!) in case of an emergency i.e., the car breaks down halfway across the Sahara desert, I fall off a mountain and there’s nobody around or my yacht starts to take on water halfway across the Atlantic, and other such minor emergencies.

It seemed the sensible thing to do, so I bought a pay-as-you-go phone with a “qwerty” keyboard thinking that it would be good for texting. Wrong! Even with my new glasses I have a terrible time trying to read the tiny symbols. I don’t mean the normal a to z ones, It’s the alt+something to get the second function on each key! So I gave up after a while and just replied to text messages with a phone call. That is until I “Stumbled Upon” a page that had the answer to my problem. Click here.

texting 002Being very observant I noticed that my iPhone had a camera in it so I tried out the idea of scribbling my answer on a bit of scrap paper and then taking a picture which I sent in reply. It worked!

Now I carry a small notebook and pen with me and just reply or send a picture, Yes I know it’s more expensive this way, but I get about one text a week and send about the same number, so what the heck? I don’t have to strain my eyes trying to use the sub-miniature keyboard.

On the plus side your recipient gets a more personal reply in your own handwriting, instead of that ‘orrible Arial font that is usually associated with texting. There is no need to use “text language” either, like LOL, CUL8er etc., just scrible it out “that made me laugh!”, “See you later”

texting 001
Do you get the picture? (Pun intended). The examples above are just quick notes jotted down in my “scribble handwriting”, if I am at home and have time I letter the texts out neatly in various handwriting styles with little cartoons or drawings if necessary. Now I have complete strangers texting me just to get a handwritten note back. Obviously the word is getting around.

November 04, 2013
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Keith on 04-11-2013


October 30, 2013
Filed Under (cat-astrophic, Cookery, Food, Herbs) by Keith on 30-10-2013

Giant GarlicI am a big fan of garlic. I use it in practically all my cooking, whether or not the recipe calls for it.

I don’t buy the insipid horrible little bulbs you see on the Supermarket shelves. They are enough to put people off garlic for life. No, I buy from The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight.

There are so many varieties of garlic that it is sometimes impossible to decide which to buy. My own personal favourite is the “Solent Wight” (click on the pic above to see an enlarged view). Fortunately my local garden centre shop stocks most of the types available from The Garlic Farm so I don’t have to go to the Isle of Wight to buy when my stocks are low!

Garlic is a bit like Marmite, you either like it, or you HATE it. Me? I love it, and can’t get enough of it. It’s good for the digestion and your heart, and further more, when you eat it your breath keeps away vampires, zombies and predatory women!

You can even buy Roast Garlic Jam, Roast Garlic Mayonnaise and even Garlic and Herb Popcorn.

I tried to give my cat Dinky some garlic flavoured cat-food, but she just sniffed it, spat at it and fled across the fields sneezing. That’s the trouble with cats, they just don’t appreciate good food.

October 23, 2013
Filed Under (Good Old days, The truth) by Keith on 23-10-2013

paraffin-heaterThe weather has been atrocious these last few days. Rain, rain and more rain. I must admit that between the storms it did clear up and rain for a while.

“I don’t know what you are complaining about.” said a friend “It just liquid sunshine!”

Today dawned bright and sunny and as the day progressed so did the temperature. Apparently it was warmer here in Britland this afternoon than in Mexico City, according to the met-man on TV.

I decided to take advantage of the lull in the monsoon season to get about and about and do some errands. First stop, the filling station to get some petrol.

While I was filling the tank I noticed that they had pre-packed paraffin on the forecourt. I thought it would be wise to get a stock in for my greenhouse heater just in case the weather turned really cold in the winter (which is a dead cert it would!). I paid for the petrol and the paraffin and when I returned home I looked at the receipt and was shocked by the price so I did some quick mental arithmetic checked up on my calculator what the real price was in UK gallons. I can’t be doing with these new-fangled “litre” thingies!

