Friday, January 31, 2014


The Best Laid Plans

For a start the anniversary day when I planned to watch our old cam- corder videos had to be adjusted to fit in with the electrician and the silent doorbell.  So people were requested not to phone between Sunday and Monday lunch time and the electrician would come Monday afternoon.  Monday morning the bell started working so in the end after a quick examination we decided to leave it and he didn’t charge me.

It was a relief to find I could get the videos to work in a newish TV and the first one had me wondering who on earth the people were – going back to 1997and then I realised it was my old friend Margaret’s  daughter’s wedding.

The family were concerned I would get upset but it was so delightful to see our adventures in Ireland, Canada and especially Scotland – Alastair’s most favourite place on earth – that there were more smiles than tears remembering the fun we had,  the teasing and always the comfort of knowing that even returning after the most wonderful holiday it didn’t matter because we were still together.

Mum always used to say, when I had been particularly giddy:
“There’ll be tears before bed-time,” and as usual she was right.  There was this feeling of – well I’ve done the year – that landmark is over.  Now what?  I began to feel lost and desolate.  And then the phone started ringing and hadn’t stopped by supper- time so I had to unplug it.

The night before I woke at 1.50am – about the time Alastair left me and on the day I received from his Oxford College the annual report with his obituary in which had been arranged in the summer and could have come any time during the month.  On Tuesday Joy and I had lunch at the Bistro and Kim said the day before she had had an overwhelming urge to walk up the lane to see me – not knowing what day it was -. but she didn’t as “it would have been rude”

I told her about the day and she said she felt a strange cold feeling coming over her and was obviously a bit shaken.  There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio.

Yesterday was our trip to Bristol to see West side Story and those plans went slightly awry.  Veronica discovered that she needed to have work done on her eyes so wasn’t able to drive so Chris (M), Joan and I went with Peter who is a very fast driver (my age) but I’m happy to say a very good driver.  Veronica, Elaine and James were driven by Chris (F) in her tiny red car.  We were guided by a charming lady on Peter’s Satnav and the others by Google via James.  I asked Peter what happened if he went wrong.

“She maintains her equanimity with great aplomb but I think she gets a bit sick of me at times when she has to do the re-calculating.’

In the other car it was more exciting with heated debates twixt James and his Google and Elaine- a frequent driver to Bristol.  Miraculously we converged at the designated car park to find ‘CAR PARK FULL’ although we could see cars exiting.  We had a couple of drives around and then back at the DCP a couple of us got out it the freezing cold until we found a man in a yellow jacket - apparently the machine was broken but he fiddled until at last the bar was raised and we zoomed up to the 8th floor.

On our way to the theatre Joan was so little and light I almost felt I could carry her.
And when we reached the doors the usherette said we couldn’t enter without out tickets (Veronica had the tickets) but as it was so cold she said to me “I’ll let your mother in but you have to wait outside.”  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Eventually we mustered – in the gods.  The seats were so precipitous one felt the slightest tap on ones back and one would tip over into the auditorium – about half a mile below.

As most of you know the show is excellent and this was a highly energised production with a Maria the most trilling of song birds, a young enthusiastic cast and a great orchestra conducted by a wraith of a boy who felt every note in his being – and so did we.

My only crit – it wasn’t clear enough – to me - who were the Jets and who were the Sharks- but it didn’t matter.  Was that really a gang rape?

On the way home we were separated from the other car, Peter dropped us all off and there was a frantic message from Veronica not knowing what had happened as Peter had his mobile switched off – not a rarity in this age group.

The other car ended up ‘dropping off’ out of Minehead and had a hairy drive over the moor in blinding fog and somehow got the rear end in a hole and damaged the car.   I suspect this is not going to be a regular outing and Minehead theatre is beginning to look more attractive by the hour.

I still haven’t solved the problem of posting photos.  One bit of advice said to click on the Content Selector button but I’m darned if I can find it.  As for my broken Kindle that won’t recharge, could it possibly need new batteries?














