Week 57

18th January, 2010

I am a Type 2 diabetic because I am so fat. It means I have to have my feet and eyes checked every year by diabetic specialists. Fortunately, neither are showing signs of diabetic damage but I do have them checked. Also, because I only have the sight in one eye, I have always been careful about attending check-ups. I go twice a year. My glasses check is due now and I am about to make an appointment at Specsavers for a test. My eye test is free and I usually get new glasses at the same time.

When I was 7 years old, in 1958, it was noticed that I kept walking in to lamposts and walls. I constantly had plasters across my nose. The Repton Primary School Doctor who visited once per term, first picked up that I was deaf in my left ear. As I left the classroom where I was being tested, I walked in to the the big, mahogany door. I was called back and given an eye test. They discovered that I was blind in my left eye. What had been going on with my left side in the womb I really don’t know. Even then, I was determined not to be a left-footer.

I was sent to the Derby Royal Infirmary Eye Clinic where I went with Mum. We must have gone on the bus but I can’t remember. I was prescribed glasses and we were sent to the Opticians connected to the hospital. It was called Wozencroft Opticians.

Wozencroft Opticians
59 Osmaston Road


I was tested and measured and told I would have National Health wire frames because they were ‘free’. I had to wait almost two months for them to arrive in the post. I remember it quite clearly because I couldn’t wait to show them off. I broke them within a month by sitting on them and had them stuck together with tape for ages. I bet Mum couldn’t face another bus journey. I checked today on Wozencrofts Opticians and it is still there. The name sounds Jewish or Polish Jewish to me but a quick search tells me it is old English and related to Wolstencroft.

Specsavers have a site where you can preview their frame designs and try them against your face. I don’t have an easy face to suit and have always tended to wear big, steel frames until the kids at school told me I wore 1970s pornstar glasses. I don’t know how they knew. Now I check the frames carefully. These are some examples that I’ve tried:

john_specs_2.jpg  john_specs_4.jpg  john_specs_5.jpg

john_specs_3.jpg  john_specs_6.jpg

19th January,  2010

Pauline had to go to the hospital to have a disconcerting patch of skin on her forehead checked out by the dermatologist. Fortunately, it appears to be nothing to worry about. More disappointing was Man City’s win over United.

20th January,  2010

Pauline’s Mum’s health seems to be stable at the moment. I wish the same could be said of her TV. Flat-bound as she is, her television and DVD are lifelines and even more so now that cataracts are making reading difficult. We bought her a wide-screen tv 18 months ago but it died today and she was lost without it. We drove over the Pennines and bought her a new set, delivered it, installed all the Freeview channels and took the old one away. I don’t know if you’ve bought a TV recently but they are so (comparatively) cheap. We bought a Hitachi 32” LCD for her flat which won’t take a much bigger size. It cost us £270.00. No wonder no one repairs them. She is delighted with it. She says it is like being at the Pictures. So that’s fine!

21st January,  2010

I have always loved food as long as I can remember. Coming home from school after Rugby training to find tea not made, i remember eating my way through half of one of those sliced loaves from the pantry, thick with butter, and then looking forward to tea as normal – terrible pastry tarts, one plain one fancy biscuits. What were we doing? Pauline is a trained cook. She is brilliant. I like to think I can cook but then Pauline does the same thing a week or two later and there is no comparison. Unfortunately I didn’t learn the basics and find myself making it up as I go along – and making crass mistakes. As a cook, I am imaginative and enthusiastic but technically flawed. It gives me so much pleasure that I carry on.

I thought it was quite sad when Jane wrote to me recently and said she wasn’t interested in food. It almost seems like she is saying that she’s not interested in life. After oxygen (and wine), food is the staff of life. Of course there are those who eat to live and there are those who live to eat. I am definitely in the latter group. Combining lovely, fresh ingredients and producing wonderful tastes is an absolute delight for me. Today I cooked a version of Cod Provençal accompanied by Dauphinoise potatoes for dinner. I am pleased to say my supervisor thought it quite successful.

cod_provencal.jpg  dauphinoise_potatoes.jpg

There are others in my camp. I received these incriminating photos recently of the meeting between Ruth & Kevan and Caroline & Les in Derby over the New Year. They ate in an Indian restaurant, I believe although that is one place you would never find me. I’m not too keen on Derby either. Have you noticed how often Ruth is seen with a glass of red wine in her hand? I’m beginning to worry about her.

ruth_1.jpg  ruth_2.jpg

As we arrange our drive through Europe in ten weeks time, we are planning to stop in Colmar, a medieval town in Alsace which produces wonderful wines, in Bolgna, the food capital of Italy and in Le Marche, home to the peasant cookery style  (so close to my own) of Italy

22nd January,  2010

Our computers and our Study are in the process of being tidied out. The computers still store ludicrous papers about Pedagogic Styles with an Interactive White Board  and Bringing Departmental Delivery in line with Virtual Learning Environment. If anybody would like a copy it is too late. This absolute nonsense has gone the way of all digital things. The Study has guides to Children’s Care, Learning & Development (who cares?) and Making Inclusion Happen (Include me out!) These were the stuff of mine and Pauline’s management trade. We should have been ashamed of ourselves. All of this rubbish will go to the tip but some things won’t.

After a new hard drive in my computer, I have had to import from the ether a backed-up copy of Pauline’s financial accounts going back to 22nd January 1993. Before that she was using account books. These are not being thrown out ever. The first book began on 25th September, 1981. I attach the first page of it for interest.


My first monthly pay cheque in October 1972 was £62.00. My annual salary was £950.00. You will see that by 1981, I was taking home £457.22. I was earning nearly £7,500.00 per year. How rich was that? Pauline took home £368.12 and earned about £6000.00 per year. It allowed us to buy Slade House, go on holiday to Greece, buy a new Datsun Cherry and eat out at the Sole Mio. For those of you who don’t remember the Datsun Cherry, I include one below. They only had a wing mirror on the driver’s side and that fell off.


As you will see, a meal at the Sole Mio – our local Italian – cost £10.75 (a 3 course meal for two with wine.) Today it would be £75.00.

23rd January,  2010

Since the beginning of the world, Leeds United have been hated for their thuggish lack of sophistication. For any sentient being alive to football in the late ‘60s and the ‘70s would recognise this characterisation particularly exemplified by Billy Bremner and Norman Hunter. Strange it was, therefore to find oneself supporting underdog, Northern Leeds against those Nancy-boy, superior Southerners, Tottenham Hotspur.  And how wonderful to see Beckford score an equaliser in the 96th minute. Sometimes begin to wonder if there is a god!


%d bloggers like this: