Bigger Picture .
This 2016 Lovelock Christmas Newsletter is now public, with the latest news about Jack and the Wardrobe and Dr Strangelove at the end.
The Pre-Christmas, two page, printed version is on www.gpss.co.uk/xmas16pp.pdf. The 9th January News update is here - but no videos :-)
2016 Christmas Newsletter from the Lovelock Family in Sunninghill on www.gpss.co.uk/xmas16.htm
This online version is more recent than the printed version. Our contact details have not changed.
Bigger Picture .
This year we celebrated our 45th (Sapphire) Wedding Aniversary. Robin remembered our "Ruby", with the trip to Paris and expensive glasses. June expected dinner that evening at La Sorrentina, but not the surprise presents: flowers, Sapphire Gin, a Sapphire Estate Agents map, and a lovely day out around the Sapphire Gin Factory; certainly not the expensive sapphire ring off ebay and the cake. This was decorated by Robin's local Sicilean friends, who refused payment. Someone muttered something about Robin making them an offer they could not refuse.
June's dad Jack is now 97 and remains fiercely independent at home. Jack does not employ servants for anything, including gardening, housework, cooking, and laundery. He takes a taxi to the doctor, but we give him a lift each Saturday, when we all do our "Tesco Big Shops" together. Jack gets through the checkout before June, so we have time to chat up the young girls in their seventies. Robin sees Jack most days, and we take trips out, while June works at Axon. Here we are catching a bit of sunshine at Bray Lake, where Robin tests Snoopy's robot boats. Jack is an old soldier, and survived nine falls this year that required an ambulance call out. Five meant time in Frimley Park Military Hospital. Sometimes Jack is kept in for weeks before considered safe to be allowed home. Robin has now done work making Jack's home a bit safer. e.g. the new Hubble Webcams, phones, back doorstep, and alarm systems, including the Pocket Pal, from Robin's friends in China. Robin now has some some peace of mind, after sharing documentation, including work yet to be done, with trusted friends, extended family, and experts within the NHS and industry.
There is sometimes overlap between technology, health, hobbies, and charity. Robin wears his own Pocket Pal, hands-free GPS-Phone everywhere. It records our walks such as when geocaching . June has one in her handbag, and Robin has been known to give demonstrations to friends: phoning June in the shops: "Help! Help! I'm a little mouse trapped in a handbag !".
Robin's new Bigger Picture page says where we spend our time ... not just with work, hobbies, and journalists.
Robin still handles www.NHSCare.info to help families use the Law to make the NHS pay for the Care Home. Almost all who contact Robin get the NHS to pay what is typically £50,000 per year. Most are motivated by anger, and there is a small group who are "well connected", for if and when publicity is used again. There is a link to Robin's 2015 "Bluebell" pages, and a February 2016 footnote was added after the BBC Season on mental health. However, unlike making the NHS pay for long term care, publicity will not fix these UK NHS problems: we need to help patients overcome the root cause of their mental health problem. e.g. alcohol or drug addiction.
June and Samantha's addiction is tennis: Here they are with friends and trainers on their Greek Tennis Holiday in April. They play this healthy activity several days each week.
Sicily in May & June 2016 : June and Robin share their passion for all things Italian, including the Italian lessons two nights a week, and Holidays in Sicily. We had another lovely two weeks in Sicily, staying in our favorite Hotel La Riva in Naxos, below the more famous Taormina. June spent much of the time, as always, sunning herself on the beach, and reading an electronic book. Robin took cigar-smoking lessons from Enrico, until interrupted by June. We spent three nights in a Bed & Breakfast with Enrico and Matilda, at Scala di Turki (Turkish Steps) near Agrigento, in the south. We saw lots of other places with them, and their friends and family. This included picking cherries near Antillo, and attending the famous "Territorio in Festa" in Punta Lazzo. More pictures are on our 2016 Sicily Holiday page. Click on the 30 minute Youtube video if you have the stamina :-)
June and Robin showed our German friends Klaus and Hilda around on Monday the 20th, day of the Summer Solstice. See the Klaus page - particularly if you are German :-)
The Sunday before, we had our Armitage & Murray Courts Residents Association Barbecue. Robin enjoyed his work on the pond. See his AMRA and POND pages ;-)
In August we attended a private party, at a secret location near an operational RAF airbase. We all went suitably attired: Robin, not wanting to be out-ranked, went as SACEUR, a four star American General. The women went dressed in 1940s style such as "land girls". All proceeds went to the RAF Benevolent Fund. Our hosts, for security reasons, shall simply be referred to here as "Steve and Kay". Thanks Guys :-)
Michael, Becky and Sally - Robin's sister. We all dropped in on them in September. Gary and Saskia seem worried that their dog Prince will steal the cake after the drink !
