Category: Getting Old

Champagne Charlie – Obituary

Champagne Charlie

Champagne Charlie’s Obituary

This evening, I am going to invite you to raise a glass to Champagne Charlie although, to the best of my knowledge, he didn’t like champagne; however, he absolutely adored cream cheese, which I will now have to cross off my shopping list.

Charlie Had Good Taste

He wasn’t a vain cat, but he knew what suited him – he would never get on my bed if the duvet had a blue cover, but he was straight there if it had a green, orange or yellow one – and he hated the wind blowing his fur about. As far as I know, he never killed a bird – he wouldn’t know what to do with one! He wasn’t a proud or haughty cat, either – he was just a lovely, charming and beautiful animal, even if he looked grumpy; he was the least grumpy cat in the world, with an incredibly loud and soothing purr.

Not A Grumpy Cat

Life confused him – he could never understand why the door wasn’t always open and, in his later years, he would stand for minutes at a time staring into space as if some other being were speaking to him.

A last Cuddle

Last night he curled up on my lap as I watched television, something that he wouldn’t normally do, and this morning I woke up to find him lying next to me, again unusual, as if he knew it wouldn’t happen again.

Unicorns and Fairies

I believe that Charlie lived in a land of unicorns and fairies, a land unknown to mere mortals, and I’m sure that he’s back there now. Run with the unicorns and fly with the fairies, Charlie – you deserve it.
So, even if you’re not too keen on cats, I’d like to ask you to join me in a toast – to Cream Cheese Charlie!

Life Is What You Make It

forest poster

Life is what you make it

Stuff what I have learned this week:

A very good day from the Lifestyle Support Guru! Today I am going to share with you some pieces of wisdom that I feel may help you, faithful followers, in your journey along this rocky road laughingly called ‘life’. As far as I can tell, ‘life’ is what you make it and what you make of it – in my case, perfection has almost been achieved. I say ‘almost’ because to say that I am perfect would be rather bold and would imply that I have nothing left to learn. Nothing could be further from the truth, beloved believers – I am constantly learning (for example, Spanish at the moment) and would never be so presumptuous as to think that I know everything (although some might accuse me of being a ‘know-it-all’, but I put that down to jealousy, pure and simple).

outdoorsBut I digress; here is what I have learned this week, which I hope will be of some use in your own miserable and worthless existences (and please do not think that I insult you by referring to your lives in such words; I use them only in a sense relative to the almost blissful state in which I, the LSG, exist). (Again, note the use of the word ‘almost’, showing my true humility.)


1. If you are on a diet (or, as I prefer to say, starving yourself to death), you would be wise to buy a packet of six corned beef slices from Sainsbury’s (other supermarkets are available but I haven’t checked their corned beef slices) rather than a packet of three, since there are fewer calories in each slice in the six-pack – in fact, 10 fewer calories per slice, saving you 60 calories in all! This difference in calories I regard as one of the great unsolved mysteries of the world.

National Trust

2. If you visit a National Trust property with extensive grounds where the entrance is some electricbuggytextdistance from the car park, try to follow someone of ‘mature years’ to the initial information point where she will ask if it is possible to have a lift on the electric buggy to the entrance. With luck (of which I have an inordinate amount), she will turn around and ask if you would also like a lift – I admit I may have been looking a little fragile (a practised look) and I may (just ‘may’) have exaggerated the limp slightly – so you accept (reluctantly, of course) and drag youngest sibling on with you. At first he is a little unhappy at being driven on what is, essentially, an oversized mobility scooter, but soon starts enjoying himself when we use the royal wave as we zoom past the hordes making their way to the entrance on foot. Indeed, he enjoyed himself so much that it was he who insisted on ordering the buggy for the return journey after we had spent an exhausting hour eating parsnip and apple soup and perusing the items for sale in the shop. No calories were harmed in this activity.


