Friday, 26 May 2017

Summer is icumen last.

Summer seems to have come at last. The roses are out at Dumbrells Court in all their lusciousness, the birds are singing fit to bust and the view from my sitting room window is heavenly. The only trouble is that I love just sitting on my sofa looking at it, and reading a book, when I know I should be out and taking more exercise.   There is a sort of collective guilt when you are an Old Person like me.   I mustn`t be a drain on resources and the NHS by becoming feeble and helpless so I must eat healthily, lose weight and keep moving.     In the meantime, Mrs May and dear Jeremy are handing out inducements in their manifestos to do more for us oldies but there`s also a sting in the tail with the dementia tax and the pinching of our winter fuel payment.   It is all very worrying.

Last week Daughter J and I went up to London to celebrate grand daughter M`s twenty-fifth birthday. We met for lunch in Hyde Park where later M and her sister G had a swim in the Serpentine in the rain but they said it was lovely. We wanted to see the horses as M has a new part time job at the Hyde Park Riding Stables. She leads rides with immensely rich celebs and others along Rotten Row and canters about in the Park.    To counteract this she has another part time job with Camden Council  teaching very deprived kids to ride bikes in Somertown near Kings Cross.   She also has a day job with an environmental project so her life is full of interesting contrasts.

The Brighton Festival is in full swing. Last week I went with son in law D to hear Jeremy Hardy.  D and I often go to stand up shows together. It was in the Theatre Royal, a huge theatre, absolutely packed,and he spoke for about two hours of brilliant mostly political satire. I don` know how he does it.   We really enjoyed it.  I also went to a film with J called Collisions where you had to wear goggles and head set and it was an` all round experience`.    It was about the effect on an Aboriginal settlement of a nuclear test in the Australian bush,   You felt you could touch the people, it was quite eerie.   Today I am going to hear a jazz singer Julie Roberts plus Herbie Flowers She is performing at the Quaker Meeting House in Brighton,  I have heard her before and she is amazing.

Later in the afternoon I am going to funeral at the crem of a Quaker Jewish woman who was part of the Kindertransport as a child.She was a member of our Ditchling Quaker Meeting and she was a remarkable woman.

I saw the film I Daniel Blake at our Film Club in the Village Hall last week. I was deeply affected by it.  I do feel that all politicians should see it and also anyone who works for the Benefits system.     

Friday, 28 April 2017

On Your Bike...

I am fed up with the cold weather. I have been walking around with a hot water bottle stuffed up my jumper.   I suppose one more drawback to being ancient and decrepit is that the cold gets into your bones.   Also of course I do not get enough exercise due to the lack of a dog.    I am thinking of getting an exercise bike and pedalling away whilst watching the telly, which is what brother P does. I have been staying with him for a few days to celebrate his ninetieth birthday, and he was looking positively rejuvenated due to his energetic cycling twice a day.   Sister J was there too so we three old siblings had a very good time together being provided with delicious meals by his family, and also he cooked up a full 
gravy dinner for us three on Sunday as well.   Not many nonagenarians could do that.
We had our usual fiercely contested games of Scrabble too and did not argue too much about debatable words with obscure meanings.
But as always it was lovely to come home to my cosy bungalow with no stairs. Though brother P has two stair lifts I always feel decadent gliding up and down in a queenly manner.

The election is such a worry.  I am glad to see that almost every home in Brighton has a Caroline Lucas Green Party sticker in its window, but not much chance of a Green in many other places
In the Guardian today there`s a picture of Jeremy Corbyn holding an anxious looking baby, Tim Farron cuddling a large dog and Mrs May surrounded by men in suits, none of them inspire confidence.   
I have just been to a history lecture in the village on The Edwardians, and though we may grumble about the state of the world now, it really was worse then, with the upper classes leading the life of Riley while everyone else worked their fingers to the bone in deadly fear of the workhouse.   And the meals they ate!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Hot Cross Buns

Today is Julia`s anniversary and also grand daughter T`s thirteenth birthday.   Daughter J and family plus friends are walking over the Downs from Brighton to Ditchling (seven miles) for lunch and birthday cake and then we will read aloud some of Julia`s poetry and share memories.  J and I always feel a bit tearful and odd at this time of year so it is good to get together
Tomorrow I am having a Hot Cross Bun party to which I have invited all the Dumbrellites.  As my sitting room is small I am holding it at the Meeting House,which is five minute walk down the lane. This has caused great consternation amongst some who on reading the words Quaker and Good Friday on the invitations seemed to think that it was a Quaker indoctrination ceremony and they felt unable to come, so I fear I may be left with forty hot cross buns and a large uneaten Simnel cake, but never mind, they can go in the freezer,

On Easter Sunday I am planning a picnic and egg rolling down Lodge Hill in Ditchling after \Meeting though the weather forecast is not good. I remember doing this on St Giles Hill in Winchester many times over the years. There is something about chucking painted eggs down a grassy slope and running whooping along behind them that I find very exhilarating in a ritualistic, heathenish sort of way.

Then at the end of next week, we are celebrating brother P`s ninetieth birthday with a sibling get together and also a family do.   .Sister J and I are struggling to write an Ode but we have used up all the best lines on his seventieth and eightieth, plus a few in between.

I have just read the latest Sebastian Faulks novel: Where my Heart Used to Beat. It is a bit reminiscent of Birdsong and is really excellent and very thought provoking.