Yesterday, we lost a friend

My auntie Liz was beautiful, even glamorous

My auntie Liz was beautiful, even glamorous

Hi, it’s Ivan here.  I’m sorry we haven’t been around for a while but, after you read this, you’ll probably understand why.  You’ll probably also forgive the fact that this is perhaps not as lucid as other posts we have made.

Yesterday, someone who has known me and cared about me all my life died.

My auntie Liz was beautiful, even glamorous and, together with her husband, my uncle Frank, always outrageous fun to be with.  She was my mother’s older sister and the last survivor of 5 Searson children – and I guess I just thought she would always be there.

I remember growing up in Derbyshire and always loving to go to their home – a 10-minute drive away – and play with my cousins.  And I remember being devastated when they moved over a hundred miles to the south.  That was an unimaginable distance to a small boy and, before the motorways had reached Derbyshire, a drive there was a major undertaking for my dad.

It meant that I got to see Liz, Frank and my cousins perhaps only a couple of times a year and led to my parents being subjected for the first time to a phrase that was soon to become familiar, “are we nearly there yet”.

Their move away only served to add to the glamour and romance I saw in the entire family.  To my mind, my aunt, uncle and cousins were having new and exciting experiences – in fact, my cousins even began to change the way they spoke, picking up the accent and intonations of their new friends – while I remained stuck where I was.  Our trips south were soon to become a highlight of the year for me.

Tales of their adventures and scrapes are legion and, often, hilarious – at least, to family members.  To ‘non-insiders’, they may fall under the categories of ‘you had to be there’ or ‘you had to know them’, so I won’t relate them here – though I may test the waters in a future post.

All I’ll say is think back to a time when you laughed so hard that tears were rolling down your cheek, your stomach hurt more than you could stand and you feared, if you laughed any more, you’d throw up.  That’s what it was like at least once a day when the families got together.

Roll the clock forward a few years and I also moved away, initially to London and then further south.  Our visits became less frequent and I’d see Liz, Frank and my cousins at family events – weddings, milestone birthdays, and retirement parties.  At all of these, people would naturally gravitate towards them – they were such fun to be with.

Roll the clock forward many more years to 2010 and Liz’s sister, Helen – my mother – became ill.  I’ve written elsewhere about that and won’t go into it here but, throughout the month my mother was in hospital leading up to her death, Liz and Frank, occasionally supported by their daughter (also named Helen), were almost ever present.  Despite the long journey for them – and you should know they were both, by then, in their 80s – they were an amazing support to my mum and, increasingly, to my sister Jane and me.

You may have read elsewhere on our site how a decision we made while on holiday in Italy was pivotal in the direction our lives have taken.  Well, after my mother died, we invited Liz and Frank to join us on that holiday.  After a while, they decided that it would be too much at their age – a decision we were sad about at the time but, on reflection, I’m pretty certain we’d have laughed so much I’d have spent most of my time nursing torn stomach muscles had they come.

We did, though, start to spend more time with Liz and Frank.  Their home is a couple of hours or so from ours, so it wasn’t as often as we’d have liked but we made sure we packed as much fun into the day as possible when we did go.

On one such occasion, we took with us a box of photographs we had found when we cleared my mother’s house.  Carole and I sat in amazement as they identified without any hesitation so many people in photographs taken during their childhoods and even earlier – their memories of the names of these now long-dead folk (and what they had got up to) still razor-sharp.

always outrageous fun to be with

...always outrageous fun to be with

It was over the course of these visits that something rather special happened.  And it’s something that Carole and I only recognized very recently.  Liz and Frank stopped being just my aunt and uncle.  They became something much more valuable to us.  They became our friends.  And that is what is making this post so much harder to write.

Earlier this year, Liz told us she had become ill and would soon begin treatment.  The treatment would be intense and not at all pleasant, making her feel worse than the illness itself.  However, she faced up to this with immense courage, enduring weeks of daily visits to the hospital.

About a month ago, though, she had a fall and was admitted to hospital.  Initially, things seemed to be progressing ok and when Carole and I visited her, she seemed very positive about moving home.  She talked of the adaptations that would be needed to the home but Liz seemed to accept this as just the next stage in her life.

On Monday morning of this week, I received a call from Helen – the sort of call we all dread.

