Sunday, 29 September 2013

Chapter Eighty

Linda and I had a day off last Saturday together; so we went down to St Ives. It was really nice down there. We stopped off first at Godrevy and parked opposite the light house. There is a flight of steps down to the beach. The last time we walked this beach was the last day of our coast path walk two years ago, when we wore full packs.
The weight then had been dire and we were glad to send the tent and stuff back. If the weather had been better it wouldn't have bothered us, but all that rain was to much. Funny how that day two years ago was the start of a week of sunshine though.
Anyway; the walk was a lot easier the other day, and we enjoyed the walk. We only went as far as the rocks in the centre of the beach and then turned and walked back. That was the best part of a three mile walk anyway.
Driving on we dropped down into Lelant Saltings and went on the 'park and ride'. The 'ride' part is on the little train into St Ives. It was good to visit there as we haven't been for a while. The harbour beach has certainly not changed since about a year or so ago. The sand has banked itself up very high. The flight of steps leading to the beach with about twelve steps in now showing two steps. A couple of years ago if you wanted to climb up onto the mole with its lighthouse you either climbed a long flight of steps or a ladder bolted to the wall. Now you can just step up onto it from the beach. Amazing.

We had a lovely walk around the town and a nice meal in the Union Inn. It was a good day.
The following day Linda turned into an 'earth mother'...and turned the kitchen into a production line for making jams and chutneys. By the evening we had pots of plum jam lined up in the kitchen as well as pots of onion chutney. The freezer is also stocked with veg and the cupboard contains bags of potatos.
While all this endeavour was going on I was able to keep busy before I beat a hasty rereat down to the lookout. I had the end watch and arrived in good time. The lookout resembled 'Englands Last Outpost' as it stood there hidden in the fog. At least the Union Flag was still fluttering bravely...but that was as far as I could see.
I took over the watch and settled in for the next few hours. Binoculars were useless and I spent most of my time listening out instead and chatting to walkers. I could not even see the sea; but I could just hear it as it broke on the rocks beneath. I felt like the captain of the Flying Dutchman, so I did some spring cleaning instead.
I may not have been able to see much out to sea; nor did anything happen to need my attention; but I got the floors cleaned and swept. I also got the mats beaten and the windows cleaned down. If the sun should ever shine down here...the person in the lookout will need dark glasses just because of the glare off the windows.
Work was a rewarding business this week with all of us working our days off. That came in handy and we are doing the same next week as well.
Sadly next week brings the very real threat of privatisation closer as it looks as if the Government will be selling the shares in the next few days or so. Why is it that I feel like the boy standing on the burning deck? Is there any use being defiant anymore when all around have fled?
I don't know, but it makes us very despondent. We even sold out ourselves and agreed to take the shares when offered. It makes something of a mockery accepting the shares and then fighting against privatisation.

On a lighter note, I did have fun on duty as normal, and a good chuckle the other day.
I was walking back to my van when I noticed a short pair of legs sticking out below the open door. Above the legs a tail was wagging. I looked around the door and spoke to the small border terrier standing with his front legs on my van seat. Immediately the tail wagged faster and his whole body shook as he looked excitedly at the tin containing the dog biscuits.
I opened the tin and gave him a biscuit. That was wolfed down in the blink of an eye as well. I then told him to go he sat down. I took a step away to my next call...he leapt up and followed me. I told him to go home again...he sat down wagging his tail and tongue hanging out.
I then bent down and scooped him up into my arms...he licked my face all over before settling down for the walk home.
What people must have thought seeing a postman walking along the road with a pouch around his neck and a daft dog in his arms I shall never know. The dog seemed delighted and enjoyed himself very much. As I approached his house a lady with a worried expression rushed out of the front door to go looking for him. She was pleased that I had brought him home anyway.
To some people, being a postman is not perhaps the best job in the labour market but nobody could ever say the work is not varied. I love it!!
Yesterday, when I got home from work, I thought Linda looked a little tired. There is just a handful of days before she leaves her old job and starts her new one, but I think the strain is setting in. Of course there are many people that Linda will miss in her work, and who will miss her. 
Its the two denizens of the 'blasted heath' with their 'hubble bubble, toil, and trouble' that she wont miss.
Funny how the two of them got what they wanted with Linda and are still making life awkward. I think they'll both be on their own in there before long.
Anyway; I digress. What I meant to say was, I took Linda out for a meal to the little pub in Tregony because she looked like needing cheering up. As usual, it was a lovely meal and it was wonderful to just both sit there and relax.

