Thursday, 12 January 2017


Every time I hear or read a grammatical or syntax mistake my pedantic inner ear behaves as if a whole orchestra had played a wrong note.  It can't be helped.  That's how things are.  I know people who have such a sensitive sense of smell that they have, if it's possible, to move to a different table in a restaurant when a heavily perfumed diner turns up.  Their hearing is so acute they can hear a pin drop  I have known musicians who, seeing me look around to track a noise will say "No: it's coming from over there." exactly opposite to where I was looking.  Anyway, I have allowed myself to believe that my reaction to atonality is just such a legitimate physical attribute.

The other day I was reading in the paper about an aristocrat who had taken a rather unusual step to ensure the continuation of his line "It seemed like a good idea to 'name-of-wife' and I."  Now this gentleman - literally - must have gone most likely to Eton or similar and even to a good enough university.  How is it possible he can make such an ill-informed mistake?  If you take out the wife you would be left with "It seemed a good idea to I.." well, I don't think so. I do know that it is a mistake which crops up all the time and clashes with my well-being all the time.  If in doubt, all one has to do is to remove the second or more person and see how it would sound, then, as in anecdote  above,  With nothing more pressing to do I am tempted to red line and count the number of singular nouns married to plural verbs in the daily papers.  "The group do..." where my inner ear would want "The group does..."    Why, in the name of Current World Chaos should we give a d..n? Because it seems to me symptomatic of a dangerous failure of boundaries and a loss of formality, or formulation, of  an organised way of being in the world: sloppy lanquage equals sloppy morals, behaviour, standards and so on and so on. (What do you think?  I do wonder how much value this preoccupation adds to my life, but at its nicest it is fun and at its most pedantic it gives me something else concrete to fret about).
On the more delightful side of life, I had a very nice experience during a visit to my G.P. (General Practioner or 'everyday' Doctor if you are over the Pond). He asked about my appetite.which has diminished somewhat.  "Oh dear" said he, " we shall have to keep an eye on you to see you do not lose too much weight."  How many decades have I, and so many other women, waited and longed for just such an admonition. Bore da

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Transition - again

Mylittle furry friend has something wrong with his left eye.  Such is the scale of eye problems in his breed that we have had to wait weeks for a specialist to see him.  In the meantime, he has to have drops in the eye three timesx a day.  Exactly: you try it and still remain persona grata in his life. I fear that the drops have been accomplished more in the breach than the observance but we must hope his beard will equally benefit from whatever the  drops contain, having received rather more of them than has his infected eye.  It occurs to me to wonder how I should have responded if one of my young had announced one morning that they intended to be a cat opthamologist. It's the kind of profession one needs for a party game: "Guess what I do".

Since I am as yet symptom free my cat can be the invalid in the family.  I do wonder if he is aware that all is not well with him but he comports himself with his usual gentle good humour.  I am particularly pleased with this current cold snap because he comes to sleep curled up in my curl up which is companionable and reassuring, as you can imagine. It is a strange land, this land of transition.  It is something I may well have put to you before.  In the past I have noticed it as a condition that crops up when one has left home but is not yet at the new destination.  Generally, it is not a comfortable sensation.  This time feels different.  It is not uncomfortable but even has its moments of humour when it comes to me that it will not be my concern if the President Elect of the USA, when established, continues to turn logic on its head and overturns the goodwill of any state that continues to work and/ or hope for peace among all people.  I was, as you may have sensed, going to say "all men", but don't want to risk offending those who have discarded "he" and "she" in favour of well, what exactly?  Not that I am against the principle of gender equality, very far from it.  It's just that some of the ways and words in use to overcome the sole use of the masculine are so silly as to defeat their purpose. There: Ive said it. That's another condition (plus?) of my being in transition.  I find myself saying just what I mean.  A dear friend asked me to tell her if there was anything at all I wanted from her. "To see more of you" I told her. A forewardness I would not have considered for one moment ante deluvium or whatever the latin would be for before the knowledge that the end was nigh-ish.  Prynhawn da

Monday, 26 December 2016

As I Was Saying....

