Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Deaf Sentence

I re read Deaf Sentence by David Lodge last week while on holiday, it was on a bookshelf in the house we rented at Freshwater Bay. Last time I read it I was not deaf myself, but it really struck home this time.  It is about an elderly linguistics professor who gets into an embarrassing situation due to not hearing what a woman says to him at a party.   My deafness is at its worst  in a large group especially when it includes small children and I constantly have to guess, usually wrongly, what has been said, with or without my hearing aids.     It must drive the rest of the family barmy, but they were very patient.    
However, it was a great holiday in a really comfortable enormous house,with plenty of bathrooms and huge sofas.   It was near the beach so the more energetic of us could nip over the road for an early morning swim.    The Island is still as beautiful,  and wonderfully unchanged.   It is so reassuring to find that there is still the shop on the corner selling `ham on the bone` and slicing bacon up on a machine,  (though we ate neither as we are all mainly vegetarian these days)  There were about eighteen round the table for most meals and we took it in turns to cook and shop.    Having the three little boys, my great grandsons, was a joy and seeing them running in and out of the sea at Compton Bay as my kids used to do was lovely.          
It was a week with hardly any mobile phones (no signal)  radio, or television, and lots of swimming, walking, cycling, Scrabble and other games, and talking (though for me only the last two)    Coming back here to Dumbrells Court, it seems so quiet with all of us oldies.   And boringly neat and tidy too.
Unfortunately when I got back, I discovered to my horror that I had inadvertently turned off the fridge freezer when I left  (absentmendedness or senility?) so I was faced with a mountain of rotting food  including all the blackberries and apples I had squirrelled  away for making crumbles later and quiches and pies for future Quaker bring and shares. What a disaster.    I felt really guilty when I went to the dump with my black bagged load, as if I were disposing of a body.
How I love these late golden days of summer.    In spite of dodgy knees,I can still walk up Lodge Hill accompanied by an imaginary Bradley Wiggins and I had better start blackberrying again to replace the last lot.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Blackberry time

I love picking blackberries,wild cherry plums too, and they are both plentiful round here. Also kind people put free windfall apples outside their front gates to go with the fruit. I made eight jars of hedgerow jam and several jars of bramble jelly and also made crumbles and put them in the freezer. So satisfying.  I am very keen on jam making though I eat little of it myself. I just love to see a row of freshly filled and  labelled jars in the kitchen.

Some of the Darling family are camping in the Isle of Wight, where they go every year to a specially beautiful, quiet place on Shalfleet Creek which is always known as The Land.    I have never been a devotee of camping, but next week the campers and more of the tribe and I are renting a large house at Freshwater Bay.  There will be four generations there, with me as the eldest and three of the great grandboys will be the youngest.  We always try to congregate in the Island for Julia`s birthday on 21st August. We did it during her lifetime, and have done so ever since. We read some poems and perhaps have a bit of singing and dancing too.   We are like swallows and swifts who go back to the same spot each year.

I am going to travel on my free bus pass: Brighton to Portsmouth and then Ryde to Freshwater, but I will have to fork out for the ferry.   I am just doing because I like a challenge.   I always sit and read the Guardian on Saturdays, and then do the prize Cryptic crossword.  (Sister J does it as well and though  we sometimes have to appeal to son T for the really impossibly hard words in the end, we keep it going for days.) So I will just do the same as usual but on the bus.  I often have really interesting conversations on the buses too.       Having a bus pass has really enriched my life.     It is far more enjoyable than driving around in a car, but sadly there are too few buses in Ditchling, so I often have to drive to Brighton first. 

I am just waiting for the mobile library which only comes every three weeks now due to the cuts.   It is always a treat to climb up the steps into the cosy booklined van. I will need a good supply  for the holiday as I will not be able to scramble down cliffs or swim in the sea or go for long walks as I used to do, but can sit happily reading instead.           


Monday, 24 July 2017