Saturday, July 31, 2010

My 100th Blogpost!

In celebration of my 100th post, I have a special story for you. So grab a cuppa and a biscuit or three, and read on..........................

You may remember that during the 1990's I worked for our local newspaper, the Lincolnshire Echo.

Each December, the Echo would raise awareness and funds for a particular charity. Some local, some national.

During the troubles in the former Yugoslavia, we were approached to run a campaign for the British troops stationed there.

To boost morale we asked local residents to donate a shoe box filled with useful items, such as toiletries, writing pads, and sweets.

The boxes were to be gift wrapped, marked male or female, and dropped off at our offices. We then loaded the presents into trucks to be delivered to our troops in time for Christmas.

We wondered if we would reach our target. How could we doubt our readers' generosity? Thousands of presents were donated all over our fair county!

It wasn't only our troops who benefited from these good deeds, and I learned a very important lesson - goodwill is contagious and can even be addictive.

One particular elderly couple came in every single week, donating a total of eight gifts. Mr and Mrs B each filled a box - one for a man and one for a woman. They came in every Friday morning, and over the four week period, the wrappings and decorations on the boxes became more and more elaborate.

On their last visit to our offices, they were beaming!

"Have a lovely Christmas. You only had to donate one gift, you know," I said, giving them both a hug as I thanked them.

Mr B. looked at me, and said in his lovely Lincolnshire accent,

"D'ya know what, lass? We've no family, so we only usually wrap presents for each other. We've bin wrapping these boxes ev'ry Thursday night, reg'lar as clockwork. We made it a sort of game, like. 'Who could wrap the nicest parcel'. The missus and me 'ave really enjoyed doin' it!"

A couple of months later, I was sad to see in the Obituaries that Mr B. had passed away. I had a little weep and decided to go to the funeral. Mr B. had mentioned that they'd no family, so I was expecting the Church to be half empty.

How wrong I was - there were at least a hundred people in attendance. Mrs B. insisted that I join them afterwards for "a cup of tea and a ham sandwich," and I spoke to some of the mourners.

I heard story after story of how Mr B. had helped his neighbours over the years. There were tales of washing machine repairs, lifts to hospital, and shopping for new mums. Mr B. would definitely be missed!

As we were all leaving, I offered my condolences to Mrs B. and asked if there anything I could do.

She looked at me with a wicked little smile on her face,

"You don't know anyone who could make use of 8 pairs of men's shoes, do you, lass?"

Noticing the puzzled look on my face, she asked,

"Where else did you think we got the boxes from?"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happiness is a Journey, not a Destination!

All is well here at Dollytub Cottage.

I have many more humorous tales to tell, but I am giving my chuckle muscle a little rest today.

My next blogpost will be my 100th posting, so I would like to take a moment to reflect on my life since first starting my blog in April 2009.

I had been following YOUR blogs for a few months, and thought I would like to give it a try myself.

At that time , I was in a very scary place emotionally. I had lost my life partner Liam to cancer five months earlier. I must admit that I felt as though I had slid into an alternative universe where my life no longer made any sense. I found that using my brain to create my tales very therapeutic, and gave me something else to think about.

However, distraction from our problems can only be a temporary solution, and after about a dozen posts, my mood took an even worse nose dive. The true reality of my situation at being without my soulmate hit me.

I gave up my blogging for several months, and needed oodles of support from friends and family whilst coming to terms with my changed circumstances. In particular, my BFF Carol, my sister Mandy, and my sons were all so instrumental in my recovery.

I began to feel a little better after Christmas, so I started my blogging again.

Since then, I continue to improve. You, my dear bloggeroos have also had your part to play in my return to normality.

I would like to thank you for all the comments and emails you have sent me. I really do appreciate them.

As my next post is my 100th one. I have written a very special story for you, so don't forget to pop back, will you?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Auntie Moo's Audacious Shopping Expedition!

My Mumsie has a little sister. Her real name is Muriel. She's a spinster in her seventies and nearly everyone calls her "Auntie Moo".

When I say she's my Mum's little sister, I use the term loosely. Although very slightly shorter than Mum - she is considerably wider.

Sadly she was born with no dress sense whatsoever, and can usually be found walking up Lincoln High Street in her orange and purple swirl-design cardy over her cerise crimpelene dress, swinging her psychedelic walking stick.

(Crikey, haven't my family got S-T-Y-L-E?)

We love her to bits. She is a generous soul and remembers everyone's birthday. However, not only does she not have any dress sense, she is also very DAFT!

She visits Mum and Dad each Friday. As Auntie Moo lives south of the City, the journey entails two bus rides. The first bus takes her into the City Centre, so before catching the second bus, she likes to do a bit of shopping.

You won't believe some of the stuff she buys!

A couple of years ago, she turned up at my parents' house, swinging a couple of carrier bags.......................

MUM: What's in the bags, Moo?

AUNTIE MOO: Just a couple of bits for my holiday.

Auntie Moo goes all over the British Isles on various Bus Trips. No matter where she goes - it always seems to end up either raining or really windy.

MUM: (Rolling her eyes.) Show us what you've bought then!

AUNTIE MOO: I've got a pair of goolies in this bag.

MUM: A pair of WHAT?!!!

AUNTIE MOO: Goolies. Here, look in the bag...............

Mum looked inside the bag.

Inside she saw..................................................

and this........................................

MUM: You silly sod, our Moo! They're called "Kagools", Moo, "KAGOOLS"!

But it was the second carrier bag that made Mum even more worried. Moo had bought something from.........................................