Things like holidays, politics, and weather, delayed the launch of Snoopy's Robot Boat until October. Now he's lost at sea - so we are getting the next ready for 2017 ! :-)
Robin and his friend Eric Wardle have put more of Eric's videos onto Eric's page. Eric's little one metre boat, with Snoopy's Autopilot, smashed the Bray Lake Test record !
The shorter, printer-friendly two A4 page paper version is on www.gpss.co.uk/xmas16pp.pdf. More recent news is below.
Jack has been in Frimley Park Military Hospital for over two weeks, and I was sure they would kick him out before Christmas. I spoke to the Physio on the 23rd, and it just needed a doctor's signature for me to take Jack home. However, it being Christmas, it may be the familiar "maybe tomorrow" story that is given to patients. We would not want a repeat of what happened in 1945, when Jack and his mates got back from Stalag 8b in tha POW exchange, only to find themselves waiting on the south coast to pop across to Normandy. Jack was with the paramedics, and always told me Saving Private Ryan was the only realistic war film. There's a lot more about Jack's WWI experiences on my Bigger Picture page. e.g. Dunkirk, then Stalag Luft 8b, in the adjacent bunk to Sid de Haan, who set up SAGA Holidays. On the general problems within the NHS, I'm sure there are experienced Frimley Park staff, of all ranks, who can give me advice. Jack can enjoy the good food and chat up the nurses :-)
Frimley Park Hospital was good enough for the local Royal Family, and perhaps the best in the country. Best Wishes to Fran and her work mates ! :-)
Robin's Aunty Ruby and Uncle Bernie live in College Road, just around the corner from the entrance to Sandhurst Military Academy. Robin sometimes pops in, to tell them what mischief he has been up to. Ruby had a stroke 17 years ago, and Bernie, 85, is her carer. His back has been playing up lately, which makes it a bit more difficult for his walks to the betting shop and caring for Ruby. She obviously qualifies for NHS Continueing Care, and it would be a nice Christmas present for Robin if he had reason to believe it would be granted quickly. Bernie's brother Ern, served with the Desert Rats during WWII, coming up through Africa through Sicily. That Bigger Picture page also tells of Bernie's dad, my Grandad Sharp, in WWI. Jack was asleep when I visited this Christmas Eve, so I popped into Bernie for a chat. Bernie said he was thinking of writing a book about his dad, Harold Sharp. We set up my Mobius camera, and recorded the three of us chatting about family history. Click on pictures to enlarge. There was a lot of banter. e.g. it seems the reason Ruby latched onto Bernie was that he was the only guy with a motor bike and sidecar. He'd sold it to my dad, Len Lovelock, to replace that Brough Superior. I am planning to get one for June, so we can look as grand as George and Mildred :-)
Christmas Eve: When June visited Jack in the afternoon, a doctor came in and told Jack, "You can go home tomorrow morning". I'll pick up Jack in the morning and take him to his home. He can check the triplicated alarm systems, web cams, and additional mobility aids. He can join us for Christmas Lunch at Saskia and Gary's in Bracknell if he wants.
