Friday 5 Feb 2016: Nilgiri tea plantations

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When I was there I asked the guide about decaf tea. She hadn’t heard of it. I drink herbal now, but hopefully there are plenty of real tea drinkers for this industry to  flourish.
   Yesterday, I took my father to Stobhill Audiology. Today, my mother phoned to say he’d gone deaf and was not reacting to anything. I told her to check the battery in his hearing aid. She hasn’t phoned back so maybe that was the problem. He probably was looking for a bit of attention.
   I worked on my novel.

Thursday 4 Feb 2016: Water Lily pond in Kerala

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Yesterday, I joined my Bible Study group in the morning. Then, I went to exercise at Curves. Bob sent a message to say they were transiting the Miraflores Canal and to watch the live webcam. The view was from too far to recognise any particular yacht but it was amazing to see the boats rafted together and moving down to the level of the Pacific. Later, I watched a programme about Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, who was a pioneer of computing. She published the first computer programme in 1843. There was no funding to make any progress. Then, during the second World War, Alan Turing read her book and created a machine to crack the Hitler regime’s secret codes.

Wednesday 3 February 2016: The last time I’ll ride an elephant.

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The photo was taken in Kerala last April. I’m in the middle. This week, a scotsman was killed by the elephant he was riding on. It happened in Thailand but I didn’t think this one in India was well treated either. It’s just another way to make money. I won’t be doing it again. Yesterday, I took my father to a hospital appointment to have his blood checked. Parking is difficult. Then I took my mother shopping to Aldi. When I reached home my Internet signal became intermittent when Bob was trying to use Messenger to talk to me. Finally managed to speak, two hours later. Very hot there. The boat is now in transit through the Panama Canal. It takes a week. On TV, I watched ‘Sugar Free Farm’ in which celebrities have to work on a farm and only eat the farm’s produce. Also, no sugar for two weeks which was a real problem. Then I sat on the edge of my seat through ‘Silent Witness’, a crime drama. Then, I watched the News. I’ve been trying to listen to Radio Four to improve my listening skills. It’s not working as I’m easily distracted.

Tuesday 2 Feb 2016: No sign of Storms Abigail, Gertrude or Henry in this photo

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The clouds did gather later bringing rain and sleet. Yesterday was a good day because my ebuddies writing group, Women Who Write with Elves, managed to pass an anthology of short stories and recipes to the next stage of publishing. There were days during the last two months when we’d thought it wouldn’t happen. I exercised at Curves for thirty minutes, then picked Karen up to go to Bishopbriggs Library for the Monday group. After dropping Karen off I worked on my application to go on a month’s writing break. I won’t win because there are so many good writers out there, but applying certainly makes you think about where you are, and what you want to do.

Monday 1 Feb 2016: Pudsey Bear and Terry Wogan.

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Yesterday, Terry Wogan died of cancer. He presented Children in Need which raised millions of pounds to help vulnerable children.
   I am not good at fund-raising but my best attempt was with a Pudsey Bear. In 1993, I bought and sent one around the school. The children were asked to choose a date that might be his birthday. The winning date was in a sealed note around his neck. It was five pence a try, and on the Friday evening, while the show was on, I contacted the BBC to let them know how much Woodhill School was donating.
   Two years later, one of the classes was asked to draw a picture of their bedroom. I noticed Pudsey Bear in one of the pictures. I said to the child who’d drawn it, ‘I know that bear.’ He replied, ‘My brother won him in the school raffle.’ We smiled, enjoying our shared memory.
   Yesterday, Bob sent a text from Panama – ‘arrived without any problems’. I was concerned that because he never locks his case, it might be opened. I always lock my case on long-haul flights.
   I took my mother to the Guru Nanak Gurdwara. Since my last visit, two years ago, there have been improvements. The lift is good. The food was delicious, but I wasn’t pleased to see so much sweet stuff and fizzy drinks. It was sad that one of the regular volunteers seemed to have had a stroke. We are what we eat, says she who ate all the chocolates gifted to us this Christmas. I was suffering from a very bad cold, that’s my excuse!
   I watched the TV dramas, Call the Midwife’ and ‘War and Peace’.