Sunday, November 11, 2007
My wife and I went looking but there was no sign of the cat. We left thinking he was mistaken.
At 2am that night, after we'd gone to bed, I heard a faint miaowing coming from the front room. I went downstairs with a torch and there was my cat. Three of its legs and its tail were badly damaged. It just sat there miaowing at me.
I didn't know what to do so I phoned the vet and described the problem. The vet said he could come but only to put it to sleep as there was nothing he could do. The vet said he would come or I could put it to sleep to sleep myself. I asked him if he meant kill it. He said yes, that is all that could be done.
So I called the neighbour who brought his 12 bore shotgun. I couldn't watch but at least it was killed immediately.
The poor cat. It had taken 12 hours to travel from the field to my bedroom window only to be put down. I felt dreadful but what else could I do?
Saturday, November 10, 2007
For the first three rounds I was well in front of the others but at the beginning of the forth round the chain came off my bike. I had to get off to put the chain on again. But by now the other cyclist were 50 yards in front of me so there was no hope on my catching them up.
I was pedalling along to get back to the finish and I heard this little girl saying to her mother, "Oh mummy, look at him, it's a pity he's last!".
I couldn't explain to them that I had been well in front for the first three rounds. It was very embarrassing!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
My wife and I were passing through customs in Singapore where everyone was very friendly and pro-British. I asked someone why the armed security guard had appeared so very aggressive. I was told that they are very aggressive against the import of any drugs - drug smuggling can even lead to execution in some cases.
I had heard a little 'ting' sound as I passed through customs, but that was caused by a tin of tobacco and a steel stemmed pipe that were in my pocket (I gave that obnoxious habit up many years ago). Nothing prohibited on me!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
The happiest was of course June 4th 1955, when I married - who I thought then, and still think of as now - the loveliest and most sensible girl in the world.
The saddest without doubt was in 1941, when I was 11.
I had a little brother called Idwal. He was 3 years old. I can see him now, sitting on the fifth stair up, reading my comic 'The Hotspur' upside down with a mischievous grin on his face! He used to say you can't have it, coz I haven't finished reading it yet! Then a few seconds later he would give it to me!
A few months later my Mother was holding Idwal on her knee when she noticed his breathing was husky. She said to my Father we'd better take him to hospital, which they did. We left him there for treatment.
The following day Mr Williams from the power station came to our house (because we didn't have a phone) to say the hospital had rung to say that they should go there as soon as possible. They went.
They came back a couple of hours later. My Father was very quiet and my Mother was crying. I asked what was wrong and she said that Idwal had died of pneumonia.
I prayed every night for weeks that there had been a silly mistake, to no avail!
Scores of years later we had five lovely children and lots of equally superb grandchildren. Not a day goes by that I fail to realise that we cannot take anything for granted.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
In the past, I had a bad bout of Brucellosis (Brucella melitensis or 'Malta fever'), a dreadful condition which I contracted when I was working as a tractor driver at Saighton in Cheshire. My employer had it and I saw how he suffered. You catch it from infected cows.
When Margaret and I were establishing our Guernsey herd I took every precaution to ensure that our herd remained Brucella-free, getting rid of any cows which had aborted straight away and immunising all our calves with S19 vaccine (which protects them from getting the Brucella bug). When the anti-Brucella law came into force in the 50s ours was the first herd in North Wales to become Brucella-free.
Then, when that dreadful Foot and Mouth disease broke out in the 60s, thousands of cows, sheep and pigs (any animal with cloven feet) had to be shot and burnt. Obviously, I was worried sick. Every night, when I was milking our beautiful herd of about 65 Guernsey cows, my daughter or someone in our household would come out to our shippon to tell me how many F&M outbreaks had happened that day.
The strain on me was tremendous and the Brucella - which had been lying dormant in my body - flared up again. Margaret said that some nights the bedclothes would be very wet with my perspiration and I would shiver with cold.
My Doctor had to notify the Health Authority as to how I had got the Brucella bug, particularly as our herd had been declared Brucella-free. The Health Authority checked back in their records and confirmed that I had had the bug in my body for 20 years, but that it had lain dormant until this dreadful strain on my body caused it to flare up.
