Friday, 16 March 2018


Opioid drugs will kill you, we know about this as there have been multiple deaths reported in newspapers from around the world but never has she read of how it actually started, until this morning when she read an article about a man called Philip Hopwood.

The article was written by David Cohen and it is in todays' Evening Standard.

He doesn't mince his words nor tell you exactly how it happened, no, he certainly doesn't, for the tragic tale is there in all its' hideousness.

The legal prescription of the drug was given to him to counteract pain after surgery but perhaps what was not given to him by the doctor was a verbal warning about how highly addictive these opioid drugs are.  

He was a man who had worked hard and achieved a lot. He has a wife and five children, whom he was educating privately.

He started and was running a well respected company in London. But his addiction to this drug has caused chaos and utter mayhem in his life and the loss of almost everything. 

Luckily for him, he was able to get 'clean' with the help of an addiction clinic and his daily attendance of NA, Narcotics Anonymous, he has remained so and has started on the road of putting his life back together.

It is a story that we all should read and pay great attention to, for pain killers can and do kill more than just pain.

They'll kill you.

GeeGee Parrot.
March 16th, 2018.

Thursday, 15 March 2018


On the BBC website today there is a piece about the city of Toronto and the way they are dealing with the problems of hundreds of deaths of their own beautiful and other migratory birds.

Birds see a reflection of a tree in a huge plate glass window for instance, they fly at speed towards it and bang.. one tiny fragile neck is broken.

So the city architects and planners are building bird friendly buildings, implementing new styles of architecture, using less glass, which has the benefit of keeping the buildings warmer and more energy efficient and by placing markings onto existing plate glass windows, this shows the birds that this is a 'non-fly through zone'!

The effect of these changes has been dramatic for the drop in avian deaths has been in the hundreds, which mean that more of these beautiful creatures will survive and breed.

Thank you Toronto..  

GeeGee Parrot.
March 15th, 2018.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


Oh.. so pretty! 

Sometimes you just 'find' people.. people who make beautiful things and yesterday she found someone who makes charming cake stands and yes, I'm going to give you Christion's details.

Chris 'tea

Cake stands, Candles, Gifts & Collectables.

Ebay seller : 260craigm

And if you have a few pretty plates from an old 
tea service, why don't you get in touch with Christion and ask him to make you a cake stand! Because he will make you one to order and also they make perfect gifts.

She came home with a beautiful piece of swag, an old embroidered Kashmiri bedcover but she isn't going to use it for her bed.

On the wall behind her bed there's a pole that is exactly the width of her bed and from the pole hangs a 6" thick piece of foam which is also the width of her bed.

Draped over the pole and hanging down in front of the foam is a pretty quilt in blue and white, it's extremely comfortable to lean against, she washes the quilt about once a month, then puts it back on in the evening.

When she saw this Kashmiri bed cover, she knew it would be absolutely the same width as her bed and it would be perfect as another cover for her bedhead! She couldn't wait to get home and put it on!

Well! It could have been made for our bedroom, for the blue embroidery is the colour of the walls and the crimson is the same colour as her beautiful old bed quilt, which I hasten to add, is always covered by a light, washable blanket.

Now that's your lot for today, she's borrowed a book which we'll tell you about tomorrow.. it's about a bird. No, not a parrot, a hawk.. a raptor called Mabel! PipPip.

GeeGee Parrot.
March  14th, 2018,

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


These are two great books for you to read! The Officer and a Spy is the book she read last week about The Dreyfus Affair in France at the end of the 1800's.

She has just finished 'Conclave' and no, we aren't going to spoil it for you! Suffice to say it is about the choosing of a new Pope , it is a cleverly written book with a great ending!

So she'll be off to the library tomorrow, before she goes to work, in order to hunt for more of Mr. Robert Harris's books to read.

The treatment she had on Sunday was Acupunture.

She's had it the first time was when she broke her ankle and her orthopedic surgeon told her to have it after he removed her cast in order to reduce the swelling and to help with the pain. Bingo! It worked..

