October 29, 2004

Greenwich & Kensington Gardens

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Telescope at the Royal Observatory

On Tuesday Nina took Jaimie to Greenwich and yesterday went to Kensington Gardens with Laura. I am sure that this was only in order to try out her new camera. Even if it was, she was blessed with great weather on both days. Here are the pictures taken on both days

Posted by jeff at 02:41 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2004

Intelligent Patients

I have just read about the intelligent patient scheme that allows doctors to listen with greater care to symptoms and suggestions from us. I say us, as I am referring to the sort of people that will be reading this item, who therefore must be intelligent.

Reading the item made me think about how much we know and understand about our bodies. After all, we have been living with our bodies all our lives and we really should know them very well – but do we? Are we really aware of what our bodies are capable of and what the functionality is of all the parts thereof? I ask you therefore to consider the explanations and information listed below.

Let us start with the head and then descend gracefully. OK, so do we all use our heads intelligently? I think not – we have all from time to time, said, “I wish I had thought about that before doing it”. Those of us who have reached the age of maturity will also know that soporific time known as a “Senior Moment” when all knowledge of a name or place has been totally erased from our brain. Act intelligently when this happens. Look at your doctor, smile sweetly and say – “Haven’t you ever had a Senior Moment?” He will surely look embarrassed, and you will have the upper hand once again. The head is also the skull, which we have to stop our brains from falling out, just like our skin is for keeping our blood inside our bodies. That’s the way we keep ourselves together.

Now for the Torso. The creator in his wisdom gave us twelve ribs. Unfortunately this appears to have been an error. It must have been intended that we should have had twenty-four. Consequently they would have extended down to just above the pelvis thus preventing that unsightly spread of flesh that many of us have fallen prone to. In my case also, he forgot to give me those last six inches of height and allowed my adult body to spread to a girth that should be reduced by some 25%. Attached to the torso we have arms that extend down to the working part known as hands. These are used to manipulate functional items like computers enabling us to work and also to keep ourselves alive by the process known as feeding. This involves using the extremities of our hands where they have frayed at the end creating fingers that can use knives and forks to transfer food into our mouths. I won’t go into the realm of touching as you all possess a function in your brain called “imagination”. Use it! You can also use it to cover what I am not going to tell you about the pelvic area. Also attached to the torso we have our legs. The main use of these is as a connecting part of the controls of our cars. They efficiently operate the brakes and throttle, and for some of us, the clutch of the vehicle. They can, on occasion, be used for walking but this function is rapidly becoming less important.

The analogy with the car can be taken a little further in that we are, as we get older, very much like a car. We can still get into top gear, but we have lost compression and cannot pull as hard or move as fast as we used to.

This has been a very short lesson on anatomy but I hope it has prompted you to consider if you are able to call yourself an “Intelligent Patient”. Do not, however, tell your doctor that I told you to tell him that you are.

This article comes with a Health Warning!

Posted by jeff at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2004

Kew in Autumn

After three really dreadful days as far as the weather was concerned, we were not looking forward to the U3A trip to Kew Gardens. Can you believe it – the temperature was around 16°C but with a fairly strong wind, and the sun shone brightly! Our organiser, Maureen, must have been a good girl when she was very young.

We had a guide for the first hour walking around the lawns looking at trees in their beautiful autumn garb. What a pity that Kew is on the direct flight path to Heathrow! Those intruding planes coming in at about 1,500 feet above us every 90 seconds. All the plants have Latin names, but these were the “planus intrudinus”.

There were signs that Halloween is nearly upon us in one of the hothouses and the pictures will show this. There was also a display of over 100 varieties of apples. What a shame that we can’t get the smell on the photos. I suppose that we will in a few years time.

All in all, this was a most unexpected day and one that finished off the tripping season of the U3A in a grand way. The 28 pictures in the photo album are only a small selection that show the wonderful colours that abound.

Posted by jeff at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2004

The Shed

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The Shed

After 17 years our garden shed was looking somewhat worse for wear. One or two panels had rotted and even the mice had deserted it. The decision was - can we replace it before the weather turns truly nasty? With the help of our wonderful handyman, Brendan, I decided that I was still capable of putting such a construction together. The main problem was that the new shed would be
12' x 6' as opposed to the old one which was 10' x 6'. Brendan extended the base and we dismantled the old shed after disconnecting the electrical supply. We must have been the only family in Buckhurst Hill with a freezer in the lounge and a tumble dryer on the patio!

Laugh if you will, but the job was completed and after a problem or two the electricity was reconnected and the freezer and dryer returned. Nina had done a great job painting the panels prior to assembly with an additional protective coat of blue preservative. This shoud ensure that the shed will outlive us as long as the mice now realise that they are not welcome! The venerable Dr. Sod appears to have been very active, in that we should have had 2' of spare space after returning everything - minus a considerable amount of rubbish - but somehow or other we do not have a spare 2" let alone 2'.

We did complete the task before the rain of last week and each time Nina and I look out of the kitchen window, we smile and pat ourselves on the back.

Posted by jeff at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2004

Hi Dana

When I first ran the SCTC website some seven years ago I made contact with cairnites all over the world. One of the very early "friends" was a lady from Wisconsin in the USA named Dana Burt. Coincidentally her pet cairn is called Casey and our introduction to these rascals in 1978 was also Casey. He was part of our family for over 16 years.

Dana and I have kept in touch via email and last night - very late for me - we had a conversation via MSN Messenger. I have used MSN for some time to communicate with my family, in particular with Ron Frankel in Dinard, France, but this is the first time with anyone in the US. Dana does not have a webcam so I was unable to see her but she had the dubious pleasure of looking at my ugly mug during the conversation!

Sorry about the picture Dana, it is the only one I have of you!

I suppose that I will now be spending many more late nights talking to you. What a pity that technology cannot solve the problem of the six hour difference between our computers!

Posted by jeff at 12:55 PM | Comments (1)

October 03, 2004

Toni Harris Party

Today was the 91st birthday party of Toni Harris, Laurence's mother. We were sad that Laurence could not attend although he is out of hospital for a couple of days. Hopefully he will have his operation next week and it will all be smooth sailing from then on.

The girls were with us and we were able to get some photos of Toni with her grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.

I have to admit that there cannot be many nonagenarians that are as active and can dance the way Toni does.

Have a look at the album for photos

Posted by jeff at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)