This year, and we are only at the end of March, has been one of machine failures and this poses a real question.

Have all electrical goods a built in crash date? During recent months I have needed to replace washer/spin drier, fridge freezer, vacuum cleaner. And in recent weeks computer and printer. All the original items were bought new when we moved into this house just over 4 years ago.

Obtaining an estimate for repairing these has shown it is as cheap to buy new. Add in call-out charges, day or hourly rates and so on the figures add up.

So I have spent a lot of time surfing the web to find replacements. And here I encounter a real challenge. Prices for the same item vary so much I really do not know which to buy. Some have reductions if you buy within so many hours. Others offer free postage or immediate next day delivery. Some offer other enticements, others none. So where is the catch? Indecision rules okay.

Apart from what seemed like disasters at the time, life has gone on pretty much the same. Health wise nothing has deteriorated, at least the docs tell me so. We have some surprise worries about Tom though as yet nothing we cannot cope with. Writing progresses, painting too although the watercolour challenge has yet to be beaten. A recent attack on Venice almost totally destroyed my confidence! Instead I offer Flamborough Beach in oils which I am happy with.

Still we have got rid of the Christmas bugs – started attacking in October; the Easter bugs started if I recall on New Year’s Day. Now we have only the Holiday bugs……an attempt to book holiday in Filey from internet descriptions seemed ideal. A short visit showed the place totally unsuitable for wheel chairs and mobility scooters despite telling the agent when booking these accesses were an essential. Now I am being asked to pay almost £100 cancellation fee!

I am beginning to feel a bit like Scrooge. Must stop moaning. Flowers are blooming, gale winds are blowing them down, rain is falling in torrents and I’m off out for lunch at the local pub. Hope there are no power cuts, heating down or the scampi gone off!

And on a world scale things are worse than ever. Terrorist bombs the world over. Aircraft disasters. Floods and famine. Migrants bombed out from homes living in squalor, with no new homes in sight. Massacres and abuse.

And on top of all that we can, it seems, celebrate the long life, death and history of Britain’s Steel Industry. Also, all my old TV friends are no longer with us – it seems like one a day is taking that step into the unknown.

So, what have we to look forward to this month?

Seems like not a lot, but the days will get longer; the sun will shine more often; garden flowers will bloom and my painting Ancient and Modern will go off to the framers. Added to all that good stuff there really is even more.

That part of my brain which stimulates new ideas for my writing seems to have come out of hibernation and I am having difficulty in keeping up with the flow.

So I will just say thanks and celebrate the fact that at least I am alive, well and kicking.

A bientot. And PS: The food and environment at the Ship Inn at Dunswell, near Beverley are superb. Booking required 01482 854458

Please do let me have your thoughts on any of the points I mention in my blogs via: beverleynow@gmail.com reference Mayday. I hope to reply within a couple of days



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My last post, in which I admit to loving my computer, may have left a good many of my readers with the feeling that my ‘real’ projects, those that I value highly, have suffered over recent months. Here I want to put paid to those ideas by talking a bit about some of the things I have achieved and to say a few words about work in progress.

Mentors generally advise that rather than appearing boastful it is good to let others know about ones ambitions. In fact they believe that once somebody actually expresses an idea or an intent they are more likely to strive to finish it than if they keep it to themselves. One of my own mentors, Cary Cooper, said that this is how he approaches the publication of one of his books, ‘ I tell people I am thinking about it; then that I have started.  When I am half way through I publically discuss my research findings in brief, and later I let the public know that the book is in its final draft. Then, once it is finished I announce a publication date.’ Voila! A blueprint for success.

I guess he is building interest in prospective readers so that the new book will add to his list of best-sellers ………but I also feel by using this method he is increasing his own anticipation of a time when it’s a job well done . I find a similar approach works for myself. Unless I set deadlines and let people know what I am working on I have a tendency to drift – to find diversions which at the time appear enticing but are unproductive. Deadlines force me to be more realistic about how long it will take me to finish things. And, in addition, as I grow older and less energetic, deciding on a date when I intend to complete makes for a more realistic time-scale.

