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Ear hoovering

Finally @Madgie went off to Rome for the Epic Cycle, and I was home alone for 4 days. I was really looking forward to spending time on my own and doing lots of pottering about and other bits that I never seem to have time to do, but it didn’t t quite gone to plan.

At the weekend I woke up with a blocked ear. I put drops in, like they say you should, but nothing happened. By Tuesday I tried to syringe it at home, but nothing happened. So more drops, and more syringing, but still nothing. By this time I was raging with it. The whole side of my face was numb, I couldn’t hear anything and I felt dreadful. On Tuesday morning I phoned Medicentre to get a nurses appointment for a professional to look at it, because  I was convinced it was more than a blocked ear and I didn’t want an infection to stop me flying to Italy.

After syringing my ear for ages, the nurse gave up. She said ‘put drops in it’ because there’s nothing moving in there. So I filled my ear with drops and went to bed. More drops, more home syringing, more nothing and Wednesday passed in a dizzy fog – it’s amazing how difficult it is to cross a busy London road when you can’t hear properly. By Thursday I was ready to chop my own ear off. I was up at 4am trying more syringing, but to no avail, so I phoned a private doctor. Who was useless. Literally, he couldn’t have been more useless. He looked at it and said ‘yep, you’ve got some wax in there, use drops’. By this time I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to fly on Saturday and as a last resort stood outside the crap doctors and searched ‘extreme ear wax removal’, in the hope I could concoct some sort of home remedy involving magic ear wax removing acid. But better than that, a result came up for something called micro-suction.

By 5pm I had an appointment and by 5.05pm I was cured. Turns out ear hoovering (micro suction) is a miracle. They insert a tiny little tube and basically vacuum the inside of your ear. It’s really tickly but doesn’t hurt at all and takes about 30 seconds. So almost a week, 2 doctors and £150 bloody quid later I could finally hear (and cross the road) and boy was everything loud! But most importantly, I could go to Rome and know I could have a nice time.

Oh, and for the record – ear drops don’t work.

Viva España

Just back from a wonderful 6 days in Andalucia. I love this area and could happily live there tomorrow.

Because Madge is doing the epic cycle from Venice to Rome in 3 weeks, he needed to get some cycling in during the week so after we picked up our car and got to the hotel, we went out in search of the bike hire place. Turns out the combinaton of an unknown car, on unknown roads, on the wrong side is a hairy combination so it took us a few goes to find the place, but once we did they kitted him out with the bike, leaving him to ride back to the hotel and me to find my way in the car. Once we got back I was happy to park the car up and start the holiday!

We stayed for 2 nights in the NH hotel just outside Marbella, which is a nice basic hotel with a lovely pool and a good bar next door, perfect for watching the MotoGP in while eating tapas and drinking cava. The best way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

On Monday we got the bus into Marbella for a stroll around the old town and along the beach. We dipped our toes in the Med and had some lovely tapas.


We got the bus back, checked out and headed off to our villa, where we were staying for the next 4 days. We’ve been there before, so finding our way was easy and it was nice to go back to somewhere so lovely and so familiar.


We were straight into the pool, before heading out for dinner at Villa Padierna, a very nice hotel near by. On Tuesday Madge was up early for a cycle into the mountains, so I dropped him at San Luis de Sabinillas down the road and headed back to Puerto Banus for breakfast on my own.


It was lovely drinking cafe con leche and watching the world go by, and before I knew it it was time to leave to go and pick Madge back up. We had lunch back at the Villa Padierna and dinner out at our favourite Italian restaurant in Puerto Banus.


Wednesday was my Birthday and we had already made plans to spend it at the PuroBeach club in Estapona. We booked beach-facing pool beds and started the day with fresh fruit and water,  followed by swimming in the sea, the pool and pre-lunch cocktails. We had a gorgeous lunch at Camuri and then spent the rest of the afternoon round the pool listening to the great music, drinking cocktails and snoozing, before heading home, getting dressed up and going out to La Sala. A brilliant Birthday.


