Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Before I came home we had another panic when Grandson was in the bath - lots of red spots appeared on his upper body and Daughter decided we had better take him to the Doctor. So we did: him in his pyjamas, dressing gown and slippers, Daughter wrapped in a rug, and me trying not to have hysterics. In the end it wasn't too serious - we came back with cream for the spots and some special Calpol. He had a slight temperature, the spots of course, and the Doc. could hear a slight wheeze on his chest. If he is sickening for something, it should appear in the next couple of days. And then of course he has his Grommits operation next Monday! Anything else? I drove home at about 7pm, feeling shattered, and could hardly get out of bed this morning. No surprise there!
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and I'm sorry that I wasn't around to join in all the Christmas Blogging. We did have a lovely time: Son, Daughter, the Boyfriend and Grandson were all staying here. We all enjoyed our presents, food and bubbly, and went for a walk by the sea in glorious sunshine on Boxing Day. I had my fireplaces sorted the week before, so we had lovely log fires to sit by and it was very cosy indeed.
At the end of his very first term at Big School, Grandson appeared in his first Nativity Play as the King who brings Gold! He looked wonderful in his costume and crown, and said his words perfectly: "I have got Gold." And then he turned to the audience and gave a triumphant thumbs up! It was a delight to behold, and we felt very proud. Come to think of it, that was one of the best moments of our Christmas.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
On Thursday morning I went into the en-suite bathroom that the Wee Git was using (as a favour and a privilege, since it is attached to the double bedroom and he was in the single bedroom) and noticed at once that a large crack had appeared on the base of the toilet. I examined it closely, and saw that the crack had come from an impact point just above it (where the outside of the toilet bowl curves out) and had spread down to the floor. Quite some damage, and probably unfixable, though it hasn't yet affected the toilet bowl, and isn't leaking. I wasn't best pleased, because that bathroom is (was) perfect, and immediately went downstairs and 'phoned the Language School to speak to the woman in charge of Host Families. I told her what I had found, and that I wasn't at all happy. She suggested that I should talk to the Wee Git about it when he came in. I went back upstairs and looked around for the piece of porcelain which had been chipped off - no sign - so I eventually emptied the small waste bin onto the carpet and there, nestling at the bottom, was the missing chip. It fitted perfectly. I now had a piece of evidence to the effect that whoever had done the damage had obviously decided to hide the evidence! I replaced all the rest of the rubbish in the bin and (luckily) kept the white chip in a safe place. I 'phoned back to the School and gave them the latest info. I had already called my plumber, only to be told that to supply and fix a new toilet (and remove the old one) would probably cost about £300. I was bloody furious by this time, and decided to go out and clear my head a bit.
When I came home, the Wee Git was already back from School, I asked him if he knew anything about the broken toilet. I was calm and perfectly polite. He denied all knowledge, and first of all said that it had been done when he arrived. Absolutely not. I knew this because I always clean the bathrooms to within an inch of their lives when I have guests or students. Then he said "Perhaps your Daughter?". That was as far as he got. Next " Perhaps your Friend?" I was livid that he should immediately seek to blame someone else. I told him that I was absolutely sure that it hadn't been cracked before HIS Friend stayed for one night a couple of weeks ago. He still denied all knowledge. Next I went to show him the contents of the bin - only to find, to my astonishment that he had emptied it!! This was the first time in 9 weeks that he had done any such thing! I asked him why he had done it and he blustered that surely I wanted him to empty it since he was going next week (?). I then showed him the perfectly-fitting chip which I had happily saved. He looked pale, but still denied all knowledge. I refused to speak to him for the rest of the evening, and over breakfast next day, told him that the woman from the School was coming to examine the damage. I could go on indefinitely, but suffice it to say that for two days he denied what was perfectly obvious, until I had had enough. And the opinion from the School was that he had pretty obviously done it, or knew how it had been done, and just wasn't telling. He kept on changing his story, and yet insisted that he was telling the truth. I won't bore you with all the details and the conversations, but in the end, yesterday, I'd had enough, and told him to go. He cried. And then, finally, offered to pay for the damage. I told the loathsome little creep that it was too late for that. He couldn't believe that I was actually throwing him out. He went off to spend the weekend in a Student House. This Student House is crowded, grubby, and he will have to cook for himself. He will also have to share a bathroom. He will hate it and, who knows, it may teach him something. Goodbye and good riddance. It will cost me probably £300 to fix the bathroom, and I'll lose this week's rent. I don't care - some things are more important than money. The End.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
So now I need more suggestions. How on earth do I get hold of the crutchless knickers without getting into a really embarrassing situation? In fact, where do I find them? It's rather a long time since I was out there, if you know what I mean, and I'm not telling you how long it is since I last had sex. This is turning into a rather more complicated exercise than I had imagined. That Wee Git has a lot to answer for...
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Anyway, he'll be gone in two weeks, and I have to think of a parting comment when he does go. Perhaps we could have a little competition? Please help me to think up something really good to say when he's leaving. So far, my best thought is "I wish I could say it's been a pleasure having you here." I'm sure you'll have some much better suggestions. Bear in mind that his English isn't very good, and hasn't really improved, because of his steadfast refusal to either take a job or go out and talk to any real English people (we're lower-class and all that). Help me, please. I feel that after my 10 weeks of endurance, I need to have the last word.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
12.15. It all looked fine. The train arrived on time and I climbed aboard. Five minutes later, when the train hadn't moved, we passengers began to wonder why. There came an announcement to the effect that the train could not proceed to London and would have to go back to Littlehampton (where it came from in the first place) and then approach London on a different line, through the Arun Valley. There didn't seem to be any choice, so we sat as the train trundled towards Littlehampton. This took about half an hour, and then it sat. And sat. Then we had another announcement. "There has been a fatality on the line in the Burgess Hill area. All services will now be diverted and delayed." Shock. Relief. At least we knew what was happening. I spotted a woman who was obviously deaf, and was desperately trying to find out what was happening. (The announcements were no use to her, and the destinations on the in-train display hadn't changed.) I gathered that she was going to Gatwick, so assured her that we were all in the same boat (or train), and hoped to get there, or thereabouts, shortly. Next we had to change trains, and trundled back, past Arundel, on the other line. All this had taken about two hours so far. Our next stop was Three Bridges (unscheduled of course), where we were told that the train would now go direct to Victoria without stopping. This meant hopping off and making for the opposite side of the platform for another train which would take me to East Croydon. As I stood there, I looked back and saw that the deaf woman was still sitting, all unaware, in the previous train. I nipped back across the platform and knocked on the train window, mouthing "You Gatwick" and motioning her to get to the door. Sadly, as soon as she moved, so did the train. I didn't have a chance to get the door open, and had to watch her being carried away on the fast train to Victoria! Back on my train, which stopped at every stop, we finally reached East Croydon, where I had to catch a tram to West Croydon. Daughter had told me it was easy, but she hadn't told me what to expect in Croydon. It's HUGE, and very confusing. It's also like being in an African country - not sure which one - because there were very few white, or even white-ish faces. After I jumped on the wrong tram twice, and jumped off again, I was pointed in the right direction and managed to find West Croydon. It was now 3.15 pm and I had been travelling for three hours. It was also freezing cold and trying to snow.
