Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Trip down Memory Lane..

When I rummage in the capacious carpet bag that is my memory, I come up with some pretty weird stuff. Years ago, I was doing my English Literature A Level at evening classes. (This was in 1986, not long after my Mum had died.) But what sticks in my mind about that time is filling in the forms to take the exams, when my Teacher, whose name was Jill, phoned me to say she thought I had made a mistake when filling in my date of birth. I have always looked younger than I am (a blessing, I suppose) but she was really shocked when I said there had been no mistake. This was the first time for a long time that I hadn't lied about my age - and it taught me that this particular truth didn't pay. I couldn't help noticing a subtle change in her attitude after that, which amounted to ageism really. Ever since then, I have either avoided questions of actual age (Zsa Zsa Gabor said that only a stupid woman would tell the truth about her age, or something like that.) or I have told an outright lie. On the odd occasions when I have been tempted to tell the truth, it has been really embarrassing for me. The "shock/horror" reactions are so hard to deal with that I just don't do it any more. So there are few people who know how old I am (outside my family, that is) and I had intended to keep it that way. Except that I have a Birthday coming up and I'm beginning to think it's about time to come clean. Heaven knows what's the best thing to do, (and does it really matter?) but I've got about a week to make the decision...

More memories popped out when I heard the song "Africa" on Radio 2 the other morning. Eighties music makes me feel terribly sad. It reminds me of a time when the children were small, just before my Brain Tumour was discovered, and we were staying with a friend while the builders were doing our house. It was a hard time - winter of course - my marriage had come to an end and feelings of misery and homelessness pervaded our lives. I was continually ill, without knowing why. I caught cold after cold, and then a chest infection nearly turned into pneumonia. I had persistent headaches and my unhappiness meant that my two little ones were feeling lost too. It wasn't for another few months that the tumour was discovered, by which time we were living in our house. But that song brought it all back so powerfully. Music really does play a huge part in our lives - even that silly popular song (played by Terry Wogan as it was back then), was able to re-create a whole load of feelings that I had thought were dead and buried.

After a week without my telephone, I finally got it back this morning. A lovely chap from BT turned up very cheerfully at 8.30am, and set to work sorting it out. I had been borrowing my neighbour's phone, downstairs, and had tried phoning my own number several times, only to be put through to the Shahid Dinan Hair and Scalp Clinic! This happened to me, and to any of my friends and family who dialled my number. The patient people at this Clinic were very nice. They didn't complain, and in the end were explaining to callers what had happened to my phone!

I heard something really funny on T. Wogan's show yesterday. One of his listeners phoned in to tell us about a white van he had seen with the following message on its side:

Rajit Singh - Plumber. You've tried the Cowboys, now try the Indians.

I thought this was wonderful, and phoned a friend to pass it on, only to hear that it's an old joke, first seen on a Builder's van some time ago. Ah well, there's no such thing as a new joke I guess.

You seasoned Bloggers out there won't be surprised to learn that I'm still getting people logging on to my Blog in the hopes of finding "crutchless knickers" of some sort. Of course they go away disappointed - but it does amaze me (naive or what?) that there are so many people out there looking for that very item. I'm not really complaining - I should have probably anticipated the reaction - and it does help to keep the numbers up on a dull day!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Quite a Quiet Weekend

I have been pretty much incommunicado since Thursday afternoon when my phone was suddenly cut off. I had been to collect Grandson for a long weekend, and walked in expecting to be able to have the usual chats with family and friends during the evening, only to be frustrated by a dead and silent telephone. I expected it to be a small hiccup, over soon, but here we are on Sunday evening and it's still out of order. I should have gone out on Friday and topped up my mobile, but Grandson didn't want to go anywhere (he was pretty tired) so I didn't venture out - and it was a foul day anyway. If I had known that I'd still be sitting here in silence, I would have forced myself out! But no. Consequently I ran out of mobile credit some time on Saturday, but having reported the phone fault on Friday, I foolishly expected it to be put right subito. Ho, Ho. Still no mobile credit. Still no Landline. And yet my Broadband is working. I don't get the logic of this (if there is any). So here I sit Blogging into the void and hoping for re-connection tomorrow.

