susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Monday, November 26, 2007

One for my English readers

Yesterday, Salli and I went to Leeds castle - yes, I know, I've already written about it, but I'm still laughing at a joke I've just made.... We went round the castle like tourists, but didn't go by coach, don't have perms and don't wear headscarves, so neither of us was the Queen....

I didn't promise it would be a good one!

Trendy, cool, funky, groovy

18 years of spex-wearing, and I've got a decent pair at last - very like these, but with translucent pinky bits where the arm meets the frame, and sparkly bits on the arms....

Prada, darlinks!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm not sure this is allowed but WTF

You may have noticed a few ads have now started appearing on the right hand side of this blog. Yes, the favourite son is exploiting hs mother and selling off the blank space. This is how it works. A computer program picks up key pearls from my writings and matches them with appropriate ads looking for a home. You're meant to be so taken a) with my scribbling that you immediately b) click on apparently relevant ads. I make a small (oh yes) fortune, you get access to fascinating products.

I've just looked down the ads. Yes - things about dogs and things for Grandma, for sure, but Indian mythology and men's skin care?

The mutt's nuts

Would YOU know what to do, if your 4 month old puppy's balls hadn't yet dropped? Me neither. But this weekend I was duly enlightened, with a demonstration. It goes like this...

First get your excitable (and in this case) very large dog by the scruff of the neck. As he squirms, grab him by the - oh dear, I was going to say by the balls, but in this case, where his balls should be .. and massage vigorously (I kid you not).

Unsurprisingly, the dog collapses on the floor, eyes glazed, soppy look spreading all over his face.

Repeat at frequent intervals until balls descend.

Excerpt from another email

My week has been extremely go-ooood. Well, just over a week, in fact - starting with last Saturday, going down to Plymouth to meet new saily chums, dropping in on B*****n and then BB and his missus on the way. Stayed with A and P, having got lost in Plymouth on my way to their house - had to call for assistance at least twice ... and was finally found in a petrol station, looking rather daft and bewildered and extremely late - I'd missed the turn off into P'mouth, as usual, and then tried to make up for my idiocy by relying on my sense of direction to make my way back to the original meeting place. Bad move. I have no sense of direction, but I did get to see P'mouth's Christmas decorations, and to speak to many of the locals, all of whom, as happened a year ago in similar circumstances, assured me I couldn't miss it ... and as ever, I could. Anyway - we all got to the pub, where it was fun to meet strange named strangers, got to eat fish and chips and asked the barlady to turn the deafening music down a bit, only to discover it was a not-frightfully-good live band...

Anyway, moving on - the following day I met up with an old Cornish saily chum (who'd come up to Devon, as the piskies regularly chase me out of their country, and we didn't want to miss each other). So - met up in Plymouth, and then immediately lost each other on the main road, as I managed to take the wrong turning, despite driving right up his exhaust pipe ... I don't quite know how I do it, but thank goodness for mobile phones, and we were able to meet up again on the bypass at a layby... Lunch, and later cream teas (just as well I don't live there - I would never be able to fit behind the steering wheel) then I was off again. Driving in pouring rain and dark to Sussex to my sister's. As I hadn't quite managed to let her know when I was arriving, I did wonder whether she would be in, but yes! when I turned up at 9.30 - there she was! In our old family home, which she's just moved back into. Couple of days there, including the pub quiz evening (disgraced ourselves), and then off to Kent - where yet again I hadnt quite managed to contact my chums there, so it was hardly surprising to find they weren't there. So I came home!

Couple of days back here, rang the Kent chums, and have just come back from spending the weekend with them - and went to Leeds castle (home of politicians' jollies ...) - I thought it would be boring and stuffy, but it wasn't, and lunch (you'll hate this - lamb and apricot casserole) was scrummy. And so home, arriving back an hour ago. Went by train there and back, and treated the entire carriage to exhibition snoring.

Hardly have I hit the front door, than I'm planning the next outing - France on Tuesday morning for a week - chauffeur driven hehe - actually, it's the insurance, or lack of it, that means I can't drive this time. So, tomorrow is hair dyeing day, clothes washing and packing, playing hunt the passport, and contemplating the ruin that is the leaking shower (I picked mushrooms from round the edge the other day - oh yes I did!). On the bonus side - whenever I leave home, my son seems to be sparked into action - this weekend, he has mowed the grass and ploughed the kitchen garden and hacked the tiles off the shower cubicle (oh so sad - lovely holey italian limestone) .. what will he have achieved when I get back?

Well, you did ask ...

I can't tell you (apart from the income that is) how much I like not working ... and I rather liked my job, even if I was bored by it. D'you know, it's been getting on for 2 years since my job went tits up and the department closed?

Friday, November 23, 2007


Ah, Mr B - which is more lovely? The sights, sounds, smells of each wondrous day alive upon this most marvellous of freaks, this rolling roiling planet earth? Or the words we manufacture each and every one to exceed our grasp upon the realities and awe-ful visions we see, and are stunned speechless?

I wonder, sometimes, why I travel compulsively, when there is more than enough in my own garden to fill many lifetimes. And so tomorrow I'm off for Kent. Well, my friends don't live in my garden - so I'm forced on my restless journeying. Next week, France, an ephemeral dream from my childhood and I'm doomed, oh so happily, to chase it, receeding into a dusty future.

