30th July 2017

A whirlwind week! American daughter Julie and son-in-law Scott are now en route back to Maine after spending a lovely week with us in Birmingham.
We enjoyed a day out in Wales, wandering around the ruins of Raglan Castle. For the knitters amongst you, the shortened sleeve was named after the poor Duke who lost his arm in battle, necessitating the local women to devise a special raglan knitting pattern just for him. Nearer to home we tramped up nearby Lickey Hills nearly losing Bruno who, comme d'habitude, ignored completely our commands! But the highlight of the week was undoubtedly yesterday, where at the Joseph Cohen Hall we enjoyed a service in our honour followed by a fab party with our friends from the community and family. Wonderful food - including fried fish balls, fried aubergine salad, felafel, pickled herring, cheeses, fruit etc etc. We even had golden balloons.  David Beckham eat your heart out. A special surprise for us was the composite picture below, which Julie had secretly arranged from some of our old wedding pics plus bottom left a vintage photo from 1930 where my late mother (frontrow, 4th left) won 1st prize as Miss Aston Villa. Now that's something you don't see every day.  Thank you to all the lovely people who helped us celebrate our 50th in style. Here's to the next 50 years.

23rd July 2017

50 years ago today Him indoors and I walked down the aisle together! Where did the time go? And now, here we are again in the same place. Below, en route to our honeymoon 23rd July 1967, standing in front of the Bham Hall of Memory on Broad Street. It was still the swinging sixties, flowered trouser suits all the rage - and that was just the men!  So much has changed in the world over the last 50 years but some things remain the same: still power-hungry, land-grabbing male world leaders causing havoc to ordinary citizens, still hungry people craving the essentials in life, still 'tribalism' amongst certain groups seeking to kill others unless they proselytise the rest of us to their beliefs....the list goes on. I, personally, am a spiritual person, but here's my Golden Wedding message to the rest of the world:  practise your religion by all means, but do it in private. Don't parade your beliefs or seek to proselytise others on the streets. Wear clothes normal for the country where you live and integrate into local society. That's what I've learned over the years, especially when living in other countries. Oh, and make sure you get on with your family - they're worth more than gold. Must dash to meet our precious daughter arriving from the US.and our precious son...enjoy your lives everyone. xx

16th July 2017

Why on Earth have you moved back to Bham from SW France...
First so much admin to deal with in an attempt to reverse what I did in 2005. So as a start I walked down the road to register with a GP and dentist, both conveniently in one building. As I walked in "Mr S. to Dr D. please" over a tannoy system. That was new to me. Next I applied for our 2 free travel passes, a real boon to me as both the bus into the city centre and the local train station are in walking distance from our new house.  Then I applied to the DVLA to swap our French driving licences back to UK ones, which should reduce our exorbitant car insurance - mainly because Him indoors insisted on buying a used Freelander HSE 3.2! (I wanted a new, nippy, reliable, easy to park car but guess who won?)
....Did you see the film Castaway with Tom Hanks? He had all the sunshine, fish, coconuts and peace he could possibly want but what did he do at the first opportunity? Rushed back to civilisation with all its faults.

9th July 2017

England. This green and pleasant land. Feel as if I've been in a coma for 12 years and just awakened. Familiar sights all around but new buildings plonked down overnight. New tech everywhere: every socket in our house has USB points and I'm trying to get to grips with Sky Q tv. How to play, pause and record whole series? No idea! At least I now have an old fashioned radio that simply plugs in so I can listen to BBC4. Joy unconfined after years of French tv babble. Shopping at Sainsburys surprisingly pleasant. Helpful assistants, long forgotten, familiar products and wide checkouts for ease of unloading. But, and there had to be a but, I hate online forms. They never have appropriate options, so I called a car insurance co. Disaster. They won't accept our French no claims, don't understand it and won't accept my translation. Ah the English. Some things never change.