Friday, 21 November 2014


Much to my rue I have to acknowledge that the difference between me made up and me bare-skinned is such, with reference to the latter, as to frighten the children and drive away the horses. In days of yore I could rush in to the sea, naked - as to face, not as to birthday suit - and rush out again simply glowing. The pity is that, having registered this, I am wondering whether I would have the cheek to take the scarlet swimsuit and the Guru to the seaside ever again. My advice to all you half-my-agers is to enjoy it while you may and to look away when the elderly, needs must, expose those of their bits a swimsuit cannot reach.

In a rare drawer tidying exercise, I came across some belts, . Being an habitual hoarder and not too keen on the sort-out sessions my Mother, with relish, did regularly, I hadn't seen these items since six inches ago. What to do with such a collection when there is no realistic chance of them ever going round my middle again. Postpone the decision is the only possible decision. Likewise, glorious evening clothes from the era of another life: even if I were to shrink in to them anew, this Cinderella is 98% sure not to be going to the ball ever again.  There are shoes in the cupboard with heels that make me feel giddy just to look at them. I remember keeping a pair of slip-on shoes permanently in the car because there was no question of pedalling in my out and about footwear. The females close to me have lives so busy there is no possibility of  trapping them in to a ruthless three pile day. (You do know what I mean: one pile 'keep, one pile 'charity', one pile 'throw out'). I don't feel inclined to ask a male. I suspect I am secretly looking for help from someone as sentimental about possessions as I am. Somehow, I can't think the men I know would choose compassion over ruthlessness. Mind you, I happen to know that the Guru had shirts and 'T' shirts from the time he was twelve years old in his wardrobe. I suspect we equate our clothes/possessions with security and continuity. Perhaps we feel as if we were sacrificing crumbs of our sense of who we are when we drop a faded scarf on to the charity pile, or even worse, on to the throw away pile. Is it that a sense of a whole self depends on continuing to own every item that has ever meant anything to us, as if the outer container of the inner self depended on outgrown belts and too tight evening dresses - or suits, of course; I am nothing if not politically correct. (That's not true as you very well know. But I do do my best). Well there you are: I  just typed the two 'do's' without a space. That's the answer: only the dodo survives in my lexicon of what was then and what is now. You can't have one without the other. You can't have now without then. Bore da

Friday, 7 November 2014

In short

As you are aware, or you wouldn't feel like reading this, life after the magic seventy is rather different from life at forty. How banal: I know, but it seemed to need saying. What I have been noticing, even relishing, in the last little while is the way in which happenings, occurences and so on have changed their weight and balance. The concern for what goes on in the world remains and is heightened. A colleague recently said she couldn't bring herself to listen to or watch the news. Surely, the least one can do is listen and watch. What I wanted to put to you, today, though, is the pleasure in things one might not even have noticed in earlier decades. I like to 'do' the crossword in a national broadsheet. (The inverted commas are because I finish it but rarely). Usually, it is on the back page so all you need to do is turn the paper over and there you have it. It's easy to check yesterday's and it's easy to start on today's. However, recently the paper has been going in for more advertising so rather too often there is a full page advertisement on the back page and the crossword is inside that page. On the days when it is on the back page I feel a little flutter of satisfaction, something warm in the region of the solar plexus that goes down in to the core of me.  All is right with the world.

A parking space just where you most need it drops some more warmth in to that happiness bucket. Sometimes there is a real letter in the post, hand written and from an identifiable source. Plop goes another fluid ounce. Opening things provides an inexhaustable source of potential pleasure and contemporary pain. I can't open things. Someone close to me gave me a gadget which grips a top and, when a handle is turned, obligingly takes it off. That's pleasurable.  At work in the hospital I have to use my teeth on a bottle of water. No, I can't take the gadget with me, silly. My bag is the weight of a small toddler anyway. I do  have grave doubts about the professionalism of  being caught with a bottle in my mouth when an enquirer turns up at my desk but I do need the hydration and, of course, the swallow of warm glow that comes with  success. Finding I do have some more toothpaste, cupboarded but forgotten, is another example of this delicious phenomenon. Someone who uses a singular verb with a singular noun has the same effect; further, sea water that is warmer than you thought when you plunged bravely in. I am struggling to find a simile that will really illuminate what it is I am relishing and trying to share with you. Is it like  gulps of warm soup on a cold day as, one after the other, they settle in your tummy and spread warmth down your arms and round your back? No, it's not quite that. It's gentler and more profound: a sort of central 'yes'. Never mind. One must just hope that the bucket keeps replenishing before one kicks it. Bore da

Sunday, 2 November 2014


The significant news in this household is that a new Manager has moved in. A feline of such pedigree that one is informed even of the names of his great, great, great grandparents. So far so impeccable. Now, Liz has never been owned by a pedigree cat before, nor a male however neutered, so there is a great deal of learning on both sides.  He is black and VERY furry. As far as I can tell he has no face, only eyes which are deeply golden and two holes through which, I assume, he breathes. He is two and a half and has been living with his breeder until a month ago when he moved in with a local family with whom I have a Vet in common. The short version is that the Mother of two small children with her own health issues found she had too much on her plate to serve him in the way to which he was accustomed. Evidently, the breeder  also failed him. She had wanted to breed from him, but it turned out that he didn't find that an attractive proposition, spurning all the princesses to whom he was introduced.
 The interim slave explained that he would need grooming and provided all the necessary equipment so to do. Now, there was Liz's first mistake. What was it about him that made him too much to find room on her particular plate, and what was meant by grooming? These were two rather important questions which slipped under the radar of yours truly, who failed to ask . His age, the Vet connection and even his trousseau blinded me to the more mundane of his requirements, The Guru will be pleased to hear that he has pulled one of my toes in to the 21st century, at least: I actually looked on line to find out about grooming. Dear Reader, there were three screens- full of instruction. The bit about how to deal with his rear end was very good for my figure: it took away all my appetite . He, on the other hand, has a ginormous appetite and, for lack of advice at the weekend, I have given him two pouches of food which were vacuumed down before I had time to step back from his tray. However, he seems not to have touched neither the milk nor the water put down for his needs overnight and this morning. Second mistake: I have clearly bitten off more than I can chew and am landed with a boss who, it seems, cannot be left for any time at all unless with an expert bottom brusher with the capacity to see which way round is a cat with no discernible face who is the same width all the way along. Wish me luck - and  him patience. Bore da