Monday, 30 June 2008

Bridge Too Far

Bridge lessons have been suspended until mid September. I am relieved. It will give me chance to catch up in the garden. And give me some time to blog again. I love bridge. After a 10 week course I am only half way through knowing all I need to know to start playing. I just have to keep reading and studying my notes to ensure I don't forget all we have been taught so far.

Garden and Favourite Plants

I love our garden.

On our move here from Gloucestershire we thought this was a level playing field. That garden was so steep I was unable to mow the lawn. It was a man's job. A hover mower was used to cut the grass up hill as far as could be reached. On up to a grassy terraced path and to lower the mower on a rope to cut the rest of the steeply inclined lawn. Children used to love that lawn. It was perfect for playing roly poly. But as we got older we could see it would eventually prove troublesome.

This garden by comparison was perfect. Although it is uphill it is more gentle. But being on top of the hill it is windy. So every plant has to be hardy, impervious to winds, frost and to earn its keep. Anything finicky, or especially delectable to slugs,that I find irresistible are kept in pots. The only trouble is the pots are growing in number.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Now Swiftly Moving On . .

When I started this Blog I was very unhappy. Looking back I can see I was more depressed than I realised. Suffering from unresolved grief through many bereavements over a 3-year period. The loss of my 2 very old cats compounded that feeling of bereavement so severe I lost sight of myself for a while. It was only my recent attendance at two funerals that made me realise that I no longer feel emotionally overwhelmed. I still feel sad but it is no longer an all enveloping sadness.

I've been reading 'The Book of Happiness' . It is helping me to focus. It defined the difference in the feelings of sadness and unhappiness. "Sadness is a part of life and we experience it as a result of life's events . . ."! Well I have had plenty of those of the last few years. Ithas been energy sapping. Now I am trying to come to terms with those events and 'move on'.

To move on I need to make several changes. We moved into our present house [1999] from a larger 4 bedroom house. As it was a sudden move we didn't have time to de-clutter. We just packed up and moved with more stuff than we needed. We were going to expand into the roof here with a loft conversion. It was going to be my husband's home office. Suddenly our circumstances changed and he no longer needed a home office. We never did the loft conversion. Meanwhile the spare bedroom and garage held all his office papers, tax and VAT files, etc .

To move on we need to de-clutter. We have sold all the office furniture. My husband is slowly trawling through paperwork, archiving financial information and shredding personal client papers. It's a slow process. We also need to make a decision on life changes about where we will live out our retirement years. Home is very important to me. I need to feel settled, rooted, in order to regain my equilibrium. I love it here and so it adds to my feelings of sadness on thinking of leaving. But it is not suitable for our situation now. My husband now has a strong desire to move elsewhere. We just don't know where yet. It needs to be somewhere less hilly.

We are also trying to sort out a new car. Just normal activities but very time consuming and demanding. Especially when trying to make decisions with someone who doesn't feel at all able or capable of making decisions. I'm pressing on as I don't feel we can waste time. I've reached the age where time seems to gallop by at an alarming pace.

I've missed posting a regular blog. . . .. this is just a short note to let you know why I haven't had time to call by to meet up with you and chat at yours on a regular basis.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Going Metric

Let's go metric. Completely metric. I need a 10 day week; 30 hour days. That way I may get to the end of the week and have managed some of the tasks on my ever expanding and demanding 'To Do List' .

Saturday, 21 June 2008

A Right Royal Garden Party

I was looking forward to attending a party this week. Until the weather changed for the better. I'd been looking forward to an indoor party. But with the change in the weather it changed to a garden party. Except that it was so hot and sunny most wanted to remain indoors in the shade.

Shade there was a plenty but it was hotter in than out. The huge conservatory heated the already scorching air and shepherded it in thorugh the french doors into the lounge. It was like sitting next to a huge glass Aga. The wine didn't help. It just enhanced the rosey glow on everyone's cheeks. The ice melted before it had chance to chill the drinks clasped in our hot little hands. Sandwiches and cakes began to wilt.

A few of the hardier guests [who took holidays in exotic locations] with skin like crisp brown leather, sat outdoors on the sunbaked south facing patio under the scant protection of one sun shade.

Late in the afternoon as the sun slowly sank those of us timid pale skinned folk who had already survived skin cancer or malignant melanoma ventured out to partake of the slightly cooler air. A lovely fresh 80+* F rather than 100+*F indoors. The house bricks emitting all the days stored radiation as if from a baker's oven.

By this time even the hardy brownites wanted to keep in the shade. We all huddled together at the end of the patio - squeezing up close in a friendly manner to share the measly amount of precious shade. Like penguins on an ever decreasing ice flow. Someone suggested the sun shade could be tilted to provide a bit more shade but as soon as it was tilted it caught the slightest breeze and swung like a gib to the east. Hauled back to the west someone kindly sat there with his arm up to hold it in place. Then with the next breeze it billowed like a spinnaker and slowly toppled dragging the patio table and wine glasses with it. Jim the host leapt to attention from his sun drowsed slumber and made an athletic lunge. Anchoring the table down before it hit the deck. So there we sat us ladies, with Jim clutching the table and Mark holding on to the sunshade.