The rest of the week flew by in a flash and before we knew it, it was Friday morning and time to leave to drop the bike off and head to the airport.

We finished our wonderful holiday with champagne at the airport, perfect end to a perfect trip.





Tattoo – phase 3

I’ve started the last ‘phase’ of my back/arm piece. The design for the right arm is going to include a gorgeous girl-head, along with a modern take on my Dad’s old heart tattoo and an hour glass. Joined together with flowers and ribbons. At least that’s what it is planned to be – the designs always change and morph as we go along, which is one of the great things about not starting out with a fixed plan.

Just look at those eyelashes…






No Man’s Land

Ages ago we booked tickets for a matinee performance of A Harold Pinter play, called ‘No Man’s Land’. We knew nothing about the play, and booked it purely for the actors. The idea of seeing Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian Mckellan close up and locally in Brighton was too good to ignore.

Unfortunately, we should perhaps have found out more about the play before we booked. The performances were great, but the play itself was absurd. There was no real story and it wasn’t easy to work out what was going on – or what went on, once it had finished! It didn’t help that it was about 8 million degrees in the Theatre Royal.







I went to a funeral, and on a trip down memory lane

I had to go to a funeral for my Auntie Kath. She wasn’t really my aunt – but I always knew her as such. My Dad’s side of the family is kind of complicated and sometimes it’s hard to work out who is related to who, and how. But that didn’t matter, she was a lovely lady and I spent a lot of my childhood staying with her and her husband Johnny.

Kath and Johnny owned a sweet shop in East Sheen, just a few minutes away from the flat(s) I grew up in. The shop was the centre of a bustling community and Kath was always there, usually standing in the doorway to the stock room, ready to chat and gossip with the customers. Usually laughing – she had one of those deep, infectious laughs.

My earliest memory of hearing music was at their house. I don’t know how old I was, but I guess I was small as I was sitting on the floor pulling pots out of a kitchen cupboard. At least I think I was. The tune was something by The Carpenters and it was the early Seventies. I seem to remember the radio always being on and watching Uncle Johnny wash his face and have a shave in the kitchen sink. Who knows if these are even real memories – I’d have been very young,  but they certainly feel it. I do remember being sent to the shop as a small child, to get ‘mum’s books’, (her weekly magazines) and cigarettes. Mum would let the magazines mount up a bit and there were always a few to pick up. I think that’s pretty much how I first learnt to cross the road properly on my own. I’d walk up there and Kath would wait the other side of the road to see me across.

When my granddad died in 1978 I went to stay with them at the sweet shop, so that I was protected from the worst of it, including the funeral. They always made me feel so welcome – I’d never known an electric blanket until I stayed there and Kath had those funny dolls with the full skirts to hide the toilet rolls in the bathroom.

Later, when I was at secondary school I spent time working in the shop sometimes during school holidays. I probably drove Uncle Johnny nuts, babbling on about goodness knows what and giving people the wrong change! And later, pretty much every day when I got off the train I’d pop in to say hello before I went home. They were always interested in what I got up to – I remember getting my first pair of high-heeled school shoes and proudly prancing around in the shop showing them off. I reckon that was September 1984, just before starting the fourth year.

They never had children, and they were married over 50 years until Johnny died first a few years ago. But they were always young at heart. I think running the shop for so many years and mixing with the paper boys and girls and younger people kept them so. Even when they left the shop and moved away they were the same. Kath always had an eye for fashion and an interest in what was going on. She was always made up, with lots of blue eyeshadow and coiffured hair. I remember she gave me a lovely vintage black velvet cape when I was in my early twenties. Yesterday I was bemoaning to my mum how I should have kept it, when she told me it was still in the wardrobe upstairs. The cape must be 40 years old and it’s still in perfect condition – almost floor length black velvet with a hood. That’s definitely coming out again in the winter – it’s too gorgeous to stay hidden away. I was so pleased to see it again.


I’d forgotten half of those childhood memories until I started writing them down, and it’s been a nice little trip down memory lane. A lovely lady and a life well lived.

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