Guest Post: Gavin Marriott

Motorcycling Madness

With 5 deaths the other day – bringing the total now to 265 – the Isle of Man TT “race” again draws the shaking of heads from us normal of the species.
For those that don’t know much about this, it is one of the world’s most famous sporting events where a normal road is closed for “participants” to race over a 1,300ft high mountainous circuit of 37 miles with over 200 turns at over 130mph.

Any ambulanceman will tell you of the motorcycle crashes they’ve attended – well they won’t actually, they’ve attended so many they lose count and forget – usually fractured femurs. I have never understood the madness of putting my whole life on 2 wheels where the amount of rubber actually touching the road would surprise you (about the size of a matchbox) but the worst part is with cornering there is a gravity factor as well. On a motorbike, speed is necessary to counteract gravity.

For over a century the media and tourists flock to his wee island to see a glimpse (all you can see) of a flashing bike race past – to their often doom. Yes it is a basic human right to be free to choose what you do with your own body. The risks and the consequences are well known yet riders keep coming back. Why? To say “they’ve done it”.

By the way, there are 7 funeral firms on the island. Just saying.

Sunny Sunday Musings

We finally got some of the Summer I was waiting for. On one day this week, I was actually uncomfortably hot! (Only becuase I was overdressed for the unexpected weather)
Not so great for Ollie of course, who spends most of his walk in and out of the river, cooling off. Also not wonderful for Hay Fever, which hit me hard on Friday. But I will take the tablets, and enjoy the sunshine.

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As most of you already know, I have the DVLA ‘Pass or fail’ eye test next Friday. If I fail, that’s it. No more driving, ever. Meanwhile, I have been driving at every opportunity, in case I have to try to remember the feeling of just driving down the road with the window open on a lovely day after next weekend.

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We went to a family celebration in Suffolk last night. It was a delight for Julie to meet relatives she had not seen (for various reasons) for seven years. We enjoyed a delicious meal in beautiful surroundings, and there was much laughter and catching up. This is where it was held. https://www.worlingtonhall.com/

As a result, we got home quite late, and stayed up to amuse Ollie who had been left all evening. That meant I didn’t wake up until 9am this morning.

Here we are at the dinner table.

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I have decided not to mention British politics or the war in Ukraine today. I am trying to keep a good mood going until next Friday.

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I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, a relaxing and peaceful one.

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“Sit Anywhere You Like”

In 2015, I wrote about a trip to our local cinema in Dereham. I remarked that we were the only two people in the cinema for the film. At least until it had already started, when two others came into the auditorium and sat at the back. When we bought the tickets on arrival, the lady cashier said to us, “Sit anywhere you like”. Julie took a photo of me sitting there when we were the only two people waiting for the film to start.

A cinema experience

This morning, Julie’s ‘Facebook Memories’ included that photo.

Seasonal Buns

Hot Cross Buns are a treat at Easter, even though they are now sold all year round. The spicy fruit buns have a dense quality, delicious with butter inside. The crosses on the top signify the religious connection from centuries ago.

Last year, Julie tried making some, and the resulting buns were delicious.

Home Made Buns For Easter

Today, she has tweaked the recipe, and achieved a really professional finish, with the added bonus that her home-made buns are so much tastier than any bought in shops.

I can’t wait to try some once they cool down a bit!

A Nice Surprise

Yesterday afternoon, we had been asked to go to a family gathering. Julie has two sons, and identical twin daughters. One of her daughters wanted to celebrate being with her boyfriend for ten years, and had organised a meal in a restaurant in Thetford, 30 miles south of Beetley.

The couple had recently returned from a short holiday in Cyprus, having arranged the family meal before they left. So we set off to see everyone, and joined the large group seated around two extended tables in one section of the restaurant. We took some flowers and a card, as well as Easter gifts for Julie’s chidren and grandchildren. After everyone had ordered food, the couple stood up, and said they had something to tell us. Unveiling a large framed wedding photograph, they announced that they had got married in Cyprus on the 7th of April.

