Monday, 25 August 2014


Unfortunately my hubby did not recover from all the complications that followed his stroke. I was with him when he passed away peacefully yesterday. I'm going to be lost and sad for a long time I know, but I'm glad his suffering is over, and he would have hated being disabled by his stroke, even if he had come home again.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Family Crisis

After the last lot of happy news, things are turned around again. In the early hours of last Thursday, my poor hubby had a heart attack and then, while he was being treated for that, he had a stroke. They told me it was all caused by blood clots. While his heart has hardly been damaged, he has lost the use of his right side and his speech is badly impaired. We're lucky he is still with us, but it's going to be a long road to recovery.

Naturally I'm spending a lot of time at the hospital with him. Meanwhile the neighbours are fighting over who will look after Jade and take her for lovely walks. Yesterday she was taken around Badbury Rings again. I think she is still pleased to see me when I collect her in the evening, even if she is just looking forward to her supper. It's so good to have her company in my empty house.

Monday, 11 August 2014

A Hectic Couple of Weeks

Hmm. Two weeks and five days since my last post. Sorry. I'm slipping. But it has been pretty hectic. I had to get all my July work finished and invoiced early and  get ahead with the early August stuff. And then I had two  happy but hectic weeks off. The first one was spent at Clover Cottage in Galmpton (which I highly recommend as a self catering option for that part of the world), a pretty village sandwiched between glorious Torbay beaches and the banks of the River Dart. I'll post more about that later.

While there I took a call from my friend from New York, whom I haven't seen for a few years. She was coming over for a flying visit to London and wanted to arrange to meet on Monday after I got back. She invited me to lunch at Galvin at Windows, which is the restaurant on the 28th floor of the Hilton in Park Lane, normally way out of my league.

So I was on the 9 am train and managed to get there before her and sit in the bar contemplating the incredible 360% views and looking forward to the complimentary bellini (reminder of my Venice trip). My friend looked well, and it was so good to see her. We thoroughly enjoyed our  catch up over a lingering meal with waiters hovering to fulfil our every wish. getting home was rather tedious. I missed the through train and had to change at four different stations. It was worth it though.

I was busy with domestic stuff the rest of the week and on Friday family arrived - my daughter with hers and her dog. My son will turn 50 tomorrow and his partner had organised a surprise party for him on Saturday night in a private room in a Bournemouth bar. I took my granddaughter over there by train and we got a lift back at 11 pm while the ravers continued partying till about 2.30. I think my boy had a ball, and his girlfriend did really well to organise it all in secret.

We also did some great dog walks over the weekend and Jade got much more active than usual running around with her pal, Rafi. They get on quite well now he's a bit older and doesn't hassle her to play indoors. We just have to keep them apart at feeding time. Jade is very jealous of her food.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A Later Dog Walk

It's been so hot, we didn't take Jade for her afternoon walk till nearly 7 pm, and it was still baking up on the common above the beach. When we got down there, lots of dogs were in the sea, but Jade still won't get her feet wet.

In the photo, the car park is pretty empty, but this evening it was nearly full and I only just managed to get a slot. I had to drive because hubby had already had a couple of lagers. I hate driving him and he hates sitting in the passenger seat, so it isn't much fun. I always drive so much better when I'm on my own or with pretty well anyone else. Still we made it and had a slow meander round the circuit. I think everyone is glad to be home though. As I write I'm sipping a glass of white wine over ice. Bliss.

Next week we'll be away on our hols. I don't suppose we'll have this weather then.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Singing Again

It was hot for singing today. But we just got on with it, like the troupers we are.
We tried a new song that took me right back to my youth.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Orchid on the Windowsill

This orchid was a present from my daughter a couple of years ago. It's about the fourth time it has flowered. The blooms hang around for a while before they drop off and when they are all gone, it looks as though it will never flower again. Then after a while it suddenly starts to develop these little pips, which grow into the exotic and fiercely alien looking flowers.

There's no doubt they are very beautiful, but to me they are also quite spooky, especially the snake like growths at the base. I wonder if there is a story about to erupt. (My stories usually wake me up in the middle of the night, making me go downstairs to type them up.)

Monday, 14 July 2014

Good Brainstorming

I worked as a proposal adviser for a major international accountancy and management consultancy firm for over eight years. For a while we were a team of two in the London marketing department specialising in that area. We helped bidding teams in a number of regional offices and those in other European countries. I even went to Sydney, Australia on one memorable occasion.

photo by Lhixon

Among the techniques we developed was a way to organise brainstorming to get the most out of each session in the time available. We would end up with lists of ideas written up on flip charts and blue tacked up all around the room, so we were nicknamed the Flipchart Queens.

Lately I wrote an article with 10 tips about this to sell at Constant Content. It has already sold once but I retain the rights to it. Here is an excerpt - tips six and seven:

“6. Set one important rule: no immediate discussion of the ideas. That will come later. Anything goes at the ideas generation stage. Encourage contributions from everyone. Even the office gopher could come up with something you could make workable. If people find some humour in the exercise, they’ll start to enjoy it. Inhibitions will be lost and you’ll get more out of it.

7. If it’s difficult to get started, try turning your objective on its head and asking for ideas on how to put that potential client off, or whatever the opposite of your question is. Then you might be able to work out the positive sides of those negative ideas.”

Want to read more or buy my piece? Check it out at in my portfolio at Constant Content.

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