At West Croydon Station, I walked into what I first thought was a Police/Terrorist scenario. There were at least six Policemen wearing what I assumed to be "Flak Jackets" ( bright yellow and padded), and they seemed to be armed! There was also what looked like a portable detector (the kind you have to go through in Airports) with flashing lights and obviously at the ready for any incident! It was rather like a weird and very different Christmas display!
I had been expecting the Lidl store to be opposite the station, but it clearly wasn't. So I approached one of the Policemen (my Mum always told me to ask a Policeman) and asked him if he knew where Lidl was. He looked rather surprised, but was very pleasant and called another young Policeman over. Between them they pointed me in the right direction - another half mile walk against a freezing wind - and there it was. The Holy Grail. Lidl. And the Ski Watches which I had been told would be waiting for me. The Manager of Lidl was lovely - very polite and kind. In fact everyone I encountered was just the same. But I did have the feeling that I was in a foreign land - not an unpleasant foreign land by any means, but nevertheless, very foreign.
I scuttled back up the freezing street with my booty, waving my Lidl bag at the two Policemen as I passed. (Which could have been a really wrong move, come to think of it.) And headed for the sanctuary of Marks and Spencer, which I had spotted on the way down. Oh Bliss. A cup of tea and a turkey sandwich before the trek back home. I phoned my Aristocratic BF from M & S (since I had embarked on this Odyssey mainly for her benefit) and giggled hysterically as I told her what had happened. Then I embarked on the return journey. I was pointed in several wrong directions, but finally found a bus going the right way, and then a train at East Croydon. On the way back the train stopped at every station again (I guess they were still trying to catch up on the day's disasters and delays). And the quickest part of my journey was the one-stop train from Brighton to Hove. Home at 7pm - just in time to cook supper for The Wee Git, Oh Joy - and after 7 hours of travelling (if you can call it that).
Actually, I'm not complaining - at least I was sitting warm and safe on a train for most of the time. And I lived to tell the tale, which sadly was not the case for one unfortunate person that day. I do wonder what happened to my deaf lady (not that she was mine, but you know what I mean), and hope she finally got to Gatwick in one piece, if rather late. It's a complete mystery, but perhaps we were all meant to be sitting on that train for three hours, in a kind of limbo! Who knows what might have befallen us otherwise?
Monday, November 17, 2008
No. 2 for the WaterPistol was Daughter, who had to go last Tuesday to have another biopsy procedure for more pre-cancerous cells. These showed up in her Smear Test a year ago, for which she had a Colposcopy, and have now reappeared. I'm worried about this, of course, but she is taking it in her stride. And at least they are on to it quickly (within two weeks of her test). They have taken samples from three areas apparently, and she will have the results in about two weeks. In the meantime it's the same routine: no lifting, no sex and no-one smoking around her, and she has to rest. I had Grandson here for the weekend so that she could take it easy, and she did look better when she came to collect him yesterday. Of course she is working more or less full time now, so resting isn't quite as easy as it was last year. She does finish work early on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so I'm hoping that will be enough.
No 3 is my Sister, who is having investigations into some white stuff which has appeared under her skin near the joints of her fingers. Strange, but these white "strings" (they may be called nodules) sort of move under the surface - not while you're looking apparently- and aren't painful all the time, but can be when they are very close to the joints. They could be precursors to rheumatism or arthritis, She is waiting for the results of blood tests too. All in all, that's plenty to be going on with, I feel.
On a more cheerful note, Christmas is coming! It looks as if we will have all the usual suspects here again this year - Son and maybe a few of his friends, plus Daughter, Grandson and the Boyfriend. Plus anyone else who fancies turning up - I like to have lots of people around to help eat all the food and drink all the drink. I haven't started Christmas Shopping yet - that joy is yet to come, but I did go into John Lewis in Oxford Street last week (I went up to have lunch with Son and tea with Sister) and their Christmas stuff does look very tempting.I expect I'll go back again when I've written my Christmas List.
Like India Knight, who writes in the Sunday Times, I've been avoiding the news and the papers for a week now because I can't bear to hear or read about poor little Baby P. I feel I should be apologizing for all humanity that tragedies like these should happen at all. That little innocent didn't have a life, or any love, in his all-too-brief existence. Nor did he have a chance in this procedure-ridden society. Why someone didn't just walk into that house and remove him, I simply can't understand. Those who killed that little boy will surely go to Hell - if there is such a place. I'm not religious at all, but in this instance I sincerely hope that there is a Hell. Perhaps the most frightening statistic that came out of this was that, on average, two children are killed every week by their parents, family or step-parents. This is too horrible for me to contemplate. WHY? HOW? Is there no way we can protect these children? Save the Children? the NSPCC?
Children in Need? It's obviously not about money - just look at the amazing amount raised last week by Terry Wogan and the Children in Need Appeal. But WHY can't it prevent this terrible, terrible situation? I don't have the answers. But I carry the guilt - as we all must to some degree. Surely there must be something we can do to save our children?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
7 Things I plan to do before I die:
Go to Vancouver - I once read a book about it and have wanted to go ever since.
See my Children happy and settled.
Get something published.
Visit my old friend in Sydney - though I'm not keen on 24hr flights.
Live in a house with a verandah.
See the Egyptian Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings.
Win the Lottery (shallow I know, but I could make so many people happy).
7 things I do now:
Eat too much, worry too much, count the pennies, cook every day, walk by the sea, sit up late Blogging, talk for hours on the phone.
7 things I can't do:
Ignore a crying child.
Drink whisky (because my Father was an alcoholic).
