susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Friday, May 30, 2008

The continuing story of my teeth

Well, of course, I went to the dentists yesterday afternoon. The farking receptionist refuses to recognise me - after ALL these visits! Anyway, dentist is fine, snips the bit of wire off, all immediately hunky dory - you see, I DID know what was the matter ... Daisy goes to the same place and she says the receptionists are a pain. She being such a conciliatory person herself - I'd like to see it ...!!! I'm just being FIRM.

He said he could see the bottom tooth which has always been sideways on had already started to rotate to the right position, and I'm sure I can feel my real upper front tooth is fractionally lower than before (this is a GOOD THING - it's being lowered because of receding gum, to match the gumline of the false one, then shaved off along the bottom - yikes!!) Then new false front tooth and matching veneer on real one, and I shall have a great grin! NOT a gray grin!!!

I've also got some stuff which looks as if I've got a mouth full of chewing gum stuck along my top gums to pad the braces. It's not a good look, and probably the quickest way of ending my love life!! I'm thinking of taking the veil with a final reveal in a year's time. Actually, I gather the top teeth should be done in a few months, the bottom ones taking longer. Another option is to cover my teeth with my hand like Japanese girls, or just not smile .. :-(

Thursday, May 29, 2008

One tooth at a time ....

Well, here I am with braces top and bottom, and a gap in the bottom ones. Actually, it was rather unnerving just how easily that tooth came out ... And although I look like Grandma Scary Monster, it's not too bad. Bit achey, but I'm not surprised. Thing is, the clipped off wire at one end is sticking out, and into the inside outer edge of my upper lip. Clear so far? It's already started shredding my lip - ouch! So I got my tweezers last night and managed to tweak it back a bit, so it's not permanently sticking into my flesh. Clear so far? But it's still doing it a bit - enough so that it's still shredding. The rest - I'm aware of it all, naturally, but it's not trying to make way for multiple face piercings, unlike the SHARP END of the WIRE, which is. Clear so far?

So, I rang the surgery this morning and explained it WASN'T the braces, but the WIRE END which needed slightly bending back. She said - dental wax. So I explained again - she went off and asked a nurse, who said it'll settle in a fortnight and use wax. I said, it's the SHARP WIRE END, NOT the braces.. and I wanted to come in to get the wire end just slightly bent back. They kept on wittering about wax and a fortnight. And I kept on wittering about SHARP END and lacerations and getting it slightly bent back .. In the end - come on, people, who's paying here? - they asked the dentist (I heard his voice in the background), and I'm going in just before 3 this afternoon.

WHY don't people ever believe you might just be able to know what might be going on? It was as if they had one script fits all, and weren't listening to my explanations. Did you understand what I was saying?

I've already had a bit of a recent problem here, when I tried to pay on the previous visit, was unable to, told it would be ok to pay next time, and then got phoned up demanding payment before I could attend for my next (yesterday's) appointment - as if I'd been trying to avoid paying... And me with my credit card waving in my hand! I said I wasn't coming in just to pay, feeling just a bit miffed at the haranguing tone of voice, at which she said she could take the credit card over the phone. Why the 'treat me like a bad payer' tone? The dentist did apologise for the mistake .. but then I had to tell him the new front tooth was much grayer (greyer?) than my existing (white) tooth ... and that I wasn't happy with the colour ... I know it's difficult to match, and I wouldn't be able to do it, but the temporary one was, if not a better tooth, but a very much better colour match ... Daisy said I couldn't expect a 61 year old tooth to be easy to match - cos she could see the new one is grey/gray! Kate and Tim could also see it was different. The dentist has said he'd veneer my existing front tooth (the real one) to match, but I certainly don't want TWO grey/gray front teeth ...!!!! So, that's going to be changed again when the orthodontics are done (a year! Yikes!)

I wouldn't call myself a complaining woman, but ... and I can't go somewhere else, cos I've paid for the front tooth and need to wait till it's changed. And I'll get a good end result! GRIN!!!