Christmas Day was perfect: a good news 'phone call from Scott in Sunderland; dropped the Christmas Eve video into Ruby and Bernie's; collected Jack from Frimley Park Hospital and we went direct to Saskia and Garry's for Christmas Lunch. Gary's boys, Jack and Harry, joined us in the afternoon, and Jack watched his inherited great grand children open their presents. In the journey with Gary to Maidenhead, to collect the boys from their mum, Robin was amazed to hear that Gary had gone to Aberwystwyth University, hub of the Microtransat robot boat activity, and had learnt German. Robin was even more amazed when they wanted to play RISK. The last time June and Robin had played that game was with Jon and Coleen in Holland, from 1971 ! Harry said he would play Prince Harry, representing the Brits. He insisted that his dad played Donald Trump, for the Americans. Robin did not need much encouragment to play Dr Strangelove for the Germans, with a fake German accent for the Mobius camera. All this is recorded on video, and I will say that the game ended with Germany completely intact, and the USA completely occupied by the Brits. For more background, visit the Snoopy page. The classification of our Mobious video is Cosmic Top Secret. We may need to redact some of the material :-)
Boxing Day & St Stephen's Day : time to update our Christmas video below ? See 2014 Christmas Letter ? June: any video clips you took here, and your favourites this year ?
Thursday 29th December: Lots of good news: Yesterday our extended family worked as a team. e.g. the visit to King's Corner Surgury in Sunninghill. We saw the brilliant result this morning: arrival of that lovely Social Services (SS) Emergency Care nurse at 0749, with Jack up, dressed, sat in his chair, and eating within 15 minutes. I was impressed by use of written notes on paper: not just relying on a vulnerable smartphone. The "administration" took over 45 minutes: how about written notes plus a cheap voice recorder ? Nice if they wrote anything important for the family in Jack's Desk Diary. e.g. a little triangular table to his right ? Anything to use their skills efficiently. e.g. chatting to the patient rather than inefficient record keeping. I'd love to have a visit here from the person at Forestcare, who knows about their technology, such as Pocket Pal. I'm happy to provide some free advice. e.g. Pocket Pal updates and appropriate use of webcams.
I was delighted to find an old VHS tape, which is a treasure-trove of relevant memories, including of Trevor. Dramatic clips will go into our Christmas video below. Our house guests left yesterday, with amusing video of their time with us, yet to be looked at. I also chuckled at the arrival of the letter from DHL to me, saying they were starting legal proceedings against me. Snoopy's mug above does not relate to the NHS: we've been there and done that years ago - as we have with others, including UK Government organisations, such as Ordnance Survey and Tax Authorities. I like to protect myself from their computer glitches. This DHL transaction was for the extra Pocket Pals that I got direct from dear Yilia in Shenzhen, for hobby and charity purposes. I always say "no hurry", but when I email my order, someone arranges that I receive the parcel the very next day. After Christmas, my friends and I hope to spend more time on fun projects. e.g. putting Pocket Pals into little Robot Boats and GPS Bottles, to sail back and forth across the Thames near Eton Bridge, or maybe down the Thames to London. We can chat with any passing river traffic. I'll continue with adding video clips below, as a backround activity, when there is nothing else to do. We will dig out pictures and video clips where we can. e.g. Matt and Steve, from our Active Away tennis holidays, won last night's "The Apprentice".
Click on the pictures to enlarge. That's Michelle, off on the train yesterday, from Ascot back to Coventry. She is veggy, as is her sister Saskia, so they may be interested in Monica Lilley, who gave me a vegan leaflet. June wanted another trip to Guildford, to buy presents. We used the opportunity to visit Oak Furniture Land , followed by Furniture Village . We were interrupted by a 'phone call from June's sister Gill, and came straight home and on to Jack's. In short: Maidenhead SS visit today, in morning, lunchtime and evening. Jack said nice Scots Jackie. Jack said he had a visit from the Maidenhead SS Coordinator who said Bracknell Forest SS would take over from tomorrow. Better because closer and Pocket Pal. She also had Jack walk up and down the stairs (halfway was enough), and said the two wheel walker was more suitable. She left the three wheel one ( June got for £50 off Amazon ) in view near the back door, so Forestcare could choose. We returned home to find "The Windsor" magazine had been posted through our letterbox. There was Nick Knowles staring up at us :-)