This morning on Facebook we discovered that our friends who own the pub next door to us have sold up. Nice people, they made us feel very welcome when we first came to the village. They have been good friends to us and we have enjoyed visiting the pub...especially on quiz nights. I suspect they may not stay in this area as they consider the whole world their back garden and feel at home wherever they are. We can only wish them good luck and bon voyage.
Linda put the guinea pigs out in the garden as usual this morning. They will soon be moving into their winter quarters( the greenhouse), but at the moment they are still in the run outside. A few minutes later I heard Linda calling to me..."Look at Widget. I put fresh food and fruit out for them both and look at her. Whiskey has his face buried into a tomato and is scoffing that...Widget has galloped straight past the food and is now eating a dead leaf that fell out of the tree and landed in the run. The mind boggles".
I never said a word, but the thought did go through my mind that..."Whiskey is a lot like me and Widget is a lot like Linda."
                  I've just noticed that Whiskey has a bald spot like mine as well. Ha ha.
Don't tell Linda I thought that though will you?
I also had the mid- watch today at the lookout. Once again it was a misty day, as well as being cold and wet. Another watch under my belt now...and still nothing to be seen on the high sea's. Oh well!!! at least I'm there

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Chapter Seventy Nine

Yesterday would have been my dad's 87th birthday. Still miss him a great deal. It would have been lovely to have brought him down here to Cornwall for holidays and the like. If the driving was to much, he could always have used the train or the plane.
It would have been good to show him around the area; I could have even taken him to the lookout.
We had our weeks holiday at the beginning of the month and really enjoyed ourselves. The first few days were spent down here before we took mum back home. Linda and I then stayed in the sheltered accomodation that mum lives in. They supply a double room for visitors visiting family up there. Its a lovely room and laid out very like a Travelodge or Holiday Inn place. The only thing missing is the TV.
Linda feels it is good for me to stay in a place like that as it gives me a taste of what it will be like when she finally puts me into a home. Charming...Oh how I laughed... saucy bat.
Mums nebulizer never did arrive down here and I had to get her one on loan from our surgery. When Linda chased up the delivery of the item to us the delivery company...sadly NOT Royal Mail...confirmed that the item had been delivered and signed for at our address.
Very odd that; especially as our home overlooks the road and mum was home all day. We all know what me mother is like. There is no way anybody is going to go by, that she wont spot. What was even more strange was the delivery man confirming to his bosses that, "Yes, I delivered the item to a bungalow in Ruan High Lanes". They took that as proof that it had been delivered to us even though Linda pointed out that we live in a 'HOUSE' in 'RUAN LANIHORNE'.

Once again excellent work from a private courier company. I know we're not perfect at Royal Mail...but we do things better than that.
Linda had loads of work to do at home on the Tuesday so I took mum down to St Mawes before taking her across on the ferry to the Lizard. I managed to drive right down to Lizard Point and we had coffee and dessert in the little cafe overlooking the sea. It is lovely down there and Linda and I do pop down here when we can. My Uncle Tom's ashes were scattered here by my Auntie Shirley, so it has a real meaning for me.
There is also a little island just around the point which is called 'MULVIN'.
Mum did ask a chap down there if he knew how it got the name. He had lived there all his long life and told her it had always been called mulvin, but he had no idea as to why. Our information about it being our family name from Ireland was news to him as he had never realised that mulvin was a surname.
He speculated that perhaps somebody of our name was washed onto it from a wreck years ago; or perhaps somebody surveying in the area had named it after himself. No nearer to finding the truth about it though.
The Wednesday saw us driving up to Surrey and settling in at Farnham. The few days up there went so quickly but we managed to catch up with all members of the family and that was good. We seemed to eat a lot with people this time. We had dinner with Fiona and Lucy; lunch with Katrina and Oscar; dinner with Ray and Carol; coffee with Fiona and Woody; birthday lunch with Roxanne and all the family; and finished off with dinner with Grahame and Julie.
It seemed to be a full week of catching up...and eating.
I was delighted to meet two people who are very dear to me. The first was Sandra Ellen. We bumped into her in Forest Lodge. She is an old friend of mine and it was great to catch up. I have to say she looked great as well.
Then a few minutes later and looking equally as good; there was my old mate Graham Bonner from Farnham Post Office. That was great to catch up with him and we had a real old chat. The rest of our rota at Farnham used to refer to us as 'The Old Farts'...or 'Statler and Waldorf' from the muppets. Charming people to work with I must say. When the Royal Mail Territorial Army unit called in to the office on a recruitment drive...even they referred to us both as 'Dad's Army'.
So much for any form of respect for two old work horses. Ha Ha.
I took a walk early one morning while up there so that I could get a couple of photos that I wanted. The first one was of a plaque that Woody was asking me about. He had seen something about it up at Westminster and mentioned it.
 The other thing was I picture I wanted before some clown decides to get rid of it. I managed to prevent Royal Mail ripping it off the wall about twenty years ago. The building's manager at the time came into our office and said they wanted to get rid of it. I pointed out that it had been a gift to the company by the former West Surrey College of Art and Design. I also pointed out that it was a modern art representation of the town and was completely unique. Much arguing later...he pushed off and left it alone.