Oh, and there was a song playing in the surgery when I still had the mad snarling beast look plastic retainer in place - the refrain was: 'Shut your mouth! Shut your mouth!' I couldn't stop laughing, which came out insanely, and the dentist, his back to me at the time, swung round asking if something was wrong ...!!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

What I did today err yesterday

Today, I thought about finishing waxing the coffee table components (basically chunks of wood chainsawed and still oozing sap). But to get to this stage, I need to cut out a piece of carpet to cover the area where the coffee table will go on top of the new carpet. And to get to this point, I also need something waterproof to go either between the two layers of carpet, or above the piece of carpet, but under the chunky bits of wood which pass for legs on the new coffee table, all to protect the new carpet from the oozing sap of the newly chainsawed chunks of wood. Are you still with me? All these retrograde steps needed thinking about over various cups of coffee, then some porridge, followed by marmite on ryvita, aided by some meditatitive soothing achieved by lurking around a variety of websites, posting, reading, posting again, bidding on ebay, eating cake, and of course, yet again, that 'final' cup of coffee. And all at once it's Tuesday .. oh well, tomorrow is now today - I shall have to consider that coffee table problem again....

Have I ever told you about my multiple personalities?

This is one of them.

Last night, picking up the son and gf from Gatters, driving vai-irrry slo-owly along the pickup point for the third time, looking out for them, I decided on a different ploy. I drew up next to the boy-in-an-important-looking-hi-viz-official-yellow-jacket patrolling the pickup place, wound down the window, and turned the fluffy-old-lady switch on to High.

She's SUCH a dippy ole sort, frightfully frightfully doncha know, can't quite work out where she's meant to be going, would it be alright if I just called him oh I REALLY don't know how these mobile phones work yes it's ringing now oh dear oh dear he's not answering oh dear oh dear WHERE did you say I have to go could you just tell me that again? Where? Round there and up there? Thank you so-ooooo much (tinkling laugh) you might just see me here again (yet more tinkling laugh).

During which bought time, I get to stay till they arrive ....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

'Grandma, why have you got gray hairs?'

says Lily, 4, dragging a particularly spikey brush through my hair.

'Because (wince) I need some more hair dye (ouch), darling,' says I, catching her mother's eye.

'You've got brown hair on top and (lifting a chunk of my hair up in the brush) gray underneath,' she marvels. She then decides I'll look good with a pony tail... And I do!

Friday, May 23, 2008


I woke up this morning, full of beans, bright and cheerful, singing, hooray, it's my BIRTHDAY today!! What wonderful things will life bring me on this day of all days?

I lie. I woke up and thought oh shit and bugger, I'm fucking sixty-ONE

Then my sis rang and I told her this, so we both laughed, and she told me about the face lift place she's found .... hehehe!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I'm trying to be a mummy by proxy - I ordered some fertilised eggs and they arrived today. I picked up one of the hens, replaced her one egg with half a dozen, put her back, and she fluttered off, squawking furiously... So I did the same with the second broody hen, and she stomped off, grizzling...

Plan B (eggs down the Miss Doris 1950s bra) might have to swing into action. Watch this space.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

In my inbox today

"Find your Soulmate this summer, with 20% off"

but which 20% is missing?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Running away again

Today I booked my ticket to Canada. 31st July, and yes, return ticket - 16th September.

Jack emailed the other day saying 'Help!' He needs a crew for his summer sail ... could I resist his sad plea?

Err, no.

I forgot to say what the plan is - I'm flying to Halifax and catching up with J at the north end of Nova Scotia, then off to Prince Edward Island and Isle de la Madeleine in the St Lawrence seaway and back to NS - so not quite the same as last time. I don't want to start in the States because of the visa/alien/leaving/re-entering US waters complications .. bless one-size-fits-all bureaucracy.

J really wanted me to come along earlier, but the big difference between 2 years ago and now - then, I had nothing much else going on. Thing is, that trip changed my life - I came back as me, and that hasn't changed. So, now I have a busy private life, and I'm extremely reluctant to do more than put that on temporary hold.

