Monday 28 December 2020

Looking forward to 2021

 Possible New Year Resolutions...

Eat more vegetables (eat a vegetable).
Travel more (perhaps even to the bottom of the garden).
Enjoy the occasional break (but no more bones).
Keep glasses safe (best to leave them in spectacle case by side of bed and never wear them).
Reduce time in bed (19 hours a day to 18).
Reduce time playing with phone (4 hours to 3.75 hours).
Live dangerously (go up and down stairs).
Begin Christmas shopping earlier (say February).
Write diary (and get beyond 10th January). 

Friday 25 December 2020

Merry Christmas


Wednesday 23 December 2020

No flying - even sleighs are grounded.

 Rumour has it that there is no air mail until more inroads have been made into Covid-19. My snail mail is going to be drastically reduced. 

Sunday 29 November 2020

Story in Six Words

Story in six words by Anthony Trollope...

For sale: baby shoes; never worn.

Monday 23 November 2020


 A sentence with a surprise ending is called a paraprosdokian.  Here are couple of examples...

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it."   Groucho Marx  

"If you can' t think  of anything nice and kind to say about anyone - why, do come and sit beside me."  Alice Roosevelt Longworth

"If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I should not be at all surprised."  Dorothy Parker

Monday 24 August 2020

Walking for Wirral Hospice

Jo and I had a good walk on Sunday in memory of Val Ross and thanks to some very generous supporters raised £240 for Wirral Hospice. Thanks to everyone involved.

Friday 7 August 2020

Wirral Hospice St John's

When Jo and I got married 33 years ago we wanted our wedding to be a bit different.  We also wanted special friends to be a part of the ceremony as well as part of our lives so my best person was Anne Winfield - a close friend from college days - and Jo was given away by her best friend Val Ross. 

Sadly, in 2018 Val died.  During her last few months she spent a lot of time in Wirral Hospice.  They cared for her wonderfully. And they were always helpful and considerate of her friends and family. 

During these crazy months of 2020 the hospice - like many charities - has had an enormous shortfall in its income.  Its charity shops have all been closed and so far only a couple have reopened.  Even now  accepting items for the shops is fraught with difficulty because they have to be stored prior to being handled.  Nearly all the hospice's  planned fundraising events were dependent on people having physical contact in one way or another and were therefore cancelled.  Lots of people have done sponsored events at home but I believe Wirral Hospice has a shortfall this year on its anticipated income of over £250,000. 
On August 23rd Jo and I are doing a sponsored walk for the hospice in remembrance of Val.   Many other people will also be walking in memory of a loved one but we are all walking separately in our own local area. 

If you would like to make a donation to the hospice you can do so on our justgiving page (link below)  All contributions, no matter how big or small, will be welcomed. 

Wednesday 5 August 2020


A breach of the Trades Descriptions Act 1968...

(In the UK the Trade Descriptions Act (TDA) makes it an offence 
for traders to falsely describe goods and services. It would, for example, be an
 offence for a tour operator to say a hotel has air conditioning when it does 
not, or for a retailer to say a handbag is leather when it is plastic.)

Sunday 2 August 2020


Friday 17 July 2020

The debate about masks

They were told they had to wear a mask for work....

Some people have a sense of humour.

But some are just a few shillings short of a pound!

Monday 13 July 2020

Monday 13th

Going to sleep on a Sunday causes Monday. And this month Friday 13th also fell on a Monday.  So I wasn't overly surprised to find another disaster occurring today.  I say 'another' because I'd already had about five in the last six or seven days. 

Today started with a migraine at 3a.m. as most days do but a couple of paracetomol and codeine, a marol and a sumatriptan started to diminish it and a cup of tea and some toast (provided by Rich and Jo who were both wandering around the kitchen at 4 a.m.) finished it off. So when I got out of bed at 6.35 I felt fine.

Until I put my right foot on the floor at which stage I recalled that my bursitis from Friday had not got any better. For those who don't know, bursitis is excess fluid and usually occurs on the knee (water on the knee) or elbow (tennis elbow). I have lacked a right kneecap for over fifty years since I had a motor accident. Consequently, if I kneel for any length of time I get bursitis which is a painful swelling. You would think that 54 years would be long enough for me to learn not to kneel. Silly you if you really think that. And no, water on the knee is not cured by a tap on the ankle!

Anyway, I swore my way downstairs and Jo and I went out shopping.  My first trip outside the gate for about ten days and my first trip beyond the local postbox for over three weeks. Jo did all the shopping while I stayed in the car.  She has been doing every bit of shopping since February and most of it for the last couple years. But that's OK because she loves it.  I mean hates it.  Absolutely hates it. Unless there are clothes or books involved. 