Thinking about the title of the last post - no pun intended so maybe I mean 'latest' post - I have noticed an unexpected development: I am, indeed, keeping calm.  It feels as if the rythym of my inner world has settled.  Breathing is  level, the solar plexus restful. It is not that I feel less alert but that the alertness breathes calmly, like the continuo supporting the musical excitement in the intricacies of the work whose sounds we follow perhaps ignoring the under-beat and to which we respond with whatever emotion feels appropriate.

As yet, the lurgie that has been routed out of its secret hiding place in my interior has not produced any symptoms.  I am, therefore, well able to manage day to day as the days currently find themselves. I am, however, as I said, intrigued by the even breath phenomenon. The significance of little things has changed.  To save myself a scalding, I hurriedly put a hot mug down on a polished surface.  Even though I picked it up pretty d..n quick, a mark was left.  About to fuss over and/or polish it, it occured to me that, in due course, the young could deal with it. It was a lovely feeling of freedom, a shift in responsibility. Among the gifts I was given during yesterday's event was a box of three very special bath- size almond soaps, my all time favourite. " That's optimistic" , I said in the fervent hope I did not render uncomfortable those among us who were not in to gallows humour. I am aware, though, that this is all very well and good symptom-free.  I shall, no doubt, have to watch the walk to the gallows rather less flippantly as the lurgie asserts its rights over my body very much more insistently. I have also noticed a readiness to speak the truth instead of prevaricating or keeping quiet.  I actually said to a friend whose life is uber-busy but, evidently, with a corner as yet unused since she asked what she could do to help me, that I would like to see her more often.  Centuries - well decades - of polite reticence ditched in one sentence. I shall have to ask my Guardian Angel to keep a watching brief over these new impulses. Someone close to me who is one of the people I love most in the world gave me a How To Survive Cancer sort of book.  That was thoughtful but the writer, ages younger than I, underwent devastating treatment and her book is geared to those who will do similarly. My instinct is to let nature take its course. Those of you keen eyed and faithful readers may remember me recounting the tale of the musician friend who, overhearing me say I planned to play his recordings at my funeral (before its imminence, of course) asked why he couldn't play live, then added "we'll have to talk dates though.  I am getting very busy".  That's one for the gallows wouldn't you say?  Bore da.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Stay Calm and......

Naturally, it is tempting to complete the injunction: Stay Calm and Carry On.  Unfortunately, Liz has to tell you that she will, indeed, do her best to carry on but nature has put a time limit on her capacity to do so in the form of a tumour which is not given to much co-operation under the current treatment  possibilities. Kind on-going followers may remember the sagas (plural 'sagas' or 'sagae?) of the women sent to help feed me after the last, (quite recent last), operation which, it seems had nothing to do with the present condition.  Anyway, I remember them and they rather predicate against going through a similar experience again even to buy a few extra months.  So, it would seem that Liz is now actually 75 going on 75, though there will be those among you astute enough to have worked out that, in the eight years I have been blogging, I must have moved on somewhat from 75.

Thankfully, it seems there is no tumour on my humour so I can only hope that this will be one area where I can reliably carry on.  Indeed, during the week,, I had lunch with a friend on an occasion when it was my turn to pay.  At some point she disappeared and I assumed she had gone to the loo.  In fact, she had gone to pay the bill.  I protested it was my turn and we agreed it certainly would be next time.  I said "Promise?" and she said "Cross my heart and..." but we decided, unanimously, not to finish that particular saying. No doubt, if I had symptoms which impinged on my life as we speak, it may be possible to think a little more realistically. I don't, so I suspect there may be a tinge of delay in acceptance which makes it easier to be matter-of-fact.  However, it IS a matter of fact so I must be sure to allow myself to catch up with the implications fully enough before too long.  I am going to see a Person Who May Know More and, therefore, help decision-making, tomorrow, so that is the next of the 'one step at a time' proceedures my family and I are undertaking.(Forget the pun). In the meantime, life's other little jokes do carry on. Without my having seen him go in, my jet black cat had settled himself inside the jet black interior of his yurt. (No, I didn't.  I am not that profligate. Two yurts and various other extreme luxuries came with him in a trousseau from his previous owners). My first indication of his whereabouts was the sight of a square inch of pink going up and down, seemingly disembodied, inside the yurt, accompanied with the slurping noise incurred by washing by licking when you don't have an adequate nose.  Prynhawn da

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Unintended Consequences

Those of you kind Readers who were actually taking in what you were reading in the  previous post will have noticed what turns out to be one of the oddest, possibly ironic and innocent pits in to which I have fallen since I started blogging.  Talking about the President Elect of the United States I wondered whether or not there was the equivalent of a Tower in which, either to throw him or for him to throw anyone else who dared to steal his cricket bat. Of course there is: he lives in it.

