Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Having done my research, as a good writer should, I find that I have written about frustration before. Those of you kind enough to have been thorough camp followers may well have noticed this so it seemed prudent to let you know I knew. (Liz has always been haunted by the imagining of being found out. Actually, I  doubt whether any of you has really got the bother quotient to hold the title of my blogposts in your memory. I havent.) Anyway, frustration: my computer stands on a table in front of a window in my bedroom. As it happens, it is more of a bed-sitting room because, alone, it's where I do most of my living. There is a very nice view of trees, a studio in the adjacent garden my neighbour uses for singing lessons, and, if I crane my neck sideways, a sight of the major hospital just down the road. I can also see the ivy covered shed in my own garden under which a family of six foxes has made its home, (of which, more another time). Over the windows is set a pair of grilles fastened by an 'I-mean-business' padlock. This security measure seemed reasonable when I was a proper person working  and leading an organised life. I am at home a great deal more in retirement so present and possessed of a walking stick should an intruder fancy having a go at breaking and entering on the off-chance. I digress. When the Wizard of Cyberspace chooses to drive me to the edge of forebearance and the drive moves on to a desire, nay, a need, to throw the machine out of the window I would first need to move things off the table and draped over it to reveal the drawer in which I keep the key to the padlock, shift the table forward a goodly bit so that I can get in behind it and in front of the window, unlock the padlock, push open the grilles, undo the latch on the window and lift it open sufficiently to accommodate the defenestration of a computer. In winter, I should have, furthermore, to displace a sleeping cat from the environs of a hot radiator which also occupies the fore-window space. By the time these manoeuvres are complete the feeling has gone. Therefore, I give up and the computer lives to frustrate another time.

Were all such frustrations so fortuitously dealt with. My mobile phone got wet. No, I don't know how, either. The Guru came out with his habitual "you must have done something" which grows even less helpful as the years go by. The facts are that it was fine when I switched it off one night and covered in mist next morning. I tried the hair-dryer, I tried blowing.  I tried soft-hankie wiping.  Nothing worked. I crept  to my supplier and confronted the reality that this would be Good-bye. I would have to accept a new one. What I hadn't taken in was that I would lose not only my friendly phone whose systems I knew and could work, but also all the numbers of my friendly - and ex-directory - friends. It is not easy for an old lady to adjust to such new phenomena, however forty she feels. I had to learn some numbers are stored. Some are not. It's no good explaining this to me. Everyone has tried and I still can't work out how, why, who makes these storing decisions. Therefore, if you know I love you and am likely to miss you if there is no communication between us, please send your number to my new mobile phone - my number hasn't changed - and tell it to register itself in such a way that the next time the Wizard of Cyberspace spills damp moondust on it overnight it shall  be kept in the forever compartment where there are quite invisible grilles and padlocks to keep it safe. Nos da.

Sunday, 17 June 2012


No, I am not going to go on about  a way of viewing films you missed in the cinema nor complete runs of your favourite television series. In fact, I don't even know what the initials stand for in that context and the Guru, my 21st century expert, if asked, is so busy he wouldn't have the time to respond to anything unless it were a  life and death crises. (Mind you, that has to be better than the torpor which sometimes sets in to this retired old lady's life. But I don't think he would think so as he struggles to find some hours in which to sleep) The DVD I had in mind was Death versus Divorce. This is a big question, one that comes to mind often. Naturally, at more than three score and ten one does think routinely about Death - always with a capital 'd' it would seem because  this particularly typing of it acquired the capital 'd' without my conscious input.  I have noticed, since my last birthday, how much nearer heart than head the thinking has become. Death is no longer an intellectual concept but a possibility that has me attacking my drawers and cupboards and rationalising purchases and investments. The attack on the drawers is ruthlessly to eliminate things which will never be used again. One of these days is now so there is no longer an option with that name to allow the preservation of short- or  no- sleeve jumpers. High leg swim suits and low neck tops are also passed their 'use-by' date. In reality, I need a new car. Twelve years, or even thirteen, is a long time in the life of a car. At the moment, I depend on driving for a  way of life which is still quite lively. At my age, that could stop without notice. This would contra-indicate the investment in a new one, wouldn't you say?