And the second time was when she developed arthritis in her right hand and wrist, it worked wonderfully and she has never, touch wood, had pain in her fingers or wrist ever since.

This time was with a new acupunturist as her previous acupunturist has retired.. moral.. always have doctors, dentists, hair dressers etc, etc MUCH younger than yourself!

She was extremely pleasant, very detailed, thorough and the clinic where she works is not far away. The cost was reasonable and the treatment excellent as she 'found' certainly two things that are a problem, so she's immediately adjusted what she is eating to reflect these two points.

Pleasant day yesterday, she went to see the art collection of King Charles 1st with Tereza and then they went into China Town to eat chinese yumyum.. Not one grain of rice or a noodle passed her lips!

The Van Dyke portraits are beyond wonderful.. His wife, Henrietta Maria, was half French half Italian and brought up in the French Court, her father being Louis 13th and her mother Catherine de Medici. She was only fifteen when they married, he was twenty five.. she bore him five children and after his execution she fled back to France in exile.

The collection is breathtaking and one can only imagine what the WHOLE collection must have been like, for many, many portraits were burnt and dumped in the Thames, things that were sold in the Commonwealth Sale at Somerset House have been lost, as in nobody knows where they are or if they have survived and lots of pictures and silver are in Russia.

She's being quiet to allow the treatment a chance to work properly and we ate, as usual, not too late. We send you our best wishes and hope that tomorrow is bright and warm, it started off like that today and then went 'grumpy & grey' as Hugo would say.

Never mind, she'll wrap up warmly and try to find some sunshine to walk in.

GeeGee Parrot.
March 13th, 2018.

Saturday, 10 March 2018


Do you bottle / can your own fruit and vegetables, or buy fruits and vegetables in season to 'put away' in the store cupboard?

If you do, we hope you are careful about how you do the procedure and make sure that you sterilise all of the equipment.

For if you are not punctilious about this part of the production, you run the risk of contracting a rare but serious illness caused by a germ called Clostridium Botulinum. It's highly toxic.

This bacterial germ is found all around the world in the soil and it can survive, grow and produce a toxin in sealed bottles and cans of food as part of its natural anaerobic process as it multiplies in an oxygen-free environment.

This dangerous toxin can and does effect nerves, paralyse and cause death. Even a small amount of food which contains this toxin is highly dangerous and can be.. deadly.

Please be aware of this dangerous toxin and do not eat anything from a jar or tin that shows a blown or puffy top or that is damaged or dented.

If anything tastes 'off' or smells 'odd' spit it out.

It's for this reason that infants under the age of one year should never be given honey as it can or may contain a minute amount of this germ and babies of this age have absolutely no antibodies.

And yes, Botox, which is used for all manner of reasons, is from the same toxin, scary stuff! It paralyses muscles in the face to prevent them causing wrinkles.

Even more scary is that people have it injected into their armpits in order to stop them sweating.. right amongst their lymph glands.

Boy oh boy! She would rather have the odd wrinkle and use her wonderful natural deodorant stone.

On a totally different subject altogether.. where's the 'Portugese style heatwave' we were promised today?

The BBC weather forecast said we were going to be as hot as Portugal, well, all I can say is that poor old Portugal must be having a very dreary weekend over there as it certainly isn't hot and sunny over here!

Never mind.. we've had lunch, it was a large bowl of assorted vegetables, drizzled with oil, topped off with lots of chilli, garlic and black pepper.

She's being careful about what she eating and lots of vegetables and fruit are on the menu.

She went to the surgery yesterday morning and the senior partner at her GP's practice was not happy to hear she's got her 'problem' back again, it was what caused her to have to retire, so he's sent off a letter to her consultant to request an appointment for her.

And meanwhile, back home on the ranch, it now transpires that Dorzolomide, a drug which she takes for her glaucoma and has been on for over a year, should not be taken by someone who has a prior history of Kidney Stones!  

What a flipping bugger, to put it politely! 