Thursday, January 23, 2014



I have always championed blogging and regretted the lemming -like exodus to Face book and especially – excuse me whilst I sniff haughtily - Twitter .  Blogging is like having a chat with friends you have come to know and trust over a period of years.  Occasionally there may have been the odd troll but they quickly realize they are not going to be listened to or even heard.

But blogging is becoming more difficult and I am finding that operations I have been doing for years are becoming unworkable.  This morning is a case in point:  four photographs I wanted to post are apparently unpostable.  As usual I clicked on Create then publish to blogger to be told this web page cannot be found.  Often I will struggle for half a day and sometimes am eventually successful but my work load has doubled over the last year so I’m time poor and patience skint.

I apologise for not having written anything for days.  I’m in a stasis like state which I’m sure will dissipate after Monday – the anniversary of MTL’s death.  I’m trusting that my video player still works and I can play cam corder recordings taken on our travels - which I haven’t seen for years.  Then the week takes a turn for the better and our bereavement group is having an outing on Thursday to see West Side Story at the Bristol Hippodrome.  There are three or four cars going and I feel lucky to be in V’s car – at 58 one of the younger drivers and to whom I have always felt a connection.

I mustn’t make this one long moan but my Kindle has stopped working.  It’s the original one and has been showing a picture which means please charge me – something I have been doing regularly as I use it every night - but the picture remains and it doesn’t work.  I wonder if it knows I’m about to buy a tablet and feels redundant?

 More good news: our French son arrives on Friday – having spent the week in Moscow.  Saturday morning – bright and early we see the solicitor for – hopefully the final time – next the obligatory visit to the Dump and then off to Taunton for a shopping trip and lunch.  We both have long lists and he has 2 suitcases to fill so the lunch won’t be leisurely. But we are going to The Northfield for dinner so time to get our breath back.  Then on Sunday he is back to Paris.

At our last group meeting last Tuesday I discovered we had all received in the post details of Later Living Retirement Apartments which are being built at the bottom of our lane and we had all –individually - decided to attend their Information Day.  I think it is mainly curiosity which is motivating us but wouldn’t it be odd if we all ended up in the same building?  Or they could all come and live here.  I’M JOKING!
It’s very peaceful today – the door bell isn’t working but I’ve left a message with an electrician.

James read this poem at our last meeting.



Ann Thorp

I have to believe
That you still exist
That you still watch me
That you still love me

I have to believe
That life has meaning
That I am useful here
That I make small differences

I have to believe
That I need to stay here
For some time
That all this teaches me
So that I can meet you again

Friday, January 17, 2014

The words are in the song

For some reason I have lost the power to play videos - otherwise I would play this.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What did they say?

Natalie Wood

Joan Collins

Isadora Duncan

See below.
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Ain’t it the Truth?


The only time a woman really succeeds in changing a man is when he is a baby.

Natalie Wood


Love the giver rather than the gift.

Brigham Young


Even a true artist does not always produce art.

Carroll O’Connor.


It’s the most unhappy people who most fear change

Mignon Mclaughlin


Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy person has no time to form.

Andre Maurois


If you don’t like something change it.  If you can’t change it change your attitude.

Maya Angelou


It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.



The power of faith will often shine through the most when the character is weak.

August Hare


I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.

Anne Frank


I define nothing.  Not beauty, not patriotism.  I take each thing as it is, without prior rules about what it should be.

Bob Dylan


Experience is a good school.  But the fees are high.

Heinrich Heine


Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.

Stephen Wright


The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change

Carl Rogers


I always wanted to be someone, but now I realise I should have been more specific.

Lily Tomlin


Everything has beauty, but not everybody sees it.



What one has not experienced one will never understand in print.

Isadora Duncan

The problem with beauty is that is it like being born rich and getting poorer.

Joan Collins


It occurs to me that both Natalie Wood and Isadora Duncan had tragic endings; Isadora strangled by her scarf in the wheels of a beloved Bugatti and Natalie Wood who drowned whilst on her husband’s boat. The reason for her death was ‘undetermined.’

