Category Archives: Wellbeing

What does winter mean to you?

Just brought the garden brolly inside, stacked up the garden chairs and swept the patio clean of leaves.
The plum tree looks stark and bare, most of the flower pots are empty  and the barbecue in the corner has become a storage unit again.

Looking on the bright side  ……………..
I’ve just spotted the basket of jams and pickles I made ready for winter teatimes, so I’ll light the candles by the fire, make some  crumpets and open one of those jars of plum jam I just came across. And while I have my tea I can look out at the last of the colour – the berries, the winter jasmine and the leaves on that nice pear tree.

I know its only just November but I can do it all again in December – and January – and February –  I’ve got 18 jars of jam left – anyone for crumpets?

Yeay!! We made it!! Thank you, sponsors , for your support

bhf medal
Slight trepidation before the start but this event is so superbly organised, the marshalling is great, there were  15 official refreshment stops along the way
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and many unofficial ones – offering free water and bananas or cakes and even a hosing down by two eager children  at one – at least they gave you the option to decline.
The weather was great for cycling until we got to the Ditchling Beacon – a monster of a steep hill which all but the fittest walked up (I walked, needless to say ) but what I wasn’t expecting was the howling gale at the top of it! As we toiled uphill we noticed some huge speakers in the hedgerow and a cable leading up to a van. Then an ethereal voice floated out over our heads …….’Lady in the pink T shirt! we can see you! (What, me?) ‘¿Quién me habla?’ I thought. The local Scout Group was manning this stop – they have to have their fun!
Jumper back on, it was downhill into a head wind and gratefully on to the coast. The hills on the South Downs are longer than what I’m used to – whether you’re going up or down – the down hill was fun – top speed for me was 30 mph but some of the youngsters were going down like demons. There were a few spills and the odd puncture – thankfully not for us, so, all in all, it was a great experience and if you enjoy cycling I recommend it  – but I’m glad I did some training first.
Of course, the whole point was to raise some money for the British Heart Foundation and thanks to YOUR generosity Team Dawe  (my brother, my nephew and myself) between us raised around £1,250  – so we are very pleased.
Thanks everyone.

'I did it my way' – OR 'It's a right-handed world'


I’ve often wondered – being left handed – why the majority of people should be right handed; after all, we all have two hands – why should 90% of people use their right rather than their left? Should be 50/50 surely?
I went to school in the sixties so, luckily, I just missed being part of a generation that was made to feel inferior – or worse! if they were left handed. My only experience of being made to do anything right handed at school was when we learnt to knit. Obviously, my mother could knit but it was my primary school teacher, Miss Harris, who said she would have to show me ‘her way’ as apparently I was managing to add another stitch onto every row doing it ‘my way’ – that cravat I was knitting had a distinctly triangular look to it – teddy would not be pleased!!
Lots of everyday implements seemed to contrive to make life difficult  – scissors, craft knives, pencil sharpeners, can openers, but ask any left hander and they’ll say ‘especially scissors’ – and you don’t realise why (and neither do the adults around you) until much later in life – you just think you’re a bit useless (‘cack-handed’ was an expression that cropped up regularly – I’ve just looked it up in a Spanish-English dictionary and it translates as slow, clumsy, uncoordinated etc etc).
Growing up I’d say scissors and can openers caused me the most grief, later followed by corkscrews – do you know how frustrating it is to have a nice bottle of wine sitting there – and not be able to open it?  Thank God for screw tops!
These days there is a proliferation of retailers and online sites offering anything a left hander could need – and sites that  claim their products are ‘ambidexterous’ – suitable for everyone but this is SO  not true!! I suspect a lot of them are designed by right handers.
When I got married I discovered there was still a lot of real prejudice against lefties in Spain. My in-laws, the same as a lot of older people in the U.K., thought  we were the devil’s spawn – I didn’t really have a leg to stand on as far as my father-in-law was concerned – English, non-Catholic and oh! no! LEFT HANDED as well!!  He used to go beserk if he ever caught me trying to teach my children to write or draw with my pen in my left hand (where else would it be!) In fact, one of his own children – if left to her own devices, would be left-handed, but that was unthinkable so she was forced to write right-handed – consequence? she hates writing or reading or anything to do with studying at all! It’s interesting that the Spanish for left is ‘siniestro’  (Latin ‘sinistra’)  – which also means ‘sinister’, ‘evil’ and the Spanish for right is ‘diestro’ – which also means ‘skilful’ or ‘expert’!!
What started me on this rant? Well, this morning I was mopping the kitchen floor and to squeeze the excess water out I pressed the mop head into the bucket and turned it  – but it is SCREWED onto the handle and yes – you’ve guessed it – anything  with a thread is  also designed the wrong way for me! The mop head unscrewed and fell off! You see, it’s these little things that bug you!
There are funny sides to being a leftie. Years ago when I was learning to ride, our instructor set up some jumps for us. Obviously, a jumping course as with any other circuit,  could  be clockwise or anticlockwise – but my natural instinct would be to go anticlockwise – i.e. turn and jump the first jump on the left. Well, that wasn’t the way I was supposed to go – I didn’t really enjoy jumping, riding, yes, but jumping? scary!  so perhaps I just switched off  when she issued the instructions. Anyway, the instructor looked on aghast as I proceeded to jump everything ‘backwards’! and when I eventually hit the deck – inevitable, really – she loomed over me and screeched ‘I CAN’T BELIEVE  you did that!!
And people who say – ‘Why don’t you just do it right-handed?’ …………. are really …..  quite annoying!
A Happy New Year to lefties everywhere!