Oh, and I have a couple of trips later this year, too - China (to visit my eldest daughter, who's moved from Chile to Shanghai with husband and baby girl), and in November, South Africa - a tour along the Wine Route.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Acopperlypse Now - well, last night,anyway

Working on my tan here in the daytimes, and sleeping with the french doors flung wide open. And in the middle of last night, the wretched police felt like exercising their acopperlyptic powers NOW - thundering through the skies above my garden... Last time they did that, they were shining their spotlight all round my house and garden, and in the windows, all for some local yoofs here (a permanent problem) who'd been keying cars in the next road. Well, I'm all for patrolling the 'hood, but by car, on foot, in pairs, etc please - just seems a bit of overkill, saying nothing of the enormous expense, to call the coptercops out ... Actually, it's very scary to be woken up by what sounds like huge tanks about to hurl themselves through the walls of my house.

I'm getting more and more like some grumpy old retired major general, twirling my moustache, writing to right wing newspapers and grizzling about the state of the nation. To say nothing about the threatening public service ads for telly licences and car tax and cheating the social. Democracy, my (admittedly gorgeous spankable) arse...

Enough of that - sleepless in Fulbourn will be getting on with her day, which will shortly involve paying credit card bills, booking that trip to China (I have to do those things in that order, to get enough credit again ..) and then I hope going to a garden nursery with son and his gf.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Just about to embark on a major tooth refurbishment as a birthday present to myself. I have to be frightfully brave, but I might get a belated visit from the Tooth Fairy! I gather prices have gone up since my youthful days - enough to pay my gorgeous dentist, do you think?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


My lodger has just walked past my open French doors (leading on to the garden).

'Hallo,' he remarked, looking in. 'I never think of them as doors.'

'I think you'll find they serve the purpose of doors, as they open and you can walk through them,' replied I, looking up from reading about Baldrick in Wikipedia.

He did chuckle.

* * * * *

I posted this on a saily forum. They are rude buggers.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The day I never ever wanted to have a bath again

was last week. In Scotland. It was the first time I'd been sailing for quite a while, a fact not ignored by nature. It poured with rain, howled with gales, hurled buckets of sea water hard against my back, and caused a smallish racing boat to behave extremely skittishly.

All I could do, in the face of my cheerful skipper, his joyous regular crew - both Petes - and a very brave, puking woman - was to huddled, eyes closed, a lump of red-dressed deck cargo, busily cancelling anything connected with water for the remainder of my miserable life. So, that would be the rest of the weekend for starters. I felt I could manage a ferry back to the mainland, and then sitting under a tree for ever... I'd cancelled the Scilly Isles diving trip in June, vowed never to drink anything water-based, and nearly collapsed at the thought of a shower. It was NOT a good time.

By that evening the boat was tied up (Great Cumbrae), and leaping around much like a fretting horse. I had a little snooze on the boat next door, while everyone else was at the watersports centre, downing pints and curry at 11 pm, then I crawled back on to my boat, crawled through the litte entrance to the forecabin and crawled fully clothed, even adding thick socks, into my sleeping bag. Not even the return of my now-recovered and ever optimistic cabin mate, Philippa, disturbed my comatose state. I slept very well.

The following day, solid waves were still coming over the pontoon, threatening to wash anyone away, but the forecast was good, so I cancelled thoughts of the ferry, though I did watch it a bit wistfully a couple of times...

By the time we could cross the pontoon, the sun was trying to come out, so we all walked the four miles into the main village Millport, went to a pub, went to a cafe for lunch, caught a bus back. That afternoon, I traitorously tried out another boat (Claymore 30, for those of you interested), which was a motorhome compared with an open racing car, and gradually my interest in water revived. On Sunday, having tied up in Rothesay, had fish and chips for supper at Zavaroni's, complete with manic fishfryer, I was back on board Pete's boat. We had no wind, lots of sunshine, so we motored round to a secluded and simply beautiful spot for lunch, picked up a buoy, lounged around in teeshirts (end of April, Scotland!!), then returned to Kip Marina, where it had all started two days before.

I'd flown up from Stansted with a couple of saily internet chums, so it was back to Glasgow airport, line up, get herded aboard, fly for just over an hour, get picked up by my son, and home.

