The astonishing arrangement of flowers Bill & Suzie sent me !!

My 82nd birthday !!

Amazing to discover how old I am ~ Mother lived till a fortnight off her 102nd birthday but she became totally bewildered at the end.  I think I'd rather go before I lose my marbles.

Have had such a happy day ~ Chris and Annie came for coffee and good chat ~ while they were here the most gorgeous flower arrangement was delivered (see photo) from my brother Bill and Suzie down in Chislehurst ~ Annie brought me the plaque which Laureen our potter has made which David will put up beside the front door tomorrow ~ Annabel came with hugs and a wacky card and just as I was coming round from flop, Sue arrived with bag of prezzie ~ two delightful mugs, 2 scrumptuous cakes, two small pots of special exotic coffee ~ they are on the kitchen table and I'll name them later.   I have still to open parcels from Heptonstall and St Ives which I'm saving till tonight. To my dismay I've just discovered that the thank you email I sent to Bill before lunch had bounced back ~ he must be so hurt that I hadn't got in touch straight away ~ tried to phone him but couldn't find his number and Enquiries told me he is ex-directory ~ do hope my second email has reached him by now.   [Yes ~ spoke to him later, and he is fast approaching the final chapter of his book]

It's bitterly cold again and in fact for the first time I had to pull the chrysanthemum quilt over me in the night, on top of duvet and light weight blanket ~ and that's with the electric blanket which I now keep on low all night through ~ Morphy Richards "all night" special ~ I must say it is utterly delicious ~ even when I jump out for a wee I turn heat up and in those few minutes the bed is warm as toast.

Tuesday 24th : put the heating on at 6am but the temperature has barely reached 19 yet ~ I've a woolly v-neck on and poncho over it.   I keep thinking back to all the places we lived in with no heating ~ Buxton (we had a coal fire in the living room, in a small as-it-were bedroom fireplace); Eccles School House (an ancient range in the kitchen which produced mainly thick black smoke, and again a small coal fire in the sitting room which we'd only light at tea time); Quarry Road, Winchester (there was a large boiler in the kitchen to heat the water, and run central heating which we scarcely ever switched on), in North View there was central heating which we did make use of as there was no fire place though when it was really cold I had a small electric fire though I lived in terror of bills.   And now . . . the Aga, the central heating on whenever needed, and the cheerful fire in the sitting room which is mostly on for cheerfulness ~ it has two levels of heat as well ~ all this AND my electric blanket !   Such luxury, so many comforts !   Incredible !

THings get worse and worse in Syria ~ I saw on News last night that young women and girls are being rounded up by ISIS and sold as sex slaves ~ even paraded naked to be auctioned ~ older women are simply shot ~ a mass grave of 80+ bodies had been unearthed.   One girl who escapaed from her purchaser recounted that to submit her he came at her with a stick and a gun and said she could choose : one of these or his prick !    What use is Trident against such wickedness ?   Someone on TODAY was actually suggesting it may be obsolete and yet the government seems intent on going ahead with replacement which it is now estimated will cost £40 billion !

Later 2.30pm : Oh !   Praise the Lord !   David, bless him has just put the plaque up for me and it looks wonderful ~ in fact, I shall create a PHOTO ALBUM right away ~ see next item on blog menu.   Oh, my ~ can you believe it !   Annie came round and, knowing I would be alone, to invite me round for Christmas lunch !!   Such loving friends !  I am truly blessed !

The plaque our potter Laureen Shaw made which David will put up for me in the morning ~ whoops ! Laureen's label is still on it