Friday, 23 October 2015

Forward Planning

The other day I received a telephone call from the Box Office of a concert venue I frequent frequently. It seems I hadn't sent back an application form for tickets for the season January to March 2016. I am what is called a Patron Member so warrant such a call. When I asked myself why I hadn't done so, my inner voice explained that it didn't tempt fate by forward booking. This is a fairly new experience and takes some getting used to. After all, "see you next week" was just as much a reality as breakfast in days gone by. I found myself calculating the cost of the tickets I then ordered and wondering whether or not it was a worthwhile investment in a future I may not have.  It was.

I listen to the news with a different ear. It seems unlikely I will either benefit or lose from projected government intervention in whatever 'in the next five years'. Dragging myself in to the technical C21st is begining to feel less important. May be I could scrape through with one foot in and the other behind for the number of years I may have left. Tidying cupboards is another manifestation. It seems my inner world wants to rid itself of the unecessary, the not- needed. It is actually true of worries, concerns and irritations, they are taking the external form of busy-housewifeness. There is an extra bonus of having 'as if' new clothes, wearing items I had forgotten about in an over-crowded watdrobe, (closet, across the Pond). This busy-ness may also make it easier for the young who will have to sort me out in absentia when the time comes. In a half-jesting way, I find I have started to respond "if I'm spared" when someone proposes an assignation a bit further on in the diary. It occured to me that I now don't have time to revisit all the friends I have made in the books I have read and re-read. Like many women of my generation, I was in love with Lord Peter Wimsey, the 'hero' of  Dorothy Sayers detective stiories. I have them all but if I re-read all of them will there be time for "For Whom the Bell Tolls"?  Working at the Out Patient enquiry desk at the local hospital I stepped outside the prescribed short answer to help a patient actually down to the clinic he needed. On the way passed, after his appointment, he stopped at my desk and said he had been told not to start "War and Peace". He was gone before I could comment. Anyway, what could I have said? It reminded me that I was talking about funerals at a gathering of friends at the end of a concert given by a close musician friend. I was saying that my wishes for my funeral included mostly recordings of him   He heard this and asked why I didn't want him there, live, at once adding "we'd better talk dates, though. I'm getting very busy". Bore da

Tuesday, 13 October 2015


Now that title may well turn out to be a word I have invented. The condition I certainly have not and I am struggling between regret that I am still living in the last century and delight that one of us, at least, is keeping up with old traditions. It is risible that an old lady has to make as much effort to 'learn' the C21st as a reluctant student of, say, Mandarin. I still write thank-you letters. One of my friends, contemporary minus nine years, said, without rancour, that an email was more immediate. Ah, yes, but you can't stand it on the mantlepiece or file it under 'miscellaneous' in your overwought filing system. What about love letters? Do they just turn up on Facebook and Twitter? Not that I have access to either. The Guru thought it was appropriate Luddism to bar me from those two modern communication systems. But what to do with the pink ribbon in which they should be tied? Leave it for the cat to play with, I suppose.  Surely conveyance of condolence has to be by letter. One would imagine that the bereaved are a long way from bothering to open their electronic mail at such a heart- rending moment. On the other hand, a round robin of text messages conveyed the news of a recent demise - not, I hasten to say - originated by the family but a hodge podge of friends and colleagues.

Someone close to me has emailed a request for some printing, the material having been sent in an attachment. The Guru assumes it is a pose. That I pretend not to know how to deal with attachments so that laziness may prevail under the guise of ignorance. I do suspect there is an element of unconscious manipulation in my attitude but if you had asked me to print off some attached music for you, you'd be very suspicious if you received only half the score. Fortunately, I remember how to read music so I am fairly confident I got it all. My whole email system has been terrorising me. It keeps telling me my session has ended. No, it hasn't and why is it making those strictures now when it has been co-operating well enough for the last umpteen years. I watched a TV advertisement last evening which promised I could turn my heating on and off  on an Underground train by phone. My washing machine could be commanded thus, too. Oh dear: I can just about use my mobile phone as a landline to call and receive calls. I have been known to send the occasional text,  not always to the intended recipient but appearing under 'sent messages' in due course. Another person close to me won't even attempt to text but will read the ones received and then telephone if a response is required. I lack C21st mores. I don't use my mobile phone at dinner, or anytime, with friemds. Much out-of-home food is beyond me since I can't eat chillie. (Can I even spell it?) I am stuck when I am addressed on the 'phone by my first name and have taken to announcing myself as Mrs. Mountford to obviate the possibility. This is  not a snobbish or pedantic reaction but an emotional one: my inner world is jolted by the use of my first name by a total stranger. First names, for me, are like 'thou' in the languages that use the second person singular. Still, when all is said and done, a rose by any other name....Prynhawn da   P.S. Is there a C21st  way to keep the cat off the table?