While up in Surrey we did do a couple of things that we were pleased with as well. We visited Susan and Dads grave and cleaned and tidied that up. We got cleaning stuff from Dyas's and bleached the grave back to cleaness again. That was a little job I had planned on a while ago. Fiona always takes flowers down there for me at Christmas , and so I try, when I'm around, to keep it clean for everyone.

We also went to Rays old yard to see the final demolition of everything. Ray has closed the business and sold the site. Its the end of an era for the family, but he felt the time was right. Sad to see it go though. I managed to get a photograph of the last sign up on the place before this bit to got knocked down.

On our return to Cornwall, Linda instigated the biggest change of all to our living down here. She has finally resigned from the Alzheimers society and is now just working out her four weeks notice. It is a good move for her to make as the society has not been a highlight in her working career. The job they employed her to do...she was not allowed to do for the first year as they wanted her to do admin work.
Then she finally got out amongst the community only to find that the more she did of her job, the more barriers got put in her way. Told to do this, or told to do that; she would do it very successfully and then be told she was basically to successful and was going beyond her remit. There comes a time when you just realise that banging your head on a brick wall is doing nothing except harming yourself.
Then she and a colleague fell victim to a Machiavellian volunteer who has the company ear...and it seemed best to leave. By this time the choice was quite simply...'you had better jump because we are pushing'.
Thankfully it has meant that Linda can now go and do exactly what she does best. She has found work in the community and has now got the chance to expand her own ideas as well. With her skills and enthusiasm she is hoping to set up her own company and devote herself too helping and caring in the worlds of dementia and alzheimers.
Personally, I think she will do well at it.
My work too is going on a pace and I am very happy at the moment. The very real threats of strikes and the even more bigger threat of being privatised is shaking Royal Mail to the core...but I am keeping my head down and rolling with the punches. I know it wont make a scrap of difference whatever I say or do, so I am just enjoying my days at St Mawes and trying to keep out of trouble.
The weather is still quite good at the moment and the summer is slowly turning into autumn. I walked down to Sett Bridge the other evening to see the high tide coming in. It was pretty good and the water was over the road again. What did catch me was the roar of a combine harvester bringing in the last of the harvest.
They have been very busy down this way and the tractors and farm machinery have been rushing around the lanes getting their work done.
All hours of the day and night you can hear and see the work going on. A week ago when the weather was threatening to break, they were working in the fields under lights. Everyone is doing a great job.

I saw this combine working in the field just behind us. It sounded like it was actually beside me, the noise was so loud. When it came into view it looked like a small house on the move. Its brilliant to see it all though.    

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Chapter Seventy Eight

The weekend of the 9th of August was another special one for us. This time it was Fiona and Woody who came to stay.
I was on delivery in St Mawes and met up with Fiona running along the road to reach me, just outside the post office. The weather was good and it was great to see her and Woody on the quay. It didn't take long to park the van up for the weekend and join tnem in the pub. We had a good catch up before heading up to St Mawes castle for a tour around that. I would reccommend the audio tour to any visitor coming here.
It is a lovely little castle and in the perfect place. Overlooking the Carrick Roads and Falmouth it must have been a brilliant posting.
Fiona and Woody are standing on the roof of the castle here and overlooking Falmouth.
Strangely enough; it is a quarter the size of Falmouth Castle; overlooked by high ground; and must have had  less chance of survival...yet it was never taken. The castle at Falmouth was taken a couple of times; notably by the Spanish; but they failed at St Mawes.
Spanish records of the time, even say, 'not to' attempt to take St Mawes castle. They considered it a tough little place to attack and preferred the easier target of Falmouth. I love the history of it all. We spent some time mooching around the castle and the grounds before heading back home.

It is a lovely place to have a castle and I would have loved a posting there during any war.
Dinner at Tregony to follow, and a good day all around.
The following day was very different as regards the weather. Dull and cloudy, with a fair bit of rain. We went walking at Portscatho and I took all three of them to the lookout. We had intended to walk along to Carne beach but the rain poured down.
We returned to the Hidden Hut instead and bought pasties and coffee. Then the sun came out. We walked back to the car and drove around to Carne and walked there instead. We had a nice walk and chat together before heading back to Ruan Lanihorne for the village fete. That was fun with a lot to see...but the rain poured down again.
I ended up doing the BBQ under the huge umbrella that normally sits over the table. It was fun though.
Sunday arrived so quickly and the kids had to head back up-country.
We all had time to go to the Tregony Heavy Horse Show before they left though.
It was very good there as always and we enjoyed the walk about the place. We saw Nick and Derek on the NCI stall. Hard to believe it was just a year ago today that I took the paperwork and joined the NCI.
All too soon the two of them had to leave. They decided to call into Mevagissey on the way home. We popped on to the allotment...and a lovely weekend was over.
A couple of days later I got a surprise phone call on delivery to let me know that an old friend of mine was down from Surrey. Mick Yuill was down for a week at Looe and he had popped over to St Mawes to find me.
It was brilliant to see him and we had a good old 'catch-up' outside the St Mawes Hotel. Between the two of us we've had over ninety years service to Royal Mail. There was lots to talk about. The scary thing was discovering the amount of blokes we'd worked with who have now passed away. A lot of good memories were brought up though and I really enjoyed his visit.

