Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Chapter Twenty Eight

This weekend of the 25th February was supposed to have been the weekend Linda did her freefall parachute jump. Its been moved to a new date of the 25th March. It was only as the week before came to a close that we discovered Linda would have not been jumping with the rest of the team if she had gone on that day.
I assume that somewhere along the line a mistake was made with the months.
Anyway; all's well that ends well. Linda will be jumping on the day with the team of Tesco employee's that have volunteered to go. These volunteers are from all the Tesco outlets in both Cornwall and Devon. I could be wrong but I believe there could be about twenty of them. Linda is the only one from the Alzheimers Society who is taking part and is delighted to have other's to go with.
As already stated, I will be there on the day. I shall stand with both feet firmly on the ground and hold her coat. Sadly; there is no way I could do a jump like this. Whether the chute opened or not...I would be dead by the time I touched down on the ground. I get palpitations balancing on a step ladder and my heart goes all fluttery just looking at the carpet ten feet below. Can you imagine what my heart would do as I toppled face first out of the door of an aeroplane as I stared at the ground ten thousand feet below.
Like the old grandfather clock in our hall, it would stop short and never go again.
For those people now thinking the word...WUSS...I can only agree.
However; up until Friday we had all thought Linda was jumping on the Saturday. To this end, and to cheer Linda on, my sister Therese and niece Becky both decided to come down and be part of her support team. Linda didn't jump...but I'm delighted to say that they came anyway.
They arrived at about 19-00 and it was good to see them again. There was lots of catching up to do and the evening flew by.
The following morning while I was at work, the local hunt met at the Kings Head just across from us. It doesn't really matter about my views on hunting; I just love the whole sense of history and of Britishness, (is that a word??) about it. The riders were dressed in hunting pink or black riding coats; the hounds were held in one corner of the carpark were they milled and watched in anticipation of 'the off''; the horses fidgeted, yet waited patiently, as they to yearned for the chase; and the stirrup cup in the shape of mulled wine passed through the supporters.
Even Linda, Therese, and Becky got a glass each as well. I'm glad they did, as Linda had been taking photograph's. Some people may have been a little nervous in case she was a hunt saboteur. As it was, she was recognised by many from the pub who knew her as an enthusiast so no harm done.
By the time I got home they had all gone. Even the horse droppings had been squirreled away and now sat enriching some cottage garden or other. Not our's I might add. Three of the idiots out there and not one of them thought to take a bucket and a shovel. They wouldn't have lasted seconds in my day when we followed the milkmans 'orse.
In the afternoon we decided to take Therese and Becky out for a visit. I took them all to Polperro and then onto Looe, via the Bodinnick Ferry. We all had a great time and Linda and I were delighted to know that neither of them had been there before.
The weather was sunny and fairly warm so we enjoyed the walks around both places. Polperro is such a different place when it is quiet like that. We had only ever seen it in the summer when it's wall to wall tourists. I missed the excitement of it being busy, but it was nice to be there while it was still.
Looe too was quiet, although busy at the fish quay with the boats coming back in as we walked around. We took them both to see 'Clives Cats' but it was closed. He is away for two months on a tropical isle according to the sign. The sign also said we could queue up and wait for his return if we would like; we didn't bother. We did see some of the pictures though and they were very funny.
As the light drifted into night we returned to our old favourite haunt, 'The Golden Guinea'. We had a smashing meal and it was wonderful as usual.
I always enjoy walking through Looe in the dark and this evening was no exception. It really was a lovely day.
The following morning we had a lazy Sunday and ate a leisurely breakfast and just talked really. Nice to chill sometimes.  Our landlord David came around and agreed we could put Linda's greenhouse up in the garden.
We said our goodbyes at about 14-00 and waved Therese and Becky off. Only a lightening visit over 48 hours but great fun and we got a lot done. Both Linda and I enjoy good company and we miss them already. In fact we miss everybody up-country. Don't forget to come down and call in when you can.
The afternoon then struggled past as Linda and I launched ourselves at the remains of the greenhouse and attempted to rebuild it.
I am not the most practical of men but eventually between the two of us we got the damned thing built and standing upright in a corner of the garden.
Next Sunday we plan on putting the glass into it. It's going to be such a pane. Hee Hee.
Monday 27th February must have then become 'National (we must contact Dad) Day.' It was lovely. I chatted to my youngest, Lucy and we talked about her visit down here to us in a couple of weeks time. She and Jon are coming down for a long weekend and we are all getting excited about that. It will be good to see them and great fun to be able to take them around to different places as well. Finger's crossed for good weather that's what I say.
I also spoke to my eldest, Fiona who passed her driving test on her first attempt only that very morning. I am so pleased for her and proud of her as well. Woody has been brilliant and by lunchtime had already got his car insured for her to drive. So pleased for her and we had a long chat on the phone in the evening.