Eat jellied eels (ugh).
Run like I used to.
Stay up all night dancing (as I used to).
Drink coffee after lunch (it keeps me awake all night).
7 things that attract me to the oppposite sex: Well, if I can remember,
Nice hands, intelligence and wit, a love of music, generosity, a nice smile, a good body (of course) and a sense of style.
7 things I say most often:
"Bugger", "Oops, sorry", "Lots of love, Darling", "What do I know", "How's my precious boy?", "I'd love to" and " Night, Night, Sleep Tight"7 Celebrities I admire: this is hard because I'm not much into celebrities.
Bette Midler (wonderful voice and sense of humour),
Twiggy (she's a survivor),
Biba (the original fashion queen of my youth),
Steve McQueen (he was so gorgeous),
The Beatles (my all-time favourite band),
David Beckham (great footballer, and I love football)
Katharine Hepburn (style incorporated).
7 favourite foods:
Fish and Chips,
Rabbit cooked with prunes,
Roasted Parsnip soup with Garlic Bread,
Toffee Ice Cream,
7 Bloggers who need to do this Meme: this is hard too, because lots of you have done it already, but here goes.. Dem Bones, Dem Bones: Dusty Spider: Family Affairs (though she may have done it): Made in Heaven (sorry Donna): Retired and Crazy: The Dotterel: Tea and Cake..
Of course, anyone who wants to do this one is welcome to take it on - come on you lot, we all want to know more about you. And if you don't want to do it, that's fine too. This is a Democracy.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Why do we still have Wars? It's the eternal question. I don't have an answer, and I don't believe that any answer is really good enough. Perhaps there will come a day when the world has had enough of killing. Perhaps..
Friday, November 7, 2008
I somehow managed to get myself into an emotional two-and-eight today because I was looking at some old family photographs. When Daughter was living here with Grandson, a few years ago, she decided to put all my old photos into albums, and the result was wonderful. Instead of putting them in chronological order, she stuck them in, in a random order which makes them far more interesting and poignant somehow. So we have photos of my childrens' Birthdays next to pics of Grandson at six months, and then photos of my two as Teenagers or on family holidays. I came to a picture of Son, a friend of Daughter's, and Me, which was taken at Christmas in Cambridge about 7 years ago. I had forgotten this picture, but not the time. Son, who was in his final year at Uni, had been going through a particularly awful patch, with the break-up of his relationship with KT, Hon grandaughter's Mum. He was very depressed, she had treated him very badly (to say the least), and I was really fearful for him. Looking at this photo, in which he looks terrible - almost haunted - and I'm trying to smile and be cheerful, made me feel heartsick. I know we got through it and have come out the other side stronger and probably better, but oh, it was painful torture. Love hurts, that's for sure, and just looking at that photo brought such a surge of protective love for Son, combined with the pain I remember when I couldn't seem to make things right for him. I could have done without that memory today, but perhaps I needed it for some reason.
Ah well, time for bed. Sweet dreams to you all.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
On a sunnier note, I forgot to tell you that last Monday evening I went with a BBF to see and hear Candace Bushnell talking about her new novel "One Fifth Avenue". The evening was hosted by City Books, and it was great fun. Candace Bushnell (of "Sex and the City" fame) is 49 and looks about 30 - she is very thin and groomed, as one would expect of a celebrity New Yorker in her income bracket. She was dressed in (probably) an Armani little black dress, with impossibly high heels and carried a gorgeous Designer leopard bag to die for. We were both completely bowled over by her - she talked about her life, her writing and her characters, and kept the audience spellbound for nearly an hour. Lots of people asked questions, and she then sat and signed copies of her book for anyone who had bought one. I couldn't keep my eyes off that handbag - as BBF said, it probably cost around £800 at the very least. And her face (again BBF noticed that her forehead didn't move, but who cares?). And her giant diamond hoop earrings. And her perfect swooping fall of blonde hair. Not bad for a very bright and talented broad who's going on 50.
PS. I have invited Gay Friend for supper tonight. I may not have mentioned it, but he collects Vintage and Antique clothes, and has a huge collection, mostly in store, which he hires or loans out. He obviously visits all the local Charity and Vintage Shops on a weekly basis, and knows all the Managers personally. I am looking forward to this - sparks will fly I hope. Keep you posted.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Half Term week for Grandson, and he went to a Football Course run by Chelsea (we'll overlook the fact that it wasn't run by the Spurs) at Daughter's local Sports Centre in Dorking. This was for children in Reception and Year 1 (4 and 5 year olds) and they did some training and then played 5-a-Side games. Grandson was apparently a star, scoring three goals on Monday and 4 on Tuesday. He came away with a medal and a certificate, and had a great time. Brilliant.
On Wednesday I went to collect him because Daughter was working an extra day. I was glad I did the journey, because the roads had been very icy early on, and when I got close to Dorking there was thick snow everywhere. Rather me than her, because I think it can be tricky to cope with icy roads when you are an inexperienced driver. Anyway, we had a good journey back, stopping for a muddy walk at the Windmills, and just chilled out for the next couple of days. We walked by the sea in a freezing wind yesterday, and gathered shells, seaweed and driftwood for his Half Term Nature Table. Good fun, but it was even better to snuggle up indoors in the warm.
Talking of chilling, this evening Mr Picky came downstairs for supper in his usual tracksuit, and told me that it was very cold in his room. I was surprised, because he is in my lovely, cosy single bedroom, which is actually the warmest room in the house (if you don't count the toilet). When I enquired further, he told me that his radiator was cold, and had never been hot! Never. I raced upstairs to check it, and, sure enough, it was stone cold! How I don't know, because I never turn any of the radiators off - perhaps someone else had done it? Anyway, I fiddled with the valves and turned up the thermostat, and sure enough it came on. I came back down and assured him that it was now hot - but I did wonder why he hadn't mentioned it in four weeks! It's a mystery.
I felt very sheepish, and said how sorry I was - let's hope he will now be snug as a bug in a rug.
Grandson and Daughter pootled off home this afternoon, with their pumpkins and their costumes for Hallowe'en. So at 5 o'clock I settled down in front of a rubbish film on TV, with a pot of tea and a toasted crumpet, and I thought to myself "It doesn't get much better than this." I had some sweeties at the ready in case I was asked to "Trick or Treat", but no. All was quiet.
