Thursday, February 25, 2010

Family Fortunes...

Time for a new look at life, I think. Daughter and Grandson are still in residence and we're OK, but the best news is that Grandson has now started school. It's the small Private School (where Hon. Grandaughter goes to school too) which is lovely.
So far, so good. It remains to be seen how long Daughter will be able to afford this, but it is certainly the right thing at the moment. He's very lucky to be getting such loving care and attention, and so let's hope it will last. Perhaps I should set up one of those funds on the Internet which asks for help with Grandson's school fees? A bit cheeky maybe :-)

One step at a time. Tomorrow (Friday) is Daughter's last day at her current job in Leatherhead. This means that she is going in to work tomorrow and then out for drinks and a curry with her workmates. So she won't be home until Saturday morning - and this is further complicated by the fact that her car (the bright red convertible monster) is very sick indeed and needs big money spent on it to put it right. So she has to go to work etc on the train and won't have the car back until Monday or Tuesday. Which means that not only am I on extended babysitting, but I will also be doing all the school runs (and everything else involving transport) until then. Do I sound as if I'm whingeing? I think I do, and I probably am. All I want is a bit of freedom and a social life. It's not that I had a huge amount going on before all this happened two months ago, but at least I could choose what I did with my time. Oh, and did I mention that Daughter has gone out on a date this evening too? No? Maltesers are my comfort and my (fast-disappearing) companions. And before you say it,I know that I'll miss them terribly when they are no longer staying with me. Then I'll be whingeing about not seeing enough of them. There's no pleasing some people.

I have lots of stuff waiting in the wings though - a visit to Aristocratic BF in Sissinghurst, which will be blissful. A trip to London to have a bit of lunch with Son, and maybe do a couple of Galleries. And two London BFs who are asking me to go and stay when I can get away. My Student is here until 20th March, so I probably won't be doing all of that just yet. But it is great to have something to look forward to.

You will be proud of me when I tell you that I have been trying to listen to Chris Evans on Radio 2 in the mornings. Not that I'm doing too well. The most I have managed is half an hour so far - I wonder what Sir Terry Wogan is listening to?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Er, Happy Birthday Mum..

Today, February 11th, would have been my Mother's 100th Birthday! Fancy that. She was born in 1910 (of course) and had a life so different from mine that we could have been a couple of hundred years apart. She had to leave school at 14 (though she loved it) and go into service in a rather grand family in the country. She was allowed to go home once a year! And she had to send her wages home to her Mother. She had one afternoon a week off, started work every morning at five a.m. and was not allowed to speak to her employer. It sounds like the Dark Ages doesn't it?

My Mum was one of eight children and the family lived in Tottenham (we are all Spurs supporters). She had a lovely singing voice and whenever she was at home she went to church regularly and sang in the church choir. Of course she lived through two world wars too. She was only four at the start of WWI and 29 in 1939 as WW2 began, with me as a six-month-old baby. I can't imagine what that might have been like. She was very lucky in that none of her family died in either of the wars. My father had only one eye as the result of a childhood accident, so he didn't get to go to war. He was an Air Raid Warden instead. My only memory of that war is of standing on the back door step of our house in the pitch dark, yelling for someone to take me down to the air raid shelter. I was very small, and probably very frightened, though I don't think I was in any immediate danger - we only had one bomb drop locally in Hornchurch, and that left a very neat hole in the ground which was just the size of the house it demolished. I can't remember anything about casualties. But I do remember that we were only allowed 2 ounces of sweets a week - when I was older of course - and we had to queue up for them at the corner shop. Happy Days..

The other Anniversary today of course, is the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison. What a great survivor he is, and what a wonderful example to us all in this gritty old world. He embodies the triumph of hope, truth and a fine trust in the goodness of humanity. He is, amazingly, 92. Let's hope he makes it to 100.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Things are looking up..

At last, it seems, we have turned a corner and there is positive movement in Hove. It has been a bit of a muddy struggle up till now, but last week a couple of positive things happened. Perhaps it's Planetary Movements. First, we had a letter from the Education Authority, which in brief stated that there was no chance of Grandson getting a place at any of Daughter's stated preferences, offered him a place at a school miles away, and followed this with a not-very-veiled threat by saying that if she didn't accept said place, they would be wanting to know how he was being educated. Pish! The result was that, far from being intimidated, she decided that we would be pro-active and go and look at the school Hon.Grandaughter attends, which is a lovely, small private school in Rottingdean. We went for a look around on Thursday. I already know the school becaused of my connection with KT and Hon.G. I've been to concerts, Sports Days etc over the last few years, and know that it has a homely atmosphere, dedicated teaching staff, and wonderful facilities. Anyway, they promptly offered Grandson a "taster" day on Friday and he just loved it. Of course it costs money, but Daughter is prepared to cough up a bit to get him settled in a comfortable and encouraging educational environment. Fingers crossed that it all comes right.

On Friday evening I had a phone call from probably my oldest living friend! He and I met when I was at Romford County High (now that is going back a bit). He played in a small group: the Terry Graham Trio, which included my friend Terry as the drummer, the late, famous Graham Bond (before he was famous) on saxophone and their friend Colin on piano. It was a Sixth Form Dance and I hung around watching the band until I had an opportunity to talk to them. As a result, I ended up singing with them occasionally, at Weddings, Socials, Dances and the like, and we had such fun for a few years, before life became serious and we all went off in different directions. Then later Terry and I both worked in Advertising, as copywriters, though he was immeasurably more talented than I. We sometimes lost touch and sometimes found each other again. But we still have a friendship that is based on many happy memories of good times shared. The latest news is that we will both be going to the 50th Anniversary Celebration of CDP in April. (That's Collett, Dickenson, Pearce, which was without doubt the most creative and famous Advertising Agency of its time.) And Terry will be playing the drums again. Now that's really something to look forward to - though of course I haven't got a thing to wear.

Then it was my Birthday on Sunday. My old Blogging friends will know that I just love Birthdays - and on this occasion I wasn't disappointed. Two thirty a.m. and I was woken by Grandson, who was sleeping next to me, and wanted to be the first to wish me a happy Birthday. He sang it beautifully, and we had a cuddle and both went back to sleep. Later I had tea and biscuits in bed, courtesy of my lovely Daughter, and sat like a Princess opening cards and the most wonderful presents. One of my Brighton BFs came round with more cards and presents, and I felt thoroughly spoiled. Daughter had also made me a Birthday cake (chocolate sponge and soft chocolate icing!) and so we had a cake to take to London with us. Daughter did the driving, and we met up with Son and his Girlfriend to have a perfect Sunday Lunch in a cosy pub near the flat. Grandson was so excited to see his big Uncle, and we had a lot of laughs. There were more fabulous presents for me, including a small collection of exquisite sea shells from the beach at Koh Samui. And we had a blow by blow account of their holiday in Thailand, the Wedding, and Son's DJing at the Festival of Light in Bangkok. Phew. What a fantastic day it was - no wonder I feel better.