Best Wishes for
the Season


Avis Saltsman &
Ken Baldry

The ‘card cover’
is us awaiting guests for
Ken’s 80th birthday.
Photo ©Zoe Baldry

The Gerrard Chronicles 2023

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Art Scene

Ken’s 80th birthday party

Traveller's Tales - Scotland

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Avis, Ken, Family & Extended Family

XMAS 2022

We spent Xmas Lunch with Philip & June next door, as we can no longer get travel insurance, so cruises are Out. June really excelled at her Xmas Dinner, which included a chicken & various vegan options among the veg, which were all very tasty. We took a couple of bottles of Gewurztraminer round, which were duly consumed. Pudding was a vast commercial cake. We swapped tales until about 14:35, then I took Avis home for a snooze.


Our Flat One in St.Peter’s Street became empty, so we invited Denise back from her traumatic stay in Manchester, where her health had been mis-diagnosed, leading to the loss of jobs. She moved in on January 20th and keeps an eye on us, helping in particular, Avis, especially with strange loos in strange places. We have been helping her train as a self-employed beautician, where she can work around when we need her. An upside is that she gets a very extended social life, as she comes along to events, when well enough.

Avis & Denise at an Iranian feast

These include the lavish ones put on by the Iranian Resistance to the Ayatollahs, which Ken has been supporting since the Spring of 1980 & concerts put on by Ken’s musician friends. Denise made a splendid 80th birthday cake for Ken. She accompanied us on our disastrous Scottish trip in July.
However, her health has still not been good since she returned to civilisation as we know it & I accuse the NHS of trying to ‘save money’ by denying some women the well-know correct treatment for middle-aged conditions. This, doubtless, being due to government starving the NHS of the necessary funds. It also means Denise has not been as available for helping us as we or she would wish.


We three intended to go to visit Ken’s brother Geof on his Market Garden on the Greek Island of Skiathos, a real treat for Denise, who has not been abroad since ever. We were due to fly out on Wednesday, September 6th by Jet2. However, the weather reports were not encouraging. Ken checked the flight on Tuesday morning & was told it was going ok. Ken had fitful communication with Geof through the day when either the telephone or e-mail was working & eventually, Geof told him not to come under any circumstances. Now, the art was to get Jet2 to blink first & to cancel the flight, then supply a refund. Ken rang them again in the evening & was told the flight was still going. He told the girl, “You do realise the Police have closed the main road, my Brother where we are staying is cut off by flood water & the Mayor has declared a State of Emergency”. She said, hold the line & was away for about ten minutes. When she came back, she told Ken the flight was cancelled & he would get a refund, which came through commendably quickly. Jet2’s agent must have been cut off & been unable to inform them. The net result for us was no trip. For the island, they had a year’s rain in 4 days. Geof’s road was washed away & much damage around his water borehole. There are many dirt roads on the island, so when Geof gets a turn with the municipal bulldozer is moot. Over in Thessaly, square miles of top-soil have been washed away, with consequences for Greek food supply in future. Any idiot who does not ‘believe’ in Global Warming had better think again, or just, think.

Wednesday 12th April 2023

Not good weather. We did not get the proper view down from the Snake because of the drizzle & mist. The room at the Norfolk was good, except that there was two of everything instead of three. It rained, so we drove to The Globe, getting there early but at the same time as Alyson. She & Denise hit it off immediately, much, as she confided when Denise was in the bog to Alyson’s relief, as she was wondering what this “carer” would be like, perhaps a dragon in a highly starched Victorian nurses uniform, which could not be more unlike Denise, who clearly loves us. At Avis’ suggestion, after the rations, we drove to Alyson’s book & knick-knack filled (I can shout!) little house which Denise loved & we chatted until 22:00. Alyson said Denise was lovely in her absence & Denise reciprocated in private.
Home, the next day. A much nicer one after we got to Buxton & largely sunny after that. Ken tried to find a new way to past the M1 but this did not work, so he went down it, stopping at Trowell for the inevitable pees & then took the A53 & A606 over the country to Stamford, stopping at the crude but effective Stibbington Services for a big lunch (cheese omelette, beans & chips). We came back by the A1 all the way home.

& Sunday 16th July

Avis & Alyson

We picked Denise up at 09:25 & got out of Town quite quickly but lost all that time as there had been an ‘incident’ at Luton. It was largely, a ‘nice day’ but on the odd occasions it rained, it was short but tropical. Typically, it did so at Donnington Services. The Derwent Valley drive was good until Calver & the Grindleford stretch was rained upon. We had stopped at the Chatsworth Farm Shop for teas & pees. It bucketed while I filled the car at the Glossop garage. One of the keys Denise had had cut for the Cat Carer does not work, so panic-stricken ’phone calls to make sure she can get a set from Rose in the morning. Meanwhile, Salem the Cat starves again. We need keys for Chantelle in the flat above in future. We arrived at The Globe just as Alyson did. She was full of tales, as usual. So were we. I got gags going with other people. Denise told Alyson I had saved her life, she was getting so depressed. No wonder she will do anything for us. The menu does not change here but the girls had vegan sausages, chips & gravy. I had a very weak Korma curry. Alyson & Avis had butterscotch cake with ice cream & I had sticky toffee pud with vegan cream which worked quite well. Denise had no pud. At least this time, she had a proper bed in our room & slept well. The next day, we set off to Scotland on this link


Ken gets Avis out to Caffé Nero after home lunches to make sure she gets at least, some exercise & the contact with people she enjoys, even if she sometimes sleeps through much of the afternoon. However, while last year, she no longer was able to use the escalators on the Tube & we started going to the U3A by bus (which takes much longer), she has had an increasing number of panic attacks in the street or getting on buses, sometimes falling over & Ken has had to rely much on the ever-present kindness of strangers to help with her. (Anyone who thinks people are not natural Socialists should follow the money & see who benefits from keeping people apart). Fortunately, we have now acquired the right to park in one of the four disabled parking places (for 2,000 elderly members) at the U3A but this means Ken, with his limited (very) vision in his right eye, has to drive back in the dark for half the year & transport is consequently, no longer free. We have had the bath removed & a walk-in shower installed, which is much more practical for Avis but this also needed a new boiler, our 1968 (!) one now being inadequate.

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The Gerrard Chronicles published by Ken Baldry & Avis Saltzmann 17 Gerrard Road Islington London N1 8AY ©Ken Baldry & Avis Saltzmann 2023
Contact: +44(0)20 359 6294 or e-mail him or her This page's URL: Last revised 1/12/2023
All photographs & text Avis & Ken Baldry except where credited. Published using BBEdit on an Apple Mac Mini with Panasonic TR60 images and Epson scanned images.