3. If you decide to visit Leeds, be aware that it is a VERY big city. It takes EIGHT minutes just to walk from the car park to your hotel – you could do almost the whole of Derby in this time! This time does not include checking Google Maps every two minutes before realising it would be quicker to ask a passer-by for accurate directions, nor stopping to look in a shop window to admire a rather nice large, green, woolly scarf just right for winter and making a mental note to look for said scarf in the Derby branch of the shop (sibling’s comment: ‘Looks expensive.’ Personal thought: ‘And?’).

And there you have the collected wisdom of yet another LSG visit ‘oop north’ – next week I shall be buying a flat cap and a whippet after building a homing pigeon reserve in the back yard.

Good Neighbour Bad Neighbour

Being a Good Neighbour
A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru. Tonight I wish to offer some useful advice on how to be a BAD neighbour or a GOOD neighbour. I have recently ‘acquired’ a new neighbour and I have learned rapidly from this experience just exactly what constitutes a BAD neighbour and felt that you may benefit from my advice so that you can be a GOOD neighbour.

Bad neighbour

Bad neighbour

To be a BAD neighbour, you must:
1. be blonde, slim and athletic-looking and wear fitted clothing that shows off your figure to advantage. This will ensure that your GOOD neighbour feels totally inadequate.
2. have cleared your garden of all weeds and long grass, installed a nice wooden garden bench, put up a new clothes line and scrubbed the wall at the bottom of the garden of its coat of peeling paint, all within the space of a few days. Again, this will create great feelings of inadequacy in your GOOD neighbour.
3. have a housewarming party which is not too noisy and finishes at 10.30 pm, so that the GOOD neighbour feels guilty for wondering at what time she will be able to complain to the police.
4. fill your bin (which is about four feet high) to overflowing with black bin liners, then, in one bound, leap athletically and lithely on top of the aforementioned bin liners and jump up and down on them in a graceful manner to make sure they fit in the bin. This should be done when the GOOD neighbour has just returned from a hard morning’s shopping and is loaded down with purchases; by now the GOOD neighbour will be contemplating moving to find a more congenial neighbour.
5. enjoy the early evening warmth by sitting on the garden bench with an attractive man and sip delicately from a bottle of water rather than the glass of wine which the GOOD neighbour is contemplating whilst looking up house prices in a more downmarket area.
To be a GOOD neighbour, you must:

Wild Life Friendly Garden

Wild Life Friendly Garden

1. be overweight, wear loose clothing as a disguise and have greying hair. In this way, you create no feelings of insecurity in any other neighbours.
2. maintain what is known as a ‘wildlife garden’, ensuring that there are plenty of flowering weeds which are, apparently, attractive to bees. Thus, you are helping the environment.
3. have no parties because you do not wish to disturb your neighbours (and it would mean cleaning and tidying up and the cats don’t like parties, anyway).
4. only leap up and down (athletically or otherwise) when you tread on one of the cats or the drawing pin you forgot to pick up several days ago.
5. enjoy the early evening warmth by going out to the pub where, as far as you know, they don’t sell water. Thus, you are helping the local economy.
You will have gathered from this that being a GOOD neighbour is far less tiring and requires much less effort than being a BAD neighbour. In addition, you are saving energy environmentally because less electricity will be used if you are in the pub rather than sitting at home; added to this, you will also have had some physical exercise because you walked to the pub, although probably not quite as much exercise as jumping up and down in a bin, but with a far more enjoyable outcome.
And now let’s finish with a short chorus of: “Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…”

Guide To A Good Funeral



A very good evening to you all from the Lifestyle Support Guru, although you may think that the title is rather inappropriate tonight, given that I wish to give a brief guide to… a good FUNERAL (take note, whoever’s going to organise mine!).
1. Get the ‘guests’ to wear a cheerful colour (but not pink, please; yellow is good). Black is so depressing and doesn’t flatter the older face.
2. Ensure that the organist can actually play, especially ‘Jerusalem’ – or maybe the version I heard today was a new ‘hipster’ one where the notes are played at half the speed of the congregation’s rendition and not necessarily in the same key all the way through. Or the organist may have been from the Eric Morecambe School of Organ Playing, where the notes are right, just not necessarily in the right order.