No ghouls or ghosties here.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Before that mishap, the weekend had been pretty-well perfect. It started early, on Thursday afternoon, when I collected Grandson and brought him back here because he had no school on Friday (and Daughter was working again). We had a very lazy morning on Friday, and then went for a very muddy walk up to the Windmills. On Friday evening I had two parties to go to; the first was at the Foreign Language School which supplies most of my Students. They were having an official opening Party for their new building, which was very smart. There was delicious party food and pink bubbly and I chatted to a few interesting people. Then I whisked off to a Private View down at the beach, where there was more bubbly and some very tempting prints - sadly too expensive for me at the moment. As Daughter was staying here (she came down after work) I didn't have to worry about feeding my Student, and she sat with Hon Grandaughter and Grandson while I enjoyed myself. When I came back, she went off to meet some Brighton friends for the evening, so it all worked out perfectly.
On Saturday morning, after feeding my student, we all tootled off to feed the Donkeys and then had a spot of lunch before delivering Hon Grandaughter back to her Mum for a bit of shopping. Thankfully, as I said, Daughter was feeling so relaxed that she decided to stay another night with Grandson. If she hadn't been here, I might well have cried!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
My lovely boy leaving for Big School.
With his "partner in crime", Thomas.
Keeping the crowd amused.
Monday, October 20, 2008
There you are - Grandson helping me in the garden, my little pond (home to Mrs Frog and the Tadpoles), another view of the garden with seat and semi-naked Greek lady statue, and a sparkly sea picture, with a white-sailed yacht taking centre stage. This is where I walk most days. "Perfick", as Pop Larkin would say.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
I seem to have become a weekly Blogger instead of a daily one. It's not intentional, but when I sit down at the computer, I feel so guilty about not having kept up with all my Blogging Friends that I spend all the available time reading and commenting. I'll just have to find a couple of extra hours to add on to the regular 24.
Last week was so busy too. After my two days of Grandson collecting on Monday and Tuesday, I had lots to catch up on at home, but boring things like paying bills and listening to the ever-gloomy news on the radio. As Terry Wogan (my Oracle) said "Why don't they just stop talking about it." I agree, this whole financial panic is self-perpetuating. The more we all rush headlong towards the cliffs, the more lemmings will follow. I for one am counting my blessings (yawn) and keeping my head down. Oh, and shopping at Lidl, where I saved a fortune on Friday!
Thursday I went to London, again, and was planning to drop in to Son's office to collect the Birthday scarf he didn't like ("I don 't think I'll ever wear it, Mum."), return it to John Lewis, and then have a bit of lunch with Sister who has been having a very worrying time lately. Just as I was walking from Oxford Circus to Berwick Street I had a text message from Sister to say that she couldn't make lunch as she had to take her Son to Hospital. Such a shame, but perfectly understandable. So I popped into Son's office, picked up the offending scarf plus a present for me, from one of his girl friends, (which also turned out to be a scarf), and then went in search of a cup of coffee. Even seeing Son for five minutes was fine - especially since he looked very well, very busy and pretty happy. That's alright then. I then spent the whole day walking round shops, looking at clothes, chandeliers etc. (I fancy some new chandeliers for Chateau Margot). I bought a card plus a gift voucher for our lovely Bank Manager who got married recently. Then I bought some food and water in the Food Hall and sat in the sun in the park behind J.Lewis with my picnic. More walking, more window shopping and a couple of hours later I was completely pooped. My little legs couldn't take any more, so I flopped down in the train and snoozed all the way back to Hove.
Friday was shopping at Lidl day - and Saturday I drove to see one of my oldest BFs who has returned from living in Cornwall and has moved back into her house in Chertsey. I'm delighted to have her back within easy reach again - Cornwall is just too far for regular visits. It was a glorious day, and Daughter and Grandson came over too. We met up at my BF's house and talked non-stop. Grandson and I played footie in her garden, and then we all had bsgetti and worms for lunch. Perfect. My Swiss Student left on Saturday too - it was sad to see him go. He is a lovely young man, only 17, but with nice manners and a charming and cheerful outlook on life. I think he enjoyed his stay with me. I got the "three-kiss" continental farewell and a promise to exchange e-mails. Wery nice...
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The old mattress went down the stairs like a rocket, I just pointed it downwards and hoped it didn't smash into anything on the way down. The Council came and took it away on Friday morning, and I let it go without a backward glance. It took a lot of history with it, and I'm absolutely ready for new beginnings. I've reclaimed my bedroom, and there's nothing in it that doesn't belong to me. I've got rid of everyone else's rubbish and I just love the look and feel of my own space. I've re-hung the pictures and I'm going to buy sheepskin rugs to snuggle my toes in when I slide out of bed in the mornings! What Larks...
I have two Foreign Students now. The second one arrived last Friday and is a completely different kettle of fish from my Swiss boy. He is from Cyprus and says he is 25. If this is true, I'm a monkey's uncle (as my Mum used to say). He is small (about my height) with receding black curly hair, and he wears nail varnish! He is also extremely picky. He hadn't been in the house five minutes before he was asking for another towel (he already had two), more blankets for his bed (ditto) and was complaining about being cold. Of course he has been used to temperatures of 30 degrees or so (lucky man) and that was why I'd given him two extra blankets already. Anyway, he has started the way he means to go on, and finds something new to request every day. As he is planning to be with me for 12 weeks, this could be tricky. This morning it was warm milk for his cereal and coffee (perfectly reasonable) and this evening it was tea after dinner (again, not unreasonable). But it seems that everything I do isn't quite enough. I have a plan though - I'm going to introduce him to my Gay Friend. I think it could be a match made in heaven.
Yesterday and today I picked up Grandson from School. Foul weather and pouring with rain today, so we retreated indoors and had a cosy time playing with his wooden railway track. He is tired though, and really doesn't want to do more than chill out after a day of reading, singing and eating lunch. Today, apparently, he was on the School Computer. Tomorrow, he'll probably be showing me how to do it. When Daughter arrived home, she looked tired too. She seems to be doing extra days every week. I couldn't stop to chat though, because I had to rush back to cook for my two Students. Tonight it was homemade soup with pitta bread (he asked for more, so that's a compliment) followed by chilli con carne, baked potatoes and steamed broccoli. No dessert because I didn't have the time to make any. Come to think of it, that's probably why he asked for a cup of tea.
Dear old Terry Wogan, he plays some good stuff. I'd forgotten about Clifford T Ward and that old song he sang: "I could be a Millionaire.. If I had the money!" My sentiments exactly..