So I have her captive at home until tomorrow, then she's venturing forth to meet someone new who does 'strange things', if we like her, we'll report back on her findings tomorrow afternoon.

No,  you'll just have to wait until she's come back for more on this subject.. pippip!

GeeGee Parrot.
March 9th, 2018.

Thursday, 8 March 2018


Now, you all know my mum is not infallible but today, she was certainly the sharpest knife in the box.. why?

Well, she telephoned G. Baldwin & Co to check, before she got on the bus for the jaunt to Elephant & Castle, that they had the product she wanted in stock and her squeak could have been heard up on Hyde Park corner when Duk said "I'm so sorry we have no stock of that item at all".

Luckily she had retained the outer packing from the last order we had, so she was able to contact the Dalgety importers directly.

An efficient man called Mark, sent her a response and gave her the email address for Dalgety's website. 

And lo and behold, she can order it directly from them, yes, she'll have to pay the postage but at least it means she will get it by next week, because Baldwins will only get it into stock when they place their next order and who knows when that's going to be.

Well, from being a sunny and chirp-making day, it has turned into a cold and dreary wet one, boohoo. No gardening for her tomorrow, the soil will be sopping wet.

Did she not say to her fellow workers last night that we haven't seen the last of the snow and sure enough, instead of the Beast from the East, we now have the Pest from the West bringing snow and all other sorts of horrid weather direct to our door!

It was to be expected, for the Eastern Seaboard of the United States had dreadful weather about the time we had the first lot of snow, we get their bad weather about ten days later and, true to form, it's arrived.

Never mind, she has a fat book to finish on the Dreyfus Affair, it's about what happened to a man in France at the end of the 1800's.

This true story of the treatment and subsequent imprisonment of this innocent man by the French Government on Devil's Island, which is off the coast of French Guina, will leave you without breath, for it is truly 'breathtaking' in its' cruelty. 

This penal colony was for political prisoners, it opened in 1852 and was known for the extremely harsh treatment of its' inmates, it closed in 1953.

So much for French Liberte, Egalite & Fraternite!

It's hot tea time! Oh, LapySang, here we come.

GeeGee Parrot.
|March 8th, 2018.


It's not being acknowledged by any publicity or governmental guidelines, it affects young and old around the world, it causes health problems, some very serious and huge numbers of people are walking around not knowing that they're affected but what is it, I hear you say.

It's malnutrition. 

Food is our 'fuel', it powers our brains and our bodies. But 'empty' food.. aka 'fast food' contains little goodness.

What it does contain are huge amounts of : salt, sugar, additives, fats, carbohydrates. It's causing people to become obese and malnourished.

That word says it all, for people are eating food with little or no nourishment in it. This causes damage to vital organs, reduced muscle and tissue mass, breathing difficulties, increased risks of chest infections and respiratory failure. Digestive problems and bowel cancer. Illnesses take longer to recover from.

If you go work, do you take your lunch with you? 
She has a thermos, just a small one that she uses when she buys coffee when she meets Pat, this Dear Readers, is almost the only time she ever buys a coffee. I know, strange but true!

She cooks a hot meal at night and makes sure on Tuesday night, that it's something like a stew, which she can heat up in the morning and take to work with her in the thermos.. in the summer it is perhaps a piece of cold chicken with some salad. 

And she always goes across the road to her favourite fruit and vegetable stall to get apples and any fruits that he has at a good price. Avocadoes, grapefruit, grapes, onions, carrots, pomegranates, all come home every week in WW.

Year round from the allotments she picks chard, wild garlic, spinach, land cress and, of course, the other fruits and vegetables when they're in season.

It's YOUR health.. don't expect fast food chains to keep you healthy. Don't 'grab' a take-away because it's convenient, get organised and make your own food from scratch.. it's a damn sight cheaper!

Now we have to go as she is off to Baldwins, the Herbalists on Walworth Road at the Elephant & Castle. We may be back later but in the meantime we wish you the same pleasant day that we have here.. for it's mild and the sunshine is peeking through some hazy clouds.

PipPip.. chirp.

