Saturday, 24 September 2011


Acts have consequences. I know: you learned that at your Mother's knee. The concept came to mind recently as the result of a bizarre and disturbing accident. I was grilling some fish. The grill is inside the oven on my cooker so it can't be seen from the outside. In due course, I lifted out the tray to test for doneness. Around me were a couple of flies one of whom droppped on to the grilling pan. I watched in horror the inevitable and unavoidable demise of the fly against the inferno of the pan. It was unbearable on several levels. Imagine if it actually felt the pain of death by frying. I must say, Liz's normal capacity to bounce back from the awfulness of this and that in her life was severely tested. It gave me an opportunity to think about other things done without thought - or realisation - of the consequences. Sunbathe without protection and you, too, will burn. (My Goodness! It does make you believe in the unconscious. What an example to pop in to mind straight after the fly tale). Moving swiftly on, let us consider the consequences of ageing. After all, a blog which considers the dichotomy of a seventy-year-old body housing a forty-year-old soul is what this blogpost is about. Last night I went to a concert. I needed a snack before the start and presented myself at the queue for this facility. Picture it: stick, tray, handbag the weight of a small toddler, programme too big for inside the bag and ticket sticking out of my pocket. From near the front of the queue spoke up an American voice. "Here, Dear. Take my place."
I accepted, gratefully. As I was struggling with impedimenta to find cutlery and so on, she reappeared, telling me she had collected all those necessaries and found me a table. There you are with a great example of the consequence of ageing. The sting in the tail being that she looked about the same age as I. (Pedantry may be another consequence)

I threatened you, last time,with the promise of more travellers' tales. In fact, that all seems so long ago I think I may bore us all silly with going back to it. But I do have a connected confession. I came home with the wrong suitcase. I don't suppose I shall ever know how that happened. Mine has a band going right round it with my last name embroidered every few inches. It had a Frequent Flier label, making identification easier, and a hand-written label logging the current flight details. This last was red. I cannot believe I accepted it off the carousel and walked it through Customs without noticing that what I was dragging had none of the above appendages. Two contributory factors: the wheelchair had failed to collect me on arrival - again - and the ordered Mini Cab was not represented by its driver as I emerged in Arrivals. As a consequence of the former, I was in pain and a bad mood, concentrating on getting out of the dratted place. As a consequence of the latter, I was irritated and in a worse mood. As a consequence of all that, I could have mistaken the bag for mine, I suppose. However, when the driver did turn up he left me to fetch the car from its distant parking spot. I got talking to a small girl trapped in her push chair and didnt notice him come back and load the/a bag in to his car. Did he pick up the wrong one? Did I retrieve the wrong one? Dear Reader, we shall never know. The consequence of all that is that this elderly lady, exhausted and upset, after hours of telephoning, including to irate owners of the wrong bag, had to go back to the Airport, taking the wrong bag and going through hoops to get back the right one. (Are there elderly lady terrorists, I ask myself) Several Airport, wheelchairless miles later, I finally made it back to my car and the dear friend who had driven me there six full hours after my original return. Dottiness must be the consequence of more than three score and ten. Today is my birthday. It can only get worse. Prynhawn da

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


More than two weeks since I last appeared! But I am home again after six days by the sea,then three days at home followed by four days of culture. (Those of you on my blog-alert list may well remember that the Guru, the scarlet swimsuit and I were setting off together for a little sun and sand because I took the liberty of warning you that you would have to do without me for a while). We have been doing this trip for a few years, now, and it gets better and better. I get older and stiffer and in need of more help and he gets older and more handsome and in need of more refreshment from the bar. But, honestly, the current arrangements at airports having been deliberately designed to put off any but the most intrepid of travellers, I am aware it would be a very different undertaking without him. The one risk of disharmony came up on a day of uncertain weather. Prudently ,we had hired a car. I am not sanguine about the staying power of a man, the sole representative of his age group, at a venue where, without him, the average age would be high, to say the least. Actually, I have never known him restless. On the contrary, he enjoys switching off from the active, bibulous life he normally leads, but, as one's Mother would say, better safe than sorry. Anyway, off we went to explore the possibilities of a more exciting town further up the coast. He had heard of THE place to go, just outside it. I listened to its details and felt like he had opened the door to my idea of Hades on Earth. This was a place where one could expect to be sitting next to anybody and everybody who was anybody. Every film and Pop star was au fait with its delights. He failed to persuade me that lunch would be fun at such a venue but I agreed to a drink on the way back. Dear Reader, I was wrong. I have reached the age where I find I can pull up next to Bentleys, Rolls Royces, Ferarris and other cars whose names I can neither spell nor pronounce, in a down-market hire car with dignity and aplomb. I am now so old that the golden, gorgeous, exquisitely dressed clientele roll off my eyeballs without a trace of envy or capacity to compete. And the Guru has the look, anyway. So next year, if I am spared, we shall have lunch there and I can count on my increased dereliction as a kind of cache to disguise my otherwise claim to no fame at all.

After a short do-the-washing-and-upset-the-cat few days at home, I set off for a lovely long weekend of amazing music. (Well, because she thought I was home to stay, of course). Perfect in every aspect, I can't remember an idyll like it: two concerts in a row, musicians I know and the warmth of friendship. There you are, spoiling indeed.
But,I do have to face the real reason for the title of this post. Travelling: I can no longer cover the distance on foot from start to finish at airports these days. I ask for a wheelchair and am pushed along, doing my absolute utmost to look like a person having a lovely time. It actually is fun if the Guru is there to make jokes and play along with it. On my own, it has to be a bit of a pantomime. All very efficient when it is very efficient. An absolute disaster when it is not. Waiting in a sort of Members lounge on the outward leg of my second phase holiday , I was forgotten. 'Go to Gate' flashed up and I was still a ten minute walk away. I'll tell you the short version. I abandoned hope and set off down lifts along paths through passageways on to a main concourse. I saw a sign that my flight was closing. What to do? I saw a chauffered - I know, I can't think what else to call it - buggy thing approaching, leapt in front of it, lost two minutes arguing with the man because I was not on his list, thus motorised was taken a bit further, dropped off with yet steep stairs and another long passage to negotiate and finally arrived at the Gate in such a state as to set the staff wondering who on earth was the lunatic with the flying hair, flying stick and no voice because no breath: a security risk at the very least. But, persuaded I was the missing wheelchair passenger, I was ferried out in a car, everyone else having gone and, Dear Reader, upgraded on board so all was well that ended well. As fate would have it, it happened on the way back, too with even more of a disaster attached. I think that story should wait for the next post. However, my belief is that, frustrated by the efficiency of the new computer, the Wizard of Cyberspace has been in touch with his cousin, the Wizard of Airspace, and is continuing his vendetta through him. "Suite a la prochaine",as it says in the French magazine, just as you get to the exciting bit. Nos da.