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Buying the mattress is progressing. Today I went on a mattress hunt while the last coat of floor paint was drying. I overcame my embarrassment and managed to lie down on several very smart mattresses. I made one salesman laugh when I confessed that my current mattress is 30 years old, and therefore older than him. Ugh! I dread to think how many generations of dead dust mites are piled up in that mattress. It's not going back on my bed, even if I have to lie on the (newly painted, beautiful white) floor. I've discovered that the local Council will take my old mattress away for a measly £8.60. Cheap at the price. Tomorrow I start on touching-up the walls, painting the skirting boards and moving everything back into my bedroom. If I can manage to make a decision on the mattress, I could have it delivered (free) on Thursday. And as my new Student is arriving sometime on Friday, I'd better get a move on.
I have been relieved of my Grandmotherly duties this week because of having so much to do here. I miss the little tyke though. Today being Tuesday, it felt rather odd not to be driving to Dorking to pick him up. (The Boyfriend took today off, and was going to collect Grandson from school this afternoon.) I did telephone to say hello at tea-time, but he wasn't really interested. He was watching something riveting on TV, so all I got was a "Hello Nana" and a kiss down the phone. Never mind, I'll take whatever scraps I can get.
I had a phone call from Daughter this evening. She had been out for a meal with some of the girls from the office, and was driving home, talking to me on her new hands-free phone. Today she had also had a conversation with one of the Managers at work, who was asking if she would consider taking on a Senior Administrator's job. They have been so pleased with the way she has handled the travel section over the last ten days, that they are moving her up! Already. Not that I'm surprised - I know how smart she is, and I'm so proud of her.
My new Foreign Student is another very nice young man. He arrived on Sunday afternoon from Switzerland. His english is pretty good, and he is very together considering that he is only 17 years old. Yesterday was his first day, and I started it badly by oversleeping for the very first time since I have been taking students. For some reason my alarm didn't go off, and I woke with a start at 8.10am. As breakfast is at 8, I was late. Bless him, he had eaten his cereal, without milk, and was very gracious about my lapse. I hastily gave him orange juice and made fresh coffee and toast. Oh dear. It wasn't a good start, but he laughed about it, and went off very cheerfully. I put a new battery in my clock and managed to make it on time this morning. Phew..
Friday, September 26, 2008
Daughter, the Boyfriend (and Grandson) helped me move the furniture on Sunday, so that I was ready for Monday morning. Promptly at 9am, the lovely Guy arrived to cut up and dispose of the said carpet. He then proceeded to sand, repair and fill gaps in the floorboards, and finally painted them with special floor paint. A lovely off-white colour. It looks gorgeous - a sort of cross between a beach hut and a New England house. The only problem was that as soon as we started putting furniture back, everything else looked tatty. Hence the reason why I have spent today painting. I have done the chest of drawers, the base of the Rocking Horse, and all the skirtings. And I have washed and re-hung the blue and white striped curtains. And rehung the pictures, which I've decided can only be sea-themes. So we have sea horses, painted beach huts, a collection of shells and miniature boats and a lovely beach scene. My hands are a total mess, but it all looks great. Well worth doing.
It took 3 days to do the first room, including an impromptu decision give the walls a fresh coat of white emulsion because they looked so awful when the floor had been done. And now we are at Friday, with me sleeping in the spare room, and the floorboards in my bedroom undergoing the same treatment. All well and good, but I have a Student arriving on Sunday, so all the stuff which was dumped in the single room has to be moved in with me tomorrow. Never mind, it will be wonderful when it's finished.
I have also decided to buy a new mattress for my bed, which is long overdue. When I was talking to the lovely girl at Mattressman (where else?) she asked how old my current mattress was. I was reluctant to admit to it, but did say that Son was 29 and my mattress was about the same age (actually I'm ashamed to admit that it's even older). She laughed and said that any mattress I buy now will be manufactured quite differently from the old one, and that I should go and try some mattresses before deciding on anything. She was very nice, and that does seem reasonable, but I'm reluctant to go into a bed shop and lie down, as she suggested. I have to decide soon, as I know that if I wait until my room is finished and the bed reassembled, I just won't do it. I have a lovely old oak bed, and when the floor is painted (and everything else I expect) the room will look wonderful. I know what you're thinking, photos are needed, and I promise to get my act together.
One of the reasons why I have been such a dilatory Blogger of late (beside the aforementioned activity) is that I decided, a month ago, to enter a Short Story Competition. I didn't want to talk about it beforehand, as I often find that if I talk about things I just don't do them. This time I was determined to actually get on with it, and I have been writing, editing, re-writing and generally agonising over it for the last four weeks. I gave myself a deadline (in fact the actual competition deadline is 30th September), and I stuck to it. I have been structuring my day so that I walk, shower, breakfast and then write. And it did work - I've posted my entry, and somehow it doesn't matter in the least what the result is - or isn't. The fact is that I've done it, and I'm going to do it again. Next month I'm going to find another competition to enter. It's all very well me calling myself a writer, but actually it's time to JFDI.
Last weekend with Grandson was just lovely, and we were very lucky with the weather. On Saturday we walked along by the sea to the playground, and spent a lively few hours there with a picnic. Then on Sunday morning we met up with Daughter and the Boyfriend at the Car Boot Sale, where I found a new copy of "The Tiger who Came to Tea" for Grandson. We came back here and moved furniture, and then went off to the Jack and Jill Windmills for the last time this year. It was the perfect afternoon, with a blue sky and a brisk breeze. I'm perfectly happy just sitting there in the sunshine with a cup of tea, watching the sails go round - it's quite magical.
Friday, September 19, 2008
The weather is lovely here - a real Indian Summer. When I walked by the sea today it wasn't sunny to begin with, but there wasn't a breath of wind and the sea was flat and calm, with the soft sheen of a blue pearl. As I turned for home, Worthing Pier was quite clear, and the sun came out and turned the sea a darker blue. Gorgeous. There was a lone fisherman on the shore, and a lone swimmer breaking the surface of the sea with regular strokes. Wish you were here..
Must go, as I have to collect Grandson from school this afternoon. He is coming back with me for the weekend, so that Daughter and the Boyfriend can have some time to themselves. At least that's my excuse. I'm sure we will have a lovely time together, just chillin'...
