Daily Prompt: Expert

This is George – my husband. He is an Expert (with a capital ‘E’) yes indeed an Expert at teasing me or, to use an English term, at pulling my leg. Before we actually met face to …

Source: Daily Prompt: Expert

Daily Prompt: Expert

IMG_2195This is George – my husband. He is an Expert (with a capital ‘E’) yes indeed an Expert at teasing me or, to use an English term, at pulling my leg.

Before we actually met face to face some 13 years ago he told me about the love of his life – he had admired her at a distance, for years. He had not the courage to tell her his feelings as he knew she was already married. This, of course, roused my curiosity and not a little jealousy. We were speaking on the phone. Me in Cornwall and him in Lincolnshire. After much prodding on my part ( and not a little nail-biting for I wondered how he would compare me to this paragon) he eventually revealed her name … Sophia Loren!  Good job we were some 300 miles apart or I would have thrown something at him!

And so it went on and so it continues … My Expert – My husband.

Yours aye,





via Daily Prompt: Expert

Just sailing …

When I was at school one of the things I wanted to do was join the Wrens. My father had a fit and I lost interest when I learned they didn’t go to sea (well in those days they didn’t). When I lived in Cornwall I met a man who became my partner for 17 years. He owned a yacht just like the one in the photograph above.  She was a Folkboat called Applejack.

When I was 50 I was asked to help crew a catamaran from Plymouth, Devon to Santander, Spain. Yes across the notoriously choppy Bay of Biscay. The trip took two whole weeks of my summer holiday but what an experience! I spent one night in Santander then caught the ferry back to Plymouth and work the next day.

But it was on Applejack that I learned to sail. Most weekends and every holiday was spent sailing or cruising. No full headroom in the cabin and the heads (loo) was separated from the bunks and table by a curtain. It was a Baby Blake though and not a bucket and chuck it so I did have a bit of luxury. I learned to cook sitting on my bunk holding the pans on the gas as the boat ploughed its way across the English Channel en route to France or The Channel Islands.

I learned to steer at night using the stars (as well as the compass) and how to tell whether a vessel was going to go ahead of us or behind or whether we were on a collision course!l

When I was off watch during a Channel crossing I would lie (fully clothed) on my bunk and be lulled to a couple of hours sleep by the sound of the water gurgling against the hull.

In St Peter Port CI I was sitting in the cockpit in the Marina peeling potatoes for lunch into a bucket between my legs when a rather snooty woman walked up and said ‘My dear, every time I walk past I think of you crossing the Channel in THAT! I should have told her how seaworthy the Folkboat was and that Blondie Hasler used one for several years  in the Singlehanded Transatlantic Yacht Race.

It was never a chore visiting her in the boatyard out of season and anti fouling and painting and varnishing her ready for the next season. 

This is a watercolour painting I did of a boatyard in the early Spring – it might have been Applejack under that tarp and my coffee mug upturned on the oil drum! 

The Strawberry Thief

StrawberrythiefThe title given to this beautiful design by William Morris so beloved of the National Trust and the Chattering Classes but it is not only birds who thieve the strawberries!

George and I are housesitting again – this time a delightful former vicarage in Cambridgeshire.  Renovated and extended into a warm, comfortable, beautiful family home set in lovely grounds with mature trees.  And did I mention the outdoor heated swimming pool which we have permission to use?

We are looking after two dogs – both black Labradors.  One elderly and arthritic who greets us with a gappy toothed Goofy-like smile in the morning and he waddles around a bit like me on a bad day.  Arthritis aint funny. The other dog is two years old - well-behaved and chases his ball relentlessly (I`m lost in admiration at his ability to pant and keep the ball in his mouth!)

One of our tasks is to water the plants in the garden this hot weather.  My job usually.  We have all the doors open to keep the house cool.  By the French doors in the sitting room we use there are strawberry plants spreading out over the gravel drive – and I spotted lovely strawberries growing.  One large, plump specimen I gently lifted off the gravel and placed a leaf underneath it to save the fruit from damage.  It would be ready in a couple of days.