 Fiona on the left.                                                                                        Lucy on the right.

Chapter Twenty Seven

All is going very well here at the moment and we are enjoying life. Both of us are busy at work although Linda has struggled a bit. Her work load is huge and she is not finding enough hours in the day to do all the things they want her to do. She is hoping to get her job role re-evalued so that she can concentrate more on certain things and less on others.
She would much rather be in charge of fewer things that she can really make a difference on; rather than many things were she barely scratches the surface.
As for me; I am having a brilliant time working out of Portscatho. The people there are very nice and I enjoy meeting them. One chap was born and raised in our village of Ruan Lanihorne. His family, named Coad, owned the Mill down beside the creek for several generations. One of his granny's used to live in our house. Peter has been so interesting to talk to and he has brought the past alive for me concerning the Roseland and our two villages in particular.
At certain high tides he said the water used to run through the mill as the lower part of the village flooded. His other granny once climbed up onto the piano to stay dry as water poured through.
He has described the amount of industry that went on here in Ruan, as well as the different shops that supplied the village. Before the river silted up it must have been a thriving little place.

However the castle was just a memory by the time he lived here, and our cottage and two others were already firmly established in the castle grounds. However the creek and the estuary look lovely...especially when the tide comes in of an evening.
It is a measure of how kind and decent Peter and his wife Megan are, thay they always leave a glass of squash out for me when I am on delivery. Two thirds of the way round the delivery they are perfectly positioned for me. It is while having my drink that we chat about things as we look out over the bay. No wonder I am happy here.
As I said before; I deliver the walk four days a week and do the driving job one day a week. The driving job is great fun and I easily clock up eighty miles a day. It is a lot different here than it was back in Farnham.
On my walking delivery days, I get up at 0640 with Linda and leave the house an hour later. This allows me to drive into Portscatho for 08-00 and the start of my day. I then deliver until 13-00 when my work is done and I come home.
On my driving delivery days things are very different. My mail van is parked in my drive and my days work starts when I get into it at 06-00 and head off to Truro. I drive across to Truro which is similar to driving from Farnham to Guildford using country roads. On arrival I do a van check before clearing down all of our mail and the mail for St. Mawes.
 I am normally back on the road between 07-00 and 07-10. I then drive back towards my house and continue on along similar country roads and through St. Just, until I get into St Mawes. This is directly opposite Falmouth across the 'Carrick Roads'.
The post office at St Mawes is right beside the harbour and this is were I stop and leave them the first run of their mail. I then turn up a hill which is the equivalent of driving up the side of a house and head back towards St Just. After passing through there I then turn off and head down towards the little bay that Portscatho sits in.
I pull up here at about 08-00 and unload our mail into our little office. We too, look out over the harbour, but our office is about twenty feet above the beach; unlike St Mawes were the office is practically level with the beach.
Both of us prepare our rounds and normally finish just as the St Mawes driver turns up with our second wave of mail. She drops that with us and continues on with their mail. It seems an odd system I know but it works very well.
I get out on delivery by about 09-30 and have to drive straight away to the village school. This is the only place in the village were I can re-boot my PDA for the morning. As the PDA's rely on the mobile phone network to operate this is one of only two places on route were I can connect it to the system.
I did all this on my first day and, on getting to the first call were I needed it, I lifted it out of its cradle to use.
As I picked it up...the battery fell out onto the floor. Brilliant. I reconnected everything but now I couldn't reboot it because of 'no signal'. Once more I had to jump into the van and head off to a signal area to fire the thing up again. That cost me another twenty minutes plus an extra eight miles. It never happened like this in Farnham.
Anyway; on a good day without that sort of old shenanigans; I can be around this delivery and back by 14-00. The van is parked safely back in the drive and all is done.
This delivery takes in a large village called Gerrans and also two large areas of the Roseland. One is called 'Rosevine' which is a long country lane sprinkled with houses leading down towards Porthcurnick Beach.
The other is 'St. Anthonys Head' which is a large headland opposite St. Mawes and Falmouth. I have found it very odd to be delivering to both rural and coastal areas at the same time. I have always been used to one or the other. Now I can deliver to a farmhouse and its fields with its crops and animals...yet in the background there is the sea with its cargo ships and fishing boats.
I deliver to one farmhouse with cows in the byre...yet a minute later and 200 yards up the road...I'm in a boatyard with the sea within inches of my wheels. I love it!!!
I carry a small basket in the back of the van now and normally return home with some eggs, jam, or some other local produce in it. The other day when Linda got home...she found the whole house full of little bunches of daffodils. I'm glad she liked them or that would have been a waste of a fiver. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Chapter Twenty six