As it happens, as I have confided already, I sense the possibility that his very election was an unintended consequence and now he has to go on with a play-date he thought someone would surely protect him from.  My whole unseeing stupidy caused me to think of other unwitting outcomes which may well arise from well intentioned intentions. I am reminded, for instance, of Humpty Dumpty who was seriously unlikely to have sat on that wall had he known that, ultimately, it would mean the end of life as he knew it. I remember, as a very young woman, going to an auction with someone who was a serious contender. He was late and I arrived before him and, you've guessed, put up my hand in a wave to show him where I was sitting and found myself the proud owner of a rather pretty mirror.  No problem with the mirror: the problem was I could not afford the money to pay for it. Luckily, the auctioneer was sympathetic to the weeping student beseeching him and agreed to put it in the next sale and refund my  cash if it sold.  It did. I have rarely trusted myself at an auction since that time. As you have heard me going on about before and even befive, the Wizard of Cyberspace affords more examples of unintended consequences than are dreamt of in your philosophy.  There appears to be a 'thing' on the front of my laptop which totally eliminmates every stitch of work if pressed on. I swear there is no visible indication of this er-facility and I have, more than twice, wiped out a whole post or a whole letter of excuse to Parking Finers just as I got to the 'bore da' bit. There is  a sometimes advantage to this particular unintended consequence: the re-write is often more succint and shorter than the original and, therefore, better.  Non of these examples compares, however, with a very old story,  though apocryphal it maybe , best heard in a Welsh accent, of the woman who confessed to her  best friend that her unmarried daughter was pregnant; a disaster in that  day and age.  The friend asked, in horror, how that had come about.  "Oh", was the reply, " She didnt hear what the gentleman said".  Bore da

Friday, 18 November 2016


Sometimes I find myself wishing that the people who make decisions were as old as I am.  I don't mean world changing decions - or, maybe, those too - but minor decisions which seriously impinge on my daily life.

For instance, how has it come about that the broadsheet newspaper I take in order to attempt the crossword, (with a view to exercising my brain of course), has recently started to spread an article across two pages?  More, it prints photographs in the same way. Now, I am not physically able to cope with the spread unless I am reading it at a table where it seems big enough to serve as a tablecloth.  Truth to tell, it is only in convalescence that I have been reading the news in the paper which, hitherto, I simply turned on its back in order to access the crossword.  What a revelation: somehow, the ways of the world seemed to  me more filtered when picked up from radio or television.  Black and white and  the time to read drives home the significance with the force of a pneumatic drill. The Western world can't be about to be led by an unruly, spoilt infant in the guise of a squat man badly in need of a haircut.  It seems to me that the President Elect of the United States had, what in the American language may be called "a ball" during the raz-mataz of the election campaign.  Confronted with the reality of getting what he believed he wished for, it wouldn't be surprising if he were more than a little taken aback.  As in "I will accept the job of Head Boy in your Boarding School, but I don't want to live in and I want my brothers and sisters to be there, full-time, to play with me." The next logical step could well be "off with his head" or confinement in whatever Tower exists in the United States. But details such as the layout of a newspaper and the height - or not - of park benches are never dictated by the needs of the elderly.  (Since you ask, if a park bench is less than a certain height from the ground it is very difficult for the arthritic elderly to rise out of ). Self service eating facilities present more dilemmas. Are you old enough to find yourself carrying a tray, a hand-bag and a walking stick, in front of the cutlery stack wondering how the H... to get what you need without tumbling over - you as well as the tray? But perhaps, until someone offers to help you put on your socks the full force of  outside decision taking can't possibly hit.  ( I refer you back to the jolly old carers who decided 5.30 was a good time for the last meal of the day). I must confess I was never brilliant at taking orders.  For instance, I left a drama group because the Director's decisions about character interpretation were not the same as mine.  However, it seems to me I have had to get on with not a few vicissitudes in all these many decades. Deciding and accepting that I am a cliche of an old lady is both character  building, funny and extremely challenging  Bore da