So, as well as participating in all the computer based activities mentioned in my last post I have met deadlines in various tasks. Some of these have been associated with that part of my life which can sometimes seem like hard work. Writing. At the beginning of the year I mentioned a book I was working on. This is well on track now in that I am a good half way through and have edited five of the early chapters.  The recipe collection is likewise taking shape and I have also managed to do some sketches to accompany these.

Unfortunately during recent months I have needed to attend a great many hospital and clinic appointments. No doubt there will be many more of these as time goes on and these will bite into my working hours and my deadlines will need to be  adjusted. Far from seeing these appointments as a dull waste of time though (from a writing point of view) these do give me lots of ideas for stories so maybe there is a hidden bonus somewhere in there.

On the painting front – more relaxing – I still attend my Monday afternoon watercolour group and believe I am making progress there. No deadlines in mind  though I have noted down some ideas for my Xmas cards. I did exhibit two oil  paintings at the TERPS Exhibition at the Spa in Bridlington and another picture as part of the Remember Me Art Walk in Beverley which was staged as part of the Alzheimer Charity Week.  Currently I am working on an oil painting to submit to the 19th Open Art Exhibition at the Beverley Art Gallery which is to be held from 11th December through to 13th February. My deadline there is mid-November so no time to waste!

However, I must admit creating the deadlines is easy. Meeting them is harder; I could not do that without the support and help of my family and friends. Especially I am grateful to Angela who drives me back and forth and cares generally for me. Love to you all.



The days, the weeks, the months are passing ever more speedily and it is evident that many of the projects I am trying to complete in order to meet self-imposed deadlines are turning into chores rather than the pleasures they once were. It was whilst I sipped my breakfast coffee this morning that I resolved that something must give. Decision time. Analysis time. I must re-evaluate how I spend my days and discover where I am going wrong.

It soon became obvious, as the analysis proceeded, that I had been taken over; something had ousted me as Managing Director of Mollie Kay Smith’s Life. It, for it certainly wasn’t a person, had sneakily eaten away the minutes and seconds of my days in such a way that weeks and even months had passed before I began to suss out what was going o

The computer. Within seconds of switching on and during the short time I waited for Explorer to open, I began to think maybe I had caught the culprit red handed.

Forty or so unasked for messages in my inbox seemed to confirm my suspicions. All to be ticked off and deleted. Another ten at least, welcome, but still all requiring me to read their contents and absorb the information they contained and send replies.

On most days there is a message from Ancestry.com telling me they have found six or seven hints relating to people in my family tree. I have been cultivating this for many years and hints which may help me escape the blockages I have come across are important. Once climbing this tree I am lost – I forget objectives and divert away from the main stem to explore new tempting branches and sometimes even twigs.

Then of course I must check Facebook, Twitter, and a couple of other social websites I belong to, and also those business networks which I enjoy keeping up with.

A GOOD TWO HOURS TICKED AWAY BEFORE GETTING DOWN TO WHAT I SWITCHED ON FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE! To get on with writing a story or a chapter or an outline or anything else.

When, many years ago now, I worked long hours and was a whizz at Time Management I achieved so much in a day. Now retired, as I have been for nearly a quarter of a century, I seem to have lost the knack. But I have learned how to use my mobility scooter and how to take things easy. I even take a siesta every afternoon.

But what the hell, blow imaginary deadlines I’m really enjoying this unpressured way of life. And I’ll tell you a secret. I really do love my computer and enjoy the pleasures it gives me. I sit in my wheelchair and my computer takes me to far off places I could never visit. It allows me to go shopping; talk to friends living at a distance from me and – using Skype- we can actually see each other. I can sit and listen to music when I am wanting to relax and with the aid of DVDs can further develop my understanding of painting and see how other people achieve their results or read my Kindle books.