The weather over Britain last week has proved too much for the country once more. We have watched scenes of blizzard conditions; snowdrifts; temperatures in some places averaging -10c; the usual, recent British winter really.
Schools have closed; people have been advised to only journey if necessary; many millions of man hours have been lost in the work place; traffic on  road, rail, and sea at a standstill; and even the airports closing because of conditions.
The British authorities always seem to be caught out in the snow even though it is an annual event. I do find this incredible; although, mind you...Royal Mail always puts on a great show of astonishment over the amount of mail that arrives at Christmas. That's an annual event as well; yet you wouldn't think so judging by the shambles that surrounds hard working posties every December.
The mind truly boggles.
Actually; the reason I mention the blizzards, the snow, the ice, and the -10c conditions is not to take a back handed swing at Royal Mail. Not at all!! I only mention it because we haven't seen any of this at all down here and we are all feeling quite smug.
The forecast the other day showed a map of Britain with 98% of England coloured white or blue and denoting Arctic conditions. The odd 2% of the map was coloured yellow and showed more pleasent weather including sunshine and temperatures on the plus side as opposed to minus. This 2% on the map turned out to be the coastal region of Cornwall including ( drum roll), 'the Roseland'.
And that dear reader is were we live.
I admit, there has been some cold weather and most mornings the car windows needed scraping. I also admit that the 'easterly' that attacked Portscatho a couple of days ago practically shaved the hairs off me legs. I would even admit to an entire day of rain that never stopped for fourteen hours.
But we have also had loads of sunshine; blue skies; not a drop of snow; and the only ice I saw was at the bottom of a whiskey tumbler.
We have been incredibly lucky with the weather down here so far.
However, I'm only taking the mickey. You may not believe it...but my heart went out to all my mates at Farnham struggling out with the post. I remember what it was like last year when we got sent home and I had to walk back to Godalming. Thank God for the kind soul in the 4x4 who picked me up and got me to Puttenham.
I also remember the day I slipped in the ice on delivery at Wimble Hill. I hit my head hard on the ground and lay in the snow dazed and unmoving for a minute or so. I shall never forgive those two car drivers who drove straight past and ignored me.
So I confess that I don't miss that old nonsense at all.
Even though the weather has been better here than elsewhere, the garden has still been full of birds queueing up to eat from our bird feeders. They are eating us out of house and home. Coconuts full of fat and mixed seeds are devoured in moments. The tube of fat balls, and the peanut feeders as well; are scoffed in a matter of hours. Linda also has two industrial sized feeders containing seeds and both of these are wolfed down quickly.
Why we bother with a ground feeder as well, I don't know. There is as much scattered across the lawn by the birds who all then congregate on the ground and stuff themselves silly on the leavings. More birds walk out of this garden than fly out, let me tell you.
It wont be long before the birds of prey start hovering over the garden and swooping down thinking our garden has become a supermarket for them as well.
We even have four robin's, ( the most terratorial of birds ) in our garden. Not only do they not fight each other, they actually sit down and have a meal together. Very odd.
If they are like this when the weather is not to bad...what are they going to be like when it does get really bad. I have visions of them moving in with us and renaming the house. Instead of 'Hillside' we shall end up as 'The Nest' or 'The Aviary'.
Its quite scary, and remember; 'The Birds' was written in Cornwall long before Hitchcock made it famous.
Linda's brother, Jason, and Natasha came down here for the weekend. They stayed in a hotel on Friday night but came around to us on the Saturday night. Linda hadn't seen him for a while so she was pleased to catch up. The four of us had dinner in Mevagissey that evening and all was good fun.
As it turned out, Linda would have probably seen him this week as she has gone 'up-country' for this half term week.
Now that I am just a 'new entrant' with Royal Mail I have lost my six weeks leave entitlement that I used to have. I am now down to the basic minimum. As a consequence it means that Linda now has more leave time than I do.
 She drove back up to Surrey on Monday morning and is staying at her mum's. This will give her ample time to catch up with family and friends before returning at the end of the week.
I however, have been left to fend for myself.
It's not too bad although I miss her very much. My day's are taken up with doing Ellie's duty because, she too is on holiday. This gives me the van job every day. I knew I was going to be working a six day week this week because there are only three of us who can do her duty...and the other two are both away at the moment
What I was not expecting was the phone call I just received a few minutes ago asking me to do both deliveries over the next two days. It is hard work when you do both jobs on your own, as I will be doing two days of thirteen hours a day.
I could have done without it but I feel I should contribute more to the household. I will get an extra eighteen hours pay on top of my forty hours this week, so I can't grumble. I wont tell Linda until she gets home though because she worries about me.
That's about it then for the moment. I'm off to make 'bubble and squeak' for my dinner and then I guess it's an early night for me.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Chapter Twenty five