I had Grandson here because Daughter was off on some business junket for her new job. Her Company had taken over the Rembrandt Hotel in Kensington for a Conference, and she was part of the hospitality and administration team. It all sounded rather posh, and she arrived back here yesterday afternoon looking very pale and not having had much sleep, as a result of all the entertaining they were doing. She didn't want a glass of wine either, so I imagine there was some over-indulgence involved. After her drive Daughter decided to stay over, which was lovely for me. So she caught up on her sleep and I had another cosy cuddle with Grandson. Plus I had a cup of tea in bed this morning. A rare luxury...

Anyway, we had had a lovely relaxing time, and Grandson was so pleased to see his Mum. He has been rather reluctant about eating his food at school, so his wonderful Teacher has devised a "smiley face" reward scheme for him; every time he eats his breakfast and lunch he is awarded a smiley face on the chart, and 8 smiley faces equal a reward. His chosen reward this week was "a muddy walk with Nana", so that's what we had on Saturday morning, and he couldn't wait to show Daughter his chart with no less that 12 smiley faces on it. I must say he ate every scrap of his food while he was here at the weekend, but I think the real object of the exercise is to get him to try a few new things when they are on the school menu. He has been refusing unfamiliar dishes without trying them first, and that's not a good habit to get into.

Students are thin on the ground at the moment, which is no bad thing really after my last experience. One of my Brighton BFs has just had her first student - a Chilean called Rolando whom her husband insisted on calling Ronaldo (he's a great football fan). I haven't heard the gritty details, but apparently he was both charming and a pleasure to have around. She only took him on a Bed and Breakfast basis for her first experiment, and it seems to have been a success. He has gone home today, and she was expecting her next two Students to arrive this evening. They are on half-board, so last week we worked out a rota of recipes in order to prepare her for cooking suppers as well. Then she learned that she would be having her Grandchildren over Half Term too, so she really is in at the deep end. For at least one of the weeks, there will be six of them sitting down to both breakfast and dinner every day. Let's hope she comes out of it smiling.

Yesterday was a black day for Spurs supporters. Tottenham Hospur were playing Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round. It all started well when they scored a goal in the first 5 minutes, but it was downhill after that. In the end we were all shouting at the TV in frustration.
Even Grandson joined in because he couldn't understand why our team in the white shirts kept passing the ball to the red-shirts. They lost their get-up-and-go, stopped tackling the opposition, and strolled around the park as if they were winning, when they were actually losing. Sister phoned me (on my mobile) this evening and said she could hardly bear to watch it either. I haven't yet talked to Son about it, but I'm pretty sure his opinion will be unprintable...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Country Pursuits...

I have been away again, this time to stay with my Aristocratic BF who, you may remember, broke her hip last March. She is now back on top form (I know this because she is continually complaining about her ill health - when she was really ill, she never murmured about it!). Anyway, I went last Thursday and stayed until Sunday, which was great. We caught up on all the latest news of families and friends, nearly completed a fiendishly difficult jigsaw puzzle (I left her with all the really impossible pieces), went for a couple of walks on sunny mornings, and spent the last day making marmalade. This entails endless squeezing of juice, chopping of peel, peeling of pith and boiling of pips etc. I had never made marmalade before, so it was both instructional and rather enjoyable. In all, it took about 4 hours of pretty constant effort, which was well rewarded by the row of lovely shiny jars lined up in her kitchen afterwards. I think I should try and join a local knitting, sewing or crochet group; this may seem like a non-sequiteur, but actually all those home crafts are connected, and they do bring a surprising amount of contentment and satisfaction. Plus, you have something to show for all your effort. I brought a jar of marmalade home with me, and can't wait to give it to friends and family with their breakfast toast. Come to think of it, I also have an unfinished patchwork and a half-done tapestry lurking somewhere in my cupboards. And if only I could remember how to crochet.
This may well be the start of something interesting..