We got home and unpacked the shopping and then drove to West Kirby with a view to having our first café visit since February. 

A cappuccino and a sausage toastie later we headed back home. 

I took my keys, etc., out of my pockets and thought 'That's interesting. No wallet.'  It was then I remembered the date. The 13th. 

A few phone calls later and none of the shops we'd been near had got it. Jo then had to head off to work.  We agreed to leave it to 5pm before phoning to cancel all my cards. 

At 1.30pm a young lady called Nicky from Hoylake arrived at the door with my wallet in her hand. Not only had she been caring enough to bring it well out of her way but she seemed as delighted as me to have reunited us. 

There are some good folk around. 

And perhaps Monday 13th isn't as bad as Friday 13th after all.  How did your day go?

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Classifying the Animal Kingdom

In order for us to understand how all living organisms are related, they are arranged into different groups. The more features that a group of animals share, the more specific the group is. Animals are given scientific names so that people all around the world can communicate about animals, no matter what language they speak (these names are traditionally based on Latin words). Animals belong to a number of different groups, starting with the animal kingdom.

All living organisms are first placed into different kingdoms. There are five different kingdoms to classify life on Earth, which are Animals, Plants, Fungi, Bacteria, and Protists (single-celled organisms).

The animal kingdom is divided into 40 smaller groups, known as phylum. Here, animals are grouped by their main features. Animals usually fall into one of five different phylum which are Cnidaria (invertebrates), Chordata (vertebrates), Arthropods, Molluscs and Echinoderms.

The phylum group is then divided into even smaller groups, known as classes. The Chordata (vertebrates) phylum splits up into Mammalia (Mammals), Actinopterygii (Bony Fish), Chondrichthyes (Cartilaginous Fish) , Aves (Birds), Amphibia (Amphibians) and Reptilia (Reptiles).

Each class is divided into small groups again, known as orders. The class Mammalia (Mammals), splits into different groups including Carnivora, Primate, Artiodactyla and Rodentia.

In every order, there are different families of animals which all have very similar features. The Carnivora order breaks into families that include Felidae (Cats), Canidae (Dogs), Ursidae (Bears), and Mustelidae (Weasels).

Every animal family is then divided into small groups known as genera. Each genus contains animals that have very similar features and are closely related. For example, the Felidae (Cat) family contains genera including Felis (small Cats and domestic Cats), Panthera (Tigers, Leopards, Jaguars and Lions) and Puma (Panthers and Cougars).

Each individual species within the genus is usually named after it's individual features and characteristics. The names of animals are based on Latin to help them to be understood worldwide,  They consist of two words. The first word in the name of an animal will be the genus, and the second name indicates the specific species.

Example  - Tiger
Kingdom: Animalia (Animal)
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrate)
Class: Mammalia (Mammal)
Order: Carnivora (Carnivore)
Family: Felidae (Cat)
Genus: Panthera
Species: Panthera tigris (Tiger)

Whilst this is now universally recognised it is not the only way of classifying creatures.  I like this one -

Friday 19 June 2020

Social distancing

"Social distancing - what is that?"    It seems the folk in my local supermarket have not heard of it.

As Friend-uber-special said to me recently - "It's like manners, all you can do is look to your own."

Wednesday 3 June 2020


For only the second or third time in 10 weeks we've got rain bouncing off the patio. It's a strange sound. And talking of sound it is now 12 months since they began demolishing the nursing home next door and building apartments. Twelve months of banging, crashing, machinery, shouting - all of which can be clearly heard inside our house.  Beginning before 8 a.m.. Some times the bangs are loud enough for our foundations to shake.  They have rarely worked on Sunday and they had four weeks off at the beginning of lockdown.  But I am desperate for them to finish. 

The garden rubbish bin hasn't been emptied for months (though I must point out the binmen - sorry refuse collection operatives - have done a brilliant job in keeping our other bins emptied). 

Lockdown has meant I haven't been able to go to Isabelles, my favourite café, for coffee. 

Nor has bus travel into the countryside been possible. 

I have yet to meet my latest grandchild who was born in January. And my planned trip to stay with my brother in the Hebrides for a few weeks hás, of course, gone for a burton.  I haven't been able to have coffee or lunch with any of my friends. And I could not attend my cousin's funeral. 

In all it's not been a good year. 

But at least I'm not a black American with a murderer pressing on my throat while police officers stand around and watch. 

Black lives matter.  Silence is racism.  We need to all speak out. 