This was the picture that started the ball rolling. We stood here on 6th June 2011 and had our own D Day...Our Decision Day.  It was here on this day that we both started talking of moving down here sooner rather than later. As it turned out it was much sooner than either of us realised thanks to the Alzheimer's Society. Fifteen weeks later we were living in Cornwall.

Chapter Twenty four

This is of the main room in our house looking from the stairs to the fireplace

This is from the fireplace looking towards the stairs 

The view from our front porch looking directly towards our beautiful village church.
The view from our front porch looking over the village well to The Kings Head pub. Both spiritual and secular comfort on the doorstep.

The back garden looking East

The back garden looking West.

The back garden looking South.
The picture looking North is virtually the same picture as the pub.

Chapter Twenty three

 All of these pictures have been taken on my new round at Porthscatho. These are the views I get on delivery every morning.

Chapter Twenty two

Linda walking through a local lane. We went out for the day just to explore the area a bit.
This is on Carne beach. It was a grey old day but we decided to go Rock pooling and see what we could find.
This was another day entirely on the same beach. We came down for a walk before going to the service at Tregony for Rememberance Sunday.
This was the view one evening as I arrived at the Doctors Surgery at Probus. I just wanted a picture really.
These three pictures were taken at St Austell just before the torchlight procession. A group were playing tunes on salvaged equipment. They gave everyone drumsticks made out of cut down pipe and got them to drum out a beat on anything around them. I wouldn't allow my head to be the drum so Linda played the bannister rail on the steps.
The recycled Christmas tree at the Eden Project.
The middle of December and the daffodils are out. We have never seen daffodils before that were growing the same time as cabbages and leeks. Amazing.
This is me on Perranporth beach. A really lovely long walk with the tide eventually racing us as we headed back.
Thats Linda's car with a bit of a rainbow behind it.

I am well aware these are not the best photos in the world but that is because I took them. This was just a first attempt to get pictures onto the blog. I will get some of Linda's and put them on the next one.

Chapter Twenty one

The New Year started off with quite a bang. We spent the evening of the 1st of January at the firework party at Portscatho. Great fun and a very good display. Mulled wine flowed and the atmosphere was very good natured. The back drop of this little seaside village, coupled with the darkness and the Christmas lights made the display even more special.

It never entered my head I'd be working there for three months before January was out.

There has been many offers of overtime at work and I have taken full advantage of those. It's a good way of keeping myself in the eye of the management, while at the same time earning a bit extra. I have worked several days off and also done extra's on the day's I am working as well.