The breeze dropped and the heat stored in the house walls began to leach into our small shady spot. We all started to glow. I suggested we all move the table, chairs and ourselves a few feet across the patio into the shade cast by the house as the sun continued on its westerly dip. Nobody picked me up on the idea. I repeated it in a louder voice. Still no response. I shut up. maybe it was too close to that giant Aga of a glasshouse.

I thought that if only I had been a traveller and visited South Africa or Ayers Rock then I wouldn't be so affected by a hot English summer evening. But no, Jim later confessed that it had been far too hot for him too and he'd lived for many years in Australia.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Northern Rose and Woes

Here is a little something to cheer you all for the next few weeks - this will have to do till the book is out.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

I Could Blog About this ...

I could blog about this I think numerous times a week. I'm not short of ideas. I'm not short of daft or peculiar observations on life, the universe and everything. But I have been short of time. A friend's husband has now returned to full health and driving duties after a pacemaker was fitted. So I am now relieved of taxi duties. Unfortunately a couple of friends have died. I have attended one funeral. Another one to go on Monday. After that I hope to have finished with my share of sadness and upset for 2008. I now want to cash in my 'happiness' voucher' for a bit of daft frivolity.
Funerals aren't what they used to be. Well not in Sidford they aren't. Do all funeral directors now arrange for the coffin to be carried into church on a squeaky wheeled trellised trolley? or is it only in Sidford - where the pall bearers appear older than the recently dead incumbent of the coffin? If Health and Safety at Work rules now insist on coffins being wheeled along then couldn't the Funeral Director at least ensure the wheels are well oiled before the sombre journey is undertaken.

A trolley doesn't have quite the same emotional impact as a coffin being transported in and out of church on the shoulders of 6 burly black clad men. Replaced instead by a less dignified slow march to squeak squeak squeak.... We crowded into the church 15 minutes ahead of the service. It slowly filled with people of all ages over 70 yrs, the walking sticks and zimmer frames taking up as much room as the mourners. I feel very young amongst so many older folk.
A moment - well several moments - of quiet reflection was frequently broken by the clatter of falling walking sticks. Each clatter on the stone floor made me jump. I must be stressed and tense - I leapt out of my skin each time. A sad occasion but as I felt a giggle trying to surface I was reminded once again that Les wouldn't be there to share the funny side of his funeral service with me. He had a wicked devilish sense of humour. I'll miss him.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Meme for the Bookish

Merri tagged me the other day. I thought I might have to think up some more truthful, embarrassing or quirky facts about myself and expose them on my blog. But no - this is different, it has a form of randomness to it ... once you've selected the book.

Here are the rules:
Step 1 – take a book from the book shelf.
Step 2 – turn to page 123.
Step 3 – read and write out the 5th sentence.
Step 4 – tag 5 more people.

I have 3 bookcases. So first I had to choose which set of shelves to attack. I discarded all the encyclopedia, the books on 'How to Play Bridge' or any self improvement books such as 'How to Win Friends and Influence Money'. I was left with the choice between a book from all the books purchased but as yet unread or selecting an old favourite.

In the end I chose a very old favourite -
Lord Chesterfield's "Letters to His son and Others" a paperback version published by Dent ISBN 0 460 11823 4

"He sometimes affects hard words by way of ornament, which he always mangles,like a learned woman. A man of fashion never has recourse to proverbs and vulgar aphorisms; uses neither favourite words nor hard words; but takes great care to speak very correctly and grammatically, and to pronounce properly, ..... . "
As you can see from the excerpt which is taken from page 123 beginning with the 5th sentence [along with this page of ' quotes'] these letters were from a very different age; written by a Gentleman.
I now nominate the following to take up this meme and, if they have the time to, run with it:

If you call in and read this and want to take part please feel free to do so.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

For Pianists Everywhere

I'm so impressed to learn from MerryWeather's latest blog that she plays the piano.

However much I like and admire Merryw I bet she is nowhere as cute a pianist as Nora. I just love Nora's relaxed style of playing. I admire the fact that although there are a few off -key notes she continues with unabated enthusiasm. I think the best example of her work is at the beginning of the duet with Betsy Student. A concert of her full repertoire can be viewed here on this video.

Thursday, 5 June 2008


I've hardly had time to put fingertips to keyboard these last few weeks. I came on today to post a quick link to a petition and then couldn't resist popping out to see some old friends. Then just when Ii should be in the kitchen and starting to prepare an evening meal I peeked at my Stats counter. I felt awful when I saw that a few loyal blog friends had continued to pop in to see what if any news from me and there was none.

I am out - again - tomorrow but hope to catch up with blogging over the weekend. To tell you why I've been so short on time. Meanwhile please accept my apologies.

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