Saturday 31st December 2016, New Year's Eve: Good to see all is good over at Jack's. That was a nice touch of the SS ( or Gill ? ) to drape that tartan blanket around Jack's walker. Today, June wants to do some more shopping for (late) Christmas presents, and I'll amuse myself digging out old and new video to update that "Part 2" below. No time to edit it properly, but in 2017, bits may be of use to some of my friends, including particular journalists. We have no plans yet for tonight. If Jack doesn't want to see the New Year in, watching BBC TV, maybe we can do it over at Bernie and Ruby's. June can drive back ;-)
Monday 2nd January: What a lovely way to wrap up our 2016 Lovelock Family Newsletter. Who knows what lays ahead for us ? But, so far, so good. June and I were unable to see today's Sunninghill Wheelbarrow Race because we would be on our way to see my sister Sally Campion, Michael, Becky, and Prince. My extra presents for them were two Pocket Pals: one for Michael, and one for Sally - although it seems they have ideas of that being attached to Prince. I inflicted some of that family news video on them, and got told where to stick it. Michael told me a yarn or two from past career. He spend years as a care worker, in the Slough Area, working for the same Maidenhead SS as now caring for Jack. This job had been life-changing for him, in defeating his addiction to booze. One lovely anacdote involved a senior nurse and a dear MS patient. Before that he spent years as a car mechanic, and before that, as an engineer at Heathrow, maintaining aircraft. I look forward to a trip to Strauns again soon, to record old memories, and to discuss his ideas for a three wheel motor bike / mobility scooter, that overlaps with mine. Exploiting Tesla or Google smart car technology, into the mobility scooter market. My "Last of the Summer Wine" team have already been discussing this: John Silvester has a Tesla. These ideas, along with things like Pocket Pals and Cameras, will go onto a new HomeCare page in 2017. I look forward to another long chat with Bernie and Ruby, including about Harold Sharp, my dad Len Lovelock, and my "Uncle" Tony Pollard. Every day I learn something new, including about myself, and my genetic history :-)
See Dr Strangelove - the Wiki article and videos. Peter Sellers starred as the mad ex-nazi scientist. See "Robin's German Connections" on our Bigger Picture page.
Extract from the Home page of www.GPSS.co.uk: I entered Defence Industry as an apprentice in the mid 1960s. Ferranti sent me to University for a B.Sc in Electrical & Electronic Engineering. That's where I saw Dr Strangelove. I became a Systems Engineer, and work included Royal Navy ship software. I worked for SHAPE as a NATO scientist through the 1970s, when GPS and the Internet were secret. Our young family returned to the UK in 1981 and I worked for EASAMS at Frimley until starting our small GPS Software business in 1994 - now a hobby. In publicity about Snoopy's Robot Boat, the Press called me a "Retired NATO Scientist". Perhaps that should have been "Mad Retired NATO Scientist" :-)
Our very first Lovelock Family Christmas News video: starts with a glimpse of Holland in the 1970s, then a clip from the 1964 film Dr Strangelove. You will see Jack celibrating Christmas Day with us at Saskia and Gary's, with our inherited grandchildren, Jack and Harry. The larger, UNCUT Part 1 and Part 2 videos are on the right. e.g. Snoopy's aerial recce of the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. There are numerous clips that have been on the Net for years, for our friends and family who have a DVD player but not the Internet. Many of the clips are relevant to Frimley Park Hospital, both geographically, and the British Army links. e.g. the 1992 EASAMS Barossa Operation. I may add more news, including about Jack and the Wardrobe, and Robin's Russian connections, in the extra videos below. See the 1996 video of Nick Knowles of the BBC being arrested by the UK Police in Sunninghill after being chased by Robin's stupid GPS Software :-) Press the red button below to play the video. There are videos elsewhere on GPSS.co.uk such as on "AMRA", "Snoopy" and "Holiday" pages. My interest in www.NHSCare.info has become "Personal".
< There was not enough time over Christmas to do a good job on this 30 minute video. Try your own video editing, and see how far you get in a few hours :-)
However, I've now included clips from things like our Sicily holiday, and cut down, but retained, clips relevant to my relatives and www.NHSCare.info.
Maybe a journalist can do it better for me ;-)
Pages created or updated in 2016 include: Wheelbarrow, Sapphire, Toy Boat, Garden, Klaus, AMRA, Bigger Picture.
Newsletters from earlier years are in 2015, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 09, 08, 07, 06, 05, Wedding, 04, 03, 02, 01, 00, Jumps, 99, 98, 97, 96 and 95.
Some old GPSS pages are here : , , , , , , , , , , . Some go back 20+ years ! :-)
© 1970 - 2017 Robin Lovelock. www.GPSS.co.uk