Liz’s health had deteriorated markedly and maybe we should get up to visit her soon.  We drove up that same day and it was clear that Liz was now very ill indeed.  She was barely conscious and only able to give a hint of a response to questions asked of her.

We travelled home that night with heavy hearts – we knew the end was near but Carole had commitments the following day.  I drove up again on Tuesday and was privileged to spend the next two days and nights with Liz, Frank and their children and grandchildren round Liz’s bed.

Even at this sad time, we laughed so hard it hurt.  And not just once – many times.  Frank kept me massively entertained with his stories, many I recognized as stories I’d heard years ago but which, in the intervening period, had picked up layer upon layer of new and intricate embroidery.  It helped me enormously to listen to him – I only hope keeping me entertained helped him, too.

I sat with Frank and Liz through Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.  I think it’s fair to say, we were all surprised that Liz was still with us by the morning.  She battled on throughout the day, too.  I managed to grab a couple of hours sleep in the afternoon and, as we prepared for another night, it was obvious Liz was now very weak indeed.

At around 4 am yesterday, I had the very sad duty of waking the family as it was now obvious Liz was entering her final few minutes.  We gathered around her bed and at ten past four, surrounded by children and grandchildren and with Frank holding her hand as he had been doing for the previous two days and nights, Liz slipped quietly and peacefully away.

We are all enormously saddened that Liz is no longer with us but I’m also left with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I had such a beautiful, glamorous and funny aunt, that I found rather late two wonderful friends and that I was privileged enough to be with her and her family at the very end.

I’m sorry, then, if this post is a little rambling, incoherent or just not very good but, when you lose an aunt, it’s bad enough, but when you lose a friend too, it hurts.

Carole and Ivan Signature

Posted in Important stuff | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Power of Introverts

Recognising the power of introverts

It seems that modern society prizes the extrovert above the introvert.

the power of introvertsAs a society we encourage people to be more outgoing, to socialise and tend to look down on those who prefer a quieter, more introverted lifestyle.

Whether you are extrovert or introvert depends on how you react to social stimulus. Extroverts tend to crave a high level of stimulus while introverts are more comfortable in environments where there is a low level of stimulus.

So to function at our best we need to have the right level of stimulus.

While it is widely recognised that the most creative people tend to be introverts, our modern educational institutions and workplaces favour extroverts. For example the movement  away from individual workstations, both in schools and offices, and towards open plan offices and children working in groups, does not create the best environment for introverts.

It’s estimated that 1/3 to 1/2 of the world’s population is made up of introverts.

In this Ted Talk video Susan Cain gives us a fascinating insight into being an introvert and calls for the power of introverts to be recognized, encouraged and celebrated.

The Power of Introverts – Susan Cain

Now you’ve enjoyed this video you will be interested to know Susan Cain has also written a book about being an introvert – click the link below

Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking

We’ll be back soon

laptop lifestyle



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Our day of Olympic Tennis

Yesterday saw us travelling to Wimbledon for  a day of Olympic tennis.

Hi Carole here

olympic tennisNow it has to be said that I was a little more excited about this than Ivan as I’m the one that plays tennis and is the bigger fan. He would have preferred to be going to see the athletics, gymnastics or beach volleyball (ladies), but we were both happy and grateful we’d managed to get tickets and were able to be part of the 2012 London Olympics. The excitement had been building ever since we’d received our tickets. You can see how excited I was then here

From the moment we walked out of Wimbledon train station we were struck by cheerfulness and friendliness of the army of Olympic volunteers that were on hand to help. They lined the olympic tennisroute to the ground, guided people to the free bus and without exception had a smile on their face. When we got to the ground they were still very much in evidence, doing a superb job.

What wonderful ambassadors for our country this cheery bunch are.

There has been much talk lately about the problems with security for the olympic tennisOlympic events. Well we’re pleased to report that we found the security system to get into the ground very quick and efficient. Ivan was smiling even though (or because?) he was frisked by a soldier.

The sun was shining and it was promising to be another glorious day. So we wandered around the practice courts to see who was warming up.

And which Olympic tennis players did we see?

olympic tennisFirst we spotted Britain’s up and coming star Heather Watson who was being closely watched by Andy Murray’s mum Judy.

olympic tennisOn the next court we found Andy  warming up for his match on centre court that afternoon. A match we would be watching later.

olympic tennisNext we spotted Roger Federer, who had attracted a large crowd of spectators but being on the small side I managed to squeeze my way to the front.

olympic tennisThen Ivan spotted Jo-Wilfred Tsonga on the opposite court, so it was squeeze through the crowd again to get a good view. His was another match we’d be watching later.