Nowadays, with all UK herds now Brucella-free, the public (and I) are quite safe. But that condition was the most dreadful of all.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
I remember with dread when FMD struck us in the 1960s.
I was milking our lovely pure bred Guernsey herd of 70 cows plus their followers (calf heifers, heifers and calves). All of our cows were home-reared by myself, something that I and my family loved doing very much. FMD was coming rather too close to our farm. Every night when I was milking, one of my two daughters or my wife would come to tell me after the evening news that the outbreaks were down to 40. I would breathe a sigh of relief, only to be told the following night that there were up to 70 new outbreaks. The tension was horrific. I swore that if our herd got FMD the first to be shot had to be me. And I meant it!
The stress was so dreadful. The 'brucella bug', which I had contracted whilst working on a large Cheshire farm many years earlier and which had been lying dormant, flared up again.
Thank God, our Guernsey herd did not get FMD disease. But I was very ill for quite a long time.
Friday, August 10, 2007
I got in it sitting next to two ladies. The door closed behind me, but didn't appear to have been closed properly. I tried to tell the attendant this, but we were already many feet in the air!
The noise was horrendous. The two ladies pressed against me. We all had earphones which were supposed to be giving us a commentary as we flew over Chester. But because the engine was so very noisy we couldn't hear any commentary at all.
The helicopter banked over so much that I was worried in case the darn door should fly open!
I was very glad when we landed and I could get out of it.
Helicopters do - of course - do excellent work, but for me this was no 'joyride'.
p.s. I am going into a respite home next Monday for two weeks, as it will give my wife Margaret a break.
Monday, August 6, 2007
One of our sons, Russ, still lives with Margaret and I here at Caerwys.
Russ always excellent and gentle with our Guernsey herd when we were farming, far better in fact than I ever was. But now, as we are no longer farming and living at a private house, Russ now has some lovely, gentle and large American Bull dogs that he looks after. He has trained his dogs expertly.
Russ, who is a retired undisputed World Champion kickboxer, has started up a security business. Four people work for Russ.
Russ has a fully-equipped gym on the ground floor at our house, while Margaret and I live on the first floor - I have a special type of electric lift which takes me in my wheelchair up to our floor. Russ lives in the fully self-contained flat on the top floor.
Russ, at their request, visits local schools, where there he teaches self-defence (very popular with ladies and girls in particular), temper control and generally helps people to become model citizens. In fact, one headmistress has said that one her pupils was so naughty that she was on the verge of expelling him. However, since attending Russ's classes, he is now a model pupil.
Recently, Russ travelled to the Ukraine where he has set up a number of kickboxing clubs. His dogs love him very much and miss him when he goes away on these trips. On one such occasion, I was sitting on my recliner in our lounge, when Trigger - one of Russ's dogs - came to me whining. He appeared distressed and obviously wanted me to follow him.
I struggled into my electric wheelchair and obediently followed Trigger to the bottom of our stairs. It became clear that Trigger wanted me to go up the stairs to fetch Russ for him! With Russ being abroad I couldn't grant Trigger's wish, so I gave him a big hug. This seemed to pacify him.
I told Russ about this when he returned. Now when Russ goes away, he makes sure that Trigger sees him leave so that the dog understands that Russ is not hiding upstairs and knows that I cannot call him down! Russ has been away since, but Trigger has never asked for my help again.
Friday, August 3, 2007
I had a request from the chairman of a gliding club.
He'd read an article that I'd written about the fauna and flora on Halkyn mountain. I'd written it in my pre-MS days. I was a District and Community councillor back then and was disgusted at some folk who were dumping rubbish on our 2000 acre Halkyn mountain. I hope that my article would help more people appreciate some of the interesting beauty there.
Anyway, the gliding club chairman, Ken Payne, wrote to me because he wanted help getting publicity for the club. He said that I could have a free flight in one of their gliders if I would write an article about it.
I was happy to oblige.
Here's what I wrote in the article...
There is an old saying 'That if God had meant folk to fly, He would have provided us with wings'. Well, He didn't so folk get up in the sky in all types of aircraft.
The gigantic intercontinental airliners make for very boring long flights, I think. The longest that I have ever done was to Melbourne, Australia.
Then there are the monoplanes, from which I did my two sponsored charity jumps.