GeeGee Parrot.
March 8th, 2018.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018


April Fool's Day. What a day to be admitted as an emergency into St.George's hospital on Hyde Park corner, it is now the Lanesborough Hotel. 

The old house was demolished in the early 1800's and the new hospital was completed in 1844. 

But, of all of this she was unaware! She was admitted in the darkest hours before morning with blue lights flashing, her temperature off the scale and her marvelous GP, Dr. Arthur Unwin, dressed in an overcoat with his pyjamas on underneath!

Diagnosis.. Acute Renal Failure.. three words that strike terror in your mind! And this, Dear Readers, was years before the days of 'Key hole surgery'.

Her surgeon to be was Mr. Guy Williams a renal specialist but with a temperature as high as hers, he couldn't operate and anyway, he didn't know yet what was causing her kidneys to fail.

But Matron had seen this before and dealt with it like only a QA trained nurse could and would.. QA stands for Queen Alexandra and their full and official title is Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps.  

She called Billingsgate Fish Market, explained the situation and asked them to send over a long slab of ice. It duly arrived and mama was wrapped in a blanket and a layer of tin foil and placed upon the ice to break her temperature.

It did the trick and she was whisked off to xray to have an IVP.. intravenous pyelogram. Magic stuff this, they injected her with an iodinated substance which showed her left kidney had a massive stone stuck in it and the canal leading out of the kidney was full of smaller stones and 'gravel'.

St.George's was a teaching hospital as well and just before they injected her with her pre-med, Guy, which is what she had been told to call him, explained to students the following.

"Acute renal failure of the left kidney caused by kidney stones. Now, look carefully and what do you see? What you should see is that the patient sunbathes, she wears a bikini, she's young, she'll want to sunbathe again in a bikini, so you or in this case I, must do my utmost to make the incision as neat as possible and not to leave her with a horrendous scar".

And with that he patted her on her shoulder and said.. "everything is going to be ok so don't be frightened, Arthur will be with you when you wake up".

And he was, for Guy let Arthur 'scrub up' and be in theatre to watch the operation and he came back up with her and sat by her bed.

So these were the two good guys!

She had six weeks of recuperation to do and they kept her under their 'eagle eye' at St.George's.

And, in those days, there was no such things as a mixed ward, oh no! She was in Ward 1 on the first floor overlooking Hyde Park and after a couple of days of being very sleepy and slightly sore.. she sat up and took notice of who was in the ward with her.

The woman opposite was truly amazing.. she was obviously incredibly well known and loved by hundreds of people for she was never without visitors who swarmed in bringing bottles of champagne or other alcoholic drink. Her name was Muriel Belcher. 

Another woman, very elderly, but truly delightful was on the side nearest to the window and when she wanted to stretch her legs and look out of the window, she would potter off dragging her drip and chat with her. Her name was Lisette Withers.

Somebody got a visitor to bring packs of cards in! So there were lots of crazy games of Canasta, Gin Rummy and Racing Demons which had them all in hysterics.

One day it suddenly turned chilly and Lisette said "Oh, it's snowing, how beautiful", so they 'jumped' out of bed like kids and went to watch as Hyde Park became a winter wonderland, but the noise alerted Sister that something was amiss and she came in to see, to her horror, all the occupants of Ward 1 out of their beds watching the snow fall.

"What do you think you're all doing? It's far too cold to be hanging around the windows, get back into your beds immediately", there was nothing politically correct or soft about this nursing staff!

"But Sister, it's snowing" came the cry and her response was... "and all of you are over 10 years of age, get back into bed" and she left the ward before she started to laugh!

Then Constance appeared! And after checking that her youngest unmarried child was alive and getting better, was a delight to have as she was allowed to come and go as she pleased and this meant that she got to know everyone on the ward.

And one day, she was sitting chatting to Muriel when two men with very well known faces came to visit.. one being George Melly and the other Peter O'Toole!