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Getting going again

This is a sluggish time of year and after the break I find it difficult to do anything other than necessary chores.  The end of my grieving year – January 27th seems to be clouding the issue.  Our French son wanted to join me then but I didn’t want to waste his visit on a sad time so he’s coming a few days later.  It has always been a landmark as in ‘Don’t make any serious decision until the year is up’ and apart from getting rid of the car, I haven’t.  And by golly was that a relief?

Christmas Eve I got the breath taking news that a dear old pal – George – had been knocked down by a car just by his home and didn’t regain consciousness.  He and I were born within days of each other and when I discovered this - many years ago, I completely ignored the rather serious persona he presented to the world and we became firm chums – inclined to giggle, especially on stage.  We have kept up a correspondence in spite of the fact that George’s copper plate hand writing is very difficult to read and I had to resort to typing in order to be able to read my own.

I had just written a long spiel – which I’m told he received but he usually waited until he was in the Welsh cottage to reply.  I’m so glad he met Alastair and they liked each other and also glad – when I didn’t see an opening door whilst driving - that I made the decision to stop.  It is heart breaking for his family but – like Alastair he was spared a long drawn out end.

On the 27th I plan to try to play some camcorder films I made in Scotland and Canada which I haven’t seen in ages – in the hope that I can hear his voice again.  My B.I.L. in the States still has his late wife’s voice on the answering machine.  I wish I’d thought of that but it would have been difficult to get him to do it.

Christmas went by in a flash with the Wiltshire family coming with a car full of food on Christmas Eve.  On Christmas Day I was banished from the kitchen and told to play with my computer, then we had a bracing sunny walk, champers and then the best turkey dinner I’ve had for ages.  Full marks!  Boxing Day was more of the same and after they left – the next day having got rid of all my rubbish- bless’em - there was just time to regroup and pack for a New Year visit to the Hertfordshire family- complete with Alice and Tom.

The journey was interesting:  my favourite taxi to Taunton and then Nat; Express to Victoria which I hadn’t done for years.  I find boarding a train with luggage and trying to find one’s seat daunting.  On the bus they take care of your luggage and I don’t mind just sitting for a few hours.  However there were two men sitting behind me, one of whom sounded completely off his head with either drink or drugs and the other not far behind.  The all too audible conversation was just appalling and weirdly – like something out of 39 steps - I kept hearing a shrill whistling of just five notes.
You had to be there.  Don’t write buses off- I shan’t.  On the way back the driver made a big point of saying the police would be involved if there was any alcohol on board.

I had already determined to sit nearer to the driver on the way home and discovered that the two front seats – with a fantastic view, can be booked.  I had a charming widower as companion on the way home; he had been an evacuee in the war and was a year younger so we had lots to talk about.  His grand-daughter – aged 17 played football for Watford Ladies and had been spotted by an American team and (I think I remembered correctly) was playing and training with a team in North Carolina, coming home twice a year.  The drivers are very skilful; there had been a bad accident on the M4 and we had to come off and divert but were only 10 minutes late in Taunton.
They ask you to comment on line and I suggested they could be more vigilant re alcohol.  You may not believe me but I swear it is true -on the return journey I did – just once, hear those same piercing five notes.

There had been a lot of catching up to do since I got back and I was tempted to miss the Bereavement Group on Tuesday.  So glad I didn’t – Joy was there and two of the members really seemed to have turned the corner in their grief which is heartening for us all.  V gave us an exercise where we were asked to draw the mask we put on our faces to present to the world and card and crayons were provided.  This flummoxed some and I noticed that Chris (M) had managed to cover his nose and the side of his face with bright pink crayon. I found myself regressing fifty odd years - asked him for his handkerchief – remembered not to spit myself but got him to and wiped him clean.
This caused much hilarity but Chris was as good as new apart from flattened hair where my vice like grip had been.

I forgot to say I had a super time with the Hertfords – lovely to catch up with the grand-children and old Buster- the ancient Staffie recognised me and played his game of ‘Let’s trip Grandma up’.

 Would you like another coffee?