Church Choir

Church Choir

3. Unless you live in Wales, where they are compulsory, consider hiring a male voice choir (there’s usually one in every city, just hanging around waiting to be asked to a good funeral) – this will ensure that the hymns are sung with the right amount of gusto and volume and will drown out the sound of the organist (see above).
4. Choose hymns that are not too high in key (such as ‘Morning Has Broken’) – remember that some people are getting on and can’t reach those high notes unless they’ve got their knickers in a twist. (‘Bread of Heaven’ is always a pretty safe bet, catering for all voices, and harmony if required.)

Cream Bun

Cream Bun

5. Ask whoever does the ‘speech’ about the ‘dear departed’ to avoid phrases such as ‘an independent woman’ because this is just another way of saying ‘bloody-minded’, ‘annoying’ or ‘opinionated’.
6. At the ‘do’ afterwards, it is not a good idea to have large cream buns included in the buffet, as one or two of your guests will end up looking like they have been in a custard pie fight, which will be particularly noticeable on the dark clothes that everyone will be wearing (yellow is far less likely to show custard pie stains). Some of the more ‘refained’ guests will demonstrate how to eat a cream bun properly by cutting it in half first, or by separating the top from the bottom (so to speak), thus making those with cream and icing sugar all the way down their front feel that they have no class or style at all (this would not, of course, happen to the LSG, whose timeless sense of style and class is often imitated but never fully equalled).

On that note, I shall take myself off to bed. It is likely that I shall wake myself up at some point during the night with my own rendition of ‘Bread of Heaven’ (yes, that has really happened!), so I need to get as many hours of beauty sleep as I can before that happens. Sleep well!

That Moment When …

A warm welcome to all my faithful followers!
I am aware that two or three believers have posed questions which I have not yet answered – how to deal with ‘friending’ your old English teacher, what to do when the underwire in your bra becomes an ‘overwire’ (don’t lose interest here, chaps – this could well be one of you one day, if not already) and how to deal with all those vouchers you get from those well-known stores but which you forget to redeem. However, today’s subject is one which I am sure will resonate (everything has to ‘resonate’ these days, I find) with you all, and it is called, quite simply…


– … you realise you should have stayed on nodding terms with that couple in the pub instead of accidentally getting into conversation with them after two years (blame the alcohol) and learning all the unnecessarily intimate details about his hernia.

cat with blue eyes


– …you hope that your next-door neighbour isn’t awake at four in the morning and listening through the walls when Malcolm-the-strangely-named-cat-from-Australia decides to sleep on your head and the neighbour hears ‘No, Malcolm; get off, Malcolm; no, that hurts, Malcolm (as he ‘massages’ your scalp with his claws); please don’t do that, Malcolm; ah, that’s better, Malcolm; ooh, yes, Malcolm, that’s nice.’ (as he strokes your face with his paw and whiskers).
– …you realise why your new umbrella only cost £1 when it turns inside out at the slightest sign of a breeze.
– …you are singing along to a ‘Driving Songs’ CD as you head up the M1 to Bradford (that’s another story) and realise – with a strange mixture of pride and sorrow – that you know all the words to C W McCall’s ‘Convoy’.
– …you realise you have become an adult when you make a conscious decision NOT to wear a cream jumper on a night out in Bradford, knowing you’ll end up going for a curry.
– …you realise that owning a sports car is no longer on your list of ‘things I want’ because you’d never be able to get in and out of it with anything resembling dignity and, besides, they look so UNSAFE, so close to the ground!

I’m sure you all have your own ‘that moment when…’ memories – feel free to share!
Enjoy your week!