Friday 22 May 2020

Things I have learned

Things I have learned so far during the coronavirus crisis.

I guess the first thing I learned was the apparent value of toilet rolls and butter in the economic life of the UK. I assume the butter shortage was due to so many people experimenting with baking during lockdown.  Most other panic buying at least had a logical base but I'm still not sure why everyone rushed out for toilet rolls.

One of my former colleagues (SS) is as kind and caring and helpful as ever.  As soon as we were locked down she was offerring to help in any way she could. 

On second thoughts I've always known she was a star so I haven't learned that as a result of the 2020 crisis. Similarly, I have extolled the virtues of the NHS and its people for many decades so that also is not newly learned. 

Meanwhile a local photographer I have only met on Instagram @jamiedoesphotos also offered to drop off anything we needed and showed that strangers can also be so kind and caring at times of crisis. 

If you are as introverted and have reduced mobility as I have, being locked down has been easier to cope with than it has been for many people. .  

Indeed, seeing more of Jo has been a real positive of the lockdown situation even though she has been working in the office most days.  I'm not looking forward to her resuming a seven day week. 

I am very fortunate to have a garden no matter how neglected. 

And no matter how ineffectual and questionable some of the UK government's actions may have been (and I say 'may' advisedly) at least we don't have a complete nutter as our leader.  (Sorry about the politically incorrect term.  I do take mental health seriously. But how else can one adequately describe a man who suggests bleach enemas. Don't try this at home.) Rambling Boris almost seems sane by comparison.  And, what is more, I've learned Donald Trump can get even more idiotic as time goes on.  He views their 1.56 million cases as "a badge of honour" and a week after saying testing was "overrated" he was boasting about testing 14 million!  After all if they had only tested a million then they wouldn't have so many cases....  

I have discovered my To Be Read shelves of books are nowhere near as long-lasting as I had imagined they would be.  But strangely despite reading about 6 books a week the number of books on those shelves has not diminished. Thank Heaven Amazon, AbeBooks and courier services kept going.  But I have really missed browsing in charity shops and finding authors by serendipity. 

The other thing I've really missed is my twice weekly coffees in my favourite café.

Skype calls and WhatsApp have helped enormously in keeping me in touch with my daughters.

A hamper from one daughter was turned into super meals by my son who also decorated the kitchen and bathroom while locked down with us.

Ànd I learned just how important my penpals and postcard swappers are to my life. Without Royal Mail and the postal services of Belarus, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain,  USA, etc. my life would be much less exciting.  I await the mail dropping on my mat with great excitement every day and the fact that Saturday has joined Sunday as a day of no deliveries has been quite a blow.  

Snailmail has kept me in touch with my brother and e-mails with friend-uber-special. Instagram and Facebook not only allowed me to share what I'm doing with old friends but also re-united me with a friend from my college days. 

However, when a friend's partner's mother died from the virus it reminded us that no matter how many positives one can find the negative has been, for many people, the ultimate one.  And that without a properly attended funeral. So sad. 

I wonder what you have learned.

Thursday 9 April 2020

How we treat the least among us

The current pandemic is an awful thing and the worst part about it is that we humans brought it upon ourselves. Our disregard for the planet on which we live and the creatures with which we share it is why we are in this mess.

"When we save other creatures we are actually saving ourselves. It's really how we treat the least amongst us that will determine our own fate." Joel  Sartore

But, as with any crisis, there are positives.  

A former colleague and close friend who I nowadays only lunch with about once a year texted me very early on to say if we needed anything we only had to let her know and she'd deliver it to us. 

Another former colleague who is in her 80s is having shopping delivered by a friend and also has a former colleague keeping an eye out for her and making sure she's OK. 

Just two of millions of examples of kindness occurring around the world. 

Many of my Instagram friends are demonstrating their inventiveness and skills with a wide range of photos and other crafts and hobbies.  

And there has been a tendency for posts to concentrate on life's positives and the beauties of nature.  
Children everywhere are being taught the importance of those who provide caring and health services.  They are creating and exhibiting rainbows to let passers-by know that this too shall pass. They are realising how essential some of our other services are like postal workers and delivery people. And in many cases they are spending valuable time with their parents of which they would normally be robbed by their mums and dads working.   

No, I'm not forgetting all the families who are grieving at the loss of a loved one or the fact that medically the worst may be yet to come.  Nor can one ignore how hard our health workers are having to work and the risks they are taking.  And then there'll be the economic crisis for us all to get through. 

But one thing has been made obvious - we are all in this together.  Male, female, black, white, gay, heterosexual, Christian, Muslim, conservative, socialist, British, European, Chinese, and all other shades of origin, culture, etc.  We are being drawn together to serve mankind as a whole. 

