Saturday, 19 March 2016


Browsing through a book in the hospital library where I volunteer, I noticed the phrase "She rose to her feet in one graceful move". In my case, this would read "She lumbered to her feet in four clumsy heaves". It came to me that there must be a multitude of similar examples of the out-of-date. "He drew her to him in an embrace that foretold of wonderous things to come". "He gave her a peck on her cheek, helped her in to a taxi and sent her on her way". "Her bosom swelled with the need she felt for him". "She was a touch breathless having climbed the stairs to the Restaurant he had chosen". Mind you, it is true to say I was working in the section labelled 'Romance' at the time.

However, it doesn't stop there. "This desirable property is a five minute walk from the Underground". No, this desirable property is a fifteen minute crawl from the Underground. (Helping a friend re-locate, since you ask). "It is quicker by Underground". No, it is not. Covering the distances and dealing with the stairs in all the London Underground stations takes seven times as long as the journey itself. Yes, I have actually timed it. "Goods are cheaper if you buy them on line". Only if you have read the detailed small print - if you CAN read the small print. Which seriously old lady needs a pot of Marmite the size of a football?  "The wind blew around her hair in a golden halo". "The wind made such a mess of her wisps she was obliged to turn back to put on a beret". "How lovely to sit in the sun and gradually toast". "How stupid to sit in the sun and risk wrinkles on your wrinkles and other injuries to your skin". "An all night party? What fun!" "An all night party. How can I possibly get out of it". "This is definitely the latest in popular music". "What on earth is making that ear-splitting racket?" A while ago there was a musical play on the life of Edith Piaf. It was a revival of a production from a number of years before that. I went with a friend to whom I proudly confided that I had heard the original. "Oh", he responded with the awe I had hoped for. "You actually heard....." and mentioned the name, which I have forgotten, of the artiste who had appeared in the previous run. "No," said I with a red but patient face. " I have actually heard Edith Piaf". You are beginning, I suspect to get the thrust. Yesterday, I spilt some soup on the kitchen floor. What with my lack of balance, my cat's curiosity and the presence of a visitor it was imperative I clean it up. I filled a container with water, found the mop and got to work. In a very small galley kitchen, my foot encountered an impediment - literally.   Dear Reader, I had kicked the bucket. Bore da

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Lock-Down Sesame

You would need to be nearly as old as I am - than whom only Methusalah is older   - or, sadly, afflicted with arthritis, or a similar affliction, to be obliged, as I am, to get up half an hour earlier than would appear necessary on paper in order to have time to open things up. Occasionally, I fancy some nursery food such as cheese on toast. For this treat I buy ready sliced Dutch cheese which fits nicely on top of a square piece of bread. However, labelled as it is with " peel here", I have to allow a good ten minutes to coax the relevant corner out of its recalcitrance and oblige me with access to a slice of its contents. Next, there is the argument with the jar of instant coffee. (I know, I know, how decadent can one sink). Myself, I carefully just  replace the top on the jar, remembering to pick it up by its body next time or be prepared to use it from off the work-surface or the floor. There is someone who helps me with house keeping. This diligent lady replaces the top as it should be, down firmly and sealed to keep the flavour, and the grains, securely inside. On days when this has happened I drink jasmine tea which I keep hidden so that it escapes the sort of closure with which I can no longer cope.

I have progressed in to the 21st century sufficiently to order things 'on-line' and have them arrive by post or deliverer: much painful leg-work thus avoided. However, I have to wait for someone else to be available to open  the d..n thing up. I have been given a gadget which unscrews bottle tops. This is great while I am at home but it is too heavy to carry around so I have had to use Nature's openers, my teeth, when I am out. I assure you, this is not a good look on a lady of a certain age, nor, indeed, on a 'Lady' of any age. But the Gods have been good. By chance, I discovered a really small device, made by THE French kitchen company which is transportable and Dentist-proof. I have one in my hand-bag and one in the carrier which is kept ready to take to the voluntary job site. Hearing aids take batteries which are so miniscule they are barely visible to the naked eye. New ones have a tiny label stuck to them. At least ten minutes have to be allowed to peel this off. Fortunately, while the aids are not in place, I can't hear myself cursing as I pinch my ancient thumb and first finger together to get the label off. This time I can't use teeth. The batteries are singularly indigestible. The famous and ubiquitous everyone's favourite store sells, I am told, delicious soup. I have to take this as reputed. I can't open the containers myself. Apparently, you pull back a strip then lever. Forget it. I can neither pull nor lever. I can't even remember how many pairs of scissors I have all over my house and kitchen knives used to prise and poke rather than slice and scrape. By the time I have the protective cover off a sticking plaster, the bleeding has stopped. Please don't put my shopping in the boot of my car. I don't have the magic words to open it when I get home. But you would be surprised how many things are open-friendly. The front door, for instance: the door to fresh air and a certain freedom. All my cosmetics are openable, simply because I don't close them properly. The yes-I-can list is almost as long as the no-I-can't list, as I think about it. If only "peel here" would respond like "open Sesame" life would be almost perfect. Bore da.