I'd been away visiting friends the week before, and on the Monday was due to go to London for a party. Being retired has its drawbacks - I can't say 'no' to anything going. I need a job for a rest...

Toll roads

We don't have many toll roads in the UK - a few bridges, if I remember.

I'd driven in France before, but I'd never used a toll road, preferring the quieter smaller roads. This time round, I'd used a toll road on the first day - yeah, dead easy with a LH drive car, ghastly with a RH drive car. Well, dead easy, unless you misjudge which kiosk to aim for. Guess who picked one for lorries. Guess who had to get out and jump up and down by the paystation, waving this useless ticket, guess who couldn't reach the poketheticketinhere bit, guess who had a lorry driving right up her chuff, while watching the dopey foreigner ... eventually, he backed away in horror, I backed out and into the next one (hooray for empty French roads and kiosks), and all was hunky dorey.

So returning to Lyon, I braved the peripherique (free, I'd been told. Tolled in fact.), avoided accidentally swerving into an irate speedy driver, and found myself back at the airport. I filled up with petrol, as instructed, and chucked my rubbish into one of the garage bins. Back to the carhire place - car dusty, but unscratched! Smugly, I sat at the bus stop outside for the airport bus, and went to check my phone.

No phone. I checked in the car park round the hire car. No phone. Oh clunk! It's that effing bad penny dropping with a thud yet again. I borrowed the car, drove round to the petrol station, rummaged in their bin, under the eyes of a couple of gendarmes, found the phone amidst my rubbish - of course ... and returned the car.

It reminded me of how I left my case behind in a London restaurant, on the way to Morocco. Sometimes I think my belongings are trying to make their escape....

Of all the boat basins in all the world ...

As I waited for the man to get to the bottom of the steps, he looked up, and we caught each others' eyes.



Oh yes, we were! Both of us, absolutely astonished. I could have parked anywhere else. He could have still been out shopping. How we laughed!

The upshot was I took him out to dinner, and he cleared a bunk for me for the night on his huge motor cruiser, which he's in the middle of completely refitting.

The following morning, I gave him a lift to the local B&Q equivalent, and bidding each other cheery goodbyes, I decided to allow extreme amounts of time to get back to the airport.

Beaune idle and wining

Having completed my three day boat-viewing trip on the first afternoon, I was slightly stuck for something to do till my flight back on Thursday. I'd bought a simply useless map in England, useful only for seeing where major towns were in relation to each other - as for finding out which road was which, forget that.

So I bumbled along westward, away from the rather flat countryside and distinctly alpine-flavoured architecture north east of Lyon, and that night ended up in medieval Beaune. I found a likely hotel with restaurant and parking, ate, showered, watched Dora the Exploratrice, read and slept. In the morning, along with the joy of sunshine outside, I jumped into the car and thought I'd explore this bit of France. Shame I didn't walk - the hotel as I discovered way after I'd left Beaune was opposite the old bit of the town .... oh well, another time?

So that day I found the wine route - winding through famous name vineyards along the hills overlooking the motorway in the valley. Please dont ask me the names of the grand crus - but they're the biggies of Burgundy. If I look them up, I might post them here. I did think of a wine buff friend of mine who wouldn't have been able to trundle past without stopping to degust but I later found out he'd done this trip once anyway. Each vineyard has its own chateau, or big(gish) house, so surrounded by rows of vines in that priceless soil, that not even space for a garden is permitted. A few tubs, a stone terrace - that's all.

Later in the day, by now north west of Lyon, I found myself not just in hills, but among the mini-mountains of the Rhone-Alpes region, where the roads swoop up and round and down, and the views from the top are amazing. I looked at my stupid map, and wondered if I'd see if I could look up Douglas, my moneylending friend from the aborted trip a month previously. He keeps his boat at Roanne, and I'd wanted to take him out to dinner as a thank you.

I got to Roanne, and drove rather aimlessly around the town - much bigger than I'd imagined - and was just about to give up, when I saw a sign for the marina. I parked up alongside this great basin, formerly for commercial barges, now entirely for leisure boats, and wandered down the grassy slope to the alongside path. To one side, someone was coming down some steps, shopping bags in hand. I'd ask him if he knew Douglas.