"No no no, stay, they're just naughty boys who miss me" said Muriel as Constance got up to leave
"but someone get more chairs and do bring Lisette over, she hasn't had a visitor for a couple of days and I know that she's a bit sad as Googie, her daughter's gone to Australia"

So it was George who explained to Constance what Muriel had meant about the naughty boys missing her, for Muriel was the owner of The Colony Club, aka known as 'Muriels', an infamous drinking club on Dean Street.  

And Lisette was the mother of Googie Withers and grandmother of Joanna McCallum, both very fine actors.

She never met Lisette again after she was discharged but was told "that you've got to come and have a drink with me child when you get out of here and bring Constance, the men all love a pretty face" by Muriel when she was discharged.

And she did, she remained in contact with Muriel until her death in 1979 and Arthur was her GP until he retired. And she exchanged April cards with Guy until his death in the mid '90s.

You see, you can meet wonderfully extraordinary people everywhere! Just try not to have to do it in a hospital!

GeeGee Parrot.
March 6th, 2018.

Monday, 5 March 2018


Yesterday she talked with another guest, Isobel, about food, proper food not 'take-away rubbish'. Food that someone has made with care and love. Isobel asked her if she knew and liked black beans.

She remembered eating them in Texas as Edgar's housekeeper used them a lot in her cooking and eating them in Portugal where.. shock horror.. she worked forty eight years ago!

She's just had this thought.. how did she get to be so old? Is it really forty eight years ago that she worked at the Dona Filipa Hotel, Vale do Lobo at Almansil in the Algarve? Yes, it is. 

Liz Brewer was running the famous discotheque called the '7 & a 1/2' in Albufeira, there were a large happy bunch of them and she was dating an absolute charmer, a Frenchman called Pierre Barange.

But she became very ill and had to be flown to Lisbon and the only way she knew* how to get in touch with him was to ask her disco side-kick to tell him what had happened and how to get in touch with her in Lisbon and then in London.

No response ever came from Pierre and life moved on.. thirty years later she met the side-kick, who gulped when she saw her, then said.. "Oh, I owe you such an apology, I lied to Pierre, I didn't tell him that you had been invalided out but said you had left to come back for a party which a boyfriend had invited you to and that you had been sacked for going back without giving the hotel notice, I'm sorry and deeply ashamed".

She went icy and said "Wow, what an incredibly nasty thing to have done, I'm not interested in why you behaved in such a duplicitous manner but I'm not surprised you are deeply ashamed of your behaviour" and turned on her heel and left. 

Such is life.. Dear Readers..

Getting back to black beans, there was an old quinta restaurant on the road to Vila Real de Santo Antonio where they did a pork stew with black beans, a pork stew to dream about served with rice and sliced oranges.

Southern Spain and Portugal in the '60s and '70s weren't the wealthy tourist areas that they now are and this quinta, where she ate quite often with two very nice friends, Mercedes and Fitzwilliam Sargeant, was owned by a family who had known 'better' times.

The food was exquisite. Mercedes knew the family well and for her birthday, Fitz asked them if he could hire the entire place and the garden for a private party. She went over early to help them set up and boy, did they get a shock! 

For the family certainly had known better times.. bless them, they had pulled out all the stops for Mercedes, beautiful linens were on the tables, with old silverware and glassware. 

It is a night she'll never forget.. people came from as far away as Jerez and down from Lisbon. It was a night of music.. of Copla, Fado and Jazz.

It was a magical evening, one she hasn't thought of for.. oh, who knows how many years.. but because Isobel asked her if she ate black beans, she's remembered it.

Today having had her memory given a nudge, she bought small amounts of different cuts of pork, two chorizo, a trotter and a pair of ears from her butcher today, everything else she needed plus the black beans, she had at home.

The pork bones are in a pot and have simmered for three hours, they'll provide the stock, the black beans will soak overnight.

Tomorrow she'll cook a wonderful Portugese stew. A Feijoada.. which she hasn't tasted for 48 years.

Happy days folks.. let's hope there are more like it to come!

GeeGee Parrot.
March 5th, 2018.
PostScript: In the early '70s there were very few people in the Algarve who had a telephone at home. Life was more structured, you made plans to see people and you could leave them a message at their favourite bar.