PS. Another apology - to Dusty Spider and to Maggie May - thank you for visiting and commenting earlier. I did get your comments, but Blogger has since whisked both you and my Post away into the ether - vanished without trace. So if you're reading this strangely altered post for the second time - and wondering where your comments have gone - sorry, but I haven't a clue!
Monday, September 15, 2008
I'm sorry that another week has passed without any news (I nearly wrote "newts" - how appropriate) from me - it's just that I seem to be very busy, and then in the evenings I sink down and can't be arsed to get up again. Sorry. Last week I picked up Grandson from school on Tuesday, and could see that he is getting used to the discipline. He spotted me waiting, but stood behind the line with his Teacher until it was his turn to move. In the meantime, he called out and blew me a kiss, just in case I hadn't seen him. What a sweetie. We went home and sat with tea and cakes, played a few games and generally chilled out until Daughter came home from work. It's going to be my regular day for the time being, so I will be off again to meet him tomorrow. We had a bit of an upset at the weekend though, which I really should have seen coming. It had been Grandson's first full week at school (5 days of 8.45am to 3.10pm) and Daughter had ended up working four days too. Neither of them had done this before, and come Saturday they were both tired and tetchy. When I spoke to Daughter in the early evening she was very tetchy indeed, and let me have it when I defended Grandson. I tried to be reasonable, but couldn't get a word in. In the end she put Grandson on the phone and he said "It's not my fault Nana, it's Mummy. She won't listen to me." Well, what would you do? I knew it would be my fault, so I just rolled over. Of course I always defend him - he's only little. And has there ever been a child who would admit to being tired? Finally, she hung up on me in a temper, but luckily I was just going out for dinner with a friend and so I didn't sit here stewing about it. Later she phoned and left me a long apologetic message, saying that they had sorted it out and he had gone to bed after a cuddle and a story. Never mind, I've got broad shoulders. And anyway, a Mother's place....
We had a lovely weekend, weatherwise, so I walked beside the sea a couple of times (sorry Aims, just clean forgot my camera!) and spent several hours in the garden, doing an Autumn clearout. I also attacked the pond, because my water Irises have just got out of control. I dug out quite a few big roots, and at one point disturbed a large frog. We just looked at each other for a couple of minutes, and then it swam off to the other end of the pond. I was very pleased to see it, but couldn't find any of the babies. I do hope that they are OK. Hon. Grandaughter was here on Friday night and Saturday morning, which was lovely because I hadn't seen her since July. She was trying to spot the frogs, and her fish, but the duckweed was just too thick. It's her 10th Birthday next Sunday, and when I asked her what she wanted she said that she only wants either a Pony or a Cat. I have to say, she won't be getting either, but I wonder if I can think of a creative way of making her wish come true?
Speaking of Birthdays, Son will be 29 tomorrow. Another year has sped past, and when I think back to this time last year, things have really improved for all of us, but particularly for him - not that I like to tempt Fate. He phoned me on Saturday night from Ireland, where he was attending an Awards Ceremony for another part of the Music Industry, He sounded pretty drunk (why else would he phone his Mum?) and told me a long story about having gone up on stage to collect an Award for someone who wasn't there. Apparently he was then thrown out (!!) but came back to do his DJ set. And great fun was had by all. Did I say he's 29 tomorrow? Am I sure?
The other lovely thing that happened last week was that I went up to London on Thursday, spent a few hours looking around the shops at gorgeous clothes I can't afford, and then met up with Son to go to a private club in Soho. It was very smart and exclusive, and we sat in the top floor bar (which is a Roof Garden in Summer) drinking spritzers, listening to new live Artists for Son's work, and eating the most delicious food. (I had wonderful queen scallops with a very delicate saffron risotto.) Altogether a great evening. When I was on the train home, I sent Son a text saying how much I had enjoyed the evening, and he sent one back saying we should do it more often. Lucky me...
Monday, September 8, 2008
On Sunday I tried to find a Car Boot Sale, but had no luck there either. Although it wasn't raining on Sunday, it hadn't stopped for the previous few days, so all the fields were water-logged. I ended up at a Garden Centre sitting with a cup of lovely coffee and reading Harpers and Queen. At this time of year I'm more interested in clothes, as Autumn is coming on, and I saw some great looks in Harpers. Armani had some lovely black with leopard print stuff, and TOD had an advertisement with Gwyneth Paltrow looking lovely in caramel and beige cashmere and leather. I'm pretty sure I can't afford those things (and let's face it, I don't look anything like Gwynnie), but at least I know the look I'm aiming for. Bling jewellry seems to be the thing now too, so I'm delighted to have my "diamond" bling watch with the white leather strap. I saw a couple of versions of this in Harpers, but they were Designer jobs and cost around £3,000. Mine, bought on Bid TV, was a lot less, but still looks the part!
I walked down by the sea this morning, the first time for a while, and though it wasn't exactly warm and sunny, it was great to be out in the fresh air. I passed a house which I like very much, which sits on a corner overlooking the sea, and which has recently sold for £3million. My Gay Friend, who came for supper last night, told me that it has been bought by Denise Van Outen as a seaside retreat. It has wonderful views in both directions along the sea shore, but no garden. It does have a couple of large balconies, and is just a hop, skip and a jump to the beach, so perhaps she won't mind the lack of garden.
After our roast chicken last night, GF and I watched a programme about The Who, which I really enjoyed. I didn't much like their music in the 70s, except for Tommy the Opera, which I thought was quite wonderful. Fascinating, though, to see it all in retrospect. It is another piece of social history. Sadly, only two of them are left alive now, since Keith Moon and John Entwistle died. (Though hearing about how they all lived and what junk they were taking made you wonder how any of them were still alive.) Just like the Beatles I suppose. In Harpers and Queen there were pictures of Paul and Ringo at some posh Fundraiser or other. They looked healthy and happy, with their respective families. It's a miracle really that any of them have survived.
One of my BBFs said her Daughter went to a very posh party at the weekend, and saw Mick Jagger there. Apparently he now looks like a very old man. Not good. But at least he's still alive.
A Brilliant Post Script: Daughter passed her Driving Test (first time) on Saturday. Very exciting and very well deserved. Now she will be able to drive to and from work, and do the School Run (for the next 15 years!!). Ah well, progress...
