Please note that the content of this page represent only the views of the author.  They should not be construed as reflecting the views, policy or opinion of Purley of Thames Parish Council.

Below Bill Ayling shares with you some of the things that come to mind as he walks his dog Fudge around Purley on Thames

February 2019

Hospital Visiting

I seem to have spent a lot of time recently either in the Royal Berkshire Hospital or the West Berks Hospital in Thatcham. Of the two I prefer the West Berks, nothing wrong with the RBH, but like most people I find the car parking there is a nightmare. Even with a Blue Badge there is usually a long crawl around the second floor waiting, hoping, and praying for a car parking space. Eileen and I usually go down to the RBH together and she will sit in the car whilst I register at the Reception in order to have my car parking ticket stamped.  When I return to the car Eileen quite often is involved a long line of cars crawling in a circle around the parked vehicles, waiting for a parking space to become available.

I find the best time to go to avoid the problem of parking is early morning, but then you are caught up in the morning traffic. At the RBH I attend the Sleep Clinic (where they have issued me with a snorkel (my word)).  I find this does help my breathing at night, I also have fitted a heart pace –maker, and they have given me an iron infusion. All three are fitted and checked at different times, not on the same days, so each time there is the problem of parking.

At West Berks Hospital it is quite different. There is normally plenty of parking spaces available and the staff are friendly and helpful. That doesn’t mean that the staff at the RBH are not equally friendly, but the difference is in the car parking…

Walking with Fudge

I find that walking is a problem, as I seem to be constantly short of breath. I did manage to take Fudge for a short walk down to Blouts Meadow the other day. She was almost as slow as I was even with my two sticks. When I reached the field I took advantage of the large bulk of timber just inside the kissing gate while Fudge decided to jump in the river. She then had a moody look about, whilst keeping an eye on me.

By the first island there were a few Canada Geese swimming about, but apparently there was very little else in the way of river life, that is until a middle-aged lady with half a bag of bread crumbs appeared. Suddenly the river became alive. Ducks squirmed and flopped off the island as they splashed down into the river. Canada Geese became alive and active, chasing the ducks away. Colourful Drakes vigorously attacked the thrown crumbs. Seagulls swooped over the scrambling ducks and grabbed what they could see floating on the water. The whole river scene became a medley of squawking, fluttering water life.

In all the tumble after sustenance lasted for about five minutes, until the lady emptied her paper bag upside down. She screwed it up and put it in her pocket, then wished me a good afternoon and walked away. Fudge meanwhile returned to where I was sitting and indicated that she wanted to go home.

We keep a supply of old towels outside the back door. They come in very handy after Fudge has had her wander about in the river. Currently she is a little down in the dumps and is reluctant to eat. The trouble is if we take her to the vets they don’t know why she is reluctant to eat, then try all types of expensive remedies. Usually the answer lies in herself, suddenly she’ll want food and snaps out of this lethargy, so hopefully she will affect her own cure – at least the car parking at the vets is reliable and plentiful if we do have to take her!


The pantomime put on by the Purley Players was very good with some quite outstanding performances by the cast. Regretfully I had to pull out on the dress rehearsal, when I found I could not stand for the length of the play and my shortage of breath made it difficult to deliver my lines.

It was a pity, but at least it did give me the opportunity to see the play as a fee paying member of the audience and appreciate the colour of the costumes and scenery. Everybody worked really hard and Ron Chudleigh who took over my part played it to perfection, much better than I could have done!

Singing for Fun

Recently ‘Singing for Fun’ on Thursday mid-afternoons put on a show entitled “Purley’s Got Talent” and the performance proved that this was no exaggeration. It was really very, very good. With some original poems, excellent singing and very good performers giving a varied presentation. Outstanding among them was Barbara with a splendid rendition of “Oh, Mr Porter!” and Jan who sang a selection from “42nd Street “, Ron and Dave of the ‘Boy’s Band’ were first-rate whilst Barry played the piano with vigour and dash. His professionalism brought dynamism and vitality to an entertaining afternoon.

There were over seventy people present and for all of them the enjoyable concert passed too quickly. Well done Ina, one of the organisers, – Here’s to the next time!

Bill Ayling