It turns out that petrol (gas, in the Colonies) is now £6.14 per UKgal ($9.92 USD), and paraffin (kerosene) is £8.99 per UKgal ($14.53 USD).

When I was a lad in nineteen hundred and frozen stiff I can remember that paraffin cost 3/6d per gal, and petrol was 5/6d in proper English money; and, no, I’m not even going to attempt to convert that into USDs. How times have changed.

Good morning, Betsy.

September 15, 2013
Filed Under (Calligraphy & Lettering, Cookery) by Keith on 15-09-2013

One of my many lady friends, who is French, asked me to write out this menu to frame and put up in her kitchen:

Don’t understand it? Here are the first five lines to start you off. . .

Place in a large bowl of peace,
1 kg of love
2 liters of joy
A pinch of hope
100 grams of goodness

One day when I have less time, I will write it all out in English (UK that is).

September 11, 2013
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Keith on 11-09-2013

Before I post this item may I suggest that you visit and read this post to get an idea of what is going on.

Then there were three, but now there are only two of us left. My Best friend died earlier this year. The other friend decided that we should discontinue the Din-din Club because as there were only two of the original eight left it was pointless carrying on, and he wasn’t feeling to well himself.

I suggested that we have one last dinner together and to toast to “Absent Friends” and then call it a day. He said OK, providing I did a “Galette Complète” with a “Salad Niçoise” (his favourite meal).

After the meal there was none of the usual jollity, beer and playing cards, poor Robin is an invalid now, he has to use a walking frame. He just wanted a cup of tea and to reminisce of our times in the Army, i.e., being shot at in the Suez Canal war and other delights!

Afterwards I drove him back to his lonely little flat where he can no longer cook and clean for himself, and has to rely on carers and ‘Meals-on-Wheels’. As I drove back to my house I thought there, but for the grace of God, go I.

Now I need someone to make a nice comment to cheer me up now.

August 23, 2013
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Keith on 23-08-2013

Olny srmat poelpe can raed tihs. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs psas it on.

Now ltes see if aynone can witre a stuialbe comenmt abuot tihs:

August 22, 2013
Filed Under (but not forgotten?, Puzzling, Unbelievable) by Keith on 22-08-2013

Recently I seemed to have rather a lot of people calling on me, not just friends, but casual acquaintances, drinking friends from the pub and numerous cold callers trying to sell me things I didn’t want. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of Later Day Saints and the Salvation Army came for a rest and a cuppa!

I couldn’t understand why I had so many people calling on me. For a start I thought it was my wonderful charm and charisma, combined with a pleasant personality and generosity. So you can imagine that I was very flattered that people had time for me, in spite of the fact that they all consumed vast quantities of coffee, tea, whisky, cakes and biscuits whilst chatting to me.

Then one day as I was leaving the house I looked down at my new doormat with the words “Welcome to one and all” emblazoned across it and it suddenly dawned on me why I was so popular. It wasn’t me they came to see, it was the vitals I handed out so freely.

I picked up the doormat and threw it into the recycle bin and went and bought the mat you now see in the picture. This was several weeks ago.

Now I know what a prisoner in solitary confinement feels like.

“Hello? Is there anyone out there?”

August 22, 2013
Filed Under (Calligraphy & Lettering, Handwriting) by Keith on 22-08-2013

As I stated in a previous post my handwriting had deteriorated somewhat since leaving school in 1953 so I had decided to do something about it. I bought a textbook on good handwriting in 1957 and began practising.

Below is a sample of my handwriting, taken from one of my journals at the time:

After one year I felt confident enough to re-write that particular travel journal in my “new handwriting”. Below is a sample of the same text so that you can compare.

I know it still looks as if there was room for improvement, and now my handwriting has changed again; for the better I hope. I would be interested to see your comments about whether changing your writing destroys any “character” in it, as some people claim. The usual response when you criticise someone’s handwriting claiming that it’s unreadable is “Yes, but you must admit it’s got character!”.

The whole idea of writing is to communicate information clearly and legibly, not to show the individuals “character”.