Linda has been to a few gigs with her 'Samba' Band. I met up with her and her mates over at Tintagel. The drumming is really very good and Linda enjoys herself very much. This time they not only played several static sessions, they also marched in the procession as well. It looked great fun and its nice to see Linda doing something a little frivolous.

The next weekend saw the house being turned into something resembling 'Doris Archers' kitchen. Being married to Linda is like being married to the fictional Doris. The house and garden were all tidied and sorted out; the allotment had been given a harvesting; and the house was full of fruit and veg being preserved and cooked.

The shelves are gradually filling up with chutneys and jams; the freezers are filling up with assorted veg and soups;
the shed is filling up with trays of onions and bags of potato's; and I am filling up with home made and home grown food.
 Linda has taught herself how to plait and string the onions and garlic so that they can hang down and stay dry. I'm thinking of buying her a beret and sending her out on a pushbike to sell some of the onions herself. A little cornish madamoiselle onion seller.
Linda even finds time to put together some bunches of flowers and sell them up at the local farm shop.
Sunday 18th August was a 'red-letter' day for me.
Today I did my first watch on my own as a qualified watch keeper. I had the mid-watch and I could not have been more proud. It was fairly busy as the weather was good and I enjoyed myself very much. Funny how so many things are coming together for me at the moment. I feel very lucky.
August bank holiday brought us a houseful of folk. Therese and Becky came down with Eliza for the weekend. They also brought mum with them and she will be staying with us until we go back up-country on our holiday.
Linda and I both have a week off from the 1st of September and will take mum back home mid week. The house was full and it was great fun.
It took them a long time to get down on Friday because of the holiday traffic, and they didn't arrive until  midnight. Good to see them all though.
This little chap appeared on one of Linda's tubs out in the garden. There is a fairly substantial, although discreetly hidden, population of Stick Insects on the Roseland. I found a dead one over in Portscatho last year. This is one of the more common varieties and it was alive and well and munching on Linda's daisies.

The following day I was working at Portscatho. It was a very busy day as Tim was off sick and Ellie needed her day off. At the same time the Portscatho Regatta was taking place. A really good fun day and I felt very much part of the local scene.
Sunday was spent visiting the market at Par before a long gentle laze around out in the garden. We did do a BBQ though and that was fun. Monday was equally as laid back and we all enjoyed being together before Therese, Becky, and Eliza headed home.
The weather seems to have settled into a dry patch this summer and we've taken advantage of a lot of that.
I got into work on Tuesday and was given a nice surprise. After two years down here I have finally been offered a permanent contract with Royal Mail.
No matter what work I do down here, my contract with Royal Mail is my main contract. I have just spent two years on a temporary 10 hour a week it is up to a permanent 20 hour a week contract. Good news if I decide to stay. The future is still a little up in the air at the moment.
It certainly is for Linda at present. A volunteer at her work has been making life very difficult for her. Nasty accusations and a lot of spite has resulted in Linda questioning her own worth and re-evaluating her position. Although the accusations have been proved false it has left a nasty taste in the mouth. I really wish Linda would just leave there.

Mum came with me when I visited the lookout to put my name forward for three watches. She managed the walk across to the point and sat in the lookout with me and enjoyed the view. At least she has an idea now of were I am and what I'm doing when I talk about it.

I took mum up towards Looe on my day off this week. As a surprise I took her to see the Woolly Monkey Rescue Centre. It is a brilliant place which cares for several different breeds of monkey that have been rescued.

There is a lot of room for the animals to live quite naturally and it is a beautiful location.

Mum has become very fond of watching programmes about the monkeys so I thought she would enjoy a visit to here. She had a great time.

By the weekend however a problem had developed for mum. Her nebulizer is not working as it should do and a spare part is needed. Much to-ing and fro-ing on Saturday; including a visit to Treliske has not produced any favourable results.
It is now 05-30 on Monday morning and I am waiting before I head off to try and sort things out. Either the part she needs will be waiting at Truro Royal Mail...or it means a visit to the Probus surgery.
Still, who cares, its the first day of our weeks holiday and I am looking forward to the break.