The most invaluable thing has been to learn about various places in the area. At least I can find my way around a bit better now. At last the town is taking shape and I am learning some of the cut through's and connections that a good postman needs.

I can still make mistakes though. The other day I drove out onto the A30 with the intention of driving a couple of miles before turning off. That would've saved me a few minutes; and a few miles. It would have worked to except that I turned onto the A30 further along than I thought and never realised until I was about five miles further on. I then compounded it by turning off and attempting to go back on myself.

What a shambles!! It felt like I had reached Edinburgh before I finally made sense of were I was and got back on track. My little shortcut cost me twenty minutes or so and about fifteen extra miles driving. Thank God it was a mail van and not my fuel.

Anyway...I think I have finally convinced the management down here that...

A/. I am not some bone idle, union rabble rouser Luddite from the darker side of London.

B/. I am not about to collapse in exhausted bewilderment on the side of the road because I am expected to walk with a pouch over my shoulder.

C/. I am quite capable of coping and making my own judgements if I'm asked to pick up a round that I have not done before.

D/. Although I consider myself a 'service' and not a 'business'; there is no conflict on delivering the mail or doing my job.

As a result things have happened that I have only ever dreamed of.

On Tuesday 10th of January I found myself waiting outside the little office at Portscatho. It stands about twenty feet above the sand and eight feet from the edge. They told me that if the tide is a 'high spring tide' and the wind is a 'harsh easterly wind', then you have to judge when to run at the door to get in as the waves can land on the roadway. On occassion the sea will come in through the door so we keep it shut in those conditions. It must sound quite eerie when you hear t
he sea crash against our door on really bad and stormy days. These are very few and far between though so thats a blessing.

Today I stood in the early morning dawn light and gazed out on a calm sea. Lights bobbing in the distance indicated a few fishing boats already out and hunting. The sea whispered across the sand and nudged gently against the harbour walls and the rocks below. Seagulls called overhead as they started their days efforts with a hunt for breakfast.

I was completely transfixed.

Every dream, save the one were my kids were with me, has now come to pass. I was going to work at the seaside.

The small cellar type place we work in is remeniscent of a fishermans net store and has a charm all its own. The lady I am to work with for the next three months or so is called Ellie. She is a delight.

Tim taught me his job which I will do four days a week while he is away. Meanwhile, leading me by the hand, Ellie taught me her round. Infinitely more complicated, it is a driving rural job that I shall do for one day a week.

It is so long since I learned a rural driving round and I had forgotten how much there is to find out. At least a willing teacher had found a willing pupil. Between the two of us we managed to distil something of her knowledge into my brain. Normally it's a case of 'in one ear and out the other'. Thankfully some was retained this time.

I had the tuition over five days; two days on Tim's round and three on Ellie's. I needed every minute of those days as the following Monday and Tuesday I was doing them both on my own. Tim's Monday; Ellie's Tuesday.

The first day on Tim's round would have gone better if I hadn't let a dog out. I was only on my fifth call. I opened the gate and walked into the little front garden. These houses are on one side of the road and the sea and harbour is on the other. I walked to the front door and opened it to place the mail on the floor.

As quick as lightning a small brown flash hurtled past me, flew down the path, and shot out of the gate. By the time I got myself down to the gate he was racing across the sand...He didn't come back for four hours.

I was mortified; his owner phyllosophical; the dog ecstatic. Did I have a red face or what? It was made even more redder as my duty progressed. Various people would come out and speak to me on the round.

"How are you doing? Have you found the dog yet?"

"How's it going? I hear you lost a dog!"

"Are you settling in well? Don't you worry about that old dog."

"Keep smiling my 'ansum, that bloody dog'll find its way 'ome."

And so it continued all around the rest of the duty. They must use a system of mental telepathy in these parts because I swear I heard no drums beating, or signal flags flying. Either that or they whisper it to the seagulls who pass the messages on. Whatever, and by whatever means; the whole village must have known in seconds.

When I walked back to the little office I noticed a note under my wind screen wiper on the car. It read..."Don't panic. Dog home safely.Good luck tomorrow on that old driving job."

"How did they know that?... How did they know its my car????"

I swear I'll be hearing 'Duelling Banjo's' next.