Walking with ghosts

My sister has recently moved into the old family home - tile hung, 20's, Sussex style - very pretty, but on a main road in a busy town. For years it was my father's dental surgery, and we all lived over and around the shop. She's retained the layout, in many ways, letting out the former surgery as a self-contained flat. Above the flat is her sitting room, as it was 50 years ago.

I stayed with her a few days ago, the first time I'd really been there since moving out all that time ago. We were talking in her kitchen upstairs, and I was aware of speaking carefully, laughing quietly, so as not to disturb the waiting patients downstairs ...

I used to ride up and down in my father's dental chair, showing scared children how easy it was, and anyway he was my father, not a horrid ogre.

As I explored the house once more, I could see the old kitchen, with its solid fuel Aga (the bane of my mother's life), the cream painted dresser and my favourite delicate bone china teacup and saucer, relic of an old tea service, white with cobalt blue rim and gold filigree. I was there with my cousin Tim, playing 'himpa humpa' - boxes of washing powder balanced on our heads as we raced to be the first to get to the hidden front door in the kitchen and put th boxes on the crossmembers. I saw the long-gone wall in the downstairs cloakroom, dividing the loo from the basin, traceable in the patched parquet. I was in my old bedroom, now my nephew's, where I slept hunched up around the pillows for fear the horrors under the bedclothes at the foot of my bed would pull me to oblivion under the bed if I stretched out my legs.

And in the garden, I walked through the invisible pear walkway beyond the circular pond and looked back at the huge willow towering over the stairs and balcony on the back of the house. I saw a little girl in a sashed frock playing on the lawn with Jinx, the mad spaniel, who had to go ...

There, too, was the hull of the boat my father built - climbing the ladder to inspect his joinery, his handmade wooden plugs covered sunken screwheads, seeing him fitting the sink - the metal meat tray he stole from my mother's fridge. Then the boat being craned over the wall of the hotel next door, being launched at Shoreham, that first sail of my life - to France, when I was 6, seasick in the gales going, leaks through the planking, then returning in a calm sunset, to set a pattern for the rest of my life.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hair of the dog

I go away for a couple of days, stay with clean people in clean houses.

I return home to:

muddy pawprints all over the filthy sofas
enough doghair all over everywhere, including my glass of orange juice just now, to build three large dogs

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How I spend my evenings

A verbal snapshot: sitting on a collapsed blue cotton covered sofa, dog snoring to one side, telly blaring to the other, laptop balancing, teetering, on my left thigh, the rest of my leg tucked under the other, which is extended and resting upon a small wooden slatted garden table, all the while mixing typing with eating homegrown stewed apples. There are times when I think

There are times when I don't. This is one of them.

And what did YOU do in the war, Grandma?

I got home the other day to find two invitations from Zia (10) and Ebony (7) to share my wartime reminiscences, along with a bunch of ole codgers, over tea and cake at their school. I was invited because I am the oldest person they know...

I duly turned up, to be greeted by eager young faces clutching clipboards and pencils, awaiting memories from the ancient past ...

'What did you think of the blackout? Were you frightened about going into a bomb shelter?'

Oh, the falling of young faces, when this fraudster had to admit to being too young to have been in the war.. I couldn't bear the disappointment, and raked up a few (post-war) memories of ration books, fuel rationing (err, Suez, actually, but shhhh).

I did manage to scrape together a bit of cred - astonishing the small people with the fact that I'd managed to grow up without DVDs, Playstations and most incredible of all, that basic staple - NO television!!!!

But my favourite of all must go to the eager little chap who could barely keep his excitement under control, asking if anyone in my family had died in the war .........

Sweet innocence, lacking the knowledge and implications.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Latest addition

Thomas! (Named after my father)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Today I am mainly .. (not for the faint hearted)

clearing up the garden. Nothing erk about that, you say. Remember I have a dog. Oh, and the lodger has a dog, even if she is an apology for a dog (chihuahua). In exchange for rent, son Timothy has said he will mow the grass. He didn't say when.


I cleared up the kitchen too - twice! Once when I got up, when there was too much for the dishwasher in one go - and then just now. Then I cooked, so now I have more washing up hanging around.

I woke up this morning having had a really scary dream - lots of authority figures accusing me of doing oh such dreadful things - parking, using red diesel, causing earthquakes in shops - the usual stuff. I have a problem with authority figures - they were getting their own back ...

This is a domestic (not domesticated) day - I discovered the sitting room carpet is green, not black dog velour, after all. And that leaves don't grow in the hall, though they do seem to drop their autumn leaves there.

And now listening to the radio on the laptop (multitasking) because the real radio is rubbish.

Sorry, dear readers - nothing worth writing really. But I just felt like doing this. Oh, I remember! Swiss Smile - have a half price offer - the whitest teeth in the universe - looks like another London jolly, maybe Tuesday to fit in with the busy social life... haha

Friday, November 02, 2007

The lady who lunches - again!

Oh no! Another of my email extracts:

"Luncheon was such fun yesterday! Lots of slightly bawdy chatting and laughs. I really am a shallow person - or maybe it's me time of life, luv!

Took son to college this morning, and he said I still had yesterday's make up on - you know, that smouldering come-to-bed look - or is that the sleazy slob with mascara over the cheeks? I told him it saved me having to put it on again today. (I think this is turning into a blog entry!)"

And so it did! I like to think of it as recycling words and saving the planet from yet more ....

Overheard again ... what a nosy woman I am!

"I'm really fussy about my Cup A Soups"

This said over luncheon in a vai-iry smart hotel restaurant .....