George and I were in the sitting room yesterday evening and I mentioned the strawberries and told him I had sampled one.  Thats the one I was watching he said - the large one by the door. No I replied - the one I ate was small I`ve placed the large one on a leaf until it ripens. ` George protested that it had gone and accused me of eating it.  That was enough.  I went outside and sure enough, the prime strawberry had vanished - just its hull left on the stalk.

Later that evening I watched the younger dog just outside the open door – he was sniffing around the strawberry plants and gently picking and eating them!!!!!  I`ve heard of feeding donkeys strawberries but …

Yours aye,







George and I have this ‘thing’ which blights our plans to eat out whilst travelling. Over the years there was the (well known to G) Indian restaurant which had burned down. The Sainsbury’s cafeteria which was closed for renovation. The pub which is now a house. Etc etc – you get the picture.

So today when we planned to have lunch out as our clients were returning at 7pm perhaps you can understand my concern.

We had planned to visit the National Trust  Wimpole Hall Home Farm and have lunch there. No! Rain forecast. So we drove on to a Nepalese restaurant. Four men finishing their main meal but no one on the desk or behind the bar. We waited. No one. Twice George banged on the kitchen door and shouted. No response. We walked out and drove to a pub.

The bar was crowded with people – lots of black ties. We went in the other entrance looking for the restaurant – same bar but other end. Spoke to a harassed barmaid and said we wanted lunch. ‘Sorry’ she said ‘we’re doing a buffet for a funeral party. We stopped doing lunch at 1.30’.

I livened up the company considerably by laughing long and hard to be led hastily back to the car by George.

We had a super lunch back at the housesit – all the less to take home this evening.

Well it did this year!

Each Tuesday afternoon throughout the year I run an art group. There are 12 of us and we have been together for several years sharing our sorrows, joys and picture sales and failures.

We meet in the Community Hall  which is part of the complex where George and I live. We have to be very careful as the caretaker (the Paint Police I jokingly call her)  finds every tiny spot of paint – and we do try so hard to watch where we put our stuff.  

Every Christmas we have a lunch in the hall. Believe me, starving artists we are not! We have some excellent cooks amongst  us. Everyone brings a plate and their drink of choice. George usually sets up the tables but this year, as we are housesitting over 80 miles away, I left George in charge of Millie the dog and drove home yesterday. I’d already bought Christmas crackers, chocolate snowmen, Santa and angels for the table. I cooked the ham last night.

This morning I woke up at 7.30. I could go over to the hall at 8am to set the tables up or I could go to the supermarket to get milk, butter and a few other things I would need. I decided to do the shopping first. When I returned home I was concerned to see first one, then two and then three vans arrive at the hall (which I can see from the kitchen window). A fourth van then arrived. Young men everywhere carrying tools. I thought I’d better see what was happening.

The hall was in chaos. Radio blaring, men and tools everywhere. I was told they had come to replace the gas boiler! Not before time as we’ve had no hot water for ages and the heating has been very temperamental. But TODAY! I’d seen our Warden only a few days ago. She knows of the Tuesday Art Group but no one thought to mention the work to me.

What to do? Two alternatives sprang to mind. A stiff  gin and tonic or sit down and grizzle. In the event I did neither. I told one of the young men (who seemed to be in charge) that I was expecting ten people at 1 o’clock for a sit down lunch. It was by now 10.30 am. He assured me he wouldn’t be long. At 11.30 I returned to the hall – by now more cluttered than ever – and began moving chairs and pushing the tables together down one end of the hall farthest away from the chaos.

At 12.30 I again returned – not much improvement and large bins were being carted to the kitchen sink where cement was being mixed. I wiped down the tables I had set up and sat down and waited. The first of my friends arrived shortly afterwards and we laughed together. A second one arrived. By now there were signs that the men were clearing up. Miraculously by 1 o’clock they had cleared up and left. Boiler working, central heating on. All friends arrived. We worked together setting everything up. What a team! We had crackers, chocolates, Evil Santa (a fun version of Secret Santa) and a quiz as well as mouthwatering food.  A good time was had by all. Everyone pitched in with the washing up and tidying.

Like Rupert Bear I returned home tired but happy. 

Yours aye,


Source: My chain of office … Part I


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