Friday, September 5, 2008
This morning Terry Wogan was bidding us farewell again for a couple of weeks. I don't begrudge him his holidays, but I really don't look forward to his absences. I'll just have to put up with it I supppose. It's not quite so bad since I have discovered Radio 7, which has lots of plays and stories on most of the day. It's not a bad substitute. This morning Sir Tel played Bing Crosby singing "True Love" from the old film of "High Society" - and he said that it was one of his favourites. Me too. It's one film I haven't got on video, so I'll have to look out for it at the next Car Boot Sale. Great music and great stars: Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Satchmo, Bing Crosby and loads more whose names I can't recall.
I'm feeling very well now, but still have masses of stuff to catch up with - it's such a waste of time being ill. Today I have been doing boring things like paying bills and making phone calls that should have been done weeks ago. I did notice that when I didn't respond to a request from the electricity company to send a meter reading, they simply sent me an estimated bill instead. I guess they don't want to miss a chance to get their money in. (And for once, their estimate is actually more than I owe!) I heard on the news today that Golden Brown is covering himself with the opposite of glory, in his mis-handling of the proposed fuel payment to families! How can this Government keep getting it so wrong? Of course it wouldn't have been a long-term solution to give families a lump sum, but it certainly would have been a great help, and they could have kept working on a solution for next year. That makes sense to me, but not to greedy old Golden and his chums. And as for the half-arsed gesture regarding Stamp Duty, what a croc! As everyone I know is saying "Too little, too late."
Son is coming down from London tomorrow, and we are suppposed to be going to a rather posh Private View at a friend's house in the country. There will be paintings, sculpture and ceramics all displayed in and around their country house, studio and garden - except that in this weather I'm not sure how they will manage it. I spoke to my Artist Friend this morning, and she said that the fields are awash and the garden has been beaten down by the torrential rain. Not sure how many people will brave the weather if it's still like this tomorrow. And it's a shame because there will be masses of champagne and posh party food going to waste. We may have to force ourselves to go, equipped with wellies, macs and umbrellas. All in a good cause...
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Now of course, I've got a lot to catch up with. I haven't visited any of my favourite Blogs, and I expect some of my Blogging buddies will think I've dropped off my perch. Not quite yet. I have listened to a lot of radio and read a lot of books, inbetween sleeping and moaning (with pain I hasten to add, not complaining). One of the interesting things on the radio has been the 1968 "Day by Day" news, which reminds us of what was happening 40 years ago. 1968 really does seem to have been a watershed year. I particularly remembered that on 21st August 1968, when the Russian tanks invaded Czechoslovakia, I went out and bought my first ever copy of The Times, because I wanted to know the truth about what was happening. This seems a trifle naive to me now, but back then I believed that The Times would give me a fair and balanced view of events in Prague. And I believe it did just that. Poor Dubcek - he was, in the commentator's words, "Too nice". He believed and trusted the Russians who, as it turned out, had been planning the invasion for months because they didn't trust Dubcek to get the country "under control". Dubcek was a decent man, and genuinely didn't realize that "Communism with a human face is not possible." It was a tragic misunderstanding, and a dramatic and exciting time for those of us who were observing - but it must have been terrible for all those Czech people who believed that they were about to be freed. The 'with hindsight' view was that it was a "successful invasion, but a political disaster". The 1968 uprising was about Idealism and National Unity, but November 1989 was different - they no longer wanted Socialism with a human face, they simply wanted their Freedom.
Of course, I have a Foreign Student here from the Czech Republic. He is 19 and knows nothing of those days. Even his parents, who are both 43, remember nothing. Yet they are all children of that Revolution, and now live normal, untroubed lives in relative freedom - thanks to all those who suffered and died, who protested and were imprisoned. They know nothing of the people of Prague who had no guns, but who stood in front of the Russian tanks and pleaded with the soldiers to leave them to their hard-won independence. They were truly heroic and I remember still the black and white photos of those people in Prague, dwarfed by the Russian tanks, but not defeated. It was impressive then, and it is still moving now.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
My week of pain was alleviated somewhat by a visit from Grandson. Daughter brought him over on Tuesday because I really wasn't up to driving there to collect him. She had been given an extra day's work on Thursday, so I had him until Thursday evening. On Wednesday we were both quite happy to chill, and anyway it rained non-stop. But on Thursday we ventured out. It was a lovely sunny day and we started with a visit to the Donkeys where we fed them carrots. (Grandson always eats a carrot too, to keep them company - and he always has a Gingerbread Man to follow.) We then went on to the other Garden Centre for lunch, where I managed to force down a gritty and tasteless sausage roll - but the Iced Coffee was such bliss and so cooling that I wanted it to last forever. Before we left home, I had tracked down the local "Jack and Jill" Windmills http://www.jillwindmill.org.uk/, because Grandson adores windmills, and I had been promising him a visit. So after lunch (I use the term lightly) we tootled off to see them. They are really spectacular, and right on the South Downs Way, with wonderful views over the whole area. The Windmills weren't open, so we had to be content with a look from outside, but I promised him we'll go back next weekend (Bank Holiday) when the Jill Windmill will be open. Instead, we went for quite a long walk along the South Downs Way. He was jumping in puddles, spotting butterflies, picking a few wild flowers for his Mum and getting very muddy, very happily.
Later, as we sat watching the Bedtime Hour on CBeebies, Grandson was asking if I would be going home with him. He was very sad when I said no, and replied "I think you should, Nana, because you love me so much." Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings...
Monday, August 11, 2008
I had Grandson here for the weekend, despite having a sore throat and not feeling on my best form. He was quite happy to chill out for the day on Saturday, and as it was (still) raining neither of us felt the urge to do much. He is having busy weeks at Nursery at the moment, and was quite happy to relax indoors. We also had a surprise visit from Son and his Girlfriend in the afternoon. He phoned to say that they had driven down intending to go to a Wedding Party in a field near Lewes! Needless to say, when they got here and saw the weather they changed their minds - they didn't have wellies, raincoats or umbrellas with them. What a shame! I imagine it was a fairly empty field and rather a quiet Wedding Party. Anyway, their loss was our gain because we had a lovely hour of sitting chatting over a cup of tea, and Grandson had a lot of fun being thrown up in the air by Son. Sadly they couldn't stay and decided to drive back to London - in fact there was no room at the Inn, because I had a full house.