With the sleet and howling wind battering my brand new hire car, I found the marina and boat sales office at St Jean de Losne. In summer, this must be a gorgeous place to mess around in boats, but not when I went. It was warm in the office, as I explained what I was looking for to the extremely tasty guy. I felt the need to have to talk to him rather a lot and in great detail, before grabbing the keys and going to inspect bateaux down on the windy pontoons.

As the chap had said, the ones I looked at had not been fitted out using 'noble materials'. Indeed not - a flame thrower would have been handy before a total refit. Shame, really, because the boats themselves were very pretty. Alas, too expensive, though! The one I'd particularly liked had been withdrawn from sale, was in good condition and very reasonably priced.

But the main thing that stopped me buying a boat, either that day, or till this, wasn't that I couldn't do it - heaven knows I've been on and around the wretched things for well over 50 years. Nope, it was the thought of boating all my myself. Yes, family and friends could, and probably would, visit. It was a beautiful part of the world, and the canal and river systems go all over Europe. But I couldn't quite see a point to wandering aimlessly alone ...

Oh well, I had had three boats in the past, so it wasn't as if I'd never tried it out, I could always hire a boat, crew for other people, and of course there was all that money I'd save - and the £ was getting worse against the Euro - and there would always be more dreams to try on for size ...

French leave

Well, yes, it HAS been quite a while since I posted here. I've been doing quite a few things in the meantime - being workless means I've been busy. Work was always something that got in the way of doing what I really want to do, even if that means doing nothing, or blogging.

So - I've been to France looking at boats, driving MILES around on the wrong side of the road. Sadly, I only found out about giving way to people coming in on your right at unmarked junctions when I'd nearly finished driving. Which explains the dirty looks from other road users. And nearly a couple of accidents. Thing is, I looked French, driving a LH drive French car. 'It's brand new,' said the girl at Europcar sternly when I went to collect it. At least I had my credit cards with me this time...

Driving out of Lyons airport was easy - honestly, French roads are wonderful - no traffic!!! Huge empty roads, little back roads, even cows on roads - there was always time to decide where to go, unlike our own dear crowded cramped UK roads. It was pretty grim weather - cold and rainy, and by the time 'lunch' growled in my tum, I was pleased to stop at a welcoming red arrow signing a small welcoming Burgundian restaurant, offering, as did they all, regional specialities - oh dearie me, what a cliche (!) - it really was frogs' legs and snails.

I pulled into the car park, and ran across to the door. Which wasn't. It looked like one, had once been one, but wasn't any more. Getting wetter, I roamed along the front of the building, and stumbled across a step leading to the real front door - actually, it was unmistakably the front door, on reflection, but I was feeling foreign and flustered.

Mine host greeted me by marching me to a small table in a corner, uncomfortably near a door, which I hoped wasn't the loo - it has been known for this to happen to this single woman ... I enquired about the specials of the day, to which he barked incomprehensibly at top speed. Smiling feebly, I clutched the menu and looked through it. Within seconds, he'd returned, making an impatient face when I asked him to repeat the specials again. 'I've already told you' he sighed gustily, racing through the list even faster. I grabbed 'bavette' as it flew recognisably past my ear and repeated it back to him.

'And how will you have it medium?' he questioned and replied for me in one breath. Meekly I nodded. 'I'd like some tap water,' I said, bravely ignoring the wine list. Obviously I'd said it wrong, as he repeated my words with an undisguised smirk ... If I hadn't been up since 4.30 that morning, problems with getting to the airport on time, and nothing to eat so far that day, I would have walked out. Especially when a mummy, daddy and two small children came in shortly after. Monsieur mine host fussed around the placing and replacing of the high chair, discussing her children with Maman, and taking endless pains over choosing the food and wine with Papa.

I ate up, shut up, paid up, used the loo (not that door) and skedaddled asap. Monsieur had something extremely urgent to do behind his bar as I left and failed to notice my parting. Bienvenue en France.