The following day could have been so difficult but Ellie had written out a list of all the houses in delivery order. That list really saved the day. I stumbled a little on her duty but the list kept me on the straight and narrow.

As I drove along in the sunshine the sea was a constant backdrop for me. The views were breathtaking and I could not have asked for more. Tidal rivers opened up beside me and below me. One minute I would deliver to a farmhouse with a view far out to sea; the next I would be at a cottage with the beach just below; then I would find myself reversing the van around with the sea inches from my wheels on a slip way before I drove back up the road again. Pure magic.

By the way...I found out why a slipway is called that. While waiting for Ellie to turn up the other day I nipped down the one outside the office to head for the public loo...and I slipped. The seaweed, and the slick stones already soaked from the retreating tide, turned a slipway into an ice rink.

I went down like a sack of spuds straight onto the concrete. Not only was it painful...I chose to go down right in front of the open, empty mouth of the land drain. I've got that wrong as well; it wasn't exactly open or empty; it was full of water gushing out and landing on the slipway.

Well it was until I fell right there...then it was landing on me. I shot back up in the air...and fell back down again. This time I rolled over and finally managed to stand up.

Water poured out of my clothes as I stood shivering in the January wind coming straight in off the sea. The good news was that nobody saw it happen. The bad news was that Ellie must have guessed because she warned me later that morning not to use the slipway as a short cut.

"Its called a slipway and you wouldn't want to slip there with all that old water pouring out of the drain. You could end up soaked."

I stood soggily in front of her and dripped quietly onto the stone floor,

"I'll remember that, thankyou."

Other than those two little mishaps the work at Portscatho is brilliant. Every day is a delight and a reminder of just why I wanted to move to the coast originally. I will never be able to thank Linda enough for making that possible.

Linda to, is making her mark down here. Her work is her great passion and she is totally committed and dedicated to the Alzheimers Society. For three years her role is being paid for by Tesco's who have nominated this charity as the one they will support.

Linda has been heavily involved in all aspects of the charity including the 'memory cafes'; singing for the brain; organising the volunteers; and helping and encouraging those people directly affected by the illness.

As you know, last year we walked the South West Coast Path as a charity walk for this Society. We both enjoyed it and were proud to have made a contribution towards their funds.

This year, Linda has found another charity event to take part in for the Society and intends to do the event and make them money at the same time. She will; on 25th February and with some others; be doing a sponsored sky dive.

Once again Linda has decided to let herself be strapped to the front of someone...and then jump out of a plane.

The first time Linda did that was several years ago and she made the jump in tandem over Hampshire. Up until the flight up to the jump off point...Linda had never actually flown in a plane in her life.

Once the jump was over she became the only person I knew of, who had taken off in an aeroplane...but had never actually landed in one. There can't be too many people in the world with that little gem on their CV's.

Speaking as someone who can feel dizzy looking down while standing on the edge of a pavement; it will come as no surprise to learn that I will not be jumping out with her. My heart would give out gratefully as they slid the door open, believe me.

I instead will take on the crucial role of support. In other words, I shall look after her coat and handbag. We Mulvin men are not without giving support however and I will give plenty of encouragement you understand. Hand on heart, although I'm scared stiff for her...I shall be giving this fully.

That I am very, very proud of her goes without saying. She is one in a million.

The jump will take place over Perranporth. Hopefully that is were she will land. The wind here is quite strong so she could land anywhere really. If she lands in Ireland I have promised her I will come and pick her up...any excuse to visit Ireland thats what I say.

We like Perranporth a lot and have done some walking along the beach several times since we came down here. So long as it doesn't end up with a Linda shaped hole in the sand, I'm sure I will continue to like it as well.

I have sent out a link to all my friends to let them know so that they can sponsor her if they are able.

We have spent several days this month visiting more Cornish places. We wanted to ensure that although we live here, we will endeavour to do all the holiday things that visitors do. Were we are lucky is that we can do these things when its quiet.

Luckily the last two Sundays have been beautiful as regards the weather so we have gone out.

The first Sunday we took advantage of our National Trust cards and visited Trellisk Gardens. They are just above the King Harry Ferry and are in a lovely position on the Roseland.

We walked all around there while Linda took photographs. A very pleasant day, though chilly. We shall go back again and see the gardens when all are in full bloom.

