The Return of Bertie

Posted on 13/10/2019 By

The Return of Bertie.


Bobby: “We have missed you so much. Nine weeks altogether. One of our readers did suggest having you posted back by Parcelforce. But that would be sacrilege for a bear like you. So here we are. Bobby and Eamonn. 300 miles on the train. Six hours in all. Rosemary very kindly picked us up at Haverfordwest Station. We are staying two nights. A mini break for us.

When you asked Eamonn if he would like to stand in for you going to Skomer and Skokholm, who could have guessed what would eventually happen? But I must say you would be proud of Eamonn. The stories he wrote have been really good. Especially the one from Swansea Hospital following the ‘Very Serious Event‘.” (more…)

CountrysideDream IslandGuided TourIslandsWildlife    

Erik Adolf von Willebrand

Posted on 06/10/2019 By

Erik Adolf von Willebrand

What is an eponym? Well, it is a word derived from the name of a person, real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

It seems to Bobby that many people have heard him mention von Willebrand’s disease. Or, as he calls it sometimes, vW, the von willies, the blood lark. They know it is to do with blood. Quite often lots of it. And, on occasion, seriously debilitating. So, we thought after the exhilaration of those glorious days on the Pembrokeshire Islands what followed immediately landing on the mainland has raised a certain amount of interest in what exactly the “the blood lark” is. In doing so, we have engaged in a little research, including chats with the lovely Haemophilia nurse Roisin from County Galway, but latterly in St George’s Hospital. (St G). We also remember back in 2016 how he was an inmate in the Ruth Myles Unit at St G after yet another vW involved accident (St George’s blog).

Although a mystery to most people, vW is in fact a common disorder. About 1 in 100 people suffer from it. “Suffer” being a little subjective, as only roughly 1 in 10,000 of those 1 in a 100 are aware they have it, as the symptoms are mild enough not to attract further investigation. But we are racing ahead here. Who was he?

Black and White head and shoulders portrait of Erik Adolf von Willebrand.

Erik Adolf von Willebrand.


Ruth MylesSt George's    

Storm Petrel: A Magical Night on Dream Island

Posted on 29/09/2019 By

Storm Petrel.

Many of the day visitors to Skomer Island will one day consider staying overnight. They hear about one of wildlife’s true spectacles and want to come back and see it for themselves. I am, of course, talking about the world’s largest colony of Manx Shearwaters that only come to the island after dark. And what a spectacle it is! One that you can read about in our blog (September).

The same spectacle takes place on nearby Skokholm Island and we all stay up late to watch it.

But there is another iconic seabird nesting on both islands. Far harder to see or hear. Much smaller and equally breathtaking in its chosen lifestyle. That bird is the Storm Petrel and the best chance of seeing it is to stay overnight on Skokholm island.


Dream IslandWildlife     ,

Eamonn goes to Skokholm Island.

Posted on 23/09/2019 By

Eamonn goes to Skokholm Island.

Dear Friends

This is the second of two stories I asked Eamonn to write for us in recognition of him taking my place in paradise. The island was so memorable for him that the story is in two parts. The second a magical night time adventure will be posted next week. As you will remember, Eamonn asked if we could include some Irish music. Since Skokholm is less than eighty miles from the Emerald Isle, this seems a very appropriate Celtic connection.



Dream IslandWildlife    

Eamonn goes to Skomer.

Posted on 15/09/2019 By

Eamonn goes to Skomer.

Looking across St Brides Bay to Skomer Island.

Looking across St Brides Bay to the Island.

Bertie: “Corrrr- I dunno. Just before we came to Wales, a friend of Bobby’s asked what has happened to the Irish bear. Well, we had to admit, not much.”

Trevor has found his niche. Betty Boop is a little inflexible, but will get her chance. But Eamonn? Dunno. “Tell you what”, said Bobby. “How about me taking him to Skomer and Skokholm instead of you? He’s much smaller, and you keep moaning about being shoved in the rucksack”. (more…)


I Feel Quite DiscomBOBulated!

Posted on 08/09/2019 By


Bertie: “I feel quite discomBOBulated. It’s very nice down here in Whitchurch. Just above Solva, near St David’s in West Wales. Rosemary is lovely. It’s very quiet. Peaceful. But I miss being part of everything that is happening in Laurel Cottage. Bobby will ‘rescue’ me when he is allowed to go on a long train journey. No idea when. DON’T mention Parcel Force!”

Eamonn & Bertie sat in a wooden chair.

Together at Rosemary’s in Whitchurch.

Bobby: “I feel quite discomBOBulated. Living each day as it comes. Content to believe that what has happened has been ‘lucky’ in its outcome. But discomBOBulated by my acceptance of that. Finding solace in Bobby 2; the 93 bus; Waitrose. And months of twice weekly travel to St George’s in Tooting.”

Metrobus No 93 to Horsham and "Bobby 2" - Bobby's shopping trolley.

The 93 and Bobby 2.