The double wings, Tiger Moths, on which I flew whilst on holiday in the Isle of White. We flew over The Needles.
The remote-controlled tiny unmanned aircraft for photographing fields.
But the ones I enjoy most are gliders.
The first glider I flew in was winch-controlled. This meant there was a winch about 100 yards away from the plane. A car parked near the glider would flash its lights, the signal at which the winch would begin to tow the glider along the ground. The glider moved very quickly and then bump-bump on the ground. Suddenly, we were up in the air and climbed very quickly up to 1000 feet. It made Concord's take-off seem sluggish.
The glider pilot would seek a thermal to fly on which would keep us in the air much longer. The deafening silence was truly lovely. I was so busy taking photographs that the time went by very quickly.
The next time that I went up in a glider it was towed up by another plane. The plane towed us up to 10,000 feet at which point the glider pilot released the towing cable. This would cause the glider to come to a complete stop. I thought we would plunge down to our certain deaths. But no, we would glide happily about.
Compared to my other favourite outdoor pursuits of sailing, golfing and motorcycling, gliding is without doubt also most delightful.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
We were wed on Saturday 4th June 1955 at Port St Mary on the most Southernly part of the Isle of Man. We stayed on at Port St Mary for a few extra days so we could watch the TT (Tourist Trophy) motorcycle race on the Monday.
We were motorcyclists ourselves back then as we couldn't afford to buy and run a car. We very happily ran an elderly but very reliable Norton motorcycle. Margaret was an excellent pillionist and we rode many hundreds of miles on it.
(In 1950, the UK supplied 90% of the world's motorcycles, about 30 different makes from the AJS and the Ariel to the magnificent Vincents. Now, other than the Triumph, most are, sadly, gone)
So, we were on our honeymoon in the Isle of Man watching the TT races. An ice cream and soft drinks van was parked in a lay-by not far from where we were standing. As it was a very hot day Margaret asked if we could buy and some liquid refreshment. I gave Margaret a stern look and asked her if we could wait a couple of minutes as Geff Duke was due to come past.
Moments later, Geff Duke sped past. It was announced on the speakers that he had - for the first time - reached 100 miles per hour. A record.
I thought then it would be physically impossible for anyone to go faster than that!
Nowadays, Japanese and Italian motorbikes achieve over 126 mph which is over 25% faster. Truly amazing!
Monday, July 9, 2007
That young grandson of ours sitting on that quad motorbike with me is now 18 years old. He has a lovely steady girlfriend, and a job which he enjoys as an electrician.
How the years roll by so quickly.
Our eldest son is a vet in Melbourne, Australia. He and his lovely friendly wife Jane - who is a microbiologist in Melbourne, are also here on holiday. They are in a bit of a dilemma as although they both love living in Australia, they also have a small 50 acre farm here in Wales where they keep horses mainly. They do miss their families back here in the UK.
My other son Russ, lives here with Margaret and I and his very pretty and friendly girlfriend Victoria from the Ukraine.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Illegal drugs, such as cannabis, can be fairly easy to obtain from 'back street traders'. Some people believe that cannabis use can encourage youngsters - in particular - to move on to stronger drugs, such as crack cocaine or heroin, with devastating consequences.
I think that if lower classed drugs such as cannabis were legalised and available from 'approved sources' it would help to spell the demise of the black market supply chain.
In America, legalising alcohol led to the demise of the millionaire gangsters who were making fortunes selling illegal alcohol.
Three years ago, a statement was made in the House of Lords, stating 'We now have sufficient evidence to convince us that a doctor should legitimately be able to prescribe cannabis (taken orally) without fear of being prosecuted'.
I'm looking forward to seeing how our Sandie is getting on with her Cannabis trial.
It is interesting that when I was having much pain, the doctor put me on morphine. The side effects of this addictive substance were dreadful, much worse than cannabis. Yet the doctor was able to prescribe it legally!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
As I mentioned in an earlier diary, a very pleasant Italian prisoner of war (POW) stayed with us during the Second World War.
His name was Dominica Petrela, but we called him 'Domin'.
My father applied for an Italian POW to assist help him on our farm in 1942. My father made it clear we needed a farmer. We were told that Domin was a farmer. However, it soon because clear that he was a market gardener, and how no idea how to milk our cows or plough the fields!