Before going to my ABF, I had driven to East Grinstead last Wednesday for a Treatment which was part of my Christmas present from Son. The lady Therapist in question practises many alternative therapies, and I was keen to try something new. So I chose a combination of Health Kinesiology and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), and she also threw in some work on my Chakras and my Aura. It was a very intense two-hour session, and I came away feeling rather punch-drunk. I have spent the time since trying to remember exactly what happened, with very little success. I remember bits and pieces. She asked a lot of questions and I supplied a lot of answers. We went back through my history, and I remember I talked about the children quite a bit ("what a surprise", I hear you say!) She ended by saying that I had a wounded heart and a damaged Aura - both of which were fixable. And she gave me some homework to do. I have felt lighter, as she said I would, and inexplicably happier and more positive. I remember a little more each day, and intend to talk to her on the phone to clarify just what she actually did.
I certainly felt very emotional at the end, and she advised me not to drive for a while - good advice. I sat in a cosy cafe and drank a lovely cup of tea with a toasted sandwich. I don't actually remember much about driving home - even though I waited an hour before attempting it. It's certainly mysterious, but in a nice way. I intend to go back again , and will keep you posted.

Still no news on Daughter's results. She both looks and feels well, so let's hope it's good news.
Grandson is fine - full of beans as usual - and was very pleased to see me today after school.
We went home for tea and then he helped me to make a big pot of vegetable soup for his Mum when she came in from work. He stood on a kitchen chair and chopped garlic, onions, carrots and parsnips. Then we added some vegetable stock, a sprinkling of herbs and pepper and salt, and watched it bubbling away for a while. "I'm a good cooker" he said, and I had to agree. When Daughter came home, she couldn't wait to try it, and pronounced it delicious. My Little Chef...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thank u Suzy Soo

It's about time, I know, but many thanks to Suzy Soo for my award - I surely haven't deserved it of late, but hope to be worthy of it in future...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Time Out

I have been feeling so very lost of late, that I don't really know where to start. There's not much doubt that it started with the stupid business with the Wee Git - quite why it affected me so much I don't know, but it did. I suppose I have been very lucky with Students in the past, and didn't expect that sort of difficulty. Anyway, that set me off, and although Christmas with the family was lovely, we were plunged straight into Daughter's Hospital visit, and then Grandson's grommits. It's no wonder I didn't feel much like celebrating the New Year.

As it happened, Grandson had an OK time in the WaterPistol. I wasn't actually there for the operation, because they had to have him at Epsom Hospital by 8am, but Daughter gave me a blow-by-blow account, and he was fine except for one ghastly moment when he fought to stay awake (of course he couldn't have understood what an anaesthetic would be like), and that upset her a bit. It all went very well though, and he was soon back in the Recovery Room, a bit groggy and staggering around as if he had had one too many whiskies. After he had been checked over and had something to eat and drink, Daughter brought him over to me in the afternoon. He seemed alright, but I couldn't help commenting on the green tinge to his skin! Bless him, he was pretty well, though very tired, and was happy to snuggle down in my bed with a hot water bottle and a couple stories. He spent the next couple of days with me and we chilled out. We went for gentle walks, visited the donkeys, and he ate and slept heartily, so he was much improved by the time I took him back home. He now tells everyone that his ears are protected, and that he can hear much better, which is good news.

The other bit of good news is that Daughter and the Boyfriend are buying a house in a village near where they have been renting. I guess the Credit Crunch is good news for some, and they managed to negotiate a good price on a house which has been on the market, without any offers, for 10 months. I hope that it all goes through without a hitch, but they have had a really hard time getting a mortgage, despite having jobs and a good deposit. The Banks, those greedy buggers, are still refusing to lend to people, despite having been given huge amounts of our (the taxpayers) money. They obviously think that Golden Brown wanted to make up their profits for them - poor devils - because they weren't making quite as much money out of us as usual! The whole thing stinks, and though I feel heartily sorry for ordinary people who are in financial trouble at the moment, I don't feel one jot of pity for the big earners and those financial institutions who have been making obscene profits for so many years at our expense. I hope they actually experience a bit of hardship - maybe even a bit of anxiety about paying their gas and electricity bills- just like the rest of us.

I think my malaise is a lot to do with not being a hands-on Mother any more; if I think back even to this time last year, I was in the thick of it, trying to sort out Son's Flat and Daughter's move. Lucky me, it was a full time job really, and now I miss it. I know that this is what happens, and that it's normal and healthy for my two grown-ups to get on with their lives without me. I just didn't expect to feel quite so redundant. I'm sure I will get used to it, and I'm resolving to get back to E-bay selling, and to enter some more writing competitions. My Horoscopes for the year are very good - apparently I have Jupiter in my sign to bring me good fortune, new directions and brilliant opportunities. All I have to do now is grasp them with both hands. Here goes...