I needed instant medical advice today and did not know where to turn. I rang 111 but you do not get through straight away. There are a lot of options and buttons to press. Then some information, at last, telling me that they were experiencing an unprecedented number of calls and that the wait was 50 minutes. I put the call on speaker and waited and waited. Fifty minutes went by and still no answer to my query.

Then in a flash of inspiration I rang my pharmacist. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? But he too was busy and I was on ‘hold’. However, after a short wait he answered. A comforting voice asking for the facts. There was soon an answer to my situation and I was able to switch off my call to 111 who was obviously not coping.

Not on the same scale of urgency but the wild birds are finding it hard to cope what with bird flu and cold winter weather. Large flocks are flying over the garden. Most of the small birds like blue tits are going to the bird table. But the windfall apples are proving to be extremely popular. Many years ago, I planted a Golden Delicious apple tree because (in my ignorance) I thought it was the best taster. Now I have lots of choice with the English eating apples in our orchard and I know better. Also, the Golden Delicious is not really suited to our garden and the apples do not get enough sunshine to sweeten. So, they stay on the tree or drop as windfalls. This week the ground underneath the tree has been covered with blackbirds, mistle thrushes, fieldfares (from Scandinavia) and redwings (from Iceland). Here they have an instant meal.

We had a meal at a restaurant when we were on holiday. The first I have had since COVID. People were well spaced out and I wore my mask whilst I ordered. Then of course it had to come off to eat. What was special about this restaurant was that it was not an instant meal. There was a warning on the menu that it would take about forty minutes to prepare. It did and it was delicious, just like we used to cook.

I have been looking at my old, dilapidated sofa with my new eyes because I had my second lens replacement this week. I bought this sofa many years ago from the ‘Reject Shop’ so things cannot have been as marvellous ‘in the good old days’ as I often thought. However, I have decided that it is still comfortable so it will soon be re-covered (like me!).

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

Windfalls for the starving blackbirds, fieldfares and redwings

This apple escaped (for the moment)


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