In his spare time, Domin fenced off a little piece of land in which he grew many delicious vegetables. As we were on very strict rations during the the dark war-time days these were very welcome. We obtained a civilian suit for Domin which was more suitable than his khaki suit, with its big red patch on the back and two red patches on each leg.
As Domin was a POW someone had to be with him at all times and usually that person was me. I really enjoyed Domin's company so I didn't mind that at all. We cycled many miles together. Domin would cut young willow branches from which he made lovely baskets, some square and some round.
The war ended in 1945 and Domin received some very sad news from home. His father had died and this made Domin very sad. However, his girlfriend Francessa was still waiting for him at their home just north of Rome.
As he was leaving us, Domin said to me, 'Glyn, you have always been very kind to me and I will write to you after I return home'. I was very disappointed as he never did.
I taught Domin some English words and he taught me some Italian words. These came in very useful many years later when I was confined to Holywell Cottage Hospital. The nurses were begging, "Does anyone speak Italian, please?". As no-one else could help I replied that I could speak just a little Italian. (It's amazing - almost all Italian words end with a vowel.) This made me remember my friend Domin again.
I often wonder what happened to him after he returned home.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
I'm not always sure whether it's a pleasant honour, or just a nerve racking ordeal, but I have been on the television numerous times over the past 20 years!
About 12 years ago, I was asked by the BBC if I would appear on a 'Songs of Praise' programme, which went off very well. When Cliff Mitchelmore asked me for my choice of hymn, I told him that I would like the hymn 'Count your Blessings'. Cliff asked me why I, having MS, would choose that particular hymn. I told him that as I had a wife and 5 disgustingly healthy children and the law of averages would say that one of us should fall ill, I thank God that it was myself, and not one of my excellent family who fell ill.
Since then, and for different themes, I've been on TV many more times. Not because I'm good looking or anything like that! Before this wretched MS put a stop of my being an unopposed District and Community councillor (a priviledge which I loved), and was quite happy talking in public and made several TV appearance.
After MS arrived on the scene I was asked to go on TV again, this time because in our MS Branch I was the only Welsh speaker. Back in 1980, I was one of four people with MS who kept a HBO (hyberbaric oxygen) unit at Saltney (near Chester) going. It's still going strong now, with many other therapies now available.
TV crews have been there a number of times, and yes, inevitably, with muggins has been on it!
This last month, I have been on the television twice again, both times on the S4c channel and in speaking in my native language, Welsh! I spoke of how I am coping with my MS and the fact that we are moving from our farm in the next month or so. I was also sure to mention the tremendous benefit I have experienced through taking cannabis, which I am able to acquire on receipt of a doctor's letter confirming that I genuinely have MS. The cannabis is available free, in delicious Belgium chocolate.
I have found cannabis even more effective than the morphine sulphate that I was prescribed after it was confirmed that I had a cancerous tumour, 2 years ago. So if you live in Wales keep an eye out, because you never know when I'll be making my next TV appearance!
Monday, January 8, 2007
I received my new electric wheelchair yesterday!
It seems far better than my previous one. However, after watching me use it the two ladies that brought it here decided that I shouldn't use it until their mechanic came to make a few alterations that would make it even more suitable for me.
Now the mechanic has come and gone and my new wheelchair is ready for me to use! To get me onto the wheelchair my wife Margaret has to get me onto our hydraulic lift which lifts me from my bed into the wheelchair. Also, if I want to use it, it means my wife has to get our hydraulic lift to lift me from my bed onto the wheelchair.
I haven't had a chance to use it so far today because our youngest daughter came here with her three young children.
There have been many criticisms about our NHS (National Health Service), but I have always found it excellent. However, when something pleases or displeases me, or some news item appears that gets me thinking, I always write a 'Letter to the Editor' of the newspaper concerned. It's my way of 'letting off steam'.
Back in the day, I was an unopposed District and Community councillor. It was a vocation I loved until the devastating onset of MS put a stop to it.
In many ways, I was more sorry about being compelled to give my Council work up than my farming. But 'Thy will be done' as they say, and 'When one door closes, another one opens'.
As my colleague Sandie said recently, writing our diaries for Jooly's Joint is one of the them, so my sincere thanks for giving us that privilege.