Eamonn: “I feel quite discomBOBulated. The euphoria of seeing Skomer and Skokholm for the first time tempered by being witness to everything that happened. Even in the back of an ambulance. As agreed with Bertie, three stories were written. The last, in particular, really good, being filmed after dark on Dream Island (Skokholm).”

Discombobulated: Bobby, with Eamonn under his left arm and his right hand on the Shopping Trolley 'Bobby 2' in Waitrose, Dorking.

Diary of a Heart Attack week 2, with Eamonn and Bobby 2.

Trevor: “I feel quite discomBOBulated having no idea what is going on. But I did get a ride on the 93 and a cruise round Waitrose!”

Discombobulated: Bobby, with Trevor under his left arm and his right hand on the Shopping Trolley 'Bobby 2' in Waitrose, Dorking.

Diary of a Heart Attack week 3, with Trevor and Bobby 2.

Bobby 2: “I am a shopping basket extraordinaire. With freshly ‘3-in-1’d’ wheels and nice new stitching on my damaged lid. I may only come out when the car cannot be used, but then I get the admiration I deserve. Bobby is talking about using me even when the car comes back.”

The Car. Last seen in deepest West Wales. Rumoured to be in Guildford now seeking repair.

Three cars parked on grass overlooking the Pembrokeshire coastline.

The Car. Middle one. West Hook Farm, Pembrokeshire.


September is Bobby’s favourite month. Two blogs have been written before (September, September 1954). Holidays and Airshows for this September are cancelled for now. So here is a set from Duxford earlier this year of the Breitling Wingwalkers. Girls doing things on top of pre war biplanes, looping the loop, they wouldn’t do in their own front room.

Breitling Wingwalkers:

Breitling Wingwalkers:

Breitling Wingwalkers:

Breitling Wingwalkers:

Breitling Wingwalkers:

Breitling Wingwalkers:

Breitling Wingwalkers:

Breitling Wingwalkers:

Breitling Wingwalkers:

Diddley flew at Duxford on her 50th birthday. In a vintage Tiger Moth.

Diddley in a Tiger Moth:

Diddley in a Tiger Moth:

Diddley in a Tiger Moth:

Diddley in a Tiger Moth:

September celebrates the Battle of Britain:

Spitfire flying in an almost cloudless sky.


William Walton “Spitfire Prelude”:

(Be sure not to miss the second half of this film starting at 4.04 in depicting a modern day film of a lone Spitfire caressing the sky as only a Spitfire can do.)

And finally. It really is a lovely day tomorrow:

Bertie sat on a pebble beach with his right arm around Eamonn looking out to sea.

At Newgale, Pembrokeshire.

Vera Lynn “It’s a lovely day tomorrow.”

Lighting a Candle for Diddley at Whitchurch.

In the Church of St David:

St David's Church, Whitchurch, in the mist.

Interior of St David's Church, Whitchurch

Three candles lit in a window of St David's Church, Whitchurch.

– – – – – – – – – –


A Letter from Skomer.

Posted on 01/09/2019 By

A Letter from Skomer.

Two birds flying above Skomer backlit by the sun in an otherwise black, cloudy sky.

When we wrote “Belonging“, we told you of Bobby’s love of the two islands off the west coast of Pembrokeshire. A love affair that started at quite a difficult time in Bobby’s life. (more…)


Memories on the Bedside Table.

Posted on 25/08/2019 By

The Bedside Table.

Mindfully Bertie started as a kind of bereavement therapy for Bobby. As you know, I had been best man at their wedding and chief mourner at Diddley’s Funeral. It’s now over three years since the blog started and we have covered every subject imaginable. Never forgetting that each week we would end by Lighting a Candle for Diddley. At certain times, of course, the original reason for the blog becomes the main reason for writing that week’s story. And this is one such.

On 19 August 2019, Diddley, (Diane Jane) would have been 69 and very rude about it. On 23rd August 2015 we said goodbye to her forever.

This year we pay our homage through The Bedside Table.

The Bedside Table (more…)

Frank MansellGADMemoriesMindfulness    

Diary of a Heart Attack.

Posted on 18/08/2019 By

A Very Serious Event: Diary of a Heart Attack.

Bertie: “Can you see over there across the bay, Eamonn? That’s Skomer Island.”

Bertie and Eamonn looking over the sea to Skomer Island.

Eamonn: “Ahh, Bertie. Oi would love to go tere.”

Bertie: “Well, Eamonn. When you came to us from Alice’s Bear Hospital, we did promise you adventures. How would like to take my place this Saturday on a trip to Skomer Island and on Monday for a week on Skokholm Island?” (more…)

Bobby BallcockCountrysideDream IslandIllnessWildlife    

A Heatwave in Worthing.

Posted on 11/08/2019 By

A Heatwave in Worthing.

Headshot of Bertie.

Bertie: “You must be bleeding joking, Bobby. ‘We’ are going to the seaside in a heatwave? You can count me out. It’s nice and cool here in Laurel Cottage. It’s supposed to be even hotter tomorrow and I am definitely staying put.”

Bobby: “Look, Bertie, it’s the only day I can see Jasmine before we head for Wales on holiday. It’s only the morning, but if you don’t want to come suits me!” (more…)


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