Mum hardly dare look in the bag. Inside there was a pair of black crotchless tights!

MUM: What have you bought these for?

AUNTIE MOO: I thought they'd be cooler during this hot weather.

MUM: But you only wear black tights on a Sunday.


MUM: Well I hope you don't get run over on the way to the Citadel. Goodness knows what the Captain would say if he knew you were wearing them under your uniform...................

This is a TRUE story - you couldn't make up stuff like this!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Can I do it 'Til I Need Glasses?.............

My big brother Les was always in trouble when we were kids.

Even today, at our weekly Family Lunch, you will hear Mumsie cry,

"You're still not too big for a good hiding!"

He winds her up, he teases her, he playfully sits on her knee and 'forces' her to stroke his very hairy legs.

She squeals, she laughs, she cries, she swears at him, but he won't give in 'til she tells him he's the best son in the world.

When he was in his 30's, he lived away from Lincoln. One weekend he came home to attend a family party.

He stayed at my parents' house in his old bedroom.

I lived the other side of the City, so I stayed there too.

We had a great time at the party, got back to Mum and Dad's and all went upstairs to bed.

After about five minutes, Les shouted,

"Muuuuuum, Muuuuuuum. Quick Mum come here!"

Worried that he was feeling ill, or had one of his famous, regular, copious nosebleeds - she jumped out of bed and sped across the landing and into his room.

He put on his best 'Little Boy' voice and said,

"Canna have a drink of water, Mum, canna, canna?"

I could hear the slap from my room!


One night we had gone to bed very late, after returning from a day at the seaside.

Les was about 12, I was 7.

Mum came out of the bathroom and went in to say "Goodnight" to my brother.

He was hiding under the covers......

I heard her say,

"I've told you before. Don't do THAT! It'll make you go blind!"

I wondered what he could possibly be up to.

"Can I do it 'til I need glasses?" he asked.

Trying not to laugh she said,

"You already wear glasses, now settle down."

From beneath the covers, he brought.............

and a ..................

You naughty bloggeroos! What did you think I was going to say?

For another of my brother's escapades see here

Friday, July 16, 2010

What the Dickens!!................

When I'm thinking about a blogpost, I use various avenues of inspiration................

My memory
My family, particularly the children and the "Seniors"
My old diaries
Conversations I have

Sometimes, I begin to write about one thing, and the tale seems to take on a life of its own, and ends up quite differently to what I thought I was going to post!

Occasionally, I will start with the title, and see what flows. The titles I choose will come from everyday sayings, proverbs, or song titles.

Just for a change, I may begin to use book titles, inspired by the pile of books on my bedside table.

So here's a few ideas I've had of blogposts yet to be written.............

This one would be about the time I went up North to see my family and got on the wrong train. (Not once, but TWICE!)

This one - about when I couldn't find my Mum whilst out shopping..........

How about another story about Mandy, my Ickle Ditder............?

I could write about the neighbours who live opposite, who are always knocking on my door...........

I'm told I'm a bit "careful" with money so I might write about the patch of carpet that leads to where I hide all of my cash...............

Then there's the story of when I went away for a few days and forgot to pack my knickers.................

an alternative title for THAT story that may equally be considered.................

But, for today, I will tell of the 'phone call I had with my Aunty Bert.
(Her real name is Bertha, she's not a transvestite!)

I'll call this one....................


Both Aunty Bert and I have Fibromyalgia. A couple of months ago, after getting through a bad flare up, Aunty Bert 'phoned me.

Here is the conversation........................

AUNTY BERT: Thank you for my birthday card and present.

ME: You're very welcome!

AUNTY BERT: Your Mum said you a bad week last week. Feeling better?

ME: Much better thanks. The Doctor gave me a short course of steroids.

AUNTY BERT: I take steroids too. Why doesn't he give you them to take every day like my Doctor does?

ME: He's worried about the long term effects.

AUNTY BERT: Really? You've got me worried now. I shall ask about that when I next see the doctor.

Aunty Bert had just celebrated her 90th Birthday!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Something to Think About...............................

I'm taking a little blogging break, but I will be back soon!

In the meantime, I thought you may find this thought provoking..........


In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Unlucky in Love............

Go get yourself a cup of tea, a biscuit or three and a Tena Lady, and I will tell you the story of my quest to find True Love!

I was married for 19 years to a wonderful man - the father of my my two sons.

We remain on friendly terms, and I don't think either of us wish we had never married.

Apart from my marriage and my 8 year relationship with my late partner - I have been very unlucky in love..............

Firstly, there was Bob, he was a builder

A great bloke, but he never turned up on the day he said he would, and kept nipping off to see someone else.

Then there was Boris, the Optician............

I couldn't "see" that going anywhere.

Next, there was Pat the Postman................

I only saw him once.

After our first date, every time he arranged to pick me up - he kept going to the wrong address.

Not to mention all that cat hair!

Steve, the Bookmaker, was the next man to drift into my life...................

All he ever did was take my money off me!

Then there was John, the Jeweller.....................

He was always promising to "give me a ring" - and never did.

Jeremy, the Vicar seemed promising at first...............

- but all that time on my knees?

I then met Justin. Justin was an explorer. We didn't see each other very much.

First he went off to the North Pole.

Then he joined an expedition to the South Pole.............

I decided not to pursue this relationship...................

I'd heard he was BI-POLAR!

The chap I met most recently was Gordon, the Newsagent.

But I'm now having second thoughts about him...........

Surely it's not normal to spend all that time surrounded by 13 year old boys?

For my previous tales of woe see