So I really never resent the fact that the computer, my computer, has achieved a take over of my life. Anyhow I really do still hold the greater power. I can switch it off whenever I feel like it!

At the moment it can’t do that to me. But what of future computer models? Mmmm.I wonder.

But for the time being just enjoy life as it comes.


At the start of every year I, like many others, review the past 12 months and wonder what the next year will bring. Some of us might hope 2015 will be luckier, happier, less problematic. Others who have enjoyed the best year of their lives will hope their good fortune will continue.

As far as I am concerned 2014 was a mixture – some good things, some bad. Mostly the bad things were related to ill-health  and advancing years and as such were nothing I could change. – but the good things were those I made sure I snatched with both hands and did my best to hang on to either as a continuing blessing or as a memory . Most of the bad things I did not allow to remain even in my memory bank. To use computer speak I deleted them in the same way as I empty my trash bin. Gone for ever. No use pondering on why people respond to our suggestions in the way they do. No use castigating ourselves as to why people do not like us. Just be yourself, it really does not matter if people do not like you as long as you like and respect yourself.

Only ask yourself if there is a reason for their reactions. Is there anything we can do to change them. If we feel sure in ourselves that our stance is correct accept there is nothing we can do. Put the problem in the trash bin. Eliminate it from our memory bank. Leave space for the good things in life.

Many years ago I published an article entitled ‘Clean Out Your Attic.’ This advised readers to examine all the trash we keep in our attics – our brains, our memory bank. It is good to hang on to happy memories, those which make us feel good. Likewise it is important that we clear out those memories which bring with them unhappiness. Do we really need to think about those events which made us feel less than positive? Those imagined slights we suffered at the hands of others? Those conversations which left us feeling downtrodden or less positive.

Those memories I allow to remain are only the ones that I see as having  a silver lining. I have deleted all those irritations I experienced when my mobility scooter was blocked as I tried to negotiate my way along pavements where vehicles parked illegally.  I have deleted from memory thoughtless remarks people addressed to me and all the dreadful traffic holdups caused by the multitude of road works surrounding my home. I have stopped thinking about the hurts I suffered in the past; the people who let me down,

I have retained those memories of time spent with friends and family. Time spent in happy get-togethers, superb restaurant meals, holidays in UK and France. I think I have ‘Cleared out my attic’ and am feeling happier and healthier for it.

Positive thoughts for today.

Sivery thoughts for today. Inviting thoughts from readers.
Lovely description – silver surfers, but the rest of what we hear is not so positive. Overloading of the health services; taking more out of the money pot on pensions even though we have paid in for 60 or more years, causing havoc on transport with our wheel chairs and mobility scooters in shopping centres. Now, we hear, it is us who are causing the problems in A and E units in hospitals!
The temptation is to rebel, react, to cause even more problems. But is this the way ahead?
I would like this site to offer a platform for positive thinking. A place to discuss sensibly the problems we ‘oldies’ have on an individual basis whilst at the same time expressing positive views about how we manage – I do not say cope – with getting older.
I do not want these conversations to be party political statements, but what I do want is real ideas and thinking about how we, as the fifth generation, manage our lives.
We, each of us, have a very varied past life: Crèches, Primary Schools, Infants Schools, Teenage Schools, Colleges or Apprenticeships, Universities, Unemployment, Work experience, Jobs, Redundancies, New careers, and finally retirement ……. or maybe part-time work, open university, consultancy contracts, charitable work or volunteer work.
Whatever we have done so far we have made a valuable contribution to the life of this country. So let us continue to do so and try to ignore those who see us merely as a burden, a group using up valuable resources. Even whilst watching television or reading newspapers and all the criticism therein it is up to us to ensure the remainder of our lives – however long they may be – can continue to be as profitable, joyful, and enjoyable as possible.
I continue my addiction to writing fiction and to painting and to coaching where I can those who are setting up new businesses. I do hope I will hear from others with positive ideas about getting older and how they manage the problems they encounter.