Let us stay together once this pandemic is history and let us see a world that has changed for the better. 

Friday 31 January 2020


“February’s so gloomy in this part of the world, don’t you think? It’s not so much a month as a twenty-eight-day-long Monday morning.”
                           David Mitchell “Black Swan Green”

Thursday 23 January 2020

On this day

Today's most useless piece of information -

On 23rd January 2018 twelve camels were disqualified from a camel beauty contest when it was discovered their owners had used botox on their lips.  (I'm not sure the above camel in Chester Zoo would have stood much chance with or without botox!)

I'm reminded of the Jim Reeves song...

"Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone Let's pretend that we're together all alone. I'll tell the man to turn the jukebox way down low. And you can tell your friend there with you, he'll have to go."

Tuesday 14 January 2020


Over the past couple of years I have really fallen for Instagram.  And it never ceases to amaze me that I can take a picture on my phone, post it on-line in seconds and receive a comment from a friend in Russia a moment later. 

The one problem is that it only translates the original post, not the following comments.   And its translations to and from Russian  can leave a lot to be desired.   "Out of sight, out of mind," for example might become невидимый маньяк which translates back as "Invisible Maniac". 

Some of my Instagram posts are really, really exciting and daring  - like eating chocolate sponge for breakfast, seeing a wine bottle gift container in the form of a post box, or even getting ink on my fingers...  If you feel you can't manage without seeing such marvels you can find me on Instagram at @cjohnedwards

I look forward to If you want to see my doings on Instagram you can find me at @cjohnedwards
I look forward to perhaps seeing some of you there.

Monday 6 January 2020

Bushfire update

Bushfire update from  @paulhiltonphoto on Instagram =

"Around 480 million animals are feared to have died in the bushfires sweeping Australia.⁠
Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate around 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have been killed, directly or indirectly, by the devastating blazes since they began in September, The Times reported.⁠

This includes almost 8,000 koalas, which are believed to have burnt to death on the state’s mid-north coast. This week I spent a day doing a black walk with members from @koalacrusaders on the Sunshine Coast. Which basically means walking through areas after fires, to look out for injured wildlife, with a focus on koalas 🐨. The also use detection dogs, Bear has many years under his belt alongside his owner and trainer Russel. @usc_detection_dogs⁠

Right now the @koalacrusaders are raising money for a koala Sanctuary for all their injured koalas that can’t be release, due to injuries. Please take a moment to check out their website. The news across Australia is devastating. The country has been burning for months, with huge heat waves, the climate crisis is real and it’s only going to get worse. With most of the Southern Hemisphere in drought, many of the worlds leading scientists have forecast a mega - drought for Australia for many years to come.

Saturday 4 January 2020

My Postcrossing Year 2019

Although I only sent about 100 postcards through postcrossing (and received the same amount back) I actually sent a total of 460 to other friends and acquaintances.  And a wonderful 440 came back the other way (plus dozens of folded cards as well). 

Thursday 2 January 2020

Books Read in 2019

(Please note the date in brackets is the year read, not the year published.  A +sign indicates it has been read before.  2 + signs mean I've read it before twice or more.  My favourites are shown in red.)

Atkinson, Kate.  When will there be good news? 2019 (Jackson Brodie 3)
Atkinson, Kate.  Case histories 2019  (Jackson Brodie 1) 

Attwood, Margaret. Wilderness tips. Poor. 2019

Backman, Frederick. A man called Ove. Excellent. 2019.

Bingham, Harry.  The dead house. 2019  (Fiona Griffiths)

Brandon, John G. A scream in Soho. 2019

Brody, Frances. Death of an avid reader. A Leeds Library Kate Shackleton novel. 2019

Brunoff, J & L. De. Babar a la chasse aux oeufs 2019

Bude, John. Death makes a prophet. 2019

Butland, Stephanie. Lost for words. (Bookshop romance). 2019

Butlin, Ron. The little book of Scottish rain. NF.  2019

Cannon, Joanna. Trouble with goats and sheep.  2019

Cleeves, Ann. The moth catcher. A Vera Stanhope novel) 2019
Cleeves, Ann. Harbour Street. (Vera) 2019
Cleeves, Ann. The mill on the shore. (Molly & George Palmer-Jones). 2019.
Cleeves, Ann.  Cold earth. (Jimmy Perez - Shetland) 2019.

Cole, Martina.  Damaged  019  (Kate Burrows retired) 2019

Croft, Kathryn. The girl with no past. 2019.