The next Sunday was equally lovely and we drove down to the Menack Theatre. I suppose 'stunning' is the best word to describe this place. Although we walked past here on our walk we had never been in before. What an incredible place to find.

There is no doubt we shall be down here to watch a production sometime this year. It is both inspiring and humbling to stand here and visualise the vision and the work that went into making it possible. Excellent.

Finally, and this brings me right up to date, I had my eye test today. For some time now I have noticed a bit of a problem with my eyes. On my last visit to the optician he told me I must see a specialist because he thought I may have cataracts.

He was telling a bit of a porkie though because he had guessed what was wrong but wanted confirmation. It seems I was born with a deficiency in the fluid sack, containing cells, which sits behind the coloured bit of the eyeball. As these cells slowly decrease in old age a change may be noticed.

Let us say you start off with 100,000,000. As age sets in these cells start to go; but you only need about 40,000,000 to function properly; so few people are aware of any changes. From the age of fifty it can take twenty years before you notice a change at all.

In my case...I was only born with about 60,000,000 of these little cells...so it is hitting me a little quicker. They are still functioning without problems at present but sometimes if a direct light shines in my face, the light diffuses.

Imagine someone shining a torch onto a window. There is a beam of light dirctly in front of you. Imagine that same torch shining onto a frosted toilet window. The beam breaks up and blurs right across the glass. Well thats what my eyes do. Its annoying but not threatening.


Who would have guessed it. I have been reading over the last year and had to take the old specs off because I couldn't focus properly. It turns out that this is excellent news as my vision is now perfect and unstrained to a distance of almost 15 inches. This is not a lot I admit...but priceless to somebody who reads and writes as much as I do.

We also took an e mail the other day from an old friend of mine, Simon Stallard. He is the youngest son of Brian and Eve Stallard form Farnham. Its a very small world when all things are considered. Brian and Eve have been good friends of mine for nearly thirty five years. Brian also worked at Royal Mail for a number of years. That is were Linda met him.

Linda has a daughter called Katrina who is married to Kevin...and Kevin is Brian's godson. All of this came to light at the wedding when Kevin and Katrina got married. I hadn't seen Brian's boys in some time but they were there as well. We then found out that Simon lives in Cornwall and he and his partner have a thriving business down here. It is a wonderful eating place called 'The Hidden Hut' and is just on Porthcurnic beach which is near Portscatho...which is were I am working now.

It was only when we moved down onto the Roseland that we discovered that they also lived on it as well. We spotted them on the television on the Caroline Quentin programme when she spent some time at the Hidden Hut filming a documentary. Simon and Gemma are making quite a name for themselves in the food industry, and I would urge anyone coming down here to pay them a visit. Don't take my word for it...try it yourselves.

Anyway; Simon invited us both around for Sunday lunch as Brian and Eve were down as well. It was a lovely afternoon and evening with excellent food and excellent company. It's amazing just how much there is to talk about.

All to soon it was time to leave. We said our goodbyes and made arrangements to meet up at our place before heading off out into the darkness. I was back knocking on the door two minutes later looking for help.

I had only gone and left my lights on. The battery was as drained into uselessness as it could get. Thankfully, with my jump leads and Eve's car we got it running and made it back home. I hope nobody feels I have let them down by having a set of jump leads in the car. I also have a spare wheel; a spare set of light bulbs; and a small tool kit. You're quite right; thats not what I'm known for. If it's any consolation...I didn't have a torch and we had to borrow one. Street lights are few and far between in the rural areas.
A great reunion though and loads of fun.

We also had a nice bit of news from up country. The 'Aged P'; my mother; made a valiant entry into the world of the 21st century the other day and has been Skypeing would you believe. We have family members in America who mum and dad met up with whenever they could. John and Doris Mulvin and their daughter Dorothy (Dottie).

Thanks to Dottie and my sister Therese, the skype connection was made and Mum, John, and Doris were able to chat to each other and see each other. I know my mother comes from a time when messages could only be carried by a fast horse or a racing pigeon but she enjoyed it very much. Skypeing is now something I must explore because I have no idea about it at all. Perhaps I am some old Luddite after all.

But all things considered; since coming down here; life is really pretty good and we are moving on.