It was a surprise to everyone there, save for the twin sister and best friend who had flown out to Cyprus for two days to attend the wedding. They had also managed to keep everything secret for the five weeks of the planning before, and the period since the wedding too.

Naturally, we were delighted, and it also explained why we had all been asked to celebrate something as relatively ‘minor’ as them being together for ten years.

Later in the year, they are planning to have a more formal wedding reception, somewhere in Norfolk. But they had wanted to save everyone trying to arrange to take time off, and having to deal with the expense of a trip to Cyprus to attend.

Then a large cake was produced, and we all enjoyed a slice.

The biggest surprise for me was that all those involved managed to keep that secret!

Sunday Musings For Mother’s Day

Today is Mothering Sunday in the UK, and that was combined with the clocks going forward one hour. As often happens, this made me stay in bed one hour longer than usual, and I will be feeling like I am catching up for the rest of today.

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I am sending greetings and best wishes to every mother who reads this blog. We only have to focus on recent awful events in the world to see just how determined mothers are, and that there is nothing they wouldn’t do to protect and nurture their chiildren. Not everyone had/has a good mother, but their bad luck was a rarity.

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My own mother died in 2012. She died in pain and distress, in a side room of a hospital ward. I had sat next to her bed for some hours that night, before returning home exhausted. In the early hours, I was telephoned by a nurse to tell me she had died around 1:30 am. I was relieved that her suffering was over, and upset that I hadn’t chosen to stay by her side until her last moments. I can never take that back, and make a different choice.

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This photograph of my mum was taken in 1939. She was 15 years old, and already working full-time since she left school at 14. She smiles at the camera, her teenage life spread out before her, the hopes and dreams we all recognise are present in her eyes. Three months later Britain was at war, and my mum’s life changed forever.

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She will never be forgotten. When I am gone, my younger family members will remember their aunt, and their children will be told tales of her. One child is even named after her, to continue my mum’s legacy.

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As for me, not a day goes by without remembering something good about my wonderful mum. That’s as it should be.

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I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday.

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Ollie: Treatment Complete

Yesterday, Ollie had the last of the medication for the current round of treatment.

He has had a lot of tablets, both antibiotics and steroids, as well as daily ear drops for some time now.

We finally managed to get him to swallow the tablets with no fuss, by concealing them in a small chunk of Brie. He lets me give him the ear drops without resistance, though he flinches every time I insert the tube deep into his ear.

I would flinch too.

His fur is slowly growing back, but some of the bald patches are still clearly visible. The head shaking has stopped, and he has been sleeping and eating well.

Once the steroids are out of his system by the weekend, I can start to give him his Arthritis tablets again. Despite being stiff-legged now, he still manages his walks.

Earlier this week, he even chased a Muntjac deer into some reeds by the river, and the animal escaped Ollie by running through the water and leaping out onto Hoe Rough.

On the 12th of February, Ollie will be 10 years old. Around 80 in human years, for his breed.

You can bet he will get a birthday tribute!

The Oldest Tree In The World?

After my recent tree post, I have been thinking about the oldest known tree. Most of my research has returned the above tree, a Bristlecone Pine that has been named Methuselah.

It is 4,852 years old, and located in California, near the border with Nevada. The exact location is kept secret by the US National Parks Service.

That means it started growing in 2,830 BC, during the Bronze Age. Long before the empires of Ancient Greece and Rome were established.

Now that’s what I call an ‘old tree’.

Think Twice About Cutting Down Trees

I found this photo online. It made me even more convinced that we need to think twice about cutting down trees that were not deliberately cultivated for timber.

This tree was felled in America, in 1891.

It started growing in 550 AD.

Before Mohammed was born.
Before The Battle of Hastings
Before America was discovered.
Before the Declaration of Independence.
Before The Battle of Waterloo.
Before the US Civil War.

Compared to that tree, we humans live our entire lives in the blink of an eye.