Monday, 13 February 2017

More Museum Tales.....

It is half term and the Brighton Darlings are spread far and wide. Daughter J and Tiger are walking along the Cotswold Way with a group of friends,, doing about 12 miles a day and probably covered in mud at this moment, but texts say `its lovely` Son in law D is on a Mindfulness Retreat in \Devon, Grand- daughter G went to Guernsey to play in a Rugby match, and grand son R frequently phones from Vietnam where he is teaching a class of 5 year olds. I enjoy hearing of all their adventures, but glad to be sitting at home on my sofa watching the squirrels. 

Many of my usual activities are on half term too, but not the Museum Tales creative writing course which has started up again. I am far and away the oldest, but I am enjoying the punk rock exhibition which is on at the moment.  It is 30 years since that burst upon the scene. My children were teenagers then but it strangely passed me by. We are bidden to write about Rebellion` and that appeals to me as I have always had a rebellious streak.

I am enjoying my afternoon working in the hospice charity shop and have more or less got the hang of the till now and only occasionally ring up a thousand pounds instead of ten pence.     I am so pleased when customers find a garment that really suits them or a book that I have read and recommended.   There is a lovely atmosphere among the helpers.

I am on one of my frequent trips to the Eye Hospital this afternoon, always a difficult manoevre as there are no buses from Ditchling to Brighton so I have to drive and hope that the drops in my eyes wear off quickly so that I can see to drive home.    I try not to mind the injections and they don`t hurt but there is something scary about having a needle stuck in your eyeball.  Still I am so lucky to get it done at all and I love the NHS and have always had wonderful treatment.

I have just read Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleve and  found it an excellent read. It reminded me of when I was ten or eleven and living in North London during the Blitz, cowering in the cupboard under the stairs when the bomb fell outside our house. It did not explode and as far as I know it is still there.   We all had to go and live with a Mrs Tickle in the next road until it was declared safe.    But the book was about about the real horrors of the blitz and the war on the lives of ordinary people, and also of racist attitudes which were appalling. 
I have decided not to write about D.Trump or Brexit. It is all just too awful for words.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Getting the Cold Shoulder....

I have been without a car recently. My ancient Nissan Micro ground to a halt on the M 23 on a perishing cold afternoon and I was stuck on the hard shoulder for quite a while.. Not a good experience especially as I had dear brother P with me who is even older than I am. However we survived,  thanks to mobile phones and the very kind A A man, and in spite of a worrying time being towed along the motorway, I got home safely.   The car needed a new clutch at vast expense but it seems as right as rain again now.
P. had been staying for a few days and we had our usual poetic breakfasts and scrabble, which was lovely,  and now life is back to my old routine, except that I have a new weekly activity: I am working at a hospice charity shop on Mondays.   I am not very good with the till, having never used one before. I keep putting too many noughts so that it registers hundreds or thousands instead of just one pound and it took the supervisor ages to sort it out when cashing up at the end of the day but I have only worked there twice, and I hope I will improve.   Apart from that I really love the job and they are a friendly lot. It is nice to start something new.

I saw a brilliant film at the Village Hall last week: Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance. It was so exciting, and really brought back memories of that Cold War time and the Berlin wall and everything.  It was a true story too.   With all the news being so worrying at the moment, it is quite comforting to remember how bleak it all seemed in the sixties and seventies and we have nevertheless survived.

This Friday, the day of the presidential inauguration in USA , there is a campaign to hang banners on all the bridges in U.K (maybe elsewhere?) saying `Build Bridges not Walls` which is a quotation from Martin Luther King.    Some of my family are involved in this and I am very glad about that.
The combination of Trump and Brexit is a bit overwhelming at present.

I am off now to try and find some Seville oranges and do some marmalade making. That is the best way I know of  cheering up these dark winter days.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Bollywood Brighton

It is time that I registered the fact that I am still alive,and sound in wind and limb   .I have been very dilatory of late and am uncertain whether to continue with this blog or if I should abandon it altogether though I do find it a good exercise to put down on paper some of what is going on in my life, as I do not keep a diary.

Well, Christmas in now safely over ` with no wrecks and nobody drownded, in fact nowt to laugh at at all`   as Stanley Holloway said in the Lion and Albert.    By that I mean that we had a nice time and no one landed up in A and E and we all stayed fit and well, thank goodness. Highlights were: a pre- Christmas visit to brother P in Hatfield and a meet- up there with sister J down from Newcastle and we three ancient siblings having a get together. P and I exchanged gifts and found that we had bought each other identical poetry books : Being Human, the most recent Bloodaxe collection, and as we had both secretly wished to keep it, we were well pleased. Sister J gave me the latest Margaret Drabble novel The Dark Flood Rises,  and I got into it straight away, brilliant writing and very much on the theme of old age which is just up my street.   

Then Xmas Day started off with the usual Quaker Breakfast in Ditchling Meeting House. Five members of my family came plus their Taiwanese lodger who obviously now thinks that all English people celebrate Christmas with a slap up breakfast at a long table in a bare room, followed by sitting in a silent circle for a while and then shaking hands.  I  spent the rest of the day in Brighton and son in law D and granddaughter M cooked the vegetarian dinner whilst the rest of us sat by the fire playing scrabble and doing jigsaw puzzles  Dear Indian friend W, who is a dance teacher came later with her family, and all twelve of us did a Bollywood Workout and worked off our huge meal. We did more singing and dancing. I could hardly move the next morning but it was worth it.

J and I got up early and drove to Fontwell to pick up brother P. (don`t ask why we were picking him up from a racecourse at 9am, it is too complicated to explain)  and he is now staying with me and we are enjoying breakfast poetry reading and fiercely contested games of scrabble, in between reading our new books and dropping off to sleep on the sofa while watching television  

I liked the Queen`s little homily on Xmas day- just gaining inspiration from all, the surprisingly imaginative, good, kind  and small things that ordinary people get up to . It is no good worrying and dwelling too much on all the rest, as I cannot do much about it apart from being mindful.     I must now write my New Year resolutions, which apart from the usual ones about losing weight, writing just One Good Thing, and more exercise which I put down every year but have not yet achieved, I will take the dear old Queen`s advice and try and do something small but useful.