It was a thrill for me to be so close to these great players.

Then we looked up and spotted a big black cloud overhead so decided this would be a good time to go and find our seats on Centre Court.

olympic tennisJust as we sat down, luckily under cover, the heavens opened and the rain poured down, and boy did it pour.

Not long after we heard the rumble of the roof closing so we knew the rain wasn’t going to spoil our day of tennis. Then the covers came off. The ground staff erected the net, the ball boys and girls came out followed by the line judges and we knew things were about to start.

We started with Julia Goerges of Germany beating number 2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.

olympic tennisThen came the match most of the crowd (a high percentage of Brits) had been waiting for – Andy Murray against Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka. Andy received a standing ovation when he won.

Then Russia’s Maria Sharapova’s convincing win against Isreal’s Shahar Peer.

Concluding with the fierce battle between France’s Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci with Tsonga the eventual victor

olympic tennisIn all around 8 hours of uninterrupted Olympic tennis. Apart from the occasional stretching of the legs, that was around 8 hours glued to my seat.

We felt really sorry for those who had tickets for No 1 Court and ground tickets –  they like us had waited months for this day – and their day of Olympic tennis had turned into something of a washout. We appreciated how lucky we were.

So we made our way back to the station for the journey home having enjoyed a great day of tennis and feeling good we’d been part of London 2012.

There are some who bemoan the fact that so much money has been spent on the games – but what’s so wrong in celebrating excellence? – something we, as Brits, do not do enough. We put on an amazing opening ceremony and the games have brought us a much-needed feel good factor. We have have this great opportunity to show the world that we are GREAT BRITAIN.

And as we walked through the streets of Wimbledon  those wonderful volunteers were still smiling.

We’ll be back soon

olympic tennis





Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

How to propose to your girl – Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal

Isaac's Live Lip-Dub ProposalIsaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal

We just watched the most amazing video on YouTube – Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal, you may have heard of it.  On 23rd May – just a week ago as we write this – some guy called Isaac got to propose to his girl, Amy.  Nothing special about that, you might think, other than for the people involved.

Well, wait until you see what Isaac – and around 60 of his friends – had planned for Amy.

This has to be one of the most heart-warming videos ever but be warned – you WILL cry!

YouTube Preview Image

Now, while we absolutely love this, we know that there are thousands of guys around the world who have been summoning up the courage to propose and who know that, whatever they do now, they’re going to be measured against this.  Pity them!  Isaac’s clearly a great guy but he just put a massive crimp in their day.

Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal has set the bar pretty high

… and, while thousands, if not millions of women around the world are falling in love with Isaac during the course of this 5 minute video (too late, he’s taken, ladies), there are just as many men saying to themselves “why didn’t I think of that?”

Anyway – let’s wish Isaac and Amy all the very best for a wonderful life together (spoiler alert – she says yes) and look forward to more imaginative proposal videos.

We’re off to watch Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal again… now, where did we put those Kleenex?

Carole and Ivan Signature

Posted in Cool things, Stuff you really should do | Tagged , | Leave a comment

London 2012 Olympics – The Tickets Arrive

This was a very special moment for us – and so who better to share it with than you? 🙂

Check out the video to see what we got.

Let us know if you were lucky and got tickets too!

Carole and Ivan Signature

Posted in Cool things, Stuff you really should do | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Does Homeopathy work?

Does homeopathy work?

A personal view from Ivan

When I told a friend that I was going to write a blogpost addressing that knotty question, he suggested I might want to reconsider.

When I asked why, he told me that, if I went ahead, I should be prepared to lose a substantial section of our subscribers.  He explained people have strong views on homeopathy and they don’t like to have them to be challenged.

Now, I may be  naïve, but I like to think our readers and subscribers are a pretty intelligent lot.

I’m a simple sort of chap but I know that if facts are presented to me that challenge my beliefs, then, I am happy to examine those facts to the best of my ability and, if they show what I had believed up until that point had been incorrect, I change my belief.  Isn’t that, after all, how humans have made progress throughout history – particularly over the last 100 years or so?