No, I'm not telling you how 'old' she is, but the party was to celebrate Tereza's birthday which was on Friday.

There was a delicious cake..  besides all other manner of tasty things to eat plus wonderful coconut and chocolate goodies made and brought by Isobel, another guest.

We have known 'the girls upstairs' for seven years now and what fun it has been to see them grow and grow up! Georgia's now fifteen and Rebecca's thirteen. 

And Georgia's exam results last summer showed that every penny her mama has spent on her education have certainly been worth it! For her A* and A's are the result of many hours of hard work and of paying attention in class. Bravo Georgia!

'Uno', that's a new card game for her! When Rebecca broke open the two packs of cards, she thought they looked 'a bit different', but old card sharp that she is, she soon learnt that you could use 'strange' looking cards to your advantage and said 'Uno' first!

And left whilst she was ahead! No, money was not in play! In fact, the last time she played cards for money was in Spain with Harry, Lew, Christian, Tove, Hugo and Christian in the '70s.

When a San Miguel beer cost you 35 pts in a bar! Gone are those days. And, sadly, gone too is Hugo. For he died in 2012.

He was married to her great friend, Tove, who worked for Lew and Jenny Hoad at their Campo de Tennis at Mijas, they had a son, young in those days, called Marco, whom we believe now to be a photographer based in Paris.

Hugo had had a life! Related through his mother to old families of England and the Aga Khan. He'd been the first husband of Nina van Pallandt.. the Nina of 'Nina & Frederick, a singing duo. He, himself, had been an actor and singer, both Tove and he were good looking, a lovely couple and he was a really good card player!

He told a funny tale of arriving in southern Spain in the arly '60s and people saluting him wherever he drove. He thought this 'more than a little strange' so asked a new friend, who was Spanish, why he thought they did this.

The friend said he had no idea but about two weeks later came up to Hugo and with laughter said..

"Amigo, I now know why people salute you, it is because of your car", Hugo was sharp but this defeated him. "My car?, why should my car make people salute me".

The friend said "where are you parked, I will show you". So they went to his car, the friend led him to the front and said "You see, it says Consul, they think you're an important hombre". It's a silly story and still makes her smile.

She misses them, those crazy, funny, nice people she knew all those years ago..

Abe Segal, Jane & Burt Boyar, Lew & Jenny Hoad, Harry Hubert - whose previous bar in Torremolinos had featured in the book 'The Drifters' by James Mitchener, Bob Alger, the Wessels, Del Bland & Carla Harvey who lived in an old sauna on the beach in Marbella! Jules & Elaine Litvak, the Hollands, Lee Setomer, who came to the Costa in 1956 and bought land when it was under a thousand pesetas an acre and dear Christian van Merkestyn, who shot those lovely adverts for Martini!

It's over forty years ago that she 'ran' with this merry bunch and sadly, only Jenny Hoad and Burt Boyar are alive.. oi vey.

Now we have to start our day! For the pharmacist at Boots said yesterday "this is your last lot of eye drops, your prescription has now ended".

Somewhat alarmed by this, she called her surgery this morning and spoke to someone and they said "WHAT! You had better bring a copy of that into us and we'll sort it out, your prescription is non-ending as dictated by Moorfields Eye Hospital, what that is that pharmacist talking about?"

So there are places to go and food to be bought.. we are reduced to eating shop bought apples.. sigh and you certainly don't pick green vegetables when they are frosted or there's no gardening to be done as you don't tread on soil that's soaking wet!

And, soaking wet our ground will most certainly be. But that recent snow has been good for the soil, it brought nitrogen along with some sulphur and other trace elements and snow is, of course, a slow release source of moisture.

For it melts slowly and that moisture therefore has time to soak deep into your soil, plus, it acts as a mulch preserving moisture and providing winter ground protection. 

Hey Ho. Hey Ho.. It's off.. she must go..

GeeGee Parrot.
March 5th, 2018.