Later on Grandson and I went downstairs to my Neighbour's Barbecue, which turned into an Aga-Barbecue because of the rain. We did have a good time right until the end, when Grandson decided to go out into the garden with no shoes on in the pitch black. He walked across the wooden deck and was stung on his foot (I later discovered) and YELLED. I ran to get him and was stung on both feet and YELLED!! God, it was painful. I gathered him up and sprinted for the house, where we landed on the surprised party, making rather a lot of noise. Grandson was crying and I was hopping about in agony. We had been stung by some all-black flying insects (I'm sure I've never seen them before) about an inch and a half long, with thin bodies. Nasty. I was batting them away and so was everyone else in the end. Bloody Panic. Grandson looked at me through his tears and said "Let's go HOME, Nana." So we did. I bathed him (and me) with everything I could think of. Luckily when I put him into bed he was asleep in about 5 minutes. But I lay there for two hours, waiting for the pain in my feet to subside, and listening to Grandson's breathing, with my hand on his chest. Fortunately he didn't have any further reaction, and only woke up once in the night whimpering because of the itching. It certainly took my mind off my sore throat!
PS. I Googled the Flying Insects and think they are "Paper Wasps" which can be black, but are normally found in America, apparently. I'm no expert, but I think my Neighbour has a nest of them under her deck. I won't be setting foot on it again, that's for sure.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Yesterday I ventured up to the Big Smoke again for the day. It was long overdue. I had been promising myself a mooch around Peter Jones again in search of a couple of things. And I was also looking forward to seeing Son and to meeting up with Sister to return a few things she had left here on her last visit. I started with a cup of coffee in Peter Jones, just as it started to pickle down with rain, but sitting in their coffee shop in the sky is a delight, whatever the weather. Then I wandered down through the floors, finding something to love in each department, but sadly no Shower Radios. Years ago darling Daughter bought me a Sea Horse-shaped Shower Radio which fixed to the bathroom tiles by means of a suction cup, and allowed me to listen to either T. Wogan or Womans Hour while in the shower or the bath. Bliss. But it sadly gave up the ghost (or the horse) a while ago, so I really wanted to replace it. And I do love Sea Horses; many years ago, when I was swimming in the Mediterranean off Cannes, I looked down through the clear blue water to see a little Sea Horse swimming cheerfully along in front of me. It was the dearest little thing, and I fell in love on the spot. Since then, anything Sea Horsey just does it for me. (I have to say that that part of the Mediterranean probably isn't the place to see Sea Horses any more - too dirty and polluted.) Anyway, no luck there. And because I was meeting Son for lunch, I didn't have time to take a good look at the Microwave Ovens (mine is ancient and really needs replacing). By this time, it was sheeting down with rain, and my sparkly 5 Euro pumps were soaking wet and about to fall apart, so I jumped on a bus. Big mistake. Big traffic jam. So I jumped off again and caught the tube, which got me to Soho on time, if drowned rattish-looking. Son's new office is right in Soho, which brought back rafts of memories. When Sister and I worked in Advertising we were in Soho day and night, either working or playing, so it all looked very familiar. Nothing much seems to have changed. I met Son's new work colleagues, who were very nice indeed, and then we walked round to a Sushi restaurant for lunch. This was my first experience of Sushi, which Son found hard to credit, but I did enjoy it. I ate smoked salmon with chilli sauce, some divine spicy little dumplings, something called crystal rolls with unrecognizable stuff inside them, and some gorgeous prawns in tempura batter. I turned down the raw beef and the other raw fish, which Son hoovered up enthusiastically, and we finished up with Creme Brulee (not very Japanese, but very good). We had a great talk too - time spent with him is so precious as it's pretty rare now. He's working hard, but happily so. And he's comfortable in his new home. After lunch, and a hug goodbye, I whisked off to Patisserie Valerie to meet Sister for a cup of tea. Another blast from the past. It hasn't changed a whisker. Same pictures on the walls (and the same paint by the look of it - nicotine coloured) and the same array of wonderful pastries and chocolates on tempting display. I did resist them, as I'd just eaten, and afterwards we wandered back through Soho, recalling old friends and old times. My feet were killing me by the time I got to sit down on the train home. But it was worth it - all in all, it was a lovely day.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Yesterday was a blustery but sunny day, and I took a long walk down by the sea. There were quite big, white-topped waves being whipped up by the wind. And several yachts being blown along, sails billowing, in a very choppy sea. It looked picturesque, but I'm not sure I would have wanted to be on board. I don't know if I would be sea-sick, but the little boats were travelling at quite a speed and kept practically disappearing behind the waves. Wish I'd had my camera, because everything was sparkling in the sun. The sea was that gorgeous deep azure green-blue under a perfect sky. I walked all the way to the beach cafe and sat with an iced coffee, talking to Katie and the other girls. It was lovely in the sun, but walking back home I was practically blown backwards by the stiff wind. It was a great breath of air though.
Over supper last night, the two boys were asking me what the little houses were down by the sea. They couldn't at all understand what I meant by beach huts, and asked what the purpose of them might be. That stumped me. "To sit in with a cup of tea and look at the sea, I suppose." They didn't look convinced. And when I explained that they cost around £9,000 to buy, they thought I'd completely lost the plot. "What for?" they asked. And I didn't really have an answer.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
We bathed once a week in the upstairs bathroom, with an oil stove lit for warmth. All the other days we had a "wash down" at the sink. On washing days in Winter I helped my Mother put the freezing sheets through the mangle before hanging them on the line. There was no heating in our house, apart from the fire downstairs, and we always woke up to frosty patterns inside the windows in Winter. We ate whatever we were given (simply because there wasn't a choice) and no-one ever left any of their food. Summers were one long sunny day in my mind - and Winters were spent cosily round the fire listening to the radio. In the school holidays Sister and I would disappear for the day with a bottle of Lemonade and a couple of sandwiches. We climbed trees, forded streams, made camps and scrumped apples and pears if we were lucky enough to find them. We scraped our knees, learned how to make bows and arrows, and never felt either unsafe or worried for a moment. It was, in many ways, a charmed childhood. Dear God, it sounds like something from a history book already, and I'm not that old. Or maybe I am.
I don't know what brought that on, but I'm scuttling back to the future. I have a new Foreign Student who arrived last Sunday, from Spain. He is a very polite young man, called Jaime. He explained to me that his name is pronounced "Hymie" - and there was a sudden revelation! All those old American flms always had someone in them called Hymie, and I always imagined it was an American shortening of something like "Herman" or "Hoiman" - actually, it's Spanish, and obviously reflects the numbers of Spanish speaking immigrants who moved from South America to North America. Well, whaddyaknow? I learn something new every day.