I’m guessing, if you’re reading this, you probably adopt a similar approach (even though I’d never dream of describing you as a ‘simple sort of chap’).  I hope so.  If not, then I’ll be sorry to see you prove my friend right.

Anyway, back to the question at hand – does homeopathy work?  And this is where my friend pops up again.  He told me a single blogpost was not the way to answer that question.  Rather tartly, I told him that he was right – the question could be answered, not in a single blogpost, but in a single word!

I’m not going to do that though – it would hardly be fair and reasonable.  So, instead, I may deal with the question over the course of more than one post – whether this spills over into other posts and how many depends upon how steamed up I get about this issue

So, before we go on to examine the question of does homeopathy work, we should perhaps explain what we are not addressing.  Many people still see homeopathy and herbal medicine as one and the same thing.  They are not.  Homeopathy is as far removed from herbal medicine as it is from standard western medicine.

So, how, exactly, is homeopathy supposed to work?

So what is the basic principle on which homeopathy is based?  According to the British Homeopathic Association’s website  ‘Homeopathy is based on the principle that ‘like cures like’ – in other words, a substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes if it was taken in large amounts. ‘

An interesting assertion, I’m sure you’ll agree.  So, what is the basis for that assertion on which all of homeopathy stands?   It seems that in the late 18th century, a doctor by the name of Samuel Hahnemann simply dreamt it up.  OK, scratch ‘dreamt it up’ and substitute ‘posited the theory’ that this was the case and then set out to prove (using ‘prove’ in it’s modern sense rather than it’s original meaning of ‘test’) the theory.

In fact, while we’re talking about it, ‘proving’ means something very specific to a homeopath and I may well touch on that in a later post.

Back to Hahnemann.  What he was saying was that, if a certain substance given to a healthy person caused a particular type of reaction or symptoms, then someone already suffering those symptoms (and note, we’re talking symptoms, not the cause of the symptoms) could be treated with a very dilute solution of the thing that caused those symptoms in the healthy person.

With me so far?  So, in simple terms, if a substance caused violent stomach pains and vomiting in a healthy person, then a person who was already suffering violent stomach pains and vomiting could be cured by taking a small amount of that substance.

Ok, the British Homeopathic Association talk of taking the substance in small amounts – exactly how small do we mean?

This is where things start to get really rather interesting.  We are talking very, very small indeed.  You will often see homeopathic remedies sold at 30C dilution – in other words, diluted at the rate of one part in a hundred, thirty times over.

Now, for the avoidance of any doubt, that is not the same as saying one part in thirty times one hundred, or, in other words, one part in 3,000.

For the sake of this explanation, let us assume that one part equals 1ml. A 30C dilution requires 1ml to be added to 99mls of water.  Then 1ml of the resultant solution to be added to 99mls of water.  Then 1ml of that resultant solution to be added to 99mls of water… and so on, until that process has been repeated 30 times over.

In other words, we end up with a solution that’s diluted to the point that there is one part of the active ingredient per 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 – to save you counting, that’s a 1 with 60 zeros after.

Imagine a sphere of water with a diameter of 150 million kilometres

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll look at a massive number like that and just glaze over.  That’s why I’m grateful to Ben Goldacre for putting it in terms I can understand in his excellent book Bad Science.  Before I go on to quote what Goldacre has to say, please note that, rather than  using 1ml as his base unit, he uses 1 molecule (which, even I know, is way, way smaller).

Anyway, here’s what he has to say:

‘For perspective, there are only around 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000 molecules of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.  Imagine a sphere of water with a diameter of 150 million kilometres (the distance from the earth to the sun).  It takes light eight minutes to travel that distance.  Picture a sphere of water that size, with one molecule of a substance in it: that’s a 30c dilution.*

*For pedants, it’s a 30.89C dilution’

Now, do bear in mind that homeopathic remedies are often sold in much more dilute forms – 200C is not uncommon.  Goldacre goes on to point out that, at a dilution of only 55C, 1 molecule of the active ingredient would need sufficient water to fill the entire universe.

No matter.  In fact, homeopaths contend that the more dilute the solution, the more potent the remedy – more of that later.

Now, even the most basic understanding of chemistry will tell you that, way before we approach the 30C dilution, there is none of the active ingredient left.  Only water.

So, all that a homeopathic remedy is is water, dropped onto a sugar pill?  Not according to the homeopaths.


