Tuesday 27 December 2011


Too much time has passed since I found time to write a post: too much for me: you may well be quite satisfied with the interval. Anyway, like most householders at this epoch, I have been Yuletide-focussed. It's not my favourite time of year, for reasons I shall leave to speculation. I have, therefore, to plan carefully and do some loin-girding to get through this month of Sundays. I have worked out that today is Tuesday-Sunday, to-morrow will be Wednesday-Sunday and I have just to get to a week on Sunday-Sunday for it to have got to the eleven- months- until- it- happens-again-Sunday. (Is that Scrooge I hear whispering in the ether?) In trying to do things much as I always have, I have discovered that things are not as they always were. I can no longer knock off three menus with two or more main options, a handful of sides and a reliable selection of puddings and wines with the aplomb of yesterday. Boxing Day-Sunday I finished preparations for eight people only, and thought "Right: now I can go to bed". It was 1110 AM, so, no, not bed time. Considering it was precisely three times the time previously devoted to the same duties, I was seriously troubled. Anyway, after a little sit-down and a large water I did find the strength to stand up and carry on. Lessons have been learned. For instance, the folding stool, relegated to the garden shed since the Guru left to boil his own egg, was sent for so that this old lady could at least sit down to the peeling, chopping and what ever else-ing. Hopeless: damp, rotten, mouse-eaten, a threat to Health and Safety and a risk to limb and bottom (If I fell through it, of course. Why do you ask?) So nothing for it but to struggle womanfully on as before. Some positive lessons learnt, though. I have a rather lovely and not without value dinner service. Fear of dropping and breaking a piece has been with me as long as has the china. No more: with a surge of relief and a shoulder-dropping lightness, I realised that I no longer gave a Rhett Butler about breakage. Let it be someone else's concern. ]Think down a generation and let the young, for whom it probably has no sentimental value and for whose intrinsic value they have no concern, inherit eleven instead of twelve place settings and just eleven cups with nine saucers, and some of those a bit chipped on the rim.

Someone, whom I should recall but can't, wondered, while retrieving his dropped paper from the floor, what else he could do while he was down there. It took me six years to lose the funny side of that. It is not funny: it is practical labour-saving, back-saving, heartfelt advice. Never drop a pepper pot unless you have a collection of let-it- wait-for-a-moment other things to pick up. I now walk over the same mis-placed cat toy forty four times before a dropped tissue and an unidentifiable scrap of rubbish make the bending down efficiency friendly. Buying in bulk has lost its purpose, too. Taking its place is 'if I'm spared.' Why would I leave a cupboard full of Buy-one get Three Frees for someone else to have to rent a skip.. I don't know if they are called 'skips' in Mountain View California. Explanation: when one has an exceptional load of rubbish at any one time one rings a builder to hire one or more of these large open tanks which are then treated as your own personal disposal unit. Illustration: I answered the phone to a nephew at a moment when I was attempting to clear the back log on my desk - and around it, if I am honest.I explained my waste-paper based task. In response to his polite wish not to be an intrusion, I said that, in the fulness of time, my young would be well advised to order two skips even before they rang the Undertaker. His rejoinder: "if they order two skips, they may not need an Undertaker." Quite.

Anyway, the Festive Season has left me with a great deal of previously unacknowledged respect for my former self. I did all that, in triplicate, and danced through the night after it. "Where are the snows of yesteryear?" I ask myself. Down there melted on the floor where I can't bend down to wipe them up. Prynhawn da,


Anonymous said...

When I look back at all those selves at all the different stages, i can't believe they are all me. Thank you for the blog

Anonymous said...

Having switched on the computer today for the first time since Christmas/New Year, it was great to read your blog.

I look forward to many more through 2012.