But the thrust of what I wanted to say was more to do with the death of others. You would expect me to have lost quite a few nears and dears by now. The world narrows. There is a funnel effect with the number of loved and liked ones squeezing through to the end being hugely fewer than the number who crowded in at the beginning. There is pain. The pain is not only for the empty space but also for the acknowledgement that some things cannot be remedied. There is no cure for death. There is no putting it right, getting round it. It is, however, a clean pain once the cataclysmic acceptance has been acquired. Divorce is different. To the pain of death one must add the pain of rejection, of failure, of exclusion, of 'what-ifs'. When the divorce is from a child it seems survival depends on an intrinsic parental love, if you are the kind of parent who feels like that,which, on-going,  rejoices in the child's survival, his/her well-being in the world:  a concept unfathomable to the child if he/she is childless him/herself, I suspect. (Political Correctness is not known for enhancing the rhythym of a sentence, is it?.) The idea that someone whom you carried inside you for nine months, who clung to your breast, who lightened at the sight of you, who took your sleep, tested your patience, made you aware of a love beyond imagining, (if that was your experience ), should  end up not liking you may be rather worse than death.   Currently, I am reading a Buddhist book on death. It is a book I first read when I was nearer forty than eighty. It says much more to me now than then. Perhaps, the answer is that calm acceptance of life and death must also come to include divorce. Let me remind you of  something I put to you many posts ago: death robs a relationship of its acrimony. Divorce robs it of its tenderness. What do you think?
 Liz's job is usually to laugh wryly at the irony of outer 75 versus inner 40. Thank God, Buddha or anyone in whom you have faith - or none - that is so possible most of the time. Occasionally, though, one must let a wise old witch have her say and, I fear, the witch is better known for her cackle than her giggle. Anyway, I wouldn't know where in the machine to slot the DVD to watch it even if it were one of "The Murdoch Mysteries", my favourite of all time, so who am I to pontificate? Nos da.

Monday, 4 June 2012


Those of you on Mars or some other Planet of the inner world, may not have registered that, in the UK, we are in the middle of celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth 11. Well, we are. This is the third of four days of celebrations which have encompassed just about all forms of representation.   It both suits me and disturbs me. It suits me because, to someone who likes, needs, even, for things to be as they are expected to be, the sheer competence of the arrangements, the thought-throughfulness of every miniscule detail pleases and sooths me. I am left feeling there may be an alrightness in the world after all. For this to pertain even when the Gods saw fit to pour water  on our presumption from a black and determined sky , I found so settling I am tempted to analyse whatever could have left me so in need of the reassurance. It's OK. Read on. I am going to do no such thing.I was not actually there. I was just glued to the television set.  But there was something so completely natural, normal, about the little finale choir on top of a boat singing their patriotic hearts out, their hair plastered to their heads, rain dripping off their chins that I was left with an acute awareness that the basic nonsense of life is what makes sense of it. A spirit of  'I said I would so I will' assailed both Monarch and Choir so that the one, nearer 90 than 80, and the other, undergoing torture by water, were joined by a committment that, for me, gave meaning to what we are here for.

You must'nt think that I have lost that essential focus on the question the examiner has set: 75 going on 40.
Because I have been there: where? I was on the edge of the Mall, for the Coronation. It rained. I was soaked. I was separated from my friends. . There were no mobile phones. No way, so taken as normal  in this, the Electronic Age, to re-establish contact. I had'nt lived in London long. I was tempted to be panic stricken. But the spectacle took over and I was able to talk myself in to a belief that all would be well in the best of all possible worlds. It was. I found a phone box and telephoned my landlady, telling her where I would make for if my friends rang to ask. That is what they did. Communication was not easy but it did hone one's ingenuity. The bigger difference, though, is that I was there. It was with a shaft of  deep sadness I realised that I was not really up for it sixty years later. The Guru, who was planning a riverside picnic with his Dear-One and family, seemed horrified at the thought I might want to join them. Dear Reader, I did, so much want to. My forty-year-old spirit was drawn like breath from my old,old body. It was pushing down to a vantage point, wrapping a water-proof around me, improvising. I could 'see' the whole scenario. However, good sense and a sense of propriety did prevail. Apart from the physical daunt, there would have been the embarrassment of being looked after and considered: more dampening to everyone than the interminable rain. The Mother of the Dear-One is younger than my older daughter! That gave a new perspective to my pretensions. I recognise that I am fighting the reality of age at a more significant level than I was. Liz may laughingly imagine that 40 will prevail in the end, or over all. It won't; at least, not physically and that, inevitably, has an affect on the spirit. So now you know why the celebrations disturb as well as suit me: I am forced to look at a different level of reailty.  I am 75 going on 80. But that should be fun, too. Bore da.