You see, what I haven’t told you is that the dilution is done following very strict rules, which, it seems, makes all the difference.

Between each dilution, the substance is subjected to succussion.  ‘Su-who?’  I didn’t know what it was either, until I looked it up.

Succussion is a process whereby, with each dilution, the container holding the solution is tapped ten times against a firm surface.

Thank heavens for succussion!  Otherwise I’d have had to conclude that the 1.5billion Euros market (source: Homeopathy World Community website ) was founded on conning people into buying things that contained absolutely none of what it said on the pack.  (Sorry, I let my mask of impartiality slip there momentarily)

So, back to this succussion.  It seems that by following this particular process, something amazing happens to the water.  It is actually able to compensate for the fact that there is no longer a single molecule of the active ingredient by ‘remembering’ its effect. That’s right – the water develops a memory.

Now, let’s be clear here – and I am again indebted to Ben Goldacre for his valiant attempt to bridge some of the canyon-like gaps in my knowledge.  It seems physicists have discovered that

‘water molecules will form structures around a molecule dissolved in them at room temperature, the everyday random motion of water molecules means that these structures are very short-lived, with lifetimes measured in picoseconds, or even less.’

In other words, water has a memory even worse than mine.  And, as a side note, shouldn’t we all be grateful for that.  Water, after all, has had lots of other stuff floating about in it before it reached the homeopath’s bench – a lot of it nowhere near as palatable as the supposed active ingredient.

So, having diluted and succussed, diluted and succussed and so on, 30 times over, what then happens?  Well, I’ve already alluded to it.  A drop of the ‘solution’ (I put ‘solution’ in inverted commas as, by now, it’s just water) is placed on a sugar pill, whence, no doubt, it evaporates.

To Recap

So let’s just go over that again.  The more dilute the solution, the more potent; the solution works because the water has a memory of the molecules it no longer contains; the water with the memory evaporates from the sugar pill.

You know, the more I look at it, the more I’m amazed there’s a controversy here.

Now, I may have been a little unfair in singling Hahnemann out as a quack.  In all probability he meant well and it also seems highly likely that he killed far fewer of his patients than his contemporary colleagues – being given a harmless sugar pill as opposed to being subjected to blood-letting with dirty instruments would surely have led to him having a higher patient survival rate.

But that does not mean his methods work.  The human body is an evolutionary miracle, and has a most wondrous ability to recover from an incredible variety of illness and injury, given time (and protected from the heavy and, most likely, infectious hand of the 18th century surgeon) and that, coupled with the placebo effect, is in all probability, what happened.  Fortunately for Hahnemann’s patients, there have been very few deaths caused by a sugar pill.

But here we get to the really serious stuff.  If this were just about some misguided wealthy westerners with more money than sense deciding to toddle off to hand loads of cash over to their homeopath for something that contains precisely none of what they’re paying for because they feel a ‘bit out of sorts’, then my collar would not be feeling quite as tight as it is right now.

But we have real people, suffering real and life threatening illnesses, for which standard medicine has proper, thoroughly tested treatments that work, being advised by homeopaths to eschew that life-saving treatment until it is too late.  They will even claim that the patient’s symptoms worsening is evidence of the treatment working.

Worse, some are even attempting to introduce homeopathy to third world countries where disease, including HIV AIDS, is rife.  There really can be no excuse for that.  Let them waste their own money, by all means, but it is not for well-meaning but ill-informed wealthy westerners to deny proper treatment to those who really need it and offer sugar pills instead.

It seems both I and my friend were right.  On the one hand, I could have answered the question, ‘does homeopathy work?’ with one word; on the other, it’s too big a question for just one blog post.

We haven’t even begun to consider the placebo effect, ‘proving’, or the need for proper trials (or, indeed, the spurious evidence often cited).  Perhaps, if we still have any readers and subscribers left, I’ll deal with that in another post.

In the meantime, in an attempt to lighten the mood, the arch skeptic and debunker of myths, James Randi ended a talk recently with an announcement of the sad news of a homeopathic patient who had died of an overdose.  It seems he forgot to take his pill!

The final word – for now

It seems only fair, though, to let a homeopath have the final word, so here’s a video from Dr Charlene Werner.  You’ll notice it’s categorized under Science and Technology and you’ll see in the footnote to the video that a chemistry background is helpful.  I’m going to stick my neck out here and say, if you’ve come this far with me, you’re going to be just fine.

