Tuesday 8 September 2009


I have been away. I hope not too many of you have given up clicking on to 75goingon40.blogspot.com thinking I had succombed to the difficulties of being 40 trapped in a 75 year old body. As it happens, those of you who are good at Maths may well have worked out that, by now, I must be at least 76 going on 41, but we shall gloss over that and maintain the status quo ante. Anyway, as I was saying, I have been away and am experiencing the usual re-entry hassle. One can appreciate the holiday, the real merits of the holiday, only via the in-your-face reality of what everyday life is like. For instance, I am back to " press 1 for this, 2 for that, 3 for the other and 4 for no-one will answer whatever you press". "We thank you for your patience and one of our assisitants will be with you as soon as possible". Now, I am not patient, I just have no choice and it is as inappropriate to thank me for it as it is to take me through a menu that has no bearing on what I want to know in any case.

All the people who have taken the summer off, and I mean part of June, all of July, all of August and the first week in September are back, on the roads, parked in the 'pay and display' bays and the Disabled bays, too. The road works remain impediently unfinished and nobody is working on them. School has started. This means you take your life in your hands if you venture out after 3pm because the little darlings are all coming out and their Mothers are lining up to be in good time to meet them. The roads around where I live are choked with People Carriers and the pavements with baby-sibling pushchairs. The queue in the only remaining Post Office for miles around wanders out in to the street again and the major part of the gift I have sent to a loved one in Scotland is the forty minutes I spent trying to dispatch it. A neighbour with two cars has come back after a time so long away I had come to hope he had left permanently. I will tell you why. Near our houses - much nearer to mine - is a one-off Residents' parking space, with no overhanging bird-mucky trees, that gives easy access to home for a lady with a walking-stick and cat-food to carry. Now he, although boasting a Residents' parking space right outside his house, prefers this space and will not move the car which is on it until his lady brings up the other car behind ready to slide it on to the space as he glides off it. I have watched this pantomime a thousand times but it still beggars belief. Anyway, for months they have been wonderously away and I have had the pleasure of parking there whenever it is, in the normal course of events, available. All that has to be re-contended with during the re-entry period.

Actually, part of the holiday was passed with above loved one. If you have been kind enough to be keeping up, you will remember that I did that last year, too. This year there was no ceilidh but lots of Scrabble in the rain. I am a fan of Scotland, particularly the part where The Loved One lives, but I end up wearing every item of clothing I have taken, all at the same time. Yes, it does occur to me to pack some woollies. I wear those, too. Picture it. A sometime elegant lady padded out with three cotton T shirts, a cotton cardigan and a huge woollen one with an anorak on top of it all. I had to buy some tights to keep the nether regions a bit warmer and a scarf for my neck but, don't get me wrong, I had a lovely time. I just underestimated the Girl Guide 'Be Prepared' thing. To round off the misery of coming back, there are all the unopened letters. There was one from my Bank telling me they had done something I didn't want them to do. That is, I wouldn't have wanted them to do it had I known they were going to. Apparently, under the pile, there found itself another one that said they would do it if they didn't hear from me in fourteen days. As luck would have it, I came back on the fourteenth day and thus began the press this, press the other saga while I tried to sort it.

There, of course, is your clue. In my use of the reflexive I have let on that I was in Continental Europe as well as Scotland. Those of you who will remember last year may picture the scarlet swimsuit once more in situ. It was even harder to walk in to the sea and not too much fun travelling on that well-known friendly Airline that charges one to check in at the Airport. Anyway, with the Guru's help, my young inner self had a lovely time in the ache-relieving Mediterranean sea. And coming back is not all bad news: there were ten minutes of purrs and leg rubs from my four-legged furry best friend and all night she slept where I could not have changed my position without disturbing her had I even wanted to. She is still keeping me closely in her sights and I love it - and her. There are friends to contact and music to hear. When the five loads of washing have been ironed, it will be great to be home again. See you much sooner.

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