Crombie, Deborah. No mark upon her. 2019

Dahl, Roald. Boy. 2019

Edwards, Martin. Suspicious minds. Set in Wirral.  2019

Edwards, Ruth Dudley. The Anglo-Irish murders. 2019 not finished

Elliott, Angela J. A strange scent of death. (Novel based on disappearance of Flannan Isles lighthouse keepers.) 2019

Ellis, Kate. The Jackal man. (Wesley Peterson) 2019
Ellis, Kate. The flesh tailor (Wesley Peterson) 2019

Fadiman, Anne. Ex libris. (NF execellent) 2019

Fields, Helen. Perfect prey. 2019

Fox, Kathryn.  Skin and bone. (Det Kate Farrer – Sydney, Australia). 2019

Franklin, Ariana. Relics of the dead.  (Adelia Aguilar). +2019.

French, Nicci.  Day of the dead. 2019.

Gibney, Patricia. The stolen girls. (DI Lottie Parker – Irish garda) 2019

Gray, Alex. The bird that did not sing. (Spt. Lorimer) 2019
Gray, Alex. The darkest goodbye. 2019. 
Gray, Alex. Keep the midnight 2019

Griffiths, Elly.  The ghost fields. (Dr Ruth Galloway) 2019

Guskin, Sharon. The forgetting time. 2019 Not finished

Highroads of Literature. NF ++ 2019

Holmes, Efner Tudor. The Christmas Cat 2019

Honeyman, Gail. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. 2019

Indridason, Shadow district.  2019

Jackson, Holbrook. Bookman's holiday. ++ 2019

James, P.D. Cover the face. (Dalgleish) 2019

Jour, Belle du. The intimate adventures of a London call girl. 2019 (part...)

Kacirk, Jeffrey. Altered English.  Dipped into it. 2019

Larsson, Steig. Girl with the dragon tattoo. 2019
Larsson, Steig. The girl who played with fire. 2019
Larsson, Stieg. The girl who kicked the hornets' nest. 2019

Lawler, Liz. Don't wake up. 2019

Lodge, David. Therapy. 2019 excellent.
Lodge, David. Deaf sentence. 2019. Excellent.
Lodge, David. The British Museum is falling down. (+) 2019
Lodge, David. Small world. 2019

MacBride, Stuart. Broken skin. 2019
MacBride, Stuart. Dying light. 2019

MacNeil, Kevin. The Stornoway way. 2019

Mangan, Lucy. Bookworm. NF. 2019

Marshall, Laura. Friend request. 2019

Mitchell, Maggie. Pretty is... 2019

Mosse, Kate. The taxidermist's daughter. 2019

Nicolaou, Maria. Divorced, beheaded, sold. Ending an English marriage 1500-1847. NF Excellent. 2019

Orczy, Baroness . The old man in the corner.. 2019 the tea house derective

Postgate, Raymond. Somebody at the door. 2019

Pratchett, Terry. The wee free men. (+) 2019
Pratchett, Terry. Wintersmith (+) 2019
Pratchett, Terry. A hat full of sky. (+) 2019
Pratchett, Terry. I shall wear midnight (+) 2019
Pratchett, Terry. The shepherd's crown (+) 2019
Pratchett, Terry. The wit and wisdom of Discworld (+) 2019
Pratchett, Terry. Equal rites (+) 2019
Pratchett, Terry. Wyrd sisters (+) 2019
Pratchett, Terry. Sourcery (+) 2019
Pratchett, Terry. Lords and Ladies (+) 2019

Reed, Mike. 100 humorous poems. 2019 NF

Rendell, Ruth. Going wrong. 2019 excellent

Robinson, Graham. Observations on life. 2019 nf poetry

Robotham, Michael. Watching you. 2019

Runcie, James. Sidney Chambers and the problem of evil. 2019

Sachar, Louis. Holes. (Camp Green Lake) 2019

Sayers, Dorothy L. Strong poison. Lord Peter Wimsey.  2019

Schlink, Bernhard. The reader. 2019

Spring, Neil. The lost village. 2019

Steiner, Susie.  Missing presumed.  (+ part then realised I'd read it c2017

Templeton, Aline.  Cold in the earth. (DI Marjory Fleming) 2019

Tiffany, Carrie. Mateship with birds. (Excellently written monograph on kookaburras and sex!) 2019

Tudor, C.J. The chalk man. 2019

Walsh, Rosie. The man who didn't call. 2019

Whitehouse, David. The long forgotten. 2019

Wilkinson, Colin. Liverpool from the air. (NF). 2019

Wright, John D. The age of the Victorians. {NF}. 2019

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