YouTube Preview Image

Enough said.

We’ll be back soon,

Carole and Ivan Signature

Posted in Health | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Carole needs YOUR help!

We need you to STEP UP!

And here’s the link you’ll need!


If you’re not able to help Carole with this directly, please share this link among your friends – maybe they can help.

Even if you CAN help, share it anyway. The more people who see this video, the sooner Carole will be able to quit making them 🙂


Cancer research





Posted in Cancer research, Health, Stuff you really should do | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How a group of 10 year olds can help you face your fear

Face your fear was one of the aims last week for me and a group of ten year old children.

Hi, Carole here.

Last week I had the most incredible time on a school residential trip at a YMCA outward bound centre along with two other adults and a group of year 5 children.

One of the aims of the week was to face your fear and overcome your fear -along with having a fun time. Whilst this was mainly aimed at the children it also turned into a great opportunity for me to face one of my fears – I’m really scared of heights.

So Carole how did you come to face your fear?

I had spent a day watching the kids do some incredible things – swinging on a rope over cold, muddy, smelly water (and sometimes falling in), crawling through wet, slimy, smelly, pitch-black tunnels, completing the wet, muddy, assault course in the pouring rain.

(Are you noticing a wet, smelly, muddy, slippery and slimy theme here?)

Many of the children like me had a real fear of heights but they all had a go at climbing the wet, slippery climbing wall in the driving rain. The awful weather conditions meant that it was often difficult for them to get a good grip but they all gave it their best shot. Even those who feared heights pushed themselves to go higher and out of their comfort zone. This made me think – if they could face their fear, so could I.

I knew one of the following day’s challenges was the aerial runway. A zip wire running from a high platform out over the river and into the trees. I thought, “What better way to face your fear than to step off that platform, at height, into thin air, suspended on a wire!” So I made the decision, told the children I was going to do it,  so I couldn’t back out.

The next day I was at the back of the queue watching each child in turn step off that platform regardless of how scared they were. When they had reached the bottom they all came running back for more.

My legs were shaking as I climbed up the steps to that platform. The children were cheering me on – there was no turning back now. I tried not to look down as I was attached to the wire. “I’m only doing this once” I told the instructor. Taking a deep breath and on the count of three I stepped out into thin air and WHEEE!!!

Guess who went back for another turn.

And here’s the video

Face your Fear

I was scared as I stood waiting to step off that platform but I had decided not to give in to my fear (I couldn’t show myself up in front of a group of 10 year olds, could I?) and was rewarded with a brilliant experience. Giving in would have meant missing that opportunity.

How many opportunities are missed when you don’t face your fear and overcome it? All it needs is for you do decide to do it and go for it.

You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind. ~ Dale Carnegie

We’d love to hear about the times you decided to face your fear – and how you felt afterwards.

We’ll be back soon

face your fear

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Tipping Point – or The Customer Strikes Back!

mobile phone cell phoneIt’s Ivan here.  Now, most folks who know me will probably tell you I’m a fairly mild-mannered sort of chap – the type who will go out of his way to avoid conflict, struggle or strife.  Some will tell you that it’s because I’m basically lazy and they may be right; I prefer to think it’s because I was brought up at a time when putting other folks’ interest first was seen as something positive.

That was until yesterday.  What follows, although not a verbatim account (oh, how I wish I had recorded the calls), is an accurate depiction of events as they unfolded during Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A holiday over and a lesson learned

Llyn Clywedog

Llyn Clywedog

OK, so we’re back home now – and with very mixed feelings.  We had a wonderful day on Sunday, Carole’s birthday.  We’d stayed overnight with Carole’s brother Jon and his lovely wife Ceri and their 2 fantastic children, Megan and Jack (yes, we have 2 Jack’s in our family and we’re still not sure which is the more mischievous).

By Dolgoch Falls

By Dolgoch Falls

After breakfast, we’d had a wonderful drive through mid-Wales, stopping off at Dolgoch Falls to enjoy a spectacular walk up the valley – you can see a video here.  Arriving in Aberdyfi (or, to English speakers, Aberdovey) we were simply blown away by how achingly pretty the place was.

Our sat-nav